John T. Consoli
Office of Strategic Communications
From memorializing campus visits of international dignitaries to chronicling the everyday lounging of students on McKeldin Mall, university photographer John T. Consoli has spent 35 years creating the visual record of life at the University of Maryland. Consoli is known across campus for his friendly demeanor, consummate professionalism and ability to take dynamic, compelling pictures that showcase what being a Terp is all about.
“John not only connects with the physical beauty of our campus, he also captures the spirit of the community,” says Margaret Hall, chief creative officer in the Office of Strategic Communications. “A quiet moment at the library, a lively discussion with a professor, or a rowdy basketball crowd—John is able to translate the essence of the university.”
Consoli first came to UMD as a student, graduating with bachelor’s degrees in studio art and applied design in 1986, and starting the same year as a graphic designer and photographer for Creative Services. Since 1998, he has been the director of photography and creative director of magazines for the Office of Strategic Communications, guiding the visual style of everything from brochures and annual reports to Terp magazine.
His photographs and visual direction have regularly won awards from groups such as Communication Arts, the University Photographers’ Association of America, the University and College Designers Association, and the Art Director’s Club of Washington, D.C. Consoli is a consistent winner in competitions sponsored by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education and has won the Photographer of the Year award multiple times. In June, he was part of the team that won the 2021 case National Platinum Award, the highest award given for university photography nationwide.
“I believe that the photos John takes leave everyone with a positive impression of our institution,” says Amitabh Varshney, dean of the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences. “His photos are high-quality and have a long shelf life, appearing on websites and social media, as well as in brochures, magazines and press releases. John is truly making a difference in how people see the University of Maryland.”
Departments of Biology, and Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics
Over more than 20 years of service to the University of Maryland, Douglas Downing has supported the institution’s research enterprise through unwavering work ethic, attention to detail and uplifting optimism. As storekeeper for the departments of Biology, and Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics, he is responsible for receiving and delivering supplies, equipment, hazardous materials and even animals to and from more than 60 laboratories in three campus buildings, checking each order for completeness and ensuring all products are properly stored.
“He takes custody of things as small as a precious tube of purified enzyme, which must be kept cold until retrieval by the ordering lab, to items as large as bulky furniture or incubators destined for a lab or office,” says biology Professor Eric S. Haag. “There are no stories about how Douglas messed something up— he simply doesn’t mess anything up. Year after year.”
Besides maintaining the loading dock areas, Downing personally carts items directly to the labs, offices, professors or researchers who need them—a task that requires good organizational and social skills.
“He provides prompt, quality customer service to internal and external customers and exercises patience, respect and professionalism in all routine and non-routine interactions,” says Dorothea O’Toole, manager of facilities and laboratory compliance officer in the Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics. “He comes to work Monday through Friday with a smile on his face and a pleasant greeting to everyone he comes into contact with.”
That commitment and positive attitude continued throughout the COVID-19 shutdown and phased reopening, with Downing’s essential work supporting the scientists working to fight the virus and undertake other critical research endeavors. Despite the unpredictable times, he never missed a day of work while relying on public transportation, and he would send upbeat emails to his colleagues to encourage them to maintain their spirits and stay safe.
“Mr. Downing exemplifies the spirit of ‘Terrapin Strong’ that has helped unite our community during this pandemic,” says university President Darryll J. Pines.
College of Behavioral and Social Sciences
With her administrative and financial expertise and unfailing commitment to her “work family,” Ann Holmes stands out as a uniquely effective and talented campus leader.
As assistant dean for finance and administration in the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences (BSOS) for more than 13 years, Holmes prepares and controls the budget, oversees contracts and grants, and ensures compliance with university, state and federal regulations.
“Ann is a force,” says Kimberly J. Schmidt, assistant dean for finance and administration in the School of Public Policy. “She sees someone struggling with an administrative process and wants to find a better way. When she finds the better way, she shares this knowledge widely to improve the university.”
Before starting her current position in 2008, Holmes served as assistant comptroller in the Office of Contract and Grant Accounting and director of finance and administration in the Center for Advanced Study of Language, totaling over 25 years at UMD. Throughout that time, she spearheaded the effort to replace an antiquated index card filing system with a state-of-the-art billing and accounts receivable system, and she was a leader in the development of the Office of Research Administration certification program.
Last year, Holmes built on her long-held passion for teaching students about personal finance by becoming an instructor for the new “Designing Your Life After College” course, helping juniors and seniors learn practical skills like understanding a benefits package or a credit score.
“No campus colleague (or student) who needs her help or advice is turned away,” says Katherine F. Russell, bsos associate dean, “and no university silo is too daunting for Ann to build meaningful bridges and collaborations.”
Such relationships have helped Holmes quickly resolve problems and foster cooperation. When the pandemic hit in March 2020, for example, she immediately started talking to college and department teams to ensure a balance of labor in the new online environment, and she turned the regular college business meeting into a weekly forum for staff across campus to discuss administrative obstacles and creative solutions.
“Ann’s compassion and commitment to the campus have been invaluable during times of crisis,” says Carolyn Schupbach, director of financial services in bsos. “(She) built a ‘safe place’ for discussion and exchange of ideas during unprecedented times.”
Division of Student Affairs
Whether she’s helping to resolve sensitive incidents with students or stepping up at the campus COVID-19 testing site, Maria Lonsbury brings an organized, efficient and calming presence to critical campus issues.
Since 2013, she has been the case manager for the University of Maryland’s Behavior Evaluation and Threat Assessment (BETA) Team, which responds to reports of concerning, disruptive or threatening students. Lonsbury collaborates with staff in the Counseling Center, Behavioral Health Services, Department of Public Safety, Office of Student Conduct and Division of Student Affairs—as well as with parents, faculty and staff, the police and the students themselves—to keep everyone safe and get students the help and support they need.
