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Faculty news

Highlighting recent faculty awards, appointments, publications, and more


Two University of Texas at Arlington faculty members—Stephanie Rasmussen, associate professor of accounting in the College of Business, and Ericka Robinson-Freeman, associate professor in practice in the School of Social Work—have earned the UT System Board of Regents Outstanding Teaching Award.

Dereje Agonafer, Presidential Distinguished Professor and the Jenkins Garrett Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, received the Howard University 2020 Alumni Award for Distinguished Postgraduate Achievement.

The Construction Management Association of America chose Sharareh “Sherri” Kermanshachi, assistant professor of civil engineering, as the Mark Hasso Educator of the Year.

History Associate Professor Cristina Salinas received the 2020 National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies Book Award for Managed Migrations: Growers, Farmworkers, and Border Enforcement in the 20th Century, which examines connections between the agricultural industry and border enforcement in the Rio Grande Valley.

Karabi Bezboruah won the 2020 United States Distance Learning Association International Excellence in Teaching/Training Award. She is an associate professor in the College of Architecture, Planning, and Public Affairs.

Management Assistant Professor Alison Hall Birch received the Academy of Management Review’s Best Paper Award for 2020.

The Texas Society of Architects honored Kathryn Holliday, professor and founding director of the David Dillon Center for Texas Architecture, with its award for Excellence in the Promotion of Architecture through the Media in Honor of John G. Flowers; and Bradley Bell, associate professor and director of the School of Architecture, with its Outstanding Educational Contributions in Honor of Edward J. Romieniec.

Presidential Distinguished Professor and the Jenkins Garrett Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Dereje Agonafer was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the SEMI-THERM Educational Foundation Thermal Hall of Fame.


A new multisite study led by UTA and published in Nature Communications Biology details a series of biomarkers in the blood that could lead to better diagnoses and treatments for osteoporosis. The UTA team comprises Zhiying Wang, Liangqiao Bian, Chenglin Mo, Maciej Kukula, Daniel W. Armstrong, and Marco Brotto.

Physics Professor Wei Chen co-authored four studies related to his work with nanomaterials. Two were published in Applied Material Interfaces, while the others were published in Coordination Chemistry Reviews and Nature Signal Transduction and Targeted Therapy.

Sriram Villupuram, associate professor in the College of Business, determined that curb appeal in residential housing could account for up to 7% of a home’s value when sold. His study was published in the Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics.

In his new book, Getting Signed: Record Contracts, Musicians, and Power in Society, sociology Associate Professor David Arditi explores how the dream of receiving a record contract can obscure a culture of exploitation in the music industry.

Jennifer Zhang, professor in the College of Business’ Department of Information Systems and Operations Management, published a paper in ScholarSpace that estimates the value of images in predicting the success of crowdfunding projects.

A recently published study led by Ariane Froidevaux, assistant professor of management, says that student debt may hurt graduates’ chances of securing full-time employment. The paper appeared in the Journal of Applied Psychology.

A UTA study of transit-oriented developments across Dallas-Fort Worth identifies the most important factors that can increase housing values near those sites. Ard Anjomani, professor in the College of Architecture, Planning, and Public Affairs, and recent alumnus Saad AlQuhtani published the study in the Journal of Transport Geography.

Evan Mistur, assistant professor in the College of Architecture, Planning, and Public Affairs, published an article in the Journal of Chinese Political Science suggesting that nationalistic governments around the globe are more likely to copy other nationalistic governments in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Sahadat Hossain, director of UTA’s Solid Waste Institute for Sustainability, and Warda Ashraf, assistant professor of civil engineering, are combining their two areas of expertise—recycling and asphalt/concrete, respectively—to lead a feasibility study on building plastic roads, funded by the Texas Department of Transportation.

UTA and the city of Coppell are collaborating on robotic inspections of sewer pipelines and material testing of their core samples to predict their service life. Ali Abolmaali, professor and chair of the Civil Engineering Department, is leading the $895,100 project. Faculty Research Associates Arash Emami Saleh and Maziar Mahdavi are co-principal investigators.

Social work Associate Professor Anne Nordberg and civil engineering Professor Steve Mattingly are developing a comprehensive vision of what the Texas transportation system should look like in 25 years. The two-year project is funded by the Texas Department of Transportation.

David Wetz, a professor of electrical engineering, received a three-year, $799,000 grant from the Naval Surface Warfare Center–Dahlgren Division to study the high-voltage dielectric insulation properties of epoxy and additively manufactured materials.

In collaboration with researchers from Iowa State University, Caroline Krejci, industrial engineering assistant professor, is helping develop a framework to analyze food, energy, and water systems in the greater Des Moines, Iowa, area. The project is funded by a $2.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation.

Social work Assistant Professor Kathy Lee earned a grant from the Alzheimer’s Association International Research Grant Program to study the best ways to communicate with caregivers of East Asian Americans diagnosed with memory disorders.

Computer science Assistant Professor Ming Li received a five-year grant from the National Science Foundation’s Faculty Early Career Development program to develop a framework for wireless carriers and internet providers to incorporate data obtained through context-aware sensing.

Nur Yazdani, a professor of civil engineering, received funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to develop a web-based tool that will help stakeholders properly design home slab elevations to protect homes and possessions against flood waters in future storms.


The National Academy of Inventors selected David Hunn, adjunct professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, as a fellow. Four UTA faculty members were also named senior members of the institute: Pranesh Aswath, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs; Wei Chen, professor of physics; Haiying Huang, professor of mechanical engineering; and Robert L. Woods, professor of mechanical engineering.

The Advisory Council on Underwater Archaeology elected Ashley Lemke, assistant professor of anthropology, as chair of the international advisory body.

Ashfaq Adnan, associate professor in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department, was named a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

The Atlantic Council named Brian Whitmore, adjunct assistant professor in the Charles T. McDowell Center for Global Studies, as a nonresident senior fellow.

The Royal Aeronautical Society elected mechanical and aerospace engineering Professors Kamesh Subbarao and Luca Maddalena as fellows.

Jim Williams, civil engineering professor, was re-elected president of Chi Epsilon, the national civil engineering honor society.

The Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers named Erick C. Jones, the George and Elizabeth Pickett Endowed Professor and associate dean for graduate affairs in the College of Engineering, as a fellow.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science selected Qinhong Hu as a fellow.

The Optical Society named electrical engineering Professor Weidong Zhou as a fellow.

European Academy of Sciences, Engineering Division, elected Maria Konsta-Gdoutos as one of eight new fellows for 2020. She is a civil engineering professor and associate director of the Center for Advanced Construction Materials.

Ali Abolmaali, professor and chair of civil engineering, was named a fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers.

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