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Awards and Honors

COE announces Scholar of the Year award winners

Aerial view of The Oval and surrounding Engineering buildings and Hunt Library on NC State's Centennial Campus.

The College of Engineering’s Office of Graduate Programs has announced five winners of the 2023-24 Scholar of the Year awards. All students were nominated by their respective departments for their outstanding scholarly achievements and dedication to NC State.

All Ph.D. winners will receive a monetary prize of $1,000 and the Master Scholar will receive $750 in addition to recognition and a certificate from the College.

Sneha Narasimhan, Citizenship and Service

Compassion. Empathy. Selflessness.

Sneha Narasimhan, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), has consistently exemplified all of these values in her endeavors to improve the welfare of her campus community and beyond.

As the vice-president of ECE’s graduate student association and a graduate student ambassador with Women in ECE (WiECE), she has led numerous events and mentored fellow women engineers throughout her time at NC State. She is also the Eastern North Carolina Society (ENCS) Students chapter chair and participates in the IEEE Women in Engineering committee, the Society of Women Engineers and the Diversity Equity and Inclusion committee.

Narasimhan began the first Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition for graduate students in the ECE department, providing invaluable opportunities for feedback and preparation for higher-level 3MT competitions. Additionally, she organized the inaugural ECE Research Social and coordinated the first WiECE panel event, enabling upper-level and graduate students to share experiences and provide mentorship.

“Through her initiatives, she has made a profound and lasting impact on the ECE graduate student community and the broader power electronics society, fostering positive change and empowering individuals from all walks of life,” said Subhashish Bhattacharya, Duke Energy Distinguished Professor in the ECE department and Narasimhan’s advisor.

In 2023, Narasimhan won the ENCS Outstanding Volunteer Award for her dedication to championing diversity and inclusion and for mentoring underrepresented groups and the 2023 Cadence Diversity in Technology Scholarship for her leadership and passion in technology.

“Sneha Narasimhan’s outstanding contributions and unwavering dedication to humanitarian efforts make her an exemplary role model and an asset to our community,” said Bhattacharya. “She embodies the spirit of the Graduate Student of the Year Award for Citizenship and Service, and her impact will undoubtedly be felt for years to come.”

Kyla Bosh, Leadership

Biomedical engineering Ph.D. student Kyla Bosh is a born leader. In the last few years, she served as the follow up coordinator for the Triangle chapter of the Scientific Research and Educator Network (SciREN) as well as the SciREN chapter budget coordinator and a student ambassador at NC State.

Currently, she is a Graduate Student Association representative for the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering, a BME incoming graduate student mentor and a Triangle American Society of Biomechanics executive board member.

“Kyla has been a phenomenal research mentor in my lab,” said Jacqueline Cole, associate professor in BME. “Over the past three years, she has mentored 10 undergraduate students and one master’s student on sub-projects, walking them through background papers, teaching them experimental techniques and helping them develop independence over time.”

Bosh also led the students in the development of scientific communication skills through conference abstracts, posters and talks. Her mentees have won a collective 14 awards from the Office of Undergraduate Research. Additionally, all her mentees have been first author or co-author on national-level conference presentations and are co-authors on papers in preparation.

Bosh works at the Orthopaedic Mechanobiology Lab under Cole and the Movement Biomechanics Lab under Katherine Saul, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering. She previously worked at the Virginia Commonwealth University Department of Biomedical Engineering in Richmond, Virginia.

“Her enthusiasm for learning, her conscientious mentoring and commitment to advancing the personal and professional development of those around her and her breadth of leadership and service activities make her a strong candidate for this award,” said Cole. “She continues to make a lasting impact in my lab, the BME department, the University and our North Carolina community.”

Noor Mohammad, Research

Noor Mohammad is no stranger to winning awards.

In his last two years as a chemical and biomolecular engineering Ph.D. student, he has won the Graduate Merit Award, won the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Conference Funding Grant, served as a Vivian T. Stannett Fellow for Outstanding Early Publication and won the Service Appreciation Award at the Wei Research Lab.

