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2024 Celebration of Faculty Excellence

NC State Honors Outstanding Faculty

The Celebration of Faculty Excellence is held each spring to recognize outstanding faculty who have received prestigious state, national and international awards, accolades or other distinctions during this academic year. This year, NC State honored 41 faculty members during the 2024 Celebration of Faculty Excellence on April 30.

The Holladay Medal is the highest university award in recognition of faculty excellence. It is awarded to members of the faculty who have made outstanding and sustained contributions to the university through their achievements in research, teaching, or extension and engagement.

Thomas Barrie

Mr.  Barrie is a professor in the School of Architecture. He is an internationally recognized scholar who has written groundbreaking books on religious architecture, an influential leader who has founded organizations and programs with lasting impact, and an award-winning professor. With a career spanning more than 30 years, he has imparted his knowledge to thousands of students. Mr. Barrie’s dedication to architectural education is evident through the creation of courses that fill crucial gaps in the academic landscape. His impact extends beyond the classroom. He has established an influential scholarly record with four books, one edited book, three edited journals, more than twenty journal articles, and book and encyclopedia chapters for prestigious publishers. He co-founded and chairs the Architecture, Culture and Spirituality Forum, the only organization of its type that addresses the spiritual aspects of the built environment. He also directs the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Initiative, which is a student engagement and community service initiative he founded at the School of Architecture in 2007.

Linda Hanley-Bowdoin

Dr. Hanley-Bowdoin is the William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor in the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology. Since 1990, she has developed an internationally recognized, highly collaborative research program, innovative approaches to teaching in the laboratory and classroom, and a strong record of service at NC State and beyond.  Dr. Hanley-Bowdoin’s research program has been continuously funded by competitive grants for more than 32 years, resulting in more than $30 million in total funding from federal, foundation and corporate sources. She has published 99 papers or reviews in refereed journals, presented more than 100 invited talks and generated four patents. Throughout her career, Dr. Hanley-Bowdoin’s philosophy has been the integration of interdisciplinary research and training. This philosophy allowed her to grow a basic molecular research project into a global research and training program that focuses on food insecurity. Her strong commitment to international collaboration and training has moved international research efforts at NC State to the next level and laid the groundwork for future international projects between NC State faculty and scientists around the world.

Korukonda (K.L.) Murty

Dr. Murty is the Progress Energy Distinguished Professor in the Department of Nuclear Engineering. His work has focused on the deformation, creep, fatigue and fracture behaviors of nuclear core and pressure boundary materials — with particular emphasis on the structure-property relationship and the effects of radiation exposure. Dr. Murty’s success includes securing research grants and funds from federal and industry sources totaling more than $14 million as of 2023. These funds have supported numerous graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and undergraduates, resulting in the awarding of 54 graduate degrees and the publication of 383 journal articles to date. Dr. Murty has presented extensively at domestic and international conferences, contributing to a substantial body of technical reports. He has strong research collaborations with colleagues in the Departments of Materials Science and Engineering and Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering, while also working with institutions in Germany, Australia, India, Korea and China, resulting in joint publications and mutual visits. Dr. Murty’s impact is further underscored by two symposia held in his honor: the International Plasticity Conference in 2016 and the Structural Materials Division Conference of The Materials Society in 2017.

Laurie Williams

Dr. Williams is the inaugural Goodnight Distinguished University Professor in Security Sciences in the Department of Computer Science. Her research is situated at the intersection of software engineering and cybersecurity, specifically in the field of software security. With a focus on proactively engineering secure systems, her work aims to prevent cyber threats rather than merely reacting after attacks have occurred. In her role as a lead principal investigator, Dr. Williams has overseen research expenditures exceeding an impressive $33 million to date. She leads three distinct research organizations: she is a founding director of NC State’s Secure Computing Institute, the director of the National Science Foundation Secure Software Supply Chain Center, and the co-director of the North Carolina Partnership for Cybersecurity Excellence sponsored by the National Security Agency. Additionally, Dr. Williams was the co-director of the NSA-sponsored Science of Security Lablet from 2011-2023, which focused on solving five hard problems through the discovery of formal underpinnings of the design of trusted systems. She is the current associate editor-in-chief of IEEE Security and Privacy and of IEEE Software. Throughout her distinguished career, Dr. Williams has earned numerous accolades, including the NSF CAREER Award, the NC State’s Outstanding Teacher Award, and she has been named an NC State University Faculty Scholar.

