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MILESTONES

Gary Gabriele was named associate provost for administration and dean of undergraduate education. As the former associate dean of engineering, Gabriele has been instrumental in implementing the new engineering curriculum that began two years ago. He has helped create the innovative studio classrooms that combine lectures, labs, and problem-solving sessions. Gabriele, who has a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Purdue University, also has been overseeing the development of the Multidisciplinary Design Lab, a new $2 million facility for teaching design in engineering.

Andrew Lemnios, director of the Rotorcraft Center and professor of aeronautical engineering at Rensselaer, has been named interim vice president for Rensselaer at Hartford. He succeeds Ann Stuart, who has been named president of Texas Women’s University. Lemnios has served as director of the Rotorcraft Center since 1993. Prior to that he spent 33 years at Kaman Aerospace Corp., where he was director and assistant vice president of research and technology programs. He holds B.S. and M.S. degrees from MIT and a Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut.

Nicholas Clesceri, professor and director of the environmental engineering program, has been named a fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)—one of the highest professional recognitions a civil engineer can receive. Clesceri is an expert in wastewater systems, sediment decontamination, and freshwater ecology. In 1969, he was director of the Lake George Water Research Center, precursor to Rensselaer’s Fresh Water Institute (FWI), which Clesceri was integral in founding. As director of FWI (which later was named the Darrin Fresh Water Institute) from 1972 to 1979, Clesceri helped establish the laboratory as a national leader in freshwater research.

Bela Musits ’75, director of Rensselaer’s Incubator Program, has been elected to the Board of the National Business Incubation Association (NBIA). Musits earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from Rensselaer in 1975 and 1976, respectively. He received his MBA degree from Rensselaer in 1979. Musits holds three U.S. patents, has founded two companies, and has worked in the research labs of General Electric and IBM.

Robert Messler Jr. '65Robert Messler Jr. ’65 was named interim associate dean of engineering for academic and student affairs. Messler, former associate professor of materials science and engineering, taught undergraduate and graduate classes, and developed and redesigned courses in welding and joining. Messler earned his bachelor’s and doctoral degrees from Rensselaer in 1965 and 1971, respectively.

 

 

James Napolitano '77James Napolitano ’77, professor of physics and associate chair of the Department of Physics, Applied Physics, and Astronomy, was named interim provost for information technology. Napolitano earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in physics from Rensselaer. He completed his Ph.D. at Stanford in 1982, and has worked at Argonne National Laboratory and the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility.

 

 

Kathryn Conway '87Kathryn Conway ’87 was named director of architecture research. Conway, formerly program director of the Lighting Research Center’s Lighting Transformations Program, will work with architecture faculty to plan and develop research programs to complement the school’s new professional programs in Building Conservation, Informatics, Productive Work Environment, and Sonics. Conway earned her master’s degree in technical communication at Rensselaer and a bachelor’s degree in biology from Swarthmore College.

 

Mark ShephardMark Shephard, director of Rensselaer’s Scientific Computation Research Center (SCOREC) and the Samuel A. Johnson ’37 and Elisabeth C. Johnson Professor in Engineering, has been named a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), for “exceptional engineering achievements and contributions to the engineering profession.” Shephard has built an internationally known research program in the areas of finite element modeling and computer-aided engineering. The techniques developed by Shephard and his students have been included in commercial software systems and are regularly used in industry.

 

Edward Johnson ’66 has been appointed an adjunct trustee. Adjunct trustees are selected by the Rensselaer Board of Trustees to serve one-year terms on particular committees to which they can provide specific expertise. Johnson will serve as a member of the finance committee. Johnson is president and CEO of Beechtree Ventures Inc., a private investment company whose primary focus is in companies applying new technologies to the delivery of professional information, educational materials, and training. Until 1996, Johnson was a senior vice president and sector executive with the Times Mirror Company, a Los Angeles-based information and media company.

Michael O’Rourke, professor of civil engineering, co-led a team of researchers to assess damage from the Sept. 21 earthquake that struck Taiwan. The magnitude 7.6 quake, which occurred near the center of Taiwan, resulted in more than 2,000 deaths and more than 10,000 damaged buildings. O’Rourke was invited by the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) to study the damage to buildings, electric power installations, and water systems. He presented his findings to colleagues at the National Taiwan University. The trip was sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

George Xu, assistant professor of environmental and energy engineering, has received a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award from the biomedical engineering program of the National Science Foundation (NSF). The award, one of the NSF’s most competitive and prestigious, will support Xu’s further research and teaching in radiation dosimetry and the development of techniques to determine effective and safe radiation doses to the human body. Xu will receive $310,000 over four years for his work.

Ken Jansen, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, has received a CAREER award from the Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate of the National Science Foundation. Jansen will receive approximately $305,000 over the next four years to help him develop the computational frameworks necessary to simulate turbulent flows at different approximation and resolution levels.

Nancy MuellerNancy Mueller, a Rensselaer trustee and chair of the School of Science Advisory Council, received Rensselaer’s 10th annual William F. Glaser ’53 Entrepreneur of the Year award during Fall Alumni Weekend. The honor is given by the Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship (SCTE) in the Lally School of Management and Technology. Mueller started her business by making miniature frozen quiche appetizers by hand in her home 22 years ago. Nancy’s Specialty Foods grew to be worth $60 million before Mueller sold it to United Signature Foods (USF) last July. The story of the company, based in Newark, Calif., has been used for several years as a case study in the New Enterprise Development Course at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Mueller has also been a visiting entrepreneur in several of Rensselaer’s entrepreneurship courses.

Jane Koretz, biology professor, has been named director of the graduate program in biochemistry/biophysics.

Joyce Diwan, professor of biology, will continue as director of the undergraduate program.

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