University of Georgia

Research Awards presented during Honors Week

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The 40th annual Research Awards Banquet will be held Thursday, April 4, as part of Honors Week, which includes a series of events to recognize the successes of UGA students, faculty, staff and alumni across the university’s missions.

Sponsored by the UGA Research Foundation, the banquet recognizes excellence in UGA research, scholarly creativity, technology commercialization and entrepreneurship. Awards are given annually to honor outstanding faculty, graduate students and postdocs.

This year’s winners are:

  • Distinguished Research Professor: Jon Amster, John Burke, Jason Colquitt, Diana Downs
  • Creative Research Award: Emilie Phillips Smith, Lance Wells, Elizabeth Wright
  • Creative Research Medal: Nathan T. Carter, Mable Fok, Kelly E. Happe
  • Inventor of the Year: Holly Sellers
  • Entrepreneur of the Year: Marc van Iersel
  • Early Career Scholar: Hitesh Handa, Justin Lavner, Liza Stepanova
  • Graduate Student Excellence-in-Research Award: Douglas Atkinson, Philip Limerick, Jitendra Pant, Zheng Ruan, Xiaoxiao Sun
  • Robert C. Anderson Memorial Award: Ana M. Gutiérrez-Colina, Jieun Lee
  • James L. Carmon Award: Mojtaba S. Fazli
  • Postdoctoral Research Award: Monica Cartelle Gestal, Jeffrey Meier

“Through groundbreaking research and scholarly accomplishments, as well as important and timely innovations, our researchers improve the human condition across the state, nation and world,” said David Lee, vice president for research. “I am proud to recognize their genius and dedication with these awards.”

Additional Honors Week activities include the Public Service and Outreach Meeting and Awards Luncheon as well as the Alumni Awards Luncheon, which are open to the public. Departments across UGA’s schools and colleges also will hold recognition ceremonies for honored students in their respective disciplines. For more information, visit

“The University of Georgia is a national leader in public higher education because of its outstanding faculty, staff, students and alumni,” said Interim Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Libby V. Morris. “Honors Week recognizes their accomplishments and inspires others to follow in their footsteps.”

Honors Week is an annual UGA tradition dating back to the 1930s, when then-Chancellor S.V. Sanford dedicated a day to recognize outstanding students. In 2011, the event was expanded to include events recognizing faculty, staff and alumni.