Envisioning the Future of NSF EPSCoR

Committee Members

Prabhaker Clement

Prabhakar Clement


Center for Water Quality Research

Professor of Environmental Engineering

The University of Alabama

Professor Prabhakar Clement (web: tpclement.weebly.com) is the director of the Center for Water Quality Research at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa.  He is also the professor of environmental engineering at the Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering.  He is currently the lead PI of a Track-2 NSF project: Harnessing Big Hydrological Datasets for Integrated Groundwater Management. Before joining UA, he was a distinguished Alumni Professor at the Department of Civil Engineering, Auburn University.  Before his tenure at Auburn, he worked as a faculty member at the University of Western Australia, and as a senior research engineer at the Battelle Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Washington. Dr. Clement received his Ph.D. degree in Civil Engineering from Auburn University, and he is a registered professional engineer. He has published over 100 well-cited, journal articles (Ref: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=hGAX1eEAAAAJ&hl=en). He is the lead author of the widely used MODFLOW-family reactive transport code RT3D. He has served as an associate editor for leading water journals including Water Resources Research, ASCE Journal of Hydrologic Engineering, Journal of Contaminant Hydrology, Groundwater, and Vadose Zone Journal. He has also served on many NSF, DOE, and DOD review panels, and National Academies’ NRC committees. In 2016, Dr. Clement received the John Hem Award from the National Groundwater Association for his contributions to developing analytical and numerical reactive transport models, and for improving the fundamental understanding of saltwater intrusion processes in coastal aquifers. The American Society of Civil Engineers’ Board of Directors elected him to the rank of ASCE Fellow in 2013, and later as the EWRI Fellow in 2017. His current research interests include reactive transport analysis, modeling recharge and soil moisture transport in unsaturated systems, remote sensing of soil moisture, laboratory-scale visualization of saltwater intrusion processes, numerical modeling, bioremediation design, and oil spill assessment.


Edwin Cruz-Rivera

Edwin Cruz-Rivera

Associate Professor

Department of Biological Sciences

University of the Virgin Islands

Edwin Cruz-Rivera has a B.S. in Industrial Microbiology from the University of Puerto Rico in Mayagüez and a Ph.D. in Marine Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He conducted postdoctoral research in Guam, Mississippi, and Texas and has held faculty positions in the USA, Egypt, and Bangladesh. Since 2014, he has been an Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and the Master in Marine and Environmental Science Program at the University of the Virgin Islands, St. Thomas campus. His research interests lie in the ecology and evolution of marine consumer-prey interactions, with an emphasis on the nutritional and chemical aspects of prey and how these affect animal feeding behavior and fitness. Some areas of research in his lab include the ecology of algal escape and tolerance of herbivory, the causes and consequences of intraspecific variation in consumer-prey interactions, the role of secondary chemicals and nutrients as mediators of species interactions, the ecology of harmful blooms, parasitism and symbiosis in the sea, the use of freshwater fauna as environmental indicators, and the effects of climate change in species interactions. He has been principal investigator and project lead in NSF and NASA EPSCoR awards and maintains collaborative projects with colleagues at other EPSCoR jurisdictions, such as Kansas and Alabama.


Christine Cutucache

Christine Cutucache



Haddix Community Chair of Science

Associate Professor of Biology

University of Nebraska at Omaha

Dr. Cutucache’s research investigates molecular attributes of lymphoma as well as discipline-based education research.

She is interested in student-centered, inquiry-based practices to improve learning outcomes. Dr. Cutucache served as the founder of the now Nebraska-wide Nebraska STEM 4U (NE STEM 4U) program, which engages K-8 youth in high quality out-of-school time activities in STEM via problem-based learning. To-date, this program has engaged 7,000 youth through sustainable programming.

Dr. Cutucache is passionate about supporting the science teacher pipeline through mentorship, opportunity, professional development, and funding models. She has worked to generate the dual-pathway pipelines for pre-service teachers to bolster the workforce. Her work in support of teachers has also been reflected with in-service teachers. Specifically, through her work as part of the STEM Fellows, the Teacher-Researcher Partnership Program, and ongoing professional development and graduate-level opportunities for teacher support. 

