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Espy-Wilson, Carol

Carol Espy-Wilson
2221 A.V. Williams Bldg.

Research Interests 

Integration of engineering, linguistics, speech science and machine learning to study speech communication and develop robust speech technologies.



Carol Espy-Wilson is a Professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and the Institute for Systems Research at the University of Maryland. View or download Dr. Espy-Wilson's CV here.

Dr. Espy-Wilson received her B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University.  She received her M.S., E.E. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Maryland, Dr. Espy-Wilson was a faculty member at Boston University.

Dr. Espy-Wilson's research is in speech communication. She combines knowledge of digital signal processing, speech science, linguistics, acoustic phonetics and machine learning to conduct interdisciplinary research in speech and speaker recognition, speech production, speech enhancement and single-channel speech segregation.  She also analyzes speech as a behavioral signal for emotion recognition, sentiment analysis and the detection and monitoring of mental health.

Her company, OmniSpeech, translated research in her lab on noise suppression and speech enhancement to technology that improves speech-enabled technology in any device, app or platform.

Dr. Espy-Wilson has authored or coauthored numerous papers in journals, conference proceedings and books. She is a Fellow of the International Speech Communication Association (ICSA) and the Acoustical Society of America (ASA) and a Senior Member of IEEE. She was a Radcliffe Fellow at Harvard 2008–2009. Among the other honors and awards she has received for her research contributions are the Clare Boothe Luce Professorship in 1990, the Independent Scientist Award from the National Institutes of Health in 1998 and the Honda Initiation Award in 2003. She served as the chair of the Speech Technical Committee of the Acoustical Society of America (2007-2010) and as an Associate Editor of the ASA's magazine, Acoustics Today. She was a member of the National Advisory Board for Medical Rehabilitation at the National Institutes of Health. Currently, she is a member of the Advisory Council for the NIH National Institutes on Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering and an Associate Editor of the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America.

Honors and Awards 

International Speech Communication Association, 2018
Acoustical Society of America, 2005

Other professional awards
NIH Career Award
Grand Prize, Rockville Economic Development Inc. (REDI) StartRight! Women’s Business Plan Competition, 2010
$50,000 SAIC-VentureAccelerator Competition, 2010
Maryland Innovator of the Year, 2010
Fellowship, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University, 2008-2009
Clare Boothe Luce Professor, 1990-1995

University of Maryland awards
ISR Fellow Award, 2015-2017
University of Maryland Distinguished Scholar-Teacher Award, 2012-2013
University of Maryland $75K Business Plan Competition (High Technology), 2010
Invention of the Year (Information Science): OmniSpeech, 2010
Advance Program: Honored as "the first African American woman, and first African American, in ECE to achieve tenure and be promoted to the rank of full professor"

Related News 

Espy-Wilson, Sivaraman research aims to improve speech inversion
Solutions could improve speech therapy, automatic speech recognition, language learning, depression detection. July 25, 2019

Espy-Wilson Honored at UMD’s First to ADVANCE Celebration
Professor Carol Espy-Wilson is a trailblazer as the first African American woman, and African American, to receive tenure and be promoted to Full Professor in the ECE Department. April 9, 2019

NSF funds Shamma, Espy-Wilson for neuromorphic and data-driven speech segregation research
The project will investigate how mimicking the brain's auditory processing can address AI signal processing challenges. September 25, 2018

Five recipients of ISR Graduate Student Travel Award announced
Eight graduate students have received funding through the award since 2017. August 24, 2018

Vishnubhotla, Espy-Wilson granted patent for improving speech extraction
The patent could improve automatic speech recognition systems, hearing aids and cochlear implants. March 28, 2018

Espy-Wilson named International Speech Communication Association Fellow
Citation reads "for contributions to speech acoustic modelling, speech signal processing and applications to knowledge-driven speech recognition and speech enhancement." March 28, 2018

Espy-Wilson's technology included in new Alcatel MOVE TIME smart watch
OmniSpeech 'OmniClear' software reduces dynamic noise in communication devices. October 3, 2017

Salamanca-Riba Appointed 2017/2018 UMD ADVANCE Professor 
Dr. Salamanca-Riba will help facilitate opportunities for advancement among University faculty members, especially under-represented groups. September 12, 2017

