NC State Honors 10 Faculty Members with Outstanding Research Award, Induction into Research Leadership Academy

Six faculty members received the university’s highest award for research and mentorship this year. the Award for Outstanding Research honors those who demonstrate excellence in creating new knowledge, concepts, methods or insights; who pledge to mentor their NC State faculty peers; and serving the NC State Research Community.

These six Outstanding Research Award winners, as well as four previous award winners, will be inducted into the university Research Leadership Academywhich is comprised of distinguished faculty members in diverse fields that enhance NC State’s research culture.

This year’s Outstanding Research Award winners are:

  • George Kennedy, a William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor of Agriculture in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Kennedy’s years of research into the ecology and life systems of certain invertebrates has expanded the knowledge base of integrated pest management and in turn significantly reduced the world’s dependence on pesticides. He not only supports junior staff in their research, but also in work-life balance. Richard Linton, Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, said: “Throughout his career he has championed teaching excellence, sought and applied intellectual discoveries, mentored the next generation of scientists and worked to build international capacity to improve NC used by the state and society as a whole.”
  • James Lester, a distinguished university professor of computer science in the College of Engineering. Lester is the founding director of the Center for Educational Informatics, which uses artificial intelligence in student environments to advance education and training. He also led the multi-agency proposal team that received the National Science Foundation’s AI Institute. Deputy Vice Chancellor for Research Jon Horowitz said: “James has been a dynamic, prolific researcher, educator and mentor throughout his academic career, and his contributions to the field have been justly recognized by his peers.”
  • W. Jason Miller, an English professor at the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Miller discovered an earlier version of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech before it was delivered in Washington in 1963. This version was held in Rocky Mount, North Carolina and figured prominently in Miller’s work, King’s first dream project. This project preserves materials that might otherwise be forgotten and thrown away. Deanna Dannels, Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, said: “Dr. Miller is a pre-eminent scholar of the literature and rhetoric of the civil rights movement in the United States, and in his role as a widely visible public has made notable contributions to the field, to its faculty, to our university, and to the broader community of scholars.”
  • John Mut, Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at the College of Engineering. Muth helped found PowerAmerica – a $140 million Department of Energy award – for the state of NC. He was also co-founder of the Advanced Self-Powered Systems of Integrated Sensors and Technologies (ASSIST) Center. He serves undergraduate, graduate, community college, and high school students. Louis A. Martin-Vega, Dean of the College of Engineering, said, “He is a recognized innovator, working with small businesses and large industries in a variety of contexts, from start-ups here in the research triangle to multi-million dollar Collaborations in the PowerAmerica Institute.”
  • Sylvia Nasser, Professor and Program Coordinator of Counselor Education at the College of Education. Nassar helped develop the 2016 Multicultural and Social Justice Counseling Skills endorsed by the Executive Council of the Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development and the Governing Council of the American Counseling Association. She has served as the graduate program coordinator for NC State’s Counselor Education Program for more than 10 years. Paola Sztajn, Dean of the Pedagogical College, said: “Dr. Nassar is a distinguished scholar who has distinguished herself locally, nationally and internationally as an expert in the field of counselor education and career development with a focus on multiculturalism and social justice.”
  • Afsaneh Rabiei, Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the College of Engineering. Rabiei has received more than $7 million in non-university federal awards and developed or co-developed 10 US patents during her time at NC State. She has mentored nearly 30 students and has focused on mentoring women and minority students. Deputy Vice Chancellor for Research Jon Horowitz said: “Given her seemingly boundless energy and generosity with her time, Afsaneh is a highly sought-after participant on many national and international panels and committees, and her influence has been profound.”

The following faculty members have received the award in previous years and will also be inducted into the Research Leadership Academy:

  • Jan GenzerS Frank & Doris Culberson Distinguished Professor, College of Engineering
  • Saad KhanINVISTA Professor, College of Engineering
  • Gail McLaughlinDistinguished University Professor, College of Sciences
  • Orlin VelevS. Frank and Doris Culberson Distinguished Professor, College of Engineering

“Congratulations to the six outstanding faculty members who received the Alumni Association’s Outstanding Research Award this year,” said Sharon Joines, Chair of the Research Leadership Academy. “The pool of nominees was exceptional – they represented the breadth and depth of scholarship at NC State. In addition to the six honorees, four previous AAORA recipients were inducted into the RLA this year. I look forward to working with them as lifelong members of the RLA.”

The Outstanding Research Award is presented annually by the Research and Innovation Office and the Alumni Association. The Research Leadership Academy was founded in 2016.

This post was originally published in the Office for Research and Innovation.

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