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Beatriz Lorenzo Awarded Lilly Fellowship for Teaching Excellence

Beatriz Lorenzo

Beatriz Lorenzo 

The UMass Amherst Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) selection committee has chosen Assistant Professor Beatriz Lorenzo of the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department as one of eight recipients of the 2022-23 Lilly Fellowship for Teaching Excellence.

Established in 1986,  the Lilly Fellowship for Teaching Excellence enables promising early-career faculty to cultivate teaching skills and leadership in a special yearlong collaboration with CTL on individual projects that typically involve developing or redesigning courses.

Lorenzo plans to use the resources provided by her Lilly Fellowship to redesign her course in ECE597/697AA: Artificial Intelligence-based Wireless Network Design. As she explains, “My plan is to redesign the course and extend it to include quantum-computing technology.”

This is one of the latest topics Lorenzo is working on with her students at the Network Science Lab.

One major factor that will help Lorenzo completely remodel her course is the extensive research she did for her 848-page manuscript, titled Artificial Intelligence and Quantum Computing for Advanced Wireless Networks, which has been accepted by the John Wiley & Sons publishing company and is scheduled to be published this month.

“In that process [of writing the book],” says Lorenzo, “I have developed a lot of new material that can be incorporated into the course.”

Lorenzo explains that she taught this course for first time in the Fall of 2019 as ECE697AA: Advanced Tools for Network Analysis.

“I updated it with about 20 percent new material and opened it to undergraduate students in Fall 2020,” says Lorenzo. “This is one of the eight courses on artificial intelligence (AI) and data engineering offered at ECE, and I received students’ requests from Computer Systems Engineering and the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department.”

Lorenzo says that her far-reaching redesign of ECE597/697AA will include several key innovations.

Among other improvements in her course, as Lorenzo says, she will design supplementary material to fill in the knowledge gaps in AI and computer networks. As she explains, “This will open the way for more ECE undergraduate students and students from other disciplines to attend it. In addition, this material could be used in other AI/data engineering courses.”

Another major reform will be incorporating the latest trends in AI-based wireless networks, which include quantum-computing, learning-based, machine algorithms. “In the future,” says Lorenzo, “I will extend the latter part to be a separate course on quantum-computing-based communications.”

The Lilly Fellowship will provide Lorenzo with many resources for completing this course redesign quickly and effectively.

For example, during her fellowship year as she is redesigning her course, the CTL will enable her to attend regular seminars on pedagogy, complete a teaching portfolio that includes teaching reflections and activities adapted to the course, and work with mentors to anticipate many of the challenges and rewards of faculty life at UMass Amherst. 

In addition, Lilly Fellows each receive $6,000 per summer in compensation for course redesign planning and a $3,750 transfer (via the home department) after successful completion of all academic-year fellowship components.

(April 2022)