Awards Banquet Ends E-Week Activities
Monday, February 24, 2014
The College of Engineering wrapped up a successful E-Week – full of activities such as two career fairs, industry tours and mentoring sessions, and a disco formal dance – with its annual awards banquet. The banquet honored more than 200 students for earning scholarships and fellowships. Also recognized was the College’s latest Hall of Achievement honoree, an outstanding student, a staff member, and three faculty members.
Hall of Achievement honoree Walter Chiang has been associated with UTA since 1975. A former adjunct faculty member of the Civil Engineering Department at the College (1976 to 1991), he has taught classes in water treatment plant design, wastewater treatment design, solid waste disposal, and industrial wastewater treatment. He continues to serve on the Civil Engineering Advisory Board and frequently teaches water and wastewater treatment short courses. In 1980, he started his own firm, Chiang and Associates, Inc., in Arlington, Texas (CP&Y, Inc.) The firm has evolved from an environmental services company to a multidisciplinary engineering firm engaged in a full spectrum of projects from infrastructure development to mass transit, aviation and transportation, in addition to environmental engineering. He is a member of the American Water Works Association and the Water Environment Federation, and he was the original Chair of the Municipal Wastewater Treatment Committee for the Water Environment Association of Texas, in which he is an active committee member.
The winner of the Meister Family Outstanding Student Leader Endowed Scholarship was Yara Hussein, a junior industrial engineering major. She is involved in multiple student organizations at UTA, including Engineering Student Council, where she has been a member for three years and an officer for two of those three years. This year, she is the Social and Special Events Chair. Yara is the junior representative of the Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE) student chapter at UTA and an official member of the National Institute of Industrial Engineers professional chapter. Additionally, she is a member of the Society of Women Engineers, the American Association of Arab American Engineers Texas chapter and the UTA French Society. Outside of UTA, she is also active in various volunteer opportunities such as her local mosque, the Fort Worth Zoo’s Boo at the Zoo event and Math Counts Competition Programs. She does all of this while maintaining a 3.30 GPA.
Bito Irie of the Computer Science and Engineering Department won the Fay Van Dam Outstanding Staff Award for the second time. In nominating Bito for the award, a professor stated, “He is unfailingly helpful, collegial, and a person who helped me navigate the university processes in many areas not just in his area of specialty. He is one of the most hard-working and capable staff people I have met in the entire university and someone I greatly admire. In addition to his work, he has continued to pursue his education, completing his master’s degree and currently pursuing his doctoral degree in Electrical Engineering. He is consistent, intellectual, and tireless in pursuing his academic goals and he brings those same characteristics to his work as well.”
The College of Engineering Early Career Faculty Award was presented to Bioengineering Assistant Professor Baohong Yuan. Since joining UTA in 2010, Yuan has created an internationally recognized research program in biomedical imaging. Specifically, his group has developed an ultrasound-switchable fluorescent imaging technique, which has an extremely high spatial resolution for deep tissue imaging. This new technique has tremendous potential to improve our knowledge on cancer development. This new invention has won three major State and Federal grants of approximately $2 million in which he has been served as the sole PI. These grants include a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, a National Institute of Health R15 grant, and an award from Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas. As a result of his work at UTA, he has published 10 journal papers and 16 conference papers. Overall, during his professional career, he has published in total 50 journal papers with a high rate of citation and produced 44 conference papers. It should be noted that one of his patents has been granted and another one is in provisional application. His teaching record is also excellent. He is mentoring four Ph.D. students and two Master’s students. He has graduated one Master’s student with thesis. He is also supervising three post-doctoral students. At the national level, he serves on review panels for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Science Foundation (NSF) and serves as a reviewer for 22 scientific journals. He is the Editorial Board Member for two scientific journals: (1) Technology in Cancer Research and Treatment, and (2) Austin Journal of Biomedical Engineering. He also was a Guest Editor for the International Journal of Optics.
Bioengineering Professor Mario Romero-Ortega was the recipient of the Excellence in Research Award. In the research and scholarly accomplishment arena, he has created a very impressive track record. Since his arrival at the UTA in 2008, he has established a neuroengineering research thrust in the Bioengineering Department. Due to his intensive efforts and accomplishments, his laboratory is now recognized at the national level. He has published 37 peer-reviewed journal papers. He also has 76 conference presentations. To date, he has received approximately $6.1 million in research funding; a stellar accomplishment. He has also been quite successful in establishing collaborations with a significant number of faculty members at UT Arlington, UT Dallas, the University of North Texas, and UT Southwestern. For his excellence in research, he was recognized as a Tech Titan in 2012 by the Metroplex Technology Business Council. Further, he has been nominated by UT Arlington to receive the highly coveted Peter O’Donnell Award, the highest scientific award offered by The Academy of Medicine, Engineering, and Science of Texas. His research has also resulted in a number of inventions in the area of nerve regeneration. He has made 10 intellectual property disclosures with UT Arlington, two of which were converted last year into US Provisional Patent Applications.
Finally, the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Excellence in Teaching Award was presented to Civil Engineering Professor Laureano Hoyos. Hoyos truly cares about his students and makes it a priority to have a positive influence on them to foster an enthusiasm for their chosen profession. He has taught 10 different courses and developed four during his tenure at UTA. He has received a number of teaching and research awards and is consistently rated among the top teaching faculty in his department. He has graduated six Ph.D. students and 23 master’s students, and is currently supervising two doctoral students and four master’s students. In addition to being an excellent teacher, he is a researcher of note as well, having authored or co-authored more than 100 publications. He has over $4 million in funding from state and federal agencies. He has served on many department, college and university committees, and was Associate Dean of the Honors College in 2008-09.