Excellence celebrated at annual awards banquet

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The College of Earth and Mineral Sciences hosted its annual Wilson Awards Banquet on Sunday, April 27. The banquet is the college’s annual celebration of faculty and student accomplishments. Dean William Easterling presented more than 50 awards to students and fellow faculty.

The Wilson Awards Banquet is named in honor of Matthew and Anne Wilson who through their bequests are the major benefactors of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. Their endowment provides the college with support for its well-known student loan program and a number of faculty and student awards and scholarships. Matthew Wilson graduated from Penn State in 1918 with a bachelor’s degree in mining engineering.

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 recipient is:

-- James Runt, professor of polymer science

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 for his proposal “An Integrated Experimental and Analytical Approach to Production Performance Analysis of Liquid Rich Shale Reservoirs” is Luis Ayala, associate professor of petroleum and natural gas engineering and associate department head for Graduate Education in the John and Willie Leone Family Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering.

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 for his proposal “Electro-Capacitive Desalination (ECD) as a Sustainability Solution for Brackish and Contaminated Water Resources” is Randy Vander Wal, professor of energy and mineral engineering, and materials science and engineering.

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 for her proposal, “Graphene-mediated Imaging of Nanostructures” is Nasim Alem, assistant professor of materials science and engineering.

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 on-line education. This year’s recipient is:

-- Jeffrey Brownson, associate professor of energy and mineral engineering

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:

-- Anthony Robinson, lead faculty, GIS certificate and master of geographic information systems programs in the John A. Dutton e-Education Institute

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 their responsibility as a graduate teaching assistant in an exemplary manner. This year’s recipient is:

-- Anna Domask, teaching assistant in the Department of 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 recipient is:

-- Cynthia Brewer, professor of geography

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:

-- Mark Klima, associate head, John and Willie Leone Family Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering, and associate professor of mineral processing and geo-environmental 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 recipient is:

-- Venkatraman Gopalan, professor of materials science and engineering

25-Year Service Awards

-- Richard Alley, Evan Pugh Professor of Geosciences

-- William Brune, head and distinguished professor of meteorology

-- Donald Fisher, professor of geosciences

-- James Kasting, Evan Pugh Professor of Geosciences

SPECIAL 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 recipients honored for their pioneering research on slow earthquakes are:

-- Don Fisher, professor of geosciences

-- Chris Marone, professor of geophysics

-- Demian Saffer, professor of geosciences

Charles L. Hosler Alumni Scholar Award
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:

-- Ronald Latanision (metallurgy, Class of 1964)

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:

-- David Miller, research assistant in meteorology, for his proposal “A Certified Labview Developer Training”

-- C. James Kelly, lecturer-tutor in the Ryan Family Student Center, for his proposal “Furthering Calculus Education in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences”

-- Timothy White, research associate with the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute, for his proposal “Assessing the Timing and Extent of an Eocene Cryosphere in Alaska”

-- Jeremy Gernand, assistant professor of energy and mineral engineering for his proposal “Connecting Cells to Worms to Mice to Workers: Extending Nanomaterial Toxicity Modeling for Environmental and Occupational Risk Assessment”

-- ShunLi Shang, research associate in materials science and engineering for his proposal “An Integrated First-Principles and Computational Thermodynamics Approach to Study Earth Abundant SN (S,Se) Photovoltaic Materials”

STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS

William Grundy Haven Memorial Award
Established in 1950 by William G. Haven to honor the memory of his son, this award recognizes excellence in scholarly writing. This year’s recipients are:

-- First place winner: Ethan Lucas, materials science and engineering

-- Second place winners: Rachel Passmore, geography, and Olivia Price, geography

-- Honorable Mention: Abraham Duplaa, petroleum and natural gas engineering, and Kahindo Kamau, petroleum and natural gas engineering

Ellen Steidle Achievement Award
Established in 1953 by Dean Edward Steidle to honor the memory of his wife, this award recognizes students who have been active in advancing the welfare and improvement of the college. This year’s recipients are:

-- Senior: Dakota Smith, meteorology

-- Junior: Everleigh Stokes, geography

Edward Steidle Memorial Scholar Award
Established in 1981 to honor Edward Steidle, dean of the college from 1929 to 1953, this award broadens the educational opportunities for EMS students. This year’s recipient is:

-- Danhao Ma, petroleum and natural gas engineering

Jay M. and Katherine Definis Award for Outstanding Student Leadership
Established in 2005, this award honors outstanding student leadership abilities within the student organizations of the college. This year’s recipient is:

-- Dakota Smith, meteorology

GEMS Diamond Award
Established in 2006, the GEMS Diamond Award grants a lifetime membership in the Penn State Alumni Association to a graduating student who is found to have the most well-rounded involvement and achievement in both the university and community environment during their student experience while in the college. This year’s recipient is:

-- Patrick W. Boynton, international politics and geography

Student Marshals
The student marshal designation is given to the most accomplished graduates overall. This year’s student marshals are:

-- Nawaf Abalkhail, bachelor of science, petroleum and natural gas engineering; minor in energy, business and finance

-- Drew Gardner, bachelor of science, energy engineering; bachelor of science, energy, business and finance; minor in environmental engineering; Schreyer Scholar

Science Honor Marshal
The award is for the top-ranking graduate in a natural sciences discipline. This year’s recipient is:

-- Zachary Barkley, bachelor of science, meteorology; minor in mathematics; Schreyer Scholar

Earth and Mineral Sciences Academy for Global Experience (EMSAGE)
Established in 2009, the EMSAGE program helps students develop as communicators and collaborators and prepares them to be effective leaders in their disciplines and responsible global citizens. Students may aspire to EMSAGE Laureate status by achieving notable success in scholarship, service, global literacy and experiential learning. This year’s recipients are:

-- Ariel Alvarez, geography

-- Cody Beaver, environmental systems engineering

-- Thomas Bedard, meteorology

-- Devin Boyer, meteorology

-- Shannon Grumbly, geography

-- Rachel Guarriello, materials science and engineering

-- Calvin Johnson, Jr., geosciences

-- John Marshall, energy engineering and energy, business and finance

-- Justine McCann, geosciences

-- Meredith Nichols, meteorology

-- Rachel Passmore, geography

-- Melissa Peterson, geography

-- Dakota Smith, meteorology

-- Paul Svenson, Jr., meteorology

-- Burkely Twiest, meteorology

-- Heather Waldman, meteorology

-- Ziran Wei, geosciences

-- Kelsey Yates, energy engineering

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Last Updated April 30, 2014