LAS professors bring honor and recognition to the college.
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The American Mathematical Society recently announced the winners of the 2024 Leroy P. Steele Prize for Seminal Contribution to Research. Five people were awarded the prestigious prize; among them was University of Illinois mathematics professor József Balogh. Balogh, along with his co-authors Robert Morris (Instituto de Matemática Pura e Aplicada), and Wojciech Samotij (Tel Aviv University) received the award for their 2015 paper “Independent sets in hypergraphs,” published in the Journal of the American Mathematical Society.
Justine S. Murison, professor of English, has received the Midwest Modern Language Association (MMLA)'s 2023 Book Award for "Faith in Exposure: Privacy and Secularism in the Nineteenth-Century United States." The Midwest Modern Language Association (MMLA) is a non-profit organization of teachers and scholars of literature, language, and culture.
Spanish and linguistics professor Silvina Montrul recently received two major honors. Her book "Native Speakers, Interrupted" (Cambridge University Press, 2023) has been selected as the winner of this year’s Leonard Bloomfield Book Award from the Linguistics Society of America. Montrul was also ranked in the top two percent of the world's scientists, according to Stanford University. This prestigious ranking is based on the bibliometric information in the Scopus database and includes more than 190,000 researchers from all over the world out of about 9 million scientists. Montrul is listed at number 94, out of a sublist of 399 for linguistics.
Professor Harriet Murav has won a prestigious NEH Scholarly Editions and Translations Award for her collaborative translation of “In the Shadow of the Holocaust: Short Fiction by Jewish Writers from the Soviet Union.” She will work on an annotated English translation of ten Yiddish and Russian short stories written in the Soviet Union about the Soviet Jewish experience of World War II and the Holocaust. Murav is a professor in the Departments of Slavic Languages & Literatures and Comparative & World Literature, the Program in Jewish Culture & Society, the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory, and the Center for Advanced Study.
Professor Charles E. Sing of chemical and biomolecular engineering has been awarded the 2024 John H. Dillon Medal by the American Physical Society. Sing was recognized for "pioneering advances in polyelectrolyte phase behavior and polymer dynamics using theory and computational modeling."
Mithilesh Mishra, director of the Hindi and South Asian languages program in the Department of Linguistics, has received the Service to Hindi Award from the International Hindi Association, whose focus is on fostering the cultural heritage of India through promotion and propagation of Hindi and its literature.
The Biophysical Society has announced that Christy F. Landes, Jerry A. Walker Endowed Chair and professor of chemistry, will receive the 2024 Kazuhiko Kinosita Award in Single-Molecule Biophysics. Landes is being recognized for her exciting developments of single molecule measurement techniques, and their application to chemical and biological systems such as polymers and ion channels
Communication professor Trina Wright-Dixon was honored as one of this year’s inductees into the Oracles Council for the Organization for the Study of Communication, Language, and Gender (OSCLG). According to OSCLG’s website, this designation "honors its members who have made significant contributions to the organization and makes available to the membership their experiences as leaders, scholars, and mentors."
Xinzhu Yu, a professor of molecular and integrative physiology, has been named a recipient of the National Institutes of Health Director’s New Innovator Award from the NIH Common Fund’s High-Risk, High-Reward Research program. This award "supports investigators at each career stage who propose innovative research that, due to their inherent risk, may struggle in the traditional NIH peer-review process despite their transformative potential."
Atul Jain, atmospheric sciences, was elected as an American Geophysical Union’s (AGU) Fellow. This program recognizes AGU members who have made exceptional contributions to Earth and space science through a breakthrough, discovery, or innovation in their field. He is one of just 54 individuals elected in the 2023 Class of Fellows.
Chemistry professor Jefferson Chan recently received a 2024 ACS National Award—the Nobel Laureate Signature Award for Graduate Education in Chemistry. He received this award, which recognizes outstanding graduate students and their preceptors in the field of chemistry, for his mentoring of alumna Melissa Lucero (PhD, '22).
Renee Trilling, professor of English, recently received the Best Teaching Aid or Public Outreach award from the International Society for the Study of Early Medieval England. The International Society for the Study of Early Medieval England has "over 500 active members from 20 different countries, ranging from graduate students just starting their careers to the most established scholars in the field."
Wendy Heller—Executive Associate Dean of Social and Behavioral Sciences and Area Centers for the College of LAS and a professor of psychology—has been reappointed to the Presidential Fellowship program for Fall 2023. She will serve as an advisor to the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Nicholas Jones, and President Killeen on matters relating to system-wide strategic initiatives, with special emphasis on fostering leadership of women across our system.
History professor Robert Morrissey has won 2023 Hal K. Rothman Book Prize from the Western History Association for his recent book, "People of the Ecotone." This award is given annually for the best book in western environmental history defined in its broadest sense.
