Wanda Gass is one of the founders of the Women of TI Fund while remaining active on the fundraising and program side of the program. The Women of TI Fund is a donor-advised fund in partnership with the Dallas Women’s Foundation. The fund’s mission is to increase the number of girls graduating from high school who are entering a university-level technical degree program.
Wanda was also an active member of the Institution of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)—an organization that helps educate and promote semiconductor industry standards and publications, new research and insights inspiring innovation, and cross-fertilization of information around the world. In 2007, she was elevated to IEEE fellow and played an active role in helping plan IEEE conferences around the world where people present the latest and greatest developments and research ideas.
Wanda joined IEEE the first year she started working at TI. She was initially active in the association’s signal processing society. Wanda is active in the solid state circuit society which is focused on integrated circuit design.
In 1998, Wanda moved into TI’s wireless business to do architecture definition for low-power DSPs and worked in the wireless business until 2001. During that time, she became a TI fellow who was part of TI’s Technical Ladder.
The purpose of the TI Technical Ladder is to recognize and reward TI’s best technical talent. The Technical Ladder provides opportunities for personal recognition, compensation, and reporting that parallel those for equivalent rungs on the management ladder. Only one percent of TI’s technical population is awarded the TI fellow title.
In 1982, she worked with TI on assembly language programming for speech recognition and speaker authentication as a member of TI’s corporate research and development group. While in R&D, her work included the development of high-level synthesis tools.
She became a manager of the research group in 1990 where she led a team that worked on compilers, DSP processor architectures, and several designs with video compression.
Wanda’s first daughter was born in 1989 and second daughter in 1992. She decided to continue working after her children were born and stayed in research and development until 1998.
In her first position at Texas Instruments in 1980, Wanda worked with a small team doing circuit design on TI’s first digital signal processor (DSP). This product ultimately created the first commercially viable DSP, which repositioned TI’s business focus around DSP and changed the electronics industry. Without DSP, things like cell phones would not be possible. She also co-invented three early DSP patents with TI and developed a DSP board.
Wanda has been published 25 times and has endowed a scholarship at Rice University for women in engineering. During this time, she continued to pursue her passion of helping people and act as a role model for women going into technical career paths.