In 2021, she was recognized as one of the ten, “TOYO!”, or Ten Outstanding Young Omahans, and was awarded the highest honor across the Nebraska University system, the President’s award for Innovation, Development, and Engagement (IDEA) award. She is also the past winner of the UNMC Graduate Studies Alumni Early Career Achievement Award (2019), honoree into the Phi Kappa Phi honors society (2019), the College of Arts and Sciences Alumni Outstanding Teacher award winner (2018), and her programs have also been nominated for, and won, awards including the “We are all in this together” award by the AMS and Allies Trust (2014). In 2020, Dr. Cutucache was selected as a Fulbright Scholar. 

Finally, Dr. Cutucache has two books published in 2021, including a textbook with Elsevier on “MicroRNA in Human Malignancies” and another book called, “Leading from the Middle.


Mary Jo Daniel

Mary Jo Daniel

Associate Vice President for Research

University of New Mexico

Mary Jo Daniel is the Associate Vice President for Research at the University of New Mexico (UNM), a Hispanic Serving Institution with a Carnegie Classification of R1. As AVPR, she advances UNM’s research mission through strategic communication, fostering interdisciplinary research collaborations, and supporting the university’s research administration. She also serves as Co-PI on the NSF ADVANCE at UNM award, focusing on the recruitment, retention, and advancement of women, including minority women, STEM faculty.

Dr. Daniel joined UNM in 2010 as the Associate Director of New Mexico EPSCoR and served as Co-PI or senior personnel on several EPSCoR awards. She continues to draw on this experience as AVPR, meeting with NM EPSCoR leadership regularly to strengthen connections between the program and the university community. From 2015 to 2020, Dr. Daniel was the Director of UNM’s Faculty Research Development Office, leading a professional staff that provides research development support to faculty throughout the university. Dr. Daniel has been an invited presenter at workshops and conferences that focus on interdisciplinary and inclusive approaches to STEM research and education.

Dr. Daniel earned a B.A. in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College and completed a Ph.D. in Multicultural Teacher and Childhood Education at the University of New Mexico. Prior to her work at UNM, Dr. Daniel served as the State Science Specialist and the Math and Science Bureau Chief in New Mexico’s Public Education Department. She began her career in STEM education as a middle school mathematics and science teacher and has focused on supporting the STEM achievement of diverse learners and their teachers at all educational levels.


Jose D. Fuentes

Jose D. Fuentes

Professor of Meteorology

Department of Meteorology and Atmospheric Science

The Pennsylvania State University

Jose D.  Fuentes earned his Ph.D. from the University of Guelph, Ontario. He teaches graduate- and undergraduate-level courses in climate science and air quality. He has served as the director of the Penn State University Research Experiences for Undergraduate (REU) program in climate science. He has received the Cavaliers’ Distinguished Professorship Award from the University of Virginia, the Outstanding Faculty Award in the State of Virginia from the Governor of Virginia, and the John T. Ryan, Jr. Faculty Fellow. He was a founding member of the steering committee for the University of Virginia Excellence in Diversity program, designed to attract and maintain underrepresented faculty. In 2016, the American Meteorological Society granted him the Charles E. Anderson Award ‘for outstanding, sustained efforts to promote diversity in the atmospheric and environmental sciences through education, research, and community service’.  He has served on the Advisory Panels for NASA. Professor Fuentes has served on the advisory committees of Geosciences Directorate and Office of Polar Programs at the National Science Foundation. Since 2016, he has been a member of Committee on Equal Opportunities in Science and Engineering (CEOSE).

Fuentes’ research emphasis the physical, biological, and chemical processes that control trace gas, particles, and energy exchanges between Earth’s and the atmosphere. He engages students in hands-on learning in laboratory and field research projects, taking students on scientific voyages to places as distant as the high Arctic, the Brazilian rainforest, and the Marshall Islands.  He has mentored numerous underrepresented students. He has worked with work with student clubs and organized workshops designed to attract and retain more underrepresented students in science.

He is a member and fellow of the American Meteorological Society, and a member of the American Geophysical Union and American Association for the Advancement of Science.


