CEMS Annual Awards
Mads Almassalkhi - Outstanding Junior Faculty Performance
Doug Fletcher - Faculty Award for Excellence in Research
Dryver Huston - Outstanding Faculty Performance
Cathy Bliss - Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching
Rosi Rosebush - Outstanding Faculty Advisor Award
Bob Erickson - Faculty Award for Excellence in Service
Sylvie Butel & Anthony Fouche - Staff Award
When Academic Advisor Genevieve
Anthony tells students in CEMS that she
knows what they’re going through, she’s
not just being kind. The Barre, Vermont
native is a CEMS graduate herself; she
returned to Burlington to accept a oneyear
position that later became permanent
after her commencement in 2012.
Today, she helps CEMS students make
the leap from high school to college. “It’s
really great to see a student who may
have had a rough transition turn it around and make it through
graduation,” she says, pointing out that it’s easy to underestimate
the stress that can accompany the freedoms of university life.
Besides advising and coaching students, Anthony connects
students with campus resources, determines graduation
eligibility, resolves scheduling conflicts, and helps coordinate
with professors when emergencies arise.
One of our primary goals is to teach
students to take initiative and to be
responsible for their academic experience.
On top of all that, Anthony is heavily involved with the
CEMS Club Leadership Council, where she helps coordinate
outreach activities. She also serves as an advisor for the
Ecological Engineers, a residential living situation for firstyear
students that centers around integrating ecology of place
with engineering design.
Too many people see programming
and computer science as
synonymous, laments Jackie
Horton, a senior lecturer in CEMS
and (ironically) a computer
programmer. Yet applications of
her field range from computer
architecture and algorithm analysis
to databases and beyond.
A case in point: Horton’s students
have found jobs in far-flung fields, from video game
programming to tracking bird migration in Costa Rica.
As a one-time engineering student herself, Horton worked
for IBM and Digital Equipment Corporation, where she
found herself gravitating toward software-oriented projects.
Eventually, she began to study programming.
As reflected in her outstanding teaching award, Horton’s true
love is working with undergraduates, particularly freshmen, to
get them thinking more deeply about their studies.
There are very few professions now that
can’t be well served by some computer
science skills,” Horton says. “I try to teach
students not just, ‘This is how you write
a program,’ but ‘This is how to think
about the problem.’
When she’s not teaching, Horton is a fitness fanatic, calling this
hobby “my way of trying to stay healthy and young and active.”
She completed her first CrossFit competition earlier this year.
Steve Titcomb finds great
satisfaction in watching engineering
graduates complete their educations
and find jobs with companies
like United Technologies, IBM,
GlobalFoundries, and General
Dynamics, as well as jobs outside of
curriculum is a problem-solving
curriculum, so they’re prepared to do
lots of other things. I had a student who
became a patent attorney.
In CEMS, Titcomb recently served as the director’s surrogate
for reappointment, promotion, and tenure reviews. And along
with advising undergraduate engineering students, Titcomb is
the chair of the School’s curriculum committee.
With plans to retire at the end of this year, Titcomb hopes to
devote time to his own research in semiconductors. Besides
completing design projects involving robotics and interactive
displays, Titcomb says he hopes to look into developing new
materials and structures for sensors.
He’s also ready to complete a more personal project: hiking
the Appalachian Trail. Two years ago, he hiked 1,400 miles in
3.5 months before arthritis in his knee stopped him.
“The first thing I’m going to do after graduation this spring is
head back to where I left off and finish the trail,” he says.
In her lab, Rachael Oldinski values
student-researchers with boldness
and initiative. “It’s a tremendous
joy to see nervous sophomores start
talking to me about problems and
telling me what I’m doing wrong,”
Today, Oldinski, who joined UVM’s
faculty five years ago, focuses on
applying mechanical engineering
principles to biomedical problems,
particularly stresses and strains.
There’s a wide range of applications,
from trying to mimic tissue for implants
to trying to grow tissue for regeneration,
all the way to drug-targeting
mechanisms for cancer.
Nowadays, Oldinski is working to develop a material that
mimics articular cartilage, or the tissue that covers the ends of
bones where they come together to form joints. Such cartilage
is easily damaged by injury or normal wear and tear. She also
recently developed a sealant for punctured lungs derived from
Oldinski also sees herself as among a new generation of female
faces in engineering and is a faculty advisor for the Society of
Women Engineers’ club. In the same way that female mentors
encouraged her to “go for it,” she helps tomorrow’s engineers
find work-life balance.
Jeff Dinitz strives to show his
students what makes math
fascinating. He specializes in a field
of study known as combinatorial
design or the study of balanced set
systems. Sudoku is one well-known
example of such a design.
When I teach
something, I try to
figure out why I thought it was cool
when I learned it and I try to relay that,”
he says of a career that has spanned
decades. “… Math has a lot of truth and
beauty to it; there’s an art to math.
