Awards & Accolades

Awards & Accolades

By University Communications
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Gurtina Besla
Gurtina Besla
Eduardo Rozo
Eduardo Rozo
Anna Koosmann
Anna Koosmann
Gary Setzer
Gary Setzer
Alixe Holcomb
Alixe Holcomb
Dante Lauretta
Dante Lauretta

Congratulations to these recent honorees.

Besla Receives Early Career Prize From American Astronomical Society

Gurtina Besla, an assistant professor of astronomy and assistant astronomer at Steward Observatory, has been awarded the 2018 Vera Rubin Early Career Prize from the American Astronomical Society's Division on Dynamical Astronomy. Besla will be invited to give a lecture when the award is presented at the division's annual meeting in Boulder, Colorado, next spring.

Besla is only the second recipient of the award, which is named after the renowned galactic dynamicist who died in December 2016. The prize recognizes excellence, impact and advancement of research in dynamical astronomy or a closely related field, and is only given to those who earned their doctorate within the last 10 years. The prize comes with a $1,000 honorarium.

Besla, who earned her doctorate from Harvard University in 2011, is being recognized for her "trailblazing research on the dynamics of the Milky Way and the Local Group of galaxies," according to the Division on Dynamical Astronomy.

In April, Besla received the Edith Sayre Auslander Emerging Vision Award for her work mentoring UA undergraduate students studying STEM disciplines, particularly those from traditionally underrepresented groups.

Rozo Named 2018 Cottrell Scholar

Eduardo Rozo, assistant professor of physics, has been named a Cottrell Scholar for 2018 by the Research Corporation for Science Advancement.

The Tucson-based organization supports research in the physical sciences at colleges and universities across the U.S. Its Cottrell Scholars program "champions the very best early-career teacher-scholars in chemistry, physics and astronomy by providing significant discretionary awards for research." Each scholar receives a $100,000 award.

Rozo plans to use the funding to continue his research on dark energy, a form of energy believed to be responsible for accelerating the expansion of the universe.

Koosmann's Study Given Research Excellence Certificate

A study led by Anna Koosmann, assistant professor of architecture, has earned a 2018 Certificate of Research Excellence from the Environmental Design Research Association. Koosmann will accept the award at the association's annual conference in Oklahoma City on June 7.

The St. Paul, Minnesota-based organization aims to support research that improves understanding of the relationship between people, their built environments and natural ecosystems. Its Certificate of Research Excellence, known as CORE, "recognizes rigorous, valuable, and impactful practice-based research that sparks innovation and promotes best practice in environmental design."

Koosmann's study evaluated Estudio Damgo, the Philippines' first university design-build architecture program offered through Foundation University in Dumaguete City and modeled after programs in the U.S. Koosmann helped establish the program in 2012 as an instructor at Foundation University. She began at the UA in summer 2017 as a lecturer. The study, conducted over five months in 2015 under a Fulbright scholarship grant, found that Estudio Damgo has a "very high" impact on its students and target communities.

The study team also included researchers from Foundation University and the Philippines' University of San Carlos.

Setzer Receives New Face Award at Japan Media and Arts Festival

Gary Setzer, an associate professor in the School of Art, won a New Face Award at the Japan Media Arts Festival. Setzer and the other winners will be honored at a ceremony in Tokyo on June 12.

The New Face Award recognizes up-and-coming artists in art, entertainment, animation and manga. Setzer won in the art division for his single-channel video titled "Panderer (Seventeen Seconds)."

The video shows Setzer against a black backdrop explaining to the camera that museum-goers typically spend about 17 seconds viewing a piece of art. When a timer placed next to Setzer reaches the 17-second mark, the video abruptly ends. It will be on display with the other award-winning works at Tokyo's National Art Center June 13-24.

The award comes with a trophy and prize of 200,000 Japanese yen, or about $1,800. Nearly 4,200 artists from 98 countries entered the festival's awards competition.

Setzer began at the UA as an assistant professor in 2007.

Holcomb Wins 2017 Pac-12 Excellence in Licensing Award

Alixe Holcomb, trademarks and licensing director in the Office of Marketing and Brand Management, has received the Pac-12 Conference's Excellence in Licensing Award. Holcomb was honored in March during the 2018 Pac-12 Men's Basketball Tournament in Las Vegas.

The award recognizes Holcomb's "outstanding performance in trademark licensing and brand management." The award was decided in a vote by other licensing directors from universities in the Pac-12.

Holcomb, who graduated from the Eller College of Management with her bachelor's degree in 2008, was a marketing associate for Arizona Athletics before becoming assistant director of marketing and licensing in Athletics. She became the UA's director of trademarks and licensing in 2012.

Holcomb recently was named to the Worker Rights Consortium's board of directors. The Washington D.C.-based organization monitors workers' rights in garment factories that produce collegiate apparel.

Lauretta's Game Receives 2018 Mensa Select Seal

A tabletop game co-created by UA planetary sciences professor Dante Lauretta has won the 2018 Mensa Select seal from American Mensa, a division of the international society.

Lauretta, the principal investigator of the OSIRIS-REx mission, is the chief science adviser for Xtronaut Enterprises, the company behind the game Constellations: The Game of Stargazing and the Night Sky. In the game, players draw cards that represent the seven types of stars in the universe to create constellations, which earn players points. The game ends when the night sky is full of constellations, and the player with the most points wins.

The Mensa distinction recognizes games that are "original in concept, challenging and well-designed," and that "provide a high value for the price, are easy to comprehend and play, and prove highly entertaining." Constellations was one of only five games to get this year's seal.


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 UA 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 UA title or other affiliation.

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