Michael Khonsari

Michael Khonsari

Dow Chemical Endowed Chair


Louisiana State University

Michael Khonsari holds the Dow Chemical Endowed Chair and is a professor of mechanical engineering at Louisiana State University (LSU). Before joining LSU, he spent several years as a faculty member at The Ohio State University, University of Pittsburgh, and served as the chairman at Southern Illinois University. He has also served as a research Faculty Fellow at NASA Glenn Research Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force laboratories, and the U.S. Department of Energy. In February 2003, Higher Education Commissioner appointed Michael to concurrently serve as the associate commissioner for Sponsored Research & Development Programs at the Louisiana Board of Regents.

Michael’s research is in the area of tribology—the science and application of lubrication, friction, and wear—and fatigue and damage analysis. He is the holder of 9 U.S. patents, over 400 technical papers, including 14 articles in Encyclopedias and 5 technical books. He is the recipient of several research awards, including the ASME Mayo Hersey Award, the Burt Newkirk Award, the STLE Presidential Award, ALCOA awards for his contributions to tribology, and the LSU Distinguished Research Master Award. He is the editor-in-chief for Journal of Tribology  and serves on the Editorial Boards of 10 other international journals.

Michael is a Fellow of ASME, STLE, and AAAS, Senior Member of the National Academy of Inventors, and Academy of Distinguished Mechanical Engineers at UT-Austin.

As Louisiana EPSCR Project director, Michael has led many large multidisciplinary teams of scientists and engineers (each ranging from 150-200 faculty and students) that worked collaboratively on funded scientific research of national importance. He has supervised and mentored about 100 Ph.D., MS, and post-doctoral students and scholars.

Michael is appointed by the governor to serve on the Louisiana Innovation Council, whose mission is “to establish a comprehensive economic strategy and innovation agenda that will grow the state’s economy and enhance competitiveness.” He had the key role in crafting the State’s Science and Technology Plan: Fostering Innovation through Research in Science and Technology. Michael is the director of a newly established NSF Center IUCRC Center for Innovation in Structure Integrality Assurance (CISIA).


Daniela Marghitu

Daniela Marghitu

Faculty Coordinator and Director

Research Laboratory for Education and Assistive Technology

Computer Science and Software Engineering Department

Samuel Ginn College of Engineering

Auburn University

Dr. Daniela Marghitu received her B.S. in Automation and Computing from Polytechnic University of Bucharest, and her Ph.D. degree in Automation and Computing from University of Craiova. She is a faculty member in the Computer Science and Software Engineering Department at Auburn University, where she has worked since 1996.

Her teaching experience includes a variety of IT and Computing courses, and her research areas include STEM K12 Inclusive Computing Research and Outreach; Web Applications Design and Development; Education and Assistive Technology; Software Engineering; Web and Software Engineering Usability and Accessibility.

Dr. Marghitu has received funding for research and education projects from NSF (e.g. Co-Pi
“NSF INCLUDES Alliance: The Alliance of Students with Disabilities for Inclusion, Networking, and Transition Opportunities in STEM (TAPDINTO-STEM)”; Co-PI EEC "RFE Design and Development: Framing Engineering as Community Activism for Values-Driven Engineering"; Co-PI CISE "EAGER: An Accessible Coding Curriculum for Engaging Underserved Students with Special Needs in Afterschool Programs"; Co-PI “INCLUDES: Southeast Alliance for Persons with Disabilities in STEM”; Co-PI CE 21 “Collaborative Research: Planning Grant: Computer Science for All”).

Dr. Marghitu has participated in numerous administrative activities at Auburn University such as: Board of Trustee Faculty Representative; representative for National Center for Women in Information Technology, Persons with Disabilities Committee chair; faculty representative University Core Curriculum Oversight committee and Multicultural Diversity Commission. She served since 2015 as member of the NSF congressionally mandated Committee on Equal Opportunities in Science and Engineering, and of the Computer Science for All Accessibility Board.

Dr. Marghitu has mentored over two thousand K12, computing undergraduate, and graduate students including representatives of underserved/underrepresented communities, women, and people with disabilities.

Dr. Marghitu published seven Information Technology books at Pearson Publishing Co., numerus journal papers, peer reviewed conference papers and gave presentations at international conferences in USA, Canada, England, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Portugal, and Romania.

