The School of Engineering and Applied Science has recognized six assistant professors for outstanding teaching and research. Each recipient of the 2021 junior faculty award will receive $50,000 to support their work.
E. Lawrence Keyes, Jr./Emerson Electric Co. Faculty Advancement Award
As assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, Chen has been recognized with several teaching awards and assisted with the University’s pandemic response by doubling up on teaching duties in the fall of 2020. He has co-directed and organized several scholarly conferences at Princeton and serves as a member of the Center for Statistics and Machine Learning’s graduate curriculum committee. Chen’s research focuses on large-scale inference and learning algorithms. His work draws on the intersections in the mathematical areas of optimization, high-dimensional statistics and statistical learning. In nominating Chen, electrical and computer engineering chair Sharad Malik called him “an exemplary Princeton faculty member, with research addressing scientifically and technologically important problems, an exceptional commitment to teaching at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, and a willingness to serve.”
An assistant professor of operations research and financial engineering, Tangpi focuses on financial mathematics using deep results from functional analysis and areas in applied probability including risk measures. His work has appeared in top academic journals including the Annals of Applied Probability, SIAM Journals on Mathematical Analysis and on Financial Mathematics, Finance & Stochastics, Mathematical Finance and Mathematical Programming. Tangpi has served on his department’s graduate admissions committee for three years, has served on the Princeton University Committee on Public Lectures and has organized the Financial Mathematics seminar. In nominating Tangpi, department chair Ronnie Sircar said that he “is an excellent mathematician. His work and his presentations are careful and well-presented. He has a mastery both of technicalities and interesting questions relevant to various applications.”
Howard B. Wentz, Jr. Junior Faculty Award
An assistant professor of computer science, Russakovsky works at the intersection of computer vision, machine learning and human-computer interaction. She has been widely recognized for contributions to the development of artificial intelligence systems to further computer vision. In 2017, MIT Technology Review named Russakovky to its “35 under 35” list of innovators based on her work on ImageNet, a database of over 14 million images used for developing computer vision. Russakovsky is also a leader in efforts to broaden participation in computer science and technology. She was the co-founder of the AI4ALL Foundation, an organization that seeks to increase diversity and inclusion in computer science through education and teaching, and is now co-director of the Princeton AI4ALL program. She was named to Foreign Policy’s Top 100 Global Thinkers in 2015. Russakovsky is the recipient of the University’s 2021 Phi Beta Kappa award for excellence in undergraduate teaching. “Olga is ‘the whole package’ — a wonderful scholar, educator, technologist, mentor and leader,” Jennifer Rexford, the computer science chair, said in nominating Russakovsky for the teaching award. “And, she rolls up her sleeves to make the world around her a better place, for her field, for her department and for society in general.”
An assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering, Sarazen’s research into unconventional and highly efficient forms of catalysis has opened more sustainable pathways for the production of fuels and materials. “She has been an excellent mentor, leader and resource for younger researchers,” according to chemical and biological engineering chair Athanassios Panagiotopoulos. She has also shown a deep commitment to enhancing diversity and inclusion initiatives within engineering and across the campus, working with such groups as the Society of Women Engineers and Graduate Women in Science. Last year, Sarazen became the principal investigator on an interdisciplinary, multi-institutional research team funded by the National Science Foundation to convert methane pollution into liquid fuel for use in homes.
Alfred Rheinstein Faculty Award
An assistant professor of computer science and public policy, Mayer researches information technology policy. Joining the Princeton faculty after serving as a staff member for then-U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, Mayer established himself as a leader in understanding and combatting disinformation. Building on the key insight that the disinformation problem shares many characteristics of problems with information security, Mayer has worked to translate successful information security strategies as counters to disinformation. He has developed new approaches to detect disinformation and demonstrated that well-designed warnings are more effective at warning consumers and guiding behavior than the warnings typically deployed in social media. Along with Andrew Guess, an assistant professor of politics, he is building a reference dataset of news and disinformation websites. To address the difficulty of researching user behavior, Mayer is working with the Mozilla Foundation on the Rally research platform. His first effort using the platform studied how users engaged with political and COVID-19 disinformation across major platforms. “Jonathan has a knack for picking research problems with a profound influence on society, and tackling them with a unique blend of techniques from information security, internet measurement and social science,” Jennifer Rexford, the computer science chair, said in nominating Mayer for the award.
An assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and the High Meadows Environmental Institute, Deike is an expert in bubble dynamics, wave dynamics and turbulence. Among other things, his research has explored air-sea interactions in the ocean environment, a topic critical for the understanding of climate change. Deike’s projects have used laboratory experiments and numerical simulations to quantify and model bubble-mediated gas transfer in the ocean. He has expanded this work to better understand the generation of sea-spray aerosols by breaking waves and bubble bursting. Sea spray is an important source of cloud condensation, so the process is critical in climate modeling. The recipient of a 2019 NSF CAREER Award, Deike has taken a leadership role both in the air-sea interactions community and the fluid dynamics community, organizing conferences in Seattle and San Diego. “The novelty, uniqueness and fundamental approaches Luc takes to important environmental problems are perfectly in line with the goals and tradition of our department and the broader Princeton community,” Howard Stone, the mechanical and aerospace engineering chair, said.