The Catholic University of America

July 17, 2014

Professor Honored By Brazilian Government

  Astronomy and physics professor Duilia de Mello (second from right) is seen with the six Brazilian award recipients and Minister Mauro Borges Lemos (center) during the May 28 award ceremony in Brazil.

Duilia de Mello, associate professor of physics, was one of six Brazilian professionals recently honored for their contributions around the world. De Mello was named the 2013 Professional of the Year for her work in the field of technology, information, and communication.

The awards were given to select Brazilian professionals who live abroad by the Brazilian minister of foreign affairs, the minister of industry and foreign commerce, and the Brazilian Association of Industrial Development.

De Mello, who started working at The Catholic University of America in 2003 as a research associate at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, joined the Physics Department as faculty in 2008. She is now a tenured professor in the Physics Department where she teaches Astronomy and Physics. Her field of work is Extragalactic Astrophysics and her research interests include galaxy evolution, the role of environment in galaxies properties, and star formation in distant galaxies.

Since 2012, she has coordinated the Brazilian Science Without Borders program at CUA, which brings Brazilian undergraduate students to study one year abroad and engages them in summer research programs. Approximately 40 students have participated in the program so far. De Mello said she hopes to double that number in the next year.

De Mello was selected for the award after submitting her resume and an essay describing her work to the Diaspora Brazil promoted by the Brazilian Embassy. She was selected by an award committee that was chaired by the Brazilian minister of foreign affairs, Ambassador Luiz Alberto Figueiredo.

“Receiving this award acknowledges the importance of the work that I have been doing for Brazil,” de Mello said. “But more than anything else, this award gave me the opportunity to thank Brazil for all the investment they made in my career since I was an undergraduate student and to reconnect with the Brazilian community.”

This was the first year the minister of foreign affairs presented this award. A special ceremony honoring the recipients was held May 28 at the Itamaraty Palace in Brasilia, Brazil’s capital.


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