Among Dr. Marghitu's honors and awards are the following: AccessComputing Capacity Building award, Auburn University Access award, Society for Design and Process Science Outstanding Achievement Award, DO-IT Trailblazer award, International Academy, Research, and Industry Association Fellowship, Society for Design and Process Science Fellowship, and Samuel Ginn College of Engineering 100+ Women Strong Leadership in Diversity Faculty Award.


Marian G. McCord

Marian G. McCord

Senior Vice Provost for Research, Economic Engagement, and Outreach

University of New Hampshire

Marian McCord joined UNH as Senior Vice Provost for Research, Economic Engagement and Outreach in February 2020. The University of New Hampshire is the flagship university of NH, and an R1 with approximately $145M in research expenditures, as well as home to NH’s land-, sea-, and space grants. The Office of Research, Economic Engagement, and Outreach comprises a staff of approximately 400, and in her role, Dr. McCord oversees all research administration, compliance, and development; environmental health and safety; NH Cooperative Extension; professional development and training; innovation and entrepreneurship; and outreach and engagement activities. Last year, over 2,000 businesses in NH were served by UNH’s cooperative extension program.  McCord came to UNH from North Carolina State University, where she was a founding member of the Joint UNC/NCSU Department of Biomedical Engineering and served as Director of Global Health Initiatives in the Office of Global Engagement. Immediately prior to joining UNH, Dr. McCord was the Associate Dean for Research in the College of Natural Resources.

Dr. McCord serves as the state director for NH EPSCoR, providing vision and leadership in connecting UNH’s research infrastructure to building capacity in NH, and is currently the Secretary of the EPSCoR/IDEA Coalition Board. She participates on the APLU COR executive committee, and on the Future of Research working group, where she the liaison to the APLU Commission on Economic & Community Engagement’s Investigating and Strengthening University-Industry R&D Collaborations Working Group. 

A biomedical engineer, McCord’s research focuses on health applications of textiles and biomaterials. She co-founded two startups based on her research: Katharos, Inc., which aims to provide phosphate filtration solutions for end-stage renal disease patients, and Vector Textiles, LLC, which produces textile-based vector protection for humans, plants, and animals.

McCord received an M.S. in bioengineering and Ph.D. in textiles and polymer science from Clemson University. She received a Sc. B. in biomedical engineering from Brown University.


Julia Melkers

Julia Melkers


School of Public Policy

Georgia Institute of Technology

Dr. Julia Melkers is Professor in the School of Public Policy at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia and holds a PhD in Public Administration (Syracuse University). Her scholarly work is concerned with the development and career outcomes of the STEM workforce, primarily in the post-secondary environment and across the range of Carnegie-designated institutions. She founded and directs the ROCS Lab (Research on Careers in Science: rocs.spp.gatech.edu) at Georgia Tech. Dr. Melkers has been PI of multiple $1M NSF and other grants to examine various facets of academic careers, professional and collaborative networks, mentoring, and mobility in STEM careers. Her newest award (NSF-EAGER) focuses on social innovation among globally collaborative scientific teams (NSF OISE-2124669). Among her peer-reviewed publications, she has published empirical research on scientists in EPSCoR states and is co-author of a forthcoming book chapter on “Research Funding and Academic Careers” for the Handbook on Research Funding (Elsevier Publishing). She is also the U.S. Co-Editor of the journal, Research Evaluation.

Dr. Melkers has a long history with NSF EPSCoR, spanning more than two decades. She has direct experience in assessing and advising a disciplinarily and institutionally diverse set of EPSCoR-funded teams. She has served as an external evaluator for several states, including both Track I and Track II projects.  Together with Dr. Eric Welch (ASU) as part of an NSF contract, she also co-led the development of a theory-based model of Academic Research Competitiveness.  She also has experience in evaluation and advising of other NSF projects, including ERC’s, SLC’s, STC’s, PIRE, and most recently a Coastlines & People (CoPe) project. Internationally, she was recently a member of an OECD site mission team and led the review of higher education research competitiveness in Austria. Both her scholarly and evaluation work is multi-methodological, involving design and implementation of surveys, interviews, and analysis of social network, bibliometric and other institutional data.


