Three SEAS alumni elevated to university leadership positions

Collage of three alumni.

From left to right: Katie McConky (PhD '13), Andreas A. Polycarpou (PhD '94) and Hongyi “Michael” Wu (PhD '02)

By Elizabeth Egan 

Published February 2, 2024

Three alumni of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), Andreas A. Polycarpou, Katie McConky, and Hongyi “Michael” Wu, have recently been elevated to leadership positions at universities across the nation, adding to a long list of alumni who currently hold prominent positions at academic institutions.

“These individuals reflect the success of our efforts to develop graduates with strong technical and professional skill sets. ”
Jeffrey Errington, SEAS Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

Polycarpou has been named the inaugural James Sorem Dean of the University of Tulsa’s College of Engineering and Computer Science, McConky has been named head of the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), and Wu has been named head of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at The University of Arizona.

“I am extremely proud of these SEAS alumni and the countless others who have gone on to take leadership positions in both academic institutions and industry,” said Jeffrey Errington, SEAS senior associate dean for academic affairs. “These individuals reflect the success of our efforts to develop graduates with strong technical and professional skill sets. The latter includes leadership, communication, teamwork, emotional intelligence and cultural competence, skills that are often acquired via experiential learning opportunities that occur outside of the classroom."

Andreas A. Polycarpou (PhD ’94)

Prior to joining the University of Tulsa, Polycarpou was the James J. Cain ’51 Chair in Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M University.

After earning his PhD in mechanical and aerospace engineering from the University at Buffalo, Polycarpou became a postdoctoral fellow at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and worked for a high-tech magnetic storage company. From there, he launched into his academic career, teaching and working in leadership positions, including at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and the Khalifa University in the United Arab Emirates.

Polycarpou has authored over 250 journal papers and book chapters, and he co-founded a materials startup in 2010. He has received multiple national and international awards, including the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Mayo D. Hersey Award and the ASME Edwin F. Church Medal. Polycarpou was recently inducted as a senior member into the American Academy of Inventors.

Katie McConky (PhD ‘13)

McConky earned her PhD in industrial engineering at UB and later worked as a research scientist with CUBRC, Inc, a Buffalo-based technology company specializing in research and development in information fusion, chemical and biomedical sciences, and aeronautics.

She joined RIT as an assistant professor of industrial and systems engineering, where she applies deep learning and data analytics to problems as varied as military situational analysis; energy efficiency; and improving the process to match kidney donors, work she is collaborating on with UB partners in the Center for Multisource Information Fusion.

McConky has been awarded multiple patents and received the Kate Gleason College of Engineering Exemplary Performance in Teaching Award in 2015 and 2016. 

Hongyi “Michael” Wu (PhD ‘02)

Prior to joining The University of Arizona, Wu was the Batten Chair of Cybersecurity and director of the School of Cybersecurity at Old Dominion University, as well as a professor at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

He received a master’s degree in electrical engineering and PhD in computer science and engineering at UB. Wu’s current research focuses on security and privacy in intelligent computing and communication systems. He has served as a principal investigator or co-principal investigator for over 50 projects with more than $24 million in funding.

Wu has published over 160 technical articles in journals and conferences and is a fellow of the Institute for Electrical Engineers (IEEE), for whom he has chaired several conferences and sat on the editorial board of multiple publications. 

Additional SEAS alumni in academic leadership include:

  • Maryam Alavi (BA ’92, computer science) served as dean of Georgia Institute of Technolgy’s Scheller College of Business before stepping down in 2023.
  • David Ford (BS ‘91, chemical and biological engineering) serves as dean of Central Michigan University’s College of Science and Engineering.
  • Anand Gramopadhye (PhD, ‘92, MS ’89, industrial systems and engineering) serves as dean of Clemson University’s College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences.
  • Robert E. Johnson (BS ’73, engineering science) served as dean of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s William States Lee College of Engineering before stepping down in 2020.
  • George Karystinos (PhD ’03, electrical engineering) serves as dean of the Technical University of Crete’s School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
  • Donald Leo (PhD ’95, MS ’92, mechanical and aerospace engineering) serves as dean of the University of Georgia’s College of Engineering.
  • Jacqueline Mozrall (PhD ’94, industrial and systems engineering) serves as dean of RIT’s Saunders College of Business. 
  • Kevin Parker (BS ’76, engineering science) is dean emeritus of the University of Rochester’s Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
  • Joseph Slater (PhD ’93, MS ’92, BS ’89) serves as dean of Tennessee Tech University’s College of Engineering.