"For founding and leading model programs that successfully address the historic underrepresentation of minorities in PhD programs in physics and related fields."
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.