Excellence honored

Excellence honored

URBANA — Marietta Turner tackled the issue of hunger among needy students head-on by establishing a food pantry at Parkland College. And it's partly for that contribution that she was one of nine people and organizations chosen for recognition of exceptional innovation and entrepreneurship in Champaign County.

The honors were handed out at Friday night's 11th annual Innovation Celebration, hosted by the Champaign County Economic Development Corp. in partnership with the UI and Parkland and held at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.

Turner, who has been Parkland's dean of students since 2008 and nominated also for her work in supporting students and educating the broader community about food insecurity, was given the Innovation in Engagement Award/Parkland College, which recognizes a person or group who has shown support of the college's community engagement mission.

Other awards went to:

Pens to Lens, a Champaign-based K-12 student screen-writing competition for East Central Illinois, given the Entrepreneurial Excellence Social Venture Award.

BioAnalytics, a biotechnology company developing the next generation of tools for protein analysis, given the Entrepreneurial Excellence Student Start-Up Award.

Inprentus, founded in 2012 by UI physics Professor Peter Abbamonte to commercialize an innovative dual-atomic microscope scribing technology, given the Entrepreneurial Excellence New Venture Award.

Paul Magelli, senior director of the Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership at the UI College of Business and the founder of Illinois Business Consulting, the largest professionally-managed, student-run university consulting organization in the country, given the Entrepreneurial Excellence Advocacy Award.

Carle Illinois College of Medicine, to become the first engineering-based college of its kind, intended to revolutionize medical education and biomedical research, given the Innovation Economic Development Impact Award.

Mike Folk, who in 2006 with colleagues spun off the HDF Group (a nonprofit company devoted to evolving the hierarchical data format and supporting HDF users everywhere) of which he is president, given the Entrepreneurial Excellence Management Award.

Wolfram Research, which released its flagship product Mathematica in 1988 and continues to pioneer a new level of software and cloud systems, given the Innovation Longevity Award.

Paul Hergenrother, who established his own laboratory in the UI Department of Chemistry and Institute for Genome Biology, given the Innovation Transfer Award/University of Illinois.

The ceremony also included the launch of a new award, for which the first honoree will be chosen next year. The Alexis Wernsing Innovation Award will be given in honor of the UI art history student and aspiring teacher who was working on a voice amplification system for the disabled when she died last year. This year, the award was presented to Ms. Wernsing's family in her memory.

Next year and beyond, the award will recognize a person or team from the UI for channeling the experience of living with a disability into positive change through the creation of new products, environments or protocols that enhance the quality of life.