Skip Navigation

Produced by the Office of Marketing and Communications

Subscribe Now
Campus & Community

Accolades: Faculty and Staff Awards and Honors

A Roundup of Recent Accomplishments

By Maryland Today Staff

Testudo statue with red arrow

Animation by Maryland Today staff

Below are awards and honors University of Maryland faculty and staff have earned since mid-September:

Distinguished University Professor of physics Thomas M. Antonsen Jr. received the American Physical Society’s 2023 James Clerk Maxwell Prize for Plasma Physics for “pioneering contributions in the theory of magnetized plasma stability, RF, current drive, laser-plasma interactions and charged particle beam dynamics.”

Ariel Bierbaum, assistant professor of urban studies and planning, received the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning’s Rising Scholar Award.

Rosina Bierbaum, Roy F. Weston Chair in Natural Economics in the School of Public Policy, received the Association for Environmental Health and Science Foundation Achievement Award, presented annually to individuals or organizations that have demonstrated exceptional dedication to advancing environmental knowledge, technology and sustainable practices.

Bill Bowerman, a professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Technology, received the Lowell Thomas Award from the Explorers Club for his groundbreaking approach and dedication to preserving eagles globally. The award recognizes individuals who have “created or invented specific methods, tools and techniques that allow us to explore in a responsible and sustainable manner.”

Professor Yanne Chembo in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering was elected a 2023 fellow of the American Physical Society for pioneering contributions to the understanding and application of complexity in time-delayed and spatially extended systems. He has a joint appointment in the Institute for Research in Electronics and Applied Physics.

Patricia Hill Collins, a Distinguished University Professor emerita of sociology known for her pioneering research on the intersections of race, gender, social class and sexuality, received the Berggruen Prize for Philosophy, a $1 million award for advancing powerful ideas that help shape our world.

Distinguished University Professor Rita Colwell in the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies was honored with the 2024 Builders of Science Award from Research!America, a nonprofit alliance that supports increased funding and better policies related to medical and health research. The award recognizes those who have been at the forefront of scientific research.

School of Public Policy Assistant Professor Claire Dunning received the Louis Brownlow Book Award from the National Academy of Public Administration and the Outstanding Book Award in Nonprofit and Voluntary Action Research from the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action for her book for her book, "Nonprofit Neighborhoods: An Urban History of Inequality and the American State."

Drew S. Fagan, associate clinical professor of applied linguistics and language education, received the 2023 Distinguished Alumni-Early Career Award from Teachers College, Columbia University, in recognition of his work with multilingual learners, their educators and policymakers.

John P. Fisher, bioengineering department chair, MPower Professor, Distinguished-Scholar Teacher and Fischell Family Distinguished Professor, was elected chair of the Biomedical Engineering Council of Chairs. The council is a national assembly of more than 150 bioengineering and biomedical engineering department chairs who guide academic units across the country as well as the biomedical engineering field as a whole.

K. Lorraine Graham, assistant director of digital experience in the College of Arts and Humanities, received a 2023-24 arts and humanities fellowship from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. The program supports individual artists and humanities practitioners who significantly contribute to the District of Columbia as a cultural capital; Graham received the award for her interdisciplinary work in mixed media and poetry.

Anil K. Gupta, Michael D. Dingman Chair in Strategy and Entrepreneurship, received the 2023 CK Prahalad Award for Scholarly Impact on Practice from the Strategic Management Society. 

Department of Mechanical Engineering Distinguished University Professor Ashwani Gupta was named a fellow to the Royal Academy of Engineering, the United Kingdom's national academy of engineering. He was honored as an international authority on swirl flows and volume distributed combustion.

Distinguished University Professor Liangbing Hu in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering was one of 40 leading innovators in science and technology invited to “American Possibilities: A White House Demo Day.”He showcase his “super wood,” a material as strong as steel but six times lighter that can be used for buildings and vehicle components and can also serve as a long-term means of storing carbon.

Helen Q. Huang, a professor of dance, theatre design and production,received a 2023 Henry Award for her costume and puppet design for the play “Quixote Nuevo” with the Denver Center for the Performing Arts Theatre Company. The awards, given annually by the Colorado Theatre Guild, honor outstanding achievements during the past season.

