Digman Appointed Chair for Diversity in Engineering Education

Michelle Digman

June 21, 2023 - Michelle Digman has been appointed the Stacey Nicholas Endowed Chair for Diversity in Engineering Education and principal advisor to the Office of Outreach, Access and Inclusion in the Samueli School of Engineering. The appointment includes $10,000 in annual funds for research and educational activities of the chair’s choice, in support of the school’s mission of promoting diversity, equity and inclusion. Digman will serve beginning July 1, 2023, for a one-year term.

Digman said she is honored by the appointments and wants to give students a seat at the table to ensure their interests are well-represented. She plans to establish a Student Planning Advisory Group that will bring together representatives from various engineering organizations including the National Society of Black Engineers, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, Society of Women Engineers, association for Women in Science, and LGBTQ+ organizations.

She also aims to enhance engineering training, create a strong support network for students and provide meaningful connections between doctoral students and faculty.

Digman initiated an outreach program for minority community college students and outstanding high school students called Undergraduate Student Initiative for Biomedical Research, which has been going strong since 2011. She served for five years as equity advisor for the school of engineering and is currently chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee for the Math and Computational Biology program at UCI.

Digman is an associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, the BME associate chair for Graduate Affairs, the co-investigator of the Laboratory for Fluorescence Dynamics (a P41 NIH Center) and director of the W.M. Keck Nanoimaging Lab.

She was recently inducted as a fellow of AIMBE and is also an Allen Distinguished Investigator, Scialog Fellow. She has won several awards including the NSF CAREER award, the Hellman Fellowship, and the Biophysical Society Fluorescence Young Investigator Award among others.

Her group specializes in developing and applying the phasor approach to fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy, hyperspectral imaging microscopy and bioluminescence imaging. These technologies enable the characterization of light emitting molecular lifetimes or spectral properties for applications including cancer invasion, neurodegenerative diseases, bacterial virulence, and developmental biology.

--Natalie Tso