LAS professors bring honor and recognition to the college.

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July 2019

  • Prashant Jain

    Prashant Jain of chemistry (pictured) and Daniel Llano of molecular and integrative physiology have been named recipients of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on young professionals at the outset of their independent research careers. The young scientists and engineers receive up to a five-year research grant to further their study in support of critical government missions.

June 2019

  • Rhanor Gillette

    Rhanor Gillette (Mollecular and Cellular Biology) is part of a team that has received a Multi-university Research Initiative (MURI) award. According to the Coordinated Science Laboratory at Illinois, this $7.5 million award is for building a Cyberoctopus, a software equivalent to the marine animal that will help understand and leverage an octopus's ability to conduct distributed inference and decision-making, its embodied control and intelligence, and its ability to learn new behavior quickly.

  • Xiaohui Chen

    Professor Xiaohui Chen of statistics was recently awarded the International Chinese Statistical Association (ICSA) 2019 Outstanding Young Researcher Award. This award is presented to young scholars in recognition of outstanding research in statistical theory, methodology, and/or applications. Chen's fundamental contributions to high-dimensional statistics, time series analysis, and statistical machine learning were cited by the ICSA for bestowing this award. 

  • Ruth Nicole Brown

    Seven University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of LAS faculty have been named to the inaugural cohort for the Public Voices Fellowship, a University of Illinois system-wide program that aims to increase the range of voices and quality of ideas shared publicly. These faculty include Ruth Nicole Brown (gender and women’s studies, pictured), Jane Desmond (anthropology), Julie Dowling (Latina/Latino studies), Cara Finnegan (communication), Rini Bhattacharya Mehta (comparative & world literature), Ruby Mendenhall (sociology), and Gilberto Rosas (anthropology).

May 2019

  • Kevin Leicht

    Three LAS professors have been selected as NCSA faculty fellows, a program that provides funding for new collaborative projects between NCSA staff and Illinois researchers. Kevin Leicht of sociology (pictured), Rina Mehta of comparative and world literature, and Diwakar Shukla of chemical and biomolecular engineering will complete projects that aim to examine the spread of medical misinformation, map the media history of current times, and make biomolecular dynamics accessible, respectively.

  • Lisa Guntzviller

    Six LAS professors have received 2019 Campus Distinguished Promotion Awards from the University of Illinois Office of the Provost. These awards celebrate scholars whose contributions have been extraordinary in terms of quality of work and overall achievement. Awardees include Lisa Guntzviller (communication, pictured), Vera (Mi Kyoung) Hur (mathematics), Auinash Kalsotra (biochemistry), Heidemarie Laurent (psychology), Supriya Prasanth (cellular and developmental biology), and Francois Prouix (French and Italian).

  • Bill Hammack

    Chemical and biomolecular engineering professor Bill Hammack, known around the world as “The Engineer Guy,” has been chosen to receive the Carl Sagan Award for the Public Appreciation of Science. This award, given annually by the Council of Scientific Society Presidents (CSSP), recognizes outstanding achievement in improving the public understanding and appreciation of science.

  • Stephen P. Long

    University of Illinois plant biology and crop sciences professor Stephen P. Long has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, recognized for “distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.” Long uses computational and experimental approaches to improve photosynthetic efficiency, working to address the effects of climate change on crop yield.

April 2019

  • A. Naomi Paik

    A. Naomi Paik, professor of Asian American studies, has received the 2018-2019 IPRH Prize for Research in the Humanities at the faculty level. This prize, which recognizes outstanding humanities research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, was bestowed for Paik's piece "Between Rights and Rightlessness: Haitian Migrants and the Elusive Promises of Humanitarianism," emisférica 14, no. 1.

  • Eduardo Ledesma

    Spanish & Portuguese professor Eduardo Ledesma has been awarded the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer stipend. This award will provide financial support for continuous work on his current book project, "Blind Cinema: Visually Impaired Filmmakers and Technologies of Sight."

