Kent State names scholar of the month


Photo Courtesy at Kent State Ye Zhao was named Kent State Scholar of the Month.

Megan Hermensky

Ye Zhao, associate professor of computer science at Kent State, is no stranger to having his work recognized in the computer science field.

Zhao has recently been awarded Kent State’s Scholar of the Month award. According to KSU’s website, the award “recognizes faculty researchers and scholars whose recent work has had an important impact on their professional fields and has brought exposure to the university.”

When Zhao found out he had won the award, he said it was very exciting for him.

 “It’s an honor, so I appreciate that and I have to work harder for that,” said Zhao. 

Working in the computer science field has been an interest of Zhao’s since he was young.

“I loved to create programs. Especially (to) reproduce reality or analyze data, so I started computer science,” he said. “In my previous years, I worked on 3D computer graphics. It produced beautiful things and animations for graphic(s)…games and movies.”.

The KSU website also stated that Zhao continued his journey with computer science by receiving his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science from Tsinghua University in China, and his doctorate in computer science from Stony Brook University in New York.

According to Zhao, his experiences with research at Stony Brook University were different from the experiences he has had at Kent State.

Stony Brook University has roughly 30 or 40 faculty in their computer science department and bigger labs than those at Kent State. However, Kent State is more convenient to work at for Zhao because he is mostly independent. 

Even though Kent State’s computer science department is smaller, Zhao sees its size as a positive attribute.

“We know each of the students here. We have more interactions among faculty and students,” he said. “Considering research, it’s also good because we can talk in more detail if we want to find somebody in a little bit of (a) different area.” 

On an average day at Kent State, Zhao spends the majority of it writing.

“(I’m usually)…writing papers or writing proposals for grants,” he said. “Of course, I need to read some books and papers and other times talk with my students about research ideas and manage their process in their work.”

After being published in more than 50 referred technical papers, it’s no surprise that Zhao is being recognized. He also has been awarded grants totaling more than $800,000, including a recent $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation for research on a cloud-based visual analytics software system to advance transportation studies, according to Kent State’s website.

For Zhao, being well known in the computer science world and having this recognition is a validation that his work is important.

“I think it’s important for me to conduct research and publish high-level, top-level, papers and also get grants from The National Science Foundation,” Zhao said. “I think that’s a good thing for us, to show that other people think your work is important.” 

As for the future, Zhao hopes to continue to conduct research and teach at Kent State in order to establish more growth at the university for research.

“I hope I can do more to publish papers, and also do more to make this data analysis and realization a good contribution to other people and this university and also in the community,” said Zhao.

Contact Megan Hermensky at [email protected].