President’s Message


Dear friends,

I hope that everyone has been enjoying the early spring and finding time to get outside and enjoy the spring colors. While we have much to report about the activities of the Virginia Academy and its members, we also have some sad news.

On March 10, Dr. William Wulf, passed away. Bill was NAE president from 1996 to 2007, a founder of the Virginia Academy, and the husband of our colleague, Anita Jones, a member of the Virginia Academy Board and, like Bill, a member of National Academy of Engineering.

A pioneering computer architect, Bill participated in the founding of computer science as a distinct discipline. During his years as the president of the NAE, he revived the organization and was a powerful advocate for engineering in public policy as well as for diversity in engineering. All who knew Bill mourn his absence.

This newsletter contains a short appreciation of Bill. It also includes several articles about honors our members have attained for accomplishments over long careers. Drs. Vint Cerf and Robert Kahn received the $3 million VinFuture Grand Prize for being founders of the Internet. This international award is given by the Vinfuture Foundation, an independent, not–for-profit organization established to recognize transformational technological innovations.

In addition, Vint received the 2022 IEEE Medal of Honor for co-creating the Internet architecture and providing sustained leadership in its growth, while Bob received the James Madison Award from Princeton University. This award is given annually to an alumnus for compiling a distinguished career, advancing the cause of graduate education, and achieving a record of outstanding public service.

Dr. Barbara Boyan, the executive director of the Institute for Engineering and Medicine at VCU, was recognized as one of the world’s top women scientists. She is known for her work in cell biology, biomedical engineering, and internal medicine.

In other news, we are pleased to welcome two outstanding individuals to our ranks, thanks to their election to the NAE. Dr. Gregory Washington, president of George Mason University, was honored for advancing technology at the interface of electromagnetics and materials and dedicated leadership and service in engineering education. Dr. Linsey Marr, the Charles P. Lunsford Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech and a speaker at our 2017 summit on Emerging Infections and Preparedness, was cited for advancing fundamental knowledge of transport, removal, and mitigation of airborne pathogenic viruses. Her expertise was particularly sought after during the pandemic.

We are also proud of the support for possibly careers in public service we provide young scientist and engineers at the start of their careers. The Virginia Academy will be hosting its fourth cohort of Commonwealth of Virginia Engineering and Science (COVES) Graduate Policy fellows from May 22 through August 11, 2023. Twenty-two excellent applications were received for the 14 positions available. Seven universities are supporting fellows, and external funding is available from MITRE Corporation and Huntington Ingalls Industries to support fellows from Virginia State University and Norfolk State University.

We are also in the midst of planning for our 2023 Summit, Virginia Smart Communities, in Richmond on October 10, 2023.

This follows our last Summit, which was held in October at the National Academy of Sciences building in Washington, DC. The topic, Securing the Future of Cyberspace, allowed us to bring together numerous outstanding speakers from industry, academia, and government. The summit was particularly relevant in that Virginia has the largest cybersecurity workforce in the nation. It was organized on behalf of the Virginia Academy by the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative. A summit report will be released shortly.

As you can see, the Virginia Academy is flourishing. I hope that you find this newsletter informative and enjoyable. Please feel free to contact me if I can be of any assistance.


James (Jim) H. Aylor
Virginia Academy of Science, Engineering, and Medicine

Save the Date for the 2023 Summit


Join the Virginia Academy of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (VASEM) and the Virginia Innovation Partnership Corporation (VIPC) for the 2023 VASEM Annual Summit!

VASEM will be providing an inside look at VIPC’s Virginia Smart Community initiatives which have been recognized worldwide as being at the forefront of innovation leadership and community engagement.
This Summit will also feature a VIP reception at a very special Richmond location on October 9th and a full day of inspiring innovation and academy presentations, networking and technology engagement on October 10th.

VIP and Featured Speakers will be announced soon!

Space is limited. Register Today!

