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Announcement of the 2020-2021 Jefferson Science Fellows

The 2020-2021 class of Jefferson Science Fellows (JSF) is the 16th class of Fellows selected since the program was established in 2003 as an initiative of the Office of the Science and Technology Adviser to the U.S. Secretary of State. The Jefferson Science Fellows Program is designed to further build capacity for science, technology, and engineering expertise within the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The 2020-2021 Jefferson Science Fellows are:



Supriyo Bandyopadhyay
Virginia Commonwealth University

Supriyo Bandyopadhyay is Commonwealth Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University and directs the Quantum Device Laboratory in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He received his bachelor's degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, India, M.S. degree from the Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, and his Ph.D. from Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana. He was a Visiting Assistant Professor at Purdue, Assistant and Associate Professor at University of Notre Dame, Professor at University of Nebraska-Lincoln and now Commonwealth Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Virginia Commonwealth University with a courtesy appointment as Professor of Physics. Dr. Bandyopadhyay's research is in spintronics, straintronics, energy-efficient computing and nanoscale self-assembly. His self-assembly work was featured in the U.S. Army Research Office Nanoscience Poster in 1997 as one of four notable advances in nanotechnology. Prof. Bandyopadhyay was named Virginia’s Outstanding Scientist by Virginia's Governor Terence R. McAuliffe in 2016. His alma mater, the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, India named him a distinguished alumnus in 2016. His university bestowed upon him the Distinguished Scholarship Award (given annually to one faculty member in the university) and the University Award of Excellence (the highest honor the university can bestow on a faculty member, given to one individual in a year). His department gave him the Lifetime Achievement Award for sustained contributions to scholarship, education and service (one of two given in the department's history). His earlier employer, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, conferred on him the College of Engineering Research Award (1998), the College of Engineering Service Award (2000), and the Interdisciplinary Research Award (2001). In 2018, he received the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia Outstanding Faculty Award. This is the highest award for educators in private and public universities and colleges in the State of Virginia and recognizes outstanding scholarship, teaching and service. In 2020, he received the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) "Pioneer in Nanotechnology" award. Prof. Bandyopadhyay has authored and co-authored over 400 research publications and presented over 150 invited talks and colloquia across four continents. He has also authored/co-authored three textbooks. He has taught in India under the GIAN program and performed collaborative research there with a VAJRA fellowship from the Government of India. Prof. Bandyopadhyay is a Fellow of IEEE, American Physical Society, Institute of Physics (UK), the Electrochemical Society, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.




Vincent Harris
Northeastern University

Vincent Harris has had a distinguished career as an engineer, scientist, inventor, educator, and entrepreneur for almost 30 years. He presently holds positions of University Distinguished Professor and William Lincoln Smith Chair Professor at Northeastern University (NEU). Prior to holding these positions, he was a member of the technical staff, Head of the Complex Materials Section, and Head of the Materials Physics Branch at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory. His professional preparation includes the Ph.D. (EE, NEU), M.Sc. (MSE, NEU), M.Sc. (Eng. Mgt., U. Md.), M.Eng. (Exec. Tech. Mgt., U. Penn, Wharton), and B.Sc. (ME, NEU) degrees. His research interests encompass a wide range of functional materials and their applications in devices and systems used principally as sensors, radar and communication platforms, nanotechnology, power electronics, and medical diagnostics and therapeutics. He has published more than 400 peer-reviewed science and engineering articles, including book chapters, review articles, and technical feature articles that have been cited more than 14,500 times. Additionally, he holds 20 or more patents or patent applications. Harris has been recognized with national and international awards for scholarship including: the Minerals, Metals and Materials Society, Distinguished Scientist Award; the Lee Hsun Research Award and Lectureship for Seminal Contributions to Materials Science by the Chinese Academy of Sciences; Distinguished Visiting Professorships at the Institute of Microelectronics, Chinese Academy of Sciences; University of Electronic Science and Technology of China; Huazhong University of Science and Technology; and, the Wayamba University of Sri Lanka where he served as a Fulbright Fellow. As well as Visiting Professorships at the Tokyo Institute of Technology and the Air Force Research Laboratory, Wright Patterson Air Force Base. Harris has been elevated to Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, American Physical Society, among other prestigious societies. He routinely serves as an expert to Congress, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Department of Energy, DARPA, the DOD tri-services, National Science Foundation, NAS/NAE, NASA, and other government agencies on topics of critical materials, nanotechnology, quantum science and engineering, RF technologies, and effective translation of federal investments in R&D to the private sector. Vincent Harris is a veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard.




Robert E. Johnson
University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Dr. Johnson received his B.S. degree from SUNY at Buffalo, and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Caltech. Dr. Johnson served as Dean of The William States Lee College of Engineering at UNC Charlotte from 2000 until June 2020. College enrollment grew from 1400 to nearly 4000 students, faculty from 90 to 173, staff from 12 to 68, and research funding from $3.6M to $16.5M. Dr. Johnson worked extensively with corporate stakeholders, faculty, and staff to develop the Energy Production and Infrastructure Center (EPIC) to advance research in energy and to prepare the energy workforce. During his tenure, the college added eight new degree programs and four new facilities including Duke Centennial Hall, the Kulwicki Motorsports Laboratory, EPIC, and the Motorsport Research Building. Dean Johnson established programs to enhance the student experience including the Engineering Leadership Academy and the Industrial Solutions Laboratory. Before coming to Charlotte, he worked for 16 years in the Department of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics at the University of Illinois. Research focused on fluid mechanics, material processing, race car aerodynamics, and asymptotic methods. He is the author or coauthor on more that 70 archival journal articles and has worked on numerous projects for the National Science Foundation, Alcoa, and Caterpillar.




