2017 Conference Speakers

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Welcoming Remarks

Web -WrightGeorge C. Wright
President, Prairie View A&M University

Dr. George C. Wright has served as president of Prairie View A&M University, the second oldest public institution of higher education in Texas (founded in 1876), since August 15, 2003. A native of Lexington, Kentucky, Wright received his bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Kentucky (UK) in 1972, his master’s degree in history from UK in 1974, and his Ph.D. in history from Duke University in 1977.  In 2004, Dr. Wright was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of Kentucky. 

Dr. Wright’s teaching experiences began in 1977 as an assistant professor of history at the University of Kentucky. In 1980, he started teaching at the University of Texas at Austin, where he eventually became a full professor and the holder of the Mastin Gentry White Professorship of Southern History. For 12 consecutive years at UT, he was voted one of the 10 “Best Faculty” on the annual list of ”10 Best and 10 Worst Faculty” at the University. He received the Jean Holloway Award for Teaching Excellence in the Colleges of Arts and Sciences and the top teaching award at UT—the Lillian and Tom B. Rhodes Centennial Teaching Fellowship—which carried a $10,000 prize. In 1993, Wright joined the faculty at Duke University as vice provost for undergraduate programs, director of the Afro-American Studies, and held the William R. Kenan Jr. Chair in American history. From 1996-2003, Dr. Wright served as executive vice president for academic affairs and provost at the University of Texas at Arlington. Wright has authored three books on race relations. For his scholarly activities, he received the University of Kentucky Libraries “Award for Intellectual Achievement” in 2015.


Web -BanksM. Katherine Banks, Ph.D., P.E.
Vice Chancellor for Engineering, The Texas A&M University System
Dean, Texas A&M University College of Engineering, 
Director, Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station
Harold J. Haynes Dean’s Chair Professor

Dr. Kathy Banks is the vice chancellor for engineering for The Texas A&M University System and dean of the College of Engineering at Texas A&M University. As vice chancellor, Banks oversees coordination and collaboration among the engineering, academic and research programs at seven universities throughout the A&M System, as well as three state agencies: Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES), the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) and the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI). Banks also serves as the director of TEES. As dean of Texas A&M’s College of Engineering she leads one of the largest engineering schools in the country, with more than 18,000 students and 500 faculty members. Dr. Banks leads the 25 by 25 initiative, a transformational education program designed to increase access for qualified students to pursue engineering education at Texas A&M University to an enrollment of 25,000 students by 2025.


Invited Speakers


Web -KimSeungchan Kim, Ph.D.
Chief Scientist and Executive Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Prairie View A&M University

Dr. Seungchan Kim is a chief scientist and executive professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and director of the Center for Computational Systems Biology at Prairie View A&M University. Prior to this appointment, he had been the head of the biocomputing unit and an associate professor in the integrated cancer genomics division of the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen). He was one of the founding faculty members of TGen in 2002.

Dr. Kim is well recognized in the field of bioinformatics and computational systems biology research—both nationally and internationally—with more than 70 peer-reviewed articles with more than 5,000 citations. His research interests include: 1) mathematical modeling of genetic regulatory networks, 2) development of computational methods to analyze multitude of high throughput multi-omics data to identify disease biomarkers, and 3) computational models to diagnose patients or predict patient outcomes, for example, disease subtypes or drug response. His studies have had a large influence on the development of computational tools to study underlying mechanisms for cancer development and better understand the molecular mechanisms behind cancer biology and biological systems.


Web -LawrenceVictor B. Lawrence
Senior Advisor, Cyber Security Center, Prairie View A&M University,
Distinguished Professor at Stevens Institute of Technology
Chairman of Baharicom Development Co.


Dr. Victor Lawrence is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a National Academy of Inventors’ Charter Fellow, IEEE Fellow and AT&T Bell Laboratories Fellow. He was vice president at Bell Laboratories where he spent most of his career.  

Dr. Lawrence has made a significant impact on the global telecommunications industry in the last 30 years. His pioneering work has improved transmission for the modern Internet, made high-speed connections more universally available, and stimulated the growth of the global Internet. His work has advanced data encoding and transmission, modem technology, DSL, silicon chip design, ATM/IP switching and protocols, speech and audio coding, and digital video.  

Dr. Lawrence has many patents, published many papers and co-authored four books. He is an entrepreneur and recipient of many professional awards and honors. He has served on many boards, advised the U.S. Subcommittee on Science and Technology and advised many African governments on information and communications technology.

Born in Ghana, Dr. Lawrence received B.Sc., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the University of London. An advocate of bringing Internet access to the world’s poorest countries, he has spearheaded efforts to lay high-capacity fiber optic cable along the west coast of Africa.

Web -PeiZhijian Pei
Professor, Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Texas A&M University  

Dr. ZJ Pei is a professor in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Texas A&M University and a holder of a TEES Research Professorship. He is an ASME Foundation Swanson Fellow, currently serving as assistant director for research partnerships at the Advanced Manufacturing National Program Office hosted by NIST in Gaithersburg, Maryland. From August 2012 to August 2016, Dr. Pei served as the program director of the Manufacturing Machines and Equipment Program at NSF, and has received the Director’s Award for Excellence. He has served as an associate editor for three journals and an editorial board member for seven journals. His research interest is in additive and subtractive manufacturing processes, and cybermanufacturing systems. He holds three patents and has published more than 140 journal articles and 90 articles in peer-reviewed proceedings. He received his Ph.D. from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is a fellow of ASME and SME.


Web -SmithAnthony C. Smith Sr.
Director, Historically Black Colleges and Universities/Minority Institutions (HBCU/MI) Program, Department of Navy

Anthony Smith is focused on communicating, coordinating, and cultivating relationships of HBCU/MIs within the Department of the Navy’s Naval Research Enterprise. In this capacity, he serves as the senior advisor to the director of research and chief of naval research on matters relating to strengthening the research capabilities of HBCU/MIs and increasing the number of minorities (undergraduate, graduate and faculty) pursuing internships, fellowships, and research related projects with the Department of the Navy. Mr. Smith possesses over 15 years of numerous continually progressive assignments including serving as the science and technology (S&T) director and director of future technology responsible for developing and transitioning numerous small business innovative research and S&T projects totaling more than $100M for PEO LCS, PMS 501. He also served as the science and technology manager/technical director supporting the S&T directorate within PEO SHIPS. Mr. Smith is a captain in the United States Navy Reserves. 


Web -TerryDavid Terry
Executive Director, National Association of State Energy Officials
Executive Director, American State Energy Research and Technology Transfer Institutions

David Terry is the executive director of the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) and has worked with NASEO in a variety of capacities since 1996. Mr. Terry leads NASEO’s programs in support of the nation’s 56 state and territory energy offices. The organization communicates the states’ views on virtually all national energy issues, including electricity policy, energy efficiency market transformation, renewable energy commercialization and deployment, industrial energy efficiency, energy assurance and reliability, building codes and efficiency, and climate oriented energy programs.

Mr. Terry is also the executive director of the Association of State Energy Research Institutions (ASERTTI). ASERTTI is a membership organization that focuses on fostering collaboration among state and private energy research institutions while working closely with NASEO to support states’ energy goals. Mr. Terry has 20 years of experience working on a range of energy issues. Prior to working in the energy area, he was a statistical analyst for a market research firm and a research analyst with the National Academy of Sciences. He received a BA degree from Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio, and he has completed graduate coursework in statistics and marketing at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia. 


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