The UNC Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching is the most prestigious teaching award given annually to one faculty member from each campus in the UNC System. The award was established in 1993 to recognize and reward full-time tenured faculty and to underscore the importance of teaching by encouraging, identifying, recognizing, rewarding, and supporting good teaching within the university system. 

Paul W. Mulvey

Dr. Mulvey is an associate professor in the Department of Management, Innovation and Entrepreneurship. An NC State faculty member for the past 28 years, Dr. Mulvey has set the standard of excellence in his field and distinguished himself as an innovative educator, a dedicated mentor and an accomplished researcher. He has cultivated a diverse academic portfolio, crafting numerous courses spanning more than two decades. Dr. Mulvey’s instructional repertoire exceeds a dozen distinct classes, notably encompassing extensive experience in teaching leadership seminars and academies for the prestigious Park Scholarships program. The core of Dr. Mulvey’s teaching philosophy is marked by energy, creativity and a positive outlook in all aspects of his work. He underscores four fundamental principles in his student-centered approach: understanding, engaging, respecting and listening to students. Dr. Mulvey’s dedication to student success, faculty mentorship, research and service clearly demonstrates the enduring pursuit of excellence that defines NC State’s faculty.

The Provost’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, established in fall 2021, is the most prestigious teaching award given annually to one member of NC State’s professional faculty.  It was created to recognize and reward full-time professional faculty and tounderscore the importance of teaching by encouraging, identifying, rewarding and supporting good teaching. 

Stephanie Jeffries

Dr. Jeffries is an associate teaching professor in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources. A member of NC State’s faculty since 2011, Dr. Jeffries demonstrates leadership, teamwork and a strong dedication to innovative and inclusive pedagogy, high-quality undergraduate education and the success of the whole student. She led the development of the university’s Environmental First Year Program, which provides students with a wide range of ways to approach issues and helps first-year students better identify their interests. Dr. Jeffries has made substantial efforts to increase student retention and success in dendrology – a required course for several forestry and environmental resources majors – where she has decreased the withdrawal/failure rate from 15-25 percent, to seven percent in 2022. Dr. Jeffries does an exceptional job of integrating real-world examples, photos and stories into course lectures.

The Air Force Office of Scientific Research Young Investigator Award fosters creative basic research in science and engineering, enhances early career development of outstanding young investigators and increases opportunities for them to engage in forwarding the Department of the Air Force mission and related challenges in science and engineering.

James Braun

Dr. Braun is an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. He will use this grant to investigate the use of supersonic and hypersonic shock waves to extract power from extreme environments, through experiments and computational fluid dynamics simulations. Dr. Braun specializes in high-speed propulsion for rockets and aircraft engines by fusing experiments and modeling. He is leading the BEFAST lab, which stands for Braun’s Engineering Factory For Advanced Supersonic Technologies.

Andrew Lee

Dr. Lee is an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. His project will create innovation in controlling the deploying motion of ultra-thin composite space structures. Allowing for reliable deployment is critical in a wide range of engineered space systems such as antennas, solar arrays and in-space manufacturing platforms. Dr. Lee’s areas of research are deployable and reconfigurable structures, thin-ply composite materials, active structural control, dynamical and vibrational systems, and elastic instabilities.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science is an international organization seeking to “raise the bar of understanding for science worldwide.” Election as a fellow is an honor awarded to accomplished scientists by their peers in recognition of extraordinary achievements and contributions in research, teaching, technology and public science.

Jose Alonso

Dr. Alonso is the William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor in the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology. He was elected to AAAS for his distinguished contributions to the field of plant biology, particularly in using recombineering approaches to understand the molecular circuits plants use to integrate environmental and developmental signals. Dr. Alonso’s main interest is to understand the molecular circuits plants use to integrate environmental and developmental signals to produce specific responses.

Jenny Xiang

Dr. Xiang is a professor in the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology. She was elected to AAAS for distinguished contributions to the field of systematic and evolution, particularly for using an integrative approach to study the origin and evolution of plant biodiversity in different dimensions and levels. Dr. Xiang’s area of research is in plant systematics and evolution, aiming to provide a scientific basis for conservation and sustainable uses of plant biodiversity through better understanding their origins and evolution and the underlying processes and mechanisms.

Christine Grant

Dr. Grant is a professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. She was elected for outstanding contributions to colloids, surfaces and interfacial phenomena of solid films and surfactants, and for extraordinary support for advancing women and minority faculty and students in science and engineering. Dr. Grant’s research focuses on an evaluation of the mechanisms that control fouling and decontamination processes.

