Administrative Team

Jose Zayas-Castro



Jóse L. Zayas-Castro, Ph.D.
Principal Investigator and Director 
Professor, Department of Industrial and Management Systems Engineering

Dr. Jóse L. Zayas-Castro is professor of Industrial and Management Systems Engineering (IMSE) and former executive associate dean in the College of Engineering at the University of South Florida. He joined USF in 2002 as chair of the Department of IMSE. Prior to joining USF, Dr. Zayas-Castro was professor and graduate coordinator in the Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering at the University of Missouri-Columbia. From 1983 to 1999, he was professor of industrial engineering at the University of Puerto-Rico-Mayagüez. During that time, he also served as department head and associate dean of engineering. Since 2014, Dr. Zayas-Castro has directed the University Center of Exemplary Mentoring (UCEM) sponsored by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Previously, he served asHe served as  principal investigator of the NSF Florida-Georgia Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (FGLSAMP) Bridge to the Doctorate Activity and is co-principal investigator of the USF NSF I-Corps site. Throughout his career, he has mentored more than 50 graduate students. In recognition of his contributions to diversity in global engineering, he has been honored with the USF Diversity Award (faculty) in 2019 and the National Academy of Engineering (NAE)’s Bernard M. Gordon Prize in 2006.  His research focuses on healthcare systems engineering and improving the delivery of care, engineering entrepreneurship and innovation, economic and cost analysis, and improving engineering education.



Randy Larsen

Randy Larsen, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Chemistry, and and Associate Dean for Research and Scholarship
College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Randy Larsen is a professor in the Department of Chemistry and associate dean for research in the College of Arts and Sciences.  He received his BS and then Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of New Mexico.  Dr. Larsen completed postdoctoral studies at the California Institute of Technology (CalTech) prior to his first academic position at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.  Previously, he served as the Chair of the Department of Chemistry at the University of South Florida.  His research interests include the areas of sustainable energy (light porous materials), sustainable human health (molecular basis of disease), and sustainable communities (green chemistry).


Bernard Batson

Bernard Batson  
Associate Dean, Access & Engineering Workforce Development



Mr. Batson serves as the day-to-day administrator for the USF Sloan UCEM. Batson supports Ph.D. national recruitment and retention/professional development initiatives. He also assists Sloan scholars and graduates with fellowship applications, internships at national labs and obtaining employment within government, industry, and academia. Working with other university partners, Batson also facilitates internships, summer research experiences, and graduate school application assistance for URM undergraduates.

For his efforts in fostering inclusive excellence in STEM, he has been recognized with the Florida Education Fund’s William Jones Mentor of the Year Award (2018, 2011, 2009), Mentor on the Map Award from the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (2015), and the Alfred P. Sloan Mentor of the Year Award (2013).


Nancy Diaz-Elsayed 

Nancy Diaz-Elsayed, Ph.D. 
Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering 
UCEM Faculty Lead, Inclusive and Best Practices



Nancy Diaz-Elsayed is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and PI of the Smart and Sustainable Systems Laboratory (S3 Lab) at USF. She was appointed to her present position after serving as a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Dr. Nancy Diaz-Elsayed earned both her M.S. and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from UC Berkeley. Previously, she received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from MIT. Her current research interests include Future Manufacturing; Smart and Sustainable Systems; Data-Driven Modeling.  Since her arrival to USF, Dr. Diaz-Elsayed’s research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Interior, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), U.S. Department of Defense, and Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.  In 2021, she was awarded a Florida Education Fund William R. Jones Most Valuable Mentor Award in recognition of her mentoring efforts supporting minority graduate students.



Jennifer Bosson

Jennifer Bosson, Ph.D. 
Professor and Associate Chair for Research, Department of Psyschology 
Faculty Lead, Social Science Research


Jennifer Bosson is a Professor and Associate Chair in the Department of Psychology at USF. She serves as the PI of the Gender and Interpersonal Dynamics Lab.  Her research addresses questions concerning the self and social functioning.  Dr. Bosson’s ongoing work on identity misclassification investigates the social-cognitive mechanisms that underlie rigid adherence to social role norms. This work demonstrates that behaviors relevant to people’s valued identities (e.g., gender, political orientation) often reflect powerful needs for interpersonal and intrapsychic harmony. In other lines of research. Dr. Bosson’s research has been highlighted by NPR, Newsweek, CBS Morning News, and other media outlets.



Michelle Henderson

Michelle Henderson, Graduate Assistant 
Doctoral Candidate, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering



Daniela Duran Cantarino, Graduate Assistant 
Doctoral student, Department of Industrial and Management Systems Engineering



Jorge Acuna Melo

Jorge Acuña Melo, Ph.D. 
Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Industrial and Management Systems Engineering