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Notes from the Chancellor » Kudos, Kudos, Kudos

Kudos, Kudos, Kudos

One of my favorite events of the year is the Chancellor’s Honors Banquet, where we get to recognize students, faculty, and staff who have made outstanding contributions to our campus and community. You can read about this year’s honorees on my website.

Faculty and staff

Several faculty members have received Fulbright awards. Wanda Costen, associate professor in Retail, Hospitality, and Tourism Management, will study gender inequality in the resort industry in Jamaica and teach at the University of West Indies–Mona. Rebecca Klenk, a senior lecturer affiliated with the Anthropology Department and the Disaster, Displacement, and Human Rights Program, will lecture and work with graduate students at the University of Delhi, India. Melanie Eldridge, research assistant professor in microbiology, will study ecotoxicology on zebrafish and help establish a molecular biology lab at the University of Campinas in Brazil. Scott Frey, sociology professor, will study the consequences of pesticide use on rice production in Vietnam.

Jeff Reinbolt, assistant professor of mechanical, aerospace, and biomedical engineering, and David Jenkins, assistant professor of chemistry, received National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development awards, the most prestigious honor for junior faculty.

James Plank, a professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, was awarded a 2012 IBM Faculty Award. It carries a $30,000 prize.

John Ma, an associate professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and his research team won the 2013 Raymond C. Reese Research Prize from the American Society of Civil Engineers.

J. Paul Dittmann, executive director of the Global Supply Chain Institute, has been named as one of the ten supply chain thought leaders in the world by SCM Operations.

Ron Taylor has received the American Academy of Advertising’s Charles H. Sandage Excellence in Teaching Award.

Nathan Sanders, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, has been named an associate editor for Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene, a new nonprofit open access journal founded by BioOne and supported by Dartmouth University, the Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of Colorado Boulder, the University of Michigan, and the University of Washington.

Jay Rubenstein, history professor, has won the $10,000 Ralph Waldo Emerson Award, one of the Phi Beta Kappa Book Awards, for his book, Armies of Heaven: The First Crusade and the Quest for Apocalypse, published in 2011.

Gordon Burghardt, psychology professor, received a research fellowship from the Center of Theological Inquiry in Princeton for the spring 2014 semester. He will research snake-handling religious rituals.

Several Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering faculty members have been honored by the Institute of Industrial Engineering (IIE). Rupy Sawhney, department head, was elected to the board of directors for the Lean Division of the IIE. Sawhney and his team also earned the IIE Lean Teaching Award for the lean engineering program they developed. The team includes ISE Professors Robert Keyser and Joseph Stainback and Lean Enterprise Summer Program Director Enrique Macias de Anda. Xiaoyan Zhu, assistant professor in ISE and associate director of the Reliability and Maintainability Engineering Program, won the IIE Best Paper Prize in Quality and Reliability Engineering.

William Hamel, head of the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering, has been elected a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers for his work with telerobotics and mechanical engineering.

Karen Sowers, dean of the College of Social Work, has been elected a Distinguished Scholar Fellow in the National Academies of Practice. Fellows are elected by their peers from ten different health professions.

Professor Joseph Majdalani, the Arnold Chair of Excellence in Advanced Propulsion at the UT Space Institute, received the Abe M. Zarem Educator Award from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Foundation for his work mentoring graduate students.


Alex HouckMelissa LeeJuniors Melissa Lee and Alex Houck have been recognized by the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program. Lee, a Haslam Scholar majoring in integrative neuroscience, was named a 2013 Goldwater Scholar. Houck, who is studying neuropathology and neurolinguistics, received an honorable mention from the Goldwater Scholarship Program.

Brian Conlon, a senior in honors environmental studies and German, is one of fifty students nationwide who have been awarded the Udall Scholarship, which recognizes students committed to careers related to the environment, tribal public policy, or Native American health care.

Football player Herman Lathers and Lady Vols basketball player Taber Spani, both graduate students, were UT’s nominees for the Brad Davis SEC Community Service Post-Graduate Scholarship.

At the Interior Design Educators Council Regional Competition, interior design seniors Teal Nabors, Abbey Stepanek, and Erin Brelsford won second place for their project, "The Learning Center." Seniors Margaret Jamison, Deanna Olson, and Caroline McDonald won third place for "Learning Landscape." Both projects examine how future classrooms in higher education could function through well-considered design.

Our Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Robotics Teams fared well at the SouthEastCon 2013 Open Robotics Competition. The graduate team won the open competition, and the undergraduate team finished fourteenth out of fifty-two teams.

Caleb Drummer, a senior in civil engineering, received a $1,000 scholarship from the American Council of Engineering Companies of Tennessee.

