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School of Engineering Welcomes 12 New Faculty

 

By: Eli Freund, Editorial Communications Manager, UConn School of Engineering

The University of Connecticut School of Engineering is proud to announce that 12 new faculty–including five new faculty members in the Computer Science and Engineering Department and one new faculty member in the brand-new Krenicki Arts and Engineering Institute–are starting this academic year.

The new faculty members, who hail from Harvard, Georgia Tech, industry, and many other organizations, represent one of the biggest influxes of talent in the last several years, who will build on areas of growth and critical need within the School.

New Faculty:

Ghada Almashaqbeh

Department: Assistant Professor, Computer Science and Engineering 

Ph.D. program graduated from and/or previous work experience: Ph.D. in computer science from Columbia University, graduated in May 2019. Over the past year (before joining UConn) she worked in two startups; one she cofounded based on the work done in her PhD thesis, and in the other was as a cryptographer working on building an infrastructure for privacy preserving applications.

Area of teaching specialty or research: Cryptography, security, and distributed systems. 

 

 

Kriti Bhargava

Department: Assistant Professor-in-Residence, Computer Science and Engineering (Stamford Campus)

Ph.D. program graduated from and/or previous work experience: Ph.D. in computer science from Telecommunications Software and Systems Group, Waterford Institute of Technology, Ireland. Graduated in 2019. Research Fellow in School of Computing, Electronics and Mathematics, Coventry University, UK, from Dec 2018 to Aug 2020.

Area of teaching specialty or research: Internet of Things, Machine Learning, Computer Networking

 

 

Frank Cunha

Department: Professor-in-Residence, Mechanical Engineering 

Ph.D. program graduated from and/or previous work experience: Ph.D. P.E., mechanical engineering, New York University, aircraft engine and power generation design and development experience with GE, PW, and Siemens.

Area of teaching specialty or research: manufacturing processes, turbomachinery development, advanced thermodynamics, energy systems, solid mechanics, fracture mechanics and fatigue, fluid dynamics, advanced heat transfer. 

Any major awards or grants received: Fellow of American Society of Mechanical Engineers, member of International Center of Heat and Mass Transfer, associate editor of ASME International Journal of Heat Transfer, over 100 US Patents on gas turbine combustors, turbines and afterburners. 

 

 

Jorge Paricio Garcia

Department: Assistant Professor-in-Residence, Krenicki Arts and Engineering Institute; Mechanical Engineering

Ph.D. program graduated from and/or previous work experience: Complutense University of Madrid,  Masters in Industrial Design from Pratt Institute. Part-time faculty in the Industrial Design Department at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) for 13 years; Taught at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh for 16 years; Worked as an exhibit designer for 4 years in New York City, preparing design concepts, blueprints for major US trade shows; Worked for Colgate Palmolive developing product concepts and CAD drawings for the Global Packaging Group.

Area of teaching specialty or research: Concept drawing for product design, digital rendering, design thinking, product development.

Any major awards or grants received: Teacher of Excellence Award in Continuing Education, RISD, 2019; Finalist, J. Frazier Wards as an Adjunct Faculty, RISD, 2015 and 2019.

 

 

Haitham Ghalwash

Department: Assistant Professor-in-Residence, Computer Science and Engineering

Ph.D. program graduated from and/or previous work experience: Ph.D. in computer science and engineering, University of Connecticut. 

Area of teaching specialty or research: Cybersecurity and computer networking. 