Sheena Murphy

Sheena Murphy

Associate Vice President for Research Development

Professor of Physics

West Virginia University

Sheena Murphy is the Associate Vice President for Research with responsibility for the STEM disciplines at West Virginia University, where she is also the principal liaison to WV EPSCoR.  Prof. Murphy is an expert in low temperature and condensed matter physics, and before moving to WVU, she held the Brandt Professorship at the University of Oklahoma (OU), where she was on the leadership team for the Oklahoma-Arkansas MRSEC.  This jointly operated MRSEC, was the first in an EPSCoR jurisdiction and brought together critical mass from two flagships to focus on semiconductor nanotechnology. She is committed to expanding access to STEM as demonstrated by her leadership contributions to the longstanding REU program in Physics and Astronomy at OU, and as co-PI of Big 12 Advance project designed to increase STEM faculty diversity in the faculty rank. She holds an undergraduate degree in Physics from MIT and did her graduate work in superfluid helium at Cornell, before postdoctoral appointments in two dimensional electronic systems at IBM, Yorktown Heights, and AT&T Bell Labs.


Prakash Nagarkatti

Prakash Nagarkatti

Senior Research Advisor to the President

Carolina Distinguished Professor

University of South Carolina

Dr. Prakash Nagarkatti currently serves as the Senior Research Advisor to the President of University of South Carolina (UofSC), and Carolina Distinguished Professor.  In this capacity, he represents UofSC on a $3.8 billion contract from DOE to manage and operate the Savannah River National Lab in collaboration with Battelle.  He also oversees the NSF EPSCoR and NIH IDeA programs.  From 2011-2021, he served as the Vice President for Research at UofSC.    In that capacity, he oversaw ~$280 million/year research enterprise across 7 satellite campuses. 

In addition to administration, Dr. Nagarkatti is actively engaged in research.  He is currently the PD/PI on not only the NSF Track-1 in SC but also two additional NIH Centers, one of which is an NIH-funded COBRE.  Dr. Nagarkatti was elected as the Chair of the PD/PI EPSCoR Council for 2021 as well as elected as the Chair of the national EPSCoR/IDeA Foundation Board in 2021 for a two-year term.  Dr. Nagarkatti hosted the National EPSCoR Conference in 2019 in Columbia, SC.  He chaired the Committee that developed “Vision 2025:  Advancing South Carolina’s Capacity and Expertise in Science and Technology”, a State-wide Science & Technology plan. Dr. Nagarkatti has chaired numerous NIH Study Sections and other national panels.  He has served on the Scientific Advisory Panel for EPA and FDA. 

Dr. Nagarkatti has published over 320 peer-reviewed papers.  He has mentored ~40 graduate students, 24 post-doctoral fellows, and 20 junior faculty as well as 35 International Scholars.  He has generated over $100 million in Federal Grants as a PI.  Dr. Nagarkatti was elected Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Fellow of Academy of Toxicological Sciences (ATS), and a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors.  He has been the recipient of the Vos Lifetime Career Achievement Award from the Society of Toxicology. 


Kathie L. Olsen

Kathie L. Olsen


KLO International, LLC

Former Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer

National Science Foundation

The Honorable Dr. Kathie L. Olsen, a neuroscientist, is the Founder and President of KLO International, LLC, which provides guidance, strategic planning assistance, and review for individuals, institutions, and governments, both domestic and foreign, on science and engineering research and technology. Dr. Olsen served over 20+ years in the federal government in a variety of scientific leadership positions including Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer of the National Science Foundation (NSF); Associate Director and Deputy Director for Science of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) in the Executive Office of the President, NASA Chief Scientist, and Acting Associate Administrator for NASA's Biological and Physical Research Enterprise. As a senior executive, she co-led strategic planning and budget processes, and oversaw the development and implementation of new research and education priorities and initiatives. At NASA, OSTP and NSF she regularly coordinated EPSCoR activities, and as NSF Deputy Director she charged the EPSCoR community to engage in strategic visioning. Dr. Olsen has an earned Ph.D. in Biology (Neuroscience) from UC-Irvine. Her Postdoctoral Fellowship was at Children's Hospital of Harvard Medical School. At various times in her professional career, she has served as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at the State University of New York-Stony Brook, Adjunct Associate Professor at the George Washington University, Affiliate Professor of Neuroscience at the Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study, George Mason University. Her research on neural and genetic mechanisms underlying development and expression of behavior was supported by NIH. She has served on review and advisory panels for U.S. federal agencies including NIH, NSF, DOD, DHS, as well as foreign governments, international research organizations, and UNESCO. She is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a Fellow of the Association for Women in Science.


