WPI Welcomes New Faculty

Contact: WPI Media Relations, 508-831-5616

WORCESTER, Mass. -- Fourteen professors were appointed to full-time, tenure-track positions on the WPI faculty. Four others will join the Air Force/Aerospace Studies and Military Science departments and an additional 14 have been named visiting full- or part-time faculty.

Ravindra Datta has joined the faculty as professor and head of the Chemical Engineering Department. Since 1981, he has been a member of the faculty of the Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. Before that, he received a B. Tech. in chemical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur, India, and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of California. He has now relocated to Worcester, Mass.

Datta's research and teaching interests are in catalysis and reaction engineering. More specifically, he has made substantial contributions in the areas of novel catalyst development, fuels and chemicals from renewable resources, fuel cells, reactor analysis, catalytic micro-kinetics, and transport and reaction in porous media. He has co-authored numerous journal articles on these topics.

Micha Hofri of Worcester, Mass., was appointed professor and head of WPI's Computer Science Department. A native of Israel, he received a B.Sc., an M.Sc., and a D.Sc. from the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, where he was a member of the faculty until 1991. Before coming to WPI he was an adjunct professor of computer science at Rice University in Houston, Texas, and has also taught at Purdue University and the University of Houston. Hofri's research interests include analysis of computational algorithms and policies in operating systems, the structure of database operating policies, use of visualization in analysis of algorithms and computations, performance evaluation, applied probability and simulation and statistical computation. He is the author three books including Analysis of Algorithms: Mathematical Models & Computational Tools (1995, Oxford University Press) and has published numerous articles in refereed journals.

Mark L. Claypool of Worcester, who has been an adjunct assistant professor of computer science at the University since 1997, has been appointed to a tenure track position. Claypool holds a B.A. in mathematics from Colorado College, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. His research interests include distributed systems, multimedia, performance analysis, application quality and collaborative filtering.

Huong Ngo Higgins of Atlanta, Ga., has been appointed assistant professor of management. Her research interests are in analyst forecasting, international accounting and information systems. Higgins received bachelor's degrees in French and English from the University of Ho Chi Minh City in Saigon, Vietnam, and a master's in professional accountancy and a doctorate from Georgia State University.

Germano S. Iannacchione of Waltham, Mass., was named assistant professor of physics. He he earned his B.S. and M.S. in physics at the University of Akron and his Ph.D. in physics at Kent State University. Since 1996 he has been a postdoctoral research associate at MIT and was previously at postdoctoral research fellow at Kent State. His research interests are in thermodynamics, statistical mechanics (with emphasis on critical phenomena), condensed matter and liquid crystals.

Hyunjoong Kim of Madison, Wis., joins the faculty as assistant professor of mathematical sciences. He earned bachelor's and master's degrees in applied statistics at Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea, and a Ph.D. in statistics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research interests are include tree-structured methods for classification, development of tree algorithms, missing value imputation methods and inference and recent techniques in statistical computing and multivariate analysis.

Rajib B. Mallick of Auburn, Ala., was named assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering. Mallick comes to WPI from a post as senior research associate at the National Center for Asphalt Technology in Auburn. He received a B.C.E. from Jadavpur University in India, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in civil engineering from Auburn University. His research and teaching interests focus on transportation/pavement design.

Yiming (Kevin) Rong of Carbondale, Ill., has joined the faculty as associate professor of mechanical engineering. He earned a B.S. in mechanical engineering at Harbin University of Science and Technology in Harbin, China, an M.S. in mechanical engineering at Tsinghua University in Beijing, an M.S. in industrial engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. He research focuses on computer-aided design and manufacturing.

Marcus Sarkis of Boulder, Colo., joins the faculty as assistant professor of mathematical sciences. He received a B.S. in engineering of infrastructure aeronautics from the Instituto Technológico de Aeronáutica in Campos, Brazil, a postgraduate degree in petroleum engineering from the Setor de Ensino da Bahia in Salvador, Brazil, an M.S. in mathematics from the Pontifíficia Universidade Católica in Rio de Janeiro, and a Ph.D. in mathematics from New York University's Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences. Since 1994 he has been a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Ross D. Shonat of Pittsburgh, Pa., will join the faculty on Nov. 1 as assistant professor of biomedical engineering. Shonat holds a B.S. in enginering physics from the University of Illinois and an M.S.E. and Ph.D in bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Arizona and is currently completing a postdoctoral fellowship at Carnegie Mellon University. Shonat's research intereests are in applications of biomedical imaging, NMR spectroscopy and imaging, and transgenics to studies of oxygen and blood flow dynamics in the brain.

Suzanne L. Weekes of College Station, Texas, has been appointed assistant professor of mathematics. She received a B.S. in mathematics from Indiana University, and an M.S. in applied mathematics and a Ph.D. in mathematics and scientific computing from the University of Michigan.

Kathryn A. Wilkins of Amherst, Mass., was named assistant professor of management. She earned a B.B.A., an M.B.A. and a Ph.D. in finance at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Her teaching and research interests are in corporate finance and investments and in asset allocation/portfolio theory, market efficiency and portfolio performance.

Joe Zhu of Amherst, Mass., was appointed assistant professor of management. He received a bachelor of mathematics degree from Huzhou Normal College and a master's in systems engineering and a doctorate in management science from Southeast University, all in China, and a Ph.D. in industrial engineering and operations research from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. His research interests include operations management, management science/operations management, quality management/engineering, industrial engineering, and decision analysis.

Malcolm H. Ray of Iowa City, Iowa, an assistant professor of civil engineering at the University of Iowa, has been appointed associate professor and the White Professor of Civil Engineering effective Jan. 1, 1999. Ray is the first WPI faculty member to hold the new professorship, which is a gift from Leonard H. White '41, chairman and treasurer of R.H. White Construction in Auburn, Mass. Ray's areas of expertise include design and analysis of impact-resistant structures and crashworthiness of transportation vehicles, impact mechanics, nonlinear dynamic finite element analysis, nonlinear dynamics, and full-scale crash testing and structural design.

Ray earned a B.S. in civil engineering at the University of Vermont, an M.S. in civil engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, and a Ph.D. in civil engineering at Vanderbilt University. Before joining the University of Iowa faculty he was an onsite support contractor for the Federal Highway Administration's Design Concepts Research Division in McLean, Va., and president of Momentum Engineering in Chattanooga, Tenn., where he provided roadside safety research and consulting services.

The following individuals will serve the Air Force/Aerospace Studies and Military Science departments:

Capt. Matthew G. Chesney comes to WPI as assistant professor of military science. He received a B.S. in aerospace sciences from the University of Colorado and an M.S. in operations research and systems management from George Mason University. His 10 years of active duty service in the Army Corps of Engineers have included commanding combat engineer soldiers in the 10th Engineer Battalion in Schweinfurt, Germany, and leading a platoon in the Army's only parachute airfield construction company, the 618th Engineer Company of the 82nd Airborne Division. He has been deployed to Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm and recently completed an assignment in the U.S. Army's Concepts Analysis Agency.

Sgt. 1st Class Scott E. Gurnett will serve as a military science instructor.

Capt. Derek C. Morrisette has been appointed assistant professor of aerospace studies. He earned a B.S. in electrical engineering at WPI and an M.S. in aeronautical science at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. For the past four years he has served as an intercontinental ballistic missile launch officer at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana, where he operated, secured and maintained more than 200 ICBMs with a 23,000-square-mile missile complex.

Maj. Richard P. Schreiber III was named assistant professor of military science.

An independent technological university founded in 1865, WPI is renowned for its project-based educational program.