Celebrating National Engineers Week 2017: Faculty Honorees

Feb 21, 2017

By UCLA Samueli Newsroom

On Saturday, the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science will hold its annual awards dinner, celebrating the achievements of students, faculty and alumni. In recognition of National Engineers Week, the school is offering a sneak peak at this year’s honorees. The faculty awards honor teaching, research and service, the three components of the university’s mission. This year’s four honorees are: Jonathan B. Hopkins, the Northrop Grumman Excellence in Teaching Awardee; Daniel T. Kamei, the Lockheed Martin Excellence in Teaching Awardee; Mona Jarrahi, the Watanabe Excellence in Research Awardee; and Ajit Mal, the University Service Award recipient (pictured left to right above). Tomorrow, two alumni awardees will be featured.

UCLA Engineering 2017 Awards: Faculty Honored for Teaching, Research, Service

Northrop Grumman Excellence in Teaching Award

Jonathan B. Hopkins

Jonathan Hopkins is the director of the Flexible Research Group in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department. His research involves the design and fabrication of flexible structures, mechanisms and materials. Specific application areas of interest to his group include microarchitectured materials, precision flexure systems, microelectromechanical systems, soft-robotics, compliant medical devices, and optics-based additive fabrication technologies. Hopkins was recently honored by President Barack Obama at the White House for his research in these areas with a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers and is the 2016 recipient of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ distinguished Freudenstein/General Motors Young Investigator Award. He also received the UCLA Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department’s Teaching Award for his commitment to improved engineering education. Prior to coming to UCLA, he received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees, all in mechanical engineering, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was a postdoc at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Lockheed Martin Excellence in Teaching Award

Daniel T. Kamei

Dan Kamei’s laboratory has significantly contributed to the field of paper-based diagnostics with his novel approach of combining aqueous two-phase systems with the lateral-flow immunoassay. His research group has also impacted the area of drug delivery by combining mathematical modeling with quantitative experimentation. He has won numerous faculty awards, including the UCLA Academic Senate Distinguished Teaching Award, the Northrop Grumman Excellence in Teaching Award, the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation Early Career Award, and the Sidney Kimmel Scholar Award. Daniel Kamei received his B.S. degree in chemical engineering from UC Berkeley, and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellow. Subsequently, he was a Sloan Foundation/Department of Energy postdoctoral fellow in biological engineering at MIT under the guidance of Professor Douglas Lauffenburger. He joined the UCLA Bioengineering faculty in 2003.

Watanabe Excellence in Research Award

Mona Jarrahi

Mona Jarrahi has made significant contributions to the development of ultrafast electronic and optoelectronic devices and integrated systems for terahertz and millimeter-wave sensing, imaging, computing, and communication systems. Her scientific achievements, which utilize novel materials, nanostructures, quantum well structures, and innovative plasmonic and optical concepts, have been recognized with several prestigious awards, including the U.S. Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the Moore Inventor Fellowship from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Breakthrough Award from Popular Mechanics magazine, and the Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. Mona Jarrahi received her Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Stanford University, and her B.S. from Sharif University of Technology. She is currently an associate professor of electrical engineering at UCLA and the director of the Terahertz Electronics Laboratory.

University Service Award

Ajit Mal

Ajit Mal joined the faculty at UCLA as an assistant professor of engineering in 1967. He became a full professor in 1974 and is currently a distinguished professor, a special rank reserved for “scholars and teachers of the highest international distinction.” Mal’s research interests are structural and solid mechanics. He has made major research contributions in noninvasive detection of defects in metallic and composite aircraft and aerospace structures. He has made more than 150 technical presentations at conferences, seminars and symposia and authored or coauthored a graduate textbook in solid mechanics, more than 150 journal and conference papers, and five research monographs. Honors and awards include a senior Fulbright Fellowship to Germany, election to Fellow status of the American Academy of Mechanics, American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the International Society of Optical Engineers (SPIE). He received the Lifetime Achievement Award of SPIE and the Founder’s Award of the Non-Destructive Examination Division of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. received his Ph.D. in applied mathematics/mechanics from Calcutta University, where he also received his B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees. He did postdoctoral research at UCLA and UC Berkeley .

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