Experts in special education, social welfare and particle physics receive KU Research Achievement Awards

LAWRENCE — University of Kansas researchers expanding our understanding of special education, social welfare and particle physics have received this year’s Steven F. Warren Research Achievement Award and the KU Research Staff & Postdoctoral Achievement Awards.

The annual awards recognize outstanding unclassified academic staff, unclassified professional staff and postdoctoral fellows whose research has significantly influenced their fields and expanded intellectual or societal insights. This year’s recipients:

·   Tyler Hicks, director of quantitative methodology, KU Center on Developmental Disabilities, Steven F. Warren Research Achievement Award

·   Pegah Naemi Jimenez, associate researcher senior, School of Social Welfare, Research Staff Achievement Award

·   Georgios Konstantinos Krintiras, postdoctoral researcher, physics & astronomy, Postdoctoral Achievement Award

The three will be recognized at a ceremony this spring along with recipients of other major KU research awards.

The Office of Research established the Steven F. Warren Research Achievement Award in 2006 to honor unclassified academic staff researchers. Winners receive $10,000 in research funds. The KU Research Staff & Postdoctoral Achievement awards were established in 2018, with honorees receiving $5,000 for approved research or professional development activities.

Tyler Hicks 

Tyler Hicks
Tyler Hicks

Hicks is the director of data science, research design and methodology as well as an assistant research professor at the KU Center on Developmental Disabilities housed within the Life Span Institute. He also holds an appointment in the research design and analysis unit at LSI. Hicks has been instrumental in designing new ways to analyze special education practices and collaborating with colleagues to make their projects work.

Hicks began his time at KU as a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Special Education in 2017. He then served as a research associate at LSI’s SWIFT Education Center.

Methodology specialists don’t often have the opportunity to serve as the primary investigator on funded projects, but without their expertise, many proposals wouldn’t get off the ground. To date, Hicks has served as a co-PI or lead methodologist on funded projects totaling more than $34 million. He is noted as a leading expert in analyzing cost-effectiveness of special education interventions.

Hicks earned his bachelor’s degree in philosophy and doctorate in special education, both from the University of South Florida.

Pegah Naemi Jimenez 

Pegah Naemi Jimenez
Pegah Naemi Jiminez

Naemi Jimenez is an associate researcher senior in the School of Social Welfare. Prior to her current role, Naemi Jimenez was an associate researcher at KU’s Center for Public Partnerships & Research from 2015 to 2021.

Naemi Jimenez’s scholarship focuses on cross-system approaches and community-engaged research that addresses social problems experienced by children and families in marginalized communities. This involves working with communities, practitioners and other interested parties, such as state agencies in Kansas, Missouri and Texas. She has received multiple federal grants to support this work.

Naemi Jimenez serves as the principal investigator on three multiyear state and federally funded research projects: Safe Sleep Program Evaluation, in partnership with the Missouri Children’s Trust Fund; THRIVE, a sexual health program for foster care professionals and youth involved in foster care, in collaboration with the University of Texas at Austin; and Kansas Bravely Raising and Activating Voices for Equity, a collaborative initiative that centers Black and Brown youth and family experts to advance racial equity in child welfare, for which she recently was awarded $2.5 million in federal funding to implement. She also leads evaluation for Kansas Strong: Parent Youth Facilitation Strategy and the Racial Equity Collaborative. At the university level, Naemi Jimenez represents the School of Social Welfare on the Campus Council on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging.

Naemi Jimenez’s equity research goes far beyond the region. She also conducted a study of how Iranian women use social media in social justice movements.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of California, Davis, a master’s degree in psychology from California State University at Sacramento and a doctorate in social psychology from KU.

Georgios Konstantinos Krintiras 

Georgios Konstantinos Krintiras
Georgios Konstantinos Krintiras 

Krintiras is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Physics & Astronomy. His work on some of the smallest building blocks of matter has attracted considerable international attention in the discipline.

Many learn that atoms are composed of subatomic particles, including protons and neutrons. But these particles are in turn made up of smaller components called quarks. Quarks normally remain confined within the protons and neutrons, but they can be studied when certain heavy elements, such as lead, collide into each other in large scientific instruments. Krintiras uses such instruments to study free quarks at KU and at Fermilab as a distinguished researcher.

Krintiras serves in the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment, one of the largest collaborative efforts ever formed, hosted at the CERN Large Hadron Collider in Geneva. He has served as a convener of the luminosity group and the heavy ion group, which help coordinate research at the facilities. Under Krintiras’ tenure, the luminosity group released the first publication that now counts more than 400 citations, and the heavy ion group was one of the most productive teams with CMS, producing almost one paper per month despite being one of the smaller teams.

Beyond his project management skills, Krintiras' luminosity-related work has been recognized with a CMS achievement award, and he has made notable discoveries in his field. The American Physics Society praised his observation of top quarks in collisions between protons and lead nuclei in 2017. He also participated in the association’s particle physics community planning, which set a roadmap for future research.

Krintiras earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, and a bachelor’s degree in experimental nuclear physics from Lund University, Sweden. He also holds a master’s degree in experimental astroparticle and elementary particle physics from the University of Amsterdam and a doctorate from the Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium.

Wed, 01/31/2024


Vince Munoz

Media Contacts

Vince Munoz

Office of Research