UConn Engineering Captures Major Educational Awards

The School of Engineering has captured four U.S. Department of Education grants aimed at enhancing the nation’s technological competitiveness. The three-year grants were made under the agency’s Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) program.

The grant support, paired with additional matching funds, totals nearly $1 million per year and will support approximately 30 to 35 graduate students annually.

UConn provost Peter Nicholls hailed the news, saying “I congratulate the UConn teams on their remarkable success. The GAANN program is an important and prestigious one, and we are excited by the prospect of enlarging our engineering graduate programs to address strategic research and education in critical areas of science and technology.”

The GAANN program provides fellowship grants to support U.S. citizens as they pursue their doctoral degrees in fields deemed to be “areas of national need.” Students from traditionally underrepresented populations, including women and minority populations, are a particular focus of the GAANN program.

The four winning multidisciplinary awards were as follows:

Mei Wei

A Storrs-UConn Health Center collaboration headed by Mei Wei, an associate professor in the Chemical, Materials & Biomolecular Engineering Department, and Jon Goldberg and Liisa Kuhn of the UConn Health Center’s Center for Regenerative Medicine & Skeletal Development, to support students conducting research in the area of biomaterials for tissue regeneration.

Mun Y. Choi

A team headed by dean of engineering Mun Y. Choi, aimed at engaging graduate students in research involving advanced energy and environmental technologies, including fuel cells, solar power, waste-to-energy conversion, carbon sequestration and distributed power.

Reda Ammar

An effort headed by department head and professor of Computer Science & Engineering, Reda Ammar, that will involve students in advanced computing research targeting biomedical informatics and underwater sensor networks.

John Chandy

Under the leadership of associate professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering John Chandy, a team will engage graduate students in investigations of advanced computing security to strengthen financial, communications, transportation and defense systems.

U.S. Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT) praised the news. “The GAANN program is essential to providing financial aid to graduate students with impressive academic records,” said Dodd. “I applaud the UConn School of Engineering, Dean Choi and the faculty who received this prestigious award. This achievement shows the scope of research and educational excellence residing at the University of Connecticut.”

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