Faculty and Student Achievements

Faculty
Dr. Matt Davies, professor of Mechanical Engineering, won the 2016 Bank of America Award for Teaching Excellence, UNC Charlotte’s highest honor for teaching. Since joining UNC Charlotte in 2001, Dr. Davies has provided students with a classroom environment that maximizes learning while promoting self-confidence and ethics in the practice of engineering and research. His approach, aimed at the expansion of knowledge, technical capability and understanding of mechanical and optical engineering principles, is learner-centered and relies on continuous feedback between teacher and student.

Dr. Janos Gergely, associate professor of Civil Engineering, was one of five finalists for the
Bank of America Award for Teaching Excellence. As a teacher, Dr. Gergely keeps a strong focus on the practical side of his ever-changing profession, but he also guides his students to be knowledge seekers and helps them develop a sense of the humanity behind the structure. As a structural engineer, Gergely knows that the consequences for professional incompetence are severe. It is with this mindset that he dedicates himself to teaching and maintains high expectations for his student

Dr. Raphael Tsu, distinguished professor emeritus in Electrical Engineering, was awarded the 2016 Arts and Science Council Award for lifetime achievement in science. An acknowledged authority and world leader in the areas of quantum properties of materials and device physics, Dr. Tsu provided the basic theory of negative differential conductance applicable to the man-made Superlattice, and achieved tunneling through the double-barrier structure. These results formed the forerunner of today’s nanoelectronics.

Professor Sheng-Guo Wang of Engineering Technology and Construction Management won a Fulbright Fellowship to teach and conduct research at Hong Kong Polytechnic University for the 2016-17 academic year. In addition, Dr. Wang’s NCDOT research project, titled “Improvements to NCDOT’s Wetland Prediction Model”, won a prestigious National “Sweet 16” High Value Research 2015 Award from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.

Dr. Stuart Smith, professor of Mechanical Engineering, was presented a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society for Precision Engineering. Dr. Smith has been a researcher in the Center for Precision Metrology for more than 20 years. His precision engineering research includes development of micro-scale robotic systems for particle manipulation and measurement, design and manufacturing of precision instruments, vortex machining, x-ray interferometry, probe microscopy, and low-load contact mechanics. Dr. Smith’s recognition is the fourth ASPE Lifetime Achievement Award presented to UNC Charlotte researchers. The other winners include Dr. Steve Patterson, Dr. Bob Hocken and Dr. Chris Evans.

Dr. Bruce Gehrig, associate professor of ETCM, won a Fulbright grant to teach civil engineering and perform water resource management research at the Namibia University of Science and Technology in Namibia, Africa.

Dr. Badrul Chowdhury, Systems Engineering and Electrical Engineering, was conferred the Duke Energy Distinguished Professorship in the Lee College of Engineering. His research background is in power system modeling, integration of renewable and distributed energy resources including wind electric conversion systems, and microgrid control and optimization.

The UNC Charlotte Alumni Association recognized engineering alumni Dhiaa Jamil and Dr. Brett Tempest for outstanding contributions to their professions, their communities and the university. Jamil, executive vice president and president of Duke Nuclear Energy, was recognized with the Bonnie Cone Lifetime Achievement Award. A 1978 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, Jamil was lauded for his “leadership and dedication that have helped to transform both UNC Charlotte and the Charlotte region.” Triple Civil Engineering degree graduate Brett Tempest (bachelors ’04, masters ’07 and Ph.D. ’10) was named Outstanding Young Alumnus. Now a member of the Lee College of Engineering’s Civil and Environmental Engineering faculty, Tempest is an expert on reuse applications for coal fly ash derived from power generation use.

Dr. Chris Vermillion, an assistant professor of Mechanical Engineering, won a $500,000 NSF CAREER award to further his research in high-altitude wind energy systems.

The Charlotte Business Journal recognized Dr. Robert Cox of Electrical Engineering as one of the Charlotte region's brightest and most talented up-and-comers with its 40-Under-40 Award. Dr. Cox joined UNC Charlotte in 2006, is director of the SIBS I/UCRC and serves as a VP of Engineering for SineWatts.

Dr. Jim Conrad of Electrical Engineering was elected to the Board of Directors for IEEE.

