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April 2015 Engineers On The Move

An industrial engineer working at the nano level and a clinical psychologist working at the community level represent North Carolina A&T State University in the Triad Business Journal’s 2015 class of 40 Leaders Under 40 for the Piedmont Triad area. Dr. Salil Desai is an associate professor in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering. He was honored for his research in collaboration with high-tech nano and bio companies that has the potential to revolutionize the fabrication of regenerative tissue scaffolds, bio-chem sensors and functionally gradient materials that lead to next-generation devices and systems. Dr. Kelly Graves is executive director of N.C. A&T’s Center for Behavioral Health and Wellness. Dr. Graves is a tenured faculty member in the Department of Human Development and Services in the School of Education. She teaches at the masters and doctoral level. She also trains professionals across the country on the implementation of evidence-based practices in behavioral health settings.

Dr. Sarah Heckman, teaching assistant professor in the Computer Science Department at North Carolina State University (NC State), for being selected as a recipient of the Outstanding Teacher Award from the College of Engineering. Dr. Heckman is being recognized for her creative and innovative teaching and learning practices. Dr. Heckman, who joined the department in 2009, was the first teaching assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science. She is a three-time graduate of the Computer Science Department, earning her B.S. (2004), Master’s (2005), and Phd (2009) in Computer Science from NC State. She teaches several of the core classes in software engineering and programming languages in addition to being the faculty advisor for the student chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery/Association of Information Technology Professionals (ACM/AITP).
NC State awarded its highest nonacademic honor to alumni Lynn Eury and Judi Grainger during the annual Founders’ Day ceremony and dinner held recently in the Talley Student Union’s ballroom. Eury and Grainger received the prestigious Watauga Medal from NC State’s Board of Trustees. The medal, given annually since 1975, recognizes extraordinary service and commitment to the university.

The University of North Carolina—Charlotte (UNC Charlotte) has recently announced that:
David Vutetakis, a current master’s student in the Applied Energy and Electromechanical Systems program at UNC Charlotte, applied to the 2015 NASA Aeronautics Academy at NASA’s Langley Research Center (Hampton, Va.), and has been accepted onto the Multidisciplinary Aeronautics Research Team. Mr. Vutetakis also did his undergraduate studies at UNC Charlotte, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering Technology in May 2014. He was accepted into the MS Applied Energy and Electromechanical Systems program, where he is focusing on mechatronics and machine vision applications;
Dr. Johnny Graham, a former student and professor in The William Stats Lee College of Engineer, was inducted into the UNC Charlotte Alumni Hall of Fame on March 17, 2015. Dr. Graham’s induction was based on his service to his country as an infantry soldier in the First Air Cavalry Division in Vietnam, and on his service to students and profession as a professor of civil engineering in the Lee College of Engineering. In Vietnam, Dr. Graham was awarded two Purple Heart Medals for wounds received during combat operations and a Bronze Star Medal for meritorious service during combat. When he returned to the U.S., he began undergraduate studies with a number other Vietnam veterans at UNC Charlotte. He completed his bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering, then earned the first ever master’s of Civil Engineering degree from UNC Charlotte and from there went on to be the first person to graduate with a Ph.D. from an interinstitutional Civil Engineering program between UNC Charlotte and NC State. Dr. Graham was the first Ph.D. recipient to walk at a UNC Charlotte commencement; and
Dr. Chris Vermillion, an assistant professor of Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Science at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, has won a $500,000 National Science Foundation CAREER award to further his research in creating low-cost methodologies that optimize the combined physical system and controller for high-altitude wind energy systems. Dr. Vermillion has been with The William States Lee College of Engineering at UNC Charlotte since 2014. His research of the flight dynamics and control of tethered airborne wind energy systems employs a first-in-world rapid prototyping framework that makes possible small-scale flight experiments that can be run at much lower cost than full-scale prototypes.

Wake Forest University has recently announced that:
Senior Derek Fogel won the Best Presentation Award in the undergraduate session at the American Physical Society (APS) March Meeting 2015 that took place in San Antonio, Texas. Fogel presented the work he performed at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), with support of a NIST SURF fellowship. His presentation was entitled: “Monitoring Residual Solvent Additives and Their Effects in Solution Processed Solar Cells”; and
Senior Physics major Abdul Obaid was awarded a Gates Cambridge Scholarship. Obaid has been working in the laboratory of Prof. Oana Jurchescu for the last 3.5 years on organic and flexible electronics. His project focused on controlling the properties of organic semiconductor films by tuning processing parameters.

Mark Wiesner has been named chair of Duke’s Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Department, effective July 1, 2015. Wiesner, who holds the James L. Meriam Professorship of Civil and Environmental Engineering, is a recognized leader in the national and international civil and environmental engineering community. He brings a wealth of experience to the position as the highly successful leader of the Center for the Environmental Implications of NanoTechnology (CEINT). In addition to his new duties as chair of CEE, Wiesner will continue his leadership of CEINT. His research leadership has earned him recent accolades such as the 2011 NWRI Athalie Richardson Irvine Clarke Prize for excellence in water research, and his induction this year into the National Academy of Engineering.
Xiling Shen will join the biomedical engineering department in Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering in July 2015. Shen earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees from Stanford University, before conducting postdoctoral research at the University of California–Berkeley. He then joined Cornell University’s faculty as an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering and biomedical engineering in 2009. He also worked as an analog and wireless circuit designer at Barcelona Design and Texas Instruments between 2001 and 2004.

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) presented Nicholas M. DeNichilo, President and CEO of Hatch Mott MacDonald, with its lifetime achievement honor, the Outstanding Projects and Leaders (OPAL) award. DeNichilo has been licensed as a Professional Engineer in several states, and is a member of numerous engineering societies. He is a leading voice on behalf of safe engineering practices, technical innovation, and the importance of designing for resiliency in a time of increasingly severe climate conditions.

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