Distinction honors contributions to research, education and practice
Two University of California, Irvine faculty members have been elected to the National Academy of Engineering, one of the highest professional distinctions accorded to those pursuing research, education and applications in engineering and technical fields. Efi Foufoula-Georgiou, Distinguished Professor of civil & environmental engineering, and Judith Olson, Donald Bren Professor Emeritus of Information & Computer Sciences, are among 83 new U.S.-based NAE members.
“The success of our academic enterprise is singularly dependent on the quality of our faculty,” said Enrique Lavernia, UCI provost and executive vice chancellor. “With the election of these two outstanding faculty members to the National Academy of Engineering, UCI is now home to 76 members of the esteemed National Academies of Sciences, Engineering & Medicine and American Academy of Arts & Sciences.”
The NAE citation noted Foufoula-Georgiou’s contributions to hydrology and hydroclimatology with applications to engineered systems across scales. Since joining The Henry Samueli School of Engineering in 2016, Foufoula-Georgiou has released groundbreaking research findings on topics ranging from regional climate and extreme heat events to river delta dynamics. She is a fellow of the American Geophysical Union, the American Meteorological Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science and is a member of the European Academy of Sciences.
“I am humbled by this great honor,” Foufoula-Georgiou said. “Such recognition fuels even more of my passion and enthusiasm for impactful research and a commitment to propel my colleagues and students to reach their very best.”
Olson was commended for leadership, technical innovations and development of systems that support collaborative work at a distance. Her specific research has focused on the impact of employees in remote locations, examining productivity, worker satisfaction and the challenges faced by supervisors. She has also conducted intensive studies on the application of telepresence robots – basically a tablet computer on a remotely operated scooter – to enable students who are homebound due to illness to virtually attend classes at their schools. Olson is a fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery and holds a lifetime achievement award from its Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction.
“I am honored and delighted to be among so many amazing people elected to the NAE,” she said. “The members here at UCI and around the world always strive for engineering and computer science solutions to make the world a better place.”
UCI’s membership in prestigious organizations continues to grow. The university now has 15 elected members in the NAE, along with 23 in the National Academy of Sciences, four in the National Academy of Medicine, and 34 in the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.
– Brian Bell /UCI