AI Awards 2024

The University of Florida proudly recognizes the extraordinary talents and groundbreaking achievements of its faculty in the realm of artificial intelligence through the AI Faculty Awards. Hosted annually by the Center for Teaching Excellence, these awards celebrate faculty members who exemplify innovation, leadership, and excellence in integrating AI into their academic disciplines. The accolades not only honor individual accomplishments but also underscore the university's commitment to pioneering AI education and research across various fields.

This year, a diverse group of award winners has leveraged AI to enhance teaching methodologies, deepen research insights, and improve practical applications in their respective areas. Each recipient has uniquely contributed to the advancement of their fields, demonstrating the transformative impact of artificial intelligence on both the university and the broader global community.

AI Educator of the Year: Sanethia Thomas, PH.D

Sanethia Thomas

Sanethia Thomas is a master at leading and cheering students simultaneously. Her teaching philosophy provides students with project-based learning experiences using real-world scenarios. She has provided valued assistance with the AI Days Hackathons, UF Career Showcase, and UF's first AI study abroad program in Cape Town, South Africa. Dr. Thomas is an assistant instructional teaching professor in the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering.    

AI Educator of the Year: Diego Alvarado

Diego Alvarado

Diego Alvarado's tireless efforts to make AI knowledge accessible to all students exemplify his passion for inclusive education. He has empowered more than 2,000 students from varied academic disciplines to delve into AI. Mr. Alvarado is an instructional assistant professor in the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering.   

AI Teaching Integration: Kaitlin Alexander

Kaitlin Alexander

Kaitlin Alexander developed a unique drug information/AI activity that she piloted with her APPE (Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences) learners in fall 2023. Students appreciated comparing their responses against AI-generated content, which helps to educate students on information literacy and responsible use of AI. Dr. Alexander is a clinical associate professor in the UF College of Pharmacy.    

AI Across the Curriculum Ambassador: Garrett Beatty

Garrett Beatty

Garrett Beatty has provided extensive leadership and involvement in AI activities across campus, including integrating the use of AI in courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and service on the AI Curriculum and AI Scholars Review committees. He has helped organize AI Days events and the student competitions that are part of this UF weeklong showcase of all things AI at UF. Dr. Beatty is director of academic technology and innovation and instructional associate professor in the College of Health and Human Performance.  

AI Course Award: Ruogu Fang

Ruogu Fang

Ruogo Fang's course, BME4931, Medical Artificial Intelligence, stands out for its innovative curriculum, exceptional teaching methodologies, and significant impact on students from diverse academic backgrounds. Dr. Fang is an associate professor and Pruitt Family Endowed Faculty Fellow in the J. Crayton Pruitt Family Department of Biomedical Engineering   

AI Rising Star: Mickie MacKie

Emma MacKie

Mickie MacKie has been instrumental in enhancing UF's AI education by designing two AI courses: Data Science and Machine Learning Methods in the Geosciences, and Quest 2:AI in a Changing Climate. These courses empower students with practical skills and theoretical knowledge in AI. She also regularly involves undergraduate researchers in her work. Dr. MacKie is an assistant professor in geological sciences in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.