Computer science faculty member receives SCHEV award

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George Mason University’s Amarda Shehu and Leah Adams were among 12 Virginia educators honored by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) as 2022 Outstanding Faculty Award recipients, the council announced Thursday.

Established in 1987, the awards recognize faculty at Virginia institutions of higher learning who exemplify the highest standards of teaching, scholarship, and service. Institutions select the nominees. A panel of peers reviews the applications, and a committee of leaders from the public and private sectors selects the final recipients.  This year, the program received 85 nominations. The 12 recipients were selected from a pool of 25 finalists.

Amarda Shehu is a professor in the Department of Computer Science in the School of Computing. Her research bridges the fields of artificial intelligence, machine learning, engineering, and the life sciences. As one of the founders and co-directors of the Center for Advancing Human-Machine Partnerships, she advances computer science research to promote scientific discoveries in other fields and address real-world problems. 

She is the 2021 recipient of Mason’s Beck Family Presidential Medal for Faculty Excellence in Research and Scholarship, the 2018 University Teaching Excellence Award, and the 2013 OSCAR Undergraduate Mentoring Excellence Award. She is also a recipient of an NSF CAREER Award, as well as various research awards from the National Science Foundation (NSF), state and private funding agencies. She received a bachelor’s degree in computer science and mathematics from Clarkson University, and her master’s and PhD in computer science from Rice University.

 “This is another well-deserved feather in Amarda’s cap, demonstrating once again what a great scholar she is, as well as being a great asset to Mason and Virginia," says David Rosenblum, chair of the Department of Computer Science. 

Leah Adams, assistant professor in the Department of Psychology and in the Women and Gender Studies program in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, was named a Rising Star recipient. The “Rising Star” category was created in 2004 to recognize faculty with more than two complete years of full-time experience, but less than six. Since 2010, two Rising Star recipients have been named each year.  

Previous Outstanding Faculty Award recipients from Mason include 2021 Rising Star Andrew Peterson and 2020 honoree Cynthia Lum. Adams and Shehu bring the number of Mason recipients of the award to 25.

Each recipient of the 2022 Outstanding Faculty Awards will receive a $7,500 gift from Dominion Energy at an in-person ceremony on March 1.