Tag Archives: Engineering

Two Outstanding Seniors Nominated for Gaither Fellowships

The James C. Gaither Junior Fellows Program is a post-baccalaureate fellowship with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace which provides outstanding recent graduates who are serious about careers in international affairs with an opportunity to learn about and help shape policy on important international topics.

Junior Fellows work as research assistants to senior scholars whose projects include nuclear policy, democracy and rule of law, energy and climate issues, Middle East studies, Asia politics and economics, South Asian politics, Southeast Asian politics, Japan studies, and Russian and Eurasian affairs.

The fellowship provides a one-year full time position at the Carnegie Endowment in Washington, D.C. during which Junior Fellows may conduct research, contribute to op-eds, papers, reports, and books, participate in meetings with high-level officials, contribute to congressional testimony and organize briefings attended by scholars, activists, journalists and government officials.

Texas A&M is one of over 400 participating schools and institutions and may nominate up to two students each year. Only 10-12 Junior Fellows will be selected, making this a highly-competitive program. Mokhtar Awad ’12 was selected as a Junior Fellow with the Middle East program in 2012.

We are pleased to announce our 2018 nominees are Kanika Gakhar ‘18, who is applying to the Energy and Climate Program, and Lucia Winkeler ‘18 who is applying to the Russia/Eurasia Program.

Kanika Gakhar ’18, Gaither Junior Fellows Nominee

Kanika Gakhar makes an impact on campus as a University Scholar and University Innovation Fellow by spreading her love for learning and working on revolutionary projects. As an Undergraduate Research Assistant at the Advanced Vertical Flight Lab, she conducts research on a Robotic Hummingbird. She is also a team-lead for the Society of Automotive Engineers Aero Design Team, which is an organization that designs, builds, and flies a radio-controlled aircraft at an international competition every year. Last summer, she interned for Boeing and was able to submit a patent for one of her designs. She is also very passionate about policy and has participated in debates, discussions, and Model United Nations. She enjoys dancing and is currently a performer for two dance teams: Texas A&M Belly Dance Association and Philsa Modern Hip-Hop Dance Team. She is currently Vice-President of Sigma Gama Tau and has served as President of Lambda Sigma Sophomore Honors Society and Director of Focus Groups for the MSC Fall Leadership Conference. She is also an active member of Maroon and White Leadership Association.

Lucia Winkeler ’18, Gaither Junior Fellows Nominee

Lucia Winkeler is originally from Austin, Texas. She is a senior international studies and Russian language and culture double major. Within, international studies, her focus is politics and diplomacy. Lucia is currently a member of the research subcommittee for the MSC Student Conference on National Affairs (SCONA)—currently preparing its 63rd conference—and also a member of Texas A&M University’s Russian Club. During her sophomore year, she was a member of the international subcommittee for the MSC L.T. Jordan Institute for International Awareness. Russian language and culture have always been a part of her life because her mother’s side of the family is Russian, and she has many relatives still living in Russia. During the summer of 2016, Lucia was a Fulbright Hays GPA Scholar as part of the Moscow-Texas Connections Program, during which she studied Russian intensively at the Higher School of Economics for 10 weeks. She was also inducted into the National Slavic Honor Society, Dobro Slavo, at the end of the spring 2016 semester. Last spring semester, in 2017, she had the opportunity to intern at the U.S. Department of Commerce through A&M’s Public Policy Internship Program and increased her knowledge of U.S.-Russian relations in a business context. After graduation, she plans to earn her Master’s in International Relations with a focus on Eurasia, and then enter a federal career to work on improving the state of U.S.-Russian relations and affect U.S. interests in the Eurasian region overall.

Congratulations to our nominees! If you are interested in applying to the Carnegie Junior Fellows program or another nationally-competitive scholarship or fellowship, please visit http://tx.ag/NatlFellows.


Student Research Week 2017

The 20th annual Student Research Week (SRW) was held March 27-31, 2017. The four-day celebration of student research is coordinated by the Graduate and Professional Student Council (GPSC) and provides opportunities for students to present–either orally or in poster form–the research they have conducted as students here at Texas A&M University. The theme for 2017 was inclusivity, and the SRW committee set a goal of representing all of the academic colleges. SRW helps foster a campus-wide culture of research and sets a high standard for student research by advertising the opportunities for inquiry at Texas A&M and inviting the university community to participate in this exciting endeavor.

