UMD Celebrates Research Leaders, Announces Research Communicator Impact Award Winners

UMD Celebrates Research Leaders, Announces Research Communicator Impact Award Winners

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(L-R) Mary Sue Coleman, Amitabh Varshney, Michael Raupp, Nicholas Diakopolous, Rashawn Ray, Michele Gelfand, and Wallace Loh.
(L-R) Mary Sue Coleman, Amitabh Varshney, Michael Raupp, Nicholas Diakopolous, Rashawn Ray, Michele Gelfand, and Wallace Loh.

The University of Maryland’s (UMD) Division of Research celebrated faculty research achievements and announced the winners of its 2nd Annual Research Communicator Impact Award at the 18th Annual Research Leaders Luncheon on October 18, 2016.

UMD Interim Vice President and Chief Research Officer Amitabh Varshney emceed the event, and UMD President Wallace D. Loh made special remarks. Mary Sue Coleman, president of the Association of American Universities, delivered keynote remarks. 

The Research Communicator Impact Award was established in 2015 to recognize researchers who take a proactive approach to sharing their research or opinions on research issues and policies with the public through op-ed style articles published in prominent news outlets and through self-produced videos and blogs.

"The value of university research ripples beyond the academy and into daily life," said Varshney. "Communicating our research to the greater good is an essential component of our mission to achieve global impact."

A committee of UMD faculty and staff members evaluated the submissions based on each piece’s quality, impact, and visibility.

The winners of the 2016 “Research Communicator Impact Award” are:

  • Nicholas Diakopoulos of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism for his piece in Slate, titled "How to Hold Governments Accountable for the Algorithms They Use," which explains how algorithms are used by government agencies to make important decisions, such as the determination of Social Security benefits and criminal sentencing, and serving as a call to hold government agencies that use algorithms accountable.
  • Michele Gelfand of the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences for her piece in The Conversation, titled "A Warmer Embrace of Muslims Could Stop Homegrown Terrorism," which used evidence from her research to argue that adopting a more inclusive attitude toward Muslims is more effective for fighting homegrown terrorism than anti-Muslim rhetoric, especially in Congress.
  • Michael Raupp of the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences for his blog and YouTube channel, "Bug of the Week", which has reached hundreds of thousands of viewers with media highlighting the lives of insects in Maryland and around the world.
  • Rashawn Ray of the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences for his piece in The Huffington Post, “AME Church Massacre and America’s Inability to Acknowledge Structural Racism,” which responds to claims that the shooter acted as a “lone wolf” by situating his actions within a broader framework of institutional racism in the United States. 

More than 30 faculty submissions were received for the Research Communicator Impact Award, representing disciplines in 10 of the university’s 12 colleges and schools.

"Recognizing those who have made the effort to interpret their work beyond their discipline encourages creative thinking, inspired writing, and compelling videos, whose success benefits everyone in the UMD community," said UMD Distinguished Professor Ben Shneiderman, whose vision was instrumental in the establishment of the award in 2015. 

View images from the 18th Annual Research Leaders Luncheon.

October 19, 2016


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