Two faculty in the College of Science are among the 24 Texas A&M University faculty named to the inaugural class of Presidential Impact Fellows, announced March 7 by President Michael K. Young and Provost and Executive Vice President Karan L. Watson.

Dr. Karen L. Wooley, distinguished professor of chemistry and holder of the W.T. Doherty-Welch Chair in Chemistry, and Dr. Alexei V. Sokolov, professor of physics and astronomy and the inaugural holder of the Stephen E. Harris Professorship in Quantum Optics, each received the coveted honor, created to recognize the continued development of and excellence in one of the university's greatest strengths -- its faculty.

"Texas A&M University faculty advance knowledge through transformational learning, discovery, innovation and impact for Texas and the world," Young said. "Today, we acknowledge a new investment in the excellence of select faculty who through their scholarship, personal commitment and results demonstrate they are rising to meet the challenges of their field and demonstrating impact toward creating a better world. I am proud to name these faculty as the inaugural Presidential Impact Fellows."

Each member of the class -- which collectively represents Texas A&M's 16 colleges and schools, two branch campuses, and comprehensive University Libraries -- will receive an annual stipend of $25,000 for the next three fiscal years to accelerate their teaching, research and service efforts. In addition to retaining the title of Presidential Impact Fellow for life, each will receive a glass art memento reflecting the synergy of transformational learning, discovery and impact achieved through Texas A&M's commitment to creating a better world.

Recipients were identified by their deans and confirmed by academic leadership. They are considered candidates for continued or new national and international acclaim and will utilize this honor to participate in national dialogue, advance their scholarship and create new partnerships.

"This honor furthers our belief in these faculty, and they should be considered among the nation's very best and will enable greater recognition for their excellence," Watson said.

Wooley joined the Texas A&M Department of Chemistry faculty in 2009 and is widely respected as a top international chemist in the burgeoning field of materials and polymer chemistry. She holds joint appointments in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Department of Materials Science and Engineering. Her research interests include degradable polymers derived from natural products, unique macromolecular architectures and complex polymer assemblies, and the design and development of well-defined nanostructured materials. The development of novel synthetic strategies, fundamental study of the materials' properties, and their functional performance in the diagnosis and treatment of disease, as non-toxic anti-biofouling or antiicing coatings for the marine environment as materials for microelectronics device applications and as pollutant remediation systems are particular foci of her research activities.

Sokolov, a member of the Texas A&M Department of Physics and Astronomy since 2002 who is widely recognized for his experimental expertise in fields ranging from laser physics and nonlinear optics to ultrafast science and spectroscopy, is a key player in Texas A&M's world-class quantum optics group within the Institute for Quantum Science and Engineering (IQSE). His research interests center around applications of molecular coherence to quantum optics, ultrafast laser science and technology, including generation of sub-cycle optical pulses with prescribed temporal shape and studies of ultrafast atomic, molecular and nuclear processes, as well as applications of quantum coherence in biological and defense-oriented areas.

President Young initiated the concept of the new title and related strategic imperative at his "State of the University" address last October, calling on the students, faculty, staff, former students and partners of Texas A&M to embrace grand challenges, commit to core values and embody the unique "can-do" spirit that distinguishes Texas Aggies in service through education.

Wooley, Sokolov and their fellow honorees will be officially recognized at a March 21 reception set for 4 p.m. in the Memorial Student Center Gates Ballroom.

To learn more about faculty in the College of Science, visit http://www.science.tamu.edu/faculty/.

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About Research at Texas A&M University: As one of the world's leading research institutions, Texas A&M is at the forefront in making significant contributions to scholarship and discovery, including that of science and technology. Research conducted at Texas A&M represented annual expenditures of more than $892.7 million in fiscal year 2016. Texas A&M ranked in the top 20 of the National Science Foundation's Higher Education Research and Development survey (2015), based on expenditures of more than $866.6 million in fiscal year 2015. Texas A&M's research creates new knowledge that provides basic, fundamental and applied contributions resulting, in many cases, in economic benefits to the state, nation and world. To learn more, visit http://research.tamu.edu.


Contact: Shana K. Hutchins, (979) 862-1237 or shutchins@science.tamu.edu

Hutchins Shana

  • Dr. Karen L. Wooley

  • Dr. Alexei V. Sokolov

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