SMU announces five 2016 Ford Research Fellows

SMU Ford Research Fellows, 2016
Meghan Ryan, Ali Beskok, Frederick Chang, Jodi Cooley-Sekula and Mark Chancey (with SMU Provost Steven Currall) were honored as SMU’s 2016 Ford Research Fellows during the Board of Trustees meeting in May. Photo: SMU/Hillsman S. Jackson

Five distinguished SMU professors received awards for their scholarship and support for their research when there were named 2016 Ford Research Fellows during the Board of Trustees meeting Thursday, May 5.

This year’s recipients are Ali Beskok, Mechanical Engineering, Lyle School of Engineering; Mark Chancey, Religious Studies, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences; Frederick Chang, Computer Science and Engineering, Lyle School of Engineering; Jodi Cooley-Sekula, Physics, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences; and Meghan Ryan, Dedman School of Law.

Established in 2002 through a $1 million pledge from trustee Gerald J. Ford, the fellowships help SMU retain and reward outstanding scholars. Each recipient receives a cash prize for research support during the year.

Ali Beskok is the professor and chair in the Department of Mechanical Engineering in SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering. He is an internationally known expert in micro- and nano-scale transport phenomena, numerical methods and experimental microfluidics, and his research and experimental work focuses on the theory and numerical modeling of these processes. which have applications in bio-microfluidics, nanotechnology and energy systems. He received his B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey, a master’s in mechanical engineering from Purdue, and master’s and Ph.D. degrees in mechanical and aerospace engineering from Princeton.

Mark Chancey is a professor of religious studies in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. His research interests include the Gospels, the historical Jesus, early Judaism, archaeology and the Bible, and the political and social history of Palestine during the Roman period. Most recently, he has developed considerable expertise in the constitutional, political and academic issues raised by Bible courses in public schools. He is the author of The Myth of a Gentile Galilee (Cambridge University Press, 2002) and Greco-Roman Culture and the Galilee of Jesus (Cambridge, 2005) and co-author of Alexander to Constantine: Archaeology of the Land of the Bible (Yale University Press, 2012). He earned his bachelor’s degree in political science and his master’s degree in religion from the University of Georgia, and his Ph.D. in religion from Duke University.

Frederick Chang is Bobby B. Lyle Endowed Centennial Distinguished Chair in Cyber Security in SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering and director of its Darwin Deason Institute for Cyber Security, as well as Senior Fellow in the John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies in Dedman College. His career includes service in the private sector and in government, including as the former Director of Research at the National Security Agency. He has been awarded the National Security Agency Director’s Distinguished Service Medal and was the 2014 Information Security Magazine ‘Security 7’ award winner for Education. He has served as a member of the Commission on Cyber Security for the 44th Presidency and as a member of the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board of the National Academies. Chang is the lead inventor on two U.S. patents (U.S. patent numbers 7272645 and 7633951) and appeared in the televised National Geographic documentary Inside the NSA: America’s Cyber Secrets. He received his B.A. degree from the University of California-San Diego and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Oregon. He has also completed the Program for Senior Executives at the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Jodi Cooley-Sekula is an associate professor of physics in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. An expert in experimental particle physics, she has focused her current research on deciphering the nature of dark matter. She is a principal investigator on the SuperCDMS dark matter experiment and for the AARM collaboration, which aims to develop integrative tools for underground science. Her research awards include an Early Career Award from the National Science Foundation and the Ralph E. Powe Jr. Faculty Enhancement Award from the Oak Ridge Associated Universities. She was named December 2012 Woman Physicist of the Month by the American Physical Societies Committee on the Status of Women and in 2015 received the Rotunda Outstanding Professor Award. She earned her B.S. degree in applied mathematics and physics from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and her master’s and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Meghan Ryan is Gerald J. Ford Research Fellow and an associate professor in SMU’s Dedman School of Law, teaching and writing at the intersection of criminal law and procedure, torts, and law and science. Her current research focuses on the impact of evolving science, technology and cultural values on criminal convictions and punishment, as well as on civil remedies. She has also conducted research in the areas of bioinorganic chemistry, molecular biology and experimental therapeutics at the Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota. She received her A.B. degree magna cum laude in chemistry from Harvard University and earned her J.D. degree magna cum laude from the University of Minnesota Law School.