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MechSE's 2021 student award winners

4/5/2021

Each spring, MechSE students are recognized for their outstanding leadership, academic achievements, and character. The following graduate and undergraduate students are the recipients of the 2020-2021 departmental awards.

Graduate Student Winners 

Wenying Zhang | David Hinde Memorial Award
The David Hinde Memorial Award honors the memory of David Hinde, an alumnus of the department and former Research and Development Director of Hillphoenix. It is presented to a MechSE graduate student with a research interest in natural refrigerant technology.

Matthew Poss | Robert E. Miller Award for Teaching
This award was established to honor the career of Professor Robert E. Miller. Professor Emeritus Robert E. Miller earned three degrees from the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: a BS in aeronautical engineering (1954), and an MS (1955) and PhD (1959) in theoretical and applied mechanics. He joined the TAM faculty in 1959, and for thirty-five years he inspired generations of students through his superb teaching skills, devotion to his students, and service to his discipline. Professor Miller has been recognized for his contributions with the ASEE Mechanics Division Distinguished Educator Award, and the University of Illinois College of Engineering's Everitt Award and Advising Award. In 2000, he received the TAM Distinguished Alumni Award.

Bashar Emon | Michael A. and E. Ann Sutton Graduate Student Award
The Michael A. and Elizabeth Ann Sutton Graduate Student Award is given to an outstanding graduate student in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, with preference given to research in solid mechanics or experimental solid mechanics. Dr. Michael A. Sutton established this award to honor the profound impact that the outstanding faculty in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics had on his professional career.

Gautham Krishnan, Alireza Mojahed | James O. Smith Memorial Award
The family of James O. Smith initiated this fund soon after Professor Smith’s death in 1970. The award recognizes graduate students in the Theoretical and Applied Mechanics program who are determined to be the most effective teaching assistants.

Nattasit Dancholvichit, Jaejun Park | Outstanding Teaching Assistant in Mechanical Engineering
This award is given to the mechanical engineering student whose teaching assistant service has been exemplary. Students are chosen to receive this award because of their initiative, reliability, commitment to the students, and their overall contribution to the teaching mission.

Alexandre Barbosa | Stanley I. Weiss Outstanding Thesis Award (Mechanical Engineering)
The Stanley I. Weiss Outstanding Thesis Award recognizes an ME student for an outstanding related MS or PhD thesis.

Undergraduate Student Winners

Kamden Damrow | Pi Tau Sigma Sophomore Award
The Pi Tau Sigma Outstanding Sophomore Award is selected by the Illinois Alpha chapter of Pi Tau Sigma, a national mechanical engineering honors fraternity.  This award was established in 1962 and is given to the most outstanding sophomore in mechanical engineering each year.

Kieran Nair | ASME Junior Leadership Award
Established in 1975, this award is given to a junior studying mechanical engineering and is based upon achievement and leadership within the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). 

Ying Zhang | James W. Bayne Award for Outstanding Senior in Pi Tau Sigma
James W. Bayne attended the University of Illinois and earned both his BSME and MSME from the former Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department. During his career in engineering education, Professor Bayne dedicated himself to fostering the careers of young people with an interest in engineering. This award is presented to an outstanding senior in Pi Tau Sigma determined by scholarship, activities, and service.

Zachary Hernandez, Mike Milito, James Popp, Nathan Ruxlow (Fall 2020: Shift Wheelchair) | James and Loretta Bayne Award for Outstanding Senior Design Project
Jaycie Ackerman, Jenna Kummerer, Aniliza May, Evan Rodriguez (Spring 2020: K&C Rig) | James and Loretta Bayne Award for Outstanding Senior Design Project
This award is presented in honor of Professor James W. Bayne to a Senior Design team that had an outstanding project from the previous fall and spring semesters.

Max Asselmeier, Andrew Klingberg, Ran Tao | Bei Tse and May Chao Award
This award is given in honor of Professor Bei Tse Chao, a pioneering scholar in the diverse fields of metal cutting, heat transfer, and multipurpose flow, and Professor May Kiang Chao, an assistant professor of library administration at Illinois. In 1952, Professor May Kiang Chao began her career at the university shortly after earning a bachelor’s degree in library science from Illinois. Professor Bei Tse Chao began his career at Illinois in 1948. He held fellowships with the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). In 1975, Bei Tse Chao was named Head of the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, serving from 1975 to 1987. In 1985, he was among the first group of University of Illinois faculty to receive the Senior University Scholar Award. The Bei Tse and May Chao Award is given to a senior within the department who has displayed extraordinary scholarly achievements and promise. 

