Faculty & Staff Accolades: April 2017

Accolades celebrate the professional achievements of the faculty and staff in the College of Science. The following accolades were published for the month of April 2017.

Ernest Barreto, Physics and Astronomy, was nominated for the Career Connection Faculty Award by one of his students.

Dieter Bilitza, Physics and Astronomy, is the lead author of the paper ‘International Reference Ionosphere (IRI) 2016: From ionospheric climate to real-time weather predictions’ that was published in the journal Space Weather of the American Geophysical Union (AGU). IRI is the international ISO-approved standard for Earth’s ionosphere. The paper describes the latest version of the IRI model and the progress towards a real-time IRI.

Barney Bishop, Chemistry, was awarded $18,088 by Ceres Nanosciences, Inc. for his work on “Particle Development for Specific Applications.”

Natalie Burls, Atmospheric, Oceanic and Earth Sciences and The Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies, was awarded a 2017 Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship in Ocean Sciences.

Paul Dirmeyer, Atmospheric, Oceanic and Earth Sciences, co-authored a paper with post-doctoral scientist Liang Chen titled “Impacts of Land-Use/Land-Cover Change on Afternoon Precipitation over North America” in the Journal of Climate.

Harold Geller, was interviewed by The Arts and Entertainment Magazine regarding “A Race to the Moon…Again!” He, as a part of the Mason Speakers series, spoke at the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia regarding “Mars: Forty Years of Exploration.” Geller also served as a Category Chair of Judging in Physics and Astronomy at the 62nd Fairfax County Regional Science and Engineering Fair held at Robinson Secondary School.

Kylene Kehn-Hall, School of Systems Biology, National Center for Biodefense and Infectious Diseases, was awarded $210,000 by Ceres NanoSciences, Inc. for her work on “Application of the Nanotrap Technology Platform for Improved Detection of Zika virus and Febrile Illness Pathogens.”

Laura Lukes, Atmospheric, Oceanic and Earth Sciences won the Geological Society of America¹s Biggs Award for Excellence in Earth Science Teaching. Lukes along with Mark Uhen received supplementary funding for a workshop to help develop additional lesson plans for their Paleobiology Database undergraduate education grant.

Julia Nord, Atmospheric, Oceanic and Earth Sciences has been chosen to receive a 2017 George Mason University Teaching Excellence Award.

Jagadish Shukla, Atmospheric, Oceanic and Earth Sciences,  delivered the centennial lecture to celebrate 100-year anniversary of Banaras Hindu University, India, the title of the lecture was “Global Climate Change: science, Ethics, Politics, and Sustainability in an Unequal World.”

Daniel Sklarew, Environmental Science and Policy, was selected out of 156 nominees to be the recipient of Mason’s Career Connection Faculty Award after being nominated by three separate students. He also won the Jack Wood Award for Town Gown Relations.

Cynthia Smith, Environmental Science and Policy, along with her project team was awarded Prince William Chamber of Commerce Business Award for the 2017 Innovative Practice/ Partnership of the Year at the Prince William County Division of Solid Waste. This award recognizes their collaborative work in designing curriculum and signage and constructing the Outdoor Discovery Trail which meanders through the100 acre forested landfill buffer, connecting three outdoor classrooms located behind three public schools.

Michael Summers, Physics and Astronomy, co-authored a book along with James Trefil “Exoplanets: Diamond Worlds, Super Earths, Pulsar Planets, and the New Search for Life beyond Our Solar System,” published by Smithsonian Books. Dr. Summers had an interview published in El Mercurio (leading newspaper in Chile) on astrobiological implications of the “New Horizons discoveries about possibilities of Life on Pluto”. He also had a radio interview on BBC Radio in the UK (BBC Radio Wales), about the exoplanet discovery of the TRAPPIST-1 system of seven Earth-like planets, and the Summers & Trefil book soon to be released by the Smithsonian entitled “Exoplanets.” On March 2nd, 2017, Dr. Summers presented a talk on “The New Horizons Mission to Pluto and Beyond” and the “Galileo Science Café.” He also gave a talk on “New Horizons Pluto mission recent discoveries” at the GMU Observatory open house on March 20, 2017, and an interview for the NASA Astrobiology Institute on “Does Pluto Have the Ingredients for Life?” Dr. Summers co-authored papers titled “A Geophysical Planet Definition” in the journal Lunar and Planetary Science XLVIII, “Radio occultation measurements of Pluto’s neutral atmosphere with New Horizons” in the journal Icarus in Press, and “Haze in Pluto’s Atmosphere” in Icarus in Press. Dr. Summers also taught Astrobiology Camp for 30 students from Incheon Science High School on January 13, 2017.