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College of Engineering Awards Banquet 2012

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Excellence was in full view as the College of Engineering rewarded students, faculty and staff at its annual awards banquet February 24.

Dean BardetMaster of ceremonies and alumnus Brian Chase implored the faculty and students in attendance to remain linked to the needs of industry to keep pace with globalization and technology so UTA graduates will be able to enter the workforce at the top of their field. Dean Jean-Pierre Bardet also addressed globalization and urged all in attendance to pursue avenues to make the College a global player. He also invited all who are interested to take part in the College’s strategic planning process.

 After their remarks, awards were given to nearly 200 students, plus three faculty and a staff member.

The top student award, the Outstanding Student Leader Award, was presented to Ya-Yu “Monica” Hew. This $1,000 award is made this year from a new college endowment to recognize an outstanding student leader in the UTA College of Engineering.  This new endowment is called the Meister Family Endowment, and it is based mainly on leadership qualities such as reliability, dependability, willingness to participate in a variety of activities and initiative.    

Monica is a junior aerospace engineering and physics major.  She is involved in a large number of student organizations on campus: the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Society of Women Engineers, Engineering Student Council, the Mathematical Association of America (where she is the secretary), Honors Constituency Council, Taiwanese Student Association and UTA Hosts. She is also on the Mavs Badminton team (where she is the secretary) and the Mavs Fencing team (where she is the treasurer). She also is a Black Belt 2nd degree in International Taekwondo, and serves on the National Drill Team and Honor Guard of Taiwan.

While she is juggling all of these extracurricular activities, she maintains a perfect 4.0 GPA, and is involved in several research projects here at UTA involving sensor development, fluid dynamics and timing detector development.  She has already published two papers and presented several at national and regional conferences, winning the 1st Place award for undergraduate paper at the AIAA Region VI Student Conference last April.

The Fay Van Dam Outstanding Staff Award recognizes a member of the support staff whose everyday performance and dedication to the college demonstrates a constant desire to go above what is normally required and accepted. It was awarded to Lanie Gordon of the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department.

Lanie has received much admiration from the faculty, other staff members and students.  Her performance has been exceptional and she has been a tremendous asset to her department and to the college. 

Some testimonials about her tremendous value to the department include: “She always shows cheerful willingness to help, is dedicated and she has proven to be a take-charge person who is able to successfully develop plans and implement them. Especially in the Academics Office of her department, she plays a leading role among her fellow staff members: guiding, encouraging, and motivating them with constructive ideas. This is a very important quality for a senior staff member in the office and it runs the office in an environment of assisting each other and creating achievements together.” 

And: “In general, her strong customer service attitude has permeated the office, with students being treated with respect and care from the moment they walk into the office. This stems from her example of professional and pleasant demeanor. Students are greeted, not ignored. Their issues are addressed, not deferred.”

The College’s Early Career Faculty Award is given to a tenure-track faculty member who, while in the early phases of their career, is judged to be our most promising teacher and scholar, based on his or her body of accomplishments since coming to the college.

This year’s recipient, Dr. Mario Romero-Ortega of the bioengineering department, has established a truly outstanding record of accomplishments in the areas of research, teaching and service. Since his arrival at UT Arlington in 2008, he has created a neuroengineering research thrust in his department. Due to his intensive efforts and accomplishments, his lab is now nationally recognized. During this short time, he has published 13 peer-reviewed manuscripts, with an additional 4 in review. He has published 37 manuscripts in top tier journals with high rate of citation. He has also had 62 conference presentation and 39 invited and keynote talks to his credit. To date, he has received approximately $5.5 million in research funding, an unparalleled record for a faculty member at this early stage of his career. 

His teaching record is also stellar.  He has already mentored one Ph.D. and four master’s students to graduation with thesis.  At present, he has nine Ph.D. students and four Master’s students with theses under his supervision.

As for his service, at the national level, he serves on the proposal review panels for the National Institutes of Health on a regular basis and serves as a regular reviewer for 10 scientific journals. He also serves on several other committees in the community, as well as at the university, college and departmental level.  His role in developing the life science part of our recently approved undergraduate bioengineering degree program was instrumental.

