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Graduates, Faculty Recognized at Ceremony

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Preparing to walk down the hill
The University of Kansas School of Engineering honored its graduates at a recognition ceremony, Sunday, May 17, 2009.  More than 300 students at the graduate and undergraduate level earned the right to take part in the ceremony held at the Lied Center for the Performing Arts.

During the ceremony, nine undergraduate students were honored as the outstanding graduating senior in their degree program.  The distinction recognizes involvement and leadership as well as academic ability. One of these students, Erin Lewis, a senior in mechanical engineering, was named the recipient of the Sammie and Carl Locke Award for outstanding graduating senior in the School of Engineering for 2009

The outstanding graduating seniors for 2009 are:

  • Emily Arnold, aerospace engineering

  • Cory Chermok, computer engineering

  • Michael Cribbs, electrical engineering

  • Eric Fattig, engineering physics

  • Tony Hoover, chemical engineering

  • John Kenny, civil engineering

  • Erin Lewis, mechanical engineering

  • Kevin Matlage, computer science

  • Katie Rozkuszka, architectural engineering


Two School of Engineering students served as Jayhawk mascots during their time at KU.
The ceremony also recognized the academic, research and service endeavors of five faculty members.

Alice L. Bean, professor of physics and astronomy and engineering physics program director, was selected by students to receive the Gould Award for Undergraduate Education. The award provides $4,000 for the recipient.

Professor Alice Bean has dedicated herself to developing undergraduate students into scientists, researchers and engineers. She understands there are different ability levels but also believes there are a number of ways to work through any problem. Through her classes, Bean has taken on the daunting task of teaching students how to perform independent research. According to several of her students, she is more dedicated to that aspect of her teaching than any researcher at KU, in the United States or abroad. Her passion for her own research percolates into her teaching and drives her to push her students to develop a passion in each of them, a passion that along with the skills acquired in the classroom leads students to success. Bean provides opportunities for students to work on long-term research projects, expanding the work done within the walls of Malott Hall into the science society around the world. Work in her class has lead to student involvement in research completed in Europe and Russia, giving her students the experience of collaborating with a truly international community.

Bean goes above and beyond to provide opportunities for undergraduate students to gain experience and better themselves both in and out of the classroom. She brings in outside speakers to talk about subjects such as ethics and future careers, reminding students that there is a world outside of the classroom.


Marylee Z. Southard, associate professor of chemical and petroleum engineering, was selected by students to receive the Gould Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Advising. The award provides $4,000 for the recipient.

Despite a personally rigorous schedule, Associate Professor Marylee Southard makes an effort to be available for her students. During academic advising she shows her experience and knowledge not only of the core classes for the department, but also provides solid advice on non-engineering elective courses that may help or hinder a student’s progress. She pays a great deal of attention to each of her advising students and helps them plan out an individualized schedule for anyone with special needs or interests.

Her concern for students exceeds her role as an academic adviser. Southard is more than willing to answer any question for any student in hopes of giving them guidance through their academic and ultimately professional career.  She engages her students wherever they cross paths, ensuring the students are doing well personally as well as academically.

Southard commands a knowledge and concern for the students that is sincere and comforting to anyone with a dilemma. Students can be assured that Southard will serve as their advocate through their academic career.


Michael S. Detamore, assistant professor of chemical and petroleum engineering, was selected by a faculty committee to receive the Miller Professional Development Award for Research. The award provides $4,000 for the recipient.

Since joining the university in 2004, assistant professor Michael Detamore has secured more than $2 million in research funding from leading agencies.

Although Detamore’s research in biomaterials, biomechanics, tissue engineering and stem cells has expanded to include the intervertebral disc, the knee and the trachea, he is probably best recognized by his peers for his work with the TMJ or jaw joint. As a sign of his leadership in TMJ research, Detamore is chairing the second TMJ Bioengineering Conference.

Among his many service activities are those that advance the research mission at KU. He currently serves as the biomaterials and tissue engineering track director for KU’s bioengineering degree program. 

One aspect that sets Detamore apart is his prolific nature. In the past 52 weeks alone, Detamore has graduated two doctoral students, had 15 papers accepted or published, submitted a new patent application, joined the editorial board of the leading journal in the field of tissue engineering, won a prestigious National Science Foundation CAREER Award and won a local research award, as well as an award for outstanding teaching and an award for outstanding advising.


Nancy G. Kinnersley, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science, was selected to receive the Miller Professional Development Award for Service. The award provides $4,000 for the recipient.

Nancy Kinnersley is as comfortable with students in the classroom as she is with administrators at the highest levels of university governance.  Kinnersley is the chair of the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department Service Course Committee, which administers the EECS computer service courses for the entire student population at the university, and mentoring of the a dozen teaching assistants needed to keep students engaged. She has served as the department’s scholarship program administrator for more than 14 years. Moreover, she is the primary organizer and manager of the department’s Computer Science Accreditation Board review process.

Kinnersley also is actively involved in service to the university. She has served in numerous capacities in University Governance for the past seven years, including Faculty Council, University Council and the Senate Executive Committee. This academic year she was appointed to lead Faculty Senate as its president and chair of the Faculty Executive Committee. Kinnersley tirelessly responds to concerns raised by faculty on controversial proposals and acts quickly to resolve problems and negotiate changes in policies with the administration. Kinnersley’s extensive knowledge of academic policies, ability to summarize complex issues in a succinct manner, credibility with the central administration and refreshing candor have been called “great assets in her role as a faculty leader.”


Sara E. Wilson, associate professor of mechanical engineering, was selected by a faculty committee to receive the John E. Sharp and Winifred E. Sharp Teaching Professorship. The award lasts three years and includes an annual personal award of $5,000 plus access to $5,000 annually for instructional development.

Associate Professor Sara Wilson has been deeply involved across the gamut in teaching activities from K-12 outreach to undergraduates to graduate students, while, at the same time, maintaining an extremely active and productive research program.  She has developed and made use of a wide variety of innovative teaching methodologies, participated in a range of educational seminars and workshops and published on her educational activities.

Wilson was instrumental in starting KU’s student chapter of the Biomedical Engineering Society and has served as either the adviser or co-adviser.

Wilson incorporates inventive learning opportunities in her courses, whether for freshmen or graduate students. She has helped instructors in other courses update and maintain laboratory exercises and worked with senior design students on programming issues within their projects. Moreover, she is active at the national level in developing responsible conduct of research educational materials having developed case studies, delivered talks and more.

Among her many awards and honors, she was named a Kemper Teaching Fellow in 2006 and was selected to receive the school of Engineering Miller Professional Development Award for Research in 2005.


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