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Last modified: Monday, December 18, 2006

IU computer science and College faculty feted for outstanding teaching, research

Dec. 18, 2006

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Kay Connelly and Minaxi Gupta, from the Indiana University School of Informatics, have been selected as recipients of the Outstanding Junior Faculty Award at IU Bloomington. Sara L. Friedman, Dongwhan Lee and Edward Watts, faculty in the IU College of Arts and Sciences, complete the group of five winners for 2006-07.

The award, presented annually by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculties, and the Office of the Vice Provost for Research, is designed to enable tenure-track faculty to enhance their research programs and to recognize junior faculty who have devoted considerable time to IU's research, teaching and service missions.

Each recipient receives $14,500 to support his or her research and creative activity.

Connelly and Gupta are assistant professors in the Department of Computer Science in the School of Informatics on the Bloomington campus.

"Kay and Minaxi are excellent teachers and researchers and well respected by their colleagues and students," said Andrew J. Hanson, chairman of the Department of Computer Science. "This recognition is a tremendous honor not only for them but for all of the School of Informatics family."

Connelly's research on pervasive computing deals with computational devices that are integrated into the fabric of human life. Her interests focus on advanced methods for modeling, evaluating and understanding acceptance of ubiquitous technologies, including health care management and the effective exploitation of mobile devices.

Gupta's research deals with security and performance issues in modern computer networks and focuses on the need to improve the structure of the Internet architecture to address network security at the most fundamental levels of design.

Gupta was nominated for the award by Dennis Gannon, professor of computer science. Terry Dworkin, dean of the IU Office of Women's Affairs, recommended Connelly.

A research scientist with IU's Pervasive Technology Labs, Connelly earned her master's and doctoral degrees in computer science at the University of Illinois. She completed her undergraduate studies at IUB.

Gupta obtained her master's and doctoral degrees in computer science from Georgia Tech. She earned a master's in physics from IIT in Mumbai (Bombay), India, and her undergraduate degree at Bombay University.

Friedman, Lee and Watts, who also are assistant professors, reside in the departments in anthropology, chemistry and history, respectively, which are part of the College of Arts and Sciences on the Bloomington campus.

"Individual departments in the College adhere to rigorously high standards in the recruitment of junior faculty, necessarily, as this is vital to maintaining the overall scholarly reputation of the College and the IUB campus," said David Zaret, interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and professor of sociology. "The impressive records compiled to date at IU by Sara, Dongwhan and Edward are a tangible indication of this adherence to high standards."

Friedman studies the relationship between political processes and social and cultural change in China and Taiwan. She received her master's and doctoral degrees at Cornell University and an undergraduate degree from Yale University.

Lee, whose laboratory work is broadly based on synthetic inorganic and organic chemistry of functional molecules and materials, received his Ph.D. at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He earned bachelor's and master's degrees at Seoul National University in Seoul, Korea.

Watts earned a bachelor's degree at Brown University and a Ph.D. at Yale University. He researchs the intellectual and religious history of the later Roman Empire.

Faculty from the School of Informatics, which was founded only in 2000, have been honored twice before with the Outstanding Junior Faculty Award. Mu-Hyun "Mookie" Baik, assistant professor of chemistry and informatics was a recipient (2005-06), as was Sun Kim, assistant professor of informatics (2004-05).

The College of Arts and Sciences, which according to the 1912 university catalog may be said to have begun in 1828 with the chartering of the institution as the Indiana College, is the oldest and largest school on the Bloomington campus. Its ranks of Outstanding Junior Faculty Award winners are many.