Cynthia R. Sides
Dr. Cynthia Sides is the Director for the Office of Industry Engagement, which reports jointly to the Vice Provost for Research and the Vice Chancellor for Economic Development. This office is responsible for facilitating a unique network of relationships between industry, non-profits, organizations, communities, and the university with a focus on strengthening the university’s land-grant mission and building Arkansas’ knowledge-based economy through university research and commercialization. Sides leads the PAAD (Professional Awareness, Advancement, and Development) program, which is an NSF-funded project that educates and prepares STEM graduate students for a variety of careers. She also teaches Emerging Technologies in Industry, an interdisciplinary graduate course that serves as a pipeline for students who wish to learn more about career opportunities and industries in the state and region, generate ideas and solutions to company challenges, and explore the commercialization of their research. Outside of the classroom, she travels extensively with the goal of connecting the talent, expertise, and innovative research of students and faculty to the most pressing challenges in Arkansas, thereby increasing economic development in the state. While on the road, she also looks for service opportunities that would connect university students and faculty with Arkansas communities, organizations, and schools. Sides volunteers in programs around the state that encourage the next generation of scientists and engineers and serves on the industry advisory boards for local high schools. In 2014, Sides was the recipient of a U of A Women’s Giving Circle grant for Promoting STEM Education and Career Opportunities in South Arkansas. She is also a recent graduate from the State Chamber’s Leadership Arkansas program.
Sides is a native Arkansan and grew up in the Fort Smith area. She graduated from Arkansas Tech University with a B.S. in Chemistry and a B.A. in English. She earned her Ph.D. and completed a postdoc in the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department at the University of Arkansas, and her research areas were in protein x-ray crystallography, mass spectrometry, immunology, and wound healing. Between her graduate school and postdoc years, Sides volunteered extensively by participating in and developing community outreach programs, such as for the Community Services Clearinghouse in Fort Smith where she was a co-chair for the first annual True Grit Bike Ride.
Director, Office of Industry Engagement