The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Baker named Distinguished Professor; tenure awarded to Gerasimidis and Peterman

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The UMass Amherst Board of Trustees has approved Erin Baker for the position of Distinguished Professor in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department. It has also approved the award of tenure and promotion to Associate Professor for Simos Gerasimidis and Kara D. Peterman, both from the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department.

Baker is the faculty director of The Energy Transition Institute @ UMass. The mission of the Institute is to enable a fast and fair transition to a decarbonized energy system in the United States. It also does stakeholder-engaged research at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, with a dual focus on technology systems and human systems.

Baker’s research is, as she says, “in decision making under uncertainty applied to the field of energy and the environment; with focus on energy justice and publicly funded energy technology research and development portfolios in the face of climate change.”

Baker’s well-publicized research uses modeling to address questions about energy policy and planning in the face of climate change.

Gerasimidis is interested in numerical, analytical, and experimental methods to describe the stability of structural systems across scales.

Gerasimidis explains that his research interests lie in the areas of: new truss or plate-lattice architected metamaterials; auxetic composites for civil infrastructure; shell buckling and energy barrier methods; analysis, inspection, and repairing of aging bridges; and energy structures.

Gerasimidis was recently awarded the NSF CAREER award to study auxetic lattice reinforcing metamaterial architectures for a new class of concrete metastructures.

Before Gerasimidis came to UMass, his professional experience as a structural engineer included working on landmark, large-scale, infrastructure projects such as the Olympic Stadium Steel Roof Structure in Athens, the most recent New York Yankees Stadium in the Bronx, the conceptual design of the Chicago Spire, and a steel footbridge in one of the most important Byzantine monuments of the world, the Thessaloniki Rotunda.

Peterman, the 2020-21 College of Engineering Outstanding Teaching Award winner, conducts research on cold-formed and hot-rolled steel system behavior, performance of sustainable infrastructure materials, seismic response of steel building systems, and the stability of thin-walled steel members.

Dedicated to professional service, Peterman serves as vice president of the Cold-Formed Steel Engineers Institute, is the chair of the American Iron and Steel Institute Test-Based Design Subcommittee, and serves on the Executive Committee of the Structural Stability Research Council.

In March, Peterman was awarded the distinguished Milek Fellowship from the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC), which is awarded annually to a promising early career faculty member. Peterman will conduct research in adhesive steel-to-steel connections as part of the four-year fellowship.

Peterman recently was also recognized with the Terry Peshia Early Career Faculty Award from AISC. The award provides recognition to faculty who demonstrate promise in the areas of structural steel research, teaching, and other contributions to the structural steel industry. (June 2022)