The Virginia Academy Remembers Dr. William (Bill) Wulf


It was not simply a pioneering computer scientist but a template for what an engaged, committed computer scientist can accomplish. A distinguished researcher and thoughtful teacher, he saw his election to the National Academy to the National Academy of Engineering not as the culmination of a career but as opportunity for principled public service. During his years as NAE president, Bill dedicated himself to elevating the profession and strengthening the organization’s capacity to benefit the nation. He was also a founder of the Virginia Academy, which he felt could play a similar role for the Commonwealth.

A Pioneering Researcher
Bill was there at the foundation of computer science as a distinct academic discipline, and throughout his life was one of its foremost proponents. In 1968, he was among the first to earn a doctorate in computer science and the very first from the University of Virginia. Upon graduation, he joined the Computer Science Department at Carnegie Mellon University, where his research spanned programming systems, computer security and computer architecture among other topics. Bill and his students designed Hydra, the software program used for C.mmp, an early multiple instruction, multiple data multiprocessor system with 16 CPUs. Hydra was written in BLISS, or Bill’s Language for Implementing System Software.

A Revered Teacher
In 1988, Bill and his wife, Anita Jones, joined the faculty at UVA, and Anita became chair of the recently formed department. During his UVA career, he led an NSF-funded effort to revise the undergraduate curriculum, which set the standard for computer science departments across the nation. He possessed an unusually broad view of the potential applications of computer science and cofounded UVA’s institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, certain that information technology would have a transformative effect on these fields.

A First-Generation Entrepreneur
In 1981, long before entrepreneur had become a buzzword, he and Anita left Carnegie Mellon to start Tartan Laboratories and soon attracted venture capital support to pursue his vision of a firm developing optimizing compilers for its clients. These programs translate high-level languages into machine language executable by a computer’s central processing unit (CPU). Bill and Anita eventually sold the profitable company to Texas Instruments in 1996.

A Dedicated Public Servant
Bill was also influential in creating a nationwide computer network to support research. During the late 1980s, he headed the Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) for the National Science Foundation. CISE was responsible for computer science and engineering research as well as for operating the National Supercomputer Centers and NSFNET, which connected the supercomputer centers to regional research and education networks and, ultimately, to campus networks. Bill also played an important role in convincing Congress to allow public access to NSFNET, setting the stage for the modern Internet.

A Powerful Advocate for Engineering and Public Policy
In 1993, Bill was elected to the National Academy of Engineering, serving as its president from 1997 to 2007. While at the academy, Bill started programs to encourage students to enter engineering, established prizes for engineering achievement and encouraged the academy to issue hard-hitting reports that sometimes challenged government positions. In addition, he was a tireless advocate for policy and regulatory reform — in such areas as intellectual property protection, antitrust and export control — that would revitalize America’s ecology of innovation.

A Lasting Legacy
No matter what the challenge, Bill’s approach was even-handed, exacting, and far-sighted. He was widely respected and admired during his life for his generosity of spirit and high purpose, and he will be remembered and revered for these qualifies long into the future. A memorial service is being planned for later in the year. The family has asked that tributes be directed to the National Academy of Engineering or UVA Engineering to support activities that Bill care about deeply and worked to promote, including women in engineering, diversity in engineering, and engineering education.

Bob Kahn and Vint Cerf Share $3 Million VinFuture Grand Prize


The Internet is now such an integral, ubiquitous part of our lives that it is virtually impossible to appreciate the extent that it has transformed virtually every human endeavor. It is precisely because of the speed and magnitude of this change that the Vietnam-based VinFuture Foundation awarded its $3 million Grand Prize to five scientists and engineers whose work made this global network possible. Among them were two Virginia Academy members, Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn. Sir Timothy Berners-Lee, Emmanuel Desurvire, and Sir David Payne were also recognized.



