Graduate School Welcomes New Associate Dean and Associate Program Director

Author: Mary Hendriksen

Graduate School Dean Laura Carlson has announced two new appointments in the Professional Development area: Prof. X. Sharon Hu, the associate dean for professional development, and Mike Westrate, the associate program director for grants and fellowships.

Sharon Hu Sharon Hu, Associate Dean for Professional Development

Professor of Computer Science and Engineering Xiaobo Sharon Hu is the new associate dean of professional development. In this role, Prof. Hu will lead a vibrant and effective Professional Development team that is dedicated to fostering the training of graduate students and postdoctoral scholars in the areas of research, career, teaching and ethics. The Graduate School’s Professional Development team has been in place since 2009, and was recognized by the University with a Team Irish Award for 2011-2012.

On the faculty of the University of Notre Dame since 1996, Prof. Hu’s research interests include analysis and design of low power, real-time, and embedded systems, computing with emerging technologies, and computational medicine. She has published over 200 journal and conference papers, received numerous grants from federal agencies and private industry, and been a technical program committee member for many conferences as well as a member of the editorial boards of leading journals in her field. In 1997, she received the CAREER award from U.S. National Science Foundation. Prof. Hu served as the director of graduate studies for ten years in the department of Computer Science and Engineering, and was a senior assistant provost for ND International from 2012-2013.

“Dr. Hu has been a long-standing advocate for graduate students and the importance of mentoring,” said Dean Carlson. “In addition she brings international experience that we hope to leverage to create opportunities for our graduate students. She is an accomplished researcher, mentor and administrator, and we are fortunate to now have her on our team.”

Prof. Hu received her Ph.D. degree from Purdue University, M.S. degree from Polytechnic Institute of New York University, and B.S. degree from Tianjin University, China. Before her faculty appointment at Notre Dame, she was an assistant professor at Western Michigan University and a senior research engineer at General Motors Research Labs.

mike_westrate Mike Westrate, Associate Program Director for Grants and Fellowships

Associate Dean Hu is joined in the Graduate School’s professional development initiatives by Mike Westrate, the new associate director for grants and fellowships. Mr. Westrate will receive his doctorate in history this year from Notre Dame.

In announcing his appointment, Dean Carlson said: “Mike has a strong background in professional development generally, and in grants and fellowships specifically. During his own Ph.D. program, he was able to secure a Fulbright Fellowship and a FLAS federal language fellowship, as well as six internal fellowships and grants. In addition, he has received several ‘best paper’ awards for his own academic writing.”

In his role as associate director, Mr. Westrate will serve as the representative for external fellowship agencies; oversee and coordinate student fellowships and grants; assist students with finding and writing grant applications; assist faculty in writing training grants; and provide department-specific information about grants and fellowships. For more information regarding graduate grant and fellowship application support, see the Research page of the Graduate School’s Professional Development website.

Mr. Westrate’s fields of specialization are Russian and Eurasian history, world/global history, and modern German history. He has taught in the University Writing Program and has directly assisted with writing and formatting many successful grant applications, including Fulbright program applications. In addition, he has been instrumental in developing and maintaining professionalization resources and workshops for graduate students in the Department of History. Mr. Westrate has held numerous leadership and service positions at Notre Dame, both elected and appointed, including the president of the Union of Graduate Historians and the chairperson of the Department of History’s Graduate Professionalization Fund Committee.


For more information on professional development—including activities and opportunities related to research, teaching, ethics, and career—at the Graduate School, visit:

For more information on Prof. Xiaobo Sharon Hu, see:

For more information on Mike Westrate, see: