Mechanical Engineering Program Reaches Milestone

Department Celebrated Granting its First Master's Degrees in Fall Ceremonies

Jan. 23, 2012

The graduating class of mechanical engineering students earning master’s degrees had an added distinction in 2011 – they were UT Dallas’ first. The class was made up of five students receiving MSME degrees from the burgeoning Mechanical Engineering Department, housed within the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science.

“This first graduating class represents the interdisciplinary vision of engineering and the rigorous education students receive here,” said Dr. Mario Rotea, head of the department.  “We are extremely proud of their ability to apply advanced knowledge in relevant problems.”

Not only were the students academic standouts in their classes, they received promising job offers within their fields. One student, Laura Small, recently accepted a job offer with Houston-based Aker Solutions as a mechanical engineer.

“I am incredibly excited about this wonderful opportunity and the beginning of the next chapter of my life,” Small said.

Her master’s work, conducted under the mentorship of Dr. Fatemeh Hassanipour, focused on heat transfer. Though Small had some initial trepidation about the program’s relative newness and small size, the excellence in teaching and opportunity for hands-on experience prepared her well, she said.

“I really enjoyed my classes, and I learned a lot,” she added. “This knowledge will, undoubtedly help me excel in my career.”

Another recent graduate, Manali Shukla focused her research efforts in the thermo-fluid and energy research laboratory where she investigated the novel concept of using porous media with phase-change material slurry in a mini-heat exchanger.

“Our ME program is progressing rapidly and is displaying the early hallmarks of a high-quality program,” Hassanipour said. “We happily welcome and celebrate the graduation of the first series of students from this young department.”

Lichuan (Eric) Chen, another new graduate, made instrumental contributions to the development of a novel roll-to-roll nanoscale printer to make nanostructures with low cost and high speed. He recently accepted a position at Akustica, a member company of the Bosch Group.

“He has accomplished an outstanding thesis during his master degree in mechanical engineering at UTD,” said Dr. Walter Hu, affiliate faculty in mechanical engineering, associate professor of electrical engineering and Chen’s faculty mentor. “We are all very proud of this group’s accomplishments.”


Media Contact: Katherine Morales, 972-883-4321, kmorales@utdallas.edu
or the Office of Media Relations, 972-883-2155, newscenter@utdallas.edu
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From left:  Dr. Fatemeh Hassanipour, assistant professor of mechanical engineering; Manali Shukla, recent graduate; and Dr. Mario Rotea, head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

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