Project Staff

Melissa Dagley - Program Director

Executive Director – Initiatives in STEM (iSTEM)
Melissa Dagley is the Executive Director of iSTEM, a collaborative effort between the Colleges of Education, Engineering and Computer Science, and Sciences, established to promote and enhance UCF efforts on STEM education and educational research. Previously the director of Academic Affairs for the College of Engineering and Computer Science, she advised both undergraduate and graduate students within the college. Dr. Dagley serves as Director of the EXCEL, GEMS, WISE, and COMPASS programs at UCF. Her research interests lie in the areas of sense of community, learning communities, student access to education, retention, and persistence to graduation for students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics programs. Please contact Dr. Dagley by e-mailing her at

Michael Georgiopoulos

Dean – College of Engineering and Computer Science/Professor – Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Michael Georgiopoulos research interests lie in the areas of machine learning, neural networks, pattern recognition and applications in signal/image processing, communications, medical field, manufacturing, transportation engineering, amongst others. Please contact Dr. Georgiopoulos by e-mailing him at

Cynthia Young

Vice Provost Faculty Excellence and International Affairs and Global Strategies/Professor – Department of Mathematics
Cynthia Young is a Professor in the Department of Mathematics in the College of Sciences. Dr. Young's research interests are in the mathematical modeling of atmospheric effects on laser beams and on improving student learning in undergraduate mathematics courses. She currently has projects with the Naval Research Laboratory investigating atmospheric propagation in the marine environment and the National Science Foundation on improving retention in STEM majors. Please contact Dr. Young by emailing her at

Sarah Gisewhite

Sarah Gisewhite is the Lead Mentor for the GEMS program. As the Lead Mentor, Sarah assists Dr. Dagley in the operations of the GEMS program, such as biweekly meetings with the mentors, planning Networking events with industry professionals, and planning social and engaging activities for the GEMS and EXCEL programs. Sarah is a senior in Biomedical Sciences with an interest in immunology, infectious disease, and epidemiology. She is a participant in undergraduate research with Dr. Liu in Health Management and Informatics and is a TA for the Immunology lab.