Awards Ceremony 2020

2020 Awards

The Washington Academy of Sciences is pleased to announce its awards for 2020 to recognize work of merit and distinction of scientists and leaders in the greater Washington area. We received many outstanding nominations and are pleased to point out that we have the largest number of women awardees for the year in the history of the Academy. Although due to COVID we could not celebrate the awardees at our traditional banquet this year, we are hosting an online event to meet them on Sept. 10. The 2020 award recipients are:

Teaching Science in College – Leo Schubert Award
Sita Ramamurti, Ph.D., Trinity Washington University
Citation: For years of dedication, passion, and creativity in teaching mathematics for college students.
Sita Ramamurti
Sita Ramamurti is currently the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Trinity Washington University in DC. In her 25 plus years of teaching collegiate mathematics, she has passionately engaged her students in active learning by integrating content-specific technology, designing and teaching quantitative literacy, reasoning, and interdisciplinary seminar courses. She also has a strong interest in reform and policy initiatives in K-12 education. As a research scholar her areas of focus are mathematical modeling and dynamical systems. Sita received both her BSc and MSc in Mathematics from India and earned her PhD in Mathematics from George Washington University.

Excellence in Research in Applied Mathematics
Michael Donahue, Ph.D., National Institute of Standards and Technology
Citation: For excellence in applied mathematics, leading to new tools for modeling and simulation which have transformed research into nanoscale magnetic films, structures and devices.

Michael Donahue

Michael Donahue is leader of the Mathematical Software Group in the Information Technology Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and heads development of the OOMMF micromagnetics package. OOMMF, a critical piece of infrastructure for nanomagnetics research, is the most widely used micromagnetics simulation tool worldwide, sporting over 3000 citations. Before joining NIST in 1994, he was an industrial postdoctoral research associate at the University of Minnesota, working with Siemens Corporate Research on artificial neural networks and computer vision. Dr. Donahue holds PhDs in mathematics and engineering from The Ohio State University and has authored over 50 journal publications.

Excellence in Research in Computer Science
Elham Tabassi, M.S., National Institute of Standards and Technology
Citation: For outstanding contributions and leadership in computer vision, fingerprint image analysis, facial recognition algorithms, artificial intelligence, and machine learning.

Elham Tabassi

Elham Tabassi is the Chief of Staff in the Information Technology Laboratory at NIST and leads NIST AI program. As a scientist she has been working on various computer vision research projects with applications in biometrics evaluation and standards since 1999. She designed and developed NIST Fingerprint Image Quality (NFIQ) standard which is now an international standard for measuring fingerprint image quality and has been deployed in many large scale biometric applications worldwide. She received several awards, including the Women in Biometrics Award in 2016. Elham has a BSEE from Sharif University of Technology, and an MS from Santa Clara University.

Excellence in Research in Physical Science
John Villarrubia, Ph.D., National Institute of Standards and Technology
Citation: For elucidating the physics of probe-sample interactions in scanning electron and atomic force microscopes for enabling accurate metrology of nanostructures to meet nanoelectronics manufacturing demands.

John VillarubiaJohn Villarrubia is a physicist and project leader in the Microsystems and Nanotechnology Division of the Physical Measurement Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Notable accomplishments include the use of mathematical morphology to invent a blind tip reconstruction method for scanning probe microscopy and applications of the physics of electron-solid interactions to dimensional measurements using secondary electron images. He is the recipient of three best paper awards, a Nanotech Briefs Nano50 Technology award, and Dept. of Commerce Gold and Silver medals. John has a B.S. in physics from Louisiana State University, M.S. and a Ph.D. from Cornell University.

Leadership in Biological Sciences
Susan Gregurick, Ph.D., National Institutes of Health
Citation: For extraordinary leadership in advancing computational methods in the biological sciences and leading the development and implementation of the first NIH Strategic Plan for Data Science.

Susan Gregurick

Susan K. Gregurick is Associate Director for Data Science and Director of the Office of Data Science Strategy (ODSS) at the National Institutes of Health. Under her leadership, the ODSS leads the implementation of the NIH Strategic Plan for Data Science through scientific, technical, and operational collaboration with the institutes, centers, and offices that comprise NIH. Before beginning a career of government service, Susan was a professor of computational chemistry at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Susan Gregurick received her B.S. in chemistry and mathematics from the University of Michigan and her Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of Maryland.

Leadership in Engineering
Dawn Tilbury, Ph.D., National Science Foundation
Citation: For leadership in advancing engineering research and for exceptional mentoring of engineering students.

Dawn Tilbury

Dawn M. Tilbury has been a professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan since 1995. Her research interests lie broadly in the area of control systems, including applications to robotics and manufacturing systems. Since 2017, she has been the Assistant Director for Engineering at the National Science Foundation, where she oversees a federal budget of nearly $1 billion annually. She is a Fellow of both IEEE and ASME, and a Life Member of SWE. Dawn received the B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering, summa cum laude, from the University of Minnesota, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences from the University of California, Berkeley.

