Chad Jenkins, associate professor in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, received the 2017 – 2018 Trudy Huebner Service Excellence Award from the College of Engineering. This award recognizes his significant and consequential contributions in service to the academy and his professional communities.
Prof. Jenkins strives to improve the state of diversity in computing and robotics with the goal of realizing equal opportunity for all. For the past three years, he has led students from underrepresented backgrounds to participate in the Tapia Conference for the Celebration of Diversity in Computing. He is an active mentor of undergraduate projects, including hosting a large number of summer interns from diverse backgrounds (including two from the U-M SROP program) and independent study projects. He also formally and informally provides advising, mentorship, and guidance to students from all walks of life. His research group has grown rapidly during his short time at Michigan with students from across our greater global community.
In addition to his mentorship efforts, Prof. Jenkins provides a guiding example of leadership in society for advancing robotics and computing and its accessibility to everyone. The most visible example is the TED talk he gave with Henry Evans, who has quadriplegia and the inability to speak, which has been viewed over 1 million times. This talk inspired many people with disabilities to explore how robotics can help people experience the world in new ways. He has also given numerous keynote talks to audiences of community college educators, churches, and underrepresented minorities in computing.
Prof. Jenkins is a member of two academic units, CSE and Robotics, and exceeds service expectations by participating on multiple committees in both. At the College and University levels, Prof. Jenkins is a member of University of Michigan College of Engineering Dean’s Advisory Committee on Faculty of Color, the University of Michigan Robotics Institute Executive Committee, the University of Michigan CSE Graduate Committee. He has previously served on the University of Michigan Robotics Day Organizing Committee and as chair of the University of Michigan CSE Safety Committee.
Prof. Jenkins also maintains a full slate of professional research-related service activities. He is currently serving as the Editor-in-Chief for the ACM Transactions on Human-Robot Interaction, which covers the convergence of technology development and social understanding to capture the full spectrum of robotics. He is a continual trendsetter in HRI with his subsequent work in cloud robotics, robot perception, and goal-directed manipulation. As an invited speaker, Chad represents U-M at numerous international meetings and peer institutions.
He served as lead organizer for the Conference for African-Americans in the Mathematical Sciences (CAARMS) held at the Rackham Amphitheater in June 2017. He is a member of the steering committee for the CRA Graduate Cohort Symposium for Underrepresented Minorities in Computing.
Prof. Jenkins has been recognized as a Sloan Research Fellow in 2009 and as one of Popular Science’s “Brilliant 10” in 2011. He is a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) for his work in physics-based human tracking from video. His work has also been supported by Young Investigator awards from the Office of Naval Research (ONR) for his research in learning dynamical primitives from human motion, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) for his work in manifold learning and multi-robot coordination, and the National Science Foundation (NSF) for robot learning from multivalued human demonstrations.
Prof. Jenkins received his doctorate in Computer Science at the University of Southern California in 2003. He served on the faculty of Brown University in Computer Science from 2004–2015 and joined the faculty at Michigan in 2015.