CUNY Names CCNY’s Maria Tamargo and Benjamin Steinberg Distinguished Professors

Maria C. Tamargo and Benjamin Steinberg, noted faculty in The City College of New York’s Division of Science, are among 12 outstanding CUNY scholars elevated to the rank of Distinguished Professor during the 2022-23 academic year. They join an extraordinary group of 145 other faculty university-wide holding that distinction.

The title of Distinguished Professor is the highest academic honor that CUNY can offer its faculty. It’s conferred by the CUNY Board of Trustees in recognition of exceptional scholarly achievement. Distinguished Professorships are reserved for faculty with records of exceptional performance by national and international standards of excellence in their profession. 

 “The 12 faculty members who have recently been elevated to CUNY’s distinguished professoriate join a group of extraordinary scholars and teachers who have built international reputations for their scholarship, creativity and vision,” said CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez. “We congratulate these individuals on this latest recognition of their accomplished status as leading lights within their fields.”

Following are brief bios of The City College’s two latest CUNY Distinguished Professors:

Maria Tamargo:
A renowned professor of chemistry, Tamargo also serves on the doctoral faculty of chemistry, physics and electrical engineering – the latter in CCNY’s Grove School of Engineering. Her research deals with molecular beam epitaxy of low dimensional layered materials and nanostructures of wide band gap semiconductors, topological insulators, and other materials. She was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2020. Tamargo is a principal investigator and director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) CREST Center entitled Center for Interface Design and Engineered Assembly of Low-dimensional Systems, or IDEALS that involves more than 20 researchers from CCNY and several partner institutions within CUNY and beyond. She is a fellow of the American Physical Society and the recipient of the 2017 MBE Innovator Award.

Tamargo served as dean of science at CCNY from 2001-2007 and was executive officer of the Chemistry Program at the Graduate Center, CUNY, from 2011-2014. She is recognized for forging the way toward an inclusive science and engineering research community. Tamargo earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras, and a PhD from Johns Hopkins University. Click here to read more.

Benjamin Steinberg:
An eminent algebraist, Steinberg is professor of mathematics at CCNY, and a faculty member at the Graduate Center, CUNY. He initiated the study of convolution algebras of etale groupoids over arbitrary rings, which serve as algebraic analogues of groupoid C*-algebras, generalizing the much-studied class of Leavitt path algebras. These algebras are now called Steinberg algebras and are studied by a large group of both ring theorists and C*-algebraists. They have led to new interactions between these fields. Motivated by his interest in the representation theory of finite semigroups and its applications to automata theory, probability theory and combinatorics, Steinberg is also credited, along with a former student, for introducing synchronizing groups (inspired by connections between representation theory and automata theory), which has since become its own topic in permutation group theory. He also initiated a modernization of the representation theory of finite semigroup theory.

Steinberg has authored three books and was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to Brazil (2018-2019). He earned his PhD from the University of California at Berkeley and was an NSF-NATO Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Porto in Portugal, where he also held the position of Professor Auxiliar for two years. Click here to read more.

About the City College of New York
Since 1847, The City College of New York has provided a high-quality and affordable education to generations of New Yorkers in a wide variety of disciplines. CCNY embraces its position at the forefront of social change. It is ranked #1 by the Harvard-based Opportunity Insights out of 369 selective public colleges in the United States on the overall mobility index. This measure reflects both access and outcomes, representing the likelihood that a student at CCNY can move up two or more income quintiles. Education research organization Degree Choices ranks CCNY #1 nationally among universities for economic return on investment. In addition, the Center for World University Rankings places CCNY in the top 1.8% of universities worldwide in terms of academic excellence. Labor analytics firm Emsi puts at $1.9 billion CCNY’s annual economic impact on the regional economy (5 boroughs and 5 adjacent counties) and quantifies the “for dollar” return on investment to students, taxpayers and society. At City College, more than 15,000 students pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in eight schools and divisions, driven by significant funded research, creativity and scholarship. This year, CCNY launched its most expansive fundraising campaign, ever. The campaign, titled “Doing Remarkable Things Together” seeks to bring the College’s Foundation to more than $1 billion in total assets in support of the College mission. CCNY is as diverse, dynamic and visionary as New York City itself. View CCNY Media Kit.

Jay Mwamba
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