Memo from the Dean 12/16/2011
Dear Pratt Community,
As we wind down on finals week of a terrific semester, I want to take a moment to recognize some of the great accomplishments of our students, faculty and alumni.
In sports news, Pratt mechanical engineering seniors Christopher Tweed-Kent and Daniel Tweed-Kent earned national athletic honors by being named to the Capital One Academic All-American Soccer Team. Remarkably, of the 30 All-Americans selected from over 200 NCAA Division 1 schools, 3 were from Duke. Pratt senior Christopher Tweed-Kent and Trinity junior Andrew Wenger both garnered first team recognition, while Pratt senior Daniel Tweed-Kent collected second team honors. Look for a profile on the Tweed’s in the January Duke Engineering News newsletter.
In faculty news, biomedical engineering Professor Nimmi Ramanujam was named a Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE). She was cited for her key contributions in the development of novel optical sectioning, spectroscopy and modeling techniques to detect breast and cervical cancers. This is a wonderful recognition of Nimmi’s work and influence.
Professor Ingrid Daubechies has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for her seminal work in wavelets, as well as significant contributions in the area of signal processing, quantum mechanics, discrete geometry, and applied mathematics. Ingrid holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and is a full professor in the Math Department.
Tomasz Hueckel, professor of civil and environmental engineering, has been awarded MTS Professorship in Geomechanics by MTS Systems Corporation at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. Such visiting professorships are offered to outstanding individuals worldwide to promote collaboration with the faculty in the geomechanics research area. Tomasz spent two weeks in Minneapolis in November interacting with the faculty and students in the Geomechanics Program and delivered a lecture on mechanics of desiccation of geomaterials.
Mechanical Engineering Assistant Professor Xuanhe Zhao has been elected as the secretary for the Soft Matter Mechanics Technical Committee of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He will serve as the Vice Chair of the committee in 2013 and the Chair in 2014. Thank you, Xuanhe, for taking on this leadership responsibility in a professional society. These kinds of activities are important to the visibility of our faculty and the school.
In another form of service, biomedical engineering Professor Joseph Izatt was one of three members of the Optical Society of America who took part in a congressional briefing on the value of medical imaging in saving lives. Joe spoke to about 90 congressional staff specifically about optics in eye care. You can view his presentation at: http://www.osa.org/About_Osa/Public_Policy/Policy_Programs_Events/Congressional_Caucus/ppt/Izatt-presentation.pdf.
In staff news, Dianne Bennett has earned her Procure to Pay Specialist Certification and is the first Pratt staff member to earn this designation. The course normally takes between 4 to 6 months and delves into Duke’s accounts payable and procurement business practices. I’m very pleased that Pratt and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering supported Dianne’s professional development. Well done, Dianne.
Deborah Ungerleider, a program coordinator in the Dean’s Office, was profiled on Duke Today as one of Pratt’s outstanding staff members. Read her story at: http://today.duke.edu/2011/12/bluedevilungerleider. I have to say, though, that I really wouldn’t expect her to donate $2 million to the school if she won the lottery.
In alumni news, 1996 Duke PhD graduate Rajesh Pendekanti was among a team of scientists recently awarded the Johnson Medal by Johnson and Johnson. The Johnson Medal has been awarded every year since 1960 to a select group of scientists whose extraordinary creativity and scientific achievement have opened significant new doors for Johnson & Johnson and the patients they serve. Rajesh’s company, Biosense Webster, works on technology used to treat irregular heart rhythms through catheter ablation. Rajesh is a former student of Professor Craig Henriquez, and a longtime collaborator of Professors Pat Wolf and Gregg Trahey.
And finally, I’ll close with an update on the Yoplait Pink Lids effort. The Pratt school collected 236 lids for the Susan G. Komen for the cure® program for Breast Cancer awareness and Research. Thanks to Bethany Day, Senior Program Coordinator for the Center for Metamaterials and Integrated Plasmonics, for leading the charge on this.
Have a great holiday break, and we’ll see you in 2012!
Professor and Dean