James Rattling Leaf

James Rattling Leaf

Research Associate

Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences

University of Colorado-Boulder

Currently, James is a Research Associate at the Cooperative Institute Research Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado-Boulder as well a Co-Principal Investigator, North Central Climate Adaptation Science Center. He specializes in developing programs that utilize the interface between Indigenous People’s Traditional Knowledge and Western Science.  He has over 25 years’ working with the US Federal Government, Higher Education Institutions and Non-Profits to develop and maintain effective working relationships with federally and non-federally recognized American Indian tribes, Tribal College and Universities and Tribal Communities.  A member of South Dakota's Rosebud Sioux tribe, James has served as a Visiting Collaborator, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology; Director, Geo-Spatial Applications Center, Sinte Gleska University; Board Member, Education Committee, American Geophysical Union (AGU); Fellow, International Indigenous Resource Management Institute, Denver; Cultural Advisory Board Member, Deep Underground Science and Engineering Lab; Board of Directors, South Dakota National Science Foundation EpSCOR; Member, NASA Space Grant Consortium EpSCOR Technical Advisory Committee; and Cultural Advisor, NOAA National Integrated Drought Information Systems (NIDIS). He sees a greater vision of human knowledge that incorporates the many insights of human cultures and provides a context for our better understanding of the planet and the world. James is a founding member of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) Indigenous Alliance that was established at GEO Week 2019 in Canberra, Australia to foster a continued, effective, respectful, and reciprocal relationship with GEO and representatives of indigenous communities from around the world.  He was born on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and is an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. James received his B.A. in Lakota Studies from Sinte Gleska University, Rosebud Reservation, Mission, South Dakota.


Susan Renoe

Susan Renoe

Associate Vice Chancellor for Research, Extension & Engagement

University of Missouri

Dr. Susan Renoe is Associate Vice Chancellor for Research, Extension & Engagement at the University of Missouri.  She also serves as Executive Director of the NSF-funded Center for Advancing Research Impact in Society (OIA-1810732) and is an assistant professor of strategic communication in the MU School of Journalism. Previously, Susan served as Principal Investigator of the NSF-funded National Alliance for Broader Impacts (MCB – 1408736) and as the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research, Extension & Engagement at Mizzou. 

She serves on several advisory boards including the Network for Advancing & Evaluating the Societal Impact of Science, and the University of Missouri Museum of Anthropology. She is an advisory board member for several NSF-funded projects including the Collaborative Research: Embedding Public Engagement with Science at Long-Term Ecological Research Sites (NSF Award DRL 1713204) project, the Collaborative Research: Grounding Institutional Partnerships in Structures for Broader Impacts Design (NSF Award DRL 1612810) project, and the STEM Ambassador Program: A Scientist-Driven Public Engagement Model (NSF Award AISL 1514494) project.

She also served as an advisor to the AAAS Leshner Leadership Institute for Public Engagement Fellows Program and was a juror for the 2017 Swedish Impact Award.  She also served as a member of the Center for Advancing Informal Science Education’s Research and Practice task force.  In addition, she was an expert member of the Research Impact Assessment Team for the Centres de Recerca de Catalunya, a group of 40 centers of research near Barcelona, Spain.

She received her MA and PHD in education from the University of California-Santa Barbara and BA and MA in anthropology from the University of Missouri.


