Awards and Honors

Picture of UMass Amherst faculty dressed in regalia.

Calzetti Elected to the National Academy of Sciences

Daniela Calzetti, professor and head of astronomy at UMass Amherst, has been elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) panel “in recognition of distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.” A specialist in how galaxies evolve, Calzetti is known worldwide for “Calzetti’s Law,” a tool she developed in the mid-1990s that, among other things, allows astronomers to estimate how much information they are missing due to dust obscuring probes of very distant galaxies.

The honor is “a widely recognized mark of excellence in science and one of the highest honors a scientist can receive,” according to NAS. Calzetti is one of 120 United States and 26 international new members who will receive individual citations for their specific research contributions at a formal induction ceremony at the 2021 NAS National Meeting.

Kurose Named to National Academy of Engineering

Distinguished Professor James Kurose of the College of Information and Computer Sciences has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering for “contributions to the design and analysis of network protocols for multimedia communication.”

Election to the academy is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer, the organization points out. Academy membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to “engineering research, practice, or education, including, where appropriate, significant contributions to the engineering literature” and to “the pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education.”

Brigham-Grette Honored with Humboldt Research Award

Geosciences professor Julie Brigham-Grette has been honored by Germany’s Alexander von Humboldt Foundation with its coveted Humboldt Research Award. She is being recognized for her career-long achievements developing paleoclimate records. The award is granted in recognition of a researcher’s entire achievements to date to academics whose fundamental discoveries, new theories, or insights have had a significant impact on their own discipline and who are expected to continue producing cutting-edge achievements in the future.

Wang Receives Early Career Award

The U.S. Department of Energy has chosen assistant professor of physics Chen Wang to be an Early Career Award recipient. The award provides university-based researchers with at least $150,000 per year in research support for five years.

Chen’s project involves enhancing quantum bit (qubit) performance by harnessing friction—usually an unwelcome source of error in quantum devices—to make qubits perform with fewer errors. The work is most relevant for quantum computing, with potential applications in cryptography, communications and simulations.

Nagurney Receives 2020 Harold Larnder Prize

Anna Nagurney, the John F. Smith Memorial Professor at the Isenberg School and director of the Virtual Center for Supernetworks, is the recipient of the 2020 Harold Larnder Prize, which is awarded annually to an individual who has achieved international distinction in operational research. Nagurney is the award’s 35th recipient and only the second female to be so recognized.


AASCU Names Krauthamer to 2020 Millenium Leadership Initiative

Barbara Krauthamer, dean of the College of Humanities and Fine Arts, joins a new class of 31 senior-level higher education professionals in the 2020 Millennium Leadership Initiative (MLI), a premier leadership development program of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU).

MLI provides individuals traditionally underrepresented in the highest ranks of postsecondary education with the opportunity to develop skills, gain a philosophical overview, and build the network and knowledge needed to advance to the presidency.

Siegelmann Awarded DARPA Meritorious Public Service Medal

College of Information and Computer Sciences professor Hava T. Siegelmann has received the rarely awarded Meritorious Public Service Medal from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) of the United States Department of Defense. It is the third-highest honor the Department of the Army can bestow on a private citizen.

Her citation reads, “She created and managed some of DARPA’s largest and most advanced AI programs, including L2M—developing next-generation advanced AI systems capable of learning in real time and applying learning to environments and circumstances not specifically trained for.” Siegelmann was recognized for an “exceptionally productive” term at DARPA, which included developing a system that administers insulin plus dextrose to maintain glucose at safe levels for patients in critical care and those with diabetes; sensors to identify dangerous chemicals from a safe distance; collaborative, secure learning systems that allow group collaboration without revealing sensitive data; and methods to identify attacks by reverse engineering to secure the system and find the attacker.

Fountain Named to List of Most Influential People in Digital Government

Distinguished Professor Jane Fountain of the School of Public Policy, the Department of Political Science, and director of the National Center for Digital Government, has been named to a list of the “100 Most Influential People in Digital Government” for the second year in a row. The list, compiled by Apolitical, a peer-to-peer learning platform for governments, recognizes people making the biggest impact in digital government around the world.


 Cheung Receives Coveted Plant Biology Excellence Award

Alice Cheung, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, has received the American Society of Plant Biologists 2020 Lawrence Bogorad Award for Excellence in Plant Biology Research. The award is made every other year to “a plant scientist whose work both illuminates the present and suggests paths to enlighten the future.”


White House Selects Saha for Early Career Award

Algorithm and data management expert Barna Saha, associate professor in the College of Information and Computer Sciences, was chosen by the White House to receive the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers—the highest U.S. award given to rising stars of science and technology who work at the frontiers of new research and ideas. The award recognizes outstanding scientists and engineers who show exceptional promise in their early career for leadership in science and technology.

Nahmod Receives Coveted Simons Foundation Grant

Mathematics professor Andrea R. Nahmod has been named a principal investigator for an $8 million Simons Foundation Collaboration in Mathematical and Physical Sciences that will involve leading mathematics and physics researchers in the United States and Europe in a systematic, coordinated study of wave turbulence. It is the most prestigious and coveted of the collaboration grants given by the Simons Foundation.

Dimitrakopoulos Named Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors

Christos Dimitrakopoulos, professor of chemical engineering, has been named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. He is one of 168 prolific academic innovators from across the world who have been elected to the 2019 class of Fellows.

Table of Contents

Five College of Engineering Faculty Win NSF CAREER Grants

Five faculty members in the College of Engineering have been awarded National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) grants. Four of the recipients of the five-year grants, Lauren B. Andrews, Peter J. Beltramo, Jungwoo Lee, and Sarah L. Perry, are assistant professors in chemical engineering, while Xian Du is an assistant professor in mechanical and industrial engineering. These rising stars conduct research in emerging areas, such as therapeutics and vaccine development, tissue engineering, biomanufacturing, biosensors, and flexible electronics.

From the left: Du, Andrews, Beltramo, Lee, and Perry.