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IEEE Fellow first woman to receive highest award in engineering profession

WASHINGTON (16 May 2008) -- Dr. Kristina M. Johnson, provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs at Johns Hopkins University, recently received the John Fritz Medal from the American Association of Engineering Societies (AAES). She is the first woman so honored.

Johnson was one of seven honorees during the AAES 29th annual awards ceremony in the Great Hall of the National Academy of Engineering on 5 May. She was cited for her internationally acknowledged expertise in optics, optoelectronic switching and display technology.

The John Fritz Medal, referred to as the highest award in the engineering profession, is presented each year for scientific or industrial achievement in any field of pure or applied science. It was established in 1902 as a memorial to the great engineer whose name it bears. Past recipients include Alexander Graham Bell (1907), Thomas Edison (1908), Alfred Nobel (1910), Orville Wright (1920) and Guglielmo Marconi (1923).

Johnson is an IEEE Fellow and electrical engineer who, as the former dean of engineering at Duke University, increased the engineering faculty by 50 percent, tripled the size of the teaching and research facilities, and tripled the number of women engineering faculty, many in leadership positions. She co-founded the Colorado Advanced Technology Institute for Excellence in Optoelectronics and started several companies that are commercially successful in color projection devices and intellectual property licensing.

University of Michigan professor Dr. Donald B. Chaffin received the National Engineering Award.

Chaffin was honored for his truly inspirational leadership and devotion to the improvement of industrial operations, biomedical engineering education, the advancement of the engineering profession, as well as to the development of national policies for the protection of worker safety and health.

Chaffin is the Richard G. Snyder Distinguished University Professor Emeritus, Industrial and Operations Engineering and Biomedical Engineering, at Michigan. He has for more than 40 years advocated using science to improve productivity in manufacturing operations and assure the health and safety of industrial workers. His book, Occupational Biomechanics, is used at more than 200 universities worldwide. The Human Motion Simulation Laboratory he founded at Michigan is dedicated to ensuring that worker safety and convenience are more thoroughly considered in vehicle and workplace design.

The National Engineering Award is presented for inspirational leadership and tireless devotion to the improvement of engineering education and to the advancement of the engineering profession, as well as to the development of sound public policies as an engineer-statesman. Previous recipients include astronaut Neil Armstrong (1979) and former Lockheed Martin CEO Norm Augustine (1991).

Dr. Patricia P. Nelson, a noted geotechnical engineer and disaster control specialist, received the Kenneth Andrew Roe Award for effectively promoting unity among the engineering societies through her leadership positions at the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the New Jersey Institute of Technology, where she serves as provost.

As director of NSFs Civil & Mechanical Systems, Nelson created interdisciplinary research programs, established new research programs for sensors and professional opportunities for women. She founded the Institute for Infrastructure Systems to broaden the scientific basis of planning and decision making on infrastructure projects, and to expand infrastructure knowledge in society, particularly among elementary and high school students.

The Kenneth Andrew Roe Award is presented on behalf of the engineering community to recognize an engineer who has been effective in promoting unity among the engineering societies.

Dr. Gerald E. Galloway was presented the Norm Augustine Award for communicating the excitement and wonder of engineering to a broad and diverse cross-section of the public, particularly regarding the nations policy on floodplain and wetlands management. His testimony before Congress and numerous presentations and interviews at public forums, in print, and on radio and television have brought him into the living rooms of America to describe environmental engineering in an exceedingly understandable and convincing manner.

Galloway is a Glenn L. Martin Institute professor of engineering at the University of Maryland and an American Society of Civil Engineering (ASCE) Fellow. He came to Maryland following a 38-year career in the U.S. Army -- retiring as a brigadier general -- and eight years in the federal government, most of which was in water resource management. Galloway, also an affiliate professor in the School of Public Policy, has dealt with national floodplain management policy throughout his career, including interfaces among competing uses for water here and abroad.

The Norm Augustine Award is presented to an engineer who has demonstrated the capacity for communicating the excitement and wonder of engineering. The award is to be conferred on those rare individuals who can speak with passion about engineering -- its promise as well as its responsibility -- so that the public may have a better understanding of engineering and a better appreciation for how engineers improve our quality of life.

The Chicago Tribune, led by architecture critic Blair Kamin, won the Engineering Journalism Award for its series, How to Build Todays Supertalls, devoting extraordinary resources, space and prominence to the new generation of super tall towers in Chicago. This innovative multimedia package of stories reveals with admirable clarity the hidden engineering developments that make possible the citys unprecedented reach for the sky.

The Tribunes articles, photos and drawings took the complex nature of super tall buildings and explained it in terms the public could understand. The series drew attention to the critical role engineers play in the design of skyscrapers, and provided the public with an easy-to-understand history of the structural developments behind the rise of super tall buildings.

The Engineering Journalism Award recognizes outstanding reporting of an event or issue that furthers public understanding of engineering. Each year one award is presented in one of three categories: daily newspapers, general circulation print media, or broadcast radio or television.

Albert A. Grant received the Joan Hodges Queneau Palladium Medal for outstanding achievement in environmental conservation, specifically for efforts to facilitate collaboration between the engineering community and related professions through organization and leadership of the Engineers Forum on Sustainability.

As director of Transportation Planning for the Metropolitan Washington (D.C.) Council of Governments, he organized the Washington areas first regional rideshare program and promoted telecommuting to reduce traffic congestion and air pollution. He led the White House study of the Great Mississippi Flood of 1993, and served as a presidential appointee to the Mississippi River Commission and American Heritage Rivers Committee.

The Joan Hodges Queneau Medal recognizes an individual who encourages cooperation between engineering professionals and environmentalists to create innovative solutions to environmental problems. It was established by the National Audubon Society in 1977, and is awarded jointly by the society and AAES.

F. Suzanne Jenniches, vice president and general manager of Northrop Grummans Government Systems Division, was honored with the AAES Chairs Award for her continued advancement of the engineering profession. As AAES chair in 2005, she led the organizations successful transition to a member- and program-focused engineering organization.

Jenniches advocates strongly for women in engineering, resulting in opportunities for many young women to achieve their potential as engineers and leaders. A 34-year veteran at Northrop Grumman, she leads the Electronics Systems International Campaign and the Diversity and Inclusion Council for the Sector.


Contact: Chris McManes

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