Welcome New Faculty and Staff

The Department of Computer Science is pleased to welcome Dr. Hongyang Gao and Dr. Tichakorn (Nok) Wongpiromsarn as assistant professors and Ms. Nicole Shimp as the Alumni, Industry, and K-12 Outreach Coordinator.

Hongyang Gao received his Ph.D. degree from Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, in 2020. His research interests include machine learning, deep learning, and data mining. Before his Ph.D. work, he received his M.S. from Tsinghua University in 2012 and his B.S. from Peking University in 2009.

Tichakorn (Nok) Wongpiromsarn received her B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from Cornell University in 2005 and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in mechanical engineering from California Institute of Technology in 2006 and 2010, respectively. Her research spans several areas of computer science, control, and optimization, including formal methods, motion planning, situational reasoning, hybrid systems, and distributed control systems. Most of her work draws inspiration from practical applications, especially in autonomy, robotics, and transportation. A significant portion of her career has been devoted to the development of autonomous vehicles, both in academia and industry settings. In particular, she was a principal research scientist and led the planning team at nuTonomy (now Hyundai-Aptiv Autonomous Driving Joint Venture), where her work focused on planning, decision making, control, behavior specification, and validation of autonomous vehicles. She also led the Systems Team for Team Caltech in the 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge during her Ph.D.

"After being away from academia for 8 years, the year 2020 marked an important milestone in my professional life where I finally returned "home". It has been quite an adventurous year with all the changes, especially with COVID on top of it," Dr. Wongpiromsarn said "Although my main motivation for coming back to academia was the freedom to pursue scientific research, I found my first experience of teaching an undergrad-level course to be the most rewarding. The topic of course did not exactly match my expertise, so I needed to learn a lot myself to make sure that the students would benefit as much as possible from taking it. I am extremely grateful for the help from many faculty members, especially Adisak Sukul, who taught the course in the previous year and provided all the help I needed to make this possible. Not only that many students found the course practical and useful for their future careers, but diving very deep into this new area also opened up new research opportunities for me."

Nicole Shimp has been with Iowa State University for seven years. While at Iowa State, she worked for the College of Design, the Department of Agronomy, and the Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences.  She received her B.S. in marketing from Iowa State University in 2011.

Please join us in offering them a warm welcome to the department.