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Accolades — Notable nods for mid-April 2018

Einstein Award Surfaces for Papanicolaou’s Breakthrough Water Research

Thanos Papanicolaou

Thanos Papanicolaou

Swimmers, tubers, and boaters often have the same question when they are in or around the water: What, exactly, is down there?

While a silted creek might not prevent someone from enjoying a day in the sun, it’s a different case for those whose jobs depend on knowing what lies beneath.

UT’s Henry Goodrich Chair of Excellence Thanos Papanicolaou has helped solve that riddle by developing a way to allow researchers to see underwater sediment and predict its likelihood for mobility. For this breakthrough, he has been named the 2018 Hans Albert Einstein award winner from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). It is perhaps the most prestigious distinction that someone in hydraulic engineering can earn.

Read more about the Einstein Award.


O’Quinn for the Win: Nuclear Engineering Student Chosen for Top Fellowship

Eric O'Quinn

Eric O’Quinn

Eric O’Quinn, a graduate student in nuclear engineering, has been chosen by the Department of Energy’s Office of Science for enrollment in its graduate student research program.

The award goes to students identified as having research in areas that the Office of Science deems critical for the nation and provides them research opportunities in a national lab while working on their thesis.

“I was thrilled to find out I had gotten the award,” said O’Quinn. “This is a great opportunity, both to continue doing my research and to work with our collaborators at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.”

Read more about Eric O’Quinn.


AIChE Students Power on to Nationals

2018 AIChE UT ChemE Car Team 600

2018 AIChE UT ChemE Car Team

UT AIChE students placed second in the Chem-E-Car Competition at the 2018 AIChE Southern Student Regional Conference hosted by Louisiana State University on Saturday, April 7, 2018. They advance to the 2018 Annual AIChE Student Conference at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in October.

AIChE’s Chem-E-Car Competition engages college students in designing and constructing a car powered by a chemical energy source, that will safely carry a specified load over a given distance and stop. The team’s car, the Myst-Air-y Machine, is powered by a PEM hydrogen fuel cell, which uses hydrogen from a rubber balloon and reacts with oxygen from the air to produce the electricity.

The Chem-E-Car team members are co-captains Christopher Neal and Catherine Weiss, Matt Adams, Matt Bush, Maria Bruce, Jason Chung, Hana Gouto, Tyson Johnson, Michelle Lames, Shannon Mulhall, Jason Pan, and Lacey Roberts.
Gabriel Goenaga (CBE) is the team advisor. Douglas Aaron (MABE) is the team safety advisor.

Also, Kelsey Grady and Lacey Roberts competed in the Poster Competition. Kelsey Grady placed third in the competition. Her research is “Effect of Membrane Pretreatment on the Mass Transport of Vanadium Redox Flow Batteries.” Kelsey is in Thomas Zawodzinski’s research group. Zawodzinski is the Governor’s Chair for Electrical Energy Storage and Conversion.


ASCE Calls Collingwood for Shuai Li

Shuai Li

Shuai Li

Shuai Li, assistant professor in civil and environmental engineering, has been awarded the Collingwood Prize from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) for his paper “Integrating Natural Language Processing and Spatial Reasoning for Utility Compliance Checking.”

Li was first author on this paper during his previous time at Purdue. The Collingwood Prize recognizes an outstanding paper published by investigators under the age of 35.

Read more about Shuai Li.


Alshibli and Students Bring Home the Croes Medal

Khalid Alshibli

Khalid Alshibli

Professor Khalid Alshibli and his former civil and environmental engineering graduate students Maha Jarrar and Andrew Druckery won ASCE’s J. James R. Croes Medal for their paper “Influence of Particle Morphology on 3D Kinematic Behavior and Strain Localization of Sheared Sand.”

This prestigious and competitive award is selected from outstanding papers across all of ASCE’s divisions.

Read more about Khalid Alshibli.


Vélez Scores Three-Minute Win-it

Jessica Vélez

Jessica Vélez

Jessica Vélez, a PhD candidate in the UT–Oak Ridge National Laboratory Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education, took first place in the Three-Minute Thesis competition held last week as a part of UT’s Graduate and Professional Student Appreciation Week.

Her research is titled “Investigating the Relationship between the Fungus Cenococcum geophilum and the Biofuel Crop Poplar.” Specifically, she is looking at the presence of toxic metals.

Read more about Vélez and the Three-Minute Thesis.


UTSI Students Win with Wu

Starting from back row, left to right - participants and previous winners: Yifan Li, Adam Harris, Gaoqiang Yang, Shule Yu, Julie King, Matthew Schwartz, Dr. Javed Seif, Stefen Lindorfer, Lara Lash, Jason Hah, Katherine Stamper, Zhenya Kang, Autumn Douthitt, and Drs. Jimmy and Susan Wu. Not pictured; Adam Evans

From back row, left to right, participants and previous winners: Yifan Li, Adam Harris, Gaoqiang Yang, Shule Yu, Julie King, Matthew Schwartz, Javed Seif, Stefen Lindorfer, Lara Lash, Jason Hah, Katherine Stamper, Zhenya Kang, Autumn Douthitt, and Jimmy and Susan Wu. Not pictured: Adam Evans.

The University of Tennessee Space Institute held its third annual Wu Student Presentation Competition on March 28, 2018. Twelve students participated with each allotted a 10 minute time slot, followed by a Q&A session.

The first place winner received a $2,000 travel grant, the second place winner received a $1,000 travel grant. The travel grants are for students to gain additional experience and to sharpen presentation skills through attending a conference of their choice.

This competition is named for Susan and Jimmy Wu, who were the first husband and wife team hired as faculty members of the Space Institute in 1965. They have more than fifty-five years of combined service to UTSI and the aerospace community.

Read more about the Wu Competition winners.

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