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University Relations

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June 13, 2005
Contact: Jill Hummels, School of Engineering, (785) 864-2934.

KU School of Engineering recognizes outstanding undergraduates, faculty

LAWRENCE -- The University of Kansas School of Engineering honored its graduates at a recognition ceremony Sunday, May 22.

More than 325 students at the graduate and undergraduate level earned the right to take part in the ceremony at the Lied Center at KU.

During the ceremony, 10 undergraduate students were honored as the outstanding student in their particular engineering discipline. One of these students, Theresa LaFollette, a senior in chemical engineering from Olathe, received the Sammie and Carl Locke Award for Outstanding Graduating Senior in the School of Engineering.

In addition to LaFollette, other graduating seniors recognized as outstanding in their fields were Abdulaziz Alrugaib, petroleum engineering, Khobar, Saudi Arabia; Michael Brunin, architectural engineering, St. Marys; Nicolas Frisby, computer engineering, Shawnee; Chris Hullman, aerospace engineering, St. John; Lena Ireland, civil engineering, Wildwood, Mo.; John Igo, mechanical engineering, Colorado Springs, Colo.; Adam Lohoefener, engineering physics, Oberlin; Justin Ward, computer science, Belle Plaine; and Tiatiao Xie, electrical engineering, Lawrence.

Five faculty members also received awards during the event.

Lisa A. Friis, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, received the $4,000 Miller Professional Development Award for Service. Friis has been an instrumental participant in the Kansas Biosciences Authority. She also has provided leadership and direction in biosciences activities for Kansas Technology Enterprise Corp., also known as KTEC. Nationally, she has been an active member of the Society for Biomaterials. She is the driving force behind the School of Engineering's Entrepreneurship Thematic Learning Community (E'ship TLC), which strives to give KU students of all disciplines exposure to idea development, product design, technology transfer and business strategy.

Richard Hale, associate professor of aerospace engineering, received the $4,000 Gould Award for Teaching. Creative techniques and a focus on teaching for results set Hale apart from others. He begins his courses with an assessment of his students' learning styles. He then uses this information to tailor his teaching to ensure students learn the information he brings to class. Hale weaves realistic workplace examples into the coursework and has students participate as if they are in a corporate setting competing for a contract. He works with two student organizations and coordinates and leads the Aerospace Engineering Thematic Learning Community.

Thomas Mulinazzi, professor and chair of civil, environmental and architectural engineering, received the $4,000 Gould Award for Outstanding Advising. Mulinazzi uses his experience and dedication to gently guide students to achieve their best. He is known for placing students first, making time for them when it's a luxury he doesn't have. Mulinazzi constantly motivates his students to look beyond the classroom and become involved in extracurricular activities. He readily shares advice on raising or maintaining a student's grade-point average and guides students to take courses that are relevant to their degree and their expressed career path.

Peter W. TenPas, associate professor of mechanical engineering, received the John E. Sharp and Winifred E. Sharp Teaching Professorship. The award lasts three years and includes an annual personal award of $5,000 plus access to $5,000 annually for instructional development. TenPas joined the mechanical engineering faculty in 1987. Since then, he has continuously endeavored to develop innovative classes that incorporate teamwork skills, computational tools, online elements, writing and design. In addition to regularly leading review sessions for the Fundamentals of Engineering exam for students, TenPas has worked to keep his colleagues abreast of their craft by serving as the department's liaison to the Center for Teaching Excellence at KU. He also has served on curriculum liaison committees. TenPas previously received the department's Cramer Outstanding Faculty Member Award and Remarkable Professor Award, which is selected by the students, and has been nominated for both the Gould Teaching Award and the Sharp Professorship.

Sara E. Wilson, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, was selected to receive the $4,000 Miller Professional Development Award for Research. Each of Wilson's areas of research -- low-back pain, scoliosis and ankle instability -- can be directly applied to helping people as they go through their daily activities. She has obtained grants from the National Institute of Occupational Health and Safety, the National Institutes of Health and the Whitaker Foundation. In addition, her work has appeared in several peer-reviewed and conference publications.

Students, their hometowns, majors, parents' names and high schools attended (when available) are:

From Oberlin
Adam Lohoefener, senior in engineering physics, son of Gregory and Mary Jo Lohoefener; Decatur Community High School.

From Lawrence
Tiaotiao Xie, senior in electrical engineering, daughter of Qingmu Chen and Ziaoping Xie; Lawrence High School.

From Olathe
Theresa LaFollette, senior in chemical engineering, daughter of Rodney and Ann LaFollette; Olathe North High School.

From Shawnee
Nicolas Frisby, senior in computer engineering, son of Albert and Linda Frisby; Shawnee Mission Northwest High School.

From St. Marys
Michael Brunin, senior in architectural engineering, son of Dave and Kathy Brunin; St. Marys Academy.

From St. John
Chris Hullman, senior in aerospace engineering, son of Kim and Helen Hullman; St. John High School.

From Belle Plaine
Justin Ward, senior in computer science, son of Alan Ward; Belle Plaine Senior High School.

From Colorado Springs
John Igo, senior in mechanical engineering, son of Robert and Jane Igo; Air Academy High School, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo.

From Wildwood
Lena Ireland, senior in civil engineering, daughter of Kim and Belinda Ireland; Eureka High School, Eureka, Mo.

From Khobar
Abdulaziz Alrugaib, senior in petroleum engineering, son of Mohammed H. Alrugaib and Norah A. Alafaliq; Dharan Ahliyya Schools, Dharan, Saudi Arabia.


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