More than 175 attend national Denice Denton Emerging Leaders Workshop
Faculty development workshop helped mid-career STEM academics develop knowledge, skills, strategies and critical networks. June 3, 2016

Sennur Ulukus named UMD Distinguished Scholar-Teacher
Ulukus is the ninth ISR faculty member to be so honored. March 29, 2016

Espy-Wilson Delivers Keynote Address for Stanford’s WISE Inspirations Network
A Stanford alumnus, Espy-Wilson, was invited to speak because she is leading the way for women in science and engineering. February 8, 2016

Espy-Wilson Featured in MIT’s Tech Review
She was the first African-American woman to earn a doctorate in electrical engineering at MIT. December 14, 2015

Elisabeth Smela named ADVANCE Professor
She joins the ranks of five other ISR faculty associated with the ADVANCE program. September 4, 2015

Espy-Wilson named to NIH advisory council
She will serve on the National Advisory Council for Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering. May 1, 2015

Espy-Wilson delivers plenary address at College Board conference
The ECE/ISR professor spoke on 'A Change Must Come: African Americans and STEM.' March 19, 2015

Six ISR Ph.D. students selected as Future Faculty Fellows
Program prepares students for academic careers in top-50 engineering schools. December 15, 2014

Engineering systems for mental health work by Espy-Wilson, Resnik, Vaughn-Cooke featured in Newsweek
Research on quantifiable indicators could result in mental health tracking app. November 13, 2014

Reza Ghodssi named UMD Distinguished Scholar-Teacher
Ghodssi is the eighth ISR faculty member to be so honored by the university. March 13, 2014

OmniSpeech, Espy-Wilson mentioned on "Washington Business Report"
UM Ventures' Jim Hughes cites the startup company as a university entrepreneurial success. January 27, 2014

OmniSpeech to Demonstrate Technology at 2014 CES International
Professor Carol Espy-Wilson's company, OmniSpeech, will debut its groundbreaking speech extraction technology at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show. January 7, 2014

Clark Professors Honored as Top Women Professors in Maryland
Professors Espy-Wilson and Muro recognized by for excellence in and out of the classroom May 7, 2013

ISR Alumni Symposium is rousing success
Full house for presentations, discussions of entrepreneurship. April 24, 2013

Min Wu named Distinguished Scholar-Teacher
Wu is the seventh ISR faculty member to be so honored. February 7, 2013

Carol Espy-Wilson is PI for multi-site NSF speech recognition grant
The researchers will develop a large-vocabulary speech recognition system based on articulatory information. September 28, 2012

Espy-Wilson, Bergbreiter receive ADVANCE Seed Grants
Fifteen projects funded for 2012. June 13, 2012

Espy-Wilson gives keynote address at University of Michigan
Special event honored first African-American woman to earn Ph.D. in physics. April 6, 2012

Carol Espy-Wilson named 2012-2013 Distinguished Scholar-Teacher
She is sixth ISR professor to be so honored. February 7, 2012

MERIT-BIEN and TREND Fair Showcases Undergraduate Research
Students present their summer research accomplishments to judges at annual fair. August 5, 2011

New issue of System Solutions available online
Highlights ISR 25th anniversary, new initiatives and more. April 25, 2011

Cynthia Moss named ADVANCE professor
The ADVANCE program will provide support and opportunities for women faculty across the university. February 18, 2011

Espy-Wilson appointed ADVANCE Professor for Women Faculty of Color
The appointment begins in Spring 2011. February 8, 2011

Espy-Wilson named to NIH advisory board
Professor to be part of National Advisory Board on Medical Rehabilitation Research. December 8, 2010

Carol Espy-Wilson honored as Innovator of the Year
Maryland Daily Record honors her for invention that improves cell phone sound quality. October 24, 2010

OmniSpeech Wins $50K SAIC-VentureAccelerator Competition
Novel technology to make speech clear for mobile phones, related communications. August 13, 2010

Company Started by Professor Wins Women’s Business Plan Competition
Prof. Espy-Wilson's technology eliminates background noise in cell phones, speech communications. July 22, 2010

Faculty Start-Up Wins Maryland Incubator Company of the Year Award
Created by Martin Peckerar & Neil Goldsman, FlexEl is developing flexible, thin-film, rechargeable batteries. June 17, 2010

Mtech, Alumna-Run Companies Vie for State Awards
Five Clark School-affiliated companies named finalists for Incubator Company of the Year. June 3, 2010

