Year in Review Faculty & Student Accomplishments


Chemistry professor John T. Yates, Jr., wins the 2013 Gerhard Ertl Lecture Award. Yates is a world-renowned physical and surface chemist and a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Ben Bissell


Anita Jones, a University Professor Emerita and a specialist in computer security systems, is the 2012 winner of the Philip Hauge Abelson Award, the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s highest honor.

Fourth-year Ben Bissell, a double major in the Honors Program of the Department of Politics and in Russian language and literature, wins a Luce Foundation Scholarship. Already the speaker of four languages, Bissell will travel to Asia this summer as he pursues his study of political demography.


Lacey Williams (Engineering ’13) and Carolyn Pelnik (Engineering ’13, Batten ’14) receive a 2013 Davis Projects for Peace award for a microfinancing and agricultural education program designed to empower women in Tanzania.


Humanity in Action, an international educational organization, selects Sarah Deal, a political philosophy, policy and law major and religious studies minor, to study human rights in Poland in summer 2013 as a Humanity in Action Fellow. The fellowships allow college students and recent graduates around the world to explore national histories of discrimination and resistance to injustice.

Charles Tyson (College ’14), described by one professor as “among the most impressive students I have encountered in my 22 years” at U.Va., is one of 20 students nationwide selected for a Beinecke Scholarship. The scholarship provides substantial support for the graduate education of students in the arts, humanities, and social sciences.

John Hawley


U.Va. astronomer John Hawley and former U.Va. astronomer Steven Balbus, now at the University of Oxford, are named cowinners of the 2013 Shaw Prize in Astronomy. The prize is considered Asia’s equivalent to the Nobel Prize. They will share the $1 million award.


A team of rising fourth-year engineering students—Jonathon Blonchek, Shiv Sinha, Anish Simhal, and Vinay Dandekar—wins the $5,000 first prize in the U.S. Imagine Cup Finals for Innovation hosted by Microsoft. The team created software for Microsoft’s Kinect to improve the quality of health care provided to physical therapy patients.

The Center for Politics’ latest documentary wins an Emmy Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for Best Topical Documentary. Out of Order: Civility in Politics explores partisanship and dysfunction in American government through interviews with prominent academics, journalists, political observers, and senior elected officials.

U.Va.’s Sustinere design


A team of aerospace engineering students takes first place in the Federal Aviation Administration’s competition to design the regional jet of 2025. The students proposed an aircraft that can carry 50 passengers at Mach 0.72 for 500 miles, while reducing noise, emissions, and fuel consumption.

Hershaw Davis, Jr., with Emily Kinsey (College ’09, Medicine ’13)


Susan Bauer-Wu, the Tussi and John Kluge Professor in Contemplative and End-of-Life Care and director of the Compassionate Care Initiative at the School of Nursing, is named one of 20 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Executive Nurse Fellows for 2013.

Johnson & Johnson awards its Campaign for Nursing’s Future AACN Minority Nurse Faculty Scholarship to Hershaw Davis, Jr., doctoral candidate in the School of Nursing. The scholarships are distributed in the U.S. to minority graduate students who intend to pursue a career in academic nursing.

Caroline McInerney in Madagascar


A paper on citizenship laws in Madagascar earns third-year law student Caroline McInerney an award for global writing on statelessness from the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees and Tilburg University.


NASA selects the U.Va. School of Engineering and Applied Science Spacecraft Design Team to design, build, and fly a science experiment aboard a high-altitude balloon platform 23 miles into the stratosphere.

Evan Behrle


Fourth-year students Evan Behrle and Charles Tyson become the University’s 49th and 50th Rhodes Scholars. Behrle, an honors politics major, will pursue a master’s of philosophy in comparative social policy at Oxford, with an eye on working on urban revitalization projects. Tyson, who is majoring in political and social thought and English, will pursue two one-year master’s programs (Victorian literature and history of science), after which he plans to return to the U.S. for a Ph.D. in English literature.


The top-seeded Virginia women’s soccer team makes its first appearance in the NCAA Women’s College Cup in 22 years. Falling in penalty kicks to UCLA following a 1-1 draw, the Cavaliers end the season at 24-1-1, setting a record for wins in a season. The eighth-seeded men’s soccer team defeats St. John’s, Marquette, and Connecticut before falling to Maryland in the Men’s College Cup.