Each year, Lonsbury can manage more than 200 such cases, which are often complex in nature. “Maria’s devotion to her work is unparalleled,” says Andrea Goodwin, interim assistant vice president for student affairs and beta Team chair. “She demonstrates sensitive treatment of student issues and avails herself to staff, faculty and students at any time of the day or night in order to provide service to the campus.”
Lonsbury, who’s also a project specialist in the Division of Student Affairs, has also taken on the significant task of coordinating UMD’s COVID-19 testing site. She has organized, staffed and managed the operation from its inception, overseeing the completion of over 190,000 tests.
“Her calm demeanor, customer-service mindset, attention to detail and more are perfect for her role,” says Lisa Press, assistant director for conferences and visitor services, who also worked at the site.
In addition to keeping health and safety at the forefront, Lonsbury also approached testing coordination with empathy and inclusivity in mind. For example, she set up processes that would remove barriers for individuals with disabilities to access testing.
“Maria functions like a well-made Swiss watch,” says Chetan Joshi, Counseling Center director.
“You can rest assured that any project assigned to Maria will get done with maximum efficiency and with minimum issues.”
Fawzi Emad (Teaching)
Department of Computer Science
Fawzi Emad brings an easygoing style, clear presentations and rigorous standards to his highly popular courses in computer science, earning the respect of thousands of students as well as his colleagues.
“Seeing Fawzi in action helped me to fully embrace the joy in interacting with students, and this has subsequently much improved both my instruction, and my experience of being an instructor,” says computer science Professor W. Rance Cleaveland II, who early in his career at UMD collaborated with Emad on a class.
Emad has primarily focused on foundational courses for undergraduates, often developing and revising curriculums, particularly around computer science’s move to a limited enrollment major. With the explosive growth of the department in the last decade, he has taught enormous numbers of learners—for example, all 854 of those who took the required object-oriented programming class in Fall 2020—and students rate him highly in reviews.
“Fawzi’s name is one I hear on my students’ lips every semester … in the ‘Take this teacher!’ category,” says Justin Wyss-Gallifent, principal lecturer in the Department of Mathematics.
Emad earned his bachelor’s degree in 1992 and his master’s degree in 1997, both in UMD’s math department. He was a non-degree-seeking advanced special student in the computer science graduate program as well, studying artificial intelligence, data structures and other topics. He served as an instructor and coordinator in mathematics from 1994 to 2001, when he became a lecturer in computer science, and was promoted to senior lecturer in 2017.
Among his awards and honors are eight teaching awards from the Department of Computer Science— stretching from the academic year of 2019-20 back to 2003-04 —and the CMNS Dean’s Outstanding Lecturer Award.
“Fawzi Emad is arguably the best instructor (GTK or TTK) in the largest department on campus,” says Michael Hicks, professor of computer science and co-associate chair of undergraduate education, “and has maintained his high standard for decades.”
Nancy Gallagher (Research)
School of Public Policy
Nancy Gallagher, research professor in the School of Public Policy and director of the Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM), has established herself as a leading voice in international security and arms control.
Her current work focuses on three critical areas: improving cybersecurity decision-making, cooperative strategies to reduce nuclear risks and public opinion surveys about security policy in the United States and Iran. Those polls are often the only publicly available insight into Iranian domestic opinion and have been cited by U.S. policymakers across political parties.
“She has been simultaneously solid and bold in her research and conclusions on a controversial subject, introducing much-needed grounding and empirical analysis into the political and policy debates,” says Robert C. Orr, School of Public Policy dean.
Gallagher, who earned her Master’s and Ph.D. in political science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, worked as executive director of the Clinton administration’s Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Task Force before joining UMD as a senior research scholar and associate director for research at cissm in 2001. She became its director in 2017.
Currently at work on a two-book series, “Strategic Logics for Arms Control,” she has been published more than 50 times on topics including control of dangerous pathogens, space security and Chinese perspectives on arms control and strategic stability. She has given dozens of public presentations and appeared on NPR and the BBC.
“Dr. Gallagher’s research is known and valued among global leaders focused on ensuring human survival,” says Joan Rohlfing, president and chief operating officer of the Nuclear Threat Initiative.
Gallagher has earned numerous accolades throughout her UMD career, including the university’s first Research Communicator Impact Award in 2015, the Outstanding Invention award in 2016 and the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research, Teaching and Service in 2018.
“She is a strong center director, with a passion for tackling difficult security questions with creative approaches,” says Charles Harry, associate research professor in the School of Public Policy, “and has cultivated a strong community of young researchers through effective teaching and mentoring.”
Joanna Goger (Teaching)
Environmental Science and Policy Program
Joanna Goger brings a passion for environmentalism and undergraduate education to her role as senior lecturer in the Environmental Science and Policy Program, and a commitment to support fellow professional track faculty as a member of the campus teaching community.
An educator, motivator, confidant and leader, she motivates many students in her courses and the sustainability studies minor to pursue the major and career field.
“Joanna is an outstanding example of the kind of teacher who students thirst for: challenging, interested in their well-being and enthusiastic about the material,” says Angela Mazur-Gray, ENSP’s assistant director.
Goger graduated from Duke with a B.A. in history and began her career as an environmental analyst before earning her juris doctor degree with a concentration in environmental law at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. She worked as a trial attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice until 2003, when she began teaching in the College of Agricultural and Natural Resources (AGNR). She became a full-time lecturer a few years later and was promoted to senior lecturer in 2017.
She regularly teaches specialty upper-level courses, packing her presentations with easily digestible information and thought-provoking questions. Goger led the redesign of the Capstone course in ENSP; co-directs the sustainability studies minor, one of the largest on campus; advised a student team in the Gemstone program; and devotes considerable time to mentoring students interested in pursuing a career in environmental law.
Alums rave about her impact: “I plan on attending law school next year, and my decision stems from the first day I took ENSP102 and was inspired by Mrs. Goger’s career in law,” says one.
