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Seven engineering students honored

Mare Payne, News Bureau
(217) 333-0567;


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Seven University of Illinois College of Engineering students will be honored Friday (April 20) at the 37th annual Engineering Awards Convocation for their achievements in and out of the classroom.

The recipients and their awards:

Manoj Aggarwal,Princeton, N.J., won the Ross J. Martin Award, given annually in recognition of outstanding research achievements by a graduate student. Working in the emerging area of high-performance visual sensors, Aggarwal found inadequacies in a model of image formation that has been used for decades and introduced a model that better accounts for physical processes. In addition, he developed novel imaging solutions to digital camera limitations related to field of view, resolution, depth of field and dynamic range. Aggarwal is a prolific writer, with seven papers published and six more in various stages of publication or submission. He is expected to complete his doctorate in electrical and computer engineering in May.

Jennifer Brooks, Alpharetta, Ga., a senior in chemical engineering, won the H.L. Wakeland Undergraduate Leadership Award. The Wakeland Award is given annually to a student who has demonstrated outstanding leadership ability. Active in Engineering Council since her freshman year, Brooks has held three executive board positions and this year serves as president. Other activities include the Society of Women Engineers, Sigma Kappa sorority, Tau Beta Pi and the Chemical Engineering Student Advisory Committee. This year she was selected to join the Knights of St. Patrick Engineering Leadership Society. An Illinois State Scholar and a James Scholar, she has a 3.8 grade-point average (out of 4.0). In 1999, she was a summer intern as a process engineer with BP-Amoco, and in 2000 as a reservoir engineer with Exxon Mobil. After graduation, she will join Exxon Mobil in Houston and hopes to work toward a master’s in petroleum engineering.

Jonathan Dolle, Cincinnati, Ohio, a senior in general engineering and philosophy, won the Stanley H. Pierce Award. The Pierce Award is given annually to the undergraduate student who has done the most to develop student-faculty cooperation. A Chancellor Scholar and Knight of St. Pat, Dolle is a fully participating member of the instruction team for a course on emotional intelligence. For this course, he took leadership of the student service project and online discussion group. In addition, he was a co-director of the Engineering 100 Program, taking responsibility for selecting learning assistants, developing and delivering training, and monitoring effectiveness. Dolle has studied in Bangladesh and Mexico. He has served on the campus leadership committee and as student president and a board of governors member of the University YMCA. He was a co-chair of Alternative Spring Break and spent spring break 2000 monitoring working conditions of garment factories that produce university-licensed apparel.

Timothy G. McGee, Arlington Heights, a senior in mechanical engineering with a minor in Latin American studies, won the Harvey H. Jordan Award. The Jordan Award is given annually to an outstanding senior. McGee, who has a 4.0 grade-point average, plans to continue his studies in engineering by pursuing a Ph.D. with a research emphasis in controls and robotics. His undergraduate research project focused on designing control algorithms for a walking robot. A James Scholar and Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department Outstanding Scholar, he is an active member in the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity. Throughout his undergraduate career, he has held offices and participated in the engineering honor societies Pi Tau Sigma and Tau Beta Pi. He spent a summer studying at the University of Buenos Aires and is working toward a private pilot license at the university’s Institute of Aviation.

Jay Vishal Paidipati, Streamwood, Ill., a junior in mechanical engineering, won the Honeywell Award. The Honeywell Award is given annually to a junior in recognition of distinguished individual performance and leadership, including unusual scholastic accomplishments, professional qualifications or participation in technical and professional societies. Paidipati, with a 3.98 grade-point average, distinguished himself academically from the start and has worked as an undergraduate research assistant since his freshman year. As a first-semester sophomore, he completed a graduate-level research project, presented his work at the annual TAM student speaker competition and won – a rare accomplishment for a sophomore. With Professor Thomas Mackin, he redeveloped the problem and presented the model before an international audience at the Society for Experimental Mechanics. Mackin describes Paidipati as a once-in-a-career engineer and feels that he may never see another student who is as capable, as diligent and as likeable. As president of the local chapter of Pi Tau Sigma honor society, he represented the UI at the national convention at Texas A&M University, where he accepted the Outstanding Chapter Award.

Samantha C. Sutton, Urbana, a senior in electrical engineering, won the Lisle Abbott Rose Memorial Award. The Rose Award is given annually to a senior who most nearly approaches the ideal of technical excellence combined with cultural breadth, depth and sensitivity. Sutton, a James Scholar with a 3.93 grade-point average, is a member of the Society of Women Engineers and Student Senate Caucus. She also taught Engineering 100 classes as an Engineering Learning Assistant and volunteered through the Alternative Spring Break organization to work on a Lakota Sioux reservation, live with a Hispanic family and assist a migrant labor union at the Mexican border. A study abroad program at the Université de Grenoble, France, helped her become fluent in French. Sutton has been active in more than a dozen sports, academic and social groups; is a Knight of St. Pat; and was awarded the Knight and Jordan awards in the electrical and computer engineering department. She intends to pursue a doctorate in molecular bioengineering in the fall.

Zhengyu Zhang, won the Henry Ford II Scholar Award. The Ford Award is given annually to an outstanding first-year graduate student entering his or her second year of study. Zhang is working on a theoretical and computational research project in the micromechanics of functionally graded materials (FGM) in the department of civil and environmental engineering. The project integrates computational science, finite element modeling, mechanics and materials, and information technologies for simulating the behavior of FGMs, which are of rapidly growing interest to industry, academia and research laboratories. FGMs blend two materials – ceramics and ductile metals, for example – without discrete interfaces. Her research in FGMs lies in developing the underlying theory and computational techniques/software to predict the damage tolerance under severe thermomechanical loading, which leads to strongly nonlinear responses.