Assistant Professor at New Jersey Institute of Technology
Dr. Salam Daher is an assistant professor in informatics and computer science at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT). She is a courtesy faculty at University of Central Florida (UCF). She has a PhD in Modeling and Simulation (UCF, 2018) and a postdoc focusing on healthcare simulation & technology (UCF, 2019), an MS in digital arts and sciences (UF engineering, 2006), and a BS in Computer Science with a minor in Mathematics (LAU, 2004). Her research focuses on healthcare simulation and technology, as well as collaborative projects involving other disciplines such as education, and languages to solve real world problems. Her expertise and interests include computer graphics, VR/AR/MR, synthetic environments, interactive 3D virtual humans with animated facial expressions, speech, and body language for the purposes of simulation and training in the education, military, and healthcare domains. Before her PhD, she worked in the industry for more than 5 years where she gained experience as a multimedia software developer leading projects in simulation and training. During her PhD, she developed a new class of augmented reality patient simulators called Physical-Virtual Patients (PVP). The PVP allows healthcare educators to interact with a life-size simulated patient by providing real-time physical tactile cues (e.g. temperature, pulse), auditory cues (e.g. speech, heart sounds), and rich dynamic visual cues such as facial expressions (e.g. pain, emotions) and changes in appearance (e.g. skin color, wounds). She designed and lead studies to evaluate the PVP with nursing and medical students.
Dr. Daher's efforts that contribute to CAHSI's 20-30 vision include mentoring students as part of REUs and getting them involved in research early on to better prepare them for careers in STEM. Many students do not know what research is, so until they have hands on experience they may not even consider it. Dr. Daher's aim is to change that perception after they are exposed to research. One way to achieve that is by mentoring students, allowing them to be part of developing applications with real world impact, providing support and guidance while leaving some freedom for the students to explore on their own, getting the students to feel the project is theirs, and to enjoy the process along the way. When students enjoy the experience it is more likely that they would consider continuing in on that path, therefore increasing participation in STEM.