UCF leads Florida universities with 4 professors named AAAS fellows

December 17, 2009

Three University of Central Florida engineering and computer science professors and an anthropology professor have been named fellows by one of the world's largest and most well-respected scientific societies.

The four professors - UCF's total leads all Florida universities -- are among 531 people nationwide selected by their peers for scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has recognized Diane Z. Chase from Anthropology; Narsingh Deo and Mubarak Shah of Computer Science; and Debra R. Reinhart of Civil, Environmental and Construction Engineering.

"To have four faculty members recognized by their peers for outstanding achievements in science and engineering is an honor for our entire university community," said M.J. Soileau, vice president for Research and Commercialization. "In classrooms and laboratories throughout our university, students are working with world-class professors who are leaders in their fields. UCF has long recognized the achievements of these four scholars, and it is great to see them earn well-deserved national recognition."

Three of the four professors -- Chase, Shah and Reinhart -- have received UCF's Pegasus Professor award, which recognizes sustained excellence in teaching, research and service. Two of the professors -- Deo and Shah -- hold endowed chairs.

Chase was selected for her distinguished contributions to the Maya archaeology of Caracol, Belize, and the training of more than 180 students in 25 years. A vice provost in Academic Affairs, she has collaborated with her husband and colleague, Arlen, since both began teaching at UCF in 1984. Their research has greatly improved the knowledge of Maya civilization and has served as the foundation for work by many other scholars.

Deo, who holds the Charles N. Millican Endowed Chair, was selected for his distinguished and sustained contributions to various facets of graph theory, algorithms and applications, parallel algorithms and parallel data structures, and for authoring pioneering books. He directs UCF's Center for Parallel Computation. He has received NASA's Apollo Achievement Award, and he is a fellow of the IEEE, a leading professional association for the advancement of technology.

Shah, UCF's Agere Chair Professor of Computer Science, was selected for his outstanding contributions to video surveillance and monitoring, shape from shading, active contours, human action recognition and object tracking in computer vision. He is one of the world's most eminent researchers in computer vision. His research is funded by the National Science Foundation, DARPA, National Institutes of Health, Florida Department of Transportation and industry. He is developing a computer program to analyze brain scans and detect potentially life-threatening tumors, and he is developing algorithms to analyze videos from unmanned aerial vehicles.

Reinhart was selected for her outstanding contributions to the practice and research of solid waste management and groundwater remediation. She has earned more than $5 million in research funding and has mentored many UCF students. An inductee into the Space Technology Hall of Fame, she is now an assistant vice president in the Office of Research and Commercialization. She has served as interim director of the Nanoscience Technology Center.

The four UCF professors will be recognized Feb. 20 during the AAAS annual meeting in San Diego. They also will be included in the AAAS News & Notes section of the journal Science on Dec. 18.

Last year, two UCF professors -- Issa Batarseh of Electrical Engineering and Sudipta Seal of Mechanical, Materials and Aerospace Engineering -- were selected as AAAS fellows.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science is the world's largest general scientific society, and publisher of the journal, Science (www.sciencemag.org) as well as Science Translational Medicine (www.sciencetranslationalmedicine.org) and Science Signaling (www.sciencesignaling.org). AAAS was founded in 1848, and it includes some 262 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals.

UCF Stands For Opportunity: The University of Central Florida is a metropolitan research university that ranks as the 3rd largest in the nation with more than 53,500 students. UCF's first classes were offered in 1968. The university offers impressive academic and research environments that power the region's economic development. UCF's culture of opportunity is driven by our diversity, Orlando environment, history of entrepreneurship and our youth, relevance and energy. For more information, visit http://news.ucf.edu.

University of Central Florida

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