College of Engineering and Science

2012 Faculty Awards

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At the close of the spring semester, several College of Engineering and Science (CoES) faculty were singled out for achievement and service.

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Three were recognized with university awards at the final faculty meeting of the semester.

John DesJardins

John DesJardins (shown above right), assistant professor of bioengineering, received the Phil and Mary Bradley Award for Mentoring in Creative Inquiry. DesJardins is directing or co-directing six Creative Inquiry projects involving 220 students. Projects range from “Creative Calculus in Biomedicine” to “Designing Medical Technology for the Developing World” to “Freshman/Senior Design and Mentoring Experiences in Bioengineering.” Nominations for the Bradley Award come from students who are engaged in Creative Inquiry.

Apparao Rao

Apparao Rao (pictured above right), the R.A. Bowen Professor of Physics, was honored with the Alumni Award for Outstanding Achievement in Research. Rao is a leader in developing nanoscale materials. At a scale of 10 to the negative ninth, or one-billionth of a meter, these materials have a much greater surface-to-volume ratio than other materials, which can lead to unusual and often very useful properties. Rao and his team invented a way to make tiny, shock-absorbing carbon springs that can protect delicate electronics like cell phones and have advanced the development of electromechanical nanosensors that can warn of toxic chemicals in the air.


Joshua Summers

Joshua Summers, associate professor of mechanical engineering and IDEaS Professor, received the Frank A. Burtner Award for Excellence in Advising. The award, named for a former faculty member and adviser, is given for contributions to student development in leadership, devotion to duty and service to students. Since joining the faculty in 2002, Summers has been adviser for five completed Ph.D. dissertations, 30 master’s theses and five master’s projects. He also serves as an adviser to undergraduate students in both the Calhoun Honors College and the Creative Inquiry program. This spring he was recognized with the South Carolina Governor’s Award for Scientific Awareness for his K-12 educational outreach efforts.


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Ten CoES faculty were honored at the college level.

Maria Mayorga

Maria Mayorga, assistant professor in industrial engineering, was recognized with the college’s Mentoring Award. In addition to her undergraduate and graduate academic advising she extensively pursues other opportunities to engage and mentor. She is a reviewer for the Calhoun Honors College and National Scholars, and is an instructor for the Women in Science and Engineering program. This year she was instrumental in the successful founding of the Clemson chapter of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE). As an active SHPE president during her undergraduate years, her knowledge and experience have been crucial to the success of the chapter.

Georges Fadel and Margaret  Wiecek

The College of Engineering and Science Collaboration Award recognizes a team of two or more faculty who has demonstrated exemplary and synergistic collaboration in research and/or teaching which has made notable contributions to the college. The 2012 honorees deserve recognition not only for productivity, but longevity as well. For 14 years, Georges Fadel (shown above left), interim chair of Mechanical Engineering, and Margaret Wiecek (pictured above right), professor of mathematical sciences, have worked to bring multicriteria optimization to the field of engineering design. Clemson’s standing as a genuine powerhouse in the field of Design/Optimization has led to remarkable external support. The pair received two National Science Foundation awards, the latest one this past year, and for 14 consecutive years, they have received funding from U.S. Army TACOM to support the design optimization of army and civilian vehicles.

Pu-Chun Ke

The 2012 honoree for Faculty Achievement in the Sciences is appropriate because Pu-Chun Ke’s work not only includes physics and biophysics, but he is at home in the journals of chemistry and biochemistry as well. Ke, an associate professor in physics and astronomy, is internationally known for his focus on single-molecule biophysics, with recent emphasis on studying the biological and environmental effects of nanomaterials. The significance of his work is demonstrated by substantial support from the National Science Foundation (including a CAREER award), the American Chemical Society, and the Environmental Protection agency.

Ronnie Chowdhury

The McQueen Quattlebaum Faculty Achievement Award recognizes faculty accomplishments for the preceding year and distinctions and awards in the past three years. For Ronnie Chowdhury, 2011 was a banner year. First he was named the Eugene Douglas Mays Professor of Transportation Engineering, in recognition of his work in intelligent transportation systems. Shortly thereafter he became a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Chowdhury also assembled a remarkable publication record last year, while maintaining his research productivity, continuing to serve as a PI or Co­PI on $2.3 million in externally funded research projects.

Delphine Dean

The Murray Stokley award is given in recognition of a faculty member who has demonstrated excellence in teaching engineering at both the undergraduate and/or graduate level. The 2012 recipient is Delphine Dean, who joined Clemson’s bioengineering faculty in 2006. Since then, she has demonstrated exceptional skills as an outstanding and effective instructor at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. From coaching at local elementary schools for the FIRST Lego Competition, to leading her students to Tanzania as medical technology problem-solvers, Dean is a premier ambassador for Clemson University. She was awarded the 2011 Will and Mary Bradley Award for Mentoring in Creative Inquiry, and the 2012 Outstanding Woman Faculty Award by the Clemson University Women Commission.

Melissa Sternhagen

The Byars Prize for Excellence in Teaching recognizes outstanding efforts in the teaching of engineering fundamentals. This faculty member has a superb ability to convey fundamental science and engineering concepts while illustrating their applications to real word situations. Melissa Sternhagen typically teaches sophomore engineering mechanics classes in Statics, Dynamics, and Structural Mechanics. These are the courses that engineering and science undergraduates find the most challenging, but that form the basis for many junior and senior level classes in civil and mechanical engineering. She is known for a dynamic, interactive teaching style that incorporates technology and physical demonstrations.

Amod Ogale and Mark Thies

The 2012 Esin Gulari Leadership & Service Award recognized the efforts of 3 faculty. The first is a team award that goes to Amod Ogale (shown above left) and Mark Thies (above right), who were singled out for their tireless efforts to plan, organize, and host Carbon2010: The Annual World Conference on Carbon at the Madren Center. The conference offered an extensive, five-day technical program that brought in 400 paid attendees from 50 countries.

John Gowdy

John Gowdy, in addition to being a productive researcher and effective instructor, serves as the undergraduate program coordinator and assessment coordinator for the Holcombe Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Each year he organizes and oversees the collection and evaluation of assessment data from 18 ECE courses, surveys taken from exiting seniors, alumni, the departmental advisory board, Co-op employers, recruiters, and FE Exam performance data. He is also an ABET Program Evaluator. During the Fall 2011 ABET visit, both Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering received the best possible reviews (no deficiencies, no weaknesses, no concerns, and no observations). John wrote the Self Study Reports for both Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering and organized all preparations for the ABET visit.