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College of Science, Engineering and Technology

College of Science, Engineering, and Technology

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NSU Faculty Member Among State Outstanding Faculty Award Recipients

Dr. Frances Williams, associate professor of engineering, is among the recipients of the 2013 Outstanding Faculty Award presented by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia and Dominion Resources.

The Outstanding Faculty Award is the Commonwealth's highest honor for faculty at Virginia's public and private colleges and universities and recognizes superior accomplishments in teaching, research and public service. Dr. Williams is one of 12 recognized statewide. This is the second consecutive year that a Norfolk State University faculty member received the award.

“To be recognized in consecutive years with this honor speaks to the exemplary quality of faculty at NSU,” said President Tony Atwater. “Dr. Williams is an innovator and has been instrumental in leading our efforts in providing researchers throughout the region with a state-of-the-art user friendly cleanroom.” 

Dr. Williams has conducted extensive research in the area of acoustic micro-sensors, micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) devices and processes. In 2010, she was granted a patent that is expected to save the semiconductor industry money. Dr. Williams is interim director of the Center for Materials Research and director of the Micro- and Nano-technology

Center (MiNaC), a $6.5 million state-of-the-art clean-room. She is also the diversity director for the Center for Integrated Access Networks (CIAN) Engineering Research Center (ERC), a multi-university center that is funded by the National Science Foundation. Since coming to Norfolk State in 2004, Dr. Williams has been awarded grants that total more than $12 million. 

She has been recognized for her research and innovation. Dr. Williams was named an Emerging Scholar by Diverse: Issues in Education in January 2012. She was honored by Norfolk State University in 2010 with a Distinguished Faculty Award, receiving the University Award of Excellence—the highest University faculty award at that time. In 2012, Dr. Williams was recognized by the NSU Board of Visitors for her innovation.
She received the B.S. and M.S. degrees in electrical engineering from North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University.

Dr. Williams earned the Ph.D. degree in electrical and computer engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology where she was a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow, Office of Naval Research HBCU Future Engineering Faculty Fellow, Facilitating Academic Careers in Engineering and Science Fellow, and an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Scholar.

Technology Spurs Creative Learning

Dr. Rasha Morsi, associate professor of engineering, has extensive experience in modeling, simulation, visualization and training technologies. She has an amazing aptitude for developing and facilitating learning applications that are meaningful and successful for those who use them. Her work has been recognized by the Norfolk State University Board of Visitors with a resolution honoring her scholarship.

Dr. Morsi is founding director of NSU's Creative Gaming and Simulation (CGS) lab, which is developing a 3-D simulation exclusively for training nurses. This is just one of the cutting-edge learning technologies that she is developing. "We are now in the digital age," said Dr. Morsi. "Our students are more likely to google something than walk into a library or read a book to find it out. This is the reality we live in."

Because of this new reality, Dr. Morsi believes that developing and using computer simulations and other applications to educate and train students in the 21st century become an expected educational process. CGS has engaged in projects for K-16 education. Dr. Morsi points out that more than 1.5 million Apple iPads are being used in schools worldwide and with 200,000 applications available for them, teachers have apps for any subject. CGS is currently working on curriculum-based apps that are expected to make it easier for teachers to adapt these technologies and make better use of them.

For Dr. Morsi, who wanted to be a college teacher since she was 14 years old, it's gratifying to know this technology can reach students. "Teaching to me is a passion. What really fascinates me is that you can almost see the light bulb turning on when a student 'gets' something," she said. "You can see it in his or her eyes. It's a great feeling to be able to have that kind of impact on the future generations!"

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