Edwin L. Aguirre
Computer science Assoc. Prof. Haim Levkowitz has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship by the U.S. Government for the academic year 2012–13.
The Fulbright Scholar Program
— established in 1946 under a legislation introduced by then-Sen. J. William Fulbright of Arkansas — is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. It was designed to “increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.”
“It feels great to be selected,” says Levkowitz, who is co-director of UMass Lowell’s Institute for Visualization and Perception Research and director of the Human-Information Interaction research group.
“It feels even more so because this is the second time I am receiving a Fulbright award and for the same country — Brazil. I was a Fulbright scholar to the country from August 2004 to January 2005,” he says.
To date, the program has provided nearly 310,000 “Fulbrighters,” chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential, with the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research overseas as well as exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.
“It is much harder to get a Fulbright award to go again to a country where you have already been a Fulbright scholar since the program’s mission is to get people to know new places and people,” he says. “However, when there is a compelling proposal and the Brazilian Fulbright Commission is interested in someone’s return, then they make those rare repeat awards, as in my case.”
Levkowitz will spend the entire academic year in Brazil as a visiting professor at the University of São Paulo in São Carlos.
“This university is a world-renowned institution, among the top 10 producers of Ph.D. graduates in the world,” he notes.
He says the Fulbright grant will support the first four months of his stay; Brazilian funding sources will take care of the rest.
Levkowitz plans to teach one graduate course in computer science, work with undergraduate and graduate students, including six Brazilian doctoral students (in addition to his eight Ph.D. students at UMass Lowell), and conduct research with his Brazilian colleagues.
“My research will intersect visual analytics of large amounts of data with new models of mobile and cloud-computing and crowd-sourcing data to better predict phenomena such as disease epidemics,” he explains.
In addition to participating in other institution-wide programs and conferences in the country, Levkowitz will assist the local Fulbright Commission and Brazilian state and federal funding agencies on academic issues.
“These agencies are comparable to the U.S. National Science Foundation,” he says. “During my previous award, I assisted them in interviewing and selecting candidates for doctoral studies in the United States under joint sponsorship.”
Levkowitz, who joined the UMass Lowell faculty in 1989, obtained his bachelor’s degree from the University of Haifa in Israel and his master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Pennsylvania.