Manuel Rodriguez-Martinez

Manuel Rodriguez-Martinez


Department of Computer Science and Engineering

University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez

Dr. Manuel Rodriguez-Martinez is a professor with the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez (UPRM). He earned a Ph.D. degree in Computer Science from the University of Maryland, College Park (2001). He also holds a M.S. in Computer Science from the University of Maryland, College Park (1996) and a B.S. in Mathematics from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras (1994). His research interests include Big Data Analytics, Machine Learning, Cloud Computing, and Distributed Database Systems. He received a 2005 NSF CAREER Award and has been principal investigator on various grants funded by NIH, and NSF. He serves as coordinator for the Advanced Data Management Group at UPRM. He is currently one of the team leaders with the NSF Center for the Advancement of Wearable Technologies (CAWT), an EPSCoR Track 1 Project. His research within CAWT is focused on the development of a query execution pipeline that integrates machine learning and big data tools into an efficient data processing platform. Dr. Rodriguez-Martinez has served as associated director for the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. He is also in charge of the efforts to earn ABET accreditation for the B.S. in Software Engineering Program at UPRM.  In addition, he is a member of the ACM, and SIGMOD computing societies.  Dr. Rodriguez-Martinez has also served as NSF panelist, NASA panelist, and as referee for journal and conference papers submitted for publication in ACM SIGMOD, IEEE Data Engineering, VLDB, and IEEE Transactions on Data and Knowledge Engineering.


Kelly A. Rusch

Kelly A. Rusch

Executive Director

North Dakota EPSCoR

Associate Chair and Professor

Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering

North Dakota State University

Dr. Kelly A. Rusch is an Associate Chair and Professor in the Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering at North Dakota State University (NDSU) and the Executive Director of the North Dakota (ND) EPSCoR State Office. As Executive Director, Dr. Rusch oversees ND EPSCoR’s programming focused on building statewide STEM capacity in education, workforce development, research, outreach, and public communications. Additionally, Kelly serves as the Project Director/ Principal Investigator for the NSF EPSCoR RII Track-1 and as the ND Principal Investigator on the NSF-funded CIRCLES (Cultivating Indigenous Research Communities for Leadership in Education and STEM) Alliance; a six-state (all EPSCoR) effort focused on native-based STEM activities for K12 and higher education. Dr. Rusch currently serves on the Board of Directors of the EPSCoR Foundation and fills the role of secretary. She is a past chair of the NSF EPSCoR Project Directors Council. From 2013-2018, Dr. Rusch served as the Vice President for Research and Creative Activity at NDSU during which time she oversaw the full spectrum of research administration services and served on the Boards of Directors for the NDSU Research Foundation and the NDSU Research and Technology Park. Dr. Rusch is a former member of the Northern Plains Unmanned Aerial Systems Authority, the North Dakota Economic Development Foundation Board of Directors, and the executive committee of the Council of Research – APLU. Prior to NDSU, Dr. Rusch was a faculty member and administrator at Louisiana State University. She served in numerous leadership positions, including Associate Dean of the College of Engineering and Interim Chair of the Department of Construction Management and Industrial Engineering. Her research group focused on microorganism system design, development, and modeling; wastewater treatment and surface water quality; industrial waste stabilization and reuse; and, engineering education. Rusch has more than 155 refereed articles, patents, technical papers, reports, and published columns. She earned her bachelor's degree in biology and chemistry from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse (1986) and her master's degree (1989) and doctorate (1992) in civil engineering with an emphasis on environmental engineering from Louisiana State University. Kelly is a registered professional engineer in Louisiana, a board-certified environmental engineer, and an ABET program evaluator for environmental engineering.



Carol L. Silva

Carol L. Silva


National Institute for Risk and Resilience


Center for Risk and Crisis Management

Edith Kinney Gaylord Presidential Professor of Political Science

University of Oklahoma

Dr. Silva’s research encompasses the intersection of a set of theoretical and methodological social science issues. Dr. Silva’s primary interest is in social valuation generally, and more specifically the translation of values into public and social choices.

As a scholar and research Center/Institute Director, Dr. Silva’s focus has been on building and coordinating interdisciplinary teams to respond to societal problems for which technical solutions are blocked by social and political hurdles. Dr. Silva’s research focuses on projects that integrate social, physical, and engineering disciplines to find transformative solutions to our most challenging national security, energy, public health, and environmental (weather/climate) problems.

Dr. Silva’s responsibilities have included a range of activities from idea development, team management, data design/collection/analysis, academic publishing, and providing policy advice and planning to stakeholders and government officials. Dr. Silva has published books and articles on public policy analysis, presidential politics, climate and weather, natural disasters, election management, Covid-19 response/adaptations, and environmental policy.

