An alumnus of the University of Houston's Cullen College of Engineering has been promoted to the position of Distinguished Service Professor of Systems Science and Industrial Engineering, building on the teaching experience he first acquired through the connections he made as a graduate student at UH.
Binghamton announced the promotion on April 13 for professor Daryl Santos, Ph.D. According to the press release, promotion to distinguished professor is the highest faculty rank that SUNY awards, and it is reserved for those who have achieved national or international prominence and an exemplary reputation within their discipline.
Santos serves as Binghamton's Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusiveness. Santos also earned the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2005, and the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities in 2011.
After earning his B.S. from Cornell University, Santos started at UH in 1987, pursuing his Masters in Industrial Engineering. He earned this degree in 1990, and continued at UH through 1993, earning his doctorate in Industrial Engineering as well.
Santos said his first connection with UH was through two pre-college summer programs with PROMES, in 1981 and 1982, while he was attending the High School for Engineering Professions within Booker T. Washington High School in Independence Heights. It was then that he first connected with Dr. Gerhard “Gerry” Paskusz, who established PROMES. Paskusz passed away in 2019.
Those summer programs stuck in his mind though, when he was considering colleges and universities after his undergraduate degree. Once Santos was enrolled at UH, John Hunsucker, Ph.D., was an Industrial Engineering faculty member he looked to for guidance, along with Don Deal, Ph.D. Both have since retired from UH.
“He [Hunsucker] was my MS advisor, and he was my co-advisor with Don Deal for my Ph.D,” Santos said.
“Another professor that I worked with as a grad student, and I reconnected with later, was Dr. Taeyong Yang. He was a visiting professor at UH. After UH, he returned to teach and conduct research at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology. He invited me to guest teach at KAIST, and I did that for seven different visiting terms, two summers and five winters.”
Santos said that several of his graduate school peers were important to his development at various points in the seven years he was at UH.
“Shaukat Brah, Jaymeen Shah, Jeff Contreras, Shivakumar Vaithyanathan and Joel Martinez, these were really great graduate school colleagues for me,” he said. “All were contemporaries with me in the IE graduate programs.”
His time at UH is when Santos said that he learned how to conduct and publish research.
“This occurred by working in Dr. Hunsucker's research group, which was funded by NASA,” he said. “I studied transition management strategies and the pre-flight processing of space shuttle orbiters. I was also supported one year by a grant with Dr. James Ignizio and Dr. Taeyong Yang, to work on resource constrained scheduling problems. I also cut my teeth, so to speak, in teaching, as I was an instructor for INDE 1331, a first year computer programming course for engineering students.”
Santos said he transitioned directly from UH to his employment at Binghamton, in a way. From 1993 to early 1994, he was doing an informal postdoc, as he published the final papers from his dissertation while also conducting workshops and tutoring sessions for PROMES. In May 1994, he started a nine-month postdoc to work with the Integrated Electronics Engineering Center (IEEC) and Dr. Hari Srihari in the Systems Science and Industrial Engineering (SSIE) Department at Binghamton.
“The postdoc was appealing because I wanted to gain experience in electronics manufacturing, and perhaps find my way back to Austin, where that tech is prevalent,” he said. “Partway through my postdoc, there was a retirement and opening for a faculty position in SSIE. I applied and got that position, and have been here since.”