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Bethel, Hill selected for BCoE Academy of Distinguished Teachers

May 12, 2015

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Two faculty members have earned spots in the Bagley College of Engineering’s Academy of Distinguished Teachers. Cindy Bethel (left) and Priscilla Hill (right) are the newest members of the college’s most prestigious faculty society.

STARKVILLE, Miss. – Two faculty members have earned spots in the Bagley College of Engineering’s Academy of Distinguished Teachers.

Cindy Bethel, an assistant professor of computer science and engineering, and Priscilla Hill, an associate professor of chemical engineering, are the newest members of the college’s most prestigious faculty society.

This year’s inductees were chosen based on nomination letters written by students and colleagues. These letters highlighted each professor’s dedication to her field of study, as well as her passion for students.

As the director of the Social, Therapeutic and Robotic Systems (STaRS) Laboratory, Bethel researches human-robot interaction, particularly in stressful situations. With the help of her first doctoral student, she created the Therabot, a robot used as therapy for individuals experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder. In addition, she has worked with law enforcements agencies to develop robots designed to scout dangerous areas and save human lives.

In the four years that Bethel has worked at Mississippi State University, she has established three research facilities, earned two national teaching awards and been awarded more than $4 million in funding. She was also featured in the IEEE Women in Engineering campaign “I am an Engineer. I Change the World,” which focused on recruiting females to STEM-related fields.

Bethel completed a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellowship at Yale University prior to joining the Mississippi State faculty. She holds bachelor’s and doctoral degrees in computer science and engineering from the University of South Florida, where she earned two competitive NSF Fellowships and the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society Graduate Fellowship.

Before joining the Mississippi State faculty in 2001, Hill worked for universities and companies in Minnesota, Massachusetts, Idaho and Japan. In 2005, she earned an NSF CAREER Award to help fund the development of a new course in particle and crystallization technology.

Hill is an active member of four professional organizations. In the Southeastern section of the American Society for Engineering Education, she serves as chair of the nominating committee. Last year, she served as president of the region and has twice been chair of the chemical engineering division. She has been published in more than 15 journal articles and conference proceedings, and actively presents her work at educational conferences nationwide.

Hill earned a doctoral degree in chemical engineering from the University of Massachusetts. She also earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemical engineering from Clemson University.

The BCoE Academy of Distinguished Teachers was established in 2006 to highlight faculty members who display expertise in their field and dedication to students and education. This society has become an elite group of educators in the college.

For more information about the Bagley College of Engineering, visit www.bagley.msstate.edu.

By: Erin Boozer