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Students, Faculty Receive Year-end Honors at Engineering Ceremony

Friday, June 20, 2014

More than 340 students were awarded degrees from the University of Kansas School of Engineering at the school’s recognition ceremony for graduates May 17 at Allen Fieldhouse. Nearly 280 undergraduate students and more than 70 graduate students earned their degrees, and special honors were given to 10 seniors and five faculty members.

Qi Chen, Overland Park, Kan., the outstanding graduating senior in chemical engineering, was also the recipient of the Sammie and Carl Locke Award for the Outstanding Graduating Senior in the School of Engineering in 2014.

The other outstanding seniors:

Ryan Brettman, Overland Park, Kan., civil engineering

Weizhi Shaun Chua, San Jose, Calif., electrical engineering

Jill Langlas, Wheaton, Ill., mechanical engineering

Steven Levitt, Creve Coeur, Mo., architectural engineering

George Li, Overland Park, Kan., computer science

Julian McCafferty, Lawrence, Kan., aerospace engineering

Phuc Nguyen, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, engineering physics

Seth Polsley, Ottawa, Kan., computer engineering

Chris Ouyang, Overland Park, Kan., petroleum engineering

In addition to commemorating the achievements of the graduating class, several faculty members were lauded for their academic, research and service endeavors. Rick Hale, professor of aerospace engineering, was selected by engineering students as the Gould Award winner for Outstanding Undergraduate Educator. Hale is known for his tremendous dedication to students in the classroom and in the lab, and for his unheralded efforts behind the scenes. Students said he teaches them the true importance and responsibility of being an engineer and provides them with the tools to become one.

Engineering students named Ron Barrett-Gonzalez, associate professor of aerospace engineering, as the Gould Award winner for Outstanding Undergraduate Adviser.

Barrett-Gonzalez is known for his enthusiasm and dedication to his students. He continually challenges students by setting high standards He works to ensure students meet goals through his seemingly tireless support.

Andy Gill, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science, was selected by a School of Engineering faculty committee to receive the Miller Professional Development Award for Research. Gill has a consistent record of outstanding research and has been involved in work totaling $4.5 million in funding. His skill as a researcher has received national recognition, and in spring 2014 he was awarded a five-year, half-million dollar NSF CAREER Award to develop software that explores tradeoffs in the design of high-performance computing systems.

A committee of School of Engineering faculty selected Charlie Zheng, professor of aerospace engineering, as the winner of the Miller Professional Development Award for Service. Zheng was noted for an outstanding record of service for the School of Engineering, the state of Kansas and his profession. He serves in leadership roles on numerous professional boards, including the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Susan Williams, professor of chemical and petroleum engineering, was selected by a faculty committee to receive the 2014 John E. and Winifred E. Sharp Professorship. Williams was recognized by her colleagues and current and former students as a distinguished and dedicated instructor. She is known for taking a scholarly approach to the art of teaching, introducing innovative methods to improve the educational experience for students.

One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
5th nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets: Colleges," Military Times