Engineering Student Council Honors 10 at Annual Awards Banquet

Five professors and five students honored by ESC

The Henry Samueli School of Engineering’s Engineering Student Council (ESC) honored five professors and five students at their 38th Annual Engineering Awards Banquet at the UC Irvine Student Center. One student and one professor from each of the Samueli School’s five departments were honored at the dinner, held during UC Irvine’s celebration of National Engineers Week.

Biomedical Engineering Professor of the Year:  Steven C. George   
Professor Steven C. George, M.D., Ph.D., has taught both chemical engineering and biomedical engineering courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. His takes pride in watching the graduate students he mentors successfully defend their doctoral dissertations, being able to see the years of hard work put into research finally bear fruit, and to personally witness the success of someone he has worked with for so long. Professor George’s research focus involves the cardiovascular system. Aside from being a successful mentor, his professional accomplishments include seven patents, 71 peer reviewed journal publications, and has given 38 invited lectures.

Biomedical Engineering Student of the Year: Inas Morsy
Inas Morsy left everything she knew behind as she came to UCI to start that next phase of their life. To leave behind her family, friends, and culture to begin a new life in a new country, a new culture, and a new environment is no easy feat. Morsy has made engineering her life by actively participating not only in the classroom, but also in clubs and various research labs. By taking each year step by step, she has worked her way from researching cow manure all the way up to working in a cardiovascular lab. Besides being able to advance in the lab, Morsy has been able to balance her workload while being involved in Tau Beta Pi, Engineering Student Council, and the Society of Women Engineers. Even with all the commitments on her plate, she has been able to stay on the Dean’s List every quarter since coming to UCI. As she finishes her time at UCI, her final project involves designing a device to measure the degree of cataract formation in the lens of the eye with LenSx Lasers.

Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor of the Year:  Soroosh Sorooshian
Distinguished Professor Soroosh Sorooshian, Ph.D., studies hydrometeorology, water resources systems, climate studies, and remote sensing, with a special focus on the hydrologic cycle and water resources issues in arid and semi-arid zones. Since coming to UCI in 2003, he has been honored on 11 separate occasions. These honors include being the recipient of the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal in 2005, as well as being selected as the Outstanding Professor in The Henry Samueli School of Engineering by the UCI Class of 2009. He is currently the director of the Center for Hydrometeorology and Remote Sensing, and has served on the advisory committees for agencies such as NASA, the USDA, and the EPA. Not only has he advised these government agencies, he has testified to both the Senate and House sub-committees on Earth observations from space and water resources issues. His simple teaching philosophy revolves around taking on the challenge of keeping even the least motivated students engaged, while ensuring the brightest in the class are not bored. By putting his heart into what he teaches, he has gained the admiration and appreciation of the students he teaches.

Civil and Environmental Engineering Student of the Year: Jay Go
Jay Go is an active member of Tau Beta Pi and Chi Epsilon, and has been on the Dean’s Honor List.  He has excelled not only in the classroom, but also in his ability to lead a team of engineers to success. As a civil engineering major specializing in studying earthquake engineering, Go captained an inexperienced UCI EERI Seismic Design Competition team, which finished 13 out of 28 schools. He currently works under Assistant Professor Farzin Zareian, Ph.D., as a research assistant working on the design of multistory special moment resisting steel structures. His study of steel structures has also extended outside of the laboratory environment into the Steel Bridge Competition project.

Chemical and Material Science Engineering Professor of the Year:  Ali Mohraz
In 2009, Assistant Professor Ali Mohraz was not only recognized for being the Professor of the Year in his department by the Engineering Student Council, he was also recognized by The Henry Samueli School of Engineering with the Fariborz Maseeh Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award. His research interests include multi-phase and complex fluids engineering, colloid science, self and guided assembly of microstructure materials, and quantitative confocal microscopy. Even as he spends much of his time dedicated to his research, he still finds the passion and the drive to find new ways to motivate his students, and expose them to the demands and trends of the modern industry. Through his interactions with the student body, he has been able to develop and implement new student-faculty advising programs within his department, as well as provide a rich and fruitful mentoring experience for students. Mohraz is also the faculty advisor to the engineering honor society, Tau Beta Pi.

Chemical and Material Science Engineering Student of the Year: Josh Yee
Josh Yee has already worked under three professors at three different schools on campus researching various topics such as the structure and mechanical properties of armadillo armor, cryomilled aluminum alloy stabilized by nanosized particles, and the characterization of aluminum alloys and composites fabricated via cryomilling. Not only has he done extensive research in his major, he has six total symposia presentations under his belt, as well as three awards from UCI. These awards include the UCI LEADs Fellowship, the UCI UROP Fellowship, and the UCI SURP Fellowship. Yee is graduating this year, and has been accepted into a Ph.D. program.  He is already taking graduate courses before he finishes at UC Irvine. His involvement outside of the learning environment includes being a member of the Materials Science Society at UCI, Engineering Student Council, and a director of the National Association of Engineering Student Council’s Western Regional Conference.

Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Professor of the Year: Syed Jafar
Associate Professor Syed Jafar, Ph.D., and his research colleagues were awarded multiple honors this year for their discovery of interference alignment, a fundamental principle of communication and information theory. His research interests include multiuser information theory and wireless communication. He has two patents, has published 39 journal publications and 75 conference papers, and has worked with companies such as Lucent Bell Labs and Qualcomm Incorporated. He has taught various courses at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. This is the third time Jafar has received this award.  


Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Student of the Year: Derrick Lo
Derrick Lo’s passion for what he studies has fueled him not only in his school work, but also his extracurricular activities and his professional ventures. As a student he has been involved in research working with micro-controllers and accelerometers used for monitoring underground water pipelines. Outside of the lab, he has worked as a computer technician and a product engineering intern. His experience with computers includes programming in C, Java, VHDL, and assembly languages. He is also president of the UCI student chapter of IEEE, where he has worked to procure laboratory space for EECS students to use in Engineering Hall to work on various projects. With the space now allotted to them, Lo hopes to see the growth of IEEE and the lab that they have worked so hard to acquire succeed and improving the learning experience for his fellow EECS undergraduates.

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Professor of the Year: John LaRue
Professor John LaRue has had an active hand in guiding many students not only in the classroom, but also outside of it. He is the associate dean for student affairs, and has been the faculty advisor for Engineering Student Council since 2000. Currently he is an active member and proposal reviewer for the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program on campus. His teaching philosophy revolves around an educational environment where both the students and instructors influence and contribute to each other’s learning. His research interests lie in studying turbulence, turbulent transport and mixing, micro-electrical-mechanical systems, fluid structure interactions, heat transfer, turbulent combustion, and instrumentation development. Not only is he involved in researching these topics, he is a reviewer for various organizations and publications, including the National Science Foundation, the University Energy Research Group, the Journal of Fluid Mechanics, and the Journal of Fluids Engineering.  

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Student of the Year: Yuri Kapustin
Yuri Kapustin has earned many accomplishments during his time at UCI. He is currently working toward earning degrees in two majors, mechanical engineering and material science engineering. Additionally, he minors in business and management. Outside of the academic setting, Kapustin has worked with various companies such as Northrop Grumman, Quality Concept Management, and CARLAB Development. He also helped establish the UCI Autonomous Underwater Vehicle program (AUV). Through his hard work, he attained sponsorship from Northrop Grumman to support the program, allowing future students interested in robotics to compete in building an underwater robot that can navigate, recognize objects, follow colors, and perform various tasks without a human’s command or control.