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2013 UMBC Presidential Faculty & Staff Awards

Three CNMS faculty and staff recognized

August 25, 2014 10:35 AM

We are pleased to acknowledge Manil Suri, Suzanne Ostrand-Rosenberg, Nagaraj K. Neerchal  from CNMS were recognized at the 2013 UMBC Presidential Faculty & Staff Awards.

Manil Suri
Professor, Mathematics and Statistics
2013-2016 Presidential Teaching Award

Manil Suri joined the UMBC faculty in 1983. Today, as a professor of mathematics, he has made significant contributions in the field of Numerical Analysis, obtaining hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants for research at UMBC. Suri is also an internationally recognized writer; his works have been published in major publications including The New Yorker, Newsweek and Washington Post Magazine.

Suri’s interest in teaching often expands outside of our campus, and his work, both inside and outside the field of mathematics, repeatedly engages audiences with UMBC. He has attracted tens of thousands of viewers on YouTube via his videos in mathematics, has spoken on mathematical topics on NPR and the BBC and has explained mathematics to artists and writers at artist colonies. Currently, he is working on a cutting-edge project meant to make math accessible to a range of students: an e-book that combines animated video, film and fiction to explain mathematical concepts in simple terms.

Having worked with a range of students – from high school level to graduate level – Suri is known as a teacher that goes above-and-beyond in the matters of instruction. He is not only consistently successful in the communication of lessons, but also excels in teaching what it takes to become successful overall in the academic realm. He is known by UMBC students as an instructor that is willing to work just as hard as his students to ensure that everyone is able to learn the material.

Suri earned his M.S. and Ph.D in mathematics from Carnegie-Mellon University.

Suzanne Ostrand-Rosenberg
Professor, Biological Sciences
2013 University System of Maryland Board of Regents’ Award for Excellence
in Mentoring

Suzanne Ostrand-Rosenberg joined UMBC in 1977 and serves as the Robert and Jane Meyerhoff Chair of Biochemistry. Her reputation as an authority in the field of cancer immunology research, and her commitment to the subject extends beyond the UMBC community; she been a member of the Maryland Stem Cell Commission since 2006 and has served on the National Cancer Institute Board of Scientific Counselors since 2009.

Ostrand-Rosenberg runs an internationally recognized cancer immunology research lab in which she has trained students at all levels of study. The combination of her state-of-the-art research methods and dedication to encouraging students interested in pursuing research, often prepares students far beyond the scope of the research activity of their peers. Her trainees have received external fellowships, travel awards for attendance at national and international conferences and have had their findings published in prestigious scientific journals. She is active in the UMBC MARC U*STAR program and managed one of the first Undergraduate Research Experience (REU) programs on campus, BCURE (Breast Cancer Undergraduate Research Experience).

She often provides advice and direction for new and young faculty on writing grants and on balancing teaching, research and service, whenever possible, and devotes time to the advancement of women in STEM fields through various programs and activities.

She is held in high regard by those who encounter her as someone willing to unselfishly lend her time to all students and colleagues whom ask for assistance.

Suzanne Ostrand-Rosenberg received her Ph.D in immunology from the California Institute of Technology.

Nagaraj K. Neerchal
Professor and Chair, Mathematics and Statistics
2013 University System of Maryland Board of Regents’ Award for Innovation-Academic Transformation in Teaching

Nagaraj K. Neerchal has been a member of the Mathematics and Statistics Faculty since 1986, and is known as an exemplary researcher in the field of applied statistics. Since becoming chair of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics in 2006, he has developed a reputation as a pioneer for educational and administrative initiatives.

As a member of a department responsible for providing foundational courses for UMBC’s undergraduates, Neerchal’s actions have proven crucial in maintaining the level of excellence in education for students while enrollment grows. His development of the Quiz Zero initiative – a complex assessment of a student’s preparedness for a particular math course – has greatly improved student success in foundational math courses. Students take Quiz Zero at the start of the semester, and receive immediate feedback for their preparedness for particular math and stat courses, allowing them to make more informed decisions. Neerchal has also lead the department in the creation of hybrid learning material for statistics courses, blending the resource-efficient elements of online instruction with face time with the instructor. The development of these projects has not only enhanced student learning opportunities, they allow students’ interactions with faculty to become more valuable.

Neerchal is also a co-founder for the Center of Interdisciplinary Research and Consulting (CIRC), which has been a major contributor to active learning at UMBC. It combines the training of graduate students with professional consulting, and has become the host of a National Science Foundation (NSF) funded Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU).

Nagaraj K. Neerchal received his Ph.D in Statistics from Iowa State University.

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