As the founding Director of the Center for Faculty Excellence, Dr. Silva was responsible for building and institutionalizing faculty development capacity at the University level. This included working with University Administration and faculty to build an administrative structure capable of serving all faculty on campus, over-seeing research development and training, supporting and improving teaching, building community engagement opportunities, and leadership development for all faculty.

Dr. Silva received an undergraduate degree in political science from the University of New Mexico in 1989 and a PhD in political science and public policy from the University of Rochester in 1998. Dr. Silva has held faculty positions at Texas A&M University (2001-2007) and the University of Oklahoma (2007-present).


Scott A. Wicker

Scott A. Wicker

Interim Chair

Associate Professor of Chemistry

School of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (SoSTEM)

College of Agriculture, Communities, and Sciences

Kentucky State University

Jefferson Science Fellow

National Academy of Sciences (NAS)

Leadership Fellow

Center for Advancement of STEM Leadership

Dr. Scott A. Wicker is Interim Chair of the School of Sciences, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (SoSTEM) and Associate Professor of Chemistry. He is responsible for advancing the mission of Kentucky State University and broadening faculty and student participation in STEM-related research and career opportunities. Dr. Wicker has more than ten years of Historically Black College and University (HBCUs) Higher Education experience, where he held administrative, post-doctoral research associate, fellowships, faculty and faculty senate positions. During his higher education tenure, he served as PI, Co-PI, or Senior Investigator for multiple funded grants; Chaired, Co-Chaired, or participated as a committee member for several different university and state committees; published various peer-reviewed articles and a book chapter; presented over twenty oral research, posters, panelist, guest speakers at conferences and symposiums; chaired or committee member of numerous undergraduate Honor Theses, Master Thesis, and Doctoral Dissertation; earned numerous awards or honors including Lindau Nobel Laureates Meeting Alumni, the National Academies of Sciences Jefferson Science Fellow, and the National Science Foundation’s Center for Advancement of STEM Leadership Fellow. As a Jefferson Science Fellow, Dr. Wicker gained valuable experience in multilateral engagements, policy dialogues, developing plans of action, congressional reports, and international programmatic activities. A native of Zachary, Louisiana, Dr. Wicker earned honors distinction with his Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife Biology from Grambling State University and a doctorate in Environmental Toxicology from Southern University and A & M College.


Ex Officio Committee Member

Loretta Moore

Loretta Moore

EPSCoR Section Head

Office of Integrative Activities

National Science Foundation

Dr. Loretta A. Moore serves as the Section Head for the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) in the Office of Integrative Activities, Office of the Director at the National Science Foundation (NSF). She is on detail to NSF from Jackson State University (JSU), a Historically Black University, where she is a Professor of Computer Science in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering and Computer Science at Jackson State University (JSU).

Prior to joining NSF, Dr. Moore served as Vice President for Research and Federal Relations at JSU, where she increased the research competitiveness of JSU, and as Associate Vice President for Research and Scholarly Engagement, where she successfully enhanced the careers of JSU faculty members across all disciplines through the Academy for Research and Scholarly Engagement.  Dr. Moore also served as Interim Associate Dean for the College of Science, Engineering and Technology and as Chair of the Department of Computer Science, a position she held for thirteen years. She has also held positions at Auburn University, AT&T Bell Laboratories, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Army Research Laboratory, NASA Kennedy Space Center and NASA Marshall Space Flight Center.

In addition to her research contributions in Artificial Intelligence and Human Computer Interactions, she is recognized for her expertise in addressing issues related to barriers and bias in broadening the participation of underrepresented groups in the scientific enterprise. As a former NSF Principal Investigator at an Historically Black University, her research portfolio included the JSU Advance project, focusing on advancing the careers of female faculty members in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics and Social and Behavioral Science disciplines. Her achievements in leveraging diversity and equity to advance a globally diverse STEM workforce and promoting institutional change for inclusive and equitable STEM environments contributed to her appointment to the congressionally mandated Committee on Equal Opportunities in Science and Engineering.  Her expertise in Computer Science led to her appointment to NSF’s Advisory Committee for Advanced Cyberinfrastructure and an appointment to the U. S. Army Scientific Advisory Board.

Dr. Moore received her B.S. degree in Computer Science from Jackson State University and her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science from Illinois Institute of Technology.