MIAMI ― Deidra Hodges, an associate professor with expertise in photovoltaics and solar energy, has been named chair of the department of electrical and computer engineering at FIU's college of engineering and computing. She is the first black professor to serve as a department chair in the college.

“In her relatively short time with us, Dr. Hodges has already become a well-respected educator and role model for our diverse FIU community, which is vital to our goal of growing minority representation in the field,” said John L. Volakis, dean of the college. “With her background in academia and industry, her research initiatives, and her collaboration with government laboratories and agencies, she will continue to lead the department in its development of technologies that will have a significant impact across the globe.”

Hodges joined FIU in the fall of 2021. She has a doctoral degree in electrical engineering from the University of South Florida and a master’s in electrical engineering from New York’s Columbia University. She received bachelor’s degrees in both physics and electrical engineering in a dual-degree program between Dillard University in New Orleans and Columbia University.

Her graduate training led her to industry, where she programmed the avionics flight software for NASA while working for IBM. She also worked for the aerospace/defense firm Martin Marietta, now Lockheed Martin. Hodges served as an officer in the United States Navy Reserve for five years and taught at Southern Polytechnic State University in Marietta, Goergia, and the University of Texas at El Paso. At FIU, Hodges continues research in the area of photovoltaics ― technologies to convert light to electricity ― as well as solar and other renewable energies. She also serves as a diversity mentor professor in the office to advance women, equity, and diversity.

Hodges grew up in New Orleans with a chemistry professor father and high school biology teacher mother and five siblings. For more information,