Iowa State University has announced COVID-19 Exceptional Effort Awards to recognize the extraordinary and innovative ways Iowa Staters strived to overcome the challenges of the pandemic. Over 50 individuals and teams received awards, and 647 total people were nominated. Award recipients include three members of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering: Associate Professor Jun Cui and Lab Coordinators Michelle Grawe and Ryan Braga.
Cui received the Research Impact award, which recognizes an individual or team that has contributed to ongoing efforts to combat COVID-19 through research in any discipline area. Cui is part of the Next Generation Mask project team, along with Ames Laboratory Scientist Julie Slaughter and Veterinary Microbiology and Preventive Medicine Associate Professor Bryan Bellaire. Cui’s award is “for research leading to the delivery of the next generation mask/respirator that enhances efficiency and is capable of self-sterilization.”
Grawe and Braga received the Exemplary Student Support award, which recognizes an individual or team that has demonstrated a resilient commitment to student life and success. Their award is “for dedicated efforts to enable crucial lab-based instruction to continue through enhanced safety measures and extensive redesign.”
“I am pleased that the university recognized our staff and faculty for their superb work in response to the pandemic,” said Richard LeSar, MSE professor and former interim chair. “I am very proud of the work that Professor Jun Cui and his coworkers did on their efficient and self-sterilized masks and respirators. The approach they took was very creative. Michelle Grawe and Ryan Braga were the mainstays of the department’s COVID response, not only with respect to their work preparing for undergraduate labs (for which they were recognized by the university), but also for our research labs and in revamping the department offices in preparation for the fall semester. We would not have been nearly as prepared as we were because of their hard work.”