College Announces 2024 Employee Award Recipients

Employees standing with plaques in front of CMNS step-and-repeat banner
CMNS celebrated its 2024 employee awardees on Friday, April 19. Photo by Mark Sherwood.

The University of Maryland's College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences (CMNS) celebrated its 2024 employee award recipients at an awards ceremony on April 19, 2024. This year's awardees were selected from a pool of more than 700 nominations from the CMNS community. Congratulations to all! 

CMNS Board of Visitors Distinguished Faculty Award

Johnpierre Paglione, Professor, Department of Physics
Honors a faculty member actively involved in a solid research program that has gained significant national and international attention.

CMNS Board of Visitors Junior Faculty Award 

Leah Dodson, Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Honors an assistant professor who has not yet been granted tenure and has shown exceptional accomplishment in teaching and/or research, thus clearly establishing themselves as excellent faculty members.

CMNS Board of Visitors Creative Educator Award

Elias Gonzalez, Lecturer, Department of Computer Science
Honors a faculty member for cross-disciplinary education, collaboration with corporations and institutions outside the university, innovative approaches to education, enrichment of students' educational experience outside the classroom, and the embedding of entrepreneurship as an integral part of students' academic experience.

CMNS Board of Visitors Outstanding Graduate Student Award

Alexander Dittmann, Ph.D. Student, Department of Astronomy
Honors a CMNS doctoral graduate student who has advanced to candidacy and demonstrated scholarly and research excellence.

Dean’s Distinguished Research Scientist Award

Isaac Moradi, Research Scientist, Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center
Recognizes the vital role played by research scientists in advancing the mission of the college. Honors research excellence evidenced by the discovery of new knowledge as demonstrated by published work in books, journals and leading conferences; invited talks, prizes, inventions, patents and other recognitions; and, as appropriate, the track record of their competitive research funding.

Dean’s Staff Awards

Cathy Clark Fisanich, Department Administrative Specialist, Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry
Samar Ata, Associate Director of Research and Faculty Affairs, Department of Biology
Michelle Montero, Administrative Services Manager, Department of Geology
Priyanka Vengataraman, Research Coordinator, Department of Cell Biology & Molecular Genetics
Recognizes employee dedication to the well-being and operation of the college and its administrative units. Awardees exemplify strong capability, commitment and service to both CMNS and the greater university community.

Norma M. Allewell Prize in Entrepreneurship

Lyle Isaacs, Professor, Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry
Recognizes faculty members for their innovation and energy directed toward cutting-edge research, technology development and entrepreneurship in the biological sciences. The prize honors Dr. Norma M. Allewell and was established by Henry N. Wixon (B.S. '76, M.S. '80, zoology) and other Board of Visitors and faculty members of the former College of Chemical and Life Sciences at the University of Maryland. Dr. Allewell served as Dean of the College of Chemical and Life Sciences at the University of Maryland from September 2000 until June 2010.

Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching

Niranjan Ramachandran, Professor, Department of Mathematics
Nominated by students, this award honors a tenured or tenure-track faculty member.

Dean’s Outstanding Lecturer Award

Archana Khurana, Senior Lecturer, Department of Mathematics
Nominated by students, this award honors a lecturer or instructor.

Thelma M. Williams Advisor of the Year Award

Melissa Hayes-Gehrke, Principal Lecturer and Undergraduate Director/Advisor, Department of Astronomy
Nominated by students, this award honors a faculty or staff member who performs the service of advising undergraduate students in the college.

Dean’s Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award

Elizabeth Qiu, Department of Computer Science
Nominated by students, this award honors an undergraduate or a graduate student who is performing the role of teaching assistant for a course being taught by CMNS.

About the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences

The College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences at the University of Maryland educates more than 8,000 future scientific leaders in its undergraduate and graduate programs each year. The college's 10 departments and nine interdisciplinary research centers foster scientific discovery with annual sponsored research funding exceeding $250 million.