Founded by Vietnam’s first billionaire, Phạm Nhật Vượng, and his wife, Phạm Thu Hương, the VinFuture Foundation is an independent, not-for-profit organization established to promote meaningful change in the everyday lives of millions of people by honoring transformational technological innovations. Each year, it awards a VinFuture Grand Prize for breakthrough research and technological innovations that have improved the quality of human life and created a more equitable and sustainable world for future generations. It also presents annual prizes for female innovators, developing country innovators, and outstanding achievements in emerging fields. Awardees are selected by a Prize Council composed of individuals from academia, research, and industry who are globally renowned for their outstanding achievements in their fields.

Innovation Founded on Collaboration

Cert and Kahn were honored for developing interconnection protocols that specify how data should be broken into packets, addressed, transmitted, routed, and received at their destination, thus ensuring end-to-end communications on the Internet. They formulated the fundamental design principles of internetworking, specified the Transmission Control Protocol and Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) to meet these requirements, prototyped TCP/IP, and coordinated several early TCP/IP implementations.

Kahn became involved in this work during the 1970s, when, as part of the Information Processing Techniques Office (IPTO) at the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), he was responsible for system design of ARPANET, the predecessor of the Internet. He organized the first public demonstration of the ARPANET, successfully connecting dozens of different computers. This was a watershed event that showed that packet switching technology was a reality.

In 1986, Kahn left his post as director of IPTO to found the Corporation for National Research Initiatives (CNRI). In his recent work at CNRI, Dr. Kahn has been developing the concept of a digital object architecture as a basic approach to managing information in digital form. This notion is providing a framework for interoperability of heterogeneous information systems and is being used in many applications such as the Digital Object Identifier (DOI). He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Science.

Cerf conducted research at Stanford on packet network interconnection protocols and, in 1976, joined Kahn at IPTO. While there, he funded various groups to develop TCP/IP, packet radio (PRNET), packet satellite (SATNET) and packet security technologies. As Vice President of Digital Information Services at MCI Communications Corp., he engineered MCI Mail. In 1989, collaborating with Kahn at CNRI, he arranged for MCI Mail to become the first commercial email service to connect to the Internet. Like Kahn, Cerf is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Science. He is currently vice president and chief Internet evangelist for Google and is former president of the Association for Computing Machinery.

Cerf used the awards ceremony to highlight the vital importance of collaboration, with Kahn and other colleagues, in launching the Internet. “The Internet story is 50 years old,” he said, “and it is one of grand collaboration. VinFuture teaches us that collaboration and cooperation bring hope and opportunity to the world.”

Dr. Barbara Boyan Named One of the World's Top Women Scientists

- has ranked Virginia Academy member Barbara Boyan as one of 2022’s top female scientists in the world. Boyan is executive director of the Institute for Engineering and Medicine at VCU and the Alice T. and William H. Goodwin, Jr. Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering.

Boyan was ranked 358th nationally and 579th globally for her work in cell biology, biomedical engineering and internal medicine, and she is committed to encouraging the next generation of scientist and engineers to follow in her footsteps. This determination is reflected in her leadership of VCU’s NSF-sponsored ADVANCE grant, which fosters the careers of diverse women in STEM, as well as of its NIH-sponsored BIRCWH grant, which encourages interdisciplinary research careers in women’s health.

“Appearing on this list reflects the high quality of her work,” said P. Srirama Rao, Ph.D., vice president for research and innovation at VCU. “It is really a proud moment for VCU to know that our women scientists are nationally prominent. It’s also inspirational to the next generation of female scientists that they can achieve excellence and prominence at VCU.”


IEEE To Honor Virginia Academy Member Dr. Vint Cerf


IEEE has announced that it will present its IEEE Medal of Honor to Virginia Academy member Vint Cerf at its annual IEE VIC Summit and Honors Ceremony on May 5, 2023. Cerf is being recognized “for co-creating the Internet architecture and providing sustained leadership in its phenomenal growth in becoming society’s critical infrastructure.” The IEEE Medal of Honor, established in 2017, is the highest IEEE award and is given to an individual who has made an exceptional contribution in the IEEE fields of interest. IEEE is the world’s largest technical professional organization, with over 427,000 members in more than 190 countries.

