Dr. Mary Yang, professor of information science at UA Little Rock, has joined an elite group of state scientists and academics as she was inducted into the Arkansas Research Alliance (ARA) Academy on Aug. 10.
“I am very excited to join the ARA Academy and deeply grateful for this opportunity,” Yang said. “I look forward to collaborating with ARA on research initiatives that benefit Arkansas and contribute to the advancement of knowledge.”
Highlighted by a special welcome and recognition from Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the ARA welcomed Yang and six new members to the ARA Academy of Scholars and Fellows, the largest class in ARA’s 15-year history, during a ceremony in the Governor’s Conference Room in the Arkansas State Capitol Building. The ceremony expanded the membership to 34 research scientists and engineers working across six institutions in Arkansas, which include the five research universities and the state’s largest federal lab.
“This is a very exciting day in our state to have the opportunity to recognize some of the best and brightest in research, not just in Arkansas but in the country,” Gov. Huckabee Sanders said. “We are so excited about what this organization does, and we have the opportunity to highlight these individuals. Not only do each of these individuals contribute a significant amount when it comes to research in the state, but most of them are also professors in the classroom. I know first-hand what a difference a quality, top notch professor can make.”
ARA fellowships recognize scientists and engineers who reside at a university or institution in Arkansas for their ongoing, exemplary contributions to the state’s core research focus areas. Each fellow receives a $75,000 grant to advance their research vision.
“Arkansas’s opportunities in the knowledge economy depend on a talented research workforce,” said Bryan Barnhouse, president and CEO of ARA. “The ARA Academy represents the vanguard of intellectual capital that helps the entire state be more globally competitive. The seven new members added today help our state reach its fullest potential through their creativity, vision, and collaboration.”
Also serving as director of MidSouth Bioinformatics Center at UA Little Rock, Yang received her bachelor’s degree in engineering and physics from Hunan University, followed by a Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering, a Master of Science in Experimental Solid State Physics, and a Ph.D. in Computational Science and Physics from Purdue University. She completed her postdoctoral training in human genomics and bioinformatics at the National Human Genome Research Institute and conducted research as a research fellow at the same institution from 2008 to 2012.
Yang has also worked as a professional engineer in software engineering at Shenzhen Electronic Industry and Trade Co. from 1992 to 1995. She has certifications in NIH Post Doctor Completion, Biostatistics and Bioinformatics Graduate Studies and Research from John Hopkins University. She is a member of several professional organizations, including the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Association for Computing Machinery, Sigma Xi: The Scientific Research Society, and MidSouth Computational Biology and Bioinformatics Society.
She has received numerous awards for her academic and research achievements, including NIH Academic Research Enhancement Awards, the Engineering and Information Technology Faculty Excellence Award in Research, Innovative Research-Education Integration Award from the American Council on Science and Education, Best Research Paper Awards, and Outstanding Tutorial Education Awards from various conferences and societies.
Yang was among a cohort of seven new academics to join the ARA Academy, including John Imig of UAMS, Antino Allen of UAMS, Heather Nachtmann of the University of Arkansas, Igor Pogribny of U.S. FDA National Center for Toxicological Research, Grace Ramena of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, and Jianfeng Xu of Arkansas State University.
***Written by Angelita Faller