Welcoming New Colleagues, Celebrating Award Recipients

College of Sciences greets 2017-18 academic year with annual summer dinner

The College of Sciences feted new colleagues joining in the 2017-18 academic year at a summer dinner on Sept. 6. Dean and Sutherland Chair Paul M. Goldbart and Jenny Singleton, associate chair and professor in the School of Psychology, hosted the celebration, which also recognized recipients of 2017 College of Sciences awards.

“It is invigorating to start the school year by warmly welcoming new colleagues into our scholarly community and celebrating our outstanding teachers, researchers, and mentors,” Goldbart said.

One program director, one professor of practice, eight assistant professors, two associate professors, and three professors joined the college in the 2017-18 academic year. Three of them – Felix Herrmann, Gregory Sawicki, and Carlos Silva – have joint appointments in other Georgia Tech units.

The Schools of Biological Sciences and of Chemistry and Biochemistry welcomed the most number of new colleagues in the 2017-18 academic year – four each.

The Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics, and Computing (CEISMC) recruited Casey Bethel, Georgia’s 2017 Teacher of the Year, to coordinate campus communications. 

The following individuals joined the college in the 2017-18 academic year:

  • Vinayak Agarwal, assistant professor, School of Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Casey Bethel, program director, CEISMC
  • Thackery Brown, assistant professor, School of Psychology
  • Stephen Diggle, associate professor, School of Biological Sciences
  • Albert Fathi, professor of practice, School of Mathematics
  • Neha Garg, assistant professor, School of Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Zachary Handlos, academic professional, School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
  • Felix Herrmann, professor, joint appointment, School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and School of Computational Science and Engineering.
  • Wenjing Liao, assistant professor, School of Mathematics
  • Jesse McDaniel, assistant professor, School of Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • D. Zeb Rocklin, assistant professor, School of Physics
  • Gregory Sawicki, associate professor, joint appointment, School of Mechanical Engineering and School of Biological Sciences
  • Carlos Silva, professor, joint appointment, School of Chemistry and Biochemistry and School of Physics
  • Alberto Stolfi, assistant professor, School of Biological Sciences
  • Marvin Whiteley, professor and Bennie H. & Nelson D. Abell Chair and Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in Molecular and Cellular Biology, School of Biological Sciences

Also celebrated as new colleagues were Rachel Kuske and Jenny McGuire. Kuske is a professor in and the chair of the School of Mathematics. She joined the College of Sciences on Jan. 3, 2017. McGuire previously held the position of Research Scientist II in the School of Biological Sciences. She is now assistant professor, tenure track, with joint appointment in the Schools of Biological Sciences and of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences.

Also at the 2017 summer dinner, nine faculty members were named recipients of 2017 faculty awards.

School of Mathematics Professors John Etnyre and Ronghua Pan, with School of Chemistry and Biochemistry Associate Professor Raquel Lieberman, received the 2017 College of Sciences Faculty Mentor Awards. They were recognized for sharing their experience, providing advice and encouragement, and helping the next generation of faculty succeed.

The college selected School of Physics Professor and Chair Pablo Laguna for the 2017 Ralph and Jewel Gretzinger Moving Forward School Award. The award praises leadership of a school chair or senior faculty member who has played a pivotal role in diversifying faculty, creating a family-friendly work environment, or providing a supportive environment for junior faculty. Laguna was commended for driving equity and inclusion and for mentoring of groups underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The award is supported by an endowment fund from School of Mathematics alumnus Ralph Gretzinger.

School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Assistant Professors Chris Reinhard and Britney Schmidt received the 2017 Eric R. Immel Memorial Award for Excellence in Teaching. The award salutes exemplary teaching of a foundational class by junior faculty. In particular, Reinhard and Schmidt were commended for “their imaginative and effective redevelopment” of EAS 1601, How to Build a Habitable Planet. Their work has inspired teaching assistants, excited students, and raised enrolment. The award is supported by an endowment fund from School of Mathematics alumnus Charles Crawford.

School of Physics Assistant Professor James “JC” Gumbart, School of Biological Sciences Associate Professor Brian Hammer, and School of Mathematics Associate Professor Anton Leykin were recognized with 2017 Cullen-Peck Fellowship Awards. The awards recognize innovative research led by faculty who are at the associate professor or advanced assistant professor level. They are made possible by a gift from School of Mathematics and School of Industrial and Systems Engineering alumni Frank Cullen and Libby Peck. The awards applaud outstanding research in computational biophysics (Gumbart), in the biology of competition and cooperation in bacterial systems (Hammer), and in applied and computational algebraic geometry (Leykin). 

“We are proud to have so many exceptional faculty members,” Goldbart said. “I am especially grateful for the generosity of our thoughtful alumni, whose gifts enable our colleagues to achieve the highest level of success in their teaching, research, and service.”

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Click on image(s) to view larger version(s)

  • Casey Bethel (left) and Charles Crawford (Photo by Renay San Miguel)

  • Thackery Brown (left) and Paul Goldbart (Photo by Renay San Miguel)

  • Paul Goldbart (from left) with 2017 Faculty Mentor Awardees Ronghua Pan, John Etnyre, and Raquel Lieberman (Photo by Renay San Miguel)

  • Libby Peck (from left), Frank Cullen, 2017 Cullen-Peck Fellow Brian Hammer, and Tracy Hammer (Photo by Renay San Miguel)

For More Information Contact

A. Maureen Rouhi, Ph.D.
Director of Communications
College of Sciences