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Three receive Meyerson mentoring awards

By GINA CARBONE

Published February 26, 2020

UB faculty members Lora Cavuoto, Salvatore Rappoccio and Wenyao Xu are this year’s winners of the President Emeritus and Mrs. Meyerson Award for Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching and Mentoring, the highest university award for undergraduate mentoring.

The Meyerson award recognizes faculty members who provide students with exceptional support and guidance to help them develop the skills needed for research, creativity, critical thinking and innovation.

It was established through a generous gift by the late UB President Emeritus Martin Meyerson and his wife, Margy Ellen, to honor exceptional teaching and mentoring at the university.

Award recipients will be recognized during UB’s annual Celebration of Faculty and Staff Excellence in the fall.

“Undergraduate students at UB benefitted greatly through their interactions with faculty-mentored research programs and creative activity across campus this year, including research in high energy physics, robotic-assisted surgery, and embedded sensing and computing,” says Ann M. Bisantz, dean of undergraduate education and professor of industrial and systems engineering.

“The Meyerson award allows the university to recognize those faculty who provide these significant experiences.”

headshot of Lora Cavuoto.

Lora Cavuoto

Associate professor and director of undergraduate studies in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Lora Cavuoto directs the Ergonomics and Biomechanics Lab, as well as the SurgE Surgery Economics and Human Factors Lab.

Her research interests include the biomechanics of obesity, modeling worker fatigue development, and human factors concerns in laparoscopic and robot-assisted surgery. She has worked with more than 30 undergraduate students on these research projects.

A member of the UB faculty for eight years, she has taught a number of courses, among them Human Factors and Ergonomics Laboratory Methods, Human Factors in System Design and Work Physiology. She also leads the department’s NIOSH-sponsored Occupational Safety and Health Training Program.

Cavuoto holds a PhD in industrial and systems engineering from Virginia Tech.

headshot of Salvatore Rappoccio.

Salvatore Rappoccio

Salvatore Rappoccio, associate professor in the Department of Physics, is a member of UB’s High Energy Particle Physics and Cosmology group, as well as the CMS Collaboration, a group that brings together particle physicists from around the world to advance humanity’s knowledge of the basic laws of the universe.

His research focuses on investigating frontier issues in particle physics, more specifically searching for solutions to the vast discrepancy between the Higgs boson mass and the Planck scale — the “hierarchy problem” — as well as the details of the strong nuclear force (quantum chromodynamics) and production of the top quark.

In 2015, Rappoccio received the CMS LHC Physics Center Distinguished Researcher Award for his contribution to CMS research programs and activities. He was also a co-recipient of the High Energy and Particles Prize from the European Physical Society in 2013, as part of the CMS collaboration “for the discovery of a Higgs boson.”

He received a PhD in physics from Harvard University and completed postdoctoral research at Johns Hopkins University.

headshot of Wenyao Xu.

Wenyao X

Associate professor of computer science and engineering, Wenyao Xu founded and directs the ESC (Embedded Sensing and Computing) Group, which investigates research topics related to hardware/architecture, operation systems, algorithms, human factors and their applications to medicine, and health care and security. He has published more than 160 technical papers, co-authored two books, and holds numerous international and U.S. patents.

A UB faculty member since 2013, Xu has long been a mentor to undergraduates, serving as a research adviser and mentor for numerous undergraduate research projects.

He holds a PhD from UCLA, and an MS and BS from Zhejiang University in China.