Faculty and student excellence celebrated at EMS virtual awards celebration

May 04, 2021

Penn State's College of Earth and Mineral Sciences (EMS) recognized exceptional students and faculty for their academic excellence, service and leadership during its annual Wilson Awards Celebration, held virtually on Sunday, April 11. The Wilson Awards are named in honor of Matthew and Anne Wilson, major benefactors of the college.

“The virtual awards ceremony went very well,” said Lee Kump, John Leone Dean in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. “The acceptance speeches added a bit of interactivity and seemed to be enjoyed by all who attended.”

Wilson Awards Virtual Celebration 2021

Penn State's College of Earth and Mineral Sciences (EMS) recognized exceptional students and faculty for their academic excellence, service and leadership during its annual Wilson Awards Celebration, held virtually on Sunday, April 11. 

This year’s recipients are listed below.

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 is:

  • Sukyoung Lee, professor of meteorology

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 is:

  • Ismaila Dabo, associate professor of materials science and engineering and Corning Faculty Fellow in Ceramic Science and Engineering

Wilson Award for Outstanding Service

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

  • Douglas Miller, research professor of geography and Earth and Environmental Systems Institute
  • Team of Roman Engel-Herbert, associate professor, materials science and engineering; and Jon-Paul Maria, professor of materials science and engineering

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 is:

  • José Fuentes, professor of meteorology

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. Recipients are:

  • Feineman, Maureen, associate research professor and associate head for undergraduate programs, Geosciences
  • Eugene Morgan, assistant teaching professor and associate head for undergraduate education, John and Willie Leone Family Department of Energy and Mineral 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. Recipients are:

  • Luis Ayala, professor of petroleum and natural gas engineering and William A. Fustos Family Professor
  • Guido Cervone. professor of geography and associate director, Institute for Computational and Data Sciences
  • Kenneth Davis, professor of atmospheric and climate science
  • Suzanne Mohney, professor of materials science and engineering
  • Mark Patzkowsky, professor and associate head for graduate programs and research in geosciences

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. The team who won this year are all learning designers in the John A. Dutton e-Education Institute. Team members are:

  • Jennifer Babb
  • Megan Kohler
  • April Millet
  • Jane Sutterlin
  • Maria Wherley
  • Mark Wherley

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 is:

  • Long-Qing Chen, Donald W. Hamer Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, for his theoretical and computational contribution to the discovery of the transparent relaxor ferroelectric single crystals with ultrahigh piezoelectricity.

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 is:

  • Virginia Ciminelli, professor in the Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil

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 is:

  • Hamid Emami-Meybodi, assistant professor of energy and mineral engineering, for his proposal “Transport Behavior of Condensed Fluids in Ultratight Porous Media: Evidence for Mechanisms Other than Advection”

George H. Deike, Jr. Research Grant

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

  • Feifei Shi, assistant professor of energy engineering and Virginia S. and Philip L. Walker Faculty Fellow; and Mohammad Rezaee, assistant professor of mining engineering and Thomas V. and Jean C. Falkie Mining Engineering Faculty Fellow; for their proposal “Unlocking Unconventional Lithium Resources through Development of Efficient, Low-cost, and Environmentally Benign Extraction Processes and Production of Lithium Battery Products”

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 is:

  • Wesley Reinhart, assistant professor of materials science and engineering, for his proposal “Inverse Design of Hierarchical Structures in a Model Copolymer”

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. Recipients are:

  • Allison Baczynski, assistant research professor in geosciences, for her proposal “Reinterpreting Landscape Change in The Denver Basin: Geochemical Evidence for the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum”
  • Kevin Bowley, assistant teaching professor in meteorology and atmospheric science, for his proposal “Into the Simulator: Development of the Next Generation Community Weather Forecasting Training Tool for Penn State Students and Beyond”
  • Maria Higgins, assistant teaching professor in materials science and engineering, for her proposal “Gamma-Ray Induced Degradation of Polyethylene Terephthalate. Radiation Therapy for Water Resources”
  • John Hooker, assistant teaching professor in geosciences for his proposal “Geochemical Tracers of Fluid Flow Through Fractures in the Appalachian Basin: A Field Laboratory for Student-Led Research in Penn State’s Backyard”
  • Miquela Ingalls, assistant professor in geosciences, for her proposal “Creation of Teaching Collections and an Accompanying Virtual Field Trip to Support the Development of a Sedimentology and Stratigraphy Course”
  • Rob Lydick, researcher and on-air meteorologist in meteorology and atmospheric science, for his proposal “Enhancing Student Experiences in Weather Communications”
  • André J. van der Vlies, assistant research professor in materials science and engineering, for his proposal “Elucidating the Role of Chemical Structure on Charge Transport in Conducting Polymers”