She has parlayed her knowledge of policy and the legal system to develop the ptk policy of her unit, and across agnr and the rest of campus. Goger has mentored other PTK faculty in their drive to promotion, chaired the first AGNR Appointments, Evaluation, and Promotions committee and continues to serve there.
“She has worked tirelessly for the program, college and university and is the epitome of what a PTK teaching faculty member should be,” says Joseph H. Sullivan, professor and associate dean.
Candace M. Moore (Service)
Department of Counseling, Higher Education and Special Education
The inaugural director of the College of Education’s Center for Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education (CDIHE), a national think tank on equity in higher education, Candace M. Moore leads scholarship, programming and consultation that aids higher education institutions in addressing issues relating to diversity, inclusion and social justice.
“(Moore) has been recognized as a leading voice in this work, and she is frequently asked to speak and consult with organizations that are in the process of developing sustainable practices informed by research and theory,” says Bridget Turner Kelly, associate professor of student affairs.
In addition to CDIHE, Moore is an associate clinical professor with the student affairs concentration of the College of Education’s Higher Education, Student Affairs and International Education Policy program. She serves on the university’s Education Abroad advisory board, is a Global Classrooms Initiative fellow and a member of the Office of International Affairs’ vision-building committee. She has collaborated with colleagues at Ghana’s University of Cape Coast and Washington University in St. Louis to develop both an international graduate course on student affairs practices and a short-term study abroad program focusing on student affairs practices in higher education in Ghana. She recently received a prestigious Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program award from the U.S. Department of State to study in Ghana during the 2021-22 academic year to focus on how Ghanaian higher education professionals and faculty are employing culturally conscious pedagogy and practice in their response to COVID-19.
Moore earned her Ph.D. in counseling and student services from the University of Georgia, where she received the 2021 mid-career practitioner distinguished alumni award from the Mary Frances Early College of Education, in addition to bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the same institution.
“As a colleague, as a mentor for her students, and as a human being, Moore is uniformly respected as a kind and generous person, with the capacity for infectious positivity, warmth and generosity, all the while demonstrating that she is committed to the hard work of advancing racial justice in the U.S. and across the globe through her work in the educational system in Ghana,” says Roger Worthington, professor and executive director of CDIHE.
Victoria "Tori" Page-Voth (Service)
Department of Counseling, Higher Education and Special Education
Victoria “Tori” Page-Voth teaches teachers and administrators, in the U.S. and overseas, to work with children who have disabilities.
She was initially hired to direct the Special Education Undergraduate Teacher Program in 1993. She chaired the Special Education Teacher Program Committee for five years and coordinated special education grants for recruitment and retention of students.
Page-Voth has co-written and directed nine U.S. Department of Education personnel grants, totaling over $5 million. These grants have provided master’s and doctoral degree programs in special education. She has led the College of Education’s outreach program for special education teachers and administrators working with the children of U.S. military members in Germany and Belgium. She has taught more than 16 graduate courses and been an adviser to over 140 master’s degree students, in addition to serving on dissertation committees for 24 doctoral students. She currently co-directs a new doctoral program in special education leadership for an additional 20 scholars in Department of Defense schools overseas.
She recently developed and co-directs the Graduate Certificate for General Education Teachers in Inclusive Classrooms, the only online program in the College of Education.
“The state of Maryland has had a long-standing shortage of educators who have the skills necessary to address the needs of students with disabilities,” says Philip Burke, professor of special education at UMD. “(She) designed the graduate certificate to provide targeted instruction to equip general education teachers to address the needs of students with disabilities in their inclusive classroom, and serves as adviser to all students.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Page-Voth’s online teaching skills were crucial to the success of other faculty members, says William Liu, chair of the Department of Counseling, Higher Education, and Special Education. She “has become a virtuoso with respect to helping other faculty across the department create and deliver successful instruction online,” he says.
Page-Voth earned a bachelor’s degree at Lewis and Clark College, a master’s in special education at Portland State University and a Ph.D. in special education from the University of Maryland.
Christy Tirrell-Corbin (Research)
Department of Human Development and Quantitative Methodology
Christy Tirrell-Corbin is a sought-after authority on creating rigorous methods to evaluate early childhood programs and policies, with a focus on young children at risk due to adversity.
After earning a B.A. in child development at Connecticut College, M.S. in child development and family relations at East Carolina University and doctorate in human development at UMD in 1996, she’s spent her career in the College of Education, and was promoted in 2017 to clinical professor.
Tirrell-Corbin helped design and serves as director of the early childhood education and special education program, which has been called a model for the state of Maryland.
She is also the founding and executive director of the Center for Early Childhood Education and Intervention, which conducts high-quality research on early childhood education and early intervention programs to inform policy, translates research into education programs, and promotes family engagement in children’s education.
“Perhaps most remarkable and impressive is Dr. Tirrell-Corbin’s ability to obtain external grant funding for the center and for her work,” says Nathan Fox, distinguished university professor. Since the center’s inception in 2015, she has received more than $9 million in external research grants. “By all metrics, Dr. Tirrell-Corbin has excelled in her scholarship in the College of Education,” he says.
She spearheaded the development of a preschool curriculum for the state that demonstrated her “deep knowledge, expertise and research evidence of a high-quality curriculum,” says Rolf Grafwallner, former assistant state superintendent for the Division of Early Childhood Development in the Maryland State Department of Education and now program director for early childhood education at the Council of Chief State School Officers.
Tirrell-Corbin has been appointed to the State Interagency Coordinating Council by Gov. Larry Hogan, is a consulting editor for the journal of the National Association for the Education of Young Children and board member for the International Council on Education for Teaching.
“In my broad professional experience, I can think of no one better equipped to translate early childhood research into practice,” says Kelly S. Mix, professor and chair of the Department of Human Development and Quantitative Methodology.