LAUNCH: Undergraduate Research is excited to announce another successful year for our students at SRW. In addition to comprising a substantial proportion of the presenters, our undergraduates took home the following awards:


Jordan Lewallen, 1st Place Poster
Kendal Paige Ezell, 1st Place Oral
Kanika Gakhar, 2nd Place Oral

Lorna Min, 1st Place Poste
Sara Maynard 2nd Place Poster
Brooke Versace, 1st Place Oral
Miranda Apfel, 2nd Place Oral

Liberal Arts
Claire Nowka, 1st Place Poster
Daniel Joseph Welch, 2nd Place Poster
Amanda Gomez, 1st Place Oral
James McLean Bell, 2nd Place Oral

Agriculture and Life Sciences
Mackenzie Hartman, 1st Place Oral

Janna Brooks, 1st Place Poster

Education and Human Development
Katelyn Elaine Goodroe, 1st Place Poster
Devyn Chan Rice, 2nd Place Oral

Madison Moore, 1st Place Oral

Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
Rebecca Harlow, 1st Place Poster
Rebecca Thornton & Michelle Hoathian, 1st Place Oral
Serene Yu, 2nd Place Oral

Health Sciences
Morgan Riba, 1st Place Poster
Gabriella Abouelkheir, 2nd Place Poster
Virginia Beth Neese, 1st Place Poster


Sigma Xi Symposium Theme Award
Brooke Versace, Undergraduate Winner

Sigma Xi Interdisciplinary Award
Thomas Edward Settlemyre, Undergraduate Winner

Melbern G. Glasscock Humanities Special Award
James McLean Bell, Undergraduate Winner

University Center Award for Outstanding Abstract
Nicole Green, Undergraduate Winner

University Writing Center Award for Outstanding Presentation
Amanda Gomez, Undergraduate Winner

Provost Watson presents Josh Fuller ‘17 with a certificate of appreciation for his help with SRW 2017
Photo credit: Elizabeth Peterson

For more information about getting involved in undergraduate research, visit http://ugr.tamu.edu.

Alejandro Azocar Named Top Aerospace Engineering Student in the U.S.

Congratulations to recent graduate, Alejandro Azocar ’14,  who was named the top aerospace engineering student in the United States! Azocar participated in our programs as a University Scholar and Undergraduate Research Scholar.

Click the link below for the full story on the Dwight Look College of Engineering site:

Aerospace undergraduate student receives awards | 12 | 05 | 2015 | News & Events | College of Engineering.

Beckman Scholar Mikalya Barry Featured For Research

The research that Texas A&M’s first-ever Beckman Scholar, Mikayla Barry, is doing with Dr. Melissa Grunlan on biomaterials has been profiled by the College of Engineering and featured in Texas A&M Today.

Mikayla Barry '17, first TAMU Beckman Scholar
Mikayla Barry ’17, first TAMU Beckman Scholar

From the article:

Mikayla Barry always knew she wanted to make a difference in people’s lives, but the undergraduate biomedical engineering major had no idea she would be helping develop a potentially life-saving technology so soon after embarking upon her academic career at Texas A&M University.

Merely a year into the pursuit of her degree, the 20-year-old Barry is working to develop a coating for medical devices that prevents clotting as well as infection. She’s part of a research team led by Associate Professor Melissa Grunlan, an authority on biomaterials and regenerative therapies from the university’s Department of Biomedical Engineering.

Read the whole profile here.

Lauralee Valverde Presents Her Research at MAES Symposium

By Hayley Cox

During the Fall 2013 semester, Texas A&M University senior Lauralee Valverde attended the Latinos in Science and Engineering Symposium organized by the Society of Mexican American Engineers and Scientists (MAES) in Houston, Texas. Valverde is a member of Texas A&M’s chapter of the MAES national organization. The symposium is one of the largest events held by MAES, which includes a research competition.

Lauralee Valverde at the MAES Symposium in Houston, Texas.
Lauralee Valverde at the MAES Symposium in Houston, Texas.
The MAES Symposium brings together hundreds of students and employees seeking advancement. It is a “gateway to a network of professionals, students, and recruiters – The MAES Familia.” (http://mymaes.org/program-item/symposium/)

Valverde, an industrial engineering student from San Antonio, is a 2014 Undergraduate Research Scholar and 2014 Undergraduate Research Travel Award recipient. She invested considerable time into submitting an abstract and preparing her poster prior to the symposium. Her research was based upon Computer-Aided Design (CAD) as a critical tool in the development of modern products. She investigated the modeling of a 2-dimensional drawing versus the modeling of a 3-dimensional artifact, and screen captured this data to analyze the time usage of each respective modeling program.

Members of MAES after presenting their research at the symposium.
Members of MAES after presenting their research at the symposium.
At the MAES Symposium, Valdverde said her favorite part was being able to see her friends from the local Texas A&M MAES chapter in a different light as they presented their research. After experiencing this event with members of her chapter, she found that practice is key. Valverde said, “Practicing what you are going to say before hand gives you confidence when it comes time to engage the judges.” The best advice that she has for students involved in science and engineering research is to write everything down. She said, “It is very easy to forget the details, and in some cases the smallest details are the ones that cause your research to work and make sense.”

