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CCIL Researchers Receive Grainger College of Engineering Faculty Awards


Tandy Warnow (BCXT/IGOH) and Cecilia Leal (M-CELS), who are both scientists at the Cancer Center, have been recognized for their achievements by the Grainger College of Engineering.

Tandy Warnow and Cecilia Leal
Tandy Warnow, left, and Cecilia Leal

Warnow, a Grainger Distinguished Chair in Engineering and Associate Head for Research and Faculty Development in the Department of Computer Science, is the recipient of the 2022 College Award for Excellence in Faculty Mentoring. The award recognizes a faculty member who has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to faculty mentoring by actively assisting pre-tenure and mid-career faculty in developing their career(s). Exceptional mentoring includes offering advice, feedback and guidance on research activities, coaching on work-life balance issues, providing professional opportunities for mentees, and/or assisting in development of teaching skills. The award includes an honorarium and a personalized commemorative plaque.

Leal, an associate professor and Racheff Faculty Scholar in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, is the recipient of the 2022 College Award for Sustained Excellence in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Leal chairs MatSE at Illinois’ Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, a team of faculty, staff, and undergraduate and graduate students that focuses on energizing DEI efforts in the department, college, and even campus wide. Among other initiatives, the committee recently created two new awards that recognize graduate and undergraduate students for their DEI efforts.

“Back in 2012, I was the first female assistant professor hired in MatSE in over 20 years. I am so pleased that over these 10 years MatSE has composed its community with 30 percent incredibly talented women — faculty, graduate and undergraduate students (and) the department head!” Leal said. “Change is often slow and sometimes uncomfortable, but as the example above suggests, investing in diversifying our community really pays off. I cannot imagine a better plan for impact and enrichment than to improve DEI at UIUC. I hope for a future where the faces that represent our department, college and campus mirror the diversity of our society.”

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