Maja Matarić to Serve as Interim Vice President of Research

Message to USC Community

From: Charles F. Zukoski, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

December 20, 2019

On behalf of President Carol L. Folt, I am pleased to announce the appointment of Maja Matarić as Interim Vice President of Research, effective January 1, 2020.

Dr. Matarić is a Distinguished Professor, Chan Soon-Shiong Professor of Computer Science, Neuroscience, and Pediatrics, Vice Dean for Research at the Viterbi School of Engineering, Founding Director of the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Center (RASC), and co-director of the USC Robotics Research Lab. She pioneered the field of socially assistive robots that provide therapies and care through social interaction, especially for special-needs populations. Inspired by the potential for affordable human-centered technologies, she and her students conduct research over a broad interdisciplinary terrain to assist in mitigating societal challenges that require sustained personalized support.

She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the IEEE, and the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI). She is a recipient of many awards including the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics & Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM), the Anita Borg Institute Women of Vision Award for Innovation, the Okawa Foundation Award, and the NSF Career Award. She authored the textbook The Robotics Primer, is an associate editor of three major journals, and has published extensively. She also served as the president of the USC Academic Senate and faculty in 2006-2007.

Dr. Matarić is deeply passionate about conveying the importance and promise of interdisciplinary engineering research and careers in STEM to a diverse audience including K-12 students and teachers, women and other underrepresented groups in engineering, the media, and policymakers. She received her PhD in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence from MIT, MS in Computer Science from MIT, and BS in Computer Science from the University of Kansas.

USC’s research enterprise is one of our foundational strengths. I look forward to working closely with Dr. Matarić over the coming months to continue to aggressively pursue excellence in all our research fields.

The search for our permanent Vice President of Research is ongoing and we will keep you updated as this process moves forward. Please join us in thanking Dr. Matarić for taking on this role.


Cc: Carol L. Folt
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