Five Ph.D. students awarded DIS Endowed Graduate Fellowships

Five students in the Information Science Ph.D. program have been awarded Department of Information Science Endowed Graduate Fellowships. 

The Dewey E. Carroll Graduate Fellowship, created in honor of Dewey E. Carroll, Dean and Professor Emeritus of UNT to provide support for graduate and post-graduate study and research in the Department was awarded to Xiaoyu Zhang and Haihua Chen.

The Mark E. Rorvig Endowed Graduate Fellowship, created in honor of the late Dr. Mark E. Rorvig, Associate Professor in the School of Library and Information Sciences and a nationally recognized pioneer in the field of information retrieval was awarded to Manar Alsaid, Sahar Behpour and Fariba Sadeghinaeenifard.

The purpose of both Fellowships is to support outstanding graduate students conducting research and teaching in the Department of Information Science. They are awarded to applicants who have demonstrated potential for outstanding research and teaching in the fields of Information Science, Library Science, and Data Science. Each awardee of the fellowships will receive $4,000. 

We congratulate each of the following students:

Manar Alsaid
     Manar Alsaid


Manar Alsaid has just completed her first year of the IS Ph.D. program. She earned a Master's degree in Information Science from UNT and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Al-Balqa Applied University. Her research interests are big data, data science, internet research, social media research, and digital libraries. Her current research topic is "COVID-19: Mask Misinformation and Social Noise".

“I received the Mark E. Rorvig Endowed Graduate Fellowship from the Department of Information Science at the conclusion of my first Ph.D. year. I was absolutely honored to be awarded this scholarship. It really showed me that hard work will pay off in the long run and always to stay focused,” said Manar.

Sahar Behpour
      Sahar Behpour


Sahar Behpour is an enthusiastic and diligent Ph.D. student with a concentration in Data Science who is also a Teaching Fellow and president of the newly formed UNT Data Science Student Organization. Sahar has a research background in machine learning (deep learning), data mining and advanced statistics. Her goal is to solve data and information-related problems with her acquired knowledge in data science. 
“It is an honor to be selected to receive this award. I sincerely thank everyone, especially Professors Mark Albert, Suliman Hawamdeh, and Junhua Ding who have helped me obtain this important award. Winning this award is a big step towards my future goal of becoming an expert in the field of Data Science,” said Sahar.

Haihua Chen
          Haihua Chen

Haihua Chen is a Ph.D. candidate with a concentration in Data Science. In addition to being a Teaching Fellow, he is also the Lab Manager of the UNT Intelligent Information Access Lab (IIA) and the Vice President of the newly formed UNT Data Science Student Organization. 

His research interests include information retrieval, data quality, academic data mining, applied natural language processing and machine learning. He has co-authored more than 20 peer-reviewed journal and conference articles, including top journals such as Information Sciences and IEEE Transactions on Reliability. He has served on the Program Committee of three peer-reviewed conferences, the Reviewer of three journals and four conferences. Haihua is also a recipient of the Mark E. Rorvig Endowed Graduate Fellowship Award (2019), Outstanding Reviewer of The Electronic Library (2019), The Donald B. and Ana D. Cleveland Medical Informatics Endowed Scholarship (2019 and 2020) and The Howard Griesdorf Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Award (2018).

“I am grateful for the honor! The scholarship is a recognition of my efforts in research and teaching in 2019-2020, and it inspires me to keep pursuing my career goals. As a junior researcher in the field of information science and data science, I will continue to explore challenging information problems and make my contributions to the profession and the world,” said Haihua.

   Fariba Sadeghinaeenifard


Fariba is a third-year Ph.D. student in the data science concentration and stays up to-date with trends, papers, and academia. Her research interests are developing predictive models on large datasets using machine learning algorithms and data mining techniques. She is also fascinated with using Artificial Intelligence to draw meaningful information from different types of data to solve a problem. Fariba has been teaching data science courses to graduate and undergraduate students. 

"I am immensely humbled, honored, and grateful to receive the Mark E. Rorvig Endowed Graduate Fellowship. This has meant so much to me personally and professionally. No doubt I will strive for continuous improvement, because in the end what matters to me is having lived a life of gratitude, passion, purpose, and integrity," said Fariba.

Xiaoyu (Monica) Zhang
 Xiaoyu Monica Zhang

Xiaoyu (Monica) Zhang is an information technology enthusiast who is in her third year as a doctoral student. Her research interests are in the areas of data modeling, information retrieval, data visualization, big data analytics, and health informatics. At the moment, she is working on research projects that include health information-seeking behavior, information organization, health information quality, content analysis, knowledge graph, and usability assessment.

As someone who enjoys practical research and teaching, she is also a Teaching Fellow for Data Modeling. Originally from Shenzhen, China, Monica earned a B.A. in Journalism from UT at Austin, and a Master’s in Information Science from UNT in 2018. 

“I am very grateful and honored to receive the Dewey E. Carroll Graduate Fellowship. This fellowship allows me to progress further in my academic studies and future career. This past year provided a variety of challenges but also opportunities. I would like to thank my doctoral committee members: Dr. Chen, Dr. Cleveland, and Dr. Prybutok for their support and recognition,” said Zhang.


Published December 17, 2020