UH Manoa Engineering Professor Wins National Science Foundation CAREER Award

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Jim Manke, (808) 956-6099
External Affairs & University Relations
Kristen Cabral, (808) 956-5039
Public Information Officer
Posted: Apr 30, 2002

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Assistant Professor Audra Bullock of the Department of Electrical Engineering was recently awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award. Her program, "Improvement and Integration of Laser-based Sensors for Advanced Situational Awareness," will receive $375,000 over the next five years.

With her award, Bullock plans to develop an integrated research, education and outreach program intended to encourage students to pursue graduate degrees while providing them the experience of open-ended collaborative research projects in the areas of lasers and optics. Her research interests include laser spectroscopy, remote sensing, dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM), optical communication, bioelectric phenomena, and biomedical applications of lasers.

According to Bullock, her rationale for including undergraduate students in what is traditionally graduate work is three-fold: "Hands-on research projects give them the opportunity to apply the knowledge learned in their course work, while exposing them to open-ended research problems gives them a feel for what is involved in graduate school and can encourage them to pursue graduate degrees," she explains. "Undergraduate students are typically an untapped resource in academia; given the right opportunity, students are often highly motivated and extremely creative."

Bullock plans to use this team-oriented approach to propose an accelerated Master‘s of Science Option to the College of Engineering at UH Mānoa. This program would allow top performing students to get a master‘s of science with a thesis within one year of their bachelor‘s degree.

"My five-year plan addresses the uniqueness of the University of Hawaiʻi and seeks to increase undergraduate enrollment, student research participation, and diversity within the College of Engineering," Bullock says. "If implemented this program would be the first of its kind in the College of Engineering, and would have a positive impact on the local community."

"High-tech research draws attention from the mainland, as well as Japan, which can play an essential part in helping to balance the tourism-based economy," Bullock says. "Also, engineers with graduate degrees who have a solid education and good practical experience are in high demand in the current job market, an asset highly revered in this tight-knit community."

Bullock received her doctorate of philosophy degree in electrical engineering from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va. She joined the Department of Electrical Engineering at UH Mānoa in August 2000, and serves as academic advisor to the UH chapter of Society of Women Engineers. She is a member of Tau Beta Pi and Eta Kappa Nu, IEEE Laser and Electro-Optical Society, and the International Society of Optical Engineering.

The NSF established the CAREER program in 1995 to help top performing junior faculty in science and engineering to develop their contributions and commitment to research and education. The award is the NSF‘s most prestigious award for junior faculty members. Awards range from $200,000 to $500,000 and are in duration from four to five years.