School Welcomes New Faculty

The School of Engineering is pleased to welcome six new tenure-track faculty members for the fall ’09 and spring ’10 terms. They bring valuable expertise in the energy arena and are associated with the Eminent Faculty Initiative in Sustainable Energy. They are: Drs. Leslie McCabe Shor, Chih-Jen “Jackie” Sung, Hanchen Huang, Sung-Yeul Park, Timothy Vadas and Alexander Agrios.

The Chemical Engineering program welcomed its first female faculty member in the program’s 50-year history with the arrival of Dr. Leslie Shor, who joined the Chemical, Materials & Biomolecular Engineering (CMBE) department as the Northeast Utilities Assistant Professor in Environmental Engineering Education. Dr. Shor was previously with Vanderbilt University, where she was a Research Assistant Professor of Environmental Engineering. In addition to being a faculty member in the CMBE Department, she will hold an affiliation with the multidisciplinary Center for Environmental Science & Engineering (CESE). Dr. Shor brings expertise in water and soil organic chemistry, pollutant impacts on natural habitats, and environmental biotechnology. She earned her Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering from Rutgers University, where she held a three-year National Institutes of Health Biotechnology Training Program fellowship. Dr. Shor is currently the principal investigator on an NSF grant to develop microbial habitat arrays using microfluidic device technology. She is the co-author of over 10 publications and the co-inventor of one pending and three disclosed patents. She is also a dedicated advocate for women in engineering.

Dr. Jackie Sung joins the Mechanical Engineering Department as a School of Engineering Named Professor in Sustainable Energy. He was previously a professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Case Western Reserve University. He received his Ph.D. and M.A. degrees from Princeton University in 1994 and 1991, respectively, and an M.S.E. degree from National Taiwan University in 1988. Dr. Sung’s research and teaching interests span combustion, propulsion and laser diagnostics. He has explored diverse areas, including the structure of chemically reacting flow, catalytic combustion, micro-propulsion, combustion diagnostics, supersonic combustion, unsteady and high-pressure flame phenomena, soot and NOx formation, flame extinction and ignition, and development of detailed and reduced chemical kinetic models for aliphatic fuels combustion. He is an Associate Fellow of the AIAA and the recipient of a National Science Foundation CAREER Award (2002). Dr. Sung has over 90 archival publications in combustion and propulsion. He is the recipient of several Best Paper Awards for papers presented at the 12th Microgravity Science and Space Processing Symposium of the 36th AIAA Aerospace Science Meeting (1998), the Northern Ohio AIAA (2004 and 2006), and the Distinguished Paper Award in Colloquium Laminar Flames from the 31st International Symposium on Combustion in 2007. He has also received several teaching awards, including the Graduate Teaching Award of the Case School of Engineering and the Case Western Reserve University Srinivasa P. Gutti Memorial Engineering Teaching Award.

Also joining the Mechanical Engineering Department is Dr. Hanchen Huang, who holds the UConn School of Engineering Professorship in Sustainable Energy. Dr. Huang earned his M.S. in theoretical physics at the Institute of Atomic Energy of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and his Ph.D. in nuclear engineering at UCLA. Dr. Huang was a professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY from 2002-09. Earlier in his career, he was a faculty member at Hong Kong Polytechnic University (HKPU). Professor Huang also conducted research in advanced materials and nano-mechanics at the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) facilities in Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory from 1995-98. His research efforts – funded by DoE, the National Science Foundation, the Army Research Laboratory, Hong Kong RGC, national labs and industry consortia – involve nanomaterials for energy storage, atomistic simulation methods, semiconductors, materials processing, interfacial phenomena and nuclear fusion. Dr. Huang has nearly 100 refereed journal publications and more than 1,000 SCI citations based on his work. He is a guest editor of the journals MRS Bulletin, Philosophical Magazine, Computational Materials Science, Computer Methods in Applied Mechanics and Engineering, and the Journal of Computer-Aided Materials Design. Among Dr. Huang’s awards are the 2007 RPI School of Engineering Excellence in Research Award, the 2002 President’s Award for Outstanding Performance in Research and Scholarship (HPKU), the 2001 Bole Award for Professional Leadership (Chinese Mechanical Engineering Society) and the 1992 Scientific Progress Award (China Department of Energy).

The Electrical & Computer Engineering Department welcomes Dr. Sung-Yeul Park, who received his Ph.D. in August 2009 and his M.S. degree in 2004, both at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech). Dr. Park’s doctoral research involved solid oxide fuel cell power conditioning systems and is related to the process of transferring renewable energy to the utility grid. His research interests include renewable energy power conditioning systems, micro-grid inverters and digital power converter/inverter control. Dr. Park interned with Ballard Power System Corporation in Dearborn, MI, where he was involved in the development of a thermal impedance tester for a high power inverter module of a fuel cell car. Before pursuing his Ph.D., Dr. Park worked in Seoul, Korea as a field application junior engineer with YKLogic Co., Ltd. and as a technical support engineer with Hyun Jung System Co., Ltd. He has one U.S. patent and has co-authored one book and four research papers along with six conference papers. Dr. Park has received several best paper awards, an outstanding writing award in the International Future Energy Challenge (IFEC) in 2007 and a research excellence award at Virginia Tech in 2009.

Both Drs. Alexander Agrios and Timothy Vadas join the Environmental Engineering program within the Civil & Environmental Engineering Department.

Dr. Agrios received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in 1998 and 2003, respectively, from Northwestern University. He has performed postdoctoral research on photocatalysis at école Centrale de Lyon, France (2004) and on the dye-sensitized solar cell at EPFL in Lausanne, Switzerland (2004 — 2005) and Uppsala University in Sweden (2005 — 2009). He won a two-year grant from NSF’s International Research Fellowship Program (2004-2006). Dr. Agrios is the author of 10 journal articles and one book chapter and has given 12 conference presentations. His research interests include the applications of nanoparticulate semiconductors to solar energy conversion; advanced electronic measurements including electron transport and recombination kinetics; and analytical techniques including chromatography, spectroscopy, electrochemistry, spectroelectrochemistry.

Dr. Vadas will join UConn in January and hold an affiliation with the interdisciplinary CESE as well as the CEE Department. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Cornell University in 2006 and 2008, respectively. As a graduate student, he received an EPA STAR Fellowship. Since graduating, Dr. Vadas has carried out postdoctoral research in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. His research interests include understanding metal mobility in natural and constructed systems, biogeochemical controls on metal cycling and related applications to the design of remediation systems, phytoremediation, sustainable urban infrastructure, and modeling of carbon accounting and mitigation strategies (e.g., biofuels, dairy farm anaerobic digesters, or carbon capture and storage).

Categories: advanced materials, Aerospace, Civil & Environmental Engineering, Civil Engineering, Headline