Faculty Honors 2015
LAS professors bring honor and recognition to the college.
Four LAS faculty members received National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowships. They include Eugene Avrutin of history; Eric Calderwood of comparative and world literature; Cara Finnegan of communication; and Derrick Spiresof English.
Five faculty members affiliated with LAS were named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. They include University President Tim Killeen, an affiliate in atmospheric sciences; William Metcalf, microbiology; Ralph Nuzzo, chemistry and materials science and engineering; Stephen Portnoy, emeritus in statistics; and Hong Yang, chemical and biomolecular engineering.
Donald Ort, the Robert Emerson Professor of Plant Biology, was inducted into the United States Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service Science Hall of Fame.
Mary Kraft received the 2015 Early Career Research Award from the Prairie Chapter of the American Vacuum Society. She presented an award talk at the AVS Prarie Chapter 2015 Symposium at the University of Notre Dame. Kraft is a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering.
Carla Eva Cáceres, professor of animal biology, has been named a 2015 University Scholar. Caceres is a leading ecologist who works on aquatic ecosystems. Her main study organism has been the water flea.
Clare Haru Crowston, professor of history, has been named a 2015 University Scholar. Crowston is a leading historian who has published two books about women in early modern France.
Julie Dowling, professor of Latina/Latino studies, was awarded an honorable mention for the Oliver Cromwell Cox Book Award at the American Sociological Association (ASA) meetings for her recent book, Mexican Americans and the Question of Race. The award is given by ASA’s Section on Racial and Ethnic Minorities for the most outstanding book on sociology of race and ethnicity.
Joy Harjo, professor of English and American Indian Studies, has been awarded the Wallace Stevens Award, the highest honor granted by the Academy of American Poets. The award, which carries a $100,000 stipend, is given annually to recognize outstanding and proven mastery in the art of poetry. Harjo has written numerous books and won several awards for her poetry.
Leanne K. Knobloch, professor of communication, has been named a 2015 University Scholar. Knobloch researches how people communicate in close relationships, focusing on periods of transition for couples. Her expertise is being relied upon at very high levels of the military.
Emad Tajkhorshid, professor of biochemistry, biophysics, computational biology, and pharmacology, has been named a 2015 University Scholar. He has a spectacular record in biomedical sciences with remarkable productivity in the areas of computational biology, biophysics, and membrane proteins. His extensive research program is housed in the prestigious Beckman Institute and in the cross-campus interdisciplinary Center for Biophysics and Quantitative Biology located in Urbana.
James Best was elected a 2015 fellow of the American Geophysical Union. As a fellow, Best is recognized as someone whose has made exceptional contributions to Earth and space sciences. Best is the Jack and Richard Threet Professor of Geology and a professor of Geography and Geographic Information Science.
Six professors in or affiliated with the College of LAS have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, one of the highest honors a scientist can receive. Renée Baillargeon, professor of psychology; Gary Dell, professor of psychology; Catherine Murphy, professor of chemistry; Steve Granick, professor emeritus of materials science and engineering (and affiliated with the departments of chemistry and chemical and biomolecular engineering); Taekjip Ha, professor of physics and Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator; and John Rogers, professor of materials science and engineering (and affiliated with the Department of Chemistry) were among 84 new members and 21 foreign associates announced by the Academy.
Sara McLafferty, professor and department head of geography and geographic information sciences, recently won the prestigious 2015 Melinda S. Meade Distinguished Scholarship Award in Health and Medical Geography from the American Association of Geographers. This award recognizes her contributions in research, teaching, and decades of service in the field.
Ryan Foley, professor of astronomy and physics, received a 2015 Sloan Research Fellowship from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The two-year program awards the fellows $50,000 to pursue their choice of research topics and gives the researchers flexibility in applying funds toward their research. Foley studies exploding stars and other celestial transient objects. He discovered and characterized a peculiar class of exploding stars, Type Iax supernovae. He also uses Type Ia supernovae to measure the expansion and investigate the content of the universe.
Alison Fout, professor of chemistry, received a 2015 Sloan Research Fellowship from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The two-year program awards the fellows $50,000 to pursue their choice of research topics and gives the researchers flexibility in applying funds toward their research. Fout focuses on addressing environmental, biological, and energy problems by designing transition metal complexes and catalysts to understand the activation and transformation of greenhouse gases into novel compounds.