David Berube

Dr. Berube is a professor in the Department of Communication. He was elected to AAAS for decades of work in helping the public understand science and technology through his scholarship in science communication in fields as diverse as nanotechnology, synthetic biology, climate change and pandemics. Dr. Berube’s area of expertise is in science communication, focusing on disaster events and newly emerging technologies.

David Muddiman

Dr. Muddiman is the Jacob and Betty Belin Distinguished Professor in Physical and Mathematical Sciences in the Department of Chemistry. He was elected to AAAS for distinguished contributions to the field of analytical chemistry, technology, and their application to important biological problems that have improved the human experience. Dr. Muddiman’s area of research is the development of innovative measurement science platforms to read back the language of biology and disease.

Len Stefanski

Dr. Stefanski is the Alumni Distinguished Professor in the Department of Statistics. He was elected to AAAS for service and leadership in science and the statistics profession, for research in measurement error modeling and variable selection, and for successful and effective mentoring. Dr. Stefanski’s area of expertise include the measurement of error models and model and variable selection.

The American Association of Anatomists C. J. Herrick Award in Neuroanatomy is a top early-career investigator honor that recognizes researchers who have made important contributions to biomedical science through their work in comparative neuroanatomy.

Christa Baker

Dr. Baker is an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences. She is a systems neuroscientist interested in how brains extract meaningful information from sensory inputs. Her lab studies how the organization and function of auditory circuits enable recognition of species to specific acoustic communication signals.

The Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Engineer’s Early Career Research Program award is the Office of Nuclear Energy’s most prestigious award for faculty members beginning their independent careers. 

Mihai Diaconeasa

Dr. Diaconeasa is an assistant professor in the Department of Nuclear Engineering. His project will demonstrate the way dynamic Probabilistic Risk Assessment (PRA) insights can be used to rethink how we can address the completeness problem of the PRA models during the design, licensing, and maintenance activities of nuclear reactors by including dynamics observed during actual operating events. Dr. Diaconeasa’s research focus includes theories, applications, and simulation-based techniques in risk sciences to assess the safety, security, resilience and nonproliferation of current and future generation of nuclear reactors.

The Fulbright Schuman Program awards scholarships to American citizens for research in the European Union with a focus on EU affairs/policy, or the US-EU transatlantic agenda. The Fulbright Schuman Program is administered by the Fulbright Commission in Belgium and is jointly financed by the U.S. Department of State and the Directorate-General for Education and Culture of the European Commission.

Will Cross

Mr. Cross is the director of the Open Knowledge Center and the head of Information Policy in the NC State University Libraries.  He will be using his Fulbright Schuman Innovation Fellowship to understand and develop legal literacies needed for a global body of open knowledge. Mr. Cross will conduct comparative research in copyright literacy in Amsterdam and across the European Union to develop a model for knitting together national laws to create shared practices for the EU open knowledge community. His area of expertise is information policy with a focus on exceptions and limitations in copyright in support of open knowledge.

Fulbright Canada and Carleton University have established dedicated research chairs in support of educational programming, teaching and research. This opportunity will allow extraordinary American scholars and top-tier applied researchers to spend one academic year as a visiting research scholar working in a targeted area of academic inquiry.

Fernando Garcia Menendez

Dr. Garcia Menendez is an associate professor in the Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering. As the Fulbright Canada Distinguished Chair in Environmental Science, Dr. Garcia Menendez will spend the academic year at Carleton University in Ottawa. During his visit, he will study the impacts of air pollution from Canadian wildfires and work with Canadian researchers to explore strategies to mitigate them.

The Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program provides unique opportunities for faculty to teach, conduct research and carry out professional projects around the world.

Lauren Brooks

Dr. Brooks is an assistant teaching professor in the Department of World Languages and Cultures. She will be using her Fulbright Scholar for a project that will assist in developing a transformative course on the Black German Diaspora to be taught in Spring 2026. Dr. Brooks’ area of research is on foreign language pedagogy, project-based learning and Universal Design for Learning as a form of feminist pedagogy. She also focuses on contemporary German media and literature with a focus on marginalized artists. 

Nora Haenn

Dr. Haenn is a professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology.  Her project title is ‘The Good Life’ at a Time of ‘Well Being’: Revisiting Notions of a Life Well-Lived in Calakmul and she will spend her time at ECOSUR – The Southern Border School in Chetumal, Mexico. Dr. Haenn’s research on southern Mexico considers rainforest conservation, sustainable development, environmental justice, multiculturalism and the government mechanisms employed to create and implement environmental policy.

