Six Women Academics Receive Notable Honors or Awards

Frances Negrón-Muntaner, a professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University, has received the 2019 Latina/o Studies Frank Bonilla Public Intellectual Award from the Latin American Studies Association. She is recognized for her outstanding contributions to the Latino studies field and the Latinx community, as a trailblazer on LGBTQ rights and AIDS awareness in the El Barrio neighborhood in East Harlem.

Dr. Negrón-Muntaner holds a master’s degree in visual anthropology and fine arts from Temple University in Philadelphia and a Ph.D. in comparative literature from Rutgers University in New Jersey.

Barbara Shinn-Cunningham, a professor and director of the Neuroscience Institute at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, is the 2019 recipient of the Helmholtz Rayleigh Interdisciplinary Silver Medal in Psychological and Physiological Acoustics and Speech Communication from the Acoustical Society of America. She is honored for her understanding of the cognitive and neural bases of speech perception in complex acoustic environments. Specifically, Dr. Shinn-Cunningham is renowned for her spatial hearing work on the “cocktail party problem,” which looks at how the brain blocks out certain sounds to pay attention to others.

Dr. Shinn-Cunningham is a graduate of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. She holds a master’s degree and Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Linda Hirst, a physics professor at the University of California, Merced, has received the C. Hilsum Medal from the British Liquid Crystal Society. She is honored for significant contributions to field of liquid crystal science and technology. She is the author of Fundamentals of Soft Matter Science (CRC Press, 2012).

Dr. Hirst holds a bachelor’s degree and a Ph.D. both from Manchester University in England.

Alison Butler, a distinguished professor in the department of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has received the Inorganic Mechanisms Award from the Royal Society of Chemistry. The award recognizes research that furthers the understanding of the mechanisms underlying chemical reactions. Dr. Butler’s work focuses on investigating the role metal ions play in certain biological systems.

Dr. Butler is a graduate of Reed College in Portland, Oregon. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego.

Anne Kapuscinski, professor of environmental studies and director of the Coastal Science and Policy Program at the University of California, Santa Cruz, has received a 2019 Ocean Award for innovation from Boat International magazine and the Blue Marine Foundation. She was honored for her work in aquaculture and the development of microalgae feed for farmed fish.

Dr. Kapuscinski is a graduate of Swathmore College in Pennsylvania, where she majored in biology. She holds a master’s degree and Ph.D. both in fisheries with an aquaculture focus from Oregon State University.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has honored alumna Nancy Deloye Fitzroy by dedicating the university’s admissions building as the Nancy Deloye Fitzroy ’49 and Roland V. Fitzroy Jr. Admissions Building. Dr. Fitzroy is an internationally recognized expert in the field of mechanical engineering. She had a 37-year career at General Electric where she specialized in heat transfer and fluid flow research for application in nuclear reactor cores, gas turbines, space satellites, and other technologies. In 1989, she became president of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, making her the first woman in the United States to head a major professional engineering society.

Fitzroy graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1949 where she was the first woman student to study chemical engineering.

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