Faculty News

Highlighting recent faculty awards, appointments, publications, and more


News Spotlights


Lee joins United Nations council

Wei-Jen Lee

Electrical engineering Professor Wei-Jen Lee is one of just five faculty members from an American university invited to serve on the United Nations Council of Engineers for the Energy Transition (CEET): An Independent Advisory Council to the Secretary-General. Formed in September 2021, CEET is expected to contribute to the U.N.’s goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. Its first cohort comprises 36 scientists and engineers from across the globe who have a range of expertise in business, academia, and public policy.

“Bringing in world-class scientific and engineering know-how from across the world, the CEET will provide concrete solutions to achieve the objectives of the Paris Agreement as well as universal energy access for all,” said Gerd Müller, director general of U.N. Industrial Development Organization and CEET co-chair, in a statement.

The Paris Agreement is an international treaty on climate change adopted in 2015. Its goal is to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels.

“This is a very complex issue, and it’s a great opportunity for integrating technology, policy, and humanity,” Dr. Lee says. “The goal is to work together from an engineering and policy standpoint to find solutions that can be implemented and have an impact.”


Professor honored for efforts to diversify STEM

Minerva Cordero

In 2022, President Joe Biden named Minerva Cordero, professor of mathematics, a recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring. She was one of only 12 individuals selected for the honor that year.

The national award was created to identify and recognize individuals who have contributed outstanding mentoring efforts and have enhanced the participation of individuals who might not otherwise have considered or had access to opportunities in STEM disciplines and professions.

For Dr. Cordero, the award honors the mentors and students in her own life.

“This award would not be possible without the mentors who generously gave their time to my professional development, guiding me on the path to many successes,” she says. “I am privileged to pay their investment forward and mentor many bright, talented students at UT Arlington and within the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington communities.”



The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics named Erian Armanios, chair of the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department, a fellow.

The National Academy of Inventors elected Pranesh Aswath, professor of materials science and engineering, and Wei Chen, professor of physics, as fellows; Yi Hong, associate professor of bioengineering, and Muthu Wijesundara, head of the Biomedical Technologies Division at the UTA Research Institute, as senior members; and President Jennifer Cowley as an honorary member.

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers named mechanical engineering Associate Professors Alan Bowling and Ankur Jain fellows.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science appointed Ann Cavallo, assistant vice provost and distinguished professor of science education, as a fellow.

The American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering selected Jean Gao, a computer science and engineering professor, as a fellow.

Kathryn Holliday, architecture professor and founding director of the David Dillon Center for Texas Architecture, was appointed as a Mellon Fellow at Dumbarton Oaks.

Ursula Emery McClure, professor of architecture, was elevated to a fellow in the College of Fellows by the American Institute of Architects.

History Assistant Professor Alberto Ortiz-Díaz received the David B. Larson Fellowship in Health and Spirituality from the Library of Congress.

Gabriela Wilson, professor of kinesiology and co-director of the Multi-Interprofessional Center for Health Informatics, was elected as a fellow of the International Academy of Health Sciences Informatics.



Fillia Makedon, a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, received a grant from the National Science Foundation to develop a robotic system that helps people with spinal cord injuries perform everyday tasks.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse awarded Linda Perrotti, professor of psychology, a three-year grant to support her research into the differences in somatic, emotional, and motivational responses between males and females after discontinuing the use of morphine.

Souvik Roy, assistant professor of mathematics, is developing a data-driven mathematical framework to analyze the progression of esophageal cancer with a grant from the National Science Foundation.

Liao Yue, assistant professor in kinesiology, is leading a three-year study funded by the American Institute for Cancer Research to explore whether personalized biological feedback will motivate cancer survivors to lead more active lifestyles.

Assistant Professors Dajiang Zhu (computer science and engineering) and Li Wang (mathematics) are using a five-year, $2.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to map the brain and potentially detect Alzheimer’s disease earlier.



Warda Ashraf, associate professor of civil engineering, received the Director’s Award from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

College of Nursing and Health Innovation Associate Dean Kathryn Daniel was selected as a 2022 Dallas-Fort Worth Great 100 Nurse.

Marilee Bresciani Ludvik was the 2022 recipient of the American College Personnel Association’s College Student Educators International Contribution to Knowledge Award. She is chair and professor of the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies.

The humanitarian organization Refugees International honored Roshan Mashal, a Texas International Education Consortium fellow at UTA, with its 2022 Exceptional Service Award for her extraordinary commitment to human rights in Afghanistan.

The UT System Board of Regents selected Iya Price, assistant professor of instruction, for its Outstanding Teaching Award.

Cindy Trowbridge, associate professor in the College of Nursing and Health Innovation, received the Lifetime Contribution Award from the National Athletic Trainers’ Association.



Todd Castoe, professor of biology, is senior author on a study published in Nature Ecology and Evolution that describes how rattlesnakes diversify their venom to maintain an advantage in the ongoing “arms race” with evolving prey resistance.

Traci Freling, associate marketing professor, is co-author on a Journal of Business Research paper assessing the effects of negative publicity on consumers.

History Professor Sam W. Haynes published the book Unsettled Land: From Revolution to Republic, the Struggle for Texas, which offers a new interpretation of the founding of early modern Texas.

Lynda Jarrell, a nursing clinical assistant professor, published a study in The Nurse Practitioner that discusses asthma-chronic obstructive pulmonary disease overlap in patients.

Psychology Professor Jared Kenworthy and Dean Emeritus Paul Paulus co-authored the book Creativity and Innovation: Cognitive, Social, and Computational Approaches on how creative ideas emerge from cognitive and social dynamics.

A Science Advances study co-authored by Hanli Liu, professor of bioengineering, describes how a noninvasive light therapy known as transcranial photobiomodulation can improve short-term memory in humans.

In response to a high-competition environment, Trinidadian killifish evolve larger brains, increasing their fitness and survival rates, according to a study in Ecology Letters by Matt Walsh, associate professor of biology, and Kaitlyn Howell (’22 PhD, Biology).


Rick Wilder

Investigating Earth’s ionosphere-thermosphere

A space physicist at UTA is playing a key role in NASA’s Geospace Dynamics Constellation mission aimed at improving our understanding of the planet’s ionosphere-thermosphere (I-T) system.

Kyeong Rok Ryu

Quantifying the benefits of roadside vegetation

Construction management Assistant Professor Kyeong Rok Ryu is helping cultivate a better-looking Texas by creating best practices for roadside vegetation.

Illustration by Jing Jing Tsong

Evaluating smart traffic signal design

Civil engineer Pengfei “Taylor” Li hopes to make traffic signals smarter with new simulation techniques and big data.

Inquiry Magazine 2023

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