The annual Phillip and Ruth Hettleman Prizes for Artistic and Scholarly Achievement have been awarded to four faculty members who exemplify groundbreaking and innovative research along with future career promise.
This year’s awardees are: Mohit Bansal, the John R. & Louise S. Parker Associate Professor in the department of computer science; Andrea Bohlman, associate professor in the department of music; Dr. Angela Smith ’03 (’07 MD, ’14 MSCR), associate professor in the department of urology; and William Sturkey, assistant professor in the department of history.
Bansal, recognized with a number of highly competitive industry, government and faculty awards, is an expert in natural language processing and machine learning. These branches of artificial intelligence and linguistics seek to understand the meaning of human-generated text or speech and, in the case of machine learning, to enable computers to automatically infer meaning from statistical analyses of data such as videos, images or texts. Bansal’s focus has been the development of human-like dialogue through AI agents that possess generalizable, common sense knowledge and semantic “skills.” His ultimate goal is to develop agents that are engaging and personality-based and that perform actions grounded in the user’s surrounding environment.
Bansal received his doctorate in computer science from the University of California-Berkeley and his bachelor of technology from the Indian Institute of Technology at Kanpur.
Bohlman’s scholarship in the relatively young academic field of sound studies integrates her research with work in media studies, music and cultural studies, Eastern European politics, anthropology, Slavic studies and sociology. She is recognized nationally and internationally for weaving diverse approaches and points of focus — ranging from on-the-street experience to global politics, and from the underground exchange of mixtapes to the negotiations of cultural capital in art music — into writings of nuance and power.
Bohlman received her doctorate from Harvard University in historical musicology. She holds a master’s in advanced musical studies from the University of London and a bachelor’s in music with concentrations in music history and violin performance from Stanford University.
Smith is the director of urologic oncology at UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and an associate professor and vice chair for academic affairs in the School of Medicine’s urology department. Her research includes health services and biostatistics, with interests in patient-centered outcomes, risk stratification and quality of care for invasive bladder cancer. Smith also serves as assistant secretary of the American Urological Association and is on the AUA Quality Improvement and Patient Safety Committee, the Scientific Advisory Board for the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network and the editorial board of the Journal of Urology. She chairs the Urology Care Foundation Bladder Health Committee.
Sturkey specializes in the history of race in the American South, with an interest in working-class racial minorities. He teaches courses on modern American history, Southern history, the civil rights movement and the history of America in the 1960s. He serves on the faculty advisory board of the UNC Center for the Study of the American South and the UNC Program in the Humanities. During the 2017-18 academic year, he was named one of two faculty recipients of UNC’s Diversity and Inclusion Award.
Sturkey earned a doctorate in history from Ohio State University. He holds a master’s in African American studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a bachelor’s in history and African American studies from Ohio State.
The Hettleman Prize, which carries a $5,000 stipend, recognizes the achievements of outstanding junior tenure-track or recently tenured faculty. Phillip Hettleman (class of 1921), who grew up in Goldsboro, established the award in 1986. He received a scholarship to Carolina and in 1938 went on to found the Wall Street investment firm Hettleman & Co.