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Dr. Yiming Ji of USC Beaufort Honored with USC 2018 Breakthrough in Leadership Award

Yiming Ji, Ph.D., an author of a statewide grant of nearly $900,000 from the National Science Foundation that is underwriting efforts by the University of South Carolina Beaufort to create a Master of Science Program in Computational Science, has been honored yet again by the University of South Carolina system.

A Professor of Computational Science and Interim Chair of the Department of Mathematics and Computational Science at USCB, Dr. Ji also serves as Director of the university's Computational Science Program. The department is part of the USCB School of Science and Mathematics.

The $900,000 grant to USCB was part of a $20 million, five-year research award by the NSF to a South Carolina consortium of 10 institutions of higher education. The 10 colleges and universities are collaborating on an initiative called Materials Assembly and Design Excellence in South Carolina or MADE in SC, which will boost research on and production of advanced materials, build capacity in existing industries and place more highly skilled workers in high-tech jobs.

USCB's role is to collaborate with faculty and students in the other academic institutions on the computational aspects of the Modeling and Computational Core of the initiative. The computational core is the foundation of the program's research.

USCB is using the $898,037 grant to create a Master of Science Program in Computational Science and to establish a Computational Engineering track of study within undergraduate and graduate-level Computational Science programs.

Dr. Ji has been honored with three significant awards in recent years, the first presented by the University of South Carolina system in 2010. Breakthrough magazine, published by USC's Office of Research and Graduate Education, named him one of 17 rising stars selected from a field of 2,200 full-time faculty members at USC's main campus in Columbia and seven regional universities within the USC system.

In 2016, he was honored by the South Carolina Academy of Science with the Governor's Award for Excellence in Science Research at a Predominantly Undergraduate Institution. That award was presented by then-Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster at a statehouse ceremony.

The latest award, the 2018 Breakthrough Leadership in Research award, recognizes distinguished senior faculty in the USC system. Dr. Ji was the only faculty member to be selected from the senior campuses of USC Aiken, USC Upstate and USCB.

"I am deeply honored to receive this award," Dr. Ji says. "But it is really more important for USCB than for me. The Breakthrough Leadership in Research award should enhance our standing in the scientific community and help us to attract more faculty and students to our Computational Science Program. At the same time, it should serve to improve the overall image of the university.

"We have come a long way in a short period of time," Dr. Ji adds. "When we began the Computational Science Program in 2010, we had just seven students. Today, we have more than 100. We expect to draw 25 students to the M.S. in Computational Science Program when the first classes begin next year."

This article was originally published by USC Beaufort on March 20, 2018.

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