Two USF faculty innovators selected for the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame

By: J.C. Barrott

Two University of South Florida faculty members have been named to the 2024 class of the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame.

It was announced on May 30th that engineering professors Sylvia Wilson Thomas and Daniel Yeh are a part of the 2024 inductees.

USF alumna Rachana Vidhi was also selected for the hall of fame.

Sylvia Wilson Thomas is a holder of 13 U.S. patents. She has pioneered pathways for bio and nano electronic device integration along with her research in advanced membrane/material systems. Thomas currently serves as USF vice president for research & innovation and president and CEO of the USF Research Foundation. When asked about what this induction means to her, she said, “I am humbled and honored to be selected… The USF innovation ecosystem has expanded the breadth of my research and deepened my career-long commitment to creating and championing technologies that make a positive impact on society.”

Daniel Yeh is in the fields of wastewater recycling, sustainable and resilient infrastructure, renewable bioenergy, and global WaSH (water, sanitation and hygiene). The NEW generator, a portable and self-contained solar-powered toilet system that converts waste into fertilizer nutrients, renewable energy and clean water that can be used for crop irrigation and toilet flushing. Yeh currently serves as a professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at USF. Yeh says that “it is truly a privilege to be inducted… The recognition is a tribute to the dedication, perseverance and creativity of the amazing groups of students, postdocs and partners that I have worked with over the past 20 years at USF.”

Rachana Vidhi is a holder of nine U.S. patents. She is responsible for recognizing and applying software solutions to help customers across various stages of the energy ecosystem. Vidhi has a doctoral degree in chemical engineering from USF and currently serves as the director of technical sales at NextEra Analytics.

These three, along with all the inductees, will be formally inducted in October at a ceremony and gala in Tampa.

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