Now, Mohammad is also the winner of the 2023-2024 College of Engineering Graduate Award in Research.

In his research, Mohammad investigates novel clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) biosensors by studying their trans-cleavage properties. He presented his findings at several conferences and won first place in oral presentation in the Student Competition in Sensors Session at the 2023 AIChE Annual Meeting.

“The most impressive aspect of Noor that I observed is his independence,” said Qingshan Wei, associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering.

“After joining the group, Noor demonstrated his outstanding learning skills by absorbing information quickly from the literature. He can then design and execute experimental plans to test his hypothesis, and most importantly can debug unexpected experimental results independently.”

Mohammad has spent his time at NC State exploring all the College of Engineering has to offer. Aside from his studies, Mohammad is also a member of the Biomedical Engineering Society, AIChE, the American Chemical Society and the Chemical Engineering Alumni Association. He served as an instructor for the Higher Education Quality Enhancement Project.

“He is the key group member who helps run the lab smoothly,” Wei said. “This is all achieved on top of his research excellence.”

Matthew Phllips, Scholarly Achievement

Earning a doctorate in aerospace engineering while also minoring in mathematics, completing multiple fellowships and doing research on the finite-element modeling of carbon nanotube-polydimethylsiloxane ribbing instabilities is no easy feat, but Ph.D. student Matthew Phillips has managed to do it all with a perfect GPA.

Phillips’ research pertains to modeling and understanding how polymers with second phase particles, such as carbon nanotubes, behave under extreme loading conditions related to high strain-rates and temperatures. His work required developing two phase material models and adapting finite-element methodologies to handle extreme changes in temperatures, strain-rates and pressures.

While said research requires a detailed understanding of nonlinear dynamic computational mechanics and material behavior at different scales, his professors say Phillips has done an excellent job in addressing these challenges and is on his way to an accomplished research career.

Additionally, Phillips has also published journal articles in publications such as Advanced Engineering Materials, Manufacturing Letters and Advanced Materials Interfaces and Magnetism. He is a member of Phi Kappa Phi and a member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the American Nuclear Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, among other groups.

“He is an excellent student and his academic excellence and intellectual maturity clearly exemplify that he is the ideal candidate for this award,” said Mohammed A. Zikry, Phillips’ Ph.D. advisor and the Zan Prevost Smith Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

“He is one of the top Ph.D. students that I have mentored and interacted with,” Zikry said. “He will be a national research leader in the field, and he will forge new educational and research pathways.”

Ajay Gopal Echambadi, Scholarly Achievement

Of the master’s students studying at NC State’s College of Engineering, Ajay Gopal Echambadi stands out among them all for his scholarly achievements.

Before joining NC State as a master’s student in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, he graduated from the Vellore Institute of Technology in India in 2020. Since then, he’s designed a 100W DC-DC forward converter with a target efficiency of 80 percent, designed and ran a simulation of a large-scale 100MWac solar farm, designed a boost converter with a model predictive control-based output voltage regulation for solar PV applications and more, all while maintaining a 4.0 GPA.

“Beyond the academics, Ajay’s professional achievements are equally commendable,” said Mesut Baran, professor in the ECE department.

Echambadi’s strong technical background secured him a co-op internship at Impedyme Inc., a Virginia Tech incubated startup specializing in power hardware-in-the-loop test systems. Currently, he is a power electronics engineer at Impedyme’s headquarters in Arlington, Virginia.

In his position at Impedyme, Echambadi develops simulation models for impedance-based health assessment of lithium-ion batteries, models grid-tie inverters and develops impedance-based stability assessment models for microgrid applications. He will take an internship this summer in the power management design team at Qorvo in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Beyond engineering, Echambadi is also an Indian classical vocalist and has previous experience as a professional cricket player.

“As a person, Ajay has a respectful and approachable demeanor,” said Baran. “His humility and collaborative spirit make him an exemplary engineer, and I have no doubt that he will continue to excel professionally.”