Danfeng Yao, associate professor of computer science in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech, has been awarded the Elizabeth and James E. Turner Jr. ’56 Faculty Fellowship in Engineering by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

Elizabeth and James Turner created the Turner Fellowships in 2011 with a $1 million gift to recognize faculty excellence. James Turner is a 1956 agricultural engineering alumnus who is the retired president and chief operating officer of General Dynamics. He is also a former rector of the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors, and in 2004 received Virginia Tech’s highest honor, the William H. Ruffner Medal.

Recipients hold the title of Turner Fellows for a period of five years.

A member of the Virginia Tech faculty since 2010, Yao has made significant technical contributions to the field of cybersecurity. Her research is supported by several external grants with a personal share of $2.3 million. She has published 15 papers in peer-reviewed journals, three book chapters, and 53 peer-reviewed papers at top security conferences.

Yao received both the National Science Foundation CAREER Award and an Army Research Office Young Investigator Award. She has been an associate editor of the premier IEEE Computer Society journal in cybersecurity, IEEE Transactions on Dependable and Secure Computing, since July 2014, and has served on an extraordinary number of conference technical program committees.

Yao was named Virginia Tech’s L-3 Cyber Faculty Fellow in June 2014.

An effective graduate mentor, Yao has graduated six Ph.D. students and two master’s degree students. Through her innovative teaching methods and the cybersecurity undergraduate and graduate courses she introduced, Yao has impacted hundreds of computer science students. She has been instrumental in integrating network and system security and assurance into the College of Engineering curriculum.

Yao received her bachelor’s degree from Peking University (China), a master's degree from Princeton University, a master's degree from Indiana University, and a Ph.D. from Brown University.

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