Archive for the ‘Awards’ Category

Stanford Engineering student wins international competition for efforts to miniaturize ultrasound device

August 18th, 2014
Henry Samueli, co-founder, chairman of the board and chief technical officer of Broadcom, with  Stanford graduate student Jonathon Spaulding

Henry Samueli, co-founder, chairman of the board and chief technical officer of Broadcom, with Stanford graduate student Jonathon Spaulding

A Stanford Engineering student won the $10,000 first place prize at the third annual Broadcom Foundation University Research Competition.

JONATHON SPAULDING, a Stanford doctoral  candidate in electrical engineering, hopes to build smaller, cheaper and more efficient handheld ultrasound systems.

“Imagine having these devices in every doctor’s office, or taking ultrasound scanners into the field where imaging technology is limited,” Spaulding said, adding that he is continuing work in hopes of developing a hardware prototype the size of a common flash drive.

He entered the international competition at the urging of his adviser,

BORIS MURMANN associate professor of electrical engineering.

“I have not in my PhD career entered any kind of research competition before,” Spaulding said.

He credited  YONINA ELDAR, a professor of electrical engineering at Technion, the Israel Institute of Technology, for laying the mathematical foundations for the approach he used in his research. Spaulding said his research seeks to provide a “hardware proof of concept for her work.”

Spaulding won after a round of three-minute presentations and poster sessions judged by engineers from Broadcom, a U.S. semiconductor company.  The graduate-level engineering competition, held at the beginning of the Broadcom Foundation’s annual Technical Conference, invited a dozen students to present their research to a panel of judges. The judges rated the competitors on their presentation skills, the quality and level of the science involved and the applicability of the projects in the real world. Second and third place prizes were awarded to students from Israel and Belgium, respectively.

 —AUBREY HANSON,  Stanford Engineering

Stanford professor to receive highest honor from civil engineering society

August 13th, 2014

Kiremidjian_150x235ANNE KIREMIDJIAN, a Stanford professor of civil and environmental engineering, has been named a Distinguished Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers.

She will receive the award – the society’s highest honor – at the ASCE Global Engineering Conference in Panama City, Panama, in October.

Kiremidjian was honored for her career achievements in probabilistic seismic hazard assessment, for her commitment to educating the next generation of earthquake engineers and for her leadership in encouraging women to become engineers.

As a leader in developing and applying the techniques probabilistic assessments to seismic hazard and risk, Kiremidjian has been a central figure in the evolution of earthquake engineering. She led the John A. Blume Earthquake Engineering Center at Stanford from 1997 to 2002 and served as co-director from 1989 to1996.

Kiremidjian is a pioneer of wireless structural health monitoring development, holding U.S. patents for innovations in wireless sensor development and damage detection algorithms. In addition to her research achievements, Kiremidjian has been a successful entrepreneur who founded companies related to seismic risk modeling and structural health monitoring.

Throughout her career, Kiremidjian has dedicated herself to educating undergraduate and graduate students with an emphasis on promoting women in the field. Her efforts in this regard include serving as a mentor to young female faculty at various universities through a program supported by the National Science Foundation.

Kiremidjian holds a bachelor’s degree from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree from Queens College of the City University of New York. She earned her master’s and doctoral degrees at Stanford.

— TOM ABATE, associate director of communications, Stanford Engineering


Late Stanford climate expert to be inducted into California Hall of Fame

July 24th, 2014

Stephen Schneider (Photo credit: Linda A. Cicero/Stanford News Service)

Renowned Stanford climate scientist, the late STEPHEN H. SCHNEIDER will be inducted into the California Hall of Fame, GOV. JERRY BROWN announced recently.

Other individuals who will be honored at a ceremony on Oct. 1 in Sacramento include basketball legend

KAREEM ABDUL JABAR, author JOAN DIDION and film director FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA, as well as civil rights hero CHARLOTTA BASS, community organizer FRED ROSS SR. and social activism innovator MIMI SILBERT. The newest class will join 81 Californians previously inducted for exemplifying California’s spirit of innovation.