In 1974, while working as a program manager at the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Information Processing Techniques Office, Cerf collaborated with fellow Virginia Academy member Robert Kahn. Together they designed the Internet Protocol (IP) and Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) that make up the Internet’s core architecture and enable computers to connect and exchange data. IP is a set of rules for routing and addressing packets of data so that they can travel across networks and arrive at their correct destination. TCP provides reliable, ordered, and error-checked delivery of data between applications running on hosts communicating via an IP network.

Having created fundamental procedures that ensure the Internet’s smooth functioning, Cerf shifted his focus to realizing its possibilities. In 1983, he led the development of MCI Mail, the first commercial email service on the Internet. And as vice president of the Corporation for National Research Initiatives, he worked alongside Kahn at the not-for-profit, developing digital libraries, gigabit-speed networks, and mobile software agents for computer networks.

Because of this history, Cerf was quick to appreciate the role that Google could have in the evolution of the Internet. In 2005, just seven years after the company was founded, Cerf joined it as Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist, responsible for identifying new technologies and encouraging policies that support the development of advanced Internet-based products and services.

In the words of one of the industry figures who endorsed his selection for the Medal of Honor, “Cerf’s tireless commitment to the Internet’s evolution, improvement, and oversight and his evangelism throughout its history has made an indelible impact on the world.”

Rober "Bob" Kahn Honored with Princeton's Hames Madison Medal



This year, Virginia Academy member Robert Kahn received the James Madison Medal from the Association of Princeton Graduate Alumni. Named for Princeton’s first graduate alumnus, the Madison Medal was established in 1973. This honor is conferred each year on an alumnus or alumna of the Graduate School who has had a distinguished career, advanced the cause of graduate education, or achieved a record of outstanding public service.

Rodney D. Priestley, dean of the Graduate School, called Kahn (Princeton Grad, ’64) “a revolutionary thinker whose work has ushered in new ways of communicating, connecting us with a common language.” He cited Kahn’s work conceiving and developing the protocol for transmitting data between separate computer networks. “Dr. Kahn’s incredible contributions opened the door for an inconceivable proliferation of technological advances that continue to unfold today,” Priestley said.

Kahn was also responsible for the system design of the Advanced Research Project Agency network and developed the first packet switch network. At DARPA, he initiated the largest computer research program ever undertaken in the United States. He is currently chairman, CEO, and president of the not-for-profit Corporation for National Research Initiatives, which he founded in 1986 to foster information infrastructure research and development.


Lindey MarrDr. Linsey Marr is the Charles P. Lunsford Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech. Her research group studies pollutants in indoor and outdoor air. She is especially interested in emerging or non-traditional aerosols such as microorganisms and engineered nanomaterials and how they are transformed in the environment. Prior to the pandemic, she was one of a small number of scientists who studied viruses in the air. Marr is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, American Association for Aerosol Research, and the International Society of Indoor Air Quality and Climate. She received a B.S. in Engineering Science from Harvard and a Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from UC Berkeley and completed her post-doctoral training in Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences at MIT.

George Mason University President Gregory Washington leads Virginia’s largest and most diverse public university into its second half-century, positioning it for long-term success as a beacon of educational access for all.

Washington launched his Mason presidency in July 2020 with a series of initiatives to create new academic and entrepreneurial pathways for all Virginians. He also opened or broke ground on academic facilities on all three Virginia campuses and established a task force to ensure fairness in university practices and policies.

Mason restructured its research enterprise, with sponsored research expenditures increasing both years. Enrollment has grown to over 39,000. In addition, Mason posted its third-highest fundraising year in 2021-22 despite the ongoing economic challenges from the pandemic.

