Meet Linda Boyle, Tandon’s incoming Vice Dean of Research
Tandon’s Vice Dean of Research has a daunting list of responsibilities: as the key leader in the dean’s office for research strategy, development, and operations, whoever holds the post is responsible for working collaboratively with a wide range of stakeholders, including faculty, university leaders, department chairs; center directors, staff, and industry partners to advance Tandon’s research initiatives and facilitate the creation of new research centers and initiatives in support of the school’s strategic vision. They must ensure that faculty have the support they need to effectively engage in their research activities and implement policies and practices to support the growth and sustainability of the school’s overall research enterprise.
It’s a tall order, but Linda Ng Boyle is supremely equipped to take it on.
Boyle, who will also hold the title of Professor of Civil and Urban Engineering here at Tandon, takes a holistic approach to her own research, which is aimed at improving automotive safety and reducing injuries and fatalities, with a focus on driving behavior, crash countermeasures, and crash and safety analysis. It’s an area of enormous importance to automobile manufacturers, government regulators, clinicians, and a whole host of others.
“I tackle issues from several perspectives,” she explains, “I’m interested in human behavior — why do people drive as they do and what factors distract them on the road. That leads to questions of how to mitigate the risks of distracted driving — what technologies can be leveraged to alert drivers to possible hazards. This is particularly important as we move forward with autonomous vehicles, where drivers can be lulled into a false sense of safety.” She continues, “There are also medical and regulatory implications to examine — what type of ‘fitness-to-drive’ tests can be applied to teen drivers or those who’ve suffered concussions.”
Because her work is so wide-ranging, Boyle has received funding from the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Transportation, and many large automakers, and she is looking forward to strengthening that network at Tandon. She is also on a mission to increase collaboration between not just departments within the School of Engineering but schools and centers throughout the university, such as the Grossman School of Medicine, Courant, and Center for Data Science. “I may hold a vice dean’s title,” she says, “but, simply put, what I really am is a researcher helping other researchers.”
Before joining Tandon, Boyle — who sits on the Transportation Research Board committees on Vehicle User Characteristics and Statistical and Econometric Methods, and is a member of the National Academies Board of Human-Systems Integration — was Professor and Chair of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University of Washington, with a joint appointment to the college’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Prior to that, she was an Associate Professor at the University of Iowa and a senior researcher at the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Volpe Center. She is a Fellow of the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE) and the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES).
But before all that, the NSF CAREER Award laureate was a student at Brooklyn Tech, making her arrival at Tandon a homecoming of sorts. “When it was time for college, I won a scholarship that stipulated that I remain in New York State, so I chose SUNY Buffalo, in an attempt to gain as much distance and independence from my parents as possible,” she recalls. “Then a job at Boeing took me to Seattle and I remained on the West Coast for graduate school. But now I’m thrilled for this opportunity to return to my old borough.”