UB Graduate Receives Doctoral Dissertation Award

By Mara McGinnis

Release Date: June 3, 1998 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Kara Latorella, who received her doctorate from the University at Buffalo Department of Industrial Engineering in 1997, has been named the 1998 winner of the Stanley N. Roscoe Award for the best doctoral dissertation in a research area related to aerospace human factors.

The award, which included a plaque and an honorarium of $500, was presented to Latorella by the Aerospace Human Factors Association, a constituent organization of the Aerospace Medical Association, at the association's recent annual luncheon.

She completed the dissertation, "Investigating Interruptions on the Flightdeck," under the advisement of Colin Drury, professor; Joseph Sharit, associate professor, and Valerie Shalin, former associate professor, all of the UB Department of Industrial Engineering. The work was funded by a grant from the NASA Graduate Student Researchers Program at NASA's Langley Research Center. Paul Schutte, an engineer at the Langley Research Center who is involved in crew station design and the error proof flightdeck program, served as Latorella's mentor for the project.

Latorella now works as an aerospace engineer in the Crew/Vehicle Integration Branch at Langley. She is developing human-centered methods and measures for evaluating performance in flightdecks for the error proof flightdeck program and enhancing flightdeck weather information for the aviation weather information program.

Her research interests include human-performance assessment, usability assessment, human/computer interaction, decision aiding and cognitive engineering.

She is a member of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, the Institute of Industrial Engineers, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and Alpha Pi Mu.

In addition to the UB doctorate, Latorella holds a bachelor's degree in an independently derived curriculum for human factors from Cornell University and a master's degree in industrial engineering from Pennsylvania State University.

She is a resident of Yorktown, Va.