Natalie Vinski Ibrahim, associate director of Honors Global Communities, was named a 2024 Everytown Survivor Fellow. The two-year fellowship program engages gun violence survivors in sharing their stories publically to inspire and motivate action in the fight to end gun violence.

Clara Irazábal, a professor and director of the Urban Studies and Planning Program, received the Edward Blakely Award from the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning, recognizing an academic or professional who has supported the cause of social justice, particularly in urban planning or development, for communities of color.

Jeong H. Kim, professor of the practice in mechanical engineering, was awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the nation’s highest award for technological achievement, from President Biden. He was recognized for his advances in broadband optical systems, data communications and wireless technologies that have made communication faster and clearer, including improvements in battlefield communications that strengthen national security.

Albert "Pete" Kyle, the Charles E. Smith Chair Professor of Finance, won the Wharton-Jacobs Levy Prize for Quantitative Financial Innovation for his research on market microstructure. Kyle was recognized for his 1985 paper, "Continuous Auctions and Insider Trading," which has been used in academic research and the development of algorithmic trading strategies.

Distinguished University Professor Gary LaFree in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, an expert on terrorism and the causes and consequences of crime, was selected to receive his field’s highest honor, the 2024 Stockholm Prize in Criminology, from the Swedish Ministry of Justice.

History Professor Paul Landau was awarded the Martin A. Klein Prize from the American Historical Association for his book “Spear: Mandela and the Revolutionaries.” The prize, named for a professor emeritus of history at the University of Toronto, recognizes the most distinguished work of scholarship on African history published in English during the previous calendar year.

Matt Laumann, senior graphic designer in the A. James Clark School of Engineering, won a Best of District II award from Council for the Advancement and Support of Education for his IDEA Factory Lego Set. His design of the E@M Magazine feature "Overflowing with Ideas" received an honorable mention in the 2023 University & College Designers Association Design Awards.

Doron Levy, professor and chair of the Department of Mathematics, was named to the 2024 class of fellows of the American Mathematical Society, recognizing individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the field.

Xin-Zhong Liang, professor of atmospheric and oceanic science, was one of 55 individuals elected to the American Geophysical Union’s Class of 2023 fellows. He holds a joint appointment in the Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center.

Jing Liu, assistant professor of education policy, was one of six innovators to win the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Future of Data in K-12 Education Design Challenge. He proposed a new way to measure schools’ performance in reducing student absenteeism.

Dance Principal Lecturer Alvin Mayes received the 2023 Living Legacy Award from the Maryland Dance Education Association, recognizing an individual’s body of work and their significant contributions to the field of dance education in the state of Maryland.

School of Public Policy Lecturer Anthony McCann was honored with the Jesse Burkhead Award for best article in the journal Public Budgeting & Finance by the Association for Budgeting and Financial Management. “What Drives Program Terminations for the Federal Government?” was featured in volume 42.

Heather McMahon, deputy executive director of the Applied Research Laboratory for Intelligence and Security, was recognized in a Pentagon ceremony by Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security Ronald Moultrie with a Presidential Rank Order Award for her contributions as a defense intelligence senior-level executive.

Shelbi Nahwilet Meissner, assistant professor in the Harriet Tubman Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, was named a National Science Foundation and Kaleta A. Doolin Foundation Ocean Decade Champion. She receives funding through the program and becomes an active participant in the United Nations’ Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.

Physics Professor Howard Milchberg was awarded the 2024 Arthur L. Schawlow Prize in Laser Science, presented by the American Physical Society for “pioneering contributions in the fields of plasma optics, guiding the ultra-intense laser beams, and developing compact, high-gradient laser-driven accelerators.” Milchberg also holds joint appointments in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Institute for Research in Electronics and Applied Physics.

Catherine Nakalembe, assistant professor of geographical sciences, was awarded the 2022 Al-Sumait Prize for African Development in the field of food security for her work in crop mapping and monitoring, using remote sensing and machine learning techniques. Nakalembe, who also leads the NASA Harvest Africa program, splits the $1 million award with the joint awardee, the African Agricultural Technology Foundation.

Architect and Professor of the Practice Peter Noonan won an Honor Award with McInturff Architects at the 2023 AIA Maryland Excellence in Design Awards. Noonan won the blind peer-reviewed award in the Single Family Architecture category for the project Farm to Table.

Colleen O’Neal, associate professor of school psychology, received a Fulbright Scholar Award to conduct research in Malaysia on secondary school refugee students’ education, sense of agency and advocacy.

