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A Year in Review

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As we say goodbye to another year, join the College of Engineering as we take a look back at 2017 and the extraordinary research and work that has been accomplished. From improving in graduate program rankings to two new department heads, 2017 has proven to be a successful year.

College improves graduate program ranking

The College improved its standing in the U.S. News & World Report ranking of graduate engineering programs. The College ranked 25th overall and 13th among public engineering schools in the 2017 rankings. In 2016, the College ranked 27th overall and 15th among public engineering schools. “This is our highest ranking ever and is testimony to the tremendous commitment and effort made every day by our dedicated faculty, students and staff,” said Dr. Louis Martin-Vega, dean of the College.

“Hidden Figure” Dr. Christine Darden Visits

The College of Engineering welcomed Christine Darden on Thursday, August 17, 2017 for a seminar at Hunt Library and as the speaker for the College Welcome. Darden is one of the African American women NASA hired as a “human computer” to compute numbers for the space program. She retired as a NASA executive after a 40-year career.

NASA Grant Funds Research Into Tracking UAVs

Researchers in the College are launching a project aimed at researching and developing high-performance communications, networking and air traffic management (ATM) systems, including navigation and surveillance for both manned aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The work is supported by a three-year, $1.33 million grant from NASA’s University Leadership Initiative.

BTEC’s prominent role in new manufacturing center

The Biomanufacturing Training and Education Center (BTEC) is part of a new initiative aimed at advancing U.S. leadership in the biopharmaceutical sector. The National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL) is supported with a five-year, $70 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce and at least $129 million from a consortium of 150 companies, educational institutions, research centers, coordinating bodies, non-profits and Manufacturing Extension Partnerships across the country.

Four NC State Engineering faculty members earn NSF CAREER awards

The NSF CAREER award is one of the most prestigious awards in support of junior faculty members who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations. The recipients from the College in 2017 include: Dr. Min Chi in the Department of Computer Science, Dr. Ramon Collazo in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Dr. Stefano Menegatti in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, and Dr. Rohan Shirwaiker in the Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering.

Computer Science celebrates 50 years

From its humble beginnings in the basement of Patterson Hall 50 years ago, to its modern and expansive footprint on Centennial Campus, NC State’s Department of Computer Science has emerged as one of the nation’s leading producers of computer science talent and cutting-edge research. It is also a leader in women professors in computer science departments with the most women tenured/tenure track professors in the nation. In October, the department celebrated its 50 year milestone.

Swann named head of Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering

Dr. Julie Swann joined NC State as the A. Doug Allison Distinguished Professor and head of the Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering. Prior to joining NC State, she was the Harold R. and Mary Anne Nash Professor in the Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where she co-founded and co-directed the Center for Health and Humanitarian Systems, one of the first interdisciplinary research centers on the Georgia Tech campus. In 2009, she was on loan as a science advisor for the H1N1 pandemic response at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With the addition of Swann, the College has increased its number of female department heads to three.

Ekkad named head of Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Dr. Srinath Ekkad, joined NC State as the new head of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Ekkad was previously the Rolls-Royce Commonwealth Professor for Aerospace Propulsion Systems in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Virginia Tech, the associate vice president for research programs and the director of the Rolls-Royce University Technology Center for Advanced Diagnostics. He succeeds Dr. Richard Gould, who is the RJ Reynolds Professor in the department.

National Recognition

  • Dr. Frances Ligler, Lampe Distinguished Professor in the UNC/NC State Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering, was one of 15 inductees into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2017.
  • Dr. Jagdish (Jay) Narayan, the John C. C. Fan Family Distinguished Chair Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, and Dr. Paul Turinsky, professor in the Department of Nuclear Engineering, were elected to National Academy of Engineering.
  • Dr. John Gilligan, executive associate dean of the College of Engineering and Distinguished University Professor of Nuclear Engineering, was awarded the 2017 ANS Arthur Holly Compton Award by the Education, Training & Workforce Development Division.
  • Dr. Zhen Gu, associate professor in the UNC/NC State Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering, received the Young Investigator Award from the Controlled Release Society.
  • Dr. Daniel D. Stancil, Alcoa Distinguished Professor and head of the Department Electrical and Computer Engineering, was named president of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department Heads Association (ECEDHA).
  • Dr. James LeBeau, assistant professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and associate director of the Analytical Instrumentation Facility (AIF), has been awarded a $2 million Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM). This is the largest award in NC State history from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) program. The TEM will be located within the AIF and made available to users starting in the summer of 2018.

Student Success

  • Kobi Felton, a senior majoring in chemical and biomolecular engineering and minoring in Spanish, was awarded a 2018 Marshall Scholarship. With this two-year scholarship, which includes university fees, cost-of-living expenses, an annual book grant, thesis grant, research and daily travel grants, and fares to and from the United States – Felton will pursue a master’s degree in chemical engineering at the University of Cambridge beginning in fall 2018 and then a master’s degree in nanomaterials at Imperial College London in the second year.
  • Aerospace engineering student Madison Maloney was selected to join the 2017-18 Astronaut Scholars. She attended the Innovators Gala in Washington, D.C., from September 14–16, where she was awarded up to $10,000 and recognized with other members of the Astronaut Scholar Honor Society.
  • Ashle Page, a senior in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, became the first NC State student to receive a Campus Compact Newman Civic Fellowship. The national fellowship is a one-year experience for students in which Fellows have access to in-person and virtual learning opportunities, networking events, and mentoring. There is also a stipend to pursue a civic engagement project of the student’s choosing.
  • Christopher Cooper, a senior majoring in chemical engineering and economics, was awarded a prestigious 2017 Churchill Scholarship. The merit-based award – which covers all university and college fees, cost-of-living expenses, travel to and from the United Kingdom and other reimbursement of application fees – is allowing him to pursue a one-year master’s degree in chemical engineering and biotechnology at the University of Cambridge. Cooper is NC State’s second Churchill Scholarship recipient and is one of 15 recipients of the award this year.
  • Hanan “Alex” Hsain, a junior majoring in materials science and engineering, was awarded a 2017 Truman Scholarship. Hsain will use the scholarship — a highly competitive, merit-based award of up to $30,000 offered to U.S. citizens and U.S. nationals from Pacific Islands who want to go to graduate school in preparation for a career in public service — to pursue her Ph.D. in materials science engineering or electrical engineering to help further her goal of becoming a leader in sustainable energy development.
  • Twelve students in the College of Engineering at NC State won prestigious Graduate Fellowships from the National Science Foundation.