  • Joyce Tolliver

    Three LAS faculty have received Campus Awards for Excellence in Faculty Leadership. Joyce Tolliver of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese has received the Outstanding Faculty Leadership Award, awarded for extraordinary leadership contributions that advance the excellence of a unit, a college, and campus. Bob Rauber of atmospheric sciences and Wendy Heller of psychology have received the Executive Officer Distinguished Leadership Award, which recognizes outstanding academic leadership and vision on campus.

  • Vincent Cervantes

    Vincent Cervantes of Spanish & Portuguese and gender and women's studies has been awarded the Criticism & Interpretive Theory Junior Research Fellowship for the years 2019-2021. This fellowship, bestowed by the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory, will support Cervantes' current book "A Body Exposed: The Aesthetics of Sex, Death, and Mexicanness."

  • Catherine Murphy

    Catherine J. Murphy, Larry Faulkner Endowed Chair in Chemistry, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The Academy recognizes excellent leaders from various fields who address important world issues and work together to advance humanity through art and science.

  • Mei Shen

    Six LAS faculty have received Campus Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, including Brian Allan (entomology), Manisha Basu (English), Philipp Hieronymi (mathematics), Sandra Ruiz (Latina/Latino studies and English), Isaac DiIanni (economics), and Karle Flanagan (statistics). Additionally, Anna Maria Escobar (Spanish and Portuguese) received the Campus Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Mentoring, and Mei Shen (chemistry) received the Campus Award for Excellence in Guiding Undergraduate Research.

  • Marsha Barrett

    History professor Marsha Barrett has received a 2019 fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies. Through this fellowship, which aims to support scholarship in the humanities and social sciences, Barrett will complete a book manuscript on former New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller, moderate Republicanism, and racial liberalism during and after the civil rights movement.

  • Nafissa Thompson-Spires

    Nafissa Thompson-Spires of the Department of English has been awarded a 2019 Whiting Award, the United States' largest literary award for emerging writers. This award is presented annually to ten emerging writers as an indicator of future literary greatness.

March 2019

  • Philippe Di Francesco

    Three professors in the Department of MathematicsPhilippe Di Francesco, Rinat Kedem, and Xiaochun Li—have received Simons Fellowships. The Simons Foundation states that this fellowship "extends academic leaves, enabling recipients to focus solely on research for the long periods often necessary for significant advances."

  • Jessica Birkenholtz

    Several College of LAS faculty have received fellowships from the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities. They include Jessica Birkenholtz (religion), Claudia Brosseder (history), Andrew Gaedtke (English), Eduardo Ledesma (Spanish & Portuguese), Ghassan Moussawi (gender & women’s studies and sociology), Ramón Soto-Crespo (English), and Dustin Tahmahkera (American Indian studies). Additionally, Tamara Chaplin (history) has been awarded an IPRH New Horizons Summer Faculty Research Fellowship.

  • Jessica Conroy

    Department of Geology and Department of Plant Biology professor Jessica Conroy has been awarded a National Science Foundation CAREER Award for "Ocean-atmosphere interactions through the lens of stable water isotopologues.” Thanks to this award, Conroy will advance understanding of the water cycle in the tropical Pacific, including addressing uncertainties in patterns of precipitation and evaporation.

  • John Karam

    John Karam of the Department of Spanish & Portuguese has received a Fulbright Scholar award to conduct research in Brazil for two summers. As a Fulbright recipient, Karam will have the opportunity to work collaboratively with international partners in educational, political, cultural, economic, and scientific fields.

February 2019

  • Diwakar Shukla

    Chemical & biomolecular engineering professor Diwakar Shukla is a recipient of a Sloan Research Fellowship from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. This award "honors early career scholars whose achievements mark them as among the most promising researchers in their fields," according to the foundation. He received the award for his work using physics-based models and techniques to understand complex biological processes.

  • Hans Hock

    Professor Hans Hock of the Department of Linguistics has received an Honorary Life Membership from the Societas Linguistica Europaea for his service to the society. He also received an Honorary Doctor of Letters (D.Litt.) award from the Deccan College Post-Graduate and Research Institute, Pune, India. This honor was bestowed for his work in historical linguistics and Sanskrit.

