ESSIC Recognizes Distinguished Faculty and Staff

A snowy McKeldin Library with a sign that looks like a face mask that says "Terrapin Strong"

As a now traditional part of the ESSIC end-of-year Holiday Party, two annual peer awards were presented to honor the year’s Best Paper and the Employee of the Year. This year, Director Ellen Williams presented these awards to Toshi Matsui, Associate Research Scientist, as well as Donna Gray, Coordinator, and Luther Clark, IT Coordinator.


Matsui was recognized for his paper, “A POLArimetric Radar Retrieval and Instrument Simulator” in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres. The paper describes Matsui’s development of a novel polarimetric radar simulator and retrieval package (POLARRIS). Capable of generating both radar observables and consistent retrievals of geophysical parameters, POLARRIS is a powerful tool for evaluating cloud-resolving models’ performance against radar measurements. This package will enable a more comprehensive and more in-depth understanding of the uncertainties in cloud-resolving models and eventually lead to improvements in those models.


The Best Paper committee, composed of Hugo Berbery, Isaac Moradi, and Can Li, also included two honorable mentions, a first time for the award. Li-Qing Jiang, Associate Research Scientist, was recognized for his paper “Surface ocean pH and buffer capacity: past, present and future” in Scientific Reports. Yalei You, Assistant Research Scientist, was recognized for his paper “Evaluation of V05 Precipitation Estimates from GPM Constellation Radiometers Using KuPR as the Reference” in Journal of Hydrometeorology. You collaborated with other ESSIC/CISESS scientists including Veljko Petkovic, Rachael Kroodsma, and Christopher Kidd.


This year’s Staff Awards was notable in that two employees were equally recognized for their distinguished service for ESSIC: Luther Clark and Donna Gray. This decision to honor two employees rather than the usual one was made by the staff award committee, composed of Cazzy Medley, Monica D’Rozario, and John Xun Yang. Both Clark and Gray have been crucial pillars to IT and EBO respectively, especially during this challenging year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Clark has been with ESSIC for nearly 3 years but has worked at the University of Maryland for 7 years total. He is consistently kind, courteous, and professional, always going beyond the initial need to make sure his client is satisfied. During the COVID-19 regulations, he has been especially accommodating, even putting his own safety at risk to pick up IT procurement orders. His commitment to ESSIC, his coworkers, and his clients is obvious in his readiness to go above and beyond to get the job done right.


On the ESSIC Business Office side, Gray has been with ESSIC for 6 years, and has held a variety of roles at ESSIC. In each of her positions, she has always been extremely helpful, accurate, prompt, and polite. She continually takes on extra duties to solve any problem that may arise and we can always count on her to get the job done. Gray’s positive attitude and going out of the way to accomplish any task makes her ESSIC’s “go-to” person.”


Congratulations to Toshio, Li-Qing, Yalei, Luther, and Donna for these well-deserved distinctions!