Dan Stilwell, professor of electrical and computer engineering in the College of Engineering and director of the Center for Marine Autonomy and Robotics at Virginia Tech, has been named the Seale Coastal Zone Observatory Faculty Fellow by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

The Seale Coastal Zone Observatory Faculty Fellowship was established in 2022 with a gift from Virginia Tech alumni William and Carol Seale to support research and scholarship focused on healthy coastal and ocean ecosystems. William Seale earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1986 and an MBA in 1988. Carol Seale earned a bachelor’s degree in apparel, housing, and resource management in 1988.

At Virginia Tech, this effort is led by the Center for Coastal Studies, part of the Fralin Life Sciences Institute, and the College of Science. The Seales' gift has provided support for basic and applied research that are fundamental to making sound decisions to benefit society and define solutions for healthy and sustainable oceans and the fellowship recognizes outstanding faculty whose work supports the mission of the Seale Coastal Zone Observatory. The observatory and its research mission is led by Robert Weiss, a professor in the Department of Geosciences.

Recipients hold the fellowship, which is renewable, for a period of three years.

A member of the Virginia Tech community since 2001, Stilwell’s research is focused on marine robotics and autonomy and the design of advanced autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs). He has led or co-led the development of multiple AUV systems including the 690 AUV, which is a general purpose system that operates up to 500 meters deep. He has received substantial funding in support of projects involving marine robotics and autonomy, including 72 sponsored research projects totaling more than $20 million.

In addition, Stilwell has given 30 invited keynote presentations and seminars and contributed to more than 130 peer-reviewed publications. Among his many honors, Stilwell received a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Award in 2002, the Young Investigator Program award from the Office of Naval Research in 2003, the 2015 Rudolf Kalman Best Paper Award from the Dynamic Systems and Control Division of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and the Milestone Award from the XPRIZE Foundation, which was presented to the Virginia Tech Ocean XPRIZE team under his leadership in 2018.

Stilwell received his bachelor's degree from the University of Massachusetts, a master’s degree from Virginia Tech, and a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University.

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