Vineetha Menon

Dr. Vineetha Menon is the 2022 IEEE Huntsville Young Professional of the Year.

Michael Mercier / UAH

Dr. Vineetha Menon, assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), a part of the University of Alabama System, has been named by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Huntsville as the 2022 IEEE Huntsville Young Professional of the Year.

“I was ecstatic as well as deeply humbled by this technical recognition from the IEEE Huntsville section and Huntsville community at large,” says Dr. Menon. “This is a huge recognition by the IEEE Huntsville section and Huntsville tech community. It showcases the national technology and STEM initiatives and accomplishments by the Huntsville tech community.”

According to IEEE Huntsville, candidates for the award must have demonstrated excellence in technical professional work or activity that is concerned with broad and beneficial technical, scientific, social or economic consequences. This excellence must be exemplified in their workplace, professional organization in which they are a participant member, and/or volunteer efforts in the community. They must have exhibited an extraordinary dedication, creativity or leadership in work or activity that resulted in excellent contributions to the technical and economic development of the City of Huntsville and the surrounding areas.

Dr. Menon’s selection makes her a candidate for the Huntsville Associations of Technical Societies (HATS) Bill Roark Young Professional of the Year (YPOY) Award, coming on Oct. 6. The Bill Roark Award recognizes a young professional age 35 or under in the Huntsville area who has provided outstanding service to the technical community, provided leadership in his or her technical area, made an impact as a volunteer to the community and is a member of a HATS technical society.

She was nominated by IEEE Huntsville Section Chair Dr. Leandro Barajas and Sonya Dillard from NASA, who is the winner of the 2022 IEEE Huntsville Professional of the Year Award.

“I'm proud to represent the IEEE Huntsville section as the 2022 IEEE Huntsville YPOY awardee and nominee for The Bill Roark YPOY award this year,” says Dr. Menon. “I look forward to continuing my service to the IEEE Huntsville section and the Huntsville community through technical, leadership, mentoring and STEM initiative contributions.”

Dr. Menon’s research interests include:

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) accelerated drug discovery, a collaborative effort with UAH’s Dr. Jerome Baudry, a molecular biophysicist and the Mrs. Pei-Ling Chan Chair in the Department of Biological Sciences. The goal is to leverage AI techniques to expedite the drug discovery process.
  • AI-driven terrain detection and automated decision making in mobile robot systems, a collaboration with the Missouri University of Science and Technology, UAH Department of Computer Science assistant professor Dr. Tathagata Mukherjee and UAH Department of Industrial & Systems Engineering and Engineering Management partners Dr. Bryan Mesmer, associate professor, and Dr. Sampson Gholston, chair. Dr. Menon leads the effort to establish foundations for long term study of the applications of artificial intelligence and machine learning in big data analysis techniques for the navigation of unmanned aerial vehicles such as drones.
  • Explainable AI for assessing the efficacy of AI in human agent teams, U.S. Army collaborative research with Dr. Mesmer; Dr. Gholston; and Dr. Nate Tenhundfeld and Dr. Kristin Weger, assistant professors in the Department of Psychology, that explores the impact of explainable AI in improved human-AI trust in automation tenets such as drones or self-driving cars. The goal is to integrate explainable AI/interpretable ML models that can both describe the AI system behavior and predict the target of interest in a battle environment for a transparent and user-friendly AI/AA system for automated decision-making in Army applications.
  • Big Data Analytics for sentiment analysis to explore team communication dynamics and situational awareness, collaborative research with Dr. Weger, Dr. Mesmer and Dr. Gholston exploring the use of big data analytics and AI for sentiment analysis to derive deeper insights on various levels of situational awareness observed throughout the different simulation scenarios. The research seeks to understand what specific clusters of words or sentiments are associated with various levels of situational awareness, and how team communication frequency dynamics and team performance relate to team situational awareness.

“I would like to thank my nominators, mentors, Computer Science department, College of Science Dean Dr. Rainer Steinwandt, collaborators, colleagues, friends and family, who have supported my pursuit of multidisciplinary big data research and path of service to the professional community,” says Dr. Menon. “Cheers and Go Chargers!”



Dr. Vineetha Menon

Jim Steele