STEM Diversity Institute Hosts Lunch Honoring Three Women Faculty
4/30/14 On Wednesday, April 23rd, the STEM Diversity Institute hosted a “Women Celebrating Women” lunch to honor three outstanding women STEM members of faculty. The honorees were Aura Ganz, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, recent winner of the Outstanding Senior Faculty Award, Shelly Peyton, Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering, recent winner the 2014 Barbara H. and Joseph I. Goldstein Outstanding Junior Faculty Award, and Erin Baker, Associate Professor of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, the first winner of the new annual Distinguished Graduate Mentor Award.
Dr. Erin Baker is the Director of the UMass IGERT Offshore Wind Energy Program funded by a $3.2 million grant from the NSF. The project includes more than 25 members of faculty from the College of Engineering, the College of Natural Sciences, the School of Behavioral Sciences and the Isenberg School of Management. Through the IGERT, Dr. Baker has developed and instituted transformative educational opportunities for graduate students in the program. In addition, she has been very active in recruiting and retention efforts to diversify the graduate student population in her own group and in the IGERT program.
Dr. Aura Ganz is a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the Director of the Mobile Evolution Laboratory. During the past five years alone, she secured more than $3.5 million in external funding, including $2.5 million from the NIH to develop two ground-breaking technologies. One of these, PERCEPT, is a seeing-eye directory for the visually impaired that provides verbal directions, electronic signs, and a virtual information booth via mobile phones for navigating in indoor environments. The second project, DIORAMA, is an electronic disaster-management system designed to drastically reduce by half the evacuation time of survivors. Dr. Ganz has published more than 250 journal and conference papers, received numerous best paper awards, and received over funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Dr. Shelly Peyton is a Barry and Afsaneh Siadat Career Development Faculty Fellow and one of 22 nationwide Pew Scholars in the Biomedical Sciences. She was also awarded the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award that supports creative new investigators with highly innovative projects. Dr. Peyton develops synthetic polymers as ‘tissue mimics’ to test her theory on the metastasization of breast cancer to certain organs and the optimal method for blocking the spread. Since arriving at UMass Amherst in 2011, she has received grants totaling over $3.5 million from the NIH, NSF, the American Heart Foundation, and the Pew Charitable Trusts.
Congratulations Erin, Aura, and Shelly!