Five Students Earn Graduate Division Fellowships

The Henry Samueli School of Engineering of UC Irvine is pleased to recognize five graduate students who have been awarded fellowships in recognition of their outstanding research and academic accomplishments.

Four graduate students were awarded 2011 Graduate Dean’s Dissertation Fellowships: Anna Torrents Cabestany of mechanical and aerospace engineering; Christopher Hoo of chemical engineering and materials science; Sergey Osechinskiy of biomedical engineering; and Hanoz Santoke of civil and environmental engineering. The award allows students to forgo their non-research related employment obligations to concentrate on completing their dissertation.

Torrents Cabestany is a Ph.D. student in the lab of Assistant Professor Lorenzo Valdevit and a 2005 Balsells Fellowship awardee. Her research has focused on the design, development and characterization of a novel device for nano- and micro-scopic force measurement on small-scale structures, providing exceptional combination of force resolution and range, large displacement capabilities, optical access to the sample and unprecedented versatility.

Hoo, a Ph.D. student under the guidance of Professor Martha Mecartney. The goal of his Ph.D. research at UC Irvine is to design routes for the synthesis of fully transparent nanocrystalline ceramics with ultrahigh strength. Hoo co-founded the UC Irvine Chemical Engineering and Materials Science Graduate Association, serving as vice president. He is currently the vice chair for the American Society of Metals Orange Coast Chapter, and will serve as a delegate for the American Ceramic Society’s President’s Council of Student Advisors. He is a committed teaching assistant with plans to join academia as a faculty member in the future.

Osechinskiy, a Ph.D. student in the lab of Professor Frithjof Kruggel. His research focuses on structural analysis of the human cerebral cortex based on the connection between three-dimensional imaging modalities like MRI and histology. This connection is an important step in quantitative analysis of brain structure, in architectonic mapping of the brain and in investigation of the pathology of a brain disease.  

Santoke, a Ph.D. student under the guidance of Professor William Cooper, researches pharmaceutical compounds in the environment. These compounds have been detected in both surface and ground water in places ranging from the United States to Italy to India, due to incomplete metabolization of prescription medications in the human body or discharge from industrial facilities or homes.  Since conventional treatment processes are ineffective at removing these compounds from water, newer techniques known as advanced oxidation processes are being evaluated. 

Rosa Padilla, a Ph.D. student under the guidance of Professor Derek Dunn-Rankin, in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, was named honorable mention in the Faculty Mentor Program (FMP).  Padilla is interested in understanding the combustion properties of fuels, emissions, and investigating new paths towards renewable energy.

The Faculty Mentor Program forms an important link in the continuum of support for academically promising graduate students. This award assists recipients in acquiring and developing advanced research skills under faculty mentorship. It is designed to improve mentoring for UC Irvine doctoral students who are not yet at the dissertation stage and have not yet advanced to candidacy.