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College Celebrates Faculty-Staff Awards

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Several College of Engineering faculty and staff were honored for achievements in the previous year at the College’s annual faculty/staff awards luncheon March 28.

Among the achievements recognized were those with service to the University of 10, 15, 20, and 25 years; those achieving Fellow status in professional organizations; National Science Foundation CAREER Award winners; an Embracing Challenge Award winner; and the Lockheed Martin Excellence in Teaching Award, the Early Career Faculty Award, the Excellence in Research Award, and the Fay Van Dam Outstanding Staff Award.

Those recognized were:


J.-C. Chiao, SPIE
Samir Iqbal, Royal Society of Chemistry 
Frank Lewis, American Association for the Advancement of Science
Qilian Liang, IEEE 
Hanli Liu, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering
Kytai Nguyen, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering
Frank Lu, American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics

CAREER Award winners 

Yuze “Alice” Sun
Ankur Jain
Yi Hong
Junzhou Huang

Embracing Challenge Award winner 

Kytai Nguyen

Service Awards 

10 Years
Gautam Das
Feraydune Kashefi
Kytai Nguyen
Tom Parmelee
Sara Ridenour
Fenghua Tian
David Wetz
Sam Williams

15 Years
Ali Abolmaali
Zhen Xue Han
Skipper Harris
Stephen Mattingly
Carter Tiernan

20 Years
Miguel Amaya
David Levine

Fay Van Dam Outstanding Staff Award 

The Fay Van Dam Outstanding Staff Award is presented to 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.

Debi BartonDebi Barton, a graduate academic advisor in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department, is this year’s recipient. She has received much admiration from her department’s faculty and students and gone far beyond the normal demands of her job to make her interactions with students as pleasant and helpful as possible, and she maintains meaningful relationships with many of them throughout their academic careers and beyond. In fact, she has attended students’ weddings, opened her home to wayward souls with nowhere to go during holidays, and soothed parents’ nerves. She was voted by students as her department’s Most Valuable Staff Member in 2011.

One professor notes that, “no matter how busy she may be, our students are always greeted by her with a smile, and I know for a fact that every single graduate student loves her.” Another professor says, “She is the embodiment of everything that can be good and comforting for any incoming graduate student. From the first time she interacts with them, they are her kids forever.”

Early Career Faculty Award 

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

Ankur JainAnkur Jain, an assistant professor in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department, is this year’s awardee.

Jain has established an outstanding record of accomplishments in research, teaching and service. Since he joined UTA in 2011, he has been awarded grants totaling more than $2 million from sources such as the National Science Foundation and Department of Energy.

As a result of his work at UTA, he has published 42 journal papers and was awarded an NSF Career Award last year to explore how heat flows through materials and an NSF EAGER grant in 2015 to find ways to harness heat energy lost from automobiles, buildings and other devices.

His teaching record is also excellent. He has graduated three Ph.D. and three M.S. students and mentored one honors undergraduate student. His teaching evaluations place him within the top 2% in his department. As for his service, He has organized two international workshops and chaired the EPPD Track at the 2015 ASME IMECE Conference, and he earned the ASME’s EPPD Division Young Engineer Award in 2013.

Excellence in Research Award 

The Excellence in Research award is 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. A committee of peers selected the winner, who best meets the standard of research excellence required of this prestigious award.

Andrew MakeevAndrew Makeev, a professor in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department, is this year’s awardee.

Makeev has earned 19 major funded grants since arriving at UTA in 2011. His external funding averages $1 million per year, and he was the leader of the Vertical Lift Consortium and a follow-up Army National Rotorcraft Technology Center grant. As a result of his research, he has published 22 journal papers and six articles in the highest-ranked journal in composites, Composites Science and Technology. Five of his papers have won best paper awards at national and international conferences.

In the classroom, he has graduated six doctoral students. His service activities include serving as chair of several committees for the American Helicopter Society and other related organizations, and membership on the Organizing Committee of the 17th Australian International Aerospace Congress. 

Lockheed Martin Excellence in Teaching Award 

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Excellence in Teaching Award winners 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.

Bill CarrollBill Carroll, a professor in the Computer Science and Engineering Department, is this year’s awardee.

Carroll prioritizes creativity and stays abreast of new developments in his field, which he then incorporates into his teaching. He prefers to focus on teaching undergraduate students, and he makes a lasting impression on them, including one who said, “He always brings students to the edge of the subject matter, then encourages and inspires them to take that leap into a true learning of the material. He eschews a one-size-fits-all approach to teaching and tailors the study to his class, whether that class is large or small.”

He has taught 14 different courses during his tenure at UTA and graduated six Ph.D. students and 16 master’s students. He makes changes to course material as necessary and includes “soft” skills that will benefit students in their professional lives, such as preparing an elevator speech. He also developed and introduced a portable logic design laboratory called “The Bitbox”, which expands and complements the standard take-home lab kit that students use to practice concepts introduced in class and in the lab. 

After spending more than 10 years as dean of the College, he returned to the classroom full-time to pursue his passion for teaching.