Awards & Accolades

Awards & Accolades

By University Communications
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Ubirajara van Kolck, professor of physics
Ubirajara van Kolck, professor of physics
Elisabeth Krause, assistant professor in the Department of Astronomy and assistant astronomer at Steward Observatory
Elisabeth Krause, assistant professor in the Department of Astronomy and assistant astronomer at Steward Observatory
Jennifer Barton, director of the BIO5 Institute
Jennifer Barton, director of the BIO5 Institute
Katherine Speirs, assistant professor in the John and Doris Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences
Katherine Speirs, assistant professor in the John and Doris Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences
Jennifer Parlin, assistant in extension at The Garden Kitchen
Jennifer Parlin, assistant in extension at The Garden Kitchen
Angela Gunder, director of instructional design and curriculum development in Digital Learning
Angela Gunder, director of instructional design and curriculum development in Digital Learning
Marla Franco, assistant vice provost for Hispanic-Serving Institution initiatives
Marla Franco, assistant vice provost for Hispanic-Serving Institution initiatives
Karla Bernal Morales, interim director of the Office of Multicultural Advancement
Karla Bernal Morales, interim director of the Office of Multicultural Advancement

Congratulations to these recent honorees.

Van Kolck, Krause Among American Physical Society Honorees

Ubirajara van Kolck, professor of physics, was named the 2020 recipient of the Herman Feshbach Prize in Theoretical Nuclear Physics by the American Physical Society. The society announced the honorees on Oct. 22.

The American Physical Society is a membership organization that aims to advance the knowledge of physics. Its Herman Feshbach Prize in Theoretical Nuclear Physics recognizes outstanding research in theoretical nuclear physics.

Van Kolck earned the award for "pioneering contributions to effective field theories of nuclear systems, which have transformed low-energy nuclear theory," according to the society. The prize comes with $10,000.

Van Kolck's fields of study include atomic physics, molecular physics, optical physics, high-energy physics and nuclear physics. He began at the University in 2000 as an assistant professor.

Elisabeth Krause, assistant professor astronomy and physics and an assistant astronomer at Steward Observatory, was given the society's 2020 Maria Goeppert Mayer Award. The award recognizes outstanding achievements by a woman early in her career.

Krause was recognized for "contributions to theoretical cosmology and astrophysics, in particular, pioneering approaches to modeling key observables and extracting cosmological constraints from large galaxy surveys." The prize comes with $3,000 as well as a travel allowance for Krause to give up to three lectures at institutions and at a society meeting.

Krause's research focuses on the intersection of theoretical and observational cosmology. She joined the University in 2018.

Barton Named to NIH Bioengineering Advisory Council

Jennifer Barton, director of the BIO5 Institute, has been appointed to the National Advisory Council for Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, part of the National Institutes of Health. Barton was appointed on Oct. 30 for a four-year term.

The council advises the leadership of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering on policies and priorities related to research, training and health information dissemination in the areas of biomedical imaging and engineering.

Barton's research involves developing miniature endoscopes that combine multiple optical imaging techniques and evaluating whether those techniques are suitable for detecting early cancer development. Barton, who is also a professor of biomedical engineering, began at the University as an assistant professor in 1998.

Speirs, Garden Kitchen Team Win National Extension Association Awards

Two University employees won national first-place awards from the National Extension Association of Family & Consumer Sciences. The awards were presented at the association's annual session in Hershey, Pennsylvania, which ran from Sept. 29 to Oct. 3.

The association "educates and recognizes extension professionals who improve the quality of life for individuals, families and communities."

Katherine Speirs, assistant professor in the John and Doris Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences and an assistant state specialist for early childhood in Cooperative Extension won a first-place award in the program excellence through research category. The award "emphasizes the use of research results to improve existing programs or to develop new programs."

Speirs was recognized for a study that examined what, when and how teachers and providers feed preschool-age children. The study's results guided the development of an online training program for child care providers to improve how they promote healthy eating.

