The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign has named Assistant Professor Susu Zhang of Statistics and Psychology as a Lincoln Excellence for Assistant Professor (LEAP) Scholar. The LEAP Scholar designation recognizes Zhang’s significant achievements and outstanding potential as a researcher and professor at Illinois.

Zhang’s work integrates latent variable modeling with statistical learning to advance statistical and psychometric methods to address practical problems in educational and psychological testing. Current research interests include analysis of complex data in testing and learning environments and latent variable modeling. 

Zhang received her master’s in applied mathematics and Ph.D. in quantitative psychology from the University of Illinois, where she has held an assistant professor appointment with the Department of Psychology and Statistics since 2020. 

The LEAP Scholar Award is a highly competitive two-year appointment that is granted to faculty based on their exceptional scholarly productivity and significant contributions to the educational mission of their department and the college. The selection process involves nominations by executive officers in departments across the college and a thorough evaluation by a committee of senior distinguished faculty across multiple LAS units.