Faculty receive awards for innovative work in sustainability

Image of Lake LaVerne on Iowa State's campus

Faculty in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) excel at developing and implementing innovative ideas. Recently, three LAS faculty members received funded awards for their efforts to promote environmental sustainability, despite their affiliation with three different academic areas in the college. Here’s a brief look at their research and the awards they received.

Dean Beate Schmittmann and Ali Jannesari.
Dean Beate Schmittmann and Ali Jannesari.

Ali Jannesari
Department of Computer Science
Dean’s Emerging Faculty Leaders Award

 Ali Jannesari, assistant professor and the Director of the Laboratory for Software Analytics and Pervasive Parallelism (SwAPP), studies how artificial intelligence (AI) and high-performance computing impact health care, environmental sustainability, and the accessibility of cutting-edge technologies.

Jannesari’s research is a catalyst for the next generation of scientists and engineers, providing them with the skills necessary to develop efficient AI applications, all for society’s greater good and eco-friendly computing. Jannesari’s goal is to make AI more environmentally friendly and diminish the carbon footprint associated with large-scale AI computations.

Funded by the LAS Dean’s Advisory Council members and friends of LAS, the Dean’s Emerging Faculty Leaders Award supports outstanding faculty who shape policy, define research directions for the nation, serve in prominent leadership positions, and mentor the next generation of new talent.

Dean Beate Schmittmann, Aaron Sadow, and Dawn Bratsch-Prince, associate provost for faculty and professor of Spanish.
Dean Beate Schmittmann, Aaron Sadow, and Dawn Bratsch-Prince, associate provost for faculty and professor of Spanish.

Aaron Sadow
Department of Chemistry
David C. Henderson Chair in Chemistry

Aaron Sadow, professor of chemistry, focuses on the development of new catalytic reactions and new catalysts for application in green chemistry, stereoselective synthesis, and the conversion of abundant raw materials into commodity and specialty chemicals. He and his research team examine how discarded plastic materials, including grocery bags, food packaging, and storage containers, can be a source for valuable chemicals and liquid fuels. Through his research, Sadow aims to reduce the amount of material going into landfills and lessen the environmental impact of fossil fuels by using these resources as efficiently as possible.

The David C. Henderson Chair in Chemistry award was created to promote faculty excellence and research within the Department of Chemistry in the fields of applied science and physical or inorganic chemistry.

Dean Beate Schmittmann and Linda Shenk.
Dean Beate Schmittmann and Linda Shenk.

Linda Shenk
Department of English
Lange Faculty Excellence Award

Linda Shenk, professor of English, applies methods from her training about William Shakespeare and performance to foster collaborative storytelling among researchers and community members to support climate action and resilience.

One of Shenk’s recent projects, “Co-producing Climate Storylines with Women Landowners in Iowa,” creates and tests a storytelling-based framework that allows researchers, community partners, and women landowners in Iowa to co-produce climate narratives and climate-wise action. This framework combines emerging use of climate “storylines” with a humanities approach to collaborative storytelling, inspired by Shakespeare.

Created by alumnus Gene C. Lange, the Lange Faculty Excellence Award recognizes top faculty in the college who have demonstrated excellence in teaching or research.

Photos by Keo Pierron/Iowa State University