Tracy Tomlinson (Teaching)
Department of Psychology
Tracy Tomlinson, a senior lecturer in the Department of Psychology, has successfully shepherded students through some of the discipline’s most challenging courses, all while earning stellar reviews from students and the admiration of her colleagues.
Since joining the university in 2010, Tomlinson has taught five courses and mentored numerous students in the department’s independent study course. She also redesigned two of its most important courses, statistics and research methods for psychology, to be teachable online during the COVID-19 pandemic; the courses also now use open-source tools and resources to reduce student costs.
“(Tomlinson’s) impact on students and the student experience is demonstrated not only by the lengthy list of awards and recognition she has received, but also by objective outcomes,” says Michael Dougherty, department chair. “Her student teaching ratings are routinely among the highest in the department, despite the fact that she teaches some of the most challenging courses.”
Tomlinson earned a bachelor’s degree from Reed College, and her master’s degree and Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Maryland.
In addition to her teaching responsibilities, she also serves on the department’s peer teaching committee, which provides feedback to faculty members on their teaching, and has acted as faculty mentor for UMD’s chapter of Psi Chi, an honors society for undergraduate psychology students.
Her redesign of the statistics and research methods courses, for which she received a Carnegie course redesign grant, led to notably improved student retention and success in the classes. Last year, Tomlinson received a teaching innovation grant to reshape courses for online learning due to the pandemic.
Tomlinson “is known for her commitment to quality instruction and to her students,” say Karen O’Brien, professor of psychology, and Nazish Salahuddin, director of undergraduate studies in psychology. “She consistently strives to improve her courses and she responds thoughtfully to the needs of students and our department.”
Deparment of Electrical and Computer Engineering
An innovative researcher at the junction of integrated circuits and biology, Pamela Abshire is a committed educator who has mentored hundreds of graduates, undergraduates and high school students and worked to strengthen the curriculum of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE).
Abshire, who holds a joint appointment in the Institute for Systems Research and affiliations with the Maryland Robotics Center and the Brain and Behavior Institute, received her bachelor’s degree in physics from the California Institute of Technology, and her master’s and doctoral degrees in electrical and computer engineering from the Johns Hopkins University. She joined the University of Maryland in 2001 as assistant professor, and was promoted to associate professor in 2008 and full professor in 2017.
Abshire has published influential work spanning biosensors, laboratory-on-cmos systems, sensor circuits, adaptive VLSI circuits and studies of information power efficiency in 34 journal papers and 112 conference papers. She holds a patent for developing a “nose-on-a-chip” sensor, and her honors include the National Science Foundation career Award and a UMD Invention of the Year award.
In 2018, she was named an ieee fellow for contributions to cmos biosensing, which uses electronic chips to detect chemicals or biological events. In that field, she has made “a very significant scientific contribution reflecting both detailed experimental measures and careful, thoughtful analysis of the underlying biophysical processes,” says Professor Tor Sverre Lande of the University of Oslo.
She has mentored more than 100 undergraduates, including interns in an nsf Research Experiences for Undergraduates program and three Gemstone program teams. In addition, she has worked to establish educational standards for ECE capstone courses and developed innovative curriculums in key electrical engineering courses.
“Professor Abshire is amazing,” one of her students says in a class review. “She always has time to answer questions and explains difficult subjects of the course. She seems to like what she teaches, to be happy to teach and to care about her students, which make her a great professor.”
Department of Bioengineering
John Fisher is a leader in 3D “bioprinting”—a door to creating complex replacement tissues for the human body—and his mentorship has helped many students gain a footing in the growing field of tissue engineering.
The Fischell Family Distinguished Professor and chair of the Fischell Department of Bioengineering, he directs the Tissue Engineering and Biomaterials Laboratory, which develops and uses novel biomaterials and biomanufacturing methods to improve ill and injured patients’ quality of life.
Fisher also directs the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Biomedical Engineering-supported Center for Engineering Complex Tissues. Among his group’s paradigm-shifting demonstrations was a human placenta model with synthetic-natural biomaterial hybrids that led to discoveries about the cell biology of the placenta and clinical insights into Zika virus transmission. His group has published over 160 peer-reviewed papers and his work has been cited over 11,000 times.
“He maintains an unbridled enthusiasm for bioengineering education, and he continues to exceed expectations in his service to the national and international scientific communities,” says Antonios G. Mikos, Louis Calder Professor of Bioengineering and Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Rice University.
After earning his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the Johns Hopkins University, his master’s from the University of Cincinnati, and his Ph.D. in bioengineering from Rice University in 2003, Fisher started as an assistant professor at the University of Maryland. He became an associate professor in 2008 and was promoted to professor in 2012, serving as department chair since 2016.
Fisher established and has continually taught a key undergraduate bioengineering course on modeling physiological systems, with evaluations among the department’s highest. He has mentored 10 postdoctoral fellows, 25 Ph.D. students and over 100 undergraduates, with many transitioning to faculty roles or Ph.D. programs.
His honors include the Clemson Award for Contributions to the Literature from the Society for Biomaterials, the Senior Scientist Award from the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society-Americas chapter, and a National Science Foundation career Award. Fisher is a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, the Biomedical Engineering Society, and the International Academy of Medical and Biological Engineering.
Department of Materials Science and Engineering
Liangbing Hu is an innovator in materials design and synthesis widely known for his work with wood nanofibers and other natural materials and his success in infusing his students and mentees with the same inventive mindset.
From bulletproof “super wood” that can replace steel in many applications to “cooling wood” that lowers building temperatures, Hu finds new ways to use one of the world’s most abundant natural resources. The Herbert Rabin Distinguished Professor and a Minta Martin Professor of Engineering, Hu also has advanced the field of energy storage, and his ultrafast high-temperature synthesis method made the cover of the journal Science.
“Liangbing is truly a young superstar in materials science and energy technology,” says Yi Cui, a Stanford University professor of materials science and engineering. “His productivity, creativity and the impacts of his works are exceptional.”
