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Voiland College names 2021 outstanding students, faculty, and staff

Washington State University Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture recognized outstanding students, faculty and staff at its annual convocation ceremony on April 15. Honored award winners included:

Outstanding Sophomore:

Michael Hatfield

Michael Hatfield

Hatfield is a highly active undergraduate researcher and mentor in the Gene and Linda Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering. A bioengineering major, he has been part of several research projects that explore how to prevent and cure diseases. He serves as a Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture student ambassador, a WSU peer mentor, and serves as his class representative for the Biomedical Engineering Society at WSU, where he helps his fellow students navigate their academic career paths.

Outstanding Junior:

Geneva Schlepp

Geneva Schlepp

A Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture peer mentor, student ambassador and student athlete pepresentative on the Pac-12 Mental Health Task Force, Schlepp thrives in collaborative settings. After completing her undergraduate degree in civil engineering, Geneva aspires to pursue a master’s degree in environmental engineering at WSU where she can explore her interests in sustainability.

Outstanding Senior:

Patrick Robichaud

Patrick Robichaud

A 2020 Truman Scholarship finalist, and two-time Goldwater Scholarship nominee, Robichaud is the chair of ASWSU Environmental Sustainability Alliance, and head Honors College ambassador. An avid outdoorsman, he has worked as a research assistant to help investigate wildfire, water quality, and erosion vulnerabilities. After graduation, he looks forward to creating large-scale change by working with governments to prepare for the effects of climate change, including protecting drinking water systems.

Outstanding Teaching Assistant:

Ayumi Manawadu

Ayumi Manawadu

Since coming to WSU in 2016, Manawadu has excelled in her research and coursework. She has earned numerous laurels along the way and quickly became one of the most effective teaching assistants in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Students appreciate her as well. Student comments such as “I think she is a fantastic professor. Without a doubt one of the best, I’ve had while at WSU,” were often found in her evaluations.

She has served in multiple leadership roles with WSU’s chapter of the Society of Women Engineers, from helping organize SWE Kids’ Science and Engineering Day to mentoring fellow students entering STEM fields. Manawadu was first runner-up for the Three-Minute Thesis competition at WSU in 2019. She subsequently earned joint-first place at the Western Regional 3MT Competition, and this year she represented WSU as one of nine presenters at the National 3MT Showcase.

Outstanding Research Assistant:

Cody Cockreham

Cody Cockreham

A Ph.D. candidate in the Alexandra Navrotsky Institute, Cockreham’s research on energy storage materials is highly innovative and has been extremely fruitful. He has four peer-reviewed publications with two as the first author in The Journal of Physical Chemistry C and ACS Applied Energy Materials, and the other two as coauthor in The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters and Advanced Electronic Materials. He is recipient of the Seaborg Institute Research Fellowship from Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the Alexandra Navrotsky Scholar Award.

Dissertation Award winner:

Mehdi Honarvarnazari

Mehdi Honarvarnazari

A Ph.D. candidate in environmental engineering, Honarvarnazari’s research focuses on developing more sustainable bio-based liquid deicers. He’s currently exploring different types of liquid deicers including salt brine, beet juice blend and a bio-based deicer of his own design that will be better for the environment than current deicers.

Junior Faculty Research Award:

Anamika Dubey

Assistant professor, School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Anamika-Dubey

Dubey’s research is at the forefront of addressing improved efficiency, operational flexibility, and resilience in response to the U.S. power grid’s changing nature and extreme weather events. She is a recipient of the National Science Foundation’s CAREER Award, one of the most coveted awards sought by an early-career faculty. Her publication record includes 80 accepted articles in premier journals and conferences, two book chapters, and two U.S. Patents, and her research efforts are highly cited and well-recognized in the power systems community.

Reid Miller Excellence in Teaching Award for tenure‑track faculty:

John Swensen

Assistant professor, School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering 

John Swensen

Swensen has had a record of teaching excellence since joining Voiland College in 2015 that can be attributed to his content knowledge and industry experience, his dedication to creating an inclusive learning environment, and his willingness to have an impact on the department and students beyond his courses. As the school’s first robotics instructor, Swensen has taught ME348 System Dynamics, ME401 Mechatronics, and ME483 Introduction to Robotics and AI and other courses which he founded, modernized, or otherwise improved upon.

