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University of Missouri-Columbia professor receives Presidents Award for Early Career Excellence

Award recognizes faculty who exhibit exceptional promise as demonstrated through scholarship, research or creativity

COLUMBIA, Mo. – University of Missouri System Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs Bob Schwartz today awarded the first of eight UM System President’s Awards to be presented to faculty in 2016 to Michela Becchi, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Schwartz — in front of colleagues gathered for a faculty open forum — surprised Becchi with the President’s Award for Early Career Excellence, which includes a $5,000 prize. The award recognizes faculty who exhibit exceptional promise within their first seven years with the university as demonstrated through scholarship, research or creativity.

Becchi joined the MU faculty in 2010 and quickly became a top National Science Foundation-funded faculty member on campus, currently serving as principal investigator on five concurrent NSF projects totaling $1.85 million. Among these projects is a prestigious NSF CAREER Award, which she received in 2015 from a competitive division of the Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering.

Along with her appointment in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), Becchi also holds an adjunct position in the Department of Computer Science and acts as a faculty member in MU’s Informatics Institute, an interdisciplinary research and education program. Becchi established a new research program at MU in Parallel Computer Architecture. She consistently demonstrates commitment to her students by actively helping them seek out top-tier job opportunities and shares four U.S. patents with her students.

“Dr. Becchi is playing a key role in our computer engineering program in curriculum revamping,” one nominator wrote. “She frequently provides feedback to the department regarding improvement in our undergraduate and graduate programs. During exit interviews for graduating seniors in the past three semesters, many computer engineering undergraduate students voted her as the most influential faculty.”

Becchi has published in nine journals and has 30 conference papers with more than 1,400 citations. She has won the Best Paper Award from the Association for Computing Machinery, twice. She is also a two-time recipient of a Junior Faculty Excellence Award from the MU College of Engineering. Her work has been widely consumed and disseminated among members of the engineering community, and has contributed to external grants totaling almost $4.4 million.

“Dr. Becchi has exhibited excellence as an assistant professor in all areas of research, teaching, and service,” another nominator wrote. “She is an excellent role model for other junior faculty. I look forward to what I expect will be Dr. Becchi’s continued success in within ECE and the college.”

The UM System President’s Awards are presented annually to faculty members across the four campuses of the UM System who have made exceptional contributions in advancing the mission of the university. Becchi will be formally recognized by UM System Interim President Michael Middleton during an awards celebration to be held in June.

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Reviewed 2016-04-24