A team of undergraduates won the Society for Human Resource Management’s 2013 Southeast Regional Business Case Competition. The team—Rachel Dix, Erin Dyer, Justin Collins, Kathryn Bradley, and Adam Rowland—competed against ninety students from thirty-plus universities. Debbie Mackey, director of the UT Human Resource Management master’s degree program, coached the team.

Jordan Humble, a senior in global politics and economics, won this year’s Vol Court business entrepreneurial competition for his company, Privateer Cycling Apparel, which sells customized cycling apparel. Alex Adams, a junior in mechanical engineering, won second place for his company, Adams Innovation LLC, which designs, imports, and distributes leisure hammocks.

Amber Woodburn, a doctoral student in civil and environmental engineering, has been named an Eno Fellow and will participate in the twenty-first annual Eno Leadership Development Conference. The Eno Center for Transportation is a neutral, nonpartisan think tank that promotes policy innovation.

UT swept the awards in the 2013 College Music Society Southern Chapter Student Paper Contest and Student Composition Contest. In the paper contest, first prize went to Allison Hendrix and honorable mention went to Tyler Dieterich, both music education master’s candidates. In the composition contest, first prize went to Zack Pentecost, a composition master’s candidate, and honorable mention went to Blair Boyd, who graduated from the program. Zack Pentecost also won the Salop-Slates Memorial Competition sponsored by the Southeastern Composers League.

Graduate student Kemper Talley has been selected to attend the 2013 Computational Physics Student Summer Workshop at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

The Economics Club won this year’s iOme Challenge, a national effort to address the nation’s financial crisis, for its plan that would help remove barriers and create incentives for the millennial generation to save more money. Team members were Jessica Nichole Tenbroeck, David Fry, Jonathan Sessions, Chelsea Padgham, Kayla McMurry, Thea Aub, and Margaret Ross. The prize was $12,000 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., to present their entry to members of Congress and other policy makers. Ken Baker, a senior lecturer in the Department of Economics, advised the club.

Two graduate students in the School of Art’s printmaking program have won nationally competitive fellowships and scholarships. Jen Scheuer received the 2013 SGCI Graduate Fellowship from the Southern Graphics Council International Awards Committee. Ashton Ludden received the 2013 Frogman's Print and Paper Workshop Graduate Student Scholarship.

Kan Huang received China’s 2012 Natural Science Award from Premier Wen Jiabao for his work on improving air quality in Chinese cities. Huang is a postdoctoral research associate under Joshua Fu, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering.

Several Master of Fine Arts students have been selected for the US Institute for Theatre Technology’s Young Designers Forum: Miwa Ishii, costume design and technology; Arlene Felipe, costume design; Kate Bashore, lighting design; and Elizabeth Stadstad, set design.

Scott Bailey, a VolsTeach apprentice teacher and biology major, won a $1,400 grant to purchase electrophoresis gels for West High School to be used in a classroom and lab so students can examine DNA and RNA. His grant application was part of a class assignment.

Beranger Biannic, postdoctoral research associate at the Center for Renewable Carbon, earned first place in the postdoctoral scholar category of the Southeastern Conference Symposium's inaugural Excellence in Poster Presentation.

ReVOLutionReVOLution, an eleven-woman a cappella group formed in 2010, advanced to the national semifinals of the 2013 International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella. ReVOLution is the first UT group to be accepted into the international competition.

Alicia Swift, a nuclear engineering doctoral candidate, was chosen to participate in the 2013 class of the Nuclear Scholars Initiative by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The initiative allows top graduate students and young professionals to interact with senior experts on nuclear weapons issues.

Kelly Barnett, graduate student in plant sciences, received the 2012 Outstanding Graduate Student Award from the Southern Weed Science Society.

University honors

The Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage has won the Tennessee Native Plant Society Conservation Award. It is the first time an organization, not an individual, has won the award.

The UT Bookstore was one of seventeen university retailers named to the honor roll of the National Association of College Stores Foundation's 2013 Collegiate Retailer of the Year Awards.

The Wind Ensemble was one of four bands invited to perform for the American Bandmasters Association, the most prestigious band association in the world.

The university has received two environmental awards. We were named a Top 20 green power–using university by the Environmental Protection Agency's Green Power Partnership. The only SEC school in the Top 10, we were noted for our use of biogas, small hydro, solar, and wind resources, as well as our partnership with the Tennessee Valley Authority. We also received the Green Light Award from the East Tennessee chapter of the US Green Building Council, the highest award given to an organization for advancing sustainability through green building practices and design.

The High School Introduction to Engineering Systems (HITES) program was selected by the National Association of Multicultural Engineering Program Advocates as the 2013 Outstanding Pre-College/Community Organization.