At the time of his death in 2010, Schneider was a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and was the Melvin and Joan Lane Professor for Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies at Stanford. Well known for his emphasis on science communication and a world expert on interdisciplinary climate science, he consulted with federal agencies or White House staff in every U.S. presidential administration since the Nixon era.

Schneider first alerted the public to climate change in 1972. He was a leader in the creation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and was part of the three groups of IPCC authors who shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 (equally with former Vice President AL GORE). He founded the interdisciplinary journal Climatic Change and continued to serve as its editor-in-chief until his death.

Schneider’s widow, TERRY L. ROOT, will accept a Spirit of California medal from the governor and first lady on behalf of her husband during the official ceremony in Sacramento on Oct. 1. Root is a Stanford biology professor, by courtesy, and also is a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute.

“I was so thrilled when I got the call from the governor’s office telling me that Gov. Brown had decided to induct Steve into the California Hall of Fame,” Root said. “This is truly a great honor for Steve. I just wish he were here to receive it himself.”

In announcing the awards, Gov. Brown said, “These talented pioneers represent the very best of California. Their determination, intelligence and creativity continue to inspire us.”

In addition to the ceremony, inductees will be commemorated with an exhibit of personal artifacts highlighting their lives and achievements. It will open to the public at 10 a.m. on Oct. 2 at The California Museum in Sacramento.

—  TERRY NAGEL, Stanford Woods Institute

Cardinal football players grab attention

July 16th, 2014


Stanford players continue to be named to watch lists for a host of annual football awards including senior TY MONTGOMERY, above, who on Tuesday was selected to the list for the Bilentnikoff Award, which recognizes the outstanding receiver in college football. Montgomery has previously been named to watch lists for the Maxwell Award (player of the year) and the Hornung Award (most versatile).

As of Tuesday, 10 Cardinal football players have been named to preseason watch lists for various awards, several for more than one honor. They are:

Maxwell Award (Player of the year)
Kevin Hogan
Ty Montgomery

Bednarik Award (Defensive player of the year)
Henry Anderson
Alex Carter
Jordan Richards
A.J. Tarpley

Hornung Award (Most versatile)
Ty Montgomery 

Rimington Award (Most outstanding center)
Graham Shuler

Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award (Most outstanding place kicker)
Jordan Williamson

Bronko Nagurski Award (Outstanding defensive player)
Henry Anderson
Alex Carter
Jordan Richards
A.J. Tarpley

John Outland Trophy (Outstanding interior lineman)
Henry Anderson
Andrus Peat

Jim Thorpe Award (Best defensive back)
Jordan Richards

Rotary Lombardi Award (Lineman of the year)
Henry Anderson
Andrus Peat
A.J. Tarpley

Butkus Award (Outstanding linebacker)
A.J. Tarpley
James Vaughters

Biletnikoff Award (Outstanding receiver)
Ty Montgomery

Read more about the honors on

Stanford research team wins 2014 Eni Award

July 7th, 2014


Three researchers from Stanford’s School of Earth Sciences were recently honored with a 2014 Eni Award, a prize aimed at promoting more efficient and sustainable energy sources, as well as inspiring future generations of researchers.

The researchers, TAPAN MUKERJI, associate professor of energy resources engineering and of geophysics, GARY MAVKO, professor of geophysics, and JACK DVORKIN, a senior research scientist in geophysics, were honored with this year’s Eni Award in “New Frontiers of Hydrocarbons” for their work in devising a way to obtain quantitative information about the rocks and liquids that lie beneath the Earth’s crust. This information is critical for research related to the production of oil and gas. DARIO GRANA, a Stanford alumnus who is now an assistant professor of geology and geophysics at the University of Wyoming, also was part of the prize-winning team, which was led by Mukerji.

The Eni Award is an honor bestowed by the Italian energy company Eni S.p.A. to recognize scientific research that advances our knowledge and ability to use more efficient and sustainable energy sources. The Eni Scientific Award Committee that selects the Eni Award winners is composed of Nobel Prize winners, researchers and scientists. This year, the 23-member committee received more than 1,400 applications.

