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Magaly Perez Bernal was born in Cuba, July 4 1952. She began playing chess as a girl and began winning the Cuban Scholar Chess Championship at the age of 14. Prior to attending the demanding physics program at Havana University she met and married her first husband, Roberto Spector. She obtained her bachelor's degree (License) in physics in 1977 and in 1978/79 she won the Cuban National Chess Championship. She and her family arrived in the USA in 1980 as political refugees and she almost immediately began work at the prestigious AT&T Bell Labs in 1981.

Determined to learn more Magaly Spector enrolled in Lehigh University earning a master's in electrical engineering in 1985 and a Ph.D. in physics in 1993. Her dissertation was on the characterization of important properties of GaAS, the material used to make integrated circuit chips. Her work at Bell Labs (now Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs, the successor to AT&T Bell Labs) covers semiconductor materials, characterizing lasers, and fiber optics. She holds numerous patents on material characterization and fiber optics communication. In 2005 Dr. Spector was elected as a Bells Lab Fellow, an award that recognizes outstanding and sustained research and development.

image of Magaly Spector

Owned by Magaly Spector

In 2000 Dr. Spector was awarded the Professional Achievement Award by HENAAC. In 2002/03 she served as a Lecturer in Women in Science and Engineering for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Her presentation Liberando la Creatividad y el Esp’ritu de la Mujer Hispana; Dos Generaciones, de Sirvienta a Cient’fica which was presented in Mexico in April 2003 can be found at http://ehrweb.aaas.org/womeninscience/docs/spector_paper.pdf, referenced 11 November 2007. The presentation (Liberating the creativity and spirit of Hispanic women: two generations, from maid to scientist) is an essay that describes her life and technical career and the inspiration and drive she derived from her mother and grandmother. The biographical essay she wrote for the program can also be found at http://ehrweb.aaas.org/womeninscience/essays/spector.htm, referenced 11 November 2007.

Magaly Spector has always been active in diversity initiatives at AT&T and Lucent and in 2007 accepted the position of Vice-President for Diversity and Community Engagement at the University of Texas at Dallas.

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