“Dr. Swensen pours his heart into teaching and it is evident by his enthusiasm when teaching and his willingness to help students understand the material whether it means he must sacrifice extra hours outside of work to do so,” wrote one of his student nominators. “Not only is he a master of the subjects he teachers and excels at teaching these subjects, but he is also one of the most caring professors at WSU and goes out of his way to ensure every one of his students are set up to succeed.”

Reid Miller Teaching Excellence Award winner for career track faculty:

Gorton Taub

Scholarly assistant professor, School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering

Gordon Taub

Taub joined Voiland College in 2016 and instructs classes from the Everett Campus. Shortly after starting at WSU Everett, he used his experience with video production to build a ‘Lightboard’ Studio. This studio is now used by faculty to produce high quality lecture videos in which the instructor can face the students while writing on a glass screen. He openly shares these resources and his expertise in using them. His effort and dedication to improving the quality of online teaching resources has resulted in many hours of high-quality instructional videos available for students at both EvCC and WSU.

Channeling his passion for renewable energy and his desire to encourage students to become involved in undergraduate research, Taub encouraged students to form the Everett Wind Energy Team, an interdisciplinary team consisting of engineering, manufacturing, communication and business students that conducts educational activities and undergraduate research in wind energy and also competes in the Department of Energy and National Renewable Energy Laboratory sponsored Collegiate Wind Competition.

Anjan Bose Outstanding Researcher Award:

Jennifer Adam

Berry Distinguished Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Jennifer Adam

Adam studies the connections between climate, hydrology, land use, and ecological processes. Exploring the societal impacts on the nexus of food, energy, and water necessitates a complex, tightly integrated, interdisciplinary approach. She is unmatched in her ability to mobilize, collaborate and manage multiple research teams, as evidenced by her success in leading several research programs that engage scores of faculty and students in atmospheric sciences, biological systems, communications, computer sciences, earth and environmental sciences, and economics.

She has an h-index of 21, and her work has been cited more than 7,000 times. As a principal investigator, her research funding exceeds $11 million.

Adam has received numerous awards, including being named one of the top 100 inspiring women in STEM by Insight into Diversity Magazine. She has received departmental awards for both her research and teaching as well as the Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture’s teaching excellence award. She holds a Ph.D. and master’s degree from the University of Washington and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

“Dr. Adam is an exceptional cutting-edge researcher who is contributing in multiple ways to earth system science and its use for better managing our environment,” wrote one of her nominators. “Her exceptional funding record, teaching awards, high-level of service, community outreach and papers in high-ranked journals clearly demonstrate this. She is a true leader, an excellent scholar and an exceptional mentor, a very rare combination.”

Voiland College Safety Award:

Marc Levin

Career track professor, School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering

Marc Levin

An instructor in the Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering, Levin also works with the Design Institute for Emergency Relief Systems, or DIERS, for which he was named a fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers this last year. Collaboratively with DIERS, Marc has created internationally used methods, calculation tools, and numerous publications for the purpose of preventing runaway reactions from becoming catastrophic industrial explosions. Contribution to committee work and standards is seldom recognized and impossible to measure, but this work has saved lives, communities, and industrial plants through catastrophes that never happened, wrote his nominators.

Employee of the Year:

Morann Johnson

Academic coordinator/advisor, Voiland College Student Success

Morann Johnson

Johnson is a member of the Voiland College Student Success team, where she serves in multiple roles, including student advising, program management and coordination. She has been the lead organizer for VCEA Convocation, the VCEA Ice Cream Social, various university recruiting events, and recently was tasked with starting a new mentoring program for undergraduate students, the Voiland Peer Network.

Staff Excellence awards:

Fernanda Amaral

Office assistant, Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture

Fernanda Amaral

Amaral provides support to the dean, the dean’s assistant, and the director of Administrative Services regarding business operations and office practices. “Whenever I work with Fernanda on a project, I know it will be the best we can possibly make it. Fernanda exemplifies the best of Voiland College,” wrote one of her colleagues.

Andrea Butcherite

Academic advisor/coordinator, School of Mechanical and Material Science Engineering

Andrea Butcherite

Butcherite advises more than 300 students through their academic goals, resolving questions and concerns, and guiding them through the next steps in their academic journeys. “Andrea is an excellent advisor to our undergraduate students, an excellent employee, and an excellent co-worker,” wrote one of her nominators.

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