Speirs' research involves early care, education, and obesity prevention for young children, particularly the feeding practices of child care providers, the connections between education settings and the home, and how policy can shape children's well-being. She joined the University in 2016.

Jennifer Parlin, an assistant in extension in Cooperative Extension's Garden Kitchen, won first place in the social media education category.

Parlin and other Garden Kitchen staff members were recognized for "The Garden Kitchen Big Changes Start Small Social Media Campaign," which helped grow The Garden Kitchen's participation from the community and program visibility.

Other Garden Kitchen staff who were recognized include Jazmin Lopez, senior office specialist at the Pima County Cooperative Extension, and Rachael Hearne, a research technician in the Department of Immunobiology.

Gunder Among Online Learning Consortium's 2019 Fellows

Angela Gunder, director of instructional design and curriculum development in Digital Learning, was chosen as a 2019 fellow by the Online Learning Consortium. She will be recognized at a conference in Florida this week.

The Online Learning Consortium consists of higher education leaders and innovators who work to advance digital teaching and learning experiences. The organization's fellowships recognize fellows' contributions, accomplishments and participation in the field of online learning and to the Online Learning Consortium.

Gunder was nominated for "her dedication to service, innovation, scholarship and students in online learning," according to the Online Learning Consortium.

Franco, Morales to be Honored by Tucson Hispanic Chamber

Marla Franco, assistant vice provost for Hispanic-Serving Institution initiatives, has been named the 2019 Woman of the Year by the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. She will be recognized at the chamber's Noche de Éxitos Gala in Tucson on Nov. 22.

The annual gala is the chamber's binational business awards celebration, which "highlights the achievements of business leaders in Southern Arizona and Mexico." Its Woman of the Year award is presented to a local business leader who "exemplifies the strength and importance of" Hispanic entrepreneurship, organizational management and community leadership, according to the chamber.

Franco has led the effort to earn and maintain the University's status as a Hispanic-Serving Institution.

Karla Bernal Morales, interim director of the Office of Multicultural Advancement, will also be recognized at the event as the 2019 Rising Star.

University Communications, Tech Parks Arizona Win PR Awards

The Office of University Communications and Tech Parks Arizona and the took home a total of eight awards from the Southern Arizona chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. The awards were presented Oct. 22.

PRSA is the world's largest organization for public relations professionals. The Southern Arizona chapter serves Oro Valley, Marana, Sahuarita, Oracle, Tucson and the unincorporated areas of Pima, Pinal, Cochise and Santa Cruz counties.

The award-winning entries, and the categories in which they won, were:

Impact Award of Excellence in PR

Chasing Einstein
Daniel Stolte, science writer, Office of University Communications
News Release – Print

Unbreakable Spirit
Alexis Blue, assistant director of media relations and communications, Office of University Communications
Writing – Feature Story

US SBA Road Tour with UA Center for Innovation
Tech Parks Arizona
Special Events and Observances – Government/Nonprofit

Certificate of Excellence

Blacksmithing School
Kyle Mittan, communications specialist, Office of University Communications
Writing – Feature Story

Moon Anniversary
Daniel Stolte and Mikayla Mace, science writer, Office of University Communications
Media/Press Kit or Online Newsroom

Vampire Burial
Alexis Blue
News Release – Print

Wildcat Country
University Communications and Marketing & Brand Management
Magazines or Periodicals – Print

Women of the UA Tech Park
Tech Parks Arizona
Community Relations


We want to know about your good news. If you, your team or a colleague has won any major awards, been honored nationally or internationally, or accomplished some other major feat that deserves recognition, let us know about it.

To submit your news, please send us an email with the following information:

  • Name of the person, team or unit receiving the honor with full University titles.
  • Information about the award/honor and the organization that granted it. Please include a link to the official announcement of the award/honor.
  • When the honor was announced and when it will be presented (or was presented).
  • A photo of the honoree. If others appear in the photo, please provide their names and identifying information, such as their University title or other affiliation.

Questions? Contact Lo Que Pasa at uaatwork@email.arizona.edu.

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