Three professors from the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering have been honored for their significant contributions to Georgia Tech through teaching, research and global engagement.
Professors Adjo Amekudzi-Kennedy, Susan Burns and Kostas Konstantinidis were selected for the prestigious awards by a committee of their peers, who judged their nominations against other faculty members from around the Institute.
The annual awards, presented at the Faculty and Staff Honors Celebration on April 15, highlight the excellent work that places Amekudzi-Kennedy, Burns and Konstantinidis among the very best faculty at Georgia Tech. Read on below for more information about each award:
The Steven A. Denning Faculty Award for Global Engagement
Amekudzi-Kennedy was selected as the co-winner of the 2021 Steven A. Denning Faculty Award “for innovation and impact in engineering education, enabling hundreds of students to benefit from service-learning, leadership, and experience in an international environment through the Global Engineering Leadership Minor.”
The Denning award is given to a faculty member who has demonstrated sustained outstanding achievement and commitment to the advance of the Institute's global engagement.
Amekudzi-Kennedy is the associate chair for global engineering leadership and entrepreneurship in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Beginning in 2014, she led the development of the Global Engineering Leadership Minor, which aims to develop holistic engineers with leadership and other professional skills. The minor is designed to cultivate technical problem solving, inter‐ and intra‐personal, systems, and cross‐cultural skills simultaneously while students develop global competencies to address some of society’s largest challenges.
“Dr. Amekudzi‐Kennedy is very well deserving of this award: for the innovations in engineering education that this program has introduced within the Institute and externally; for the impacts of the Global Engineering Leadership Program on our students; and for the global engagement opportunities these ongoing efforts are generating within our Institute,” said Karen and John Huff School Chair Don Webster.
The Class of 1940 W. Howard Ector Outstanding Teacher Award
Burns was selected for The Class of 1940 W. Howard Ector Outstanding Teacher Award, honoring those who display teaching excellence, including extraordinary efforts in teaching, inspiration transmitted to students, direct impact and involvement with students, intellectual integrity and scholarship, and impact on post graduate success of students.
Burns is the associate chair for finance and administration and a professor of geosystems engineering. Burns teaches courses focused on the behavior of soils, materials and contaminant transport— topics that are critically important for civil and environmental engineering practice.
“I have seen Dr. Burns’s genuine dedication and passion for teaching, time after time, result in students getting excited about the subject matter,” said Karen and John Huff School Chair Don Webster. “In all aspects, she approaches her teaching with a level of enthusiasm that is infectious for our students. They are inspired by her passion for the subject, which makes them want to learn.”
In addition to her classroom presence, Burns provides significant professional and personal mentoring to students. She works also works extensively with Chi Epsilon, the civil engineering honor society, and with the student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Outstanding Faculty Research Author
Konstantinidis was named Georgia Tech’s Outstanding Faculty Research Author. The award is given to the faculty member “who most contributed to highly impactful publications describing the results of research conducted at Georgia Tech and published during the period January 1, 2016, to December 31, 2020.”
Konstantinidis holds the Richard C. Tucker Professorship in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering as well as courtesy appointments in Georgia Tech’s schools of biological sciences and biomedical engineering.
The overarching goals of Konstantinidis’s research are to advance understanding of the genetic and metabolic diversity of the smallest organisms on the planet, the bacteria and the archaea. He studies the value of this biodiversity for adaptation to anthropogenic perturbations and causing or preventing disease in humans and animals as well as exploring this biodiversity for biotechnological applications.
From 2016-2020, Konstantinidis authored 93 peer-reviewed articles in his cross-discipline research areas published in journals such as Nature, Science and PNAS. His articles have received in excess of 17,000 citations according to Google Scholar.
“In less than 15 years at Georgia Tech, Kostas has built a very strong, internationally recognized interdisciplinary program and is considered a world leader in his research areas,” said Karen and John Huff School Chair Don Webster. “His work and scientific abilities reveal his outstanding talent and leadership in addressing future microbiome-related global research, in environments that range from the clinic to the subsurface and the Alaskan tundra to the deep sea.”