July 16, 2018

July 16, 2018


Jonsson School Celebrates Top Professors, TAs, Staff at Ceremony

Dr. Poras T. Balsara

The Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science recently hosted its annual appreciation awards celebration, which recognized faculty, students and staff nominated by their peers for their outstanding contributions and positive attitude.

“The Jonsson School hasn’t slowed at all,” said Dr. Poras T. Balsara, the school's interim dean and professor of electrical and computer engineering. “Certainly not in terms of productivity and curiosity. Certainly not in terms of innovation. I believe the drive and intellectual rigor of our school is evidenced by the accomplishments of our award winners recognized here today.”

The awards are categorized by staff, students and faculty teaching and research. The research awards recognized faculty at the assistant, associate and full professor levels. Decisions were based on research productivity, including PhD supervision, publications and research impact.


Assistant Professor Research Award

Dr. Alvaro Cárdenas

Dr. Alvaro Cárdenas, Fellow, Eugene McDermott Professor and assistant professor of computer science, received the assistant professor research award. Cárdenas joined the Jonsson School in 2013 with a research focus on cyber-physical systems and Internet of Things security and privacy; network intrusion detection; and wireless networks. He is the recipient of a National Science Foundation CAREER Award and has secured funding from a number of other sources. He has published numerous articles and book chapters. Cárdenas has supervised one PhD graduate and currently mentors eight other students.


Associate Professor Research Award

Dr. Chris Hinkle

Dr. Chris Hinkle, associate professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, received the associate professor research award. His research group combines innovative materials growth, interface and chemical bonding analysis, and state-of-the-art devices to enhance the knowledge and performance capabilities of nanoelectronic, optoelectronic and energy storage applications. Since joining UT Dallas in 2009, he has been the principal or co-principal investigator on 20 externally funded research grants that have totaled more $14 million for his research.


Full Professor Research Award 

Dr. Kyeongjae “KJ” Cho

Dr. Kyeongjae “KJ” Cho, professor of materials science and engineering, received the full professor research award. His main area of research and teaching is multiscale modeling and simulation of nanoscale materials with application to electronic device materials, biotechnology and clean energy technology. His research on nanomaterial modeling was highlighted in the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology report. One of Cho’s papers that appeared in the academic journal Science in 2000 has over 6,600 citations.

“He is extremely creative, superbly motivated and highly resourceful,” one of Cho’s nominations read. “In addition to his great breadth of scientific and technical knowledge, he is also a very deep and careful thinker.”


Outstanding Faculty Teaching Awards

Dr. Victor Varner
Dr. Balaji Raghavachari
computer science
Dr. Ebru Cankaya
computer science


 Dr. Linda Morales
computer science
 Dr. Matthew Heins
electrical and computer engineering


Dr. Nicholas R. Gans
electrical and computer engineering
Dr. Dani Fadda
mechanical engineering
Dr. Amy Walker
materials science and engineering



Outstanding Teaching Assistant Awards

Hunter Stevenson
Harish Babu Arunachalam
computer science
Juan Manuel Florez Fandino
computer science


Neha Dawar
electrical and computer engineering
Mahmoud Abdelgelil
electrical and computer engineering
Johnathon LeClear
mechanical engineering



Outstanding A&P Staff Award

 Rod Wetterskog
assistant dean of corporate relations, UTDesign coordinator



Staff Awards

 Beth Mahan
graduate admissions and recruitment, mechanical engineering
 Michele Brown
administrative assistant II, materials science and engineering


 Eric Moden
degree plan evaluator,
computer science
 Rhonda Walls
administrative project coordinator, computer science


Media Contact: Chaz Lilly, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2158, [email protected]
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].

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