  • William Guenthner

    William Guenthner, assistant professor in the Department of Geology, was awarded a National Science Foundation CAREER Award to analyze the thermal histories of rocks in the upper 10 kilometers of Earth’s crust. Thanks to this award, Guenthner will be able to conduct research to better understand erosion and uplift.

  • Mara Wade

    Mara Wade of Germanic languages and literatures has received the Reimar Luest Prize for International Research Cultural Exchange, a Humboldt Foundation research prize. Wade will use the prize to continue her research on how emblems have been used as forms of communication.

January 2019

  • Elizabeth Ainsworth

    Plant biology and crop sciences professor Elizabeth Ainsworth has received the 2019 National Academy of Sciences Prize in Food and Agriculture Sciences. She is honored for researching how climate change will affect crops.

  • Jenny Davis

    Jenny Davis, professor of anthropology, American Indian studies, and gender and women's studies, has been appointed as a Chancellor's Fellow of Indigenous Research and Ethics. The two-year fellowship is a newly created position to ensure that Illinois is knowledgeable and complying with U.S. and tribal government policies and protocols.

  • Monica McDermott

    Monica McDermott, a professor of sociology, has been recognized as a Russell Sage Foundation visiting scholar. While in residence, the scholars will pursue research and writing projects that reflect the foundation’s commitment to strengthening the social sciences and conducting research to “improve social and living conditions in the United States.” McDermott will study the attitudes and beliefs of white working-class individuals toward racial minorities and the changing demographics of the U.S.

December 2018

  • Daniel Leon

    Daniel Leon, a professor in the Department of Classics, was awarded the Arnold O. Beckman Research Award for his project "Disability and Monarchy in Ancient Macedonia." This Campus Research Board award comes with a substantial budget to conduct field work and research in Greece for this book project.

  • Eric Calderwood

    Eric Calderwood of Comparative & World Literature received honorable mention for the MLA’s William Riley Parker Prize for an outstanding article published in PMLA, the journal of the Modern Language Association of America. He is being recognized for, “Franco’s Hajj: Moroccan Pilgrims, Spanish Fascism, and the Unexpected Journeys of Modern Arabic Literature,” which appeared in the October 2017 issue.

  • Lisa Ainsworth

    Six faculty members in the College of LAS have been named to the 2018 Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researchers list. They include crop sciences and plant biology professor Lisa Ainsworth  (highly cited in plant and animal science; pictured), chemistry professor Prashant Jain (cross-field), crop sciences and plant biology professor Stephen P. Long (plant and animal science), chemistry professor Catherine Murphy (cross-field), chemistry professor Yi Lu, and plant biology professor Donald Ort (plant and animal science).

November 2018

  • Scott Poole

    Professor Marshall Scott Poole of communication received the Ernest Bormann Research Award for the Best Book of 2018 from the Group Communication Division of the National Communication Association. The award was for the book, "Group Processes: Data-Driven Computational Approaches." Poole won the award with Illinois PhD alumnus Andy Pilny.

  • Andrew Leakey

    Professors Andrew Leakey and Ray Ming of plant biology have been elected a AAAS Fellows. The distinction recognizes "efforts on behalf of the advancement of science or its applications are scientifically or socially distinguished."

  • Mara Wade

    Mara Wade of Germanic languages and literatures has received the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation's Reimar Lüst-Preis für internationale Wissenschafts- und Kulturvermittlung. It translates to the Reimar Lüst Prize for International Research Cultural Exchange. The award recognizes scholars' excellence in international research and ability to foster research relations between their home country and Germany.

  • Diwakar Shukla

    Diwakar Shukla, a Blue Waters Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, has won a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation. It's titled, "Reinforcement Learning of the Free Energy Landscapes of Proteins."

    In addition, Shukla recently won the CoMSEF Young Investigator Award from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, as well as theOpenEye Outstanding Junior Faculty Award in Computational Chemistry from the COMP Division of the American Chemical Society.

  • Don Wuebbles

    Don Wuebbles, the Harry E. Preble Endowed Professor of atmospheric sciences, has received the 2018 Bert Bolin Global Environmental Change Award and was selected as the lecturer of the AGU Global Environmental Change section. This honor, given by the American Geophysical Union, was given for, "groundbreaking research and/or leadership in global environmental change through cross-disciplinary, interdisciplinary, and transdisciplinary research in the past 10 years.”

