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Honoring our excellence

On April 15, the College of Engineering will host its annual faculty and staff appreciation celebration. While I will formally acknowledge several faculty and staff who have received awards for their great work, research, teaching and service, this event is one small way I can express my gratitude to all engineering faculty and staff and celebrate our collective achievements.

The event will run from 3 to 4:30 p.m. April 15 in the Mechanical Engineering Building atrium. Please come, enjoy a selection of light hors d'oeuvres and beverages, and attend the brief program, which will begin at approximately 3:20 p.m. Recipients of our college awards this year include Haile Berhe, Susan Hagness, Dennis Manthey, Manos Mavrikakis, Rob Radwin and Barry Van Veen, and in the next few weeks, we'll tell you more the activities and contributions that have earned them recognition.

Throughout the April 1 edition of Newsnotes, you'll read about our exceptional faculty staff and students, and I can't begin to list all of the accolades they have received in the 2013-2014 academic year. However, I'm pleased to announce that several of our faculty members have earned prestigious UW-Madison recognition of their achievements. These awards not only are a testament to their excellence, but also are indicative of their peers' high regard for them. Among these award recipients are: 

Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor Hussain Bahia—Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor

Biomedical Engineering Professor David Beebe—Claude Bernard Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Materials Science and Engineering Professor Paul Evans—Vilas Faculty Mid-Career Investigator Award

Chemical and Biological Engineering Professor Michael Graham—Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor

Chemical and Biological Engineering Professor Tom Kuech—Hilldale Award 

Chemical and Biological Engineering Professor David Lynn—H.I. Romnes Faculty Fellow

Chemical and Biological Engineering Professor Manos Mavrikakis—Kellett Mid-Career Award

Electrical and Computer Engineering Professor Rob Nowak—Kellett Mid-Career Award

Chemical and Biological Engineering Professor Sean Palecek—Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor

Chemical and Biological Engineering Associate Professor Jennifer Reed—Vilas Faculty Early-Career Investigator Award and Vilas Research Investigator Award (In January, she also received a U.S. PECASE, or Presidential Early-Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.)

Materials Science and Engineering Professor Izabela Szlufarska—H.I. Romnes Faculty Fellow

Biomedical Engineering Professor Justin Williams—Vilas Faculty Early-Career Investigator Award and Vilas Research Investigator Award

We also have some of the brightest, most motivated students anywhere, and they, too, continue to earn accolades ranging from best-poster or best-paper prizes at professional conferences to student society chapter awards. They are academically outstanding—for example, fifth-year senior Drew Birrenkott, who is triple-majoring in political science, biochemistry and biomedical engineering, was named a 2014 Rhodes Scholar.

In addition, our students are inventive and entrepreneurial, as evidenced by the creative ideas they displayed in February at the UW-Madison Innovation Days competition. Chemical and biological engineering students Cedric Kovacs-Johnson and Charles Haider won both the Schoofs Prize for Creativity and the Tong Prototype Prize in the competition for their invention, an attachment for 3D printers that will allow users to incorporate seamless, on-demand color into the 3D printing process. Electrical and computer engineering undergraduate Jake Schieber co-founded the website, which recently won the 2014 Desire 2 Learn Edge Challenge. 

Here at UW-Madison, we have many more success stories, and whenever possible, we need to tell them. So as you travel and talk with friends, colleagues and alumni around the country or around the globe, tell them about the outstanding engineering faculty, staff and students who set our college apart, and who continuously strive to improve it. I know I will be doing the same.  

Dean Ian Robertson