As a teacher, Hu has helped create graduate and undergraduate curriculums while launching students and lab members into positions around the world.
“He gave me constant guidance on how to conduct literature reviews, how to design experiments, how to interpret results, and most importantly how to identify opportunities for meaningful research projects,” says former student Colin Preston Ph.D. ’15, director of materials at Mori, a sericulture startup.
Hu received his bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Science and Technology of China and earned his Ph.D. in physics at the University of California, Los Angeles in 2007. After terms as founding scientist of the firm Unidym and postdoctoral researcher at Stanford University, Hu came to UMD as an assistant professor in 2011 and was promoted to associate professor in 2016 and full professor in 2019.
Among his honors, Hu has received Young Investigator Awards from both the Office of Naval Research and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and has been named a Nano Letters Young Investigator. He was recently cited as being a top 1% most-cited researcher in his field by Clarivate Analytics.
Philip Merrill College of Journalism
Sarah Oates has spent almost three decades researching and teaching a generation of scholars about how free media protects democracy. She has creatively integrated her studies on political power, journalism and the internet into her teaching.
A former reporter, Oates earned a B.A. in English at Yale and an M.A. and Ph.D. in political science at Emory University. She started her career at the University of Glasgow, focusing on how political parties in Russia subverted a free media to consolidate power in the Kremlin. She expanded her studies to include media, elections and terrorism in the United States and the United Kingdom. Oates, who came to UMD in 2012, now uses computational linguistics to study the growing threat of both Russian and domestic disinformation to media and democracy.
Her fifth book, “Nyetwork News,” will analyze how Russian propaganda methods have colonized the U.S. media system. Oates has presented and published in top political communication outlets as well as received research grants from the Fulbright Organization, the Wilson Center, and UK Economic and Social Research Council.
“The range of work she has done over her career is impressive and speaks to Sarah’s creativity and hard work,” says Professor Regina Smyth, founding director of the Russian Studies Workshop at Indiana University.
Oates, who teaches courses ranging from general education to doctoral seminars, routinely integrates her research into her teaching. Many of her former students have gone on to successful careers in academia, policy and media.
“We are all living evidence of the far-reaching impact an outstanding teacher-scholar such as Professor Oates can have,” says Tanya Lokot Ph.D. ’16, associate professor in digital media and society at Dublin City University.
Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, Oates has been a leader in transforming Merrill College’s teaching. She investigated better ways to teach online, organized biweekly teaching Zooms and established a Canvas site for providing support to Merrill instructors.
“At every turn, Professor Oates raises the bar and coaxes our faculty and student body to perform at a higher level,” say Merrill College Dean Lucy A. Dalglish and former Dean Kevin Klose.
Department of Counseling, Higher Education and Special Education
KerryAnn O’Meara is a scholar and academic leader whose equity-minded and engaged scholarship seeks to advance the full participation of a diverse faculty who learn, teach and inform practice across a range of epistemologies.
She studies academic careers and reward systems and has designed, implemented and studied evidence-based interventions to improve equity in faculty hiring, promotion and tenure, workloads, and retention.
O’Meara’s research, mentoring, teaching and leadership are highly integrated and she spent 10 years as director of the University of Maryland advance program, leading hiring, retention and advancement efforts and teaching on issues of organizational change, diversity and the academic workforce.
She “has enthusiastically fashioned, and continues to fashion, a rich, full and varied faculty career—one whose multiple and distinct parts cohere around a very important idea, and ideal: that academics … whose insights have historically been ‘unheard’ in academe deserve opportunities to speak and act in the public space,” says Anna Neumann, professor of higher education at Teachers College, Columbia University.
O’Meara earned her bachelor’s degree at Loyola University Maryland, a master’s degree at Ohio State University and a Ph.D. in education policy from UMD. She has been on the university’s faculty since 2007, and has published 53 peer-reviewed articles, 20 book chapters, one book, one edited book and two monographs. O’Meara was elected and served as president of the Association for the Study of Higher Education in 2020, and since 2010 her work has been continuously funded by the National Science Foundation to study nudges related to inclusive hiring, workload equity, and promotion and tenure reform.
Working closely with students is a key component of O’Meara’s academic philosophy, and she has co-authored 33 peer-reviewed articles with 29 different students.
“I was always impressed by her expertise and felt knowledgeable on each topic by the end of the semester,” says Lindsey Templeton M.A. ’16, Ph.D. ’21, an advisee of O’Meara’s. “Yet perhaps more importantly, I felt inspired, challenged and welcomed by Dr. O’Meara in the learning environment she created. I quickly came to realize that she viewed her students as colleagues in the field of higher education and believed she could learn from them, too.”
Department of Physics
Peter Shawhan’s work in physics and astronomy has opened new vistas on the universe, while his dedication to students has helped physics majors scale the discipline’s demanding intellectual heights.
Shawhan is a major force behind “multi-messenger” astronomy, which integrates findings from observatories that capture the electromagnetic spectrum with those from the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors in North America and the Virgo detector in Europe. In 2015, LIGO first detected gravitational waves rippling through the universe, and in 2017, Shawhan and colleagues used LIGO and Virgo to detect another telltale “chirp” of gravitational waves from two neutron stars spiraling together and merging. That helped dozens of telescopes and satellites to observe the right spot in the sky, capturing the titanic collision 130 million light years from Earth—the first event captured in gravitational waves and light.
“Peter’s long list of essential contributions to LIGO has been crowned with a truly world-class contribution to astronomy as a whole,” says Peter R. Saulson, professor of physics emeritus at Syracuse University.
As an educator and science communicator, Shawhan anchored a 2016 UMD symposium celebrating the LIGO founders’ Nobel Prize and recognizing UMD’s early contributions to gravitational wave detection. In addition to graduate advising and mentoring work, he created and teaches a course to fill gaps left by uneven high school preparation in physics, helping students to succeed in the major.
