By: Lauren Kirkwood
Published: April 29, 2014
The University of Maryland Council on the Environment has awarded its second annual Junior Faculty Award to Dr. Sujay Kaushal, of the geology department and the Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center.
The award, which includes a cash prize of $3,000 and the chance for the recipient to deliver a lecture on his or her accomplishments to the university community, is given to a faculty member to honor achievements over the past three to five years that have raised the profile of the university through environmental issues related to student impact, collaboration with external organizations and extraordinary service pursuits.
Kaushal’s research background is in the field of ecosystem ecology and biogeochemistry, with a focus on understanding what affects water quality in streams and rivers and how that quality can be improved.
“I have always been interested in streams and rivers since my childhood,” Kaushal said. “We had a small stream in our backyard, and I spent a lot of time outside exploring it. It wasn’t until college that I learned that you could spend your life exploring streams and rivers professionally as a scientist/professor.”
Nancy Grimm, an Arizona State University professor who recommended Kaushal for the award, said he is an innovative and curious scientist who is able to transform his ideas into strong research and creative papers.
“In many instances where I have been asked to think of individuals who can fill a role as expert in urban systems, biogeochemistry, or aquatic ecology, Kaushal often comes to mind,” Grimm said. “I think he is an up-and-coming, creative, and smart scientist who will continue to be a strong asset to the University of Maryland.”
His papers on aquatic ecology, which have been highly visible in the research community and in the media, are just a small sample of Kaushal’s contributions, said Gene E. Likens, founding director and president emeritus of the Institute of Ecosystem Studies, who also recommended Kaushal for the Junior Faculty Award.
“These are groundbreaking papers on the widespread pollution of salt and acid rain in fresh waters of the eastern U.S., providing new dimensions and new awareness concerning changing chemistry of surface waters,” Likens said. “Sujay provided the intellectual leadership for these syntheses.”
In his role at the university, Kaushal has also spent time mentoring students interested in his field of study.
“I have enjoyed watching students reach milestones like publishing their first paper, getting their first grant, getting a degree, and getting a job,” he said. “I have also enjoyed watching them grow personally. Although I am a teacher, I am also a student and learn a lot about science and life by working with them.”
Reprinted from cone.umd.edu with permission. cone.umd.edu/index.php/news-events/570-council-on-the-environment-announces-2014-junior-faculty-award-winner.