The Addiction Health Services Research Conference recently honored policy and management Assistant Professor Aryn Phillips in the Department of Health Policy and Management with its Early Career Investigator Award. Phillips' research focuses on alcohol use, particularly among adults with chronic conditions.

Abani Pradhan, a professor in the Department of Nutrition and Food Science, was appointed to the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods.

School of Public Policy Professor Yueming “Lucy” Qiu received the World Citizen Prize in Environmental Performance from the  Association for Public Policy Analysis & Management. It recognizes her groundbreaking contributions in the field of energy policy and economics in analyzing consumer behaviors related to low-carbon technologies and their role in mitigating climate change.

Rebecca Ratner, the Dean's Professor of Marketing, was elected president of the Association for Consumer Research.

Joseph Richardson Jr., the MPower Professor of African American Studies, Medical Anthropology and Epidemiology, was elected to the National Academy of Medicine. He was cited for his pioneering work “translating science into the development of innovative interventions to reduce gun violence and firearm-related morbidity and mortality.”

Rachel Romeo, assistant professor in the Department of Human Development and Quantitative Methodology (College of Education) and Departments of Hearing and Speech Sciences and Neuroscience and Cognitive Science (College of Behavioral and Social Sciences), received the university's Neuroscience and Cognitive Science Faculty Mentor of the Year Award for her outstanding achievement in mentoring students.

Keystone Professor Peter Sandborn of the mechanical engineering department received the 2023 Scott Clements Contributor of the Year award from the Prognostics and Health Management Society.

Ebony Terrell Shockley, clinical professor and associate dean for undergraduate studies and educator preparation, was elected to serve as a council member of the American Educational Research Association Middle-Level Education Research Special Interest Group. She was also appointed by Maryland Gov. Wes Moore to serve on the Professional Standards and Teacher Education Board for three years.

Laura Stapleton, chair and professor in the Department of Human Development and Quantitative Methodology, was elected president of the Society of Multivariate Experimental Psychology.

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Assistant Professor Mercedes Taylor was selected as a Moore Inventor Fellow by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. She will receive $825,000 over three years to advance her research developing novel materials with applications in water purification and precious metal extraction from water. Only five Moore Inventor Fellows were selected from 200 nominations. Taylor is the first UMD faculty member selected for the fellowship.

Gurpal Toor, a professor of environmental science and technology and a University of Maryland Extension specialist, was named a fellow of the Soil Science Society of America. The honor is bestowed upon members who make outstanding contributions to soil science through education, national and international service, and research.

English Professor Joshua Weiner's translation of "Flight and Metamorphosis," a poetry collection by poet, dramatist and Nobel laureate Nelly Sachs, was shortlisted for the American Literary Translators Association's 2023 National Translation Awards in Poetry and Prose. The collection was translated from German by Weiner with Linda B. Parshall.

Russ Wermers, the Paul J. Cinquegrana '63 Endowed Chair in Finance, and co-authors from the University of California, San Diego won the top prize in the International Centre for Pension Management 2023 Research Awards for their article, “Scale Economies, Bargaining Power, and Investment Performance: Evidence from Pension Plans.”

Stephanie Yarwood, an associate professor of environmental science and technology, received one of six regional Excellence in College and University Teaching Awards for Food and Agricultural Sciences from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Miao Yu, professor and director of the Sensors and Actuators Laboratory in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, received a 2023-24 University System of Maryland Wilson H. Elkins Professorship. She will use the $30,000 award to support a collaborative project at the interface of engineering, computer science, biology and aquaculture to investigate novel sensing and robotics tools for the study of marine ecosystem dynamics to promote sustainability.

Nicole Yunger Halpern, a theoretical physicist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, won the 2023 Mary Somerville Medal and Prize. The award, named for a noted Scottish scientist and author, comes with a medal and a £1,000 ($1,220 USD) prize. It is given each year to early-career scientists who engage the public in physics and related scientific topics. Yunger Halpern was cited for her 2022 book, “Quantum Steampunk: The Physics of Yesterday’s Tomorrow,” which the IOP said “vivified Victorian physics in the public imagination by casting (quantum) thermodynamics as steampunk in writing and art, breaking barriers between disciplines.”

Maryland Today is produced by the Office of Marketing and Communications for the University of Maryland community on weekdays during the academic year, except for university holidays.