Three College of Science faculty receive Luther and Alice Hamlett honors to support research
The awards were approved at the Aug. 25-26 meeting of the Board of Visitors.
The Luther and Alice Hamlett Junior Faculty Fellowship was established in the College of Science through a bequest from the estate of the late Luther J. Hamlett ’45. Based on Hamlett's dedication to faculty research and collaboration, the Fellowships in the College of Science were established posthumously to bolster the work of assistant or associate professors whose efforts support the missions of the college’s Academy of Integrated Science (AIS).
Likewise, the four-year Luther and Alice Hamlett Professorship provides support for an outstanding faculty member who holds the rank of associate or full professor, and whose work supports the academy.
Recipients were nominated by the College of Science Dean Sally C. Morton and the Hamlett Junior Faculty Fellowship and Professorship selection committees, comprised of faculty members from the College of Science affiliated with AIS and its director, Michel Pleimling, also a professor in the Department of Physics.
Luther and Alice Hamlett Junior Faculty Fellowships
Frank Aylward, an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, is a core member of the AIS’s Systems Biology degree program, where he introduces students to research through the use of modern computational tools.
His research focuses on microbial ecology and diversity and genomics and metagenomics, with his work appearing in such journals as Nature Microbiology and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. His Aylward Lab focuses on understanding the processes that shape the ecology and evolution of diverse microbes and viruses.
Among his numerous awards are the Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship in Ocean Sciences and the Simons Foundation Early Career Award in Marine Microbial Ecology and Evolution. Additionally, he is the primary investigator of an Infrastructure Innovation for Biological Research grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).
Eileen Martin, an assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics, researches data-intensive, high-performance computing; imaging science; inverse problems; signal processing; and data science for physical sciences. Her recent focus has been on seismology with distributed acoustic sensing.
Among her numerous projects, Martin is co-investigator on a $1.9 million U.S. Department of Energy grant that proposes to develop a new sensing system for joint seismic and electromagnetic data. She is also an associate editor of the journal Computers & Geosciences and served as the faculty organizer of the first Women in Data Science event at Virginia Tech in 2019. She is also a mentor in the American Women in Mathematics student mentoring program at Virginia Tech. Additionally, she holds an affiliation with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s geophysics department.
In the classroom, Martin is a core member of the computational modeling and data analytics (CMDA) degree program, also part of the AIS, where she teaches integrated quantitative science and computer science foundations.
Luther and Alice Hamlett Professorship
The recipient is:
A Virginia Tech alumnus and the university’s second Rhodes Scholar, Mark Embree is a professor in the Department of Mathematics, and has led the CMDA program since its founding in 2015. Under his leadership, the program has grown from roughly 100 majors to a total of 500 in fall 2019.
He has helped develop several courses in the CMDA curriculum, including a senior capstone project program in which student teams tackle open-ended modeling and analytics challenges from industrial and academic partners. He taught in the Virginia Tech Presidential Global Studies program in spring 2019, and contributes to the new Calhoun Discovery Program in the Honors College.
His research focuses on large-scale matrix computations, and has been supported by the U.S. Department of Energy and the NSF. He specializes in the study of eigenvalue problems for non-self-adjoint operators and associated dynamical systems, described in a book he co-authored, “Spectra and Pseudospectra: The Behavior of Nonnormal Matrices and Operators.”