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Winter 2015 Honor Roll

Faculty, students and staff recognized for distinguished achievement

Two Northwestern mathematics professors, Laura DeMarco and Mihnea Popa, are each recipients of a 2015 Simons Fellowship in the category of mathematics from the Simons Foundation. Adilson Motter, the Charles E. and Emma H. Morrison Professor of Physics and Astronomy, was awarded a 2015 Simons Fellowship in the category of theoretical physics. The Fellows Programs provide funds to faculty for up to a semester-long research leave from classroom teaching and administrative obligations. Such leaves can increase creativity and provide intellectual stimulation. The goal of the Simons Fellows Program is to make it easier to take such leaves or to extend sabbatical leaves by an extra half year. DeMarco’s primary research interests are in dynamical systems and complex analysis. Popa studies algebraic geometry, specifically vanishing theorems in birational geometry, derived categories, Hodge theory, abelian varieties and moduli spaces. Motter's research is focused on the dynamical behavior of complex systems and networks.

David McGill, professor of bassoon in the Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music and former principal bassoonist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO), has been awarded the Theodore Thomas Medallion for Distinguished Service from the CSO. It was presented by Riccardo Muti, the 10th music director of the world-renowned orchestra. The award is named after the founder and first music director of the CSO and is presented to retiring members of the CSO. McGill served as principal bassoonist of the CSO for 17 years before resigning in August 2014 to accept a full-time teaching position at Northwestern. Prior to joining the CSO, he served as principal bassoonist for the Cleveland Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony and the Tulsa Philharmonic.

Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern, the Crown Family Professor of Jewish Studies and professor of Jewish history, has received the Jewish Book Council’s 2014 National Jewish Book Award in History for his recent release, “The Golden Age Shtetl: A New History of Jewish Life in East Europe.” The New York Times Book Review called his book, “[a] moving feat of cultural reclamation and even, in its way, an act of quiet heroism.” The annual National Jewish Book Awards recognize the best books in Jewish studies. 

Rebecca Tonietto, a doctorate degree candidate in Northwestern’s plant biology and conservation graduate program, has been awarded a 2015 David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellowship. The Smith Fellowship Program seeks to develop future world leaders and entrepreneurs who are successful at linking conservation science and application. The fellowships provide two years of postdoctoral support to outstanding early-career scientists. In her research project, "Conserving native bees and pollination services in shrinking cities," Tonietto investigates the effects of tallgrass prairie restoration on native bee communities. Through her work, she will identify actionable steps for restoration practitioners and land managers to better provide sites for native bee conservation.

T. David Harris, assistant professor of chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, was awarded the 2015 ISEN Early Career Investment Award from the Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern (ISEN). The $75,000 award honors an early-career, tenure-track faculty member working on research addressing significant unmet needs relating to energy production or use. Harris was chosen for his proposal to use metal-organic frameworks for the isolation and study of reactive chemical species, with the ultimate goal of developing new catalysts. 

Richard Joseph, the John Evans Professor of International History and Politics in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, has received one of the Martin Luther King Jr. Social Justice Awards from Dartmouth College. Joseph, a 1965 graduate of Dartmouth, will be conferred with the Lester B. Granger Lifetime Achievement Award, which honors Dartmouth alumni who have exhibited leadership and innovation while meeting community needs and benefiting an underserved population. Joseph will be presented with the award at a ceremony in January. Drawing upon a half century of his work, Joseph will give a timely keynote address -- “America from Selma to Ferguson: Reflections of a Scholar-Activist” -- at a Feb. 27 meeting of the Association for the Study of African-American Life and History (ASALH) in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Michael Simon, executive director of the Fiedler Hillel Center at Northwestern University, was awarded the Richard M. Joel Exemplar of Excellence Award from Hillel International. The award is Hillel International's highest professional honor for Hillel professionals around the world who exemplify an outstanding commitment to their campus Hillels. Simon is recognized for his forward thinking and tireless efforts in both fostering a welcoming Jewish community and in his outreach outside that community. Simon was presented with the award at Hillel International's global assembly in Orlando in December. 

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