Vice Provost for Research and Graduate Studies
Dean of Graduate Studies
Dr. Helena S. Wisniewski, FNAI, is Vice Provost for Research and Graduate Studies at UAA, the Chief Research Officer, since August 2011. There she leads the research enterprise, and technology commercialization. She is President of Seawolf Holdings, a wholly owned subsidiary of UAA, and Founding Director of the Arctic Domain Awareness Center (ADAC) a DHS Center of Excellence.
Her executive experience includes academia, industry and government, and she is a technological entrepreneur who has launched and sold startup companies. As Vice President, Research and Enterprise Development at Stevens Institute of Technology, she tripled research revenues, launched nine startups and sold two. She was a Vice President at the Titan Corporation, and a Senior executive at Lockheed. As CEO of Aurora Biometrics a company that she founded she raised investment, built the business, and sold the company. At DARPA, she created and grew its first mathematics program that pioneered innovative technology that benefitted the government and society. Prior to DARPA she served at the CIA.
At UAA she created a commercialization infrastructure that includes Seawolf Holdings and Seawolf Venture Fund. She facilitated dramatic growth in intellectual property - since FY11 the number of patent application filings and copyright fillings have increased from 1 to 60, and the number of patents issued increased to 13. Together with the faculty she formed the first four UAA startup companies - Zensor, Arctic Heat Technologies (formerly CFT Solutions), Cogniceutic Solutions and Rhizoform. Rhizoform was recently awarded “Best University Startup” in a national competition. She recently initiated and negotiated a $300K investment in CFT Solutions. Under her leadership, research expenditures continue to increase, and external research funding has increased by 23% from 2013 to 2016. To inspire research, creative works and innovation she established the Innovate Awards and the Patent Wall of Fame. The Innovate Awards have brought a six to one return on research investment through externally funded grants.
She serves on public and private boards of directors and advisory boards. She served on the Board of Directors, of Greatbatch Inc., (NYSE:GB), that provides implementable medical devices and on its Audit and Technology Committees. In 2007, the Secretary of the Navy appointed her to NRAC, its 15 members are prominent in science, engineering and medicine.
In April 2016 she was inducted as a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (FNAI), in recognition of creating and facilitating inventions that have a tangible impact on improving the quality of life and society. She was the first person in Alaska to be inducted. She holds patents and has received awards for outstanding leadership, entrepreneurship, and significant scientific contributions that include the 2001 Women in Technology Award for Entrepreneurship, and awards from DARPA, CIA, and Lockheed.
She received her Ph.D. in mathematics from the Graduate school of the City University of New York, MS in Mathematics from Stevens Institute of Technology, and BA in mathematics from William Paterson University where she is a Distinguished Alumni.
She is a member of the International Rotary, Commonwealth North, and serves on the board of the Alaska Sled Dog Racing Association. Her winter sport is dogsledding - she does sprint racing. She enjoys playing the piano, oil painting and showing Samoyed dogs with her daughter Alexis.