August 5, 2015
UTRC employee to expand frontiers through big data fellowship in Washington, D.C.

EAST HARTFORD, Connecticut -- UTRC employee Joseph Bonivel, senior research engineer, Measurement Science, will embark on an exciting new path in his career this September as he begins his American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellowship with the Office of Science & Technology (OSTP) for the White House.

Bonivel will have the opportunity to spend a year investigating big data and analytics as a program manager, working alongside other Ph.D.s from MIT, Harvard, University of Michigan and Stanford in the Global Innovation Lab. Bonivel will also work with DJ Patil, the first ever U.S. chief data scientist, and former OSTP AAAS fellow.

“It’s an exciting time for me to jump in and learn more about this area of expertise,” he said. “Everyone is starting to use big data to analyze trends, detect problems and make sense of all the terabytes and petabytes of information flooding society. This opportunity will keep me on the cutting edge of analyzing data for UTRC and our customers.”

Since joining UTRC four years ago, Bonivel has worked as a senior research engineer on diverse projects for the Measurement Science group -- many concurrently.

“I love my job because of the dynamism. Today, for example, I could be working on a project for Pratt & Whitney in the morning, BIS around lunchtime and Sikorsky in the late afternoon. At UTRC, you’ll never experience the monotony of working on the same project every day without variety,” Bonivel said.

Variety will certainly mark the cornerstone of Bonivel’s upcoming time with AAAS. The program, which lasts one to two years, will send Bonivel around the world to study international use of big data and analytics to benchmark best practices and incorporate them in the United States and other nations.

Since 1973, the AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowship has provided promising leaders in Science and Mathematics the experience they need to transition into program leaders and experts in policy. By working closely with governmental organizations like the Department of Defense, National Science Foundation, Department of Energy and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, fellows gain invaluable experience outside of their everyday careers.

Today, nearly 2,300 alumni have completed the program and gone on to lead successful careers in government, education, private enterprise and non-governmental organizations. Nearly 4,000 applicants vie for a spot in the program each year; this year, only 175 were selected and, of those, only 13 are supporting big data and analytics.

“I was prompted by my Ph.D. advisor from Carnegie Mellon to apply for AAAS and I’m so grateful he counseled me to do so,” said Bonivel. “I think it’s coming at the right time…you spend the first two to three years of your career figuring out where you are; the next three to five you are figuring out where you’re going. Thanks to this program, I’m going to big data, and when I return, I’ll bring my newly gained expertise in big data back to UTRC with me.”

As UTC moves toward using more big data and analytics, Bonivel aims to use the knowledge gained from his fellowship to rework the way UTRC uses data. Mining data from Pratt & Whitney engines, Otis elevators and other UTC sensor-equipped technology will help UTRC identify and solve problems quickly and precisely for its customers.


Bonivel holds a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of South Florida, completing his doctoral research in the particle flow tribology laboratory at Carnegie Mellon University. Bonivel was supported in his doctorate work by the National Science Foundation GK-12 STARS fellowship, Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) fellowship, and Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Minority Ph.D. program.

Previous to his doctoral degree he earned a master of science degree in materials science at Carnegie Mellon University, and a master of science and bachelor of science degrees in biomedical engineering and mechanical engineering at the University of South Carolina.

Bonivel was recently awarded Technologist of the Year by the Southern New England Association of Technical Professionals and was profiled by Black Enterprise Magazine as one of its 100 Modern Men. Bonivel has also spent time teaching engineering and physics at Federal University of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Outside of engineering, Joe is the director of corporate relations for ManyMentors Inc., a federally registered 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization focused on K-12 STEM mentoring and attrition.

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