Congratulations to Assistant Professors Lei Chen (math), Alicia Kollár (physics) and Pratyush Tiwary (chemistry and biochemistry/IPST), who received 2022 Sloan Research Fellowships from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. 118 of these two-year, $75,000 fellowships were awarded this year to early-career researchers in recognition of distinguished performance and a unique potential to make substantial contributions to their field.
Since the first Sloan Research Fellowships were awarded in 1955, 68 faculty members from UMD have received a Sloan Research Fellowship. A dozen CMNS faculty members have been awarded Sloan Research Fellowships since 2015.
Antonio De Rosa will be receiving the Career Award from the NSF for his project “Existence, regularity, uniqueness and stability in anisotropic geometric variational problems.”
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson announced that Dr. Katherine Calvin will serve the agency in dual roles as chief scientist and senior climate advisor effective Monday.
Calvin succeeds Jim Green, who retired from his role Jan. 1 as chief scientist after more than 40 years of service at NASA, and Gavin Schmidt, who has served as senior climate advisor in an acting capacity since the position was created in February 2021. NASA established the senior climate advisor position to ensure effective fulfillment of the Biden-Harris Administration's climate science objectives for the agency. Schmidt will maintain his role as director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York.
"I'm thrilled to welcome Kate to the NASA family, where she will bring her expertise in integrated human-Earth system modeling to help ensure the Biden Administration has the data needed to achieve the critical goal of protecting our planet," Nelson said. "I also want to thank Jim and Gavin for their invaluable leadership to NASA and the world as chief scientist and senior climate advisor."
As chief scientist and senior climate advisor, Calvin will serve as principal advisor to the administrator and other agency leaders on NASA science programs, strategic planning, and policy. She will also represent the agency's strategic science objectives and contributions to the national and international science communities.
"Climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing our nation – and our planet," Calvin said. "NASA is a world leader in climate and Earth science. I'm excited to be a part of the team that is helping to advance this important science mission."
Previously, Calvin was an Earth scientist at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's Joint Global Change Research Institute in College Park, Maryland. She worked on the institute's Global Change Analysis Model, a system for exploring and analyzing the relationships between human and Earth systems, and the Department of Energy's Energy Exascale Earth System Model, a system for analyzing the Earth system.
Calvin holds master's and doctoral degrees in management, science, and engineering from Stanford University and a bachelor's degree in computer science and mathematics from the University of Maryland.
CAREER: The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is a Foundation-wide activity that offers 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. Activities pursued by early-career faculty should build a firm foundation for a lifetime of leadership in integrating education and research.
The program honors the university’s most successful seniors, who each recognize a UMD faculty member and high school teacher for contributing to their education.
The Merrill Presidential Scholars Program honors the university’s most successful seniors, who each recognize a UMD faculty member and high school teacher who helped guide, inspire, coach, tutor and challenge them in both big and small ways.
“Programs like these are critical to our students’ success,” said UMD President Darryll J. Pines. “They celebrate invaluable mentorship that will have a long lasting impact on the lives of our students, while on campus and beyond. We are incredibly grateful for the individuals who have been instrumental to our students’ progress during their academic journeys.”
Raman honored Heather Hennis from Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville, Maryland, and John Dickerson, an assistant professor in UMD’s Department of Computer Science.
“In high school, the mentorship I received from Dr. Heather Hennis was immensely helpful for both my personal and academic development,” Raman said. “She helped me learn about a variety of topics ranging from networking to databases to artificial intelligence, which prepared me for my college computer science courses. Outside of the classroom, Dr. Hennis served as the advisor for the computer club, helping us prepare for programming competitions. Her guidance allowed me to improve both my technical and personal skills.”
Raman, who is also a member of the Advanced Cybersecurity Experience for Students in the Honors College and the Global Fellows program, and a President’s Scholarship recipient, began working with UMD computer science faculty members in 2018. Since then, he has authored or co-authored seven conference papers.
He began by developing algorithms to identify cancer mutation signatures with Distinguished University Professor Aravind Srinivasan and former Assistant Professor Max Leiserson and moved on to working with Dickerson to develop policies that balance fairness and profit in ride-pooling systems.
“...I sought out research opportunities and connected with Professor John Dickerson’s research into artificial intelligence for social good,” Raman said. “In his lab, he proposed a project and guided me through the research process, teaching me how to read prior work, develop experiments and write papers. Professor Dickerson has also advised me on career plans, helping me understand the contrasts between industry and academia.”
He also works with Associate Professor Jordan Boyd-Graber to improve question answering systems by leveraging data from trivia competitions. Raman’s focus is on advancing so-called named entity linking algorithms, which connect names found in a question to larger repositories of data about them like Wikipedia. These advances will ultimately help question answering systems perform better on a diverse set of questions.
“Naveen Raman is a clear star researcher—and practitioner—in the making,” Dickerson said earlier this year when Raman was named a 2021 Goldwater Scholar. “He is driven, questioning, curious and technically talented, as well as a young adult with a strong sense of civic duty and commitment to using technology for social good.”
In summer 2019, Raman worked to detect rudeness, toxicity and burnout in open-source communities as a participant in Carnegie Mellon University’s Research Experience for Undergraduates in Software Engineering program. Two summers ago, he worked at Facebook to develop a user interface for debugging machine learning models and learned about important societal issues that machine learning can help solve, such as hate speech detection. Last summer, he worked at MIT Lincoln Labs to improve human-artificial intelligence collaboration.
An active competitor, Raman’s team won the National Academy Quiz Tournaments’ Division 2 Intercollegiate Championship Tournament during his freshman year. In 2020, he and two classmates received an honorable mention award in the 72-hour Mathematical Contest in Modeling for their project that analyzed the effect that rising global temperatures have on herring and mackerel fishing along the Scottish coast. He also received an outstanding award in the 2020 SIMIODE Challenge Using Differential Equations Modeling for his team’s work on modeling interactions in refugee camps.
He has been a teaching assistant for a programming languages class and the lead student instructor for a class on algorithms for coding interviews.
Off campus, Raman teaches math skills to underprivileged elementary school students in the Maryland Mentor Program and previously volunteered at the College Park Academy charter school helping students improve their math skills.
He has been awarded the Brendan Iribe Endowed Scholarship, Capital One Bank Dean’s Scholarship in Computer Science and Corporate Partners in Computing Scholarship.
Raman plans to attend graduate school to pursue a Ph.D. in computer science, with a focus on the fairness of artificial intelligence algorithms in critical fields such as criminal justice, job markets and health care.
The Philip Merrill Presidential Scholars Program was created in 2004 by the late Philip Merrill, friend of the University and long-time Washington area publisher, to build a community of scholars, faculty members and K-12 teachers who recognize the importance of teaching and mentoring the next generation. The Scholars are selected by the academic colleges and schools with undergraduate major programs. The program provides $1,000 scholarships, which are awarded in the K-12 teacher’s name to another student from that school district who will attend UMD in the fall of 2022.
“The Merrill Presidential Scholars Program is creating an important legacy,” said William A. Cohen, Associate Provost and Dean for Undergraduate Studies. “In recognizing that mentorship is at the heart of academic and personal achievement, these scholarships honor the K-12 teachers and UMD undergraduate faculty who support student success through academic guidance, encouragement, and support.”
Written by Abby Robinson