Feb. 15, 2012

Christine Shoemaker, two alumni elected to National Academy of Engineering

Shoemaker

Christine Shoemaker, Cornell's Joseph P. Ripley Professor of Engineering, has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering, among the highest professional distinctions for an engineer.

Shoemaker, a professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), was cited "for development of decision-making optimization algorithms for environmental and water resources problems."

Her research focuses on cost-effective, robust solutions for environmental problems by using optimization, modeling and statistical analyses. This includes development of general purpose, numerically efficient nonlinear and global optimization algorithms utilizing high-performance computing and applications to data from complex, nonlinear environmental systems.

Shoemaker's research is interdisciplinary; she has supervised Ph.D. students from a number of fields including operations research and information engineering and applied mathematics, as well as students in CEE.

With NSF funding from various directorates, her projects are often collaborative and include physical and biological groundwater remediation, pesticide management, ecology, climate modeling, carbon sequestration and surface water pollutant transport in large watersheds.

Shoemaker is a distinguished member of the American Society of Civil Engineering (ASCE). She has been elected a fellow in the American Geophysical Union, ASCE and INFORMS (Institute for Operations Research and Management Science). She also won a Humboldt Research Prize from Germany.

She initiated and led a nine-year multidisciplinary international project, sponsored by Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment and the United Nations Environment Program, that brought information and workshops about groundwater contamination to developing countries at a time (1987-96) when those regions were doing little to prevent contamination from industrial chemicals. Such contamination is often irreversible or extremely expensive to remove because it is in groundwater, so prevention is the best strategy.

Shoemaker, who joined the faculty in 1972, was the first woman faculty member in the College of Engineering to be awarded tenure. In 1985 she was the first woman to be an engineering department chair at Cornell. She received a national award from the Society of Women Engineers in 1991 for her scholarship and efforts to encourage women engineers during years when there were few women students or faculty members in engineering.

Membership in the National Academy of Engineering honors those who have made outstanding contributions to "engineering research, practice or education, including, where appropriate, significant contributions to the engineering literature," and to the "pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education."

Also elected to the NAE this year were Mark Adamiak '75, M.Eng. '76, director of advanced technologies, GE Digital Energy Multilin, "for contributions to power system protection, control, monitoring and communications"; and Amit Singhal, M.S. '95, Ph.D. '97, Google fellow, Google Inc., "for contributions to information retrieval and search."

The academy this year elected 66 members and 10 foreign associates, bringing the total of U.S. membership to 2,254 and the number of foreign associates to 206.