Presidential awards and appointments, a Guggenheim, a Carnegie and more

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Larry Mayer, director of the UNH School of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering and the Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping
Larry Mayer, director of the UNH School of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering and the Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping

Talk about making a good impression on your new coworkers: in late April, marine acoustician Jennifer Miksis-Olds joined the School of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering. A few weeks later, in early May, the research professor received a prestigious Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), one of just 100 or so federally funded scientists and engineers from around the world to earn the honor, which carries $1 million in research funding. Miksis-Olds, who comes to the interdisciplinary SMSOE after almost a decade at Penn State, uses acoustic technology to study life in the ocean, a critical area of interest for UNH. “Jennifer brings a remarkable scientific background and years of experience that combine a deep understanding of marine mammals and underwater acoustics,” says Larry Mayer, director of the SMSOE and the Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping (CCOM). “Her expertise will help bring UNH to the forefront of research in this area.”

Mayer earned a Presidential honor of his own recently. In May, he was appointed by President Barack Obama to a four-year term on the U.S. Arctic Research Commission, an independent federal agency that advises the president and Congress about one of Earth’s most complex and fragile regions. An expert in sonar imaging and the use of three-dimensional visualization in ocean mapping, Mayer has led numerous expeditions to the Arctic, many in support of a U.S. initiative to establish the full extent of the country’s continental shelf. “I’m very honored to have been appointed to the commission,” he says. “With growing recognition of the critical role the Arctic plays in myriad global issues, including national security, resources and climate, it’s incumbent on us to assure that we conduct the best possible research.” In addition to his roles with SMSOE and CCOM, Mayer is also co-director of the UNH/NOAA Joint Hydrographic Center and a professor of Earth sciences and ocean engineering.

History professor Eliga Gould has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to complete a book on the least-studied of the United States’ founding documents: the Treaty of 1783, which ended the American Revolutionary War. Gould is one of 178 scholars, artists and scientists to earn a 2016 fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, which has granted more than $334 million in fellowships since 1925. He will take his fellowship in the 2018–19 academic year to conduct additional research and finish writing Crucible of Peace: 1783 and the Founding of the American Republic

In April, Carsey School of Public Policy senior demographer and sociology professor Ken Johnson was named a 2016 Andrew Carnegie Fellow, just one of 33 scholars from around the country to receive the award. Johnson has received $200,000 from the Carnegie Corporation to fund his research on demographic shifts in rural America, and the implications these demographic changes have for policy. UNH President Mark Huddleston nominated Johnson for the fellowship, the most prestigious and generous award for research in the social sciences and humanities.

Douglas M. Lanier has received the 2016 Global Shakespeare Centre Distinguished Chair Fulbright Award to study, lecture and research at Queen Mary University of London and the University of Warwick. Lanier will use his fellowship to work on a book examining various screen adaptations of Shakespeare’s tragedy “Othello” and to teach classes at Queen Mary and Warwick. He hopes the experience will broaden his perspective on Shakespeare’s extraordinary cultural reach and provide him with material to enrich his teaching and research.

N.H. Sea Grant (NHSG) and UNH Cooperative Extension fisheries specialist Erik Chapman has been tapped to serve as acting director for NHSG, effective July 1. Chapman, who has been with NHSG since 2010, has a strong research background in marine fisheries, Antarctic food web dynamics, marine birds and the effects of climate change on marine ecosystems. His appointment coincides with the departure of longtime NHSG director Jon Pennock, who assumed directorship of the National Sea Grant College Program in July.


Originally published in UNH Magazine Fall 2016 Issue