Partnerships for Innovation: Building Innovation Capacity
Alexandra Medina-Borja earned her Ph.D. and Master's Degrees in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Virginia Tech and holds a Production Engineering Degree from the Federal University of São Carlos in São Paulo, Brazil. Alexandra has concentrated her work in areas related to the effective design and analysis of service delivery systems. Her main research contribution has been to advance a model for the performance evaluation of nonprofit social services by adapting Data Envelopment Analysis formulations to account for the effects of the operating environment on units functioning under different market and geographical conditions. In 2002, the American Red Cross adapted Dr. Medina-Borja's performance measurement framework to evaluate chapter operations, thus becoming one of the largest centralized nonprofit evaluation systems in the world. A paper relating this experience based on her doctoral dissertation work was awarded the 2007 Goodeve Medal by the British Operational Research Society for the most significant contribution to the theory and practice of OR in the given year. In 2006, she founded the International Service Systems Engineering Research Lab in the Department of Industrial Engineering at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez where she is faculty. Through ISSER she has been able to secure over 1.5 million dollars in federal funding for her research, mainly from NSF and mainly to study the inclusion of behavioral and cultural considerations in modeling of large service systems. She is a member of the System Dynamics Society, IIE, INFORMS, and Alpha Pi Mu. In January 2012 Dr. Medina-Borja started a rotation at the National Science Foundation (NSF) in Arlington, VA where she was appointed as the first Director of Evaluation and Assessment for the Directorate for Engineering. In this new role Alexandra's responsibilities include to design and implement a state of the art evaluation and assessment system for the whole directorate which encompasses close to 100 programs in five different divisions with a budget of 800 million dollars. Outcome indicators collected through this system will be used to demonstrate the impact on society of NSF's investments in engineering research. She has been nominated to the UPRM Engineering Distinguished Faculty Award of 2006 and won de award in 2007, 2008 and 2011.