CEE celebrates the best, the brightest, the graduates

The rooftop of the Clough Student Commons was the place to be April 30, as the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering held its Annual Awards Ceremony.

More than 20 CEE students, faculty and staff were feted during the lunchtime celebration, hosted by Dr. David Frost and by Karen and John Huff School Chair Reginald DesRoches.

Recognized first were several student assistants who have worked with the school in various capacities while completing their undergraduate degrees. Those students are Mary Catherine Farrell, Lara Yoon, Kala Marks, and Zuri Hudson. All four will be graduating from Georgia Tech on Saturday, May 4.

Receiving the Professional Support Excellence Award for support of all CEE academic programs (and ensuring CEE returns to the Mason Building on time) was Senior Facilities Manager Mr. Andy Udell.

Quipped Frost: "Andy knows that if we are not all back in Mason by August, we’ll be requesting this one is returned!"

Picking up the Bill Schutz Graduate Teaching Assistant Award were two students who have worked closely with Dr. Donald Webster in producing a "flipped classroom" course over the past year: David Young and Aaron True.


Receiving the Administrative Support Excellence Award: for administrative support of school programs and, in particular, helping CEE to bring support to the school research programs, was Ms. Becky Colter. Colter works in the business office, currently located in the IPST building.

The Outstanding Staff Leadership Award: for leadership by staff in support of research, teaching or service went to Mike Anderson.

In bestowing the award on Anderson, Frost noted: "Without this component, we don’t get anything done and this individual leads our IT team in an exemplary manner."

The Bill Schutz Junior Faculty Teaching Award went to Dr. Jaehong Kim for demonstrated excellence in teaching by a junior faculty member. Dr. Kim was recognized in particular for leveraging Mundy Funds to create life-changing experiences for students during class field trips to Nicaragua.

The CEE Senior Faculty Teaching Award: for demonstrated excellence in teachinng went to Dr. Larry Kahn, a professor, Frost noted, who "has numbers that any of us would be happy to have. Beyond the numbers however, I see him regularly engaged in lengthy discussions with students after class."

The CEE Leadership in Use of Technology Award for development and use of innovative teaching techniques went to Dr. Barry Goodno.

Added Frost: "Not only has [Barry] continued as lead author on one of the top undergraduate mechanics textbooks (the regular version is around 1,000 pages long and the short version is around 600 pages; that’s like calling Paradise Lost a short poem), but he has also very effectively integrated the use of instructional technologies to support and change the way in which students learn.

The CEE Excellence in Research Program Development for contributions to research program and graduate student development -- including a program that has garnered over $4 million in the past three years while supporting almost 20 graduate students and post-doctoral researchers--was Dr. James Tsai.

Dr. Randy Guensler received the CEE Research Innovation Award for innovative achievement in research.

In giving Guensler the award, Frost noted: "Twelve months ago, I-85 commuters might have found it hard to believe that one of the key individuals involved in bringing HOT lanes to Atlanta should be getting an award for it, but now that the initial chaos has subsided, they would likely support this and other research based innovations [Dr. Guensler.]"

The Interdisciplinary Research Award for contributions through interdisciplinary research activities was given to Dr. Mustafa Aral.

"With sustained, substantive and externally recognized contributions to fields as disparate as hydrology, health, applied mathematics and climate change, this individual has been a valued ambassador for the school," said Frost of his colleague.

CEE Sustained Research Award for development and achievement in research went to Dr. Ted Russell.

Said Frost, "While the rest of you have been eating your lunch here today, I understand that [Dr. Russell] has completed another journal paper."

The CEE Appreciation Award for research, teaching or service contributions to the school went to Associate Chair Dr. Glenn Rix, whom Dr. DesRoches described as "the person who always has to say 'no' when I get to say 'yes'."

Several of this year's awardees were not able to attend the event, including Mr. Ty Murray, the recipient of the CEE Special Recognition Award for outstanding support of capstone design.

Also not in attendance was the winner of the Best Ph.D. Thesis Award, Dr. David Murphy, who is now a post-doctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins. His faculty mentor, Dr. Don Webster, accepted in his absence.

Dr. Michael Hunter received the CEE Appreciation Award but was not able to attend because he was at a funding conference for the transportation centers that he oversees.

DesRoches and Frost also gave kudos to several students who were honored at the College of Engineering's recent awards banquet, including Nicole Caruso, winner of the Chair's Outstanding Senior Award; Lewis Brower, winner of the Buck Stith Outstanding Junior Award, and Daniella Remolina, winner of the Outstanding Sophomore Award. Ms. Caruso was the only one of these awardees who was able to attend.

Capping off this celebration of the year's accomplishments was recognition for the students who were recently honored by AEES (formerly the Association for Environmental Engineers and Scientists), which held an awards ceremony earlier in April. Those students are Zohre 'Zuzi' Kurt, winner of the Outstanding Doctoral Candidate Award, Rashi Goel, winner of the Outstanding Master’s Student Award; and Lily Ponitz, winner of the Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award.