The College of Computing & Informatics (CCI) congratulates faculty member Jeffrey L. Popyack, PhD on his recent promotion to full professor by Drexel University’s Board of Trustees. Popyack was among eight Drexel faculty members to be promoted to full professor effective September 1, 2014.
Popyack, who has been primarily responsible for the freshman computer science curriculum and artificial intelligence track courses at Drexel, served for 11 years (2002-2012) as the associate head for undergraduate affairs in the Department of Computer Science, formerly in the College of Engineering.
Popyack’s research interests are in operations research, artificial intelligence and computer science education. He has served as principal investigator on four National Science Foundation education grants and has received a grant from Microsoft.
In August 2013, Popyack and CCI associate teaching professor William Mongan received a $10,000 grant from IBM’s 2013 Big Data and Analytics Faculty Awards program to develop the computer science undergraduate curriculum and enhance a summer research institute through the use of IBM software, tools and professional collaboration. The grant enabled Popyack and Mongan to actively develop Drexel’s undergraduate computer systems and artificial intelligence courses, impacting all computer science majors.
Since 2013, Popyack has served as principal investigator for the REThink CS @ Drexel (Research Experiences for Teachers for Big Data, Machine Learning and CS Principles) program, a summer research institute in computer science for STEM high school teachers and two-year college faculty in the City of Philadelphia and Greater Philadelphia Metropolitan Area. The goal of the institute is to educate the teachers on how to incorporate these concepts, as well as computer science principles, into high school and community college curricula, which benefits the students by increasing awareness and enjoyment of STEM disciplines for future educational pursuits.
“It has been inspiring to move out of the front office and be able to devote proper attention to these educational outreach activities. There is a severe shortage of computer science instruction at the secondary levels throughout the U.S., including right here in Philadelphia, and yet the demand is booming again,” Popyack said. “Being able to work with teachers, administrators and students at those levels has been refreshing and rewarding.”
He has also contributed as faculty advisor to various student groups and chapters such as DUCSTeach (2012-present), Drexel University Women in Computing Society (2006-2008), and the MCS Society (1999-2012). Since 1989, he has served as chapter advisor of Upsilon Pi Epsilon Student Chapter, the international honor society for the computing and information disciplines. His service has extended beyond the University through his mentorship of outreach programs such as the Robot Springboard Technology Camp @ Drexel, a week-long robotics camp held at Drexel University for middle school girls from West Philadelphia. He has served five terms as a member of the Executive Council for the Upsilon Pi Epsilon international organization.
From 2009-2012, he served as academic director of the Drexel University Computing Academy, a five-week, residential, summer computing program at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA that promotes interest in information technology, computer science, business and digital arts and media. He is also a columnist for the Association for Computing Machinery’s (ACM) publication, ACM Inroads.
In 1999, he was awarded Drexel’s Undergraduate Teaching Award for Senior Faculty, and in 2007 he received the College of Engineering Outstanding Service Award. Popyack received his PhD and MS degrees in applied mathematics from the University of Virginia and BS in mathematics from George Mason University.