Postdoctoral Excellence in Research Award

Postdoctoral Excellence in Research is given in recognition of excellence in research represented by a single contribution or a series of contributions around a coherent theme. This award is designed to celebrate postdoctoral scholar’s outstanding achievements in research that has or will impact their field of study. Recipients are:

  • Joshua Garber, postdoctoral scholar in geosciences
  • Yang Liu, postdoctoral scholar in materials science and engineering

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Awards

The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Awards were created to honor undergraduate students, graduate students, staff, and faculty who have demonstrated exemplary leadership that manifests the ideals of diversity, equity and inclusion into practical action. Recipients are:

  • Catherine Lyons Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Undergraduate Student Award: Kayla McCauley, meteorology and atmospheric science
  • Catherine Lyons Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Graduate Student Award: Ama Agyapong, materials science and engineering
  • Charles Hosler Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Faculty Award: Luis Ayala, John and Willie Leone Family Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering

25-Year Service Awards

  • Ralph Colby, professor in materials science and engineering
  • April Millet, assistant teaching professor, John A. Dutton e-Education Institute

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 is:

  • Julia Carr, graduate teaching assistant in geosciences

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 are:

  • Samantha Staskiewicz, meteorology and atmospheric science
  • Christopher Long, meteorology and atmospheric science and geography

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. Recipients are:

  • Senior Award: Christopher Long, meteorology and atmospheric science and geography
  • Junior Award: Sean Melanson, 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 is:

  • Xiaoyu Zou, geosciences

GEMS Diamond Award

Established in 2006, the Graduates of Earth and Mineral Sciences (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. Kayla McCauley, Meteorology and Atmospheric Science received an honorable mention. Recipient is:

  • Christopher Long, meteorology and atmospheric science and geography

College Marshal

The college marshal designation is given to the most accomplished graduate overall. College marshal is:

  • Mingsong Chen, energy business and finance and Earth sciences, minor in statistics

Engineering Honor Marshal

The award is for the top-ranking graduate in an engineering discipline. Engineering honor marshal is:

  • Madeline Vailhe, materials science and engineering, minor in engineering mechanics

Earth and Mineral Sciences Academy for Global Experience (EMSAGE) Laureates

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 2020 EMSAGE Laureates

  • Amanda Byrd, geography
  • Natalie Cummings, materials science and engineering
  • Christian Erikson, Earth sciences
  • Salix Iverson, meteorology and atmospheric science
  • Kelsey Jenkins, materials science and engineering
  • Grace Kimzey, meteorology and atmospheric science
  • Cove Klaas-Bentley, petroleum and natural gas engineering
  • Grant LaChat, meteorology and atmospheric science
  • Christopher Long, meteorology and atmospheric science and geography
  • Natalie Mamrol, materials science and engineering
  • Kayla McCauley, meteorology and atmospheric science
  • Elizabeth McIntyre, materials science and engineering
  • Jacob Morse, meteorology and atmospheric science
  • Donovan Moses, materials science and engineering
  • Theresa Novak, materials science and engineering
  • Talia Potochny, geography
  • Harman Singh, geography
  • Mason Taylor, energy and sustainability policy
  • Sophie Tessier, geography
  • Isabella Urbina, materials science and engineering
  • Madeline Vailhe, materials science and engineering
  • Nathaniel Vislosky, petroleum and natural gas engineering
  • Kaylen Woods, meteorology and atmospheric science

Spring 2021 EMSAGE Laureates

  • Al Reem Alshimmari, geosciences
  • Robin Carbaugh, geosciences
  • Alexandra Hatfield, meteorology and atmospheric science
  • Mona Hill, energy and sustainability policy
  • Shane Leister, geography
  • Yizheng Liu, materials science and engineering
  • Rachel Martin, materials science and engineering
  • Colton Milcarek, meteorology and atmospheric science
  • Megan Penrod, materials science and engineering
  • Jenna Pulice, geography
  • Stanley Swithers, energy and sustainability policy

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Last Updated May 04, 2021