2019 Research Award Winners

Senior Researcher
Dr. Manoj Jha

Dr. Manoj Jha

Associate Professor, Dept. of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering  
College of Engineering

Dr. Jha has achieved an outstanding reputation as a research leader and educator in the field of water resources engineering. He has been very productive conducting and publishing innovative research in his areas of interest including hydrology, water resources management, watershed modeling, hydrologic and environmental impacts of land use change, climate change and variability, extreme climate and water resources, and, in parallel, develops courses to effectively train undergraduate and graduate students in these areas. Methods and tools developed in Jha’s research have already made a significant impact on how humans should manage watersheds to help solve current water quality problems.

Outstanding Young Investigator
Andrea Ofori-Boadu

Dr. Andrea Ofori-Boadu

Assistant Professor, Dept. of Built Environment
College of Science and Technology

Dr. Ofori-Boadu recently received a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation. The award program is a foundation-wide activity that offers NSF's most prestigious awards in support of early-career faculty like Ofori-Boadu who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the missions of their organizations. Ofori-Boadu believes that broad STEM interventions have improved women’s representation in some STEM professions, but have not been as effective in architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) professions.

Rookie of the Year
Dr. Uchenna Anele

Dr. Uchenna Anele

Assistant Professor, Dept. of Animal Sciences
College of Engineering

Dr. Anele’s research goals are focused on improving nutrient utilization and abatement of greenhouse gas emissions in ruminants (cattle, sheep and goats) through efficient and sustainable supplementation strategies. His research philosophy has been to collaborate with other scientists to get research done faster, cheaper and with more breadth and depth. In the fast and very dynamic field of animal nutrition, it is almost impossible for one researcher or scientist to conduct cutting-edge research from beginning to the end all by himself. Anele has built a multidisciplinary team that includes engineers, a microbiologist, a mycologist, a food scientist, a nutritionist, a bioinformatician and an economist.

Intellectual Property Award

Dr. Guochen Yang

Professor, Dept. of Natural Resources and Environmental Design
College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

Dr. Yang’s area of expertise is plant tissue culture and micropropagation (test tube babies of plants). His research interest has been using tissue culture and micropropagation techniques for economic development including rescue of endangered species, mass production of rare species and plant species with high economic values, and for secondary production such as nutraceuticals. As Principal Investigator or a co-PI, he has been collectively awarded funding for about $3 million. Dr Yang has 11 intellectual property activities including two U.S. patents, one pending U.S. patent, four U.S. provisional and utility patent applications and subsequent patent application publications, and four invention disclosures.

Interdisciplinary Team Award

The TEHCLAV Center

Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering

College of Engineering


TECHLAV, a Center of Excellence in Autonomy funded by the U.S. Department of Defense, is comprised of a strong multi-disciplinary team and synergizes expertise in Control, Communication, and Human Cognition along with its collaborator, the University of Texas San Antonio (UTSA). The Center also collaborates with the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute (SIPI) to provide and promote education, outreach activities, and curriculum development to a larger Native American community. The TECHLAV Center members are: Dr. Abdollah Homaifar, Dr. Ali Karimoddini, Dr. Younho Seong, Dr. John C. Kelly, Dr. Sun Yi, Dr. Joseph Stephens and Mrs. Shar Seyedin.

Undergraduate Research Faculty Mentor award
Dr. Kim Smith

Dr. Kim Smith

Associate Professor, Dept. of Journalism and Mass Communications
College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Dr. Smith, a champion for undergraduate research, encourages students majoring in journalism and mass communications to consider ways research can be incorporated into their studies, and mentors them in conducting research. He also utilizes relevant current events to engage his entire class in a course-based Undergraduate Research Experience. He assisted in changing the face of the Office of Undergraduate Research Symposia by growing the number of non-STEM majors presenting research at symposia and through research collaborations with students in other non-STEM disciplines. His passion for undergraduate research and mentorship of students from his department is evident, and what he accomplished inspires others from non-STEM disciplines to emulate.