BCoE recognizes faculty, staff at annual picnic

May 4, 2009

STARKVILLE, Miss. — High humidity and the threat of rain didn’t dampen spirits at the annual Bagley College of Engineering Faculty and Staff Appreciation Picnic. More than 50 college representatives gathered on the Drill Field to celebrate the successful end of another academic year.

While the crowd enjoyed lunch, Dean Sarah Rajala thanked everyone for his or her hard work and dedication. With help from each department she recognized successes from around the college and discussed goals for the future.

“This was a busy, but very rewarding year. We are building on excellence and are moving upward,” Rajala said. “The college is now 34th in the National Science Foundation rankings for research expenditures, but research is not our only focus. We want to continue to grow our graduate programs and fulfill our mission of educating students.”

Rajala then announced the winners of the 2009 faculty and staff achievement awards. This year’s recipients include, Dr. Roger King, Glenn Dennis, Dr. Adrienne Minerick, and Dr. Rafael Hernandez.

King, director of the Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems, received the Career Achievement Award. Previously, he served as associate dean of research and graduate studies. Among his numerous contributions to research, the William L. Giles Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering has helped establish numerous educational partnerships for the BCoE.

The college’s first Engineering Service Award was presented to Dennis, quality manufacturing laboratory and manufacturing process improvement manager of the CAVS-Extension in Canton, Miss. Established to honor those who contribute to the outreach and service missions of the BCoE, the award recognizes the more than $3 billion in economic development Dennis has helped bring to the state.

Minerick received the Outstanding Educator Award to recognize her contributions in the classroom. An assistant professor of chemical engineering, she is highly regarded for her success as a researcher, but she also finds time to serve as faculty adviser for the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers. Among other accomplishments, she is a graduate of the National Effective Teaching Institute and received the National Science Foundation CAREER Award.

The Outstanding Research Award was presented to Hernandez. An assistant professor of chemical engineering, he is very active in alternative energy research. Working with the university’s Sustainable Energy Research Center he has helped identify ways to convert wastewater into fuel. The promising research has captured the interest of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency among others.

The college also recognized those who received awards from the university’s office of research and economic development (ORED) including Outstanding Educational Paper authors Dr. Masoud Rais-Rohani and Dr. Rani Sullivan, both of aerospace engineering, and Outstanding Research Paper authors Dr. Erdem Topsakal, electrical engineering, and graduate students Aaron Hood and Tutku Karacolak.

The BCoE swept the ORED research awards at the faculty and student levels and presented certificates to the winners. Dr. Jenny Du, electrical and computer engineering, earned the Faculty Research Award while mechanical engineering swept the student categories including doctoral candidate Tonya Stone, Research Support Award; Matthew Doude, Graduate Student Researcher Award; and James Crawford, Undergraduate Student Researcher Award.