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"For founding and leading model programs that successfully address the historic underrepresentation of minorities in PhD programs in physics and related fields."Background:
Stassun received A.B. degrees in physics and in astronomy from the University of California at Berkeley (1994), the Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin (2000), and a NASA Hubble postdoctoral fellowship before joining the Vanderbilt faculty in 2003. Stassun’s research on star formation, brown dwarfs, exoplanets, solar physics, and informatics has earned a CAREER award from NSF and a Cottrell Scholar Award from the Research Corporation, and has been published in more than 100 peer-reviewed journal articles, including four articles in the journal Nature, and featured on NPR’s Earth & Sky and in the New York Times. In 2007, the Vanderbilt Initiative in Data-intensive Astrophysics (VIDA) was launched with Stassun as its first director. He serves as chair of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey executive committee and has served on the NSF Astronomy & Astrophysics Advisory Committee. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Stassun also serves as founding co-director of the Fisk-Vanderbilt Masters-to-PhD Bridge Program, and served as chair of the American Astronomical Society’s Committee on Minorities (2003-2008). He is an elected member of the Congressional Committee on Equal Opportunity in Science and Engineering.