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Faculty of the Year

Fellow, Capstone Supervisor, and Instructor of the Year

Fellow of the Year Heading link

2024 Fellow Marai


Dr. Georgeta-Elisabeta Marai

Professor, Department of Computer Science

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Honors Faculty Fellows are individually assigned to provide personalized advising and mentoring to students. Each year, Honors College students nominate Fellows to be honored as “Fellow of the Year” for excellence in mentoring.

We are pleased to award the 2023-2024 title to Dr. Georgeta-Elisabeta Marai, Professor, Department of Computer Science in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Dr. Marai has served as a Faculty Fellow for eight years. Her research interests go from visual-system related problems that can be robustly solved through automation, to problems that require human experts in the computational loop, and the principles behind this work.  Dr. Marai’s research has been recognized by multiple prestigious awards, including: a Test of Time award and Outstanding Paper awards, along with her students; an NSF CAREER Award and multiple NSF awards; and several multi-site NIH R01 awards as a lead investigator. She has co-authored scientific open-source software adopted from Ghana to Canada, and she is an inventor, whose ideas have been embedded in a medical instrument.

In nominating Dr. Marai, Honors student Farah Kamleh, wrote,  “It is evident that my experience at UIC would not have been what it is without Dr. Marai. Outside of my coursework, I became involved in three research projects, one of which was my Capstone for my final undergraduate year. With her guidance, I am continuing to conduct research with a potential publication in sight. What I am especially appreciative of is her patience and understanding. She repeatedly states that mental health is a priority, and it has proven more than just a statement. I am indebted to Dr. Marai and hope that, although not a fraction of what she has done for me, I can return the favor with this nomination.”

Former Fellow of the Year

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2024 Capstone Supervisor of the Year Naba


Dr. Alexandra Naba

Associate Professor, the Department of Physiology and Biophysics

College of Medicine

The Capstone Supervisor of the Year award is given annually to a faculty member for their outstanding mentorship of Honors College students’ Senior Honors Capstone projects. This year’s Capstone Supervisor of the Year is Dr. Alexandra Naba, Associate Professor in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics, College of Medicine.   She is also an affiliate member of the Richard & Loan Hill Department of Bioengineering, a member of the University of Illinois Cancer Center, and a Faculty Fellow of the Honors College since 2017.

A Parisian native, Dr. Naba received her Ph.D. from the Curie Institute in Paris, France where she studied the role of the membrane-cytoskeleton linker, ezrin, in normal and tumor cell adhesion in the laboratory of Pr. Daniel Louvard under the supervision of Dr. Monique Arpin.

Dr. Naba’s research focuses on developing innovative proteomic and bioinformatic approaches to study the roles of the extracellular matrix in tumor progression and metastasis, and in 2016, she established the Naba Lab for ECM Research in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at UIC where her team continues to study the roles of the ECM in development, health, and disease, with a focus on cancer.

Dr. Naba has received numerous invitations to speak at national and international conferences and prestigious awards including the 2012 JBC/Herb Tabor young investigator award, the 2018 the Junior Investigator award from the American Society for Matrix Biology (ASMB), and the 2018 Rupert Timpl award from the International Society for Matrix Biology (ISMB). She is also the recipient of the 2018 UIC College of Medicine Rising Star award. In 2020, Alexandra received the Philip L. Hawley distinguished faculty award, presented by the students of the Department of Physiology and Biophysics to faculty embodying “supportiveness, enthusiasm, and sincerity”.

In nominating Dr. Naba as Capstone Supervisor of the Year, Honors Student Nandini Kapoor wrote: “As a young trainee, Dr. Naba encouraged me to fearlessly ask questions, so I could learn more about the research of the lab.  While working at her lab, I have also had the opportunity to give an oral presentation at an international conference and apply for research grants. I have the utmost gratitude to Dr. Naba for the opportunities she has provided me with. I respect her as a leader in her field, someone who is innovative and has a fantastic work ethic. But, equally as important, she is a wonderful mentor who is extremely dedicated and understanding.”

Former Capstone Supervisor of the Year

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2024 Instructor of the Year Kozlowska-Barrios


Dr. Anna Kozlowska-Barrios

Assistant Professor and Liaison Librarian

University Library

The Instructor of the Year award is given annually to one of the many faculty members who teach our first-year Honors Core courses as well as our Honors Seminars for upperclassmen.  This year’s Instructor of the Year is Anna Kozlowska-Barrios, Assistant Professor and Liaison Librarian, in the University Library.

Anna Kozlowska-Barrios, Ph.D., MLIS, MA, has published articles and presented on media and information literacy and is active on many national and international committees. She is the Representative for North America and Europe for the International Steering Committee of the UNESCO MIL Alliance. Her research focuses on participatory politics and media and information literacy (MIL) education for college students with an immigrant background.

Dr. Kozlowska-Barrios is an Honors College Fellow and has developed and taught several core courses for the Honors College relating to her research, including HON 122 Social Media and Youth Activism from a Global Perspective and HON 122 Media and Information Literacy in a Global Context.  In nominating Dr. Kozlowska-Barrios, Nathan Thokkudubiyyapu wrote about taking her Honors course,

“Professor Kozlowska is known for her engaging and inclusive teaching style. She fosters a classroom environment where students from diverse backgrounds feel respected and valued.  Additionally, Anna Kozlowska’s teaching approach is characterized by creativity and relevance. She incorporates diverse media into her curriculum, providing students with a rich and immersive learning experience.   Anna Kozlowska embodies the qualities of an outstanding educator: she is dedicated, inclusive, innovative, and inspirational. Her impact on students extends far beyond the classroom, fostering a love of learning and a sense of belonging among those she teaches.”

Former Instructor of the Year