Dr. LiangThis year’s winner of the Excellence in Research Award, presented to a distinguished faculty member who has demonstrated superior scholarship by advancing the state of knowledge in his or her chosen field of research, was Dr. Qilian Liang of the electrical engineering department. He has earned a global reputation in the area of sensor networks, on diverse topics such as Smart Grid wireless networks, radar networks, underwater sensor networks, wireless mesh networks, and compressive sensing in sensing networks. He has likewise developed a national and international reputation for his work in type-2 fuzzy logic systems and for his contributions in cross-layer design for wireless sensor networks.  His publications on these topics have been cited more than 1,500 times.

He has won a major IEEE Transactions paper award, is the recipient of an Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award, recipient of the College of Engineering Young Faculty Member Award in 2005, and since Fall 2008 has been awarded an Air Force Summer Faculty Fellowship three times.  Since joining UT Arlington in 2002, he has brought in more than $4 million—nearly half of which has come in the past two years.

He has graduated eight Ph.D. students and 19 master’s students in his time at UTA. He has been publishing, on average, six journal articles per year and has more than 60 journal publications in total, as well as over 100 conference publications and presentations and has authored six book chapters.

Dr. ChanThe Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Excellence in Teaching Award winner was Dr. Wen Chan of the mechanical and aerospace engineering department.  Winners of this award are distinguished educators who have demonstrated their dedication to the teaching profession by their superior classroom instruction and exceptional interactions with students. Lockheed Martin sponsors the award, in part, to honor Robert Q. Lee, a Lockheed Martin engineer who served for several years on the advisory board for the College of Engineering, helping to raise the quality and reputation of the college’s programs and faculty.

Dr. Chen worked for two years at Gates Learjet Corporation and for seven years at Bell Helicopter Textron. When he switched gears and decided to become a professor, he brought a breadth of knowledge with him and has ever since dedicated his life to the pursuit of excellence in teaching and research.

He has taught nine different undergraduate courses and six different graduate courses during his tenure at UTA. He has received a number of teaching and research awards.  He is consistently rated among the top teaching faculty in his department and is always available to students, even after hours. His mentoring has been awarded as well, with his student nominated for the best master’s thesis for the College of Engineering for 2010.  He has graduated 13 Ph.D. students and more than 40 master’s students.        

As well as being an incredible teacher, he is a researcher of note as well, having authored or co-authored more than 180 publications. He has served as the chair and graduate advisor, and played a major role in shaping the program goals for his department.


In addition to the faculty, staff and student awards, R. Allen Bowling, Ph.D. was inducted into the College of Engineering’s Hall of Achievement. Membership in the Hall of Achievement is accorded to individuals who, through their performance and example, have made significant contributions to the engineering profession.

Allen is Manager of Research for Texas Instruments' Analog Technology Development group in Dallas. He joined TI in 1980 as a process control engineer in a semiconductor manufacturing factory. From 1982 to 1987, he was a member of the technical staff in the TI Central Research Labs' Materials Science Laboratory doing research on silicon semiconductor materials and processes.  In 1987, he was elected TI Senior Member of the Technical Staff. From 1987 to 2001, he was a manager for semiconductor technology process development in TI's Semiconductor Process and Device Center and Silicon Technology Development group.  Since 2001, he has managed a number of semiconductor research programs. In 2002, Allen was elected TI Fellow, one of about 60 current TI technical Fellows.  

Allen serves on several university research advisory boards and committees, including the SRC GRC Executive Technical Advisory Board, the Stanford University Center for Integrated Systems Advisory Committee, the MIT Microsystems Industry Group Advisory Committee, the University of Arizona ESH Research Center Executive Advisory Board, and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Advisory Committee on Research Programs (ACORP).   At the University of Texas at Arlington, Allen serves on the College of Engineering Board of Advisors and on the Department of Materials Science Advisory Board. 

Also recognized was UT Arlington Distinguished Alumnus Keith Weiss. He was presented with his award at the UT Arlington Alumni Association Gala in October 2011. He earned his B.S. in industrial engineering at UT Arlington in 1973 and founded the Weiss Family Endowed Scholarship for Engineering at UT Arlington in 2006.