Shawhan received his undergraduate degree from Washington University in St. Louis and his master’s and doctoral degrees in physics from the University of Chicago, the latter in 1999. After working as a postdoctoral fellow and senior scientist at the California Institute of Technology, he came to UMD as an assistant professor in 2006 and was promoted to associate professor in 2012 and full professor in 2017.
Shawhan is a fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) and member of the American Astronomical Society and the American Association of Physics Teachers, and a life member of the International Society on General Relativity and Gravitation. He has chaired the APS’s Division of Gravitational Physics and is currently president of the International Astronomical Union’s Commission on Gravitational Wave Astrophysics.
Department of Economics and Joiny Program in Survey Methodology
An economist who has made her mark in academia and government policymaking, Katharine Abraham has shone new light on how the labor market functions and been an advocate for better employment data collection.
Since first coming to the University of Maryland as an associate professor in 1987, Abraham has balanced positions in economics and the Joint Program in Survey Methodology with federal service as commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics from 1993-2001, a member of the White House Council of Economic Advisors from 2011-13 and chair of the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking from 2016-2017.
“It is a remarkable example of a talented faculty member weaving a career conducting outstanding scholarship in academe and leading by exemplary public service,” says Gregory F. Ball, dean of the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences.
Abraham has done influential research for decades, authoring or editing five books, 25 book chapters and more than 30 journal articles that have been cited more than 12,000 times. Her work on the gig economy has helped shape public understanding of ongoing changes in the labor market, and her research on the use of prorated unemployment payments for workers with reduced hours influenced both federal and state policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As head of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, she launched the American Time Use Survey to track trends in how families divide time between work, child care and other activities, and the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, which provides previously unavailable data on labor market dynamics.
A leader of numerous professional organizations who has regularly testified before Congress, Abraham earned her bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University and her Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University. She was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2020.
“Katharine Abraham is a model scholar and public servant,” says Lawrence Katz, Elisabeth Allison Professor of Economics at Harvard University. “She has made and continues to make extraordinary research contributions that have greatly enriched our understanding of labor markets, expanded the menu of policy responses to unemployment, furthered evidence-based policy design and helped modernize our national statistical infrastructure.”
Department of Sociology
Sonalde Desai is a renowned social demographer focusing on human development, poverty, gender, class and inequalities in India whose research informs high-level deliberations about public policy.
“She produces original data and builds global scientific networks that span beyond academia to transform questions, approaches and future understandings in social science research,” says Susan E. Short, professor of sociology and director of the Population Studies and Training Center at Brown University.
A graduate of Bombay University, Case Western Reserve and Stanford universities, Desai worked at the Population Council before joining the faculty of the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences in 1994. She has been a major contributor to one of its research centerpieces, the Maryland Population Research Center. But Desai is best known as the primary investigator and driving force behind the India Human Development Survey (IHDS), a nationally representative, longitudinal survey of more than 40,000 households fielded continuously since 2004. Funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at the NIH, it has received additional support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other sources.
The ihds is a one-of-kind scientific resource on changes over time in one of the largest national populations on earth. It is among the most highly used social research data sources worldwide, with more than 140,000 data downloads in the last three years alone.
“Dr. Desai’s leadership in making it happen is among the most outstanding scientific contributions to the social sciences in the current century,” says William G. Axinn, professor of sociology and public policy and director of the Program in Society, Population and Environment at the University of Michigan.
Elected the 2022 president of the Population Association of America, Desai is recognized on campus as a superb teacher, thoughtful colleague and outstanding mentor providing mentorship and research experiences to doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows both at UMD and in India.
Alaka Basu, professor of global development at Cornell University, says Desai’s graduate students “seem to pop up all over the place.” “She is an extremely generous, encouraging and helpful guide to her juniors in the field and in the IHDS office in India,” she added.
Department of Biology
An authority in evolutionary and developmental biology, William Jeffery has worked for 45 years to understand how novel biological features arise, frequently eschewing heavily studied organisms such as E. coli and fruit flies in favor of lesser-known species.
Jeffery’s “non-model” approach is based on the idea that model organisms represent only a small fraction of biological diversity and are poorly suited for investigating many processes, or creating a fully fleshed-out picture of evolution and development. Among his key investigations, published as a groundbreaking study in Science, was how Astyanax mexicanus, a freshwater fish that invaded cave streams in central Mexico, lost its eyes—as well as how individual fish can regain them, if implanted with a lens from a surface fish of similar age as an embryo.
“Bill has consistently been fearless in developing new techniques and utilizing new model systems for investigating specific scientific questions,” says Jeffery’s former student at the University of Texas at Austin, Mark Q. Martindale, director and professor of the Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience at the University of Florida. Jeffery earned his B.S. at the University of Illinois and Ph.D. in cell and developmental biology at the University of Iowa in 1971.
At UT Austin, he rose from assistant professor to Johann Friedrich Miescher Regent’s Professor before becoming biology department head at the Pennsylvania State University. In 1999, he came to UMD as the chair of biology, and has an affiliate professorship in cell biology and molecular genetics.
Among his honors and awards, Jeffery is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the Linnean Society, the world’s oldest active biological society, and received the Alexander O. Kowalevsky Medal from the St. Petersburg Society of Naturalists, as well as the Karst Waters Institute Research Prize for his work with cave-dwelling species.
With 225 published papers, he has earned 35% of his 10,000 academic citations in the last six years.
“Strikingly, Dr. Jeffery is more productive and influential now than ever,” says Joshua Singer, professor and interim chair of UMD’s Department of Biology.
Department of Geographical Sciences
Chris Justice has spent his career advancing the use of satellite observations to learn about the Earth’s surface, providing crucial information on everything from fires and land cover to food security and agriculture.
