Cybersecurity pioneer gives $1 million to create gender and economic equity lab at Penn State Law
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa., March 3, 2021 – Katie Moussouris, a leading researcher and entrepreneur in cybersecurity and vulnerability disclosure, has made a $1 million gift through her Pay Equity Now (PEN) Foundation to establish the Anuncia Donecia Songsong Manglona Lab for Gender and Economic Equity at Penn State Law in University Park.
Named for Moussouris’ late mother, the “Manglona Lab” will initially include a gender equity litigation clinic to address financial discrimination in the workplace and otherwise promote economic equity under the law and in practice through research.
“We are so grateful to Katie Moussouris and the Pay Equity Now Foundation for this transformational gift to advance gender and economic equity,” said Hari M. Osofsky, dean of Penn State Law and the Penn State School of International Affairs. “The Anuncia Donecia Songsong Manglona Lab for Gender and Economic Equity will provide an opportunity for Penn State Law in University Park to contribute to much-needed progress in gender equity while training the next generation of lawyers who will carry this work forward. We look forward to partnering with Katie Moussouris and the PEN Foundation to make a difference.”
“We cannot wait another 200 years for social pressures to finally make organizations rectify the ongoing pay inequity experienced by women and minorities—we have to fight for pay equity in our lifetime,” said Moussouris, founder of the PEN Foundation. “The gender and economic equity lab at Penn State Law will help our nation make real progress toward achieving that goal.”
Moussouris’ gift, the largest in Penn State Law history, will establish a litigation clinic that will focus primarily on appellate advocacy and litigation involving issues of gender in employment equity. The Manglona Lab’s operations will be informed by existing expertise and research from Penn State’s Policy Innovation Lab of Tomorrow (PILOT), which conducts and translates research on key technology policy issues to inform policymakers and drive tech business models toward sustainability and ethical conduct. Professor Andrea Matwyshyn, associate dean for innovation and technology at Penn State Law and a professor in the College of Engineering, is the PILOT lab’s founding director and will serve as the Manglona Lab’s faculty lead.
“Generations of women have been viewed consciously and subconsciously as “less worthy” in hiring, salary determinations, promotion, access to the venture capital ecosystem, and recognition of their contributions,” said Matwyshyn. “Today, technology can also obscure and perpetuate gender-based economic harms. While business practices and the law have improved over time, gender equity still remains elusive. The Manglona Lab will seek to incubate the next generation of the social and legal conversation around gender and economic equity, especially as it intersects with technology. Everyone deserves a fair shot at financial success, professional respect, and building a better tomorrow—regardless of gender.”
Through her gift to establish the Anuncia Donecia Songsong Manglona Lab for Gender and Economic Equity at Penn State, Katie Moussouris adds another chapter to her continuing fight against gender and racial discrimination. In 2020, she established the PEN Foundation to help eliminate the gender and racial pay gap and to inspire, support, educate and invest in others working toward the same objective. The foundation challenges other organizations to take its Pay Equity Now Pledge, which iterates a commitment to make specific efforts to enhance gender and racial pay equity in the workforce.
In establishing both the PEN Foundation and the Manglona Lab at Penn State Law, Moussouris was inspired by her late mother, Anuncia Donecia Songsong Manglona, who faced her own struggles with gender and racial discrimination during her career as a Chamorro scientist working on in vitro fertilization and stem cell research.
“My mother was underpaid and underpromoted throughout her entire professional career,” said Moussouris. “She trained men who were often paid double what she earned. She suffered what all women, especially women of color, suffer in pay equity. It is my hope that through the first endowment from the Pay Equity Now Foundation, the Anuncia Donecia Songsong Manglona Lab for Gender and Economic Equity will work swiftly and effectively to change this reality.”
When Moussouris was eight years old, Manglona bought her daughter her first computer, which Moussouris used to learn how to code. Early explorations of technology led Moussouris to a successful twenty-year career in cybersecurity, garnering worldwide recognition for her work in security research, vulnerability disclosure, and bug bounty programs.
Today, Moussouris serves as chief executive officer and founder of Luta Security, which helps governments and organizations transform the way they use people, processes, and technology to improve vulnerability coordination, vulnerability management, and secure software development. She also serves as an advisor to several governments and large organizations around the world. Working with the U.S. Department of Defense, Moussouris led the launch of the U.S. government’s first bug bounty program, “Hack the Pentagon.” During her tenure at Microsoft, Moussouris’ work included industry-leading initiatives such as Microsoft Vulnerability Research and the company's first bug bounty program. In 2018, she was featured in Forbes’ “The World’s Top 50 Women in Tech” and “America’s Top 50 Women in Tech” lists.
Information about the Manglona Lab and how to support its work can be found at www.manglonalab.org.
Katie Moussouris’ gift will help to advance “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” a focused campaign that seeks to elevate Penn State’s position as a leading public university in a world defined by rapid change and global connections. With the support of alumni and friends, “A Greater Penn State” seeks to fulfill the three key imperatives of a 21st-century public university: keeping the doors to higher education open to hardworking students regardless of financial well-being; creating transformative experiences that go beyond the classroom; and impacting the world by serving communities and fueling discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship. To learn more about “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” visit greaterpennstate.psu.edu.