Laurel Carney: Already a lifetime of achievement

To merit a Lifetime Achievement Award, a Hajim School faculty member must demonstrate distinction in three key areas: research, education, and service.

Laurel Carney portraitThis year’s recipient, Laurel Carney, the Marylou Ingram Professor of Biomedical Engineering, has clearly met the standard.

Indeed, “there is no one more deserving” of the recognition, says her department chair, Diane Dalecki.

In research alone, Carney has achieved “a level of research distinction and honor of the highest caliber that few faculty members reach in their lifetime,” Dalecki says. Carney, a world-renowned expert in auditory processing and hearing loss, combines “exquisite computational modeling and innovative experimental techniques to answer important questions on hearing, speech processing, and hearing loss.”

She has been recognized as a fellow of the Acoustical Society of America (ASA), a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, and received the Christine Hartmann Prize for Auditory Neuroscience, one the highest and most prestigious honors awarded by the ASA.

Remarkably, the first National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant she received has been continuously renewed for 31 consecutive years, and a second NIH grant for 12 years. This provides “clear testimony to the quality and relevance of her research, and to the highest regard and respect that the NIH and her scientific peers around the world hold for her work,” Dalecki says.

Six teaching awards at UR alone

Carney, who served as an assistant, then associate professor at Boston University from 1991 to 2001, then as professor at Syracuse University from 2001 to 2007, is also an outstanding teacher and mentor. She has been recognized as the Student Association Professor of the Year in Engineering twice, and as the BME Faculty Member of the Year four times. (She received two other teaching awards at Boston University.)

 Throughout her career she has mentored a “very long list” of master’s, doctoral and postdoctoral fellows. She also welcomes large numbers of undergraduate students in her lab to give them their first experiences in research.

Her dedication to student mentoring and diversity was recognized with the David T. Kearns Faculty Mentoring and Teaching Award in 2019.

In addition, she established highly successful weekly meetings to mentor junior BME faculty in the art of grantsmanship. A second mentoring group has since been added for mid-career faculty.

“They serve as welcoming environments for professional development discussions, and have even enabled new collaborations among faculty,” Dalecki says.

‘A treasured member of our University’

Carney also has served on numerous committees during her time at the university and continues to be an active and engaged leader in her department. She chairs the BME Graduate Admissions Committee, and is a member of the BME Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee.

Carney is also a member of the BME leadership team. “It is important to note that Laurel’s dedicated service spans both the River Campus and the Medical Center where she is a valued senior faculty member across many committees,” Dalecki adds.

“In summary, Laurel is simply a fantastic BME faculty member and a treasured member of our university! Through her lifetime as a professor, Laurel has achieved outstanding heights in her research, teaching, mentoring, and service.” 

Carney also received the 2018 Edmund A. Hajim Outstanding Faculty Award. Read more here about how she uses a deck of cards to keep her students attentive during her lectures — and how she probably wouldn’t be here if not for an erroneous job posting!