A program scientist for NASA’s Land-Cover Land-Use Change Program since 1996, Justice has led the way on investigating human impact on the natural world through population growth, economic development and climate change.
Justice, who has published more than 120 papers and been cited 20,000 times, earned his bachelor’s and doctoral degrees in geography from Reading University in the United Kingdom. He joined the UMD geography department as a research associate in 1987 and was promoted to full professor in 2001, serving as research director from 2002-09 and department chair since 2010.
He has stood at the forefront of improving the use of land surface data to inform on-the-ground decision making. In 1998, he was a founding member of the international Global Observation of Forest Cover/Global Observation of Landcover program to monitor forest carbon and fire, and promote sustainable land management.
“What distinguishes Chris is his unselfish efforts to work with others to develop consensus ideas, build teams to implement needed advances, and to develop the people needed to carry on into the future,” says Thomas R. Loveland, chief scientist emeritus at the U.S. Geological Survey Earth Resources Observation and Science Center.
Justice is co-chair of the geo Global Agricultural Monitoring Initiative and chief scientist for nasa harvest, a program that delivers crop monitoring information and early warning of production shortfalls to protect against food shortages. Among other honors, he received the nasa Distinguished Public Service Medal in 2020, the doi/nasa William T. Pecora Award in 2014 and the nasa Exceptional Public Service Medal in 2010.
“He has clearly understood the need for science to be relevant for policy in order to have impact for society,” says Gilberto Câmara, director of the international Group on Earth Observations. “He has a long track record demonstrating international leadership, building diverse and effective teams that deliver on a common vision, all the while respecting the needs and aspirations of individual scientists.”
Department of Mechanical Engineering
Michael Pecht is a leading figure in electronics reliability, where his dedication to taking research from theory to laboratory to practice has won the support of many of the world’s leading manufacturers.
Pecht, the George E. Dieter Professor of Mechanical Engineering, founded and leads a team in the Center for Advanced Lifecycle Engineering (calce), focusing on creating information-centric principles for design and sustainment of medical, transportation, defense and energy infrastructure. One key area has been lithium-ion batteries; in an influential article about battery fires on the Boeing 787, he argued for a new paradigm of reliability later presented in his 2018 book, “Prognostics and Health Management of Electronics–Fundamentals, Machine Learning and the Internet of Things.”
Pecht has conducted electronics and battery failure research for more than 30 companies in the last five years, and in the same period, his research has been cited more than 20,000 times, making him one of the most highly cited scientific researchers nationwide.
“The way industry designs and manages electronic systems has changed as a result of his introduction of physics-based solutions and reliability science; this is also true with nasa,” says John W. Evans, program executive in the nasa Office of Safety and Mission Assurance.
Pecht earned his bachelor’s degree and master’s degrees in electrical engineering and engineering mechanics from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, along with his Ph.D. in engineering mechanics in 1982. He arrived at UMD in 1983 as the George E. Dieter Chair, and in 2008 became a professor of applied mathematics, statistics and scientific computation in the Department of Mathematics.
In addition to directing calce, he supports 20 Ph.D. students and five research scientists annually, and has graduated 112 master’s and 67 doctoral students. Among his many awards and honors is a rare slate of honorary professional fellowships: asme Fellow in Mechanical Engineering, ieee Fellow in Electrical Engineering, sae Fellow in Automotive Engineering, asm Fellow in Materials Engineering and the Chinese Academy of Sciences President’s International Fellowship. He has served as editor-in.chief of six academic journals and received the ieee cpmt Technical Field Award and the 2015 Applied Energy Award.
Eric D. Wachsman
Departments of Materials Science and Engineering, and Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Eric D. Wachsman’s diverse accomplishments as a scientist, research administrator and entrepreneur have established the University of Maryland as a preeminent institution tackling the challenge of generating, storing and distributing clean energy.
Wachsman, the William L. Crentz Centennial Chair in Energy Research, was recruited in 2009 as inaugural director of the UMD Energy Research Center and led UMD’s rise to the No. 1 spot among university recipients of Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) awards, with 33 projects totaling $74 million. He co-founded the Center for Research in Extreme Batteries in 2015 and became the inaugural director of the Maryland Energy Innovation Institute in 2017.
“(He) is actively engaged in developing a broad array of sustainable energy technologies and resources and integrating technology, economics and policy to address energy needs … driving new technological developments in the community, with a broader impact on materials engineering and society in general,” says Ellen Ivers-Tiffée, Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology.
Wachsman is a renowned researcher in solid-state ionics and solid-state electrochemistry, with more than 220 peer-reviewed publications and some 30 patents on ionic and electronic transport in ceramics. To put his discoveries into practice, he founded the companies Ion Storage Systems and Redox Power Systems.
“His scientific accomplishments in the field of solid electrolyte batteries are nothing short of legendary, and he can rightfully claim to be the world scientific leader in that field,” says Digby MacDonald, distinguished professor emeritus at the Pennsylvania State University.
Wachsman became president of the Electrochemical Society (ECS) in 2021, is a fellow of ECS and the American Ceramic Society, was elected to the World Academy of Ceramics, and received the 2017 ECS Carl Wagner Award, 2014 Sir William Grove Award, 2014 Pfeil Award, 2012 Fuel Cell Seminar Award, and 2012 ESC HTM Outstanding Achievement Award.
He earned his bachelor’s in chemical engineering from UC-Berkeley and a master’s in chemical engineering and a Ph.D. in materials science and engineering from Stanford University, the latter in 1990. After working as senior scientist at SRI International, he became Rhines Chair Professor at the University of Florida, establishing the Florida Institute for Sustainable Energy.
Department of Materials Science and Engineering
Known as a superstar in the field of materials science, Liangbing Hu is an expert researcher who can make ordinary substances do the seemingly impossible.