 

 

 

Farhad Imani

Department: Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering 

Ph.D. program graduated from and/or previous work experience: Dual-title Ph.D. in industrial engineering and operations research, The Pennsylvania State University

Area of teaching specialty or research: Data analytics in advanced manufacturing

Any major awards or grants received: 

  • 2020, James E. Marley Graduate Fellowship in Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University 
  • 2020, Breakthrough Project, Highlighted in National Science FoundationIndustry-University Cooperative Research Centers (IUCRC) website 
  • 2019, Brush Graduate Fellowship, The Pennsylvania State University
  • 2019, Featured Article in ISE Magazine, Institute of Industrial and System Engineers (IISE) Transactions on Healthcare Systems Engineering
  • 2018, Best Poster Award, Quality Control and Reliability Engineering Division (QCRE), IISE Annual Conference, Orlando, FL 
  • 2016 – 2017, Prestigious University Graduate FellowshipThe Pennsylvania State University

 

SeungYeon Kang

Department: Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering 

Ph.D. program graduated from and/or previous work experience: Ph.D. in applied physics, Harvard University; Senior Research Engineer at Samsung SDI and Program Manager for the UConn SHAP3D Center

Area of teaching specialty or research: Advanced laser materials processing techniques, fundamental principles and application of light-matter interaction, 3D nano-fabrication and energy technology. 

 

 

 

Stephany Santos

Department: Assistant Professor-in-Residence, Biomedical Engineering;Associate Director, Engineering Diversity and Outreach Center

Ph.D. program graduated from and/or previous work experience: University of Connecticut, Biomedical Engineering

Area of teaching specialty or research:

Teaching Areas: 1st Year Engineering Courses | Presentation and Communication Skills | Leadership & Teamwork

Research Areas: Biomechanics | [Engineering] Leadership | Equity | Microaggressions

Any major awards or grants received: Inspiring STEM Equitability Award at the Women of Innovation Awards by the CT Technology Council; Ford Foundation Fellow

 

 

Nikhil Saxena

Department: Lecturer, Computer Science and Engineering (Stamford)

Ph.D. program graduated from and/or previous work experience: Ph.D. from Pace University; Experience of 5+ years in geospatial information technology industry.

Area of teaching specialty or research: GPU, parallel and high performance computing, algorithms, optimization, IoT, systems eng., machine learning, geospatial eng. 

 

 

 

 

Dongjin Song

Department: Assistant Professor, Computer Science and Engineering 

Ph.D. program graduated from: University of California, San Diego, June 2016

Previous work experience: Research staff member, NEC Labs America, Inc. (July 2016 to July 2020). 

Area of research specialty: Machine learning, deep learning, data mining, time series analysis, graph representation learning.

Any major awards received: Top-10 finalist in Italian Telecom Big Data Challenge (2014); Best scientific project prize in the D4D Challenge (2013). 

 

 

Sophie Wang 

Department: Assistant Professor, Materials Science and Engineering/Institute of Materials Science

Ph.D. program graduated from and/or previous work experience: PhD (2016): George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech; Postdoc: Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Northwestern University (2016-2018)

Area of teaching specialty or research: Advanced materials, mechanics and functional structures for energy and human health applications, including flexible/stretchable/bio-integrated electronics and mechanics of deformation and fracture in advanced materials.

Any major awards or grants received:

Awards:

  • ASME Haythornthwaite Foundation Research Initiation Award, 2019
  • Gary L. Cloud Scholarship Award, Society for Experimental Mechanics, 2016

Grants: Office of Naval Research (ONR), NSF, Haythornthwaite Foundation and Wallace H. Coulter Foundation

 

Yi Zhang

Department: Assistant Professor, Biomedical Engineering/Institute of Materials Science

Ph.D. program graduated from and/or previous work experience: He obtained his Ph.D. degree in chemical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2016 and did his postdoc at the Querrey Simpson Institute for Bioelectronics and Materials Science and Engineering at Northwestern University from 2016 to 2018. He was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical, Biological and Chemical Engineering at the University of Missouri, Columbia from 2018 to 2020.

 Area of teaching specialty or research: Soft materials, neuroelectronic interfaces, and wearable molecular sensors.

Any major awards or grants received: He is the recipient of the 2019 BMES Career Development Award and Waldemar T. Ziegler Award (for best research paper). His research program is supported by NSF ECCS and NIH Brain Initiative.