Four faculty members honored with Hettleman awards

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Four faculty members honored with Hettleman awards


Recipients recognized by UNC-Chapel Hill Faculty Council with Phillip and Ruth Hettleman Prizes for Artistic and Scholarly Achievemant by Young Faculty


(Chapel Hill, N.C. – Oct. 3, 2016) – Four University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill faculty members have been awarded the Phillip and Ruth Hettleman Prizes for Artistic and Scholarly Achievement by Young Faculty.


Recipients Tamara L. Berg, associate professor in the department of computer science; Jillian Dempsey, assistant professor in the department of chemistry; Matthew L. Kotzen, associate tenured professor in the department of philosophy; and Lee Weisert, assistant professor in the department of music were recognized at Carolina’s Sept. 16 Faculty Council meeting.


Berg was one of the first researchers to explore what has become a central research area in computer science: the integration of vision and language. Important applications include image database retrieval, human-robot interaction and surveillance. Her work has also established connections to non-computing disciplines, such as psychology and linguistics. Berg is also co-founder of Shopagon, a start-up in the computer vision and retail space that uses artificial intelligence algorithms to personalize the online clothing shopping experience.


Dempsey’s expertise lies in both molecular catalysis and materials characterization. Her research program reflects a multi-pronged approach to studying the elctron transfer processes that underpin sunlight-to-fuel energy conversion schemes, which have identified pathways for energy conversion that have unprecedented efficiency. She is also known for her work on proton-coupled electrochemical processes.


Kotzen is a leading figure in the emerging field of formal epistemology, which uses tools such as probability theory and formal learning theory to explore traditional problems in epistemology, the branch of philosophy concerned with knowledge, belief, justification and evidence. He earned a Bowman and Gordon Gray Distinguished Associate Professorship for his course, “Philosophy of Comedy,” which covers topics ranging from Plato and Hume to connections between humor and moral values.


Weisert is a composer of instrumental and electronic music, whose works use novel technological frameworks to expose hidden sound sources and musical structures in a range of environmental phenomena. His works also combine the principles and elements of science, mathematics and music to produce an original sonic landscape in a modern and postmodern extension of experimental music, a tradition that began in Europe in the 1950s that has since become a defining feature of recent American music.


The Hettleman Prize, which carries a $5,000 stipend, recognizes the achievements of outstanding junior tenure-track faculty or recently tenured faculty. Phillip Hettleman, who was born in 1899 and grew up in Goldsboro, established the award in 1986. He earned a scholarship to Carolina and in 1938 went on to found Wall Street investment firm Hettleman & Co. in New York.




Photos of Hettleman winners:


About the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation’s first public university, is a global higher education leader known for innovative teaching, research and public service. A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, Carolina regularly ranks as the best value for academic quality in U.S. public higher education. Now in its third century, the University offers 77 bachelor’s, 113 master’s, 68 doctorate and seven professional degree programs through 14 schools and the College of Arts and Sciences. Every day, faculty – including two Nobel laureates – staff and students shape their teaching, research and public service to meet North Carolina’s most pressing needs in every region and all 100 counties. Carolina’s more than 317,000 alumni live in all 50 states and 150 countries. More than 167,000 live in North Carolina.


UNC-Chapel Hill Communications contact: Will Rimer, (919) 445-0945,