Jane Desmond, professor of anthropology and affiliate faculty with the College of Veterinary Medicine, has been selected for a 2023-2024 Fellowship in Bioethics at Harvard Medical School, a program designed for a dozen thought leaders selected from among applicants from around the world who wish to deepen their work in bioethics. Fellows are chosen on the basis of their previous academic achievements and the contributions they will likely make to the field of bioethics. Desmond will also hold a semester-long international Visiting Fellow research award from the British Academy for fall 2023. During this time she will be in residence at the Institute for Science and Society at the University of Nottingham in the U.K.
The Blavatnik Family Foundation and the New York Academy of Sciences have announced three 2023 laureates of the Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists and the finalists for the award, which include Illinois chemistry professor Prashant Jain.
Aaron Benjamin and Alejandro Lleras (pictured), both faculty members within the Department of Psychology, have received the 2023 Mid-Career Award from the Psychonomic Society. The purpose of the Mid-Career Award is to raise the visibility of psychology and of mid-career scientists who are making excellent scientific contributions to the field.
Chemical & biomolecular engineering professor Xiao Su has been awarded the 2023 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Separations division FRI/John G. Kunesh Award. The recipient of the award is chosen on the basis of their significant discoveries, important research, development of new products and processes, their introduction of new educational concepts, service to the separation division and community.
Merle Bowen (pictured), professor of African American studies, and Ying Diao, professor of chemical & biomolecular engineering, have been named University Scholars in recognition of their excellence in teaching, scholarship, and service. The award is presented by the University of Illinois System to faculty members from the Chicago, Springfield, and Urbana universities.
The Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology has honored Charles Schroeder, professor of chemical & biomolecular engineering, with its 2023 Beckman Institute Vision and Spirit Award. The award honors Beckman Institute Founder Arnold Beckman by recognizing a faculty member who has fostered collaboration in their research and exemplifies his vision.
John Levi Barnard (pictured) and Julie Gaillard, faculty members from the School of Literatures, Cultures & Linguistics, have received a Prize for Research in the Humanities from the Humanities Research Institute. These prizes recognize outstanding humanities research at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
Bo Li, a professor of statistics, has been awarded the ASA Section on Statistics and Environment (ENVR) Distinguished Achievement Award for 2022.
Carol Symes (pictured), professor of history, and Prashant Jain, professor of chemistry, have been named University Scholars in recognition of their excellence in teaching, scholarship, and service. The award is presented by the University of Illinois System to faculty members from the Chicago, Springfield, and Urbana universities.
Psychology professor Kara Federmeier, atmospheric sciences professor Atul Jain, and chemistry professor Liviu Mirica will be awarded the distinction of 2022 Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Fellows are chosen by their peers for outstanding contributions to the field.
Humanities Research Institute director and history professor Antoinette Burton has been named to the Illinois Humanities board of directors. Illinois Humanities, the Illinois affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, is a statewide nonprofit organization that activates the humanities through free public programs, grants, and educational opportunities that foster reflection, spark conversation, build community, and strengthen civic engagement.
Susan Koshy, professor of English, is guest editor of the latest issue of PMLA (October 2022), the flagship journal in literary studies. The special issue focuses on “Monolingualism and Its Discontents” with essays covering a wide range of historical periods, languages, and geographies.
Amy Marshall-Colon, associate professor plant biology, was selected by the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory from its annual Exploratory Call. Her project seeks to expand our understanding of stem cell types and the metabolic dynamics between them, thus creating a molecular atlas of sorghum stem development and increasing our understanding of grass stem biology.
Brett Ashley Kaplan (pictured) and David Wright Faladé were featured authors at the Texas Book Festival, which took place November 5 and 6 in Austin, TX. The Texas Book Festival is one of the premiere literary gatherings in the nation.
Psychology professor Chadly Daniel Stern has been named the 2022-2023 University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Provost Fellow. The Provost Fellows program was created to further develop leadership skills at the university level for some of our most accomplished tenured faculty. Each Provost Fellow focuses on a critical campus strategic initiative to ensure we are living up to our full potential in our scholarly missions.
Martin D. Burke, professor in the Department of Chemistry and in Carle Illinois College of Medicine has been elected to the U.S. National Academy of Medicine. Burke is honored for creating a modular molecular synthesis platform with broad applications in health science and technology, including his pioneering research on molecular prosthetics for cystic fibrosis, and for helping mitigate the spread of COVID-19 with saliva-based testing.
Diwakar Shukla, professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, has been named a Pivot Fellow by the Simons Foundation. The Pivot fellowship program supports researchers who have a strong track record of success and achievement in their current field, as well as a deep interest, curiosity, and drive to make contributions to a new discipline.
Atmospheric sciences department head and professor Jeff Trapp has been awarded the American Geophysical Union’s Gilbert F. White Distinguished Award and Lecture. The AGU Gilbert F. White Distinguished Award and Lecture is given annually to an individual in recognition of outstanding original contributions to the basic knowledge of natural hazards and risks.