Two prizes were given for “New Frontiers of Hydrocarbons” to acknowledge the research of two separate research groups. The other prize recipient was AMIR HOVEYDA, a professor of chemistry at Boston College, who has identified new and particularly efficient methods for synthesizing complex molecules with specific shape arrangements. The winners received their Eni Award medals at a special awards ceremony held in Rome on June 17.

— BY HOLLY MACCORMICK, communications assistant in the School of Earth Sciences

McConnell named Howard Hughes Medical Institute professor

July 2nd, 2014
Susan McConnell

Susan McConnell

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) has named biologist SUSAN MCCONNELL, the Susan B. Ford Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences, one of 15 HHMI professors. According to the HHMI press release, each professor receives $1 million over five years to create activities that integrate their research with student learning in ways that enhance undergraduate students’ understanding of science.

According to the press release: “HHMI professors are accomplished research scientists who are making science more engaging for undergraduates. By providing HHMI professors with the funds and support to implement their ideas, HHMI hopes to empower these individuals to create new models for teaching science at research universities. The newly selected group—who represent 13 universities across the country—will join the community of HHMI professors who are working together to change undergraduate science education in the United States.”

Said McConnell, “Now more than ever, our ability to communicate science to a broad audience is essential for the public support and funding of basic science. Just as importantly, effective communication is central to the success of any Stanford undergrad, in any field, both now and in the future. Through this award, I hope to engage undergraduates in the life sciences in communicating science to a variety of audiences and through many media, including the arts.”

This is how HHNI explains McConnell’s work on its website:

“Neurobiology, education and art can be distinct pursuits, but for Susan McConnell, they overlap and complement one another.

“In her lab at Stanford, McConnell is working to understand how neural circuits are constructed in the mammalian brain. She explores several key steps in that developmental process: how neurons are produced as the brain’s cerebral cortex develops, how new neurons are assigned their identities, and how those cells are wired together into information-processing circuits.

“Her lab’s findings have opened new lines of research in several distinct areas of neurobiology. They have determined at what point in their development cells in the cortex commit to becoming specific types of specialized neurons, and shown that those cells lose their ability to respond to fate-inducing cues over time. McConnell also found that cells called subplate neurons are responsible for pioneering early connections between the brain’s cortex and thalamus, and developed genetic methods to explore the patterning of the early telencephalon, the embryonic structure from which the cerebrum develops.

“She brings her enthusiasm for neuroscience into the classroom, and Stanford has recognized McConnell with its two highest teaching honors, the Hoagland Prize for Undergraduate Teaching and the Walter J. Gores Award for Excellence in Teaching. Her course on neural development, which she has taught at Stanford since 1989, is praised by students for its impact not just in conveying course material, but also in teaching them ‘how to think.’

“From 2010-2012, McConnell co-chaired a university-wide commission that evaluated undergraduate education at Stanford and provided recommendations for the future. The intensive analysis culminated with recommendations for a wide variety of changes, including a new system of breadth requirements based on ‘ways of thinking’ and ‘ways of doing’ rather than on traditional academic disciplines.

“That experience prompted McConnell—who also teaches a course in conservation photography at Stanford—to consider the role of creative and artistic expression in the sciences. As a result, she piloted The Senior Reflection in Biology, a senior-year capstone experience in which students in the life sciences are invited to undertake an in-depth creative project that joins a compelling scientific subject with a passion for the arts. At the same time, she revised the biology courses that enable students to fulfill Stanford’s ‘Writing in the Major’ requirement, creating opportunities for students to either write for scientific audiences or to translate biology topics for non-scientists.”

Visit the HHMI website.

Stanford physicist Renata Kallosh honored as part of University of Groningen’s 400th anniversary celebration

June 25th, 2014

Physics Professor RENATA KALLOSH has been awarded a Doctorate Honoris Causa from the University of Groningen, in the Netherlands, as part of its 400th anniversary celebrations.

The university announced that Kallosh was nominated for the honor by the faculty of mathematics and natural sciences there because of her “great influence on the field of theoretical physics and because she is an inspiration to a whole generation.”

