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Assistant Professors Honored with Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award

From left, Vice President for Research James A. Dias, Mathematics Chair Michael Stessin, CEAS Dean Kim L. Boyer, ECE Chair Gary Saulnier, Assistant Prof. Yunlong Feng, President Havidán Rodríguez, Assistant Prof. Mustafa Aksoy, Interim Provost Edelgard Wulfert, Interim CAS Dean Jeanette Altarriba, Assoc. V.P. for Research Satyen Kumar (Photos by Patrick Dodson)

ALBANY, N.Y. (July 23, 2019) -- University at Albany Assistant Professors Mustafa Aksoy and Yunlong Feng have been selected for the prestigious Oak Ridge Associated Universities’ Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award for 2019. Aksoy and Feng were recently honored at reception hosted by UAlbany President Havidán Rodríguez.

ORAU’s competitive research awards provide funding aimed at enriching the research skills and professional growth of junior faculty in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Only two nominations are allowed per institution.

“The nomination of our faculty for such awards is one embodiment of our strategic plan, ‘authoring our success.’ In particular, this peer-reviewed award speaks to faculty excellence, as well as research excellence, acknowledged in a national and international context accrues to the nominee and the institutional reputation,” said Vice President for Research James A. Dias. “Outstanding faculty attract outstanding students who want to study at a Research One university, with faculty who will enable these students to succeed.”

Assistant Professor and Powe Recipients Mustafa Aksoy and Yunlong Feng
As recipients of the prestigious Powe Award, Assistant Professors Mustafa Aksoy and Yunlong Feng highlight the growing reputation of UAlbany's faculty and research excellence.

Aksoy joined the faculty of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences in Fall 2017. His research interests are in remote geophysical sensing using microwave technologies and electromagnetic theory.

“I am really honored to receive this award and would like to thank our President, Vice President and Associate Vice President for Research, Dean and Department Chair for their support to create an excellent research environment for junior faculty members like me at our university, college and department,” said Aksoy. “This award will be used to investigate remote sensing of the Greenland Ice Sheet, the second largest ice body in the world which is vulnerable to climate change, and hopefully will lead to larger research grants and projects in the future.”

Aksoy received his Ph.D. in 2015 from the Ohio State University, where he worked as a graduate research associate at the ElectroScience Laboratory. Prior to joining the University, he was a post-doctoral research associate at the University of Maryland Baltimore County and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Aksoy is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and the American Geophysical Union (AGU).

Aksoy’s research activities are currently supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Feng joined UAlbany’s Deptartment of Mathematics and Statistics in the College of Arts and Sciences in 2017. His research interests include machine learning and learning theory. The vision of his research is to develop systematic machine learning theory and methodologies to ensure that learning activities could be conducted in robust and reliable ways.

“Winning this award is truly an honor and an encouragement to me. It is not possible without the excellent research environment provided by our University,” said Feng. “My research is driven by real-world applications. As the first stage, I am currently working on developing theory and methodologies for robust machine learning. For the next stage, I will make efforts to explore more real-world applications by using the developed theory and methodologies. This seed money could help take my research to the next stage.”

In 2018, Feng received a grant from the Simons Foundation for his project, “Robust Statistical Learning from Noisy Data.” The grant runs through 2023.

Feng earned his Ph.D. in 2012 from the City University of Hong Kong. He conducted postdoctoral research at KU Leuven (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven), in Leuven, Belgium.

Feng has served as associate editor for Mathematical Foundations of Computing since 2018, as well as guest editor for the special issue “Mathematics of Data Science” of the journal of Analysis and Applications.

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