John LoSecco
University of Notre Dame

John LoSecco is a Professor of Physics at the University of Notre Dame. His research is in the field of elementary particle physics. He received a BS degree in physics from Cooper Union in New York and an AM and PhD degrees from Harvard University. After a postdoc at Harvard University, he held faculty positions at the University of Michigan and Caltech before joining the Notre Dame physics department. He has taught both graduate and undergraduate courses including a popular course on elementary cosmology for non-science majors, which covered Black Holes, Schrodinger's Cat and the Big Bang. His research has been in the areas of neutrino physics, grand unified theories, astrophysics, exotic mesons, CP violation, heavy flavor physics and neutrino oscillations. He helped found the field of astro-particle physics. He is a corecipient of the Bruno Rossi prize in High Energy Astrophysics of the AAS for observation of a six second neutrino burst from a supernova in the Large Magelanic Cloud galaxy and a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society (UK). He was a Fulbright Scholar at Paris VII and Commissariat à l'énergie atomique (CEA) Saclay in 2012-2013.




Surajit Sen
State University of New York at Buffalo

Surajit Sen holds a B.Sc (Hons) from Presidency College, Calcutta and a PhD from The University of Georgia. He did postdoctoral work at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis and Michigan State University before joining the physics faculty at the State University of New York at Buffalo where he has been a full professor since 2006. His research is on nonequilibrium processes and nonlinear dynamical systems as realized in nature and in social contexts. These works include studies on interactions between solitary waves, the likely existence of a new equilibrium-like state with large scale fluctuations, impulse acoustics based imaging of buried landmines, impact mitigation and sound dampening using granular metamaterials and studies of battle strategy and primate societies. He is deeply interested in raising awareness about science and math in children and youth from the underserved communities. His work has appeared in some 160 refereed journal articles and discussed in about as many invited lectures in conferences, academic institutions, and government labs in the US and around the world. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) and of the American Association of the Advancement of Science and has been a Fulbright-Nehru Fellow at the Indian Institute of Engineering, Science and Technology in 2017-2018. Dr. Sen is an editor of the journal Granular Matter and an editorial board member of journals Modern Physics Letters B and International Journal of Modern Physics B. His university service includes chairing the promotion and tenure process in arts and sciences at Buffalo, being involved in human rights of scientists through the APS and in structuring bi-national science collaboration programs between individual academics. He is a past two-term president of the American Chapter of the Indian Physics Association and a former member of the executive committee of the Forum on International Physics of the APS.




Scott Wicker
Kentucky State University

Dr. Scott A. Wicker is Interim Chair of the School of Sciences, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (SoSTEM) and Associate Professor of Chemistry, where he is responsible for advancing the mission, vision, and core values of Kentucky State University. A native of Zachary, Louisiana, Dr. Wicker earned honors distinction with his Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife Biology from Grambling State University and a doctorate in Environmental Toxicology from Southern University and A & M College. Dr. Wicker has more than seven years of Historically Black College and University (HBCUs) Higher Education experience, where he held post-doctoral research associate and faculty positions. During his higher education tenure, he served as a PI, Co-PI, or Senior Investigator for six funded grants worth over five million dollars; Chaired, Co-Chaired, or participated as a committee member for eighteen different university committees; published nine peer-reviewed articles and one book chapter; presented over twenty oral research, posters, panelist, guest speakers at conferences and symposiums; chaired or committee member of seven undergraduate Honor Theses, one Master Thesis, and one Doctoral Dissertation; earned seven awards or honors including Outstanding Service Award, Faculty Academy of Master Educators (FAMERs), Jefferson Science Fellow, and Lindau Nobel Laureates Meeting Alumni. Dr. Wicker is an Inorganic chemist specializing in the kinetics of green chemical methods for synthesizing metal oxides used in energy storage and sensor devices. He holds professional memberships in the American Chemical Society (ACS), American Society of Brewing Chemists (ASBC), American Association of University Professors (AAUP), Kentucky Chapter of American Physiological Society, Kentucky Academy of Science, National Scientific Honor Society Beta Kappa Chi (BKX), and National Institute of Science (NIS).




Christopher Woolverton
Kent State University

Christopher J. Woolverton is Professor of Epidemiology, Dean's Fellow to the University Health Services, and Chair of the Institutional Biosafety Committee, at Kent State University. He additionally serves on the faculty of the NIH National Biosafety and Biosecurity Training Program, and on the graduate faculty of the Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine. Woolverton earned the M.S. and Ph.D. in Medical Microbiology from West Virginia University's School of Medicine. He also has advanced training in laboratory containment practices, biological safety, international biosecurity, pandemic planning, control of biohazards, and biosecurity policy analysis. Woolverton's research is focused on the detection and control of infectious agents. He has published on the development of a liquid crystal biosensor, for the real-time identification of bacteria and virus; the identification of microbial proteins, whose biological function is driven by their liquid crystalline properties; the use of electron beam energy for the control of Bacillus spores; the use of nonthermal plasma for the control of bacterial biofilms; the use of medium-chain fatty acids to control Clostridium spores; the use of Twitter and survey data to detect undergraduate student perceived risk of Ebola and SARS-CoV-2, respectively; and the use of human fibrin as a long-term, antibiotic delivery system. Woolverton also co-authored four editions of the undergraduate microbiology textbook, Prescott’s Microbiology (editions 7-10) and on the use of the NIH Designated Training Facility (BSL-3 Sim Lab) to document learning behaviors in high stress environments.