The next MAES Symposium will be held in San Diego, California from October 15-18, 2014. Honors and Undergraduate Research (HUR) is proud of students such as Lauralee Valverde for their outstanding accomplishments in research and looks forward to supporting future students’ travel to professional meetings. These students improve their chances of obtaining employment in industry or admission to prominent graduate programs, while at the same time represent our outstanding undergraduate research programs on a national stage.

HSC Presents Faculty Mentor Award to Dr. Gregory Huff

By Hayley Cox

Dr. Gregory Huff, Electrical Engineering Associate Professor and Department Head
Dr. Gregory Huff, Electrical Engineering Associate Professor and Department Head
Associate Professor and Department Head of electrical engineering at Texas A&M University Dr. Gregory Huff was presented with the Wells Fargo Honors Faculty Mentor Award in late August. This award recognizes Honors faculty members who are dedicated to excellence in education. Along the way, these faculty members provide opportunities for students to develop academically and professionally through relationships which extend beyond the realm of a classroom. They are strongly willed towards ushering in a new generation of thinkers and creators on the Texas A&M campus.

Dr. Gregory Huff was born in Oklahoma City in 1975 and has received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has been a vital member of the Electromagnetics and Microwave Laboratory in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Texas A&M since 2006. Dr. Huff received the Nation Science Foundation’s CAREER award and the Presidential Early Career Center Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). He was also the recipient of the 2012 Wells Fargo Honors Faculty Mentor Award, now earning the majority vote for two years in a row.

Students submitted letters in order to nominate Dr. Huff for the Wells Fargo Mentor Award. Student Amanda Couch wrote, “I noticed that he made a serious effort to make the class both understandable and enjoyable, despite the challenging material.” She wrote that the mentorship she received during Dr. Huff’s lab gave her the skills and experiences that she needs to be successful after graduation.
Student Ryan Brown wrote that he noticed how Dr. Huff loves to inspire and work with innovative students and that he is always an encouraging voice. And Alyssa Bennett, a student who conducted research under the guidance of Dr. Huff in the Aggie Challenge, said she was “surprised by his willingness to work with a student not in his major.” Bennett said, “Dr. Huff treats his student researchers with respect and trust, allowing them to not only work on projects, but to lead them as well.”

Students also remark about Dr. Huff feeding his students well! Before his time as a professor, Dr. Huff apprenticed the rank of Chef de Cuisine with specializations in French and Mediterranean fare, and reportedly still likes to break out the pots and pans every once in a while.

Honors and Undergraduate Research is so grateful to all of its dedicated faculty and staff who make such an impact on its students. Congratulations go out to Dr. Gregory Huff on receiving the 2013 Wells Fargo Honors Faculty Mentor Award!

Undergraduate Research Scholar Spotlight – Chris McDonald

By Chrystina Rago


As an undergraduate student seldom do you have time to sleep, let alone create a research project, go to an academic conference to present it and win first prize, but that’s just what Chris McDonald, senior mechanical engineering major, did. He presented his research at the American Physical Society conference in San Diego in November. McDonald received first place in the fluid dynamics category of the student poster session.   

I contacted McDonald to learn more about his life as undergraduate researcher, the American Physical Society Conference and his future plans.


How did you get started in Undergraduate Research?

I was taking heat transfer with Dr. Ranjan. In the beginning of the year he told us about his research and mentioned that there may be undergraduate positions available. I set up a meeting with him and the PhD candidate I would be working with in the lab. From there work began in late January.


What is does your research focus on?

Our research is an experimental investigation of the Richtmyer-Meshkov Instability on an inclined interface, which is a fluid instability that arises in supersonic mixing of two fluids. It is important because it is a step towards creating a sustainable fusion reaction. The creation of a sustainable fusion reaction would generate virtually unlimited power on a global scale, solving many of our current energy woes.   


How was your experience presenting to the American Physical Society?

Eye opening. First off, it was in San Diego and there was enough down time to enjoy some of the sights! The presentation was a fun experience, as well. It was a casual setup, with many people simply perusing all the different posters. The thing I found interesting was even in that academic atmosphere you had to grab their attention and in a way say, “Hey, I’m here, and I’ve got something cool to show ya!”


How has this conference and presentation changed or solidified your views of the importance of undergraduate research?

Yes! Working for Dr. Ranjan this last year has shown me a world of opportunities that I did not know were there. Undergraduate Research is an excellent opportunity for those looking to apply what they have learned in the classroom, network, and gain some hands on experience in a field they enjoy, while attending classes.


What are your future plans?

My future plans are to take the GRE this semester and apply to graduate school here at Texas A&M for the Spring of 2014. I am also currently working out the details for a trip to India this summer, where I will go to work at IIT Kanpur, a premier academic institution.