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Clarkson Honors Four Faculty And Administrators Who Have Surpassed One Million Dollars In Funding

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Clarkson University recently recognized four faculty and administrators whose cumulative external funding for research and teaching has reached or exceeded $1 million.

The honorees included Jean Newell Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Pragasen Pillay, Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering Stefan Grimberg, Associate Director of Student Support Services Catherine Clark, and former Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) director Susan Owen.milliondollarclub2004

“External funding is only one measure of success for researchers or administrators, but it is an important one,” Clarkson President Tony Collins said at a reception held in their honor. “Professors Pillay and Grimberg are high-caliber researchers recognized by their peers and funding agencies for important research in science, technology and engineering.  Administrators like Catherine Clark and Susan Owen have enriched our community, by transforming and diversifying our student body and bringing many highly talented students to Clarkson.”

Goodarz Ahmadi, interim vice provost of research for the University and associate dean of research and graduate studies at the Wallace H. Coulter School of Engineering at Clarkson, introduced the four honorees and praised their individual efforts on behalf of the University.

Pragasen Pillay’s work focuses on electrical machine drives for industrial and alternate energy applications, power quality and energy efficiency. His research has been supported by Delphi R&D, NASA, General Motors R&D, U.S. Navy ONR, Electric Power Research Institute, Entergy Corporation, Lockheed Martin, and Consolidated Edison of New York, among others. Earlier this year, a grant submitted by Pillay to the Department of Energy on behalf of Clarkson’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Motors and Motion Association was awarded $773,530 to conduct research on improving the efficiency of motors over the next three years.  Recently, Pillay was named a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the highest honor bestowed upon an IEEE member.  In honoring Pillay with the designation of Fellow, the IEEE cited his contributions to switched reluctance and permanent magnet motor drives.

Stefan Grimberg research interests include the development of biological wastewater treatment processes and in understanding the fate of the pollutants in environmental systems. Recent research projects have centered on quantifying the effects of microorganisms on the transport of sparingly water-soluble compounds in contaminated soil. He is currently involved in a $2 million multi-university research investigation into the transport, fate and bioavailability of mercury in atmospheric, terrestrial and aquatic environments in the Adirondacks. He has been the co-director of an NSF funded summer research program for undergraduate students for the past six years.  The aim of the 10-week program is to support every year 12 highly motivated students to conduct research in Clarkson’s laboratories in the area of Environmental Science and Engineering.  His research is funded through grants from the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation, NYSERDA and DuPont.

Catherine Clark, currently associate director of Student Support Services, secured more than $1 million in funding as project director of the McNair Scholars Program and CSTEP (Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program). The McNair Scholars Program is an undergraduate research  program preparing and supporting first-generation college students from low-income backgrounds or students from under-represented groups to pursue doctoral study in engineering and science. Named for USS Challenger Space Shuttle crew member Ronald E. McNair, the program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education TRIO programs.

The purpose of CSTEP is to increase the number of college graduates who are from ethnic groups that have been traditionally underrepresented in technical-related fields, or who are from economically disadvantaged families. CSTEP provides academic support, research and enrichment experiences that help prepare college students for careers in scientific, technical and health-related fields, or in any field leading to professional licensure. CSTEP is sponsored by the New York State Education Department's Bureau of Professional Career Opportunity Programs.

During her tenure as HEOP director at Clarkson, Susan Owen brought in $1.3 million in funding for teaching from the N.Y. State Department of Education. HEOP provides equal access to higher education for "educationally and economically" disadvantaged students in New York State. The program helps students meet their financial needs and offers them extensive services, including mentoring and tutoring, that boost academic success. Eligible HEOP students receive full-need financial aid packages for up to 10 semesters while at Clarkson.

PHOTO CAPTION: Clarkson University recently honored four faculty and administrators whose cumulative external funding for research and teaching has reached or exceeded $1 million. (L-R) Interim Vice Provost of Research Goodarz Ahmadi and Clarkson President Tony Collins with the honorees Associate Director of Student Support Services Catherine Clark; Jean Newell Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Pragasen Pillay; and Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering Stefan Grimberg. Missing from the photo: Former Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) Director Susan Owen.
[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or]

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