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Five people pose with two award statues
From left: Kriss Pope, William P. Cosart Award winner Holly Altman, William Cosart, William P. Cosart Award winner Grace Fuller, David Hahn

2023 College Awards Honor Staff and Faculty Excellence

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2023 College Awards Honor Staff and Faculty Excellence

May 3, 2023
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Kathleen Melde receives the first recognition for Outstanding Supporter of Diversity & Inclusion.

For the second year, College of Engineering employees made nominations, then celebrated award-winning staff and faculty at a spring luncheon. At the March 15 event, 11 awards recognized achievements in the realms of teaching, leadership and other areas.

In 2022, Craig M. Berge Dean David W. Hahn turned the awards program into a formal, comprehensive annual event at which recipients receive one-time cash awards, which totaled $15,500 this year.

“It’s a pleasure to see many well-deserved nominations,” Hahn said. “Every day, our staff and faculty uphold the college’s values in ways that matter. It’s important to devote time and attention to appreciating these efforts.”

Kathleen Melde speaks at a podium
Kathleen Melde

College-wide Diversity & Inclusion Award

Kathleen Melde, associate dean of faculty affairs and inclusion, became the first winner of the Outstanding Supporter of Diversity & Inclusion Award, open to any student, staff or faculty member for efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in the College of Engineering and the engineering profession.

Melde develops and implements programs to provide for faculty recruitment and retention, promotion and tenure, and general faculty development, as well as mentoring and professional development. She serves as primary liaison to the university’s Office for Diversity and Inclusive Excellence for hiring initiatives to build a diverse and inclusive faculty.

“Kathleen prioritizes diversity and inclusion on all fronts,” said Hahn. “Her impact is far-reaching and her commitment and leadership to the advancement of diversity and inclusion, as well as her commitment to genuine culture change, are unwavering.”

Staff Awards

Since 2001, the William P. Cosart Award has recognized exemplary service annually. That tradition continues. This year, the honor was shared by Holly Altman and Grace Fuller of chemical and environmental engineering.

Altman and Fuller have worked both as a team and separately to advance CHEE’s success and reputation. Altman was instrumental in securing re-accreditation from ABET, and Fuller’s organizational skills and kindness have improved graduate orientation and advising.

Three additional awards honor leadership to a team or in the college overall, innovation and problem-solving, and caring support of students through advising and mentorship.

  • Leadership: Ana Rodriguez, director, finance and administration
  • Innovation: Susan Novosel, marketing information and data coordinator, electrical and computer engineering
  • Outstanding Advisor/Mentor: Lori Huggins, undergraduate advisor, CHEE

Faculty Awards

Four types of faculty awards celebrate outstanding contributions in teaching, advising and research.

  • Doctoral Dissertation Advisor/Mentor: Ming Li, University Distinguished Scholar, ECE
  • Teacher of the Year (1 – Tenure/Tenure-Track): Paul Blowers, University Distinguished Professor, CHEE
  • Teacher of the Year (2 – Career-Track): Kay Thamvichai, professor of practice, ECE
  • Researcher of the Year: Reyes Sierra, professor, CHEE
  • Peterson Family Outstanding Early Career Faculty: Hongyue Jin, assistant professor, systems and industrial engineering

Student Award

The Wildcat Engineering Student Society Recognition of Excellence Award is presented each year to one engineering student group. This year’s award went to the University of Arizona chapter of the Materials Advantage Club. The club’s officers were praised for leading outreach efforts with K-12 students who are unaware of materials science and engineering yet have high interest in topics such as metalworking and semiconductor manufacturing.

Five people pose with an award statue
From left: Heather Moore, Andrew Wessman, Materials Advantage Club members Madison Sitkiewicz and Christina Dinh, David Hahn

Service Anniversaries and da Vinci Scholar

Hahn and Assistant Dean of Finance and Administration Kriss Pope closed the program by thanking those who celebrated service anniversaries starting at 10 years. Two employees, Nancy Emptage, administrative associate for materials science and engineering, and Tribikram Kundu, professor of civil engineering and mechanics and aerospace and mechanical engineering, celebrated 40-year anniversaries.

They also recognized this year’s da Vinci Scholar, Erin Ratcliff.