Academics

Outstanding faculty and students honored at annual College of EMS awards banquet

Chiara Lo Prete, assistant professor of energy economics, received a Gladys Snyder Junior Faculty Grant for her research proposal “Understanding the Impacts of Water Scarcity on the Evolution of the U.S. Electric Power System.” Lo Prete is pictured with Dean William Easterling. Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The College of Earth and Mineral Sciences (EMS) hosted its annual Wilson Awards Banquet on April 23, when Dean William Easterling presented awards recognizing the college’s outstanding students and faculty. The awards banquet is the college’s annual celebration of faculty and student accomplishments and is named in honor of Matthew and Anne Wilson, major benefactors of the college.

This year’s recipients are listed below.

Celebrating Excellence in Research Awards

Wilson Award for Excellence in Research
The Wilson Award for Excellence in Research is the college’s highest research honor. This award is given in recognition of scholarly or creative excellence represented by a single contribution or a series of contributions around a coherent theme. The contribution may be original basic research or may represent the application of knowledge in the creation of a process or device useful to society. This year’s recipients are:

  • Terry Engelder, professor of geosciences
  • Alan Taylor, professor of geography

George H. Deike, Jr. Research Grant
The George H. Deike, Jr. Research Grant is awarded in support of an innovative research project. This year’s recipient is:

  • Eugene Morgan, assistant professor of petroleum and natural gas engineering, selected for his proposal “Big Data Analytics for Unconventional Gas Production Forecasting”

E. Willard and Ruby S. Miller Faculty Fellowship
The E. Willard and Ruby S. Miller Faculty Fellowship was created to support faculty of exceptional creativity, who propose highly innovative approaches to major contemporary challenges in the earth, energy and material sciences. This year’s recipient is:

  • Peter Heaney, professor of geosciences, selected for his proposal “Manganese Minerals as the Template for Photosynthesis”

Wilson Research Initiation Grant
The Wilson Research Initiation Grant is intended to jump-start the research of a new tenure-track faculty member. This year’s recipient is:

  • Bronwen Powell, assistant professor of geography and African studies, selected for her proposal “Foodsheds of healthy traditional foods in Morocco: Agrobiodiversity and landscape diversity for improved diet quality”

Celebrating Excellence in Teaching Awards

Wilson Award for Excellence in Teaching
This award is given in recognition of outstanding teaching represented by performance in a single course of instruction or a series of contributions around a coherent theme. The contribution may represent application of knowledge in a traditional classroom setting, field course or online education. This year’s recipient is:

  • Donald Fisher, professor of geosciences

G. Montgomery and Marion Hall Mitchell Award for Innovative Teaching
This award was created in 1998 to recognize faculty members in the college who use innovative teaching techniques in their courses.

This year’s recipient is:

  • Timothy Bralower, professor of geosciences

George H. K. Schenck Teaching Assistant Award

This award was created to honor and to recognize a graduate student in the college who has performed his or her responsibility as a graduate teaching assistant in an exemplary manner. This year’s recipient is:

  • Thomas Nigl, doctoral candidate and teaching assistant in materials science and engineering

Celebrating Excellence in Service Awards

Wilson Award for Outstanding Service
Created in 1999, the Wilson Service Award honors exceptional achievement in service and is given in recognition of meritorious service represented by a single contribution or a series of contributions around a coherent theme. This year’s recipients are:

  • Mark Klima, associate professor of mineral processing and geo-environmental engineering
  • David Titley, professor of practice, Department of Meteorology and Atmospheric Science

Faculty Advising Award

Created in 2013, the Faculty Advising Award honors exceptional achievement in the advising of undergraduate students; the contribution may represent any facet of strong academic advising, including educational planning, exposure to research opportunities, identification of internships and other aspects of advising. This year’s recipient is:

  • Allen Kimel, assistant professor of materials science and engineering and associate head, undergraduate programs, Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Faculty Mentoring Award

The Faculty Mentoring Award honors a faculty member who invests in the success of others, whether it is a new faculty member, a student or a staff member. This award recognizes the generous contribution of time and energy it takes to mentor in teaching, research and service. This year’s recipients are:

  • Andrew Carleton, professor of geography
  • Michael Hickner, associate professor of materials science and engineering

25-Year Service Awards

  • Long-Qing Chen, Donald W. Hamer Professor of Materials Science and Engineering,
  • Katherine Freeman, Evan Pugh University Professor of Geosciences
  • Mark Klima, associate professor of mineral processing and geo-environmental engineering
  • Mark Patzkowsky, professor of geosciences

Special Academic Recognition Awards

Paul F. Robertson Award for EMS Breakthrough of the Year
This award was created in 2012 with support from a generous gift by EMS alumnus Paul F. Robertson. This award is given for singular research or teaching achievements communicated in one or a small series of articles, reports or presentations. Qualifying breakthroughs may be in research or in the scholarship of teaching. This year’s recipient, honored for his breakthrough research on cold sintering, is:

  • Clive Randall, professor of materials science and engineering and director of the Material Research Institute

Charles L. Hosler Alumni Scholar Medal
The Charles L. Hosler Alumni Scholar Medal was established in 1992 to recognize the achievements of alumni who have made outstanding contributions to the development of science through research, teaching or administrative leadership with emphasis given to those who have earned doctoral degrees. This year’s recipient is:

  • Jim Steenburgh professor of atmospheric sciences, University of Utah

Celebrating Junior Faculty Accomplishments

Gladys Snyder Junior Faculty Grants
The Gladys Snyder Junior Faculty Grants are given for the development of new courses or the improvement of current offerings, for travel to professional meetings, to broaden the studies of junior faculty members and/or to recognize significant contributions in research efforts.

This year’s recipients are:

  • Kimberly Del Bright, Giles Writer-in-Residence, Ryan Family Student Center, for her proposal “Using Narratives of Climate Change in the Peruvian Andes and Coastal Mountains of Southeast Alaska to Improve Communication Skills”
  • Matthew Kumjian, assistant professor of meteorology, for his proposal “Snowflake Selfies: Engaging Students in Snow Research with their Smartphones”
  • Chiara Lo Prete, assistant professor of energy economics, for her proposal “Understanding the Impacts of Water Scarcity on the Evolution of the U.S. Electric Power System”
  • Andrew Smye, assistant professor of geosciences, for his proposal “Materials to Support Creation of an Advanced Petrology Course”
  • Jon Nese, associate head for undergraduate programs and senior lecturer, meteorology and atmospheric science, and David Titley, professor of practice in meteorology and atmospheric science, for their proposal “Development of an S2S Weather Forecast Verification System (SWeaVerS)”

Student Achiev