Awards and Accolades

Awards and Accolades

By Isabel Miranda KidwellUniversity Communications
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Ming Li, University of Arizona Distinguished Scholar and associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Ming Li, University of Arizona Distinguished Scholar and associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Kathleen Insel, director of Innovations in Healthy Aging and professor in the College of Nursing
Kathleen Insel, director of Innovations in Healthy Aging and professor in the College of Nursing
George Rieke, Regents Professor of astronomy and planetary sciences and astronomer at Steward Observatory
George Rieke, Regents Professor of astronomy and planetary sciences and astronomer at Steward Observatory
Dennis Zaritsky, professor in the Department of Astronomy and astronomer at Steward Observatory
Dennis Zaritsky, professor in the Department of Astronomy and astronomer at Steward Observatory
John Hildebrand, Regents Professor Emeritus of neuroscience
John Hildebrand, Regents Professor Emeritus of neuroscience

Ming Li is elected a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers

Ming Li, a University of Arizona Distinguished Scholar and associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, has been elected to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers 2024 Class of Fellows.

Li was selected in recognition of his contributions to controlling data breaches. He has also developed wearable sensors that use precise location data to ensure accurate device authentication on phones, computers, tablets and other portable technologies.

"Ming Li stands at the forefront of nationally significant research in security and privacy," said Hongyi "Michael" Wu, head of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. "His technological achievements are nothing short of remarkable."

IEEE, a professional organization promoting the advancement of technology for the benefit of humanity, reserves fellowship election for individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the electrical and electronics engineering profession. Fewer than 0.1% of the organization's voting members are selected each year.

Li and other 2024 fellows will be recognized in-person at IEEE's annual summit and honors ceremony in Boston on May 3.

Learn more about Li and his research accomplishments in a story on the College of Engineering website.

University of Arizona named an 'Age-Friendly University'

The University of Arizona has been designated a member of the Age-Friendly University Global Network, a group of higher education institutions committed to promoting healthy aging and the inclusion of older members in their communities.

To be named a member, an institution must commit to supporting the network's 10 Principles of an Age-Friendly University, which include promoting personal and career development in older adults; enhancing access to wellness, arts and cultural activities; and encouraging intergenerational learning and the participation of older adults in all core educational and research programs.

Innovations in Healthy Aging, an initiative within University of Arizona Health Sciences, offers programs including the Healthy Aging Lecture Series, which provides presentations on aging and wellness free to the University and Tucson communities. The initiative also shares research studies seeking older adult participation and offers events such as poetry circles, "awe walks" and dance or movement instruction through its Aging and the Arts program.

"This designation reaffirms our commitment to optimizing health across the life span and addressing both the opportunities and challenges that come with aging," said Kathleen Insel, director of the Innovations in Healthy Aging initiative and professor in the College of Nursing. Read more about the designation in a news release from University of Arizona Health Sciences.

George Rieke and MIRI team honored by Royal Astronomical Society

The James Webb Space Telescope's Mid-Infrared Instrument team, led by Regents Professor

George Rieke, has been honored by the Royal Astronomical Society – recognized the team with its Astronomy Group Achievement award, which honors outstanding achievement by academic collaborations in any branch of the science.

According to NASA, the James Webb Space Telescope is the most powerful to have been launched into space, and much of this capacity is due to MIRI. Rieke, a professor of  astronomy and planetary sciences and an astronomer at Steward Observatory, was the science lead for the MIRI team, which added mid-infrared capability in imaging, spectroscopy and coronagraphs to the telescope, greatly expanding the precision of images of accuracy of collected data.

The resulting images, according to the Royal Astronomical Society are, "redefining our understanding of the cosmos through new insights into the atmospheres of planets beyond our Solar System and new data on star and galaxy formation."

The Royal Astronomical Society is a community organization and charity promoting the study of astronomy, solar system science and geophysics.

An in-person awards ceremony is being planned.

Read more about the University's work on the James Webb Space Telescope on the University's JWST website.

Steward Observatory professor honored by American Astronomical Society

Dennis Zaritsky, professor in the Department of Astronomy and astronomer at Steward Observatory, has been awarded with the 2024 Beatrice M. Tinsley Prize by the American Astronomical Society. The honor, which is typically awarded every two years, recognizes outstanding research in astronomy or astrophysics of an exceptionally creative or innovative manner.

Zaritsky, who started at the University in 1999, is being recognized for his innovation in observational probing of the structure and evolution of galaxies. This ongoing research is being conducted in collaboration with undergraduate and graduate students at the University, and is attempting to survey nearly a third of the sky for ultra-diffuse galaxies (galaxies of extremely low luminosity) with the use of the Large Binocular Telescope. The project is roughly 60% complete.

AAS is an international organization of astronomers and astronomy educators, which promotes research and education within the field. Zaritsky will be honored in March at the society's annual conference.

Regents Professor Emeritus receives honorary Doctor of Science degree

John Hildebrand, Regents Professor Emeritus of neuroscience, received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Michigan State University during its fall commencement ceremony, held in December.

"Hildebrand is a highly accomplished leader and scholar in the fields of neurobiology and chemical ecology," an announcement posted on a Michigan State University website said, citing his "vital research regarding insect chemosensory behavior and building defense strategies against crop pests and vectors of human diseases."

Hildebrand, who spoke at the MSU commencement ceremony, also presented awards and specialist degrees to the graduates.


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@arizona.edu.


Isabel Miranda Kidwell is a student assistant writer in the Office of University Communications.

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