Dinitz believes today’s students are doing slightly better than
their predecessors, despite many competing demands for their
attention. (He bans cell phones in class, telling students it
makes him too distracted.)
Best known in his field for the theorem he created – the
Dinitz conjecture – Dinitz’s real claim to fame, at least in
the non-math world, came in 2001, when his work creating
schedules for the XFL, a now-defunct professional American
football league, was highlighted in the New York Times. Dinitz
enjoys sailing, skiing, and backpacking, counting his move to
Vermont among the three luckiest events of his life.
NASA needed help cleaning dust
off Mars rovers’ solar cells and Jeff
Marshall thought he could help.
Mars lacks water, so dust particles
cannot glom into clay as they would
on Earth, says Marshall, head of
the Vortex and Particulate Flow
Laboratory in CEMS. Worse, dust
particles in space contain an electric
charge and latch onto everything.
“If you mechanically wipe the dust off, it will stick to the wiper
and just deposit it back,” Marshall says. Once enough dust
covers the solar cells, energy can no longer reach the rover and
it stops working.
Working with NASA, Marshall and colleagues helped develop an
electrostatic dust shield that basically uses the dust particles’ own
electric charge to transport them off a surface like a solar panel.
Cleaning solar cells on dusty planets is just one of many
applications of Marshall’s work, which focuses on developing
new approaches for simulating fluid flows with particles and
vortex structures, uncovering new fluid flow phenomena, and
understanding the physics behind these flows.
Marshall also relishes his role as director of the
interdisciplinary Smart Grid Integrative Graduate Education
and Research Traineeship (IGERT) program, noting:
The fact that students and faculty from
highly diverse fields know each other
and are working across disciplinary
boundaries, it’s just wonderful.
Meghan Kelly, an office support generalist in CEMS’ Mathematics and Statistics Department, says the college’s enthusiastic students and faculty create an inspiring workplace. “The passion of my colleagues is infectious,” says Kelly, who was awarded the CEMS 2014 Staff of the Year Award by Dean Luis Garcia. Kelly’s strong organizational and technical skills help ensure the department’s faculty have the resources they need to do their jobs, notes Jeff Buzas, the chairman of CEMS’ Department of Mathematics and Statistics. She also recently took on the role of business support specialist for UVM’s Vermont Mathematics Initiative and serves on the UVM staff council committee for personal and professional development. On top of that, Kelly helps recruit and work with volunteers for UVM’s FIRST Robotics.
William Louisos, a lecturer in CEMS’ School of Engineering, points to a built-in advantage when teaching subjects such as thermodynamics. “The stuff we do is cool,” says Louisos, who was awarded the CEMS 2014 Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award by Dean Luis Garcia. “Right now in Applied Thermodynamics, we’re talking about jet engines and aircraft engines, so we went to the VT Air National Guard and crawled on top of and inside turbo jet engines. To bring the classroom textbook material to life is what engineering is all about.” A good teacher is like a coach, Louisos notes. “I tell the students, ‘We’re all on the same team, so it’s not me versus you. I’m here to help you be the best so you can go out and represent UVM engineering.”
Jianke Yang, a professor of applied mathematics in CEMS’ Department of Mathematics and Statistics, says his research has been driven by a desire to find solutions to scientific problems, ranging from rogue waves to applications for photonic crystals. “Especially when this pursuit is motivated by real-world physical problems, since my findings may have direct physical impact,” he says. “Discoveries are addictive, and curiosity is enticing.” Yang, who has served as a professor at CEMS for two decades and was awarded the CEMS 2014 Outstanding Researcher of the Year Award by Dean Luis Garcia, conducts research on nonlinear waves and physical mathematics. Physical examples of nonlinear waves include water waves, optical waves and Bose-Einstein condensates
“There are two things that motivate me,” says Professor Eric Hernandez, who teaches in CEMS’ School of Engineering. “The first one is the pleasure of figuring things out; the second, teaching and mentoring. Both are complementary to each other.” Hernandez, who was awarded CEMS’ 2014 Outstanding Junior Faculty Award by Dean Luis Garcia, joined UVM in 2011 after earning a PhD from Northeastern University in 2007. He earned his BS in engineering in 1994 from Universidad Nacional Pedro Henriquez Ureña in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and was awarded a Fulbright scholarship from the U.S. State Department in 2002 to pursue graduate studies.
Peter Dodds, who was awarded the CEMS 2014 Outstanding Overall Faculty Performance Award by Dean Luis Garcia, has a research portfolio that includes publications across many fields such as theoretical physics, Earth sciences, biology, economics, psychology, and sociology. He currently focuses on sociotechnical and psychological phenomena, such as population-scale health and emotional states, language, and stories. Dodds’s research is shedding light into what he calls “homo narrativus” —that we are fundamentally storytellers—and how humans consequently succeed or fail to contend with the world around them, both individually and collectively.