Jason Hou

Dr. Hou is an associate professor in the Department of Nuclear Engineering. The objective of his Fulbright project is to enhance the public understanding of nuclear energy by developing a basic principle open-source nuclear power plant simulator, designing hands-on learning materials, and holding seminars and interactive educational workshops. He will work with Politecnico di Milano in Italy. Dr. Hou is an advocate of nuclear energy, and the mission of his research is to promote nuclear energy primarily by advancing scientific understanding of advanced nuclear reactor technologies.

Fikret Isik

Dr. Isik is a professor in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources. His Fulbright award provides the opportunity to exchange insights with South African academics and professionals. By teaching online courses, he was able to reach students and professionals nationwide and is proud that NC State stands as a beacon of inspiration for forest genetics in South Africa. Dr. Isik’s research focuses on interactions between pine and fusiform rust fungus, the discovery of resistance genes in pine, and the development of genomic applications to fundamentally change forest tree breeding.

Praveen Kolar

Dr. Kolar is a professor in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering. The goal of  his award is to enhance research collaborations between NC State and the University of Bologna, Italy, through a joint project focused on the value-addition of agricultural wastes to positively impact public health, environment, and agricultural sustainability. Dr. Kolar’s current research interests include conversion of agricultural wastes into energy and value-added products including heterogeneous catalysts and adsorbents. 

Venkat Narayanaswamy

Dr. Narayanaswamy is a professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. His Fulbright award will support a socio-technological fusion to develop early warning systems for forest fires that are aligned with the social fabric of the tribal populace of India. Scientific research was performed at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras to develop chemical kinetics models of forest fire ignition and spread. Dr. Narayanaswamy’s area of research is to develop sustainable and responsible solutions for space access technologies with a goal to secure our nation against adversities.

Kate Nartker

Dr. Nartker is an assistant professor in the Department of Textile and Apparel, Technology and Management. She received her Fulbright award to support four months of teaching and research at HDK-Valand Academy of Art and Design in Gothenburg, Sweden. While she was there, Dr. Nartker taught a weaving course to undergraduate students, researched traditional Swedish weaving practices and created a new body of work. Her area of expertise includes textile design and animation.

Adriana San Miguel

Dr. San Miguel is an associate professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. The research she will carry out at the Universidade do Algarve in Faro, Portugal, is a collaborative project with the goal of using C. elegans as a novel model for studying aberrant stress granule formation in the context of neurodegenerative disease. Dr. San Miguel’s area of expertise includes computer vision and microfluidics to study aging, stress, and neurodegeneration in C. elegans.

Intae Yoon

Dr. Yoon is an associate professor in the School of Social Work. Through his Fulbright award, he seeks to understand the emerging trend of reversed immigration from the U.S. to Korea, to enhance the well-being of these immigrants and address population challenges in Korean localities. The results will be utilized to advocate for improved social safety net policies in both countries. Dr. Yoon’s research focuses on economic independence for low-income families, economic justice, social safety net programs such as Social Security and Medicare, building community assets, and community development.

The National Academy of Inventors Fellows Program was established to highlight academic inventors who have demonstrated a prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society.

Kenneth Adler

Dr. Adler is a professor in the Department of Molecular Biomedical Sciences. The NAI Fellows Selection Committee has chosen him for induction based on his discovery and development of novel drugs to treat lung cancer and Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome that have shown promise in clinical trials. His research is directed at understanding the molecular basis of how lung diseases develop and discovering novel ways to treat them. 

Craig Yencho

Dr. Yencho is a William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor in the Department of Horticulture Science. He is a renowned sweetpotato and potato researcher and was selected as an NAI fellow for the societal and economic impact of his inventions. Dr. Yencho’s sweetpotato breeding program is focused on developing disease and insect resistant table-stock, processing and specialty-type sweetpotatoes and potatoes adapted to North Carolina’s hot, humid growing conditions.

The National Humanities Center is dedicated to advanced study in all areas of the humanities. Conceived with the needs of humanists in mind, the National Humanities Center provides scholars with an environment and resources conducive to generating new knowledge and furthering understanding of the human experience.

