Kudos: Read about faculty, staff and student awards, appointments and achievements


Kelsea Best, a Ph.D. student in Earth and Environmental Sciences, has been awarded a “graduate student pursuit” grant from the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center to study the human impacts of climate change. Best is leading a team of graduate students from
several universities across the U.S. to study connections between climate change and displacement of people in coastal areas of the United States, with financial support for travel, high-performance computational resources and stipends provided by SESYNC.

David Curie, a third-year physics Ph.D. student, has received an Office of Science Graduate Student Research Fellowship to conduct part of his dissertation research in a Department of Energy laboratory. Curie’s work focuses on single-photon sources, which can be used in quantum communications and possibly quantum computing.

E. Bronson Ingram College was named the Best Higher Education/Research project for 2019 by Engineering News-Record magazine.

Brandt Eichman, William R. Kenan, Jr. Chair in Biological Sciences and professor of biochemistry, will receive the 2021 International Award from the Biochemical Society, the United Kingdom’s leading organization of biochemists. The award, which recognizes outstanding and independent research that demonstrates the importance of the molecular biosciences, is given annually to an early- to mid-career scientist who has conducted research outside the U.K. and Ireland.

Mary Jo Gilmer, professor of nursing, has been selected for induction into the International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame by Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing. The honor, which recognizes significant, sustained international achievement, is considered one of the highest honors in nursing research.

Kathryn Humphreys, assistant professor of psychology and human development, has received a 2020 Janet Taylor Spence Award from the Association for Psychological Science. The award recognizes early-career researchers who have made transformative contributions to the field of psychological science, such as establishing new paradigms within a subject area or advancing research that cuts across fields of study.

Karan Jani, a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, has been recognized as an “All-Star Alumnus” by Forbes for his research on black holes. Jani was named to Forbes’ “30 Under 30–Science” list in 2017.

Jonathan Metzl, Frederick B. Rentschler II Professor of Sociology and Medicine, Health and Society, has received the 2020 Benjamin Rush Award from the American Psychiatric Association. The award recognizes an individual who has made significant contributions to the literature on the history of psychiatry.

Dawool (Lauren) Nam, a senior majoring in chemistry, has received the 2019-20 Girls in STEM Scholarship Award from Girls Who STEM, the mission of which is to increase access and participation of girls in STEM fields and to promote and support girls and women in STEM projects, areas of study and professions.

Roberta Nelson, assistant director of the Office of LGBTQI Life, has received the Promising New Professional Award from the Consortium of LGBT Resource Professionals. The award recognizes a professional with less than five years of experience for outstanding service, innovative or creative effort within the profession, and demonstration of significant promise for leadership in the field.

Laura Nichols, a first-year physics Ph.D. student, has received a Computational Science Graduate Fellowship in overall support of her dissertation research in computational physics. The CSGF fellowship, awarded to only about 30 individuals nationally per year, supports Ph.D. candidates in the computational sciences—those who use computer programming to solve problems in scientific disciplines such as physics, biology and chemistry.

Sokrates Pantelides, William A. and Nancy F. McMinn Professor of Physics and professor of electrical engineering, was one of three international scientists honored with the 2019 Award for International Scientific Cooperation by the Chinese Academy of Sciences. A pioneer in the field of semiconductor physics, Pantelides has carried out substantive cooperation with the CAS in developing new low-dimensional materials over the past two decades. In addition, Pantelides was named an honorary professor by Galgotias University in Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India, in conjunction with a talk he gave at an Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers conference in nearby Lucknow.

Cleo Rucker, director of human resources consulting, employee and labor relations, has been appointed to the Metro Nashville Employee Benefits Study and Formulating Committee by Mayor John Cooper. The committee’s charge is to study and formulate a plan for employee benefits, including disability and retirement benefits, for Metro Nashville employees.

Keivan Stassun, Stevenson Chair in Physics and professor of astronomy and computer science, has been named an inaugural fellow of the American Astronomical Society, the major organization of professional astronomers in North America. The designation recognizes AAS members for extraordinary achievement and service, such as original research and publication, innovative contributions to astronomical techniques or instrumentation, significant contributions to education and public outreach, and noteworthy service to astronomy and to the society itself.

Steven Townsend, assistant professor of chemistry, has been named a Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar for 2020. These faculty are within the first five years of their academic careers, have created an outstanding independent body of scholarship, and are deeply committed to education.

Kip Viscusi, University Distinguished Professor of Law, Economics and Management, has received the American Risk and Insurance Association’s 2020 Kulp-Wright Book Award for Pricing Lives: Guideposts for a Safer Society. The award recognizes a risk management and insurance book or monograph that advances the body of knowledge toward new frontiers.