Leadership in Healthcare
Anuradha Reddy, MD, Past President, Baltimore City Medical Society
Citation: For leadership in healthcare and for serving the underprivileged community of Baltimore.

Anuradha Reddy

Anuradha Reddy is a primary care physician and rheumatologist in Baltimore City, MD. She currently serves on MedChi’s Board of Trustees and Legislative Council. Anuradha was the 107th President and seventh woman President of Baltimore City Medical Society, which was initially formed in 1805. Anuradha also served in other leadership positions, including as a president of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, Maryland Chapter. Anuradha Reddy is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians. She did her residency in primary care in Muhlenberg Regional Medical Center, NJ and her Fellowship in Rheumatology from Cabrini Medical Center, NY.

Leadership in IT Standards for Industry
Lisa Carnahan, M.S., National Institute of Standards and Technology
Citation: For national and international leadership in IT research and development for cybersecurity, privacy, health care testing infrastructure, standards, and conformance testing.

Lisa Carnahan

Lisa J. Carnahan is the Associate Director for IT Standardization in the Information Technology
Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. She is responsible for developing programmatic strategies for standards engagement, understanding potential standards opportunities in emerging technologies, and promoting the benefits of standards adoption in the federal government and industry. Lisa is the lead on conformity assessment aspects of the NIST Cybersecurity Framework and Privacy Framework and convenes the US Interagency International Cybersecurity Standardization Working Group. Lisa received a B.S. in Computer Applications and Information Systems from Clarion University, PA and received an M.S. in Computer Science from Johns Hopkins University, MD.

Distinguished Career in Computer Science
Ming Lin, Ph.D., University of Maryland
Citation: For seminal contributions to computer graphics, virtual reality, robotics, and intelligent systems.

Ming Lin

Ming Lin is Distinguished University Professor and Elizabeth Stevinson Iribe Chair of Computer Science at University of Maryland at College Park, John R. & Louise S. Parker Distinguished Professor Emerita at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Ming has received several honors and awards, including NSF Young Faculty Career Award, UNC Hettleman Award for Scholarly Achievements, Beverly W. Long Distinguished Term Professor, IEEE VGTC VR Technical Achievement Award and several best paper awards. She is a Fellow of ACM, IEEE, Eurographics, and SIGGRAPH Academy. Ming C. Lin received her B.S., M.S., Ph.D. in EECS from University of California, Berkeley.  [Note: Ming Lin gave the keynote presentation at our 2019 awards ceremony.]

Distinguished Career in Computer Science
Hanan Samet, Ph.D., University of Maryland
Citation: For pioneering contributions to developing multidimensional spatial data structures and indexing for applications in graphics, GIS, vision, and databases.

Hanan Samet

Hanan Samet  is a Distinguished University Professor of Computer Science at the University of Maryland. He wrote “Foundations of Multidimensional and Metric Data Structures,” and the field’s first two texts “The Design and Analysis of Spatial Data Structures” and “Applications of Spatial Data Structures: Computer Graphics, Image Processing and GIS”.  He is a Stanford Ph.D., a Fellow of ACM, IEEE, IAPR, AAAS, UCGIS, and SIGGRAPH Academy, received ACM’s Paris Kanellakis Theory and Practice Award, IEEE Computer Society’s Wallace McDowell Award, Founding chair of ACM SIGSPATIAL, Founding EIC ACM TSAS, and best paper awards in SIGMOD and SIGSPATIAL in 2008.

Distinguished Career in Engineering
Appajosula S. Rao, Ph.D., Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Citation: For exceptional contributions to materials engineering research.


Appajosula Srinivasa Rao (Sri) is a Material Engineer and Program Manager at the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (USNRC) in Washington, DC. Sri’s expertise is in Nuclear Materials, Physical Metallurgy, Corrosion, Fracture Mechanics, Finite Element and Neural Network Analysis. Sri has published nearly 200 papers in Journals, and Govt. Technical Reports, and presented nearly 350 lectures all around the world. He received 4 patents and 35 awards and special citations. Sri received M.Sc. Physical Chemistry, Ph.D. Applied Chemistry, from India, a second Ph.D. in Metallurgy and Materials Engineering, from England and MS in Engineering Management from George Washington University.

Distinguished Career in Physical Science
David Shifler, Ph.D., Office of Naval Research
Citation: For distinguished and sustained contributions to corrosion science and for service to scientific communities.

David Shifler

David Shifler (Dave) has over 45 years experience in the areas of materials and materials characterizations. He is a S&T program officer at the Office of Naval Research for high temperature propulsion materials and cellular materials. His responsibilities include recognizing emerging scientific and technological concepts and evaluate their feasibility and applicability to DoN missions. Dave is a Fellow of NACE International, the Institute of Corrosion in the UK, and ASM International, a registered professional engineer, and has received several awards. Dave received his BA in Chemistry from Western Maryland College, and his M.S.E .and Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in Materials Science and Engineering.

Congratulations to all of these well-deserving recipients!

Please consider nominating worthy scientists and engineers for awards.  Details for the nomination process are on our Nominations page.