Four graduate students in the Department of Aerospace Engineering have been honored for their work in the spring 2023 semester with Teaching Excellence (TEX) and Research Excellence (REX) Awards from Iowa State University’s Graduate College. The awards are presented each fall and spring semester to graduate students who demonstrate excellence in their scientific research or their performance in teaching.
Roozbeh Eghbalpoor (nominated by Assistant Professor Azadeh Sheidaei