Chris Shaffer and Sahar Behpour recognized as DIS 2023 Outstanding Alumni

Outstanding Alumni Award
Chris Shaffer is an open science advocate. He joined the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) as University Librarian, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Academic Information Management, and Adjunct Professor, Department of Medicine, in August 2017. Previously, he was University Librarian and Associate Professor at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) for nine years. Chris is a Distinguished Member of the Academy of Health Information Professionals (AHIP) and has served as President of the Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries (AAHSL) and Board Member of the Medical Library Association (MLA). His other past positions include Assistant Director for Technology and Outreach at the University of Iowa Hardin Library for the Health Sciences, Technology Coordinator for the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, Greater Midwest Region, and Resident Librarian at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He holds a BA in Philosophy from Texas A&M University and an MS in Information Science from the University of North Texas.

Outstanding Early Career Alumni Award
Sahar Behpour is a highly accomplished data scientist with a passion for using data-driven approaches to solve complex problems. She graduated from Razi University in Iran in 2015 with a master’s degree in Physics and began her career in both industries, gaining exposure to various databases and datasets, as well as academia as a teaching fellow in Physics. In 2017, Sahar began her Ph.D. in Physics at the University of North Texas, where she focused on data-driven approaches in statistical physics and complex networks in the Center of Nonlinear Science. However, she found herself interested in crossing borders between disciplines and using one field for another, which led her to pursue the Data Science program in the Information Science department at UNT, working with Dr. Suliman Hawamdeh. Sahar quickly showed great progress in her coursework and research, becoming part of the Biomedical AI lab and working under the supervision of Dr. Ting Xiao and Dr. Mark Albert. She focused on developing method-based machine learning, deep learning, and data analysis systems, with the goal of building and improving robust, efficient, and universal intelligent models and analyses that can be utilized across different domains and datasets. Throughout her Ph.D. journey, Sahar made numerous collaborations across UNT and outside, presenting her research works through 8 conference proceedings and posters, such as ASIS&T, JIKM, ALISE, and ACM-TAPIA, in both computer science and information science fields. She was recognized as an outstanding student at the College of Information and received 12 awards and scholarships, including the prestigious UNT Golden Eagle Award 2021, for her leadership and co-curricular activities. 

Sahar's professional experiences include working as a teaching fellow and receiving an evaluation score of 4.8 for Data Analysis and Knowledge Discovery and Information Retrieval. She has also worked as a Data Science intern in research and development at the Cloud-based Quality Management Software (QMSC) company, where she designed and developed AI and Machine Learning models and platforms. Sahar currently serves as a Data Science Consultant at Deloitte consulting company, where she applies her expertise in Data Science to projects for the National Science Institute of Health.

Collage of IS alumni receiving their awards at a reception.