The Society of Manufacturing Engineers, which serves the manufacturing industry by promoting advanced manufacturing technology, elected Dr. Tony Schmitz of the Mechanical Engineering to its 2015 College of Fellows.

Dr. Peter Tkacik of Mechanical Engineering was the recipient of the Bonnie E. Cone Early-Career Professorship in Teaching. Dr. Tkacik was described in nomination as “passionate about teaching his students ‘work-life’ engineering skills, which is why he designs ambitious hands-on labs and projects that provide a deep understanding and a practical set of skills.”

The Lee College of Engineering presented its 2016 Undergraduate Excellence in Teaching Award to Dr. Martin Kane of Civil Engineering, and its Graduate Excellence in Teaching Award to Dr. Arun Ravindran of Electrical Engineering.

Students
Electrical Engineering doctoral student Kathryn Smith won a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. NSF graduate research fellows receive a $32,000 annual stipend for three years within a five-year fellowship period. They also receive a $12,000 cost-of-education allowance and professional development opportunities.

As members of a team consisting of one other college student and an active duty Army representative, four Lee College of Engineering students won a 3D printing design competition sponsored by the U.S. Army Research Office. Forty Niners Nathan Lambert (master’s student Mechanical Engineering), James Haig (master’s ME), Patrick Fain (BS Mechanical Engineering Technology), and Eric Fleischhauer (Ph.D. ME) were part of the team that won the competition to develop ideas and concepts for items that would be useful in a military operational environment, and for which 3D printing would offer an advantage.

The UNC Charlotte 49er Rocketry Club team placed third overall in the nation at the 2015 NASA Student Launch Initiative MAXI-MAV (Mars Ascent Vehicle) competition at Marshall Space Flight Center near Huntsville, Alabama. Thirty-five teams from 18 states and Puerto Rico launched their single-stage rockets during the 15th annual competition. To determine the winning teams, data from each of the flights was analyzed over the following weeks and the results of the analyses were combined with results from technical design reviews and other products required before launch day.

MS in Applied Energy and Electromechanical Systems student Misa Vo won first place in the Computer Science, Mathematics and Engineering Paper Presentation competition at the UNC Charlotte 15th Annual Graduate Research Symposium.

A Systems Engineering student team made up of Richard Alaimo, Justin Ervin, Kevin Wong, William Cole and Hanna Tannous won third place in the Undergraduate Operations Research Competition at the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers Annual Conference and Expo held in Anaheim, CA.

The UNC Charlotte 49er Rocketry Club team placed third overall in the nation at the 2015 NASA Student Launch Initiative MAXI-MAV (Mars Ascent Vehicle) competition at Marshall Space Flight Center near Huntsville, Alabama. Thirty-five teams from 18 states and Puerto Rico launched their single-stage rockets during the 15th annual competition. To determine the winning teams, data from each of the flights was analyzed over the following weeks and the results of the analyses were combined with results from technical design reviews and other products required before launch day.

A team of Engineering Technology and Construction Management students won the 2015 Concrete Construction Competition sponsored by the American Concrete Institute and the American Society of Concrete Contractors. The winning team members were Hunter Ballard, Joshua Beitz, Ashton Crabtree, Carter Dold and Mark Stevenson. Dr. Tara Cavalline was the team’s faculty advisor. For the competition, students developed solutions to a project problem statement issued by ACI.

At the Duke University Energy Conference, Ph.D. student Alireza Javanshir’s poster on the “Effects of Working Fluid on Performance for the OCR” was named the winner of the Student Choice Award. In the competition for posters judged by faculty and industry members, Ph.D. student Soheil Razymar’s poster titled “Nano-cable Heterostructures for Advance Solar Energy Harvesting” won second place, and undergraduate student Samuel Dunbar’s poster “Analysis of a Supercritical CO2 Hybrid Brayton Cycle” won third place.

The Foundation of the Association of Energy Engineers named MS in Applied Energy and Electromechanical Systems student Brett Cockerham a national scholarship winners for 2015-16.

In the 2016 NPower Forecasting Challenge, four Lee College of Engineering students finished in the top six of the competition. In the 2015 NPower Challenge, a team of doctoral students from several UNC Charlotte programs won third place overall. More than 40 teams competed throughout the one-month, three-round challenge.

Academic Milestones

Center Highlights

Research Highlights

Community and Alumni Events