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Voiland College honors students, faculty, staff at convocation

PULLMAN, Wash. –  Washington State University Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture recently announced the names of outstanding students, faculty and staff at its annual convocation ceremony. Award winners include the following:

Lesser, Broers, Hall (l-r)
Lesser, Broers, Hall (l-r)  






  • Outstanding Sophomore: Originally from Marlin, Washington, Stacia Lesser.
    Lesser is an electrical engineering student who works as a lab assistant at the WSU Nuclear Radiation Center. She has helped organize several events including WSU’s Hardware Hackathon, IEEE’s Career Dinner, and WSU Society of Women Engineering’s “Evening with Industry.”
  • Outstanding Junior: Madison Broers, is a civil engineering student from East Wenatchee, Washington.
    She has interned at the Pacific Engineering and Design and Lund Opsahl firms.  She is the Steel Bridge Club captain and is active in a number of clubs and organizations. Broers is also the founder of ASCE’s “Mentoring Moments” peer-to-peer mentoring program, whose goal is to improve retention rates of students in the Civil Engineering program.
  • Outstanding Senior: Joseph Hall is a bioengineering major and math minor from Spokane Valley.
    Hall’s senior design project involves working on an electrochemical bandage, in tandem with Professor Haluk Beyenal, that is able to fight antibiotic resistant bacterial infections. His team’s work recently received the “Judges Also Really Liked” Award at the University of Washington’s Holloman Health Innovation Challenge. Hall also conducts bioengineering biomechanics research, where he invented a variable terrain rotary treadmill for gait analysis.  This is the first research of its kind for bi-pedal hopping.
  • Outstanding Teaching Assistant: Sasa Kovacevic, mechanical engineering.
    Kovacevic teaches ME 313, or engineering analysis. His nominators said he is a treat for both students and the instructor. His strong analytical ability and dedication to the students contributed significantly to the achievement of the outcomes and objectives of the course. His nominators say that he is not only the best TA they have ever worked with, but he is fully prepared to teach a course on his own.
  • Junior Faculty Research Award: Dae Hyun Kim, Assistant Professor, School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
Dae_Hyun Kim
  • Kim has published seven peer-reviewed journal papers, five peer-reviewed conference papers, and a book chapter since he joined WSU. Since 2013, his papers have been cited 860 times and his h-index is 15. Kim is the first faculty in the school of EECS to win the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Young Faculty Award for his research on high-performance 3-D computer systems, which is one of the most promising technologies that can overcome the performance bottleneck problems and physical limitations of technology scaling.
  • Reid Miller Excellence in Teaching Award for tenure-track faculty: Jana Doppa, Assistant Professor, School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
Jana Doppa

Doppa teaches upper-level computer science courses, including machine learning He is known for his straightforward teaching style, helpfulness, and passion. Since joining WSU in 2014, he has developed three new courses from scratch. He also has had a significant impact on his students. “Jana is a passionate and brilliant professor unlike any I have personally experienced,” wrote one of his student supporters.  Another student wrote, “Dr. Doppa creates a stimulating class environment, where all students feel safe and encouraged to ask questions and join the discussion.”

  • Reid Miller Teaching Excellence Award winner for non-tenure-track faculty:  Renee Petersen, Senior Instructor, Department Civil and Environmental Engineering.
Renee Peterson

Petersen’s nominators expressed support for her, noting that her enthusiasm, passion, and knowledge help them become better engineers.  “Professor Petersen made civil engineering fun, which surprised me, as I’m sure it does many other students,” wrote one student. “I can honestly say that her class got me excited about being an engineer. and that is why I am successful in my classes today.” Another student said, “With Renee, there is no bad question.  She cares about student learning.”

  • Anjan Bose Outstanding Researcher Award: Haluk Beyenal, Paul Hohenschuh Distinguished Professor in the Gene and Linda Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering.
Haluk Beyenal

Beyenal’s research program encompasses two broad areas in electrochemistry. He has made valuable and prolific contributions in understanding the electrochemistry of biofilms with innovations in biofilm driven fuel cells. One result of this work is an electrochemical scaffold, or “e-scaffold” that essentially functions as an electric Band-Aid with real potential for application in control of chronic wounds such as with diabetes patients.

Beyenal’s work has been supported by a broad variety of agencies, including the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the Department of Defense, and the National Institutes for Health. He is also a recipient of a prestigious NSF Career Award

Within the past year, he has published manuscripts in several journals in the Nature series, including Nature Communications, Nature Microbiology Reviews, and Nature Scientific Reports.

This is the second time that Beyenal has received the college’s outstanding researcher award.

Close-ups of Billy Schmuck, Hassan Ghasemzadeh, Tina Hilding, Becky Dueben, and Jaime Rice.
Schmuck, Ghasemzadeh, Hilding, Dueben, Rice (l-r)






  • Voiland College Safety Award: Billy Schmuck, Laboratory Coordinator, Gene and Linda Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering.
  • Outstanding Communication, Connection, and Engagement Award: Hassan Ghasemzadeh, Assistant Professor, School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
  • Staff Excellence awards: Tina Hilding, Communications Director, Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture
  • Becky Dueben, Special Project Liaison. Office of Undergraduate Programs and Student Services.
  • Employee of the Year: Jaime Rice, Academic Program Manager, School of Design and Construction.



Tina Hilding, communications director, Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture, 509-335-5095,

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