Monika Ursiny has worked in the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences for more than 20 years. As the business manager for the College, she is highly esteemed by her colleagues for her ability to artfully balance the vastly different needs of students, faculty and staff, while living up to the community values set forth in Our Common Ground. Further, she exemplifies the reliability, approachability, and humility in all aspects of her professional life. Over the course of her career, her collegiality and commitment to excellence has made a significant impact on the University.
Older Staff Kudos
Karen Bernard was presented the 2012 CEMS Outstanding Staff Member Award during a 2012 UVM CEMS Holiday Celebration held Friday, December 6, 2012 in the Fleming Museum by Bernard "Chip" Cole, Interim Dean of the College, for her achievements in her role as Administrative Assistant for the School of Engineering.
"Karen plays a key role in the success of our College," says Bernard 'Chip" Cole, Interim Dean of the UVM College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences. "She creates functionality and continuity for faculty, staff and visitors within the School of Engineering."
"Karen's assistance to me has been invaluable," says Jason Bates, as Interim SoE Director. "Her unwavering efficiency and constant good nature, together with her wealth of knowledge about the operational aspects of the School of Engineering, have made all the difference in keeping things running smoothly. I am extremely happy that Karen is receiving this award."
Interim Dean Bernard "Chip" Cole presented Penni French with the 2011 CEMS Outstanding Staff Award during the UVM College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences holiday celebration in the Fleming Museum on Thursday, December 8, 2011.
Penni exhibits the qualities of humanity, generosity of spirit, and dignity, especially under the pressure of deadlines and those pesky technology hurdles. She is responsible for planning the wide-ranging logistics associated with guest speaker visits, student-run technical evenings, and outreach activities. She works with patience and respect, camaraderie and the genuine affection appropriate of educators towards our students, humor, and a tenacious resolve to overcome whatever stumbling blocks may arise.
Penni's disposition and helpful, trustworthy, proactive attitude ensure the smooth running of the Department, as she maintains cordial working relationships with staff colleagues across the College and UVM.
Student Services Advisor
Marnie Owen was presented the 2010 CEMS Outstanding Staff Member Award during a 2010 UVM CEMS Holiday Celebration held Friday, December 10, 2010 in the Fleming Museum by Bernard "Chip" Cole, Interim Dean of the College, for her achievements in her role as Student Services Advisor for the College.
"Marnie exemplifies our CEMS mission," says Bernard 'Chip" Cole, Interim Dean of the UVM College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences. "Her field of expertise is vital to both teaching and student services within CEMS."
Monika Ursiny was presented the 2009 CEMS Outstanding Staff Member Award by Bernard "Chip" Cole, Interim Dean of the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences (CEMS), during the CEMS holiday celebration on Thursday, December 17, 2009. Ursiny was recognized for her work as Budget Manager for the College.
"Monika is a longtime CEMS employee who has been an invaluable resource to the College," said Dean Cole.
Senior IT Professional, Computer Facility
Jim White is winner of the 2008 UVM/CEMS Outstanding Staff Member Award. Criteria for this award include: maintaining a positive attitude, exceeding job expectations, engaging in tasks beyond one's job description, making special contributions to the College, participating in public service, and being a valued representative for the College.
Student and Faculty Support, School of Engineering
Currier is one of seven to receive the 2007 Outstanding Social Justice Activist Award. This award recognizes that various forms of oppression (sexism, ableism, racism, classism, heterosexism, religious discrimination) are connected and support one another. This award honors women (students, staff or faculty) who have worked not only in anti-sexist endeavors but also to draw connections between various communities and to end multiple forms of oppression.
Director of Diversity and Special Programs
Herrera is one of seven staff to receive the 2007 Outstanding Staff Woman Award. The award acknowledges significant contributions to the lives of women on campus through service, advocacy, and feminists programming.
Assistant Dean of Student Services
Joan Jordan is winner of the 2007 UVM/CEMS Outstanding Staff Member Award. Criteria for this award include: maintaining a positive attitude, exceeding job expectations, engaging in tasks beyond one's job description, making special contributions to the College, participating in public service, and being a valued representative for the College.
Student, Mathematics & Computer Science
Lecturer & Senior IT Professional, Computer Facility
Senior IT Professional, Computer Facility
McLeod, Rossi and White are three of nine to receive the 2007 Outstanding Ally Award. This award honors men (students, staff or faculty) who have made significant contributions to feminist and anti-sexist activism on the campus.
Supervisor, CEMS Shop and Prototype Facility
Administrative Assistant, Department of Mathematics & Statistics
Floyd Vilmont and Karen Wright are co-winners of the 2006 UVM/CEMS Outstanding Staff Member Award. Criteria for this award include: maintaining a positive attitude, exceeding job expectations, engaging in tasks beyond one's job description, making special contributions to the College, participating in public service, and being a valued representative for the College.