Dr. Sharlini Sankaran is the executive director of the Research, Engagement, and Capabilities Hub of North Carolina, or REACH NC. REACH NC is a statewide, comprehensive web portal to information on research expertise and capabilities at North Carolina’s universities and research institutions. REACH NC is an award-winning collaborative effort of 19 North Carolina higher education and research institutions representing over 9,000 research experts. In this role, Dr. Sankaran works effectively with a variety of stakeholders including software vendors, university leadership, economic developers, funding agencies, and industry to increase awareness of and collaboration with academic experts while managing the complex technical challenges of the largest known such multi-institutional web portal. She is also a co-PI on a National Science Foundation Big Data grant, Databridge, an e-science collaboration environment tool designed to explore and link large numbers of diverse small datasets into an easily discoverable and reusable network.
Sankaran holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in electrical and computer engineering from Ohio University and a Doctorate in biomedical engineering from UNC-Chapel Hill. She previously served as Assistant Director of the NC Department of Commerce’s Office of Science and Technology. At the Office of Science and Technology, Dr. Sankaran managed the Green Business Fund, a competitive program that awards grants to small businesses to encourage them to commercialize innovative green technologies. She oversaw the disbursement of $10M in federal Recovery Act funding to North Carolina small businesses. For three years, she was also lead organizer of the annual NC Nanotechnology Commercialization Conference, an event that features national-caliber speakers and attracts hundreds of attendees. Earlier in her career, Dr. Sankaran held positions with the Burroughs Wellcome Fund and Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society.
Dr. Sankaran is an active and dedicated volunteer in K-12 and higher Science and Math education. She has been involved in the Durham Women and Math mentoring program, serves as a judge in the annual North Carolina FIRST Robotics tournament, and speaks on career development to graduate students and postdocs in the sciences and engineering. She serves on the Standing Committee for Ag Biotech in North Carolina and the Communications Committee of the University Economic Development Association (UEDA), and is a member of the Women in Bio RTP Chapter.
Hong Yi is a senior visualization researcher and developer at Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI). She received her PhD degree in 2001 from the Department of Computer Science, University of Alabama in Huntsville and had worked at Intergraph Corporation for five years before coming to RENCI in 2006. During her tenure at RENCI, she has designed and developed several visual analytics tools as a result of collaboration with researchers at NC State University and UNC-Chapel Hill. She has also been working on the Research, Engagement, and Capabilities Hub of North Carolina (REACH NC) project since its inception in early 2010, mainly working on data warehousing, management, visualization, and analysis. She has developed NAVEX (Network Analysis and Visualization of Expertise), a visual analysis tool that leverages REACH NC data to help users better understand and use this large and complex collection of research expertise. Recently, she has also developed a web-based visualization tool that leverages REACH NC data and shows the collaboration of faculty in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences Program (BBSP) at UNC-Chapel Hill based on publications or grants in collaboration with the Office of Research Information Systems and Associate Dean for Graduate Education at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Monica Schledorn is the Program Coordinator for the Research, Engagement, and Capabilities Hub of North Carolina (REACH NC). Schledorn is a 2011 graduate of Western Carolina University, where she earned two Bachelor’s degrees: B.A German and B.S. International Business. While a student, she was very active in the university’s International Office. For three summers, she studied German culture and language in Germany. She also spent one semester studying business in Portsmouth, England. After graduation, she went to work at N.C. State, where she worked in Sponsored Programs and Regulatory Compliance (SPARCS). At N.C. State, Schledorn updated the federally funded grants databases.
Monica Schledorn is an active volunteer with the Orange County Literacy Council. She currently teaches English as a Second Language to adult immigrants and refugees at a local elementary school. Schledorn is also in training to be a tutor for home schooled children in Orange County. She will be assisting with outreach efforts along with providing private tutoring sessions. In addition to teaching, she has also been involved with Paws4Ever helping to train and care for the dogs.