A Clemson researcher applying cutting-edge technologies to improve teamwork and another working to protect the environment from contamination were named Clemson University Researchers of the Year.
Brian Powell, the Field professor in nuclear environmental engineering and science, was named senior Researcher of the Year, and Nathan McNeese, assistant professor in the School of Computing, was named junior Researcher of the Year.
Awards were announced at the annual Clemson University Research Symposium on Tuesday.
“Dr. Powell and Dr. McNeese exemplify the spirit of university research, which is to generate and share knowledge that will impact lives and improve the world,” said Tanju Karanfil, Clemson vice president of research. “I am proud of their work and excited to see their future accomplishments.”
Powell’s research focuses on the understanding and prediction of the physical, chemical and biological processes which govern the mobility of radionuclides in natural and engineered systems. He has conducted sponsored research in a wide range of projects dealing with topics of nuclear forensics; evaluation of nanoparticle behavior; sorption and environmental transport of plutonium; development of radiation detection and radiation detection laboratory courses; iodine, radium, strontium geochemistry in wetland and subsurface sediments; radionuclide geochemistry of saltstone and solid waste performance assessments at the Savannah River Site; measurement of thermodynamic parameters supporting advanced fuel cycle chemistry; and related topics.
“Knowing how diverse and impactful our entire research enterprise is at Clemson University, I am very humbled to win this award and thank my students and colleagues for their support,” Powell said.
McNeese’s research mainly focuses on teamwork, artificial intelligence (AI), and collaborative technology in a variety of different contexts, such as command and control, manufacturing, emergency crisis management and health care. His current research interests span human-AI teaming, human-centered AI, and the development/design of human-centered collaborative tools and systems.
“This is such an incredible honor and one that I’ll always remember,” McNeese said. “I’m filled with so much gratitude after receiving this award. There are so many people that have helped me over the years that deserve thanks and I can’t wait to reach out to them to show my appreciation. I’m very thankful to my colleagues for their continual support. I also want to thank my family for their never-ending support. Finally, a huge thanks to my students, current and past, who deserve so much credit for the successes I have achieved with them.”
Powell and McNeese are faculty members in the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences. Dean Anand Gramopadhye said the awards are well-deserved.
“Brian Powell and Nathan McNeese are exemplary researchers and scholars who are pushing the frontiers of knowledge while helping develop the leaders and innovators of the future,” Gramopadhye said. “Brian is helping create a sustainable environment and Nathan is breaking new ground in human-AI teams. I offer them my wholehearted congratulations and thank them for their efforts.”
For Researcher of the Year, colleges nominate a junior faculty member who received their terminal degree within the past 10 years and a senior faculty member. Winners were selected by an interdisciplinary faculty committee.
Nominees for junior Researcher of the Year in addition to McNeese were: Vidya Suseela, assistant professor, Department Plant and Environmental Sciences, College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences; Andreea Mihalache, assistant professor, School of Architecture, College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities; Kaileigh Byrne, assistant professor, Department of Psychology, College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences; Matt Hersel, assistant professor, Department of Management, The Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business; and Luke Rapa, associate professor, Department of Education and Human Development, College of Education.
Nominees for senior Researcher of the Year in addition to Powell were: Christopher Saski, associate professor, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences; Vernon Burton, professor, Department of History and Geography, College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities; Bryan Miller, associate professor, Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice, College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences; Scott Swain, professor, Department of Marketing, The Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business; and Joseph Ryan, professor, Department of Education and Human Development, College of Education.
Additional information on nominees is posted online.
“Congratulations to all of our nominees,” Karanfil said. “Being recognized by your peers as the top researcher in your college is an incredible honor. All are deserving of this recognition.”
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