Washington strengthened Mason’s commitment to access by creating the Mason Virginia Promise (MVP) a path to a Mason degree or help starting a business for any Virginian who aspires to either goal. MVP expands Mason’s national award-winning ADVANCE Program Partnership with Northern Virginia Community College to select community colleges throughout the state.

Washington established the President’s Innovation Advisory Council to bring together industry, local government, K-12 education, and non-governmental organizations to form an innovation ecosystem with Mason as its hub.

Washington also launched the Anti-Racism and Inclusive Excellence (ARIE) Task Force to examine and eradicate any practices and traditions of institutional racism at Mason while positioning the university as a national leader for the advancement of anti-racism, reconciliation, and healing.

Washington is the former engineering dean at Ohio State University and the University of California, Irvine. He earned bachelor’s (1989) and master’s degrees (1991) and his PhD (1994), all in mechanical engineering, at North Carolina State University.

Virginia Academy Hosts Cybersecurity Summit



The more interconnected and extensive our computer networks become, the more vulnerable they are to cyberattack. As far back as the 1980s, there were high-profile attacks on networks maintained by AT&T and Los Alamos National Laboratory, but when the world went online in the 1990s, cybercriminals dramatically stepped up their activities. Since that time threats have only diversified and multiplied. Cybersecurity experts and cybercriminals are now engaged in what is likely to be a forever war.

To provide perspective on the challenges we face, the Virginia Academy teamed up with the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative to host Securing the Future of Cyberspace, our annual summit, at the National Academy of Sciences building in October. Our goal was to take a snapshot of the measures that cybersecurity experts from academe, industry, and government are proposing to secure the future of our networks.

We were honored that one of the founders of the Internet, Virginia Academy member Robert Kahn, agreed to deliver the keynote address, but are no less appreciate of the insights offered by Daniel Bono (CACI International), Kiersten Todt (Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency), Thomas Dingus (Virginia Tech), Charles Clancy (MITRE), and Debra Jordan (Federal Communications Commission). Collectively, they presented a picture of steps that are being implemented, others that need to be implemented, and those that are planned for future iterations of our communications networks.

Equally important, the summit gave us an occasion to spotlight our student researchers, who through their poster presentations shone a light on the variety of specialties required to mount a vigorous, comprehensive cybersecurity defense. It was gratifying to see a new generation energized by the challenges of cybersecurity.

Virginia has the largest cybersecurity workforce in the country and hosts many of the most sophisticated cybersecurity missions in the federal government. Out hope was that this summit would in some way raise awareness of the vigilance and ingenuity required for effective cybersecurity in Virginia and across the nation.

2023 COVES Fellows

VASEM is hosting the fourth cohort of Commonwealth of Virginia Engineering and Science (COVES) Policy Fellows from May 22 – August 11, 2023. With this fellowship, graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in STEM-H fields will serve as science advisors and gain public service and policymaking experience in a variety of potential host offices. Given the success of a hybrid program last year and as we are making our way out of the COVID-19 pandemic, the program will primarily be in-person this year. Some remote opportunities will be available, though it is our hope to have the fellows more engaged with their host offices through in-person work this year. The fellowship will begin with an in-person orientation and science policy boot camp in Richmond, VA on May 22 – 23, 2023, which will feature speakers involved in science policy in Virginia and at the federal and international levels. The program will conclude with a convocation event to allow the fellows to showcase their work on August 30, 2023.

There are seven universities that financially support fellows this year: the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, Virginia Commonwealth University, George Mason University, William & Mary, Old Dominion University, and Christopher Newport University (new this year). With the sponsorship from the participating universities and the generous support of our sponsors, Virginia Innovation Partnership Corporation, Huntington Ingalls Industries, and MITRE Corporation, we are able to host 14 fellows in the 2023 program. The support from our sponsors is used to support graduate students from the HBCUs in Virginia, Virginia State University and Norfolk State University. With the help of the COVES selection committee, 14 fellows were chosen from a competitive pool of 22 applicants. The fellows will begin interviewing with 17 potential host offices at the end of April and will be matched with their host office with whom they will with during the summer in early May.

