Three UCSC faculty named 2022 AAAS fellows

Portrait of Jean Fox Tree.
Professor of Psychology Jean Fox Tree.
Distinguished Professor of Computer Science and Engineering Lise Getoor.
Dean of the Baskin School of Engineering and Distinguished Professor of Computer Science and Engineering Alexander Wolf.
Three UC Santa Cruz professors received the distinction of 2022 fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the association announced today.

Professor of Psychology Jean Fox Tree, Distinguished Professor of Computer Science and Engineering Lise Getoor, and Dean of the Baskin School of Engineering (BE) and Distinguished Professor of Computer Science and Engineering Alexander Wolf were recognized with this prestigious honor. The AAAS is the world’s largest general scientific society and is the publisher of the Science family of journals.

Fox Tree was recognized “for distinguished contributions to the study of spontaneous human communication and the development of research tools with applications to industry and implications for basic science.” 

Fox Tree is an expert in the field of psycholinguistics, studying how people communicate effectively when they are planning what to say and write spontaneously. When people communicate, they produce speech disfluencies and corrections, say things sarcastically, monopolize conversations or balance their turns. And they do this no matter how they communicate – via text, phone, video chat, or telepresence robots. Much of Fox Tree’s work involves signals beyond conventional words, such as discourse markers (words such as “you know” and “like”), fillers (“um” and “uh”), backchannels (“uh huh”), and prosodic information (the melodic pattern of an utterance). 

Her theoretical and empirical work demonstrates that these phenomena are not only worthy of notice, they are of vital importance to successful communication in everyday conversation. Fox Tree’s work is highly relevant for many industry applications, such as the natural language tools used to improve the effectiveness of voice assistant software. 

Getoor was recognized “for distinguished contributions to machine learning, particularly for approaches that integrate structure and uncertainty.” 

Getoor holds the Jack Baskin Endowed Chair in Computer Engineering. Her research is in the areas of  machine learning, artificial intelligence, and probabilistic reasoning – making decisions in situations of uncertainty. She works with graph-structured, semi-unstructured and unstructured data sets to create and employ statistical models. Her research mixes tools from different areas of computer science to deal with the challenges of incompleteness, uncertainty, and bias in data. 

Getoor is also an advocate for ethics and responsible data science, addressing both the technical and societal implications of emerging data science technology. This work tackles issues of privacy and bias in new and powerful algorithmic tools. She is considered a leader in this field and has convened groups and given multiple keynote talks at various conferences on the subject. 

Wolf was recognized by AAAS “for research in distributed system software engineering, and for service to the professional computing community.” 

Wolf is interested in distributed systems, networking, and software engineering, and has done pioneering work in software architecture, business analytics, and information-centric networks. He was formerly the president of the Association for Computing Machinery, the world's largest educational and scientific computing society, and is still actively involved in the organization.

Wolf has held the position of dean of the Baskin School of Engineering since 2016 and in that time has overseen major increases in research funding to the school. The size of the school has also increased during his tenure, with about 50 percent growth in faculty size and a major increase in student demand for engineering programs. With his priorities of student success and building toward an antiracist school of engineering, he has pioneered several student support programs and created an Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion position.   

Election as a AAAS Fellow is awarded to AAAS members by their peers in the association, and is considered among the most distinct honors within the scientific community. Wolf, Getoor, and Fox Tree join the 506 total scientists, engineers, and innovators who have been elected 2022

“AAAS is excited to announce the newest class of fellows from across the scientific enterprise in a tradition dating back nearly 150 years and to honor their broad range of achievements,” said Sudip Parikh, AAAS chief executive officer.

Visit this page to view the full list of UCSC AAAS fellows.