Jonghyun Hwang | John C. and Elizabeth J. Chato Award in Bioengineering
The John C. and Elizabeth J. Chato Award in Bioengineering was established in 2001 and is given to an outstanding undergraduate student engaged in activities related to bioengineering. Professor John C. Chato joined the faculty of mechanical engineering at the University of Illinois in 1964 and retired in 1996. He was instrumental in establishing the campus-wide Bioengineering Program and was the first chairman of its executive committee. Elizabeth Chato earned a B.S. degree in zoology from the University of Cincinnati in 1954, and later worked as a Laboratory Technician with the Department of Horticulture at Illinois.

John Venetos | Patrick B. and Janet A. Flanagan ASME Senior Leadership Award
Each year, a senior in the student chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) is selected by the organization’s faculty adviser. This award was established in 1974, and selection is based upon leadership within the society.

Joshua Cox | A.G. Friederich Memorial Award
The A. G. Friederich Memorial Award is given to a junior or senior in mechanical engineering or engineering mechanics who has a special interest in machine design. 

Antonio Olmos | Clarence L. and Harriette Johnson Award
The Clarence L. and Harriette Johnson Award was established by Clarendon Lee Johnson (BS Marketing 1954) and Erle Johnson (BSGE 1949) in memory of their father, Clarence L. Johnson. Although Clarence was not a graduate of Illinois, he developed a strong attachment to the MechSE Department through his love of steam engines. This award is determined by scholarship, personal qualities, and professional and cultural activities. Each year the recipient’s name is inscribed on a plaque.

Ryan Ellis, Juyi Zhang | Helmut H. Korst Award
The Helmut H. Korst Award, established in 1984, is presented in honor of Professor Helmut H. Korst and is funded by the Korst children. Professor Korst served on the faculty in the Department of Mechanical Engineering from 1948 to 1984 and as head of the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering from 1962 to 1974. This award is presented to a senior in mechanical engineering who displays excellence in thermal science courses and in overall scholarship. 

Joseph Koszut | GM/Philip W. Leistra Jr. Society of Automotive Engineers Award
This award was funded by General Motors in memory of Philip W. Leistra, Jr.  Mr. Liestra earned a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Illinois in 1969.  While working at General Motors, he was instrumental in acquiring financial resources from GM to support many Formula SAE race teams. The award is presented each year to an outstanding member of the SAE Student Chapter who is also a student in MechSE.

Isha Tyle | O.A. Leutwiler Award
This award is given to a senior in mechanical engineering or engineering mechanics in honor of Oscar A. Leutwiler, professor of mechanical engineering and head of the department from 1934 to 1945.  Established in 1991, recipients of this award are determined based upon scholarship, personal qualities, and professional and cultural activities. Recipients have their names placed on a plaque and receive a certificate and monetary award.

Timmy Dong, Taojun Wang | Fred B. Seely Award
This award honors an outstanding senior in engineering mechanics and was established by Professor Fred B. Seely’s sons in his honor.  Professor Seely was department head of the former Theoretical and Applied Mechanics Department from 1934 until 1952.  Professor Seely was not only a leader in the field of mechanics, but also had a gift for enriching the educational experiences and creative talents of his students. Every action and deed coupled with a warm and friendly attitude displayed his sincere desire to be helpful and thoughtful of others. Meticulous in his technical writing and setting high moral and ethical standards in his own activities, he inspired those who worked with him to develop professionally to their fullest capability.

Esmee Vernooij | Seichi Konzo Memorial Award
The Seichi Konzo Memorial Award is given to an outstanding undergraduate or graduate student enrolled in the Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering.

Peter Davis, Haley Tholen | Swanson Environmental Sustainability Award
This award is presented to a student who has demonstrated significant interest in working to protect the earth’s ozone layer and stabilizing the global climate by working with technologies that reduce emissions of ozone-depleting fuels, to use fossil fuels more efficiently, and to produce energy from non-fossil fuels.

Nicole Jeon | TAM Merit Award
Established in the early 1980s by the former Theoretical and Applied Mathematics Department, this award honors a student's special contributions to engineering mechanics programs and activities. The TAM Merit Award is not an annual award, but rather, is given when a student's contributions during the year are determined to have been significant.

Stephen Bosch, Stefan Kamzol, James Popp | Kenneth J. Trigger Award
The Kenneth J. Trigger Award, in honor of Professor Trigger, is presented to a senior in mechanical engineering or engineering mechanics who has displayed an interest in manufacturing and has demonstrated excellence in that area, as well as overall scholarship.

Yuhe Cui | Konzo/ASHRAE Engineers Award
The Central Illinois Chapter of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) in Peoria, Illinois, established this award to honor the late Professor Seichi “Bud” Konzo, a key figure in the field of heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration for nearly a half century. Professor Konzo earned his MS in mechanical engineering from Illinois in 1929 and was a member of the research staff and faculty of the university from that time forward. The beginning of his pioneering research preceded the commercial development of residential air conditioning by almost two decades. He retired in 1971 but remained an active participant in the department. The award is presented to an outstanding junior or senior who is an ASHRAE member.