BUFFALO, N.Y. – Liesl Folks, dean of the University at
Buffalo’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, is the
recipient of a national award recognizing her mentorship of science
and engineering students.
The AVS Excellence in Leadership award, first issued in 2012, is
presented by AVS: Science and Technology of Materials, Interfaces,
and Processing. AVS is the former American Vacuum Society, a
nonprofit professional organization of roughly 5,000 members that
is affiliated with the American Institute of Physics.
AVS is unusual in that it is an interdisciplinary society that
supports networking among academic, industry, government and
consulting professionals. It spans all disciplines related to basic
science, technology development, and commercialization of
materials, interfaces, and processing.
Folks has a long record of support for science, technology,
engineering, and math (STEM) educational programs, from pre-K
through 12th grade initiatives to helping launch a graduate
educational program in magnetics, which is her field of research.
That program, sponsored by the Institute of Electrical and
Electronics Engineers (IEEE), offers summer study opportunities to
roughly 100 graduate students globally each year.
“Mentoring can play an important role in advancing the
careers of young people in STEM fields, and it has been a great joy
for me to play even a small part in helping some great young
scientists and engineers to advance,” Folks said. “It
is a great honor to be recognized by the AVS for these activities.
I certainly have benefited from great mentoring during my career,
and am delighted if I can help others even a little through
An internationally recognized expert in nanotechnology and
magnetism, Folks holds 14 U.S. patents and is the author of more
than 50 peer-reviewed papers. Prior to arriving at UB in January,
Folks worked for more than nine years at HGST, a hard disk drive
company in San Jose, Calif. Before that, she worked at IBM Almaden
Research Center, also in San Jose, for six years.
She is the president of the IEEE’s Magnetics Society and
served in 2012 on the congressionally mandated panel for the
Triennial Review of the National Nanotechnology Initiative,
facilitated by the National Academy of Sciences.
Joseph A. Gardella Jr., UB’s John and Frances Larkin
Professor of Chemistry, received the inaugural AVS Excellence in
Leadership award in 2012.