National Academy of Engineering (NAE) elects Amazon scientists Russell Allgor and Yoelle Maarek as new members

Election to the NAE recognizes individuals who have pioneered and developed new fields of technology.

The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) recently announced 106 new members and 23 international members. Included among the new members are Amazon scientists Russell Allgor, chief scientist, Global Delivery Services, and Yoelle Maarek, vice president of research and science for Alexa Shopping. The new members will be formally inducted during NAE’s annual meeting on Oct. 3, 2021.

Election to the NAE is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. The non-profit organization, founded in 1964, brings together eminent scientists and engineers to provide insights to the federal government on matters related to science and technology. The NAE has more than 2,000 members, all of whom are peer elected.

Allgor joined Amazon in 2000 as the chief scientist of Amazon’s supply chain organization. Over the years he has focused on different areas in Amazon’s worldwide operations and is currently focusing on Amazon’s delivery and logistics network.

Allgor’s team leverages scientific innovation to support the more than one million Amazon employees and partners at fulfillment centers, sortation centers, and delivery stations worldwide to get packages to customers as safely and efficiently as possible.

Allgor earned a PhD in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Princeton. He was honored for “application of operations engineering to design and improve logistics and fulfillment systems for e-commerce.”

Russell Allgor, chief scientist, Global Delivery Services
Russell Allgor

“I’m incredibly honored to be elected by my peers to NAE,” Allgor said. “I’m especially looking forward to collaborating with my peers on improving engineering education, and contributing to a more diverse and multidisciplinary next generation of engineers.”

The NAE also welcomed Maarek as an international member; that term is applied to members who aren’t US citizens. Maarek, who lives in Haifa, Israel, is being recognized for her “contributions to online information retrieval and data management, and leadership in applied industrial research.”

At Amazon, Maarek leads teams in the US, UK and Israel that work on advancements in voice search, question answering, and conversational AI. In particular, she focuses on the shopping domain and investigating new research areas such as computational humor, which she sees at the one of the hardest existing AI challenges. Maarek has regularly served as program committee (PC) chair and senior PC committee member at leading academic research conferences such as SIGIRThe Web Conference, and Web Search and Data Mining (WSDM).

Yoelle Maarek
Yoelle Maarek, vice president for research and science, Alexa Shopping

Maarek earned her PhD in computer science at the Technion in Israel and an engineering degree from Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées in Paris, France. She has played a pioneering role in researching the fields of information retrieval, the computer science discipline behind search, web search and data mining. She is an ACM Fellow, and a member of the Technion Board of Governors and management council.

“I am honored and humbled to be recognized by the NAE and join such a prestigious community,” said Maarek. “I look forward to collaborating with other engineers and scientists in order to continue doing what I’ve loved doing throughout my career – leveraging science and technology to facilitate the lives of people across the world and hopefully delight them.”

The full list of 129 new members is available on the NAE website.

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