Skip navigation

Lee Named Director of School of Computing Sciences and Computer Engineering

Fri, 08/07/2020 - 02:45pm | By: David Tisdale

Dr. Sarah LeeAn award-winning educator with a rich diversity of experience in both the private sector and in academia has been named director of The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) School of Computing Sciences and Computer Engineering.

Dr. Sarah Lee takes on her new post August 12, coming to USM from Mississippi State University (MSU) where since 2011 she has served on the faculty and in leadership roles, most recently as assistant department head in the MSU Department of Computer Science and Engineering. Prior to joining MSU, she worked 19 years at FedEx in key roles as a member of its information technology division.

"I’m excited about the opportunities for collaboration within the University and with other stakeholders throughout the state,” Dr. Lee said. “The School is well positioned, with degree programs in Hattiesburg and on the Gulf Coast, to become a leader in computing education and innovative research in Mississippi and beyond."

A native of Columbus, Mississippi, Dr. Lee holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and computer information systems from Mississippi University for Women, and a master’s degree in computer science from MSU. She earned her Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Memphis. Throughout her career in higher education, Dr. Lee has been honored multiple times for her exceptional teaching, research, service and outreach initiatives.

In 2020, she received one of the highest awards for MSU faculty, the John Grisham Master Teacher Award. In 2016, she received the MSU President’s Commission on the Status of Women Outstanding Faculty Woman award. Her contributions were also recognized by her induction into the Bagley College of Engineering’s Academy of Distinguished Teachers in 2016, and with the Bagley Service Award in 2014. She was selected as an Inspiring Woman in Stem by Insight into Diversity Magazine in 2015, and in 2019 was recognized by the Mississippi Business Journal’s Top in Tech award program.

Dr. Lee has also worked to create awareness and programs encouraging more women to enter computing majors and careers. In 2016, she was awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Inclusion Across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science grant (NSF INCLUDES 1649312). The award led to the creation of the Mississippi Alliance for Women in Computing (MSAWC), part of a national initiative to increase U.S. leadership in STEM. The MSAWC engages stakeholders throughout the southern U.S. to leverage, strengthen, and create awareness of existing programs and create new programs for young women in computing across Mississippi.

In 2013, she initiated the Mississippi Affiliate Aspirations in Computing award program, in collaboration with the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT), for girls in grades 9-12 in the state. She has also encouraged students with disabilities to pursue opportunities in computing, hosting summer interns through the AccessComputing program at the University of Washington and collaborated with The Clovernook Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired to offer a programming workshop for persons with low vision or blindness. As a board member for the Mississippi Coding Academies and director of MSU’s Golden Triangle campus, she worked to develop alternative educational pathways for recent high school graduates, as well as persons seeking new skills for an increasingly digital economy.

At FedEx, Dr. Lee managed large software development projects, including a courier route planning system and a customer relationship management system. For her achievements and service to the company, she received multiple awards and was leadership endorsed through FedEx's Leadership Evaluation and Awareness Process (LEAP).

The USM School of Computing Sciences and Computer Engineering is housed in the University’s College of Arts and Sciences. For information about the school, including its degree programs and faculty, visit