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign plant biology professor emeritus Govindjee has been named a recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Society of Photosynthesis Research. Govindjee made pivotal discoveries into the mechanisms that drive photosynthesis in plants and algae and has written dozens of books about the process of photosynthesis.
Andrew Leakey, professor of plant biology; Venetria Patton (pictured), Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; and Eva Pomerantz, professor of psychology have been selected as 2022-23 President’s Executive Leadership Program (PELP) Fellows. PELP is a unique professional development program designed to broaden participants’ understanding of higher education issues and to strengthen their leadership skills related to overseeing a public institution at the university or system level.
Three LAS faculty members have been chosen as Fellows within the OVCRI Faculty Fellows program. Susan Koshy, Erik McDuffie (pictured), and Shaowen Wang will play an important role informing OVCRI thinking and policymaking, developing strategic initiatives, and bringing disciplinary perspectives to OVCRI programs and services.
Tim Dean, James M. Benson Professor in the Department of English, has been chosen to receive the Distinguished Psychoanalytic Educator Award from the International Forum for Psychoanalytic Education. This award is bestowed for "outstanding contributions to psychoanalytic education [...] in clinical and academic settings, representing the broadest possible array of psychoanalytic knowledge."
Sonia Lasher-Trapp, a professor in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences, has been named as a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society. Fellows of the AMS have "made outstanding contributions to the atmospheric or related oceanic or hydrologic sciences or their applications during a substantial period of years."
Chemistry faculty member Lisa Olshansky has been selected to participate in the U.S Department of Energy's Early Career Research Program. This program supports "talented researchers early in their career, [which is] is key to fostering scientific creativity and ingenuity within the national research community," according to DOE Office of Science Director Asmeret Asefaw Berhe.
History professor Maria Todorova has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the oldest honor societies in the nation. Todorova specializes in Eastern Europe, specifically the Balkans in the modern period. Her research focuses on historical demography, nationalism, socialism, and post-communism.
Illinois chemistry professors So Hirata (pictured) and Prashant Jain have received 2022 Guggenheim Fellowships. Hirata and his research team push the limits of quantitative theories and computing technology to interpret and predict the properties of molecules, polymers, solids and liquids. Jain directs a research laboratory on nanoscale light-matter interactions, including using concentrated photons for artificial photosynthesis, inducing emergent chemical reactivity and probing the molecular-level functioning of catalysts.
Alison Bell of the Department of Evolution, Ecology, & Behavior has been selected to receive the 2022 Quest Award for outstanding seminal contribution from the Animal Behavior Society. The Animal Behavior Society is dedicated to promoting and advancing the scientific study of animal behavior; Bell's research is focused on understanding why individual animals behave differently from each other.
Alexandra Harmon-Threatt, a professor of entomology, has been named a Fulbright U.S. Scholar for 2022-2023. Fulbright Scholar Awards are prestigious and competitive fellowships that provide unique opportunities for scholars to teach and conduct research abroad.
Susu Zhang of the Department of Psychology is the receipt of the 2022 Alicia Cascallar Award for Outstanding Paper by an Early Career Scholar from the National Council of Measurement in Education. Zhang received the award for her work on the role and utility of process data in educational measurement.
Adrian Burgos, professor of history and Latina/Latino studies, has been named to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Latino's Scholarly Advisory Committee. This new committee will guide the museum on important matters and provide input on the museum’s comprehensive plan to preserve, document, display/interpret and promote knowledge of U.S. Latino history, art, and culture.
Faye V. Harrison, a professor of African American studies and anthropology, is the recipient of the Bronislaw Malinowski Award from the Society for Applied Anthropology. recognizing her efforts to understand & serve the needs of world's societies. The Bronislaw Malinowski Award is presented to an outstanding social scientist in recognition of efforts to understand and serve the needs of the world's societies, and who has actively pursued the goal of solving human problems using the concepts and tools of social science during one's entire career.
Chemical & biomolecular engineering professor William Hammack has been elected to National Academy of Engineering "for innovations in multidisciplinary engineering education, outreach and service to the profession through development and communication of internet-delivered content." Hammack is the creator and host of the popular “engineerguy” video series on YouTube and has created more than 200 segments for public radio that describe what engineers do, why they do it and how.
The Michelson Medical Research Foundation and Human Vaccines Project has recognized three outstanding early career researchers, including University of Illinois biochemistry professor Nicholas Wu, with the Michelson Prizes: Next Generation Grants. Each winner will be awarded $150,000 to enable their high-impact ideas to advance human immunology, vaccine discovery, and immunotherapy.
Entomology professor Esther Ngumbi has been named Difference Maker of the Year, the highest accolade of the E&T Innovation Awards. Ngumbi and her parents founded the Dr. Ndumi Faulu Academy, a school for children in Kenya, in 2012. In 2014, she created Oyeska Greens, a startup that teaches smallholder farmers how to use updated technologies and methods in agriculture.