September Sciences Celebration: College Welcomes New Faculty, Honors Faculty Award Recipients and Math Scholarship Winner

September 10, 2021 | Atlanta, GA

Held outdoors at Harrison Square this week, the inaugural September Sciences Celebration highlighted excellence in research and teaching across the College of Sciences, while also giving guests a chance to welcome new faculty and meet the donors and alumni who support the awards program.

The honors for seven faculty members and a student in the School of Mathematics were originally to be presented in fall 2020, but the recognition event was postponed due to the pandemic. The annual awards for faculty development and a scholarship are funded through the generosity of College of Sciences alumni and friends.

Here are the 2020-2021 College of Sciences awards and recipients, as shared by the College of Sciences Office of Development:

Cullen-Peck Fellowship Awards

This gift from alumni couple Frank Cullen (’73 Math, MS ’76, ISyE, PhD ’84 ISyE) and Elizabeth Peck (Math ’75, MS ’76 ISyE) is meant to encourage the development of promising mid-career faculty.

  • Jennifer Curtis, associate professor, School of Physics. Curtis, who has a joint appointment in the Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Biosciences, is the primary investigator for the Curtis Lab, which researches the physics of cell-cell and cell-extracellular matrix interactions, in particular within the context of glycobiology and immunobiology.
  • Steve Diggle, associate professor, School of Biological Sciences. Diggle, also a member of Georgia Tech’s Center for Microbial Dynamics and Infection, was recently selected to be a 2021 American Society of Microbiologists Distinguished Lecturer. Diggle researches cooperation and communication in microbes and how these are related to virulence, biofilms and antimicrobial resistance. 
  • Chris Reinhard, associate professor, School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. Reinhard’s research explores the ways in which Earth's biosphere and planetary boundary conditions act to reshape ocean/atmosphere chemistry and climate, how these interactions have evolved over time, and how they might be engineered moving forward. Reinhard has also been active in the Georgia Tech Astrobiology community. 

Gretzinger Moving Forward Award

This award, named for Ralph Gretzinger (’70 Math) and his late wife Jewel, recognizes the leadership of a school chair or senior faculty member who has played a pivotal role in diversifying the composition of tenure-track faculty, creating a family-friendly work environment, and providing a supportive environment for early career faculty.

  • Raquel Lieberman, professor, School of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Lieberman, principal investigator in the Lieberman Lab, researches protein folding and misfolding, particularly when it comes to proteins that are linked to early-onset, inherited forms of glaucoma. A second major project involves the study of membrane-spanning proteolytic enzymes that are related to those involved in producing amyloid-beta associated with Alzheimer disease.

Frances O. Hite Memorial Scholarship

This scholarship is established in memory of Frances Orr “Fran” Hite (1950-2019), B.S. Mathematics, Vanderbilt University, by Bruce Hite (’72 Building Construction.) The endowment fund provides scholarships to women studying mathematics at Georgia Tech.

  • Esther Gallmeier, 4th year student, School of Mathematics. Gallmeier is the first recipient of the Hite Memorial Scholarship. Gallmeier attended Oak Ridge High School in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and decided to attend Georgia Tech based on the experiences of a friend who attended the School of Mathematics. "He loved it here," she says. "Also, Georgia Tech is incredible at providing opportunities for undergraduates in research and internships. We are definitely well-connected with companies from all over."

Eric R. Immel Memorial Award for Excellence in Teaching 

The Immel Memorial Award, supported by an endowment fund given by Charles Crawford (’71 Math), recognizes exemplary instruction of lower division foundational courses.

  • Chris Jankowski, Director of Graduate Advising and Assessment and Assistant Director of Teaching Effectiveness, School of Mathematics. 

Jankowski mentors postdoctoral faculty in teaching during their first year, and participates in organizing and running professional development events for them. He also provides a broad range of administrative duties for the graduate program, including serving on the Graduate Committee, writing annual student evaluations, and handling comprehensive exams.

Leddy Family Dean’s Faculty Excellence Award

This award was established by Jeff Leddy (’78 Physics) and Pam Leddy to support a faculty member at the associate professor level with proven accomplishments in research and teaching.

  • Stefan France, associate professor, School of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

France is the principal investigator for the France Laboratory, which researches synthetic organic chemistry, medicinal chemistry, natural products chemistry, and methodology development. That research is primarily motivated by the interest in developing new synthetic methodologies that can be applied toward the construction of complex natural products and pharmaceutically-interesting compounds. France also led efforts for Georgia Tech to join the American Chemical Society’s Bridge Program, which works to bring more underrepresented minorities into higher education chemistry and biochemistry graduate courses. 

Faculty Mentor Award

The annual College of Sciences Award for Faculty Mentorship, supported by Georgia Tech’s ADVANCE Program, is presented to exemplary senior faculty who provide crucial services by helping new faculty advance in their careers, as they learn to balance their roles as researchers, teachers, and advisors to their own graduate students and post-docs.

  • David Sherrill, Regents’ Professor, School of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Sherrill, who was chosen as a 2014 Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, researches computational chemistry and is the new Director of Georgia Tech’s Center for High Performance Computing. Sherrill has developed new models in quantum chemistry, with a particular focus on biophysics, drug docking, and molecular crystals. 

New College of Sciences Faculty
(Joined in 2020 and 2021)

School of Mathematics:
Cheng Mao
Rebecca George
Anton Bernshteyn
Benjamin Jaye
Hannah Choi

School of Chemistry and Biochemistry:
Anh Le
William Howitz

School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences:
Wing (Winnie) Chu
Pengfei Liu
Samer Naif
Karl Lang
Frances Rivera-Hernández
Shelby Ellis

School of Physics:
Itamar Kimchi
Emily Alicea-Muñoz

School of Psychology:
Hsiao-Wen Liao

School of Biological Sciences; Neuroscience:
Christina Ragan

For More Information Contact

Renay San Miguel
Communications Officer II/Science Writer
College of Sciences
404-894-5209