Congratulations to the 2023 COVES Policy Fellows!
  • Mohammed Alrezq – Industrial and Systems Engineering PhD program, VT
  • Shelita Augustus – Materials Science and Engineering PhD program, NSU
  • Juli Dutta – Cybersecurity MS program, NSU
  • Zhenyi Huang – Statistics PhD program, GM
  • Kaushal Kafle – Computer Science PhD program, W&M
  • Jasmine Lewis – Biological Psychology PhD program, VT
  • Sarah Morton – Health Psychology PhD program, VCU
  • Geovani Muñoz – Counseling Psychology PhD program, VCU
  • Nishat Ara Nipa – Electrical Engineering PhD program, ODU
  • Teri Ramey – Environmental Science MS program, CNU
  • AJ Emmanuel Simon – Computer Science MS program, VSU
  • John Stiles – Climate Science MS program, GM
  • Thanh Nhan Duc Tran – Civil Engineering PhD program, UVA
  • Soroush Zare – Mechanical Engineering PhD program, UVA

Legislative Update

By: Bess Toole
VP Government Relations – State
McGuireWoods Consulting LLC 


The Virginia General Assembly convened in Richmond on January 11th and adjourned February 25th. The House and Senate heard thousands of bills on topics ranging from small modular nuclear reactors to the reinstatement of town charters, and everything in between.

As always with the General Assembly, the budget was a point of contention for all. In the odd years, The Governor and two legislative bodies can offer their amendments to the biennium budget for 2022-2024, in what is traditionally called “the caboose budget.” With a split legislature, the Republican-led House of Delegates and Democratic-led Senate had a lot to negotiate, including raising the standard deduction, teacher pay raises, and keeping a close eye on the rainy-day fund, with continued economic uncertainly looming on a national scale. Despite weeks of debate, a final budget was not yet agreed too. Instead, House Appropriations Chair Barry Knight (R-Virginia Beach), Senate Finance and Appropriations Chair Janet Howell (D-Reston), and other budget conferees put forward a “stopgap” budget on the last day of session, which allowed them to fund some time sensitive issues and on-going projects until a final budget can be agreed to.

The full legislative process won’t truly be complete until later this spring, as we still await actions by Governor Youngkin during this year’s reconvened, or “veto”, session. During this time, he can veto bills or send down amendments to them, which the legislature will vote on. Members will return to Richmond to finish the job on April 12th.

This year, VASEM’s team worked with the Chairman of the Joint Commission on Technology on Science, Del. Cliff Hayes, to try and pass a study. HJ 535 would have studied potential technological approaches to monitoring and resolving extreme differences in life expectancy in Virginia. However, the Studies and Resolutions Subcommittee of the House Committee on Rules voted to pass by the study this year. However – Del. Hayes, as the Chairman of JCOTS, does have the authority to pursue the study with the funds of the commission, and plans to do so. The MWC team, Dr. Phillips, and Dr. Aylor met with Del. Hayes on the last day of session and discussed plans to move the study forward. Del. Hayes is hopeful to have the next meeting of the JCOTS committee meeting in April and will have VASEM get started shortly thereafter.

Looking ahead, Virginia is headed into a busy election year, with every House and Senate seat up for re-election. Each of these races will be in the newly drawn lines approved last year – putting many current members in unchartered territories with primaries of 4-5 candidates for each party. In addition to the new districts, we are seeing many House members running for the Senate, and well as members in both chambers retiring. This includes some of the major players that have been a part of the legislature for years – including The Democratic and Republican leaders of the Senate, Senators Saslaw and Norment. Two important House Chairwomen, Del. Byron(Commerce and Energy) and Del. Robinson(Finance) are also retiring at the end of the year. Regardless of who claims control of each chamber in November, there will be a lot of new faces come January. We’ll be tracking the elections this year and paying close attention to a few target races that could determine the balance of power for the legislature.