2016 STEM WOMAN OF THE YEAR
Dr. Sylvia W. Thomas is an Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of South Florida. Since joining USF in 2005, Dr. Thomas has been a mentor in various research and teaching settings as Assistant Dean in Engineering and faculty in Electrical Engineering (EE). As a mentor to USF graduate students, she has personally impacted and will impact 45 scholars working towards masters and doctoral degrees, and was selected as the USF 2015 Graduate Mentor of the Year.
Dr. Thomas has authored a book chapter, entitled “Mentoring Women STEM Faculty” in Alliances for advancing academic women: Guidelines for collaborating in STEM fields, served as a co-PI for a NSF sponsored ADVANCE PAID Project, to foster best practices in mentoring amongst women in STEM departments.
Dr. Thomas’s efforts in student recruitment and retention at USF have spanned over 10 years. She has supported USF national recruitment of underrepresented students through direct participation at professional meetings such as the Black Engineer of the Year (BEYA) and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), and as project director/co-director of three NSF REU site awards. Recently, she serves as faculty advisor for the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) USF Student Chapter.
Beyond the university, Dr. Thomas reaches out to the community through the Great American Teach In, hosting research tours for middle and high school teachers and students, and constantly engaging students in STEM conversations.
Throughout her career, Dr. Thomas emphasizes the positive and tells students that they have the potential to be successful. She is an individual who positively and selflessly influences the lives of students, especially young women within the Tampa Bay community.
Dr. Thomas is the true embodiment of “STEM Woman of the Year”. She is a champion every young person would love to have on his or her team!