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Five OHIO faculty members named 2017 Presidential Research Scholars

From staff reports | Sep 14, 2017
From left to right: Avinash K. Kodi, Hao Chen, Daniel Phillips, Julie S. Owens, Steven W. Evans.
From left to right: Avinash K. Kodi, Hao Chen, Daniel Phillips, Julie S. Owens, Steven W. Evans. Photo credit: Photos courtesy of the Ohio University College of Arts and Sciences and Russ College of Engineering and Technology


Five faculty members have been named 2017 Ohio University Presidential Research Scholars for excellence in the areas of physical sciences and engineering, and social and behavioral sciences.

The award winners are Avinash K. Kodi, professor of electrical engineering and computer science; Hao Chen, professor of chemistry and biochemistry; Daniel Phillips, professor of physics and astronomy; Julie S. Owens, professor of psychology; and Steven W. Evans, professor of psychology.

The awards program recognizes mid-career faculty members who have garnered national and international prominence in research, scholarship and creative activity.  Each award recipient will receive $3,000 to be used at the scholar’s discretion as an honorarium or to support research or creative works.

“As OHIO continues its tradition of pursuing excellence in research and scholarship, it is important to recognize faculty who have made significant contributions to their fields,” said Joseph Shields, vice president for research and creative activity and dean of the Graduate College. “Each of the recipients provides outstanding examples of how OHIO faculty are committed to advancing the frontiers of knowledge.”

For 2017-18, applications were solicited in the areas of physical sciences and engineering, and social and behavioral sciences.  Applications will be requested for 2018-19 in the areas of life and biomedical sciences, and arts and humanities. The areas rotate every other year.

Kodi, Chen and Phillips were selected as award recipients in the physical sciences and engineering category this year.

Kodi has achieved prominence in the field of computer science for research innovations designed to increase the power, efficiency and security of the next generation of electronic devices. His advancements in computer chip architecture have applications in the development of mobile phones, laptop computers and servers. Kodi has received more than $2.5 million in funding from industry and federal sources, including a highly competitive National Science Foundation CAREER award in 2011. He has served as a consultant for industry and the U.S. Department of Energy.

Chen is an expert in mass spectrometry, a technology that helps scientists study the characteristics of molecules. He has used mass spectrometry to study compounds that may serve as candidates for new drug delivery treatments. Chen has received funding from state, federal and industry sources. This includes more than $2 million from the National Science Foundation, including its highly competitive CAREER award in 2012. He has eight approved or pending U.S. and foreign patents for his development of new mass spectrometry techniques at Ohio University. Chen has served as an expert on committees for NASA and the National Research Council.

Phillips is an internationally renowned physicist who has developed more reliable models of atomic nuclei behavior. This work has informed scientific experiments that explore fundamental nuclear physics questions, with broad relevance to areas including astrophysics and nuclear power generation. Phillips has been continuously funded by the U.S. Department of Energy since 2001. He serves on the Nuclear Science Advisory Committee, which advises the National Science Foundation and Department of Energy on policy and funding issues.

Owens and Evans were selected as award recipients in the social and behavioral sciences category this year.

Owens has pioneered research on the effectiveness and sustainability of school-based interventions for children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and related behavioral problems. She developed the state and nationally recognized Youth Experiencing Success in School (YESS) Program to help educators provide mental health support services. Her studies have demonstrated how teachers can use evidence-based interventions to help elementary school children with ADHD improve their academic performance and behavioral issues in typical classroom settings. Owens is co-director of the Center for Intervention Research in Schools and is principal investigator on nearly $2.5 million in external awards for the center’s research projects.

Evans is nationally recognized for his development of school-based programs designed to improve the academic and social skills of adolescents with emotional and behavioral problems, including ADHD. He is the creator of the Challenging Horizons Program and has been awarded more than $8 million in federal funding to test the effectiveness of the intervention in schools. Through the development of a new academic journal and conference, Evans has worked to transform the study of mental health issues in K-12 schools into an interdisciplinary effort. He is co-director of the Center for Intervention Research in Schools.

The recipients will be honored at a public ceremony to recognize Presidential Research Scholars and Presidential Teaching Scholars from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 26 in the Walter Hall Rotunda.

Nominees for the Presidential Research Scholars awards must be Group 1, tenured, full-time faculty from one of Ohio University’s campuses. Scholars must have been employed by Ohio University for at least three years.

Applications from nominated individuals are reviewed by the Council for Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity (CRSCA) and previous Presidential Research Scholar recipients, with recommendations for selection given to the Vice President for Research and Creative Activity for final approval.

All faculty of Ohio University may submit nominations; faculty also may self-nominate. The next nomination deadline will be in April 2018.

For more information about the nomination and application process, visit www.ohio.edu/research/prs.cfm.