ME Graduation Reception Honors Students
May 9, 2017
May 5, 2017, was a huge day for Mechanical Engineering at the U, as 13 Ph.D., 44 M.S. and 179 B.S. (based on data prior to graduation), students’ obtained their respective mechanical engineering degrees. Students, faculty and parents attended both the University and the College of Engineering convocation ceremonies witnessing students’ transition to the next level in their careers.
It is noteworthy that six students, Jeppesen G. Feliciano, Kay Beauwen Freckleton, John Dean Lillquist, Max Richard Mroz, Brianna Louise Potter, and Jonathan Michael Zubair, stand out having chosen to challenge the status quo and received their Honors Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. The Honors bachelor (HBS) degree is the highest undergraduate degree conferred by the University of Utah. It signifies that the student has completed a rigorous liberal arts education curriculum and completed an undergraduate thesis in their major. The HBS also requires a minimum 3.5 GPA at graduation. This is in conjunction to the strenuous mechanical engineering degree requirements. These six went the extra mile through the Honors College to arm themselves with the critical thinking, writing and nimble problem solving skills needed to contribute to the economic and social vitality of our communities.
A reception for all Mechanical Engineering graduating students and their families was held in the Mechanical Engineering Kennecott Building Lower-Level Atrium, following the College of Engineering (COE) Convocation. Recognized at the reception were recipients of the 2016-2017 Outstanding Graduating Student Leader Award, ME Student Leadership Award, ME Outstanding Dissertation Award, and the ME Students’ Choice Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award. Those recipients are:
COE Outstanding Graduating Student Leader Award:
Jeppesen Feliciano, B.S.’17
As the outstanding graduating student, Feliciano provided the COE student address during convocation, where he represented ME well. Mechanical engineering professor Eric Pardyjak said, “At this point in his academic career, Jeppesen rates very highly amongst our successful students in terms of technical competence, motivation, initiative, and communication skills. I would rank him in our top 5% without hesitation.” Read more here.
ME Student Leadership of the Year Award:
Vignesh Sivaramakrishnan, B.S.’17
The Student Leadership of the Year Award is in recognition for Vignesh Sivaramakrishnan’s outstanding leadership, dedication and service to students and the Department. Vignesh has been a quiet, but important student leader in our department for the past couple of years. He has served as Undergraduate Student Advising Committee co-chair for the past year and has been a peer mentor for the past two years. He was also the team captain for the U Chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Human Powered Vehicle Challenge Team that competed in Las Vegas in March. One teammate said, “He has been the most hardworking, creative, and passionate individual I have ever worked with. Vig puts 110% into everything, and won’t stop until the job is done right.”
In addition to conducting undergraduate research in the U ME Environmental Fluid Dynamics Lab, Vignesh completed two summer internships at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. This summer he accepted a research internship position at the University of California, Los Angeles, Radiation Oncology Group, working on finite element modeling and control of a soft robot for robotic interventions for cancer patients. His plans are to attend graduate school in Fall 2018.
ME Outstanding Dissertation of the Year Award:
Rami M. Shorti
The Outstanding Dissertation of the Year Award is in recognition for Rami Shorti’s devotion to advancing research intellectual merit and benefiting the broader impacts to society. Advised by ME assistant professor Andrew Merryweather and a member of the Ergonomics & Safety Laboratory, Shorti’s dissertation is entitled, “Step negotiation biomechanics during truck cab egress and the effects of anthropometrics and cab design on fall biomechanics etiology.”
ME Students’ Choice Outstanding Teaching Assistant of the Year Award: Ali Samarefilsoofi
The ME students’ choice Outstanding Teaching Assistant (TA) of the Year Award is in recognition for Ali Samarefilsoofi’s devotion and genuine concern for students. Samarefilsoofi was a TA for the Intro to Robot Controls class, taught by mechanical engineering associate professor Stephen Mascaro. Mascaro said, “Ali had a lot of responsibilities including preparing weekly lab experiments and keeping labs in working condition, as well as grading 45 homework papers and labs each week. I am pleased to hear the students recognized his efforts.”
Samarefilsoofi is a Ph.D. student in the ME Bio-Controls Laboratory advised by mechanical engineering associate professor Sanford Meek, where his research focuses on quadruped robots. When receiving this award Samarefilsoofi said, “It was a great experience to work closely with students and help them to better learn about the course materials. Having a teaching experience was helpful for me to achieve a deeper understanding of the material. This recognition from the students was unanticipated and means a lot. Thank you.”
The next top three students’ choice TA of the Year nominees were:
Mohamad Ghashami: TA in the Thermodynamics II class. Ghashami is a member of the Micro/Nanoscale Energy Transport & Conversion Laboratory, advised by mechanical engineering assistant professor Keunhan Park. His research area is experimental investigation of near-field thermophotovoltaic energy conversion.
James Tigue: TA in the Mechatronics II class. From Idaho Falls, Idaho, Tigue is a member of the Bio-Robotics Laboratory, advised by mechanical engineering associate professor Stephen Mascaro. Tigue says, “I am very interested bioinspired applications for robotics. My current research is on anatomically correct hand modeling. We hope to expand this to anatomically inspired hand exotendon mechanism research.“
Clay Audd: TA in the Composite Materials Class. Audd is a M.S. student and a member of the Utah Composites Laboratory advised by mechanical engineering assistant professor Michael Czabaj. Audd’s research is in the area of characterization of mode III fracture toughness of tape-laminate composites.