Earth and Mineral Sciences students, faculty honored at virtual awards ceremony

May 12, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State's College of Earth and Mineral Sciences recognized exceptional students and faculty for their academic excellence, service and leadership during its annual Wilson Awards Presentation, held virtually on Sunday, April 26. The Wilson Awards are named in honor of Matthew and Anne Wilson, major benefactors of the college.

“Even though we were unable to host the awards ceremony in person, we wanted to be able to honor and recognize the hard work of our faculty and students,” said Lee Kump, John Leone Dean in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. “The virtual awards ceremony was well received by all.”

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.

  • Recipient: Sridhar Anandakrishnan, professor of geosciences

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.

  • Recipient: Tieyuan Zhu, assistant professor of geosciences, selected for his proposal “Excitation of Seismic Waves by the Atmosphere: Using Thunderquakes by Lightning Stroke for Solid Earth Tomography”

Wilson Research Initiation Grant

The Wilson Research Initiation Grant was established to provide an extra spark to the research career of a junior faculty member.

  • Recipient: Amin Mehrabian, assistant professor of petroleum and natural gas engineering, selected for his proposal “Rate-Dependent Solutions for the Productivity and Injectivity Index of Deformable Subsurface Rock”

George H. Deike, Jr. Research Grant

The George H. Deike, Jr. Research Grant is awarded in support of an innovative research project.

  • Recipient: Suzanne Mohney, professor of materials science and engineering, selected for her proposal “Novel Single-Crystal Intermetallic Films for Selective Catalysis”

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.

  • Recipient: Allison Beese, associate professor of materials science and 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. 

  • Recipient: Charles Ammon, professor of geosciences

George H. K. Schenck Teaching Assistant Award

This award was created to honor and recognize an exemplary graduate student teaching assistant in the college.

  • Recipient: Scott Loeffler, graduate teaching assistant in the Department of Meteorology and Atmospheric Science

John T. Ryan, Jr. Faculty Fellow

This award was created to provide supplementary funds to an outstanding faculty member in the college to further their contributions in teaching, research, and public service.

  • Recipient: Eugene Clothiaux, professor of meteorology and atmospheric sciences

Celebrating Excellence in Service Awards

Wilson Award for Outstanding Service

Created in 1999, the Wilson Service Award recognizes exceptional service contributions to the college, the University and the community.

  • Recipient: Seth Blumsack, professor of energy business and finance

Faculty Advising Award

Created in 2013, the Faculty Advising Award is given in recognition of outstanding advising undertaken by faculty members to enhance the student’s experience at Penn State.

  • Recipient: William Groves, associate professor of industrial health and safety

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.

  • Recipient: Clive Randall, professor of materials science and engineering and director of the Materials Research Institute

25-Year Service Awards

  • Todd Bacastow, teaching professor, Department of Geography and John A. Dutton e-Education Institute
  • Cindy Brewer, professor and head of geography
  • Andrew Carleton, professor of geography
  • Steven Feldstein, research professor, meteorology and atmospheric science
  • Sukyoung Lee, professor of meteorology
  • Serguei Lvov, professor of energy and mineral engineering

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 to recognize achievements for a singular breakthrough in research or in the scholarship of teaching.

  • Recipient: John Mauro, professor of materials science and engineering and associate head for graduate education, for his pioneering work in decoding the “glass genome” — the code to design new functional glasses.

Charles L. Hosler Alumni Scholar Medal

The Charles L. Hosler Alumni Scholar Medal was established in 1992 to honor of one of our college’s former deans, Charlie Hosler. This award recognizes the very highest levels of intellectual achievement or academic service attained by alumni of the college, with emphasis given to those who have earned doctoral degrees.

  • Recipient: Sea-Fue Wang, president, National Taipei University of Technology, Taiwan

Celebrating Junior Faculty Accomplishments

Gladys Snyder Junior Faculty Grants

The Gladys Snyder Junior Faculty Grants are awarded for proposals 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; or to recognize significant contributions in research efforts.


  • Sekhar Bhattacharyya, associate teaching professor of energy and mineral engineering, for his proposal “Transforming Teaching Focus from Fossil Fuel to Mineral Resources used in Enduring Products and in Renewable Energy Sector”
  • Feifei Shi, assistant of energy engineering, for her proposal “Novel Monolithic Single Atom Catalyst for Renewable Fuels”

Student Achievement Awards

Jay M. and Katherine DeFinis Award for Outstanding Student Leadership

Established in 2005 to honor outstanding student leadership abilities within the student organizations of the college. Recipients:

  • Arnold Eatmon, graduate student in geosciences
  • Rachel Gutierrez, graduate student in meteorology and atmospheric science
  • Tim Charatan, senior in materials science and 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.


  • Senior: Nicola Guisewhite, meteorology and atmospheric science
  • Junior: Kayla McCauley, meteorology and atmospheric science

Dean 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.

  • Recipient: Karl Schneider, meteorology and atmospheric science

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.

  • Recipient: Tim Charatan, senior in materials science and engineering

Student Marshal

The student marshal designation is given to the most accomplished graduate overall.

  • Recipient: Saeed Abbas A. Aloqili, bachelor of science in petroleum and natural gas engineering, minor in energy business and finance

Science Honor Marshal

The award is for the top-ranking graduate in an science discipline.

  • Recipient: Karl Schneider, bachelor of science in meteorology and atmospheric science

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.

Fall 2019 and spring 2020 recipients:

  • Joshua Andresky, energy and sustainability policy
  • Diana Apoznanski, meteorology and atmospheric science
  • Jason Beck, geosciences
  • Tim Charatan, materials science and engineering
  • Liam Cummings, energy engineering
  • Karen Dedinsky, meteorology and atmospheric science
  • Jennifer D’Iorio, meteorology and atmospheric science
  • Courtney Dumm, environmental systems engineering
  • Nicola Guisewhite, meteorology and atmospheric science
  • Ahmed Maged Aly Hamed, energy business and finance
  • Lindsey Jacks, geosciences
  • Nicole June, meteorology and atmospheric science
  • Jacob Kaminski, Earth science and policy
  • Katelyn Kirchner, materials science and engineering
  • Yuran Kong, materials science and engineering
  • Daiwei Li, energy engineering
  • Allen Mewhinney, meteorology and atmospheric science
  • Hannah Patel, Earth science and policy
  • Brett Rosoff-Verbit, materials science and engineering
  • Laura Shedd, meteorology and atmospheric science
  • Ian Wasserman, energy engineering
  • Ravisara Wattana, materials science and engineering
  • Junyin Xiao, Earth sciences
  • Benjamin Yang, meteorology and atmospheric science
  • Taylor Young, energy engineering

Spring 2020 EMSAGE Laureates

  • Jayce Coleman, materials science and engineering
  • Kelsey DeCarteret, meteorology and atmospheric science
  • Dalton Keba, materials science and engineering
  • Leah Motimaya, Earth science and policy
  • Sapol Raadnui, geosciences
  • Hannah Schreck, geography
  • Alon Sidel, meteorology and atmospheric science
  • Sydney Yeadon, energy engineering

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Last Updated May 12, 2020