The Higher Education Resource Services (HERS) organization has named Associate Professor Eleni Christofa of the Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Department at UMass Amherst as one of the 59 emerging leaders in higher education to attend its Leadership Institute this June on the campus of Bridgewater State University in Bridgewater, Massachusetts. HERS defines itself as “a leadership-development and research organization dedicated to creating and sustaining a diverse community of women leaders in higher education through leadership and career-development programs that support various career stages.” See the HERS press release here:

According to HERS, the Leadership Institute is an inclusive program, with a focus on women and people who are gender diverse. It is designed for faculty and staff who generally hold mid- to senior-level positions in higher education and have a desire to emerge as more dynamic leaders for themselves and their institutions.

Christofa has established herself as an “emerging leader” through her many accomplishments in research, teaching, and service. Her research area is in traffic operations and safety with a focus on the development of sustainable management strategies and infrastructure treatment that improve personal mobility, air quality, and safety in urban multimodal transportation systems. She has introduced two new sources to the CEE curriculum, one on transportation sustainability, and one on pedestrian and bicycle transportation.

Christofa has led the campus-wide Sustainability Strategies Working Group as a co-chair during 2021-2022 and served on the UMass President’s Office “Brain Trust” on Sustainability and Climate Resiliency in 2021. She is an active member of multiple committees in CEE, including the Department Personnel Committee and the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee.

Christofa is an inaugural member and the secretary of the newly formed AME70 Transportation Research Board Committee on Transportation and Public Health. She also serves on the Editorial Advisory Board of Transportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies and as a handling editor for the Transportation Research Record.

Among the honors earned by Christofa in recent years are her selection as: a Family Research Scholar by the UMass Center for Research on Families; the winner of the 2019 Barbara H. and Joseph I. Goldstein Outstanding Junior Faculty Award from the College of Engineering; the receiver of a 2017 Student-Centered Teaching & Learning Fellowship from UMass Amherst; and the winner of the 2017 Outstanding Young Member Award from the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

Christofa was also a visiting professor at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne in Switzerland in 2020 where she taught a course on Public Transportation Systems.

Christofa earned her Ph.D. and M.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, and her Diploma in Civil Engineering from the National Technical University of Athens in Greece.

According to HERS, “The Leadership Institute is a transformational leadership-development program for higher education professionals, founded to fill leadership pipelines across the United States with dynamic leaders….Alums of the HERS Leadership Institute emerge better skilled and more confident in leading and providing a much-needed infusion of bold new leadership to their respective institutions. (June 2023)

Article posted in Faculty