Vice Provost for Research and Dean of the Graduate School
Dr. Helena S. Wisniewski is Vice Provost for Research and Graduate Studies, at the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA). She is also President of Seawolf Holdings, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of UAA. In August 2011, UAA hired her to build the research efforts at UAA and to commercialize technology and innovation. She brings a breadth of senior executive and entrepreneurial experience in academia, government, and private industry. She is a technological entrepreneur who has successfully launched and sold startup companies. She has received awards for outstanding leadership, and significant contributions to scientific areas, including the 2002 Women In Technology Leadership Award for Entrepreneurship.
Prior to UAA, as Vice President for University Research at Stevens Institute of Technology, she tripled research revenues, launched nine startup companies and sold two. Her academic experience is enhanced by leadership positions in industry and government. She was Vice President of the Titan Corporation, and a senior corporate executive at the Lockheed Corporation. She was CEO/ Chairman of Aurora Biometrics, a company she founded based on her technology, acquired the investment, built the business and sold the company. She was CEO/Founder of Equinox Toys that uses biometrics for innovative interactive toys. At the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), she created and grew its first mathematics program, and prior to that she served at the CIA.
Dr. Wisniewski serves on public and private boards and government committees. For example, she has served on the Board of Directors, of Greatbatch Inc., (GB: NYSE), which designs and manufactures implantable medical devices, and on their Audit and Technology Committees; as Chairman of Attila Technologies; serves on the Life Sciences Advisory Board of Landmark Ventures; and in 2007, the Secretary of the Navy appointed her to the Naval Research Advisory Committee (NRAC), the senior scientific advisory group to the Navy.
Since August 2011, as Vice Provost for Research at UAA she created the Innovate Awards to inspire research, creative works, and innovation. These awards provide $200,000 annually and have supported a total of 27 faculty projects across UAA. To encourage technology commercialization and invention, she established the Patent Wall of Fame. In July 2012 the Board of Regents approved her infrastructure to commercialize technology based on faculty and student research. This commercialization infrastructure includes Seawolf Holdings, LLC and Seawolf Venture Fund, LP. To govern Seawolf Holdings, she recruited a world-class board of directors consisting of CEOs, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs. Seawolf Venture Fund will provide early stage investment in technology start up companies, and the target raise is $10M. To manage the fund, she identified a seasoned team of investment professionals as the GP. Her encouragement of intellectual property was reflected in a significant increase in invention disclosures to 29 (up from 3 in FY 11), and 12 of these have evolved into patents pending. In 2013, together with the inventors, she formed UAA’s first two startup companies – Zensor, LLC, and CFT Solutions, LLC. She serves on the Statewide Research Planning Committee (SCoR), on the State-Wide Academic Committee (SAC), and is a member of Commonwealth North. In September 2013 she was a Finalist for the prestigious Gold Pan Awards from the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce in the category of Entrepreneurial Excellence.
She received her PhD in mathematics from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, in 1980; MS in mathematics from Stevens Institute of Technology; and is a Distinguished Alumni of William Paterson University, where she received her BA in mathematics.
Dr. Wisniewski enjoys the Alaskan winters, and mushing her sled dogs. She is a member of the Alaskan Sled Dog & Racing Association (ASDRA), and the Iditarod Trail Committee. She also enjoys spending time with her champion Samoyeds, oil painting, playing the piano, and most of all sharing these interests with her daughter Alexis, who is a senior at Rutgers University in NJ.