On April 15, 2023, I received the official notification that my promotion to Associate Professor was approved. At MSOE, faculty are eligible for rank advancement every five years. In my opinion, this happens to be the perfect length of time to dedicate towards a well-defined goal if you want to go deep and make a real impact, so it’s not surprising that I aligned my professional goals with the promotion timeline.

When I joined MSOE, I had several well-defined goals for myself:

  • Develop high-quality data science and machine learning classes for MSOE’s (new when I started) Computer Science major
  • Establish a research program that:
    • engages undergraduate students in genuine research experiences
    • allows me to grow my technical and subject-matter expertise in genomics, machine learning / data science, and such
    • produces novel results worth of publications
    • supports collaborations with faculty at research-intensive institutions
    • is competitive for external funding

I’ve accomplished all that and more:

  • Developed into a respectable teacher with a diverse set of techniques in my toolbox
  • Helped recruit and hire several more faculty. These faculty are now teaching most of the classes I developed and vastly improved them in ways I could have never done alone. Our Computer Science already has a strong, positive reputation among employers and graduate programs.
  • Engaged in collaborative projects that combined computation and experiment as equal partners. Pushed the envelope in my two major research areas (chromosomal inversions and functional sequencing methods) while supporting various projects of biologist collaborators.
  • Awarded a NSF CRII grant and supplemental REU funding. The grant supported students in paid research assistant positions, provided me with summary salary, and provided funding for conference travel, publications, and research equipment.
  • Mentored 15 undergraduate research assistants. Thanks to the kindness of my collaborators, these students were introduced to research intensive environments and interdisciplinary work. I’ve been able to take many of the students to conferences. Three are in / have been admitted to graduate programs (1 M.S., 2 Ph.D.).
  • Published 9 conference and journal papers with 1 more currently under review.
  • Continued to expand my technical and biological knowledge
  • Pushed the boundaries of what was considered possible for undergraduate research at MSOE
  • Transitioned into teaching graduate courses
  • Found a community that nurtures and nourishes me while providing opportunities to mentor and support others

I’m thankful that my colleagues and administration recognized and celebrated my accomplishments by recommending my promotion.