  • Faye V. Harrison

    Faye V. Harrison, of anthropology and African American studies, has been awarded the American Anthropological Association's President's Award. It recognizes her role and leadership in uniting global anthropology under the World Anthropological Union.

October 2018

  • May Berenbaum

    May Berenbaum, the Swanlund Chair of Entomology has been appointed editor-in-chief of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. PNAS is among the most influential scientific journals in the world. It publishes original research reports, commentaries, perspectives, colloquium papers, and actions of the academy.

  • Christina White

    M. Christina White of chemistry is the 2019 winner of the ACS Award for Creative Work in Synthetic Organic Chemistry, one of the American Chemical Society's highest national awards. The award recognizes White for her pioneering studies on selective functionalization of aliphatic and allylic C-H bonds to form C-O, C-N and C-C bonds.

  • Mei-Po Kwan

    Mei-Po Kwan of geography and geographic information science has been named a fellow of United Kingdom's Academy of Social Sciences. The academy's mission is to promote social science in the United Kingdom for the public benefit.

  • Renske van der Veen

    Renske van der Veen of chemistry has received a Science and Engineering Fellowship from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. The fellowship provides funding over five years for an early-career faculty member to pursue research.

  • Gene Robinson

    Gene Robinson, the Swanlund Chair of Entomology has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine. Election to the Academy is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine and recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service.

  • Photo courtesy of Prashant Jan's Twitter

    Prashant Jain of chemistry has been admitted by the Council to the Royal Society of Chemistry as a fellow. Fellowships are the highest level of membership one can attain with the society, and require a high professional standing and a significant impact in the chemical sciences.

  • Zaida "Zan" Luthey-Schulten

    Zaida "Zan" Luthey-Schulten of chemistry has been selected as a fellow of the Biophysical Society. The honor is for those who have demonstrated excellence in science, contributed to the expansion of the field of biophysics, and supported the Biophysical Society throughout their careers

  • Rebecca Sandefur

    Rebecca Sandefur of sociology has been awarded a 2018 MacArthur Fellowship, commonly known as a genius grant, from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Sandefur will use the award "to help bring new attention and new energy to solving what has been so far an intractable problem, the critical issue of access to civil justice."

September 2018

  • Joaquín Rodriguez-López

    Joaquín Rodríguez-López of chemistry has been named to Science News magazine's SN 10: Scientists to Watch list, a distinction spotlighting early- and mid-career scientists for tackling major challenges facing science and society. He won for his efforts to expand affordable, renewable energy by designing materials to better store electric charge.

  • Luisa-Elena Delgado

    Luisa-Elena Delgado of Spanish and Portuguese and Alison Bell of animal biology have been recognized as University Scholars in recognition of their excellence in teaching, scholarship and service.


  • Photo Courtesy of Carle Illinois College of Medicine

    Wilfred van der Donk, the Richard E. Heckert Chair of Chemistry, has had his appointment as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator renewed until 2025. He was first appointed to the prestigious position in 2008.


  • Leanne Knobloch

    Leanne Knobloch of communication was recognized with the National Communication Association's Charles H. Woolbert Award for Research. She won for co-authoring "A model of relational turbulence," published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships in 2004. The Woolbert award is given to recognize an article published between 10 and 15 years ago that "has stood the test of time."

August 2018

  • Jeffrey Moore

    Jeffrey S. Moore, the Stanley O. Ikenberry Endowed Chair in chemistry, was recognized with the U.S. Secretary of Energy's Achievement Award for his work as a member of the Scientific and Operational Leadership team for the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research project.

  • Marianne Kalinke

    Marianne Kalinke, the Trowbridge Chair in Literary Studies, emerita, and professor emerita of Germanic languages and literatures, was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Order of the Falcon. It's the highest honor the Icelandic state can bestow on individuals. Kalinke was honored for her research, scholarship, and teaching of medieval Icelandic literature.