CEA names 2012 outstanding faculty, students

PULLMAN, Wash. – Outstanding faculty and students from the Washington State University College of Engineering and Architecture (CEA) were announced at the annual college convocation ceremony recently:
Anjan Bose Outstanding Researcher Award: Pizhong Qiao, professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, a world leader in development of high performance materials used in civil infrastructure and aerospace structures.
“He is a highly successful researcher, internationally recognized and respected by his peers, and he has a sustained level of research productivity that is exemplary,’’ wrote one of his nominators. “Dr. Qiao has significantly contributed to WSU’s reputation for excellence in research.’’
At WSU, he has collaborated on research with NASA, Lockheed Martin and Boeing. His current research is focused on smart structural health monitoring, impact (blast and ballistic) resistant materials and high-performance green concretes.
Qiao has more than140 refereed publications in print in national and international journals and books, including several that are considered seminal contributions in the field. He is among the top one percent of the most highly cited authors in engineering, according to the ISI Essential Science Indicators.
He holds one patent recently awarded and one non-provisional patent application in the area of hybrid composite structures for blast and ballistic protection.
In 2007, he was elected a fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) for his outstanding technical contributions in advanced composites.
He has received more than $5 million in funding from federal and state agencies as well as companies, including the National Science Foundation (NSF), Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Federal Highway Administration and NASA.
Qiao has advised 16 master’s degree and six Ph.D. students as major professor in the past 10 years. In addition, he has supported numerous post-docs, visiting scholars and undergraduate students on his projects.
The Anjan Bose Outstanding Researcher Award was created by the college advisory board, friends and alumni to honor Bose for his service as dean and to acknowledge his support of faculty scholarship and his international reputation for research. 
Reid Miller Outstanding Teaching Faculty Award: Jitesh Panchal, assistant professor, School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, who is developing cutting-edge, innovative approaches for preparing students for the collaborative, global, innovation-based workforce environment they will encounter when they graduate.
“Dr. Panchal structured this course to truly inspire students to be leaders in their fields of study and helped prepare students in a way which I have never seen before,” said one student. “(He) is truly a leader and innovator in the academic world.’’
Panchal employs “collective systems innovation,” particularly in engineering design curriculum. In 2010, he received a prestigious NSF career award to establish the foundations of this new paradigm for engineering design. He is working to understand how complex systems can be engineered by self-organized communities of people, similar to Wikipedia, rather than through the traditional hierarchy that one might see in an engineering firm.
He has co-authored a textbook and several journal papers on some of his innovations in education. He has a particular interest in developing distance learning courses.
He has integrated service learning into several of his courses in collaboration with the WSU Center for Civic Engagement.
The Reid Miller Excellence in Teaching award was created by the advisory board to honor Miller for his long and distinguished career in the CEA as a faculty member and as dean.

Sophomore Dieckman, left, junior Pepin and senior Dewitz

Outstanding sophomore: Sydnee Dieckman, a civil engineering major from Olympia, Wash., has maintained a 4.0 GPA while working toward a double minor in Japanese and mathematics.
Also in the WSU Honors College, she is active in residence hall government and the student chapter of the Society of Women Engineers. She performs with the WSU Wind Ensemble and other campus music groups. During school breaks, she is a member of the White Pass Volunteer Ski Patrol.
During summer 2011, she participated in a study abroad program in Japan and hopes to return there when she begins her engineering career.
Outstanding junior: Originally from Stanwood, Wash., civil engineering student Gage Lee Pepin has maintained a 4.0 GPA, is a Boeing Scholar and was last year’s outstanding sophomore.
He is a peer mentor for the Innovation in Design (Engineering 120) course. He is recording secretary for the WSU chapter of Tau Beta Pi and has been active in the WSU student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers. He is a DJ for KZUU 90.7 fm and participates in recreational sports. 
He participates in and organizes many volunteer activities, such as stream cleanups, food drives and activities to introduce young people to engineering.
Outstanding senior: Originally from Bonney Lake, Wash., civil engineering student Heather Dewitz has maintained a 4.0 GPA while pursuing minors in mathematics and Spanish.
A member of the WSU Honors College, she is an officer in the WSU student chapter of the Society of Women Engineers, Tau Beta Pi and the CEA Coordinating Council. She participated in a study abroad program in Lima, Peru during summer 2010. She has been selected to work as an intern for the Boeing Company this summer.
She served on the Global Case Study Competition planning committee through the Office of International Programs. She helped plan the first competition, which encourages WSU students to solve a global issue.
Outstanding teaching assistant: Bryant Hawthorne, originally from Vancouver, Wash., is a graduate student in mechanical engineering and has been a teaching assistant in several engineering courses, including Innovation in Design (engineering 120), Fundamentals of Thermodynamics (ME301), Machine Design (ME 414) and Dynamic Systems (ME 348).
He was “by far the best TA I have had in my five years here at WSU,’’ wrote one student.
He successfully conducted recitation sessions and was prompt with grading, though the work load was daunting. In one class, for instance, 85 students turned in five-six pages per assignment three times a week, for a total of 255 homework assignments and around 1,500 pages of homework per week.

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