Outstanding Researchers 2024 - The University of Tulsa
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Outstanding Researchers 2024

The University of Tulsa is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2024 Outstanding Researcher Award – a lifetime distinction that is received only once in an individual’s career. It is intended to honor achievements that have been validated in the scholar’s professional fields.

Michelle Martin, Professor of Art and Director of the School of Art, Design & Art History

Michelle Martin is an active artist who works primarily in the artistic medium of printmaking, which includes the techniques of lithography, screen printing, relief (e.g., woodcuts), intaglio (etching, dry point, and mezzotint), and monotype. Her technical prowess in these fields has garnered her numerous honors and international recognition, including a purchase prize in the 2024 McNeese National Works on Paper and exhibitions in Australia, Germany, Italy, and England, to name only a few. Narrative themes have long been an interest in her creative practice, whether they are direct and observational or more ambiguous in nature. Her work is in numerous private, public, and university collections including the Wichita Museum of Art, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, and the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts.

“For the past several years, I have been interested in creating work that examines the role of digital technology in terms of its effect on both storytelling and the nature of craft. My current series of prints, titled ‘Mystorical Constructions,’ depict social interactions and societal commentary through experimental, nonlinear narratives created by using pre-existing source imagery in a collage/drawing/printmaking hybrid process.”


Elana Newman, McFarlin Professor of Psychology and Research Director of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma

Elana Newman has pursued diverse scholarly interests mainly in the field of traumatic stress studies. In addition to writing more than 100 peer-reviewed publications, co-editing a book, and giving over 200 scientific or scholarly presentations, Newman has received numerous awards including the Oscar Parson’s Distinguished Lecturer Award from the Oklahoma Psychology Association. In her research laboratory with students, Newman applies rigorous interdisciplinary frameworks and methodology to understand the impact of traumatic events on individuals and groups, addressing important theoretical and practical issues. In addition to publishing numerous scientific articles, Newman is a sought-after speaker, trainer, expert panelist, and consultant. Recently, she spoke at the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization in Paris on violence against journalists and its effect on press freedom.

“My current research projects explore the impact of covering traumatic news upon journalists (e.g., online harassment, graphic imagery exposure, post-traumatic stress disorder), organizational issues in promoting wellness and safety among trauma-exposed professionals, and the impact of trauma-focused news on the public. I’m also examining early interventions for children exposed to mass disasters.”


Holden Zhang, Williams Professor of Petroleum Engineering and Director of Tulsa University Artificial Lift Projects

Photograph of Holden ZhangWidely recognized for his scholarship and expertise, Holden Zhang has conducted research in almost all areas of oil and gas production and operations, including hydrodynamics and heat transfer of multiphase flow in wells and pipelines, wax deposition, severe slugging, hydrate production, heavy oil and emulsion rheology, and artificial lift technologies. Zhang has published more than 120 journal and conference papers, four patents, and two books, as well as being the recipient of the Research Fellow Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the Production and Operations Award from the Society of Petroleum Engineers. The unified multiphase flow model Zhang developed, now used as the simulation engine in many commercial simulators, has become the industry standard.

“For several years, I have been studying global water cycle stability and transitions. This is a good example of applying fundamental concepts to real-world problems with a unified approach. Through this pursuit, I’ve reached a clear understanding of the root causes for the Sahara formation and northwest China desertification. I believe that through these understandings and findings, we will help find better solutions for global sustainability.”