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Irina Gladkova was born in Tomsk, Russia. Tomsk, the administrative center of the Tomsk region in Siberia, is located on the bank of the river Tom, about 2,900 kilometers east of Moscow. Despite the common belief that only bears and political convicts live there, Siberia has a rich and varied culture, and Tomsk at that time was its scientific and cultural hub.
Early in her childhood, Irina moved with her family to Donetsk (Ukraine) where both of her parents got positions at the newly established Science Center of the Academy of Sciences, consisting of 4 research Institutes and University.

Irina had a very happy childhood in the Soviet Union, and like many other children in that country, she got a rigorous education in mathematics and the sciences. She was growing up in a mathematical family, and at the age of two she attended her first conference. She did not give a presentation, but her participation did not go unnoticed. Her career choice was more or less predetermined by her circle of friends and family, and she graduated from Donetsk State University with a mathematics major in 1989. She then went to graduate school at the Institute of Applied Mathematics and Mechanics of the Academy of Sciences, from which she graduated in 1993.

By that time the Soviet Union had fallen apart. One of the first immediate consequences of that event was the reduction of funding for basic research, and Irina chose to come to New York. There she pursued another graduate degree in mathematics at the CUNY Graduate Center, and obtained a Ph.D. in the area of signal processing/waveform design. Her thesis advisor was Louis Auslander, who passed away in February of 1997, a year before her defense. She completed her Ph.D. degree in February of 1998, and began her career at the Mathematics Department of Brooklyn College.

In the Fall of 1998, she moved to the Computer Science Department of the City College of New York, where she is now an Associate Professor. She works extensively with engineers and scientists on a variety of applied problems in the area of signal processing. She enjoys the collaborative process and the bringing of a project to fruition. Her main present interests are radar waveform design, satellite data analysis/compression and numerical methods.