A prolific and inventive scientist, Hu has garnered headlines around the world for his pioneering experiments with wood that have made materials able to transmit light like glass while insulating far better, desalinate water and extract heat from buildings. His work is a key step in figuring out how to shift from environmentally damaging products like plastics and toward more sustainable and abundant solutions.
Hu has also been fashioning ultrahigh-temperature manufacturing methods that could lead to new ceramics and advances in batteries and 3D-printing.
“His research is extremely innovative,” says Zhenan Bao, K.K. Lee Professor in Stanford University’s School of Engineering.“His approaches to different materials challenges are always rooted in his deep scientific understanding of the problems, his simple yet effective engineering approaches, and his determination to bridge the gap between research innovation and manufacturing/commercialization to address real societal challenges.”
The Herbert Rabin Distinguished Professor and a Minta Martin Professor of Engineering, Hu received his bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Science and Technology of China and his doctorate in physics at the University of California, Los Angeles.
He was the founding scientist of the firm Unidym and arrived at UMD as an assistant professor in 2011. In the past decade, Hu has received $13 million in research funding and led one of the most productive research teams at the university, pumping out more than 60 peer-reviewed articles in 2019 alone. He was the first scholar in the University System of Maryland to be named a fellow of the Materials Research Society.
“Dr. Hu is an exceptional researcher who has brought high visibility and prestige to our department and college in particular, and the University of Maryland in general,” says Ji-Cheng Zhao, chair and Minta Martin professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. “He is one of the rising stars in engineering who is working on truly revolutionary materials science and engineering research.”
Office of Undergraduate Studies
From implementing innovative curriculums to being a sounding board for students, Ann Smith has had a campuswide impact on undergraduate education.
As an assistant dean in the Office of Undergraduate Studies, Smith has promoted authentic and team-based learning experiences, advocated for continuous improvement to general education offerings and measured their effectiveness.
“Ann’s expertise in collaboration, community-building with faculty and students, as well as her commitment to continuous improvement are evident in all her work,” says Lisa J. Kiely, assistant dean in the Office of Undergraduate Studies.“She has created a lasting legacy of student care, innovative curriculum and faculty professional development.”
Smith earned her bachelor’s degree from the College of Wooster and her master’s and doctoral degrees in microbiology from the University of Rochester. She came to UMD in 1987 as an instructor in the Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics, then coordinator and director of its undergraduate programs in 1992 and 1999, respectively. She led a team of faculty who reconceptualized the curriculum with an emphasis on collaborative teaching, case studies and technology.
She brought those principles to Undergraduate Studies, beginning as interim assistant dean in 2006. Smith fostered the development of the Scholarship in Practice category of general education and was the driving force behind the Carillon Communities living-learning program, a collaborative endeavor with the Academy of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and the Department of Resident Life, where first year students work with faculty to ask “Big Questions” that matter to our world, and learn to use teamwork and creative problem-solving approaches.
Along with William Cohen, associate provost and dean for undergraduate studies, she led the Provost’s Commission on Learning Outcomes Assessment and, as ombudsperson for undergraduates, established a new website with course-related policies and resources to help students and faculty alike.
“She is a steadfast advocate for students who also understands the pressures on faculty and the complexities of a large, decentralized institution,” says Cohen.“She was unfailingly thoughtful, diligent and compassionate in her work, helping innumerable students find a path to a solution by navigating the campus.”
Robert H. Smith School of Business
A preeminent scholar of management information systems and a trailblazer for female faculty at the Robert H. Smith School of Business, Ritu Agarwal has shown tremendous dedication to students, staff and colleagues at the University of Maryland.
“Each day I observe her true selfless character that is grounded in doing good, honesty, transparency, diversity, and excellence in research and teaching,” says Prabhudev C. Konana, Smith School dean. “Our conversations are always centered around transforming students and providing them with the greatest value.”
The school’s first female distinguished university professor and endowed chair, Agarwal earned a B.A. (Honors) in mathematics from St. Stephen’s College at Delhi University, an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), and a master’s degree in computer science and Ph.D. in management information systems from Syracuse University. She taught at the University of Dayton, New York University and Florida State University before coming to umd as an associate professor in 1999; she was named the Ralph J. Tyser Professor of Information Systems in 2002 and has held the dean’s chair of information systems since 2004.
Agarwal is a pioneer in the field of health information systems and health analytics and has conducted seminal research on the digital transformation of healthcare. She has worked on numerous high impact projects including the use of mobile technology for chronic disease management, risk prediction for opioid use disorder, racial disparities in healthcare, and how social media and online communities can help people improve their exercise habits and more effectively manage their health. She has published more than 120 highly cited papers and is the founding director of the Center for Health Information and Decision Systems, raising more than $12 million in support from the nih, nsf and corporate partners.
In addition to being named a UMD Distinguished Scholar-Teacher in 2011 and Distinguished University Professor in 2017, Agarwal received the 2019 leo Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Association for Information Systems (AIS) and has held top editorial positions in major journals including Information Systems Research, MIS Quarterly and Organization Science. She received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from IIM; is an appointed member of the NIH Workgroup on Integration of Behavioral and Social Science Research and the National Advisory Allergy and Infectious Diseases Council; and is a fellow of the Information Systems Society of INFORMS and AIS. Agarwal has served in numerous administrative leadership roles including department chair, senior associate dean and interim dean and is one of the most trusted individuals on campus to help find new leaders. She has been a key member of campus committees for chief financial officer, senior vice president and provost, and the presidential search committees in both 2010 and 2020.
“Having served on multiple committees with her, I have come to expect novel approaches to problem solving, generous sharing of insights from the Smith School’s and her own successes and failures, and a good old-fashioned roll-up-your-sleeves-and-get-it-done attitude,” says Robert C. Orr, dean of the UMD School of Public Policy. “She pushes boundaries that need to be pushed, often questioning why we do things a certain way. She has been at the University of Maryland for decades but is the last person to accept the status quo. This is a powerful combination.”
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