Appointments, honors and activities
• Faculty and staff honors:
-Dongyan Xu, an associate professor of computer science, was named a University Faculty Scholar for 2012. The five-year appointment will begin on July 1.
- Guang Cheng, an assistant professor of statistics, received the Noether Young Scholar Award from the American Statistical Association. The award is given to a researcher who has significant accomplishment in nonparametric statistics, including theory, methodology and outstanding applications. Cheng will give an invited lecture during the 2013 Joint Statistical Meeting in Montreal.
- Eric Calais, a professor of earth and atmospheric sciences, has been chosen a Frank Press Public Service Award recipient from the Seismological Society of America. Calais was chosen for the award due to his leadership in earthquake safety and work to reconstruct Haiti. In 2008, Calais and his team of researchers published information on seismic hazard assessment in the northern Caribbean, forecasting potential for earthquakes similar to what occurred in 2010 in Haiti. After that crippling earthquake in Haiti in 2010, Calais was among the first scientists to survey the damage and subsequently served as chief scientific adviser and coordinator for the United Nations. Calais will receive his award Tuesday (April 17) at the Seismological Society's annual meeting in San Diego.
• Student honors:
- Merriebeth Cox, Purdue's Golden Girl, placed second in solo twirler competition at the Twirling World Championships April 2-8 in Neuchatel, Switzerland. Two years ago, Cox placed third in the world championships, receiving a bronze medal in the solo category. MerrieBeth's younger sister, Melissa, also qualified in the strut competition.
- Rongjing Xiang, a Ph.D. student in computer science, has received a 2012-2013 IBM Ph.D. Fellowship. According to the awards website, the fellowship awards program is "an intensely competitive worldwide program, which honors exceptional Ph.D. students who have an interest in solving problems that are important to IBM and fundamental to innovation in many academic disciplines and areas of study." She joined the Purdue Computer Science Department in 2007 and has been working in the research areas of machine learning and data mining.
- The Purdue University College of Agriculture's natural resources and environmental science program finished in the Final Four of a tournament rewarding excellence in environmental and sustainability academics. Structured similar to the NCAA basketball tournament, colleges and universities were ranked by a group of environmental science professionals based upon the schools' dedication to the study and practice of sustainability. The panel evaluated academic courses offered, extracurricular activities, and the opportunity for students to gain experience. Purdue advanced to the Sustainable Sixteen on March 12. On March 30, Purdue made it to the Final Four with Colorado State, Rochester Institute of Technology and the eventual winner, Colby College in Maine. To be considered for the competition, each school submitted a survey response covering topics related to curriculum, graduation rate, facilities and student retention. The contest was sponsored by Enviance Inc., a company specializing in environmental and regulatory risks, and Environmental Leader, a daily energy and environmental trade publication.