Belle Boggs

Dr. Boggs is a professor in the Department of English. She will use her fellowship to work on her project, “Big Yellow Bus: The Essential American History of a Disappearing Public Good,” a cultural history of the school bus as our country’s largest public transportation network, a tool of desegregation, and a disappearing feature of contemporary life. Dr.  Boggs is a creative writer who writes nonfiction about education, the environment and issues related to social and racial justice.

Susanna Lee

Dr. Lee is an associate professor in the Department of History. She will use her fellowship to work on her project titled, “Unsettling Claims: Natives and Newcomers in the U.S.-Dakota War,” which examines the dispossession of the Eastern Dakotas and their attempts at reclamation from the 1830s to 1920s. Dr. Lee is currently working on two book manuscripts: one on the U.S.-Dakota War and one on civilians in central Virginia during the Civil War.

The Faculty Early Career Development Program is the National Science Foundation’s most prestigious awards in support of early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization.

Julio Belmonte

Dr. Belmonte is an assistant professor in the Department of Physics. His project will use theory and computer simulations to study the different ways that the cells generate and transmit forces through their actin cytoskeleton. He will also use his award to fund a computer modeling workshop, a special topics course on physics of cytoskeleton and a STEM in archery camp. Dr. Belmonte’s research group aims to understand the physical principles behind cell mechanics and how they give rise to force production and pattern formation.

Danjue Chen

Dr. Chen is an associate professor in the Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering.  Her award will be used to study how autonomous vehicles will interact with other vehicles on the road and impact transportation. Dr. Chen’s research focuses on the impacts of emerging connected automated vehicle technologies on transportation and how to harness the technologies to improve traffic safety and mobility.

Adolfo Escobedo

Dr. Escobedo is an associate professor in the Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering. His award seeks to improve the reliability of optimization solvers, by developing novel methods for avoiding roundoff errors at low cost. It will establish robust algorithms and open-source software as well as a summer research internship program to increase underrepresented student engagement. Dr. Escobedo’s research interests are in the theory and application of mathematical programming and computing.

Emily Hector

Dr. Hector is an assistant professor in the Department of Statistics. Her project develops methods for aggregating information from multiple datasets, with application to medical and social sciences, among others. The project will support student training and a data science teacher training program in underserved communities. Dr. Hector’s area of expertise includes distributed inference and estimation, data integration and correlated data.

Daniel Kelly

Dr. Kelly is an assistant professor in the Department of STEM Education. The goal of his project is to develop a semester-long robotics program for middle school students in the juvenile justice system built on the principles of socio-emotional learning. This will include training undergraduate pre-service teachers to mentor these students.  

Yin Liu

Dr. Liu is an assistant professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. His project seeks to develop a new material platform for realizing electrically tunable optical devices based on optical resonance of nanostructures. Dr. Liu’s research is focused on the science and technology of nanomaterials. His lab will develop advanced growth, characterization and device fabrication methods for low-dimensional materials.

Samantha Marshall

Dr. Marshall is an assistant professor in the Department of Teacher Education and Learning Sciences. Multilingual students are systematically offered lower-quality learning opportunities than their peers. Dr. Marshall’s project will investigate how mathematics teachers can be supported in leveraging students’ languages in mathematics and how this shapes students’ mathematical learning. Motivated by the need to support teachers in learning anti-oppressive forms of education, her work seeks to design, investigate and refine supports for teachers’ learning.

John-Paul Ore

Dr. Ore is an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science. His project aims to build special software tools that help people build safer and more capable mobile robots while remaining economically feasible. Some of the special software tools come from video game development to make it easier to test what mobile robots should and should not do. Dr. Ore’s research interests are broadly in the areas of software engineering, robotics, program analysis and system testing using high-resolution physical simulators.

Thomas Price

Dr. Price is an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science. His project seeks to advance pedagogy and AI-driven learning technologies to help undergraduate students understand machine learning. It investigates how students learn and develops new data-driven techniques to improve student learning through automated hints, feedback and examples. Dr. Price’s research goal is to re-imagine educational programming environments as adaptive, data-driven systems that support students automatically as they pursue learning goals that are meaningful to them.

Wujie Wen

Dr. Wen is an associate professor in the Department of Computer Science. His CAREER project aims to develop dependable and secure machine learning acceleration from untrusted hardware. The purpose is to ensure the root of trust of accelerated artificial intelligence services in security, healthcare, automated systems and other domains. Dr. Wen’s current research efforts include efficient, reliable, secure and privacy-preserving computing, particularly from the aspects of software-hardware co-design and electronic design automation.