Four Win College of Science Dean’s Excellence Awards

Russell Betts, dean of the College of Science and Distinguished Professor of Physics, recently honored four people with Dean’s Excellence Awards.

Senior Research Faculty: Fred Hickernell, professor of applied mathematics and director of the new Center for Interdisciplinary Scientific Computation (CISC), won the award for research excellence, senior faculty. Hickernell’s research focuses on increasing the efficiency of computer simulations and determining when to stop simulations and be confident that the answers meet user-prescribed error requirements. A major area of interest is Monte Carlo methods. Hickernell won the 2016 Joseph F. Traub Prize for Achievement in Information-Based Complexity. He received his Ph.D. in mathematics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Junior Research Faculty: Andrey Rogachev, assistant professor of chemistry, was honored for excellence in research, junior faculty. Rogachev is a theoretical and computational chemist whose group this year did breakthrough buckybowl research, discovered an efficient tool for fine-tuning magnetic coupling between delocalized radicals, and more. He had six publications in 2017 and eight in 2016, and his research has been featured on a number of journal covers.  Rogachev, who received his Ph.D. from Moscow State University, previously worked as a postdoc with Nobel Laureate Roald Hoffmann at Cornell University.

Teaching: Sonja Petrovic, associate professor of applied mathematics, was honored for teaching excellence. “She is a special teacher and mentor, well-loved by all her students,” wrote her nominator. “Every student tells me how her course has been one of their favorites at IIT, and students all tell me she cares about them.” She helps strong students to progress and receives high satisfaction ratings from students in all her courses—upper-level undergraduate, graduate, and service. Petrovic’s research expertise is in algebraic statistics, applied and computational algebraic geometry, and commutative algebra. She received her Ph.D. from University of Kentucky.

Staff: Myrna Walker, administrative assistant, Department of Applied Mathematics. Walker provides a wide range of support to the department. She updates the website, sets up events, writes the departmental newsletter and news items for IIT Today, and provides day-to-day assistance to students and faculty. She is always pleasant, always ready to help out everybody, and helps to keep the department running smoothly.