Grad student Daniel Garcia-Romero wins best paper award
Ph.D. student of Carol Espy-Wilson is honored at annual ASA meeting. May 19, 2010

Espy-Wilson and Pruthi win in University's Business Plan Competition
Their Omnispeech LLC placed first in the "high technology" category. May 7, 2010

ECE Grad Students Mitra and Zhang Awarded Wylie Fellowships
Vikramjit Mitra and Yufu Zhang were among a select group of UMD students to receive this prestigious fellowship. April 20, 2010

Espy-Wilson, Rubloff win 'Invention of the Year' awards
Inventions could improve speech comprehension in noisy environments, battery capacity. April 14, 2010

Espy-Wilson, Pruthi Among Business Plan Competition Finalists
Professor & alumnus will present a plan for a speech extraction technology for voice communications. April 7, 2010

MERIT-BIEN Poster Wins Two Awards at NSF Program Meeting
Undergraduate summer research earns two awards for most interesting & technically challenging project. March 26, 2010

Three ISR students are named ECE Distinguished Dissertation Fellows
Beyaz, Mitra and Varna honored for research excellence. March 23, 2010

Chrisopher Davis wins ECE Faculty Venture Fair for cell phone radiation measurement
Carol Espy-Wilson takes second place for 'Tidy Talk.' October 13, 2009

Espy-Wilson receives NSF grant for digital speech forensics
Professor will develop theories, methods and tools to identify and authenticate digital speech content. September 18, 2009

Espy-Wilson Receives NIH Grant To Help Tongue Cancer Patients' Speech
Professor is Co-PI on new grant for research on tongue reconstruction and successful post-surgical speech. August 2, 2009

Fourteen ISR-affiliated students receive Ph.D.s
Congratulations to our ISR-affiliated doctoral graduates! May 22, 2009

Abshire and Espy-Wilson receive MIPS grants
Funding will help develop hand-held diagnostic instrument; advanced speech enhancement software. February 2, 2009

Espy-Wilson Included in "Soul of Technology" Exhibit
Palo Alto exhibition features 50 most important African Americans in technology. February 1, 2009

Espy-Wilson awarded NSF grant; subcontractor for Navy STTR grant
Research could aid people with cochlear implants; background noise suppression and anti-birdstrike systems. September 12, 2008

Espy-Wilson appointed Radcliffe Fellow
ECE/ISR professor will be in residence at Harvard for 2008-2009 academic year. May 14, 2008

An Algorithm for Multiple Pitch Tracking in Adverse Environments (ISR IP)
This IP is available to license. June 24, 2007

Modified Phase Opponency with a Signal Theoretic Preprocessor for Speech Enhancement (ISR IP)
This IP is available to license. June 24, 2007

Event Based System: A Probabilistic Acoustic-Phonetic Approach to Automatic Speech Recognition (ISR IP)
This IP is available to license. June 21, 2007

Espy-Wilson receives NSF grant for robust speech recognition
Research will develop a system to automatically transcribe unrestricted conversational speech. May 17, 2007

Carol Espy-Wilson promoted to full professor
Research integrates engineering, linguistics and speech science. April 16, 2007

Grad student Tarun Pruthi wins ASA best student paper award
Topic is the automatic detection of vowel nasalization November 7, 2005

Espy-Wilson named ASA Fellow
Contributions to speech, commmunication and mentoring recognized November 5, 2005

Espy-Wilson receives NSF grant for speech recongnition
Research to investigate speech signal properties that persist even when identity is disguised November 1, 2005

Grad student Om Deshmukh wins best poster award
Research was presented at Acoustical Society of America meeting October 2, 2005

Shamma receives grant from Honda for robotics work
Funding will support research on auditory scene analysis September 1, 2005

Espy-Wilson receives Honda Initiation grant
Research to focus on Probabilistic Framework for Acoustic-Phonetic Knowledge Based Continuous Speech Recognition. September 4, 2003

Carol Espy-Wilson receives NSF grant for acoustic-phonetic knowledge and speech recognition.
April 2003—Project will develop a robust automatic speech recognition system. April 15, 2003

Espy-Wilson receives NIH grant for vocal tract acoustics
Research will develop comprehensive acoustic models of interspeaker differences in vocal tract configuration. April 3, 2002