Kallosh is well known for her contributions to theoretical physics, particularly to string theory. A video commissioned by Groningen to highlight her work, however, focused more on one of her accomplishments as a teacher. She explains that she had to teach classical mechanics, and decided to find modern parallels to make the lesson more relevant. In doing so, she learned more about a dynamical system, called the “attractor mechanism,” that explains many phenomena.

“It’s when the system ‘forgets’ the initial condition and goes into the situation that is generic, independent of where it started,” Kallosh says in the video. As she began to study the mechanism further, she realized it held up outside of classical mechanics, in particular in the worlds of economics and medicine. “This is what stabilizes heartbeats. Something happened, and then you have a regular heartbeat.”

She soon realized that the same principles applied to her research in supersymmetry theory, string theory and black holes,. By incorporating this in her work, she made advances and discoveries that have had lasting impact on the field of theoretical physics. In the video, she humbly remarks of her achievement that she was “just trying to improve the intellectual quality of my teaching.”




Harold Hwang wins prestigious European physics prize

June 18th, 2014

HAROLD Y. HWANG, a professor of applied physics and of photon science, has been awarded the 2014 EPS Condensed Matter Division Europhysics Prize for his role in the discovery and investigation of electron liquids at oxide interfaces. The prize, which Hwang shares with fellow scientists Jochen Mannhart and Jean-Marc Triscone, will be presented at a session of the 25th General Conference of the EPS Condensed Matter Division in Paris this August.

Harold Y. Hwang

Harold Y. Hwang

An outstanding challenge in condensed matter science has been to develop alternatives to conventional semiconductors for the future generations of electronic devices. Of particular interest for such devices are interfaces of transition metal oxides having strongly correlated conduction electrons with highly tunable properties. However, such interfaces have been exceptionally difficult to prepare.

A major step forward in the preparation of oxide interfaces was achieved by Hwang and co-workers employing a pulse laser deposition technique to grow highly controlled metallic interfaces between lanthanum aluminate and strontium titanate. Importantly, quasi-two dimensional conducting channels on strontium titanate interfaces with remarkably high mobilities and carrier densities have been achieved. This has led to a rapid growth in the study of two-dimensional electron liquids in oxide interfaces – the modern counterparts of two-dimensional electron gases in conventional semiconductors. This marks the beginning of a new era in the field of quantum electronic devices.

The EPS CMD Europhysics Prize is one Europe’s most prestigious prizes in the field of condensed matter physics. It is awarded every two years in recognition of recent work by one or more individuals for scientific excellence in the area of condensed matter physics.

— By Bjorn Carey

Awards honor Stanford student organizations, individuals for their service

June 13th, 2014

Four Stanford student organizations have received Student Activities and Leadership Campus Impact Awards, which recognize contributions to the community. In addition, the Dean of Student Life Office honored eight individual students for their exceptional contributions.

SAL Campus Impact Award


Sara Jenks ’16 as Eliza Doolittle during a rehearsal of the Asian American Theater Project’s production of “My Fair Lady.”  The Theater Project was cited for its dedication to sharing work that addresses the Asian and Asian American experience. (Photo: Linda A. Cicero/Stanford News)

Given by the Office of Student Activities and Leadership, the awards honor organizations for their contributions in four categories: “Building Bridges,” “Inspiring Innovation,” “Leaving a Legacy” and “Capturing the Spirit.”

  • For Building Bridges: The Asian American Theater Project, an organization dedicated to the sharing and creation of work that addresses the Asian and Asian American experience through theater and the performing arts;
  • For Inspiring Innovation: MINT magazine, a student-run fashion and culture publication;
  • For Leaving a Legacy: Kids With Dreams, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of disabled children;
  • For Capturing the Spirit: Challah for Hunger, which brings people together to bake and sell challah bread to raise money and awareness for social justice causes.

“This year’s honorees have earned recognition for unique achievements including staging the first student-directed musical production in Bing Concert Hall, publishing a fashion and culture magazine, maintaining strong partnerships that engage youth with disabilities, and creating fun and accessible service opportunities on campus,” said a press release announcing this year’s winners.

Lyons award winners, from left, Timothy Huang, Dominique Mikell, Hunter Kodama, Jim Lyons, Tessa Ormenyi, Annie Atura, Karen  Jared Naimark and Sandra Kjono and Sandra Powroznik

Lyons Award winners, from left, Timothy Huang, Dominique Mikell, Hunter Kodama, Jim Lyons, Tessa Örményi, Annie Atura, Karen Powroznik, Jared Naimark and Sandra Kjono.



The James W. Lyons Award for Service

The Lyons Award for Service is named in honor of JIM LYONS, who served as Stanford’s dean of student affairs from 1972 to 1990. This year’s winners are:

ANNIE ATURA, a doctoral student in English, for her “unique and innovative programming at the Women’s Community Center, which has engaged both men and women in feminist dialogue.”

TIMOTHY HUANG, ’14, a coterminal student majoring in human biology and education, “for innovative curriculum design, program development and mentorship that continues to engage youth and educators in STEM subjects with an aim of increasing student participation throughout K-12 schooling and for establishing a youth-run café in Bhutan that empowers youth to train others for employment in the tourism industry to uplift themselves and their community.”

SANDRA N. KJONO, a graduate student in electrical engineering, for “stepping up to assume a leadership position in the newly founded Student Veterans Affairs Office, uniquely representing the needs of both undergraduate and graduate student veterans through your personal experience, and for reinvigorating the Stanford Native American Graduate Student Organization through your enthusiastic leadership, dedication to service, inclusive style and intellectual curiosity.”

HUNTER CRAIG KODAMA, ’14, a senior majoring in public policy, for his “passion and commitment to serving the Stanford community in the many roles you have held, including Dance Marathon leadership, ASSU elections commissioner, student activities and leadership peer adviser, resident assistant for Kappa Sig, freshman transition coordinator and executive cabinet member.”

DOMINIQUE AISHA MIKELL, ’14, a senior majoring in philosophy, for “enthusiasm and leadership as executive director of Alternative Spring Break; expanding the program’s infrastructure and scope to include a fall quarter ThanksGiving Back service opportunity.”

JARED NAIMARK, ’14, a senior majoring in Earth sciences, for hisefforts to promote a nuanced understanding of international human rights conflicts on campus by engaging with academic departments and local organizations as president of STAND and for bolstering the Haas Center for Public Service’s support of student activists and championing public service among Stanford students as a peer adviser.”

TESSA EVA ÖRMÉNYI, ’14, a senior majoring in comparative studies in race and ethnicity, for “dedication and leadership as head producer of the 2013 Faces of Community production during New Student Orientation, fostering a campus community of tolerance, acceptance and understanding around all aspects of diversity.”

KAREN POWROZNIK, a doctoral student in sociology, for “tireless dedication serving the Stanford community in many roles including New Graduate Student Orientation co-coordinator, community associate, lecturer and teaching assistant of sociology courses, and co-chair of the Graduate Student Programming Board.”


Motion Picture Academy awards Stanford alums gold and silver for their documentary films

June 9th, 2014

On Saturday, June 7, two alumni of Stanford’s MFA program in Documentary Film and Video won gold and silver medals from the  Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ 2014 Student Academy Awards.

The gold went to HELEN HOOD SCHEER for The Apothecary, about the sole pharmacist in a 4,000-square-mile region in the American Southwest.  J. CHRISTIAN JENSEN received the silver for White Earth, a winter portrait of North Dakota’s oil boom seen through unexpected eyes.

Scheer and Jensen, who were featured in The Dish when they were named finalists last month,  graduated from Stanford in 2013.

Helen Hood Scheer's documentary 'The Apothecary' took gold at the 2014 Student Academy Awards last weekend.

Helen Hood Scheer’s documentary “The Apothecary” took gold at the 2014 Student Academy Awards last weekend.


J. Christian Jensen, winner of the silver medal in the documentary film category for “White Earth,”

J. Christian Jensen, winner of the silver medal in the documentary film category for “White Earth.”