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SoIC Awards honor exceptional staff, instructors

March 10, 2022

Each year through the SoIC Awards, the IU School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI recognizes exceptional contributions by its community of staff and instructors. Their work helps the school and its students to thrive and excel.

The School of Informatics and Computing award recipients for 2021:

Jeremy SmelserStaff Award: Jeremy Smelser

Smelser joined the SoIC staff in 2017 as technology coordinator, coming from Franklin College, where he was client services manager.

He is now director of facilities and information technology at SoIC, efficiently coordinating the vast and varied needs of a school deeply immersed in emerging tech.

Among his many responsibilities, Smelser manages the daily operations of the client support team, and coordinates staffing and training needs, and classroom technology.

Saptarshi PurkayasthaSoIC Teaching Award, Tenure Track:  Saptarshi Purkayastha

Purkayastha, Ph.D., is director of Health Informatics for SoIC, and an assistant professor, Data Science and Health Informatics. His Purkayastha Lab for Health Innovation explores research areas including biomedical data analysis, cybersecurity in health care, electronic health records, mobile health and radiology information systems.

His lab has received National Science Foundation grants of $599,998 for ”Development of a Secure and Privacy-Preserving Workflow Architecture for Dynamic Data Sharing in Scientific Infrastructures,”   and $826,795 for “Measuring learning gains in man-machine assemblage when augmenting radiology work with artificial intelligence.”

Nicole VanAndelSoIC Teaching Award, Lecturer: Nicole Van Andel

In her work as a lecturer at SoIC, Van Andel draws upon her experience as a hospital medical records administrator to both instruct students earning a Health Information Management degree, and to place them in professional practicums. These opportunities allow students to put their knowledge to use in real-world settings, and can lead to job offers.

Van Andel has served as president of the Indiana Health Information Management Association. She is part of the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) Foundation Research Network, and has reviewed practice briefs and completed other activities for AHIMA.

Mahasin MartinsonSoIC Teaching Award, part-time and adjunct:  Mahasin Ameen 

Ameen is a Teaching and Learning Librarian at IUPUI, where she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and serves as an associate faculty member, Library and Information Science.

Her career in libraries has included serving in many roles at Indianapolis Public Library, including as Adult Services Librarian, tied to a special grant focusing on closing the digital divide.

Also, Ameen has been a member of the board of directors for the Indiana Writers Center. Her research interests include international librarianship, Millennial engagement in public libraries, and diversity in archives.

Khairi Reda


SoIC Research Award: Khairi Reda

Reda, Ph.D., is an assistant professor, Data Science, Human-Computer Interaction at SoIC.

His research focuses on discovering technological and human factors that shape people’s ability to consume and make sense of digital information, particularly in the field of data visualization.

Reda’s research project “Towards Trustworthy Analytics” is funded through a $538,140 National Science Foundation grant, and aims to reduce the risk of “false discovery” from data. The project is expected to help broaden the adoption of visual analysis tools, increase the confidence in conclusions, and potentially reduce the incidence of false discovery.

Thomas LewisLecturer Award for the Scholarship of Teaching: C. Thomas Lewis

Lewis, a Media Arts and Science senior lecturer, teaches students studying sound and video at SoIC. He also works with communities to create films that highlight important social issues.

Lewis has traveled to Kenya on a New Frontiers grant to document the effect of HIV there, and to collaborate with residents on films about AIDS. In Indiana, a grant through the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute allowed Lewis to work with local communities to make a series of films exploring the opioid crisis in the state. His short documentary “The Long Run: Wes Doty’s New Life” was chosen by the Heartland Film Festival for inclusion in the Indy Shorts International Film Festival in 2021

Lewis also accompanies SoIC students who participate in service learning through the Paros, Greece, Study Abroad program. The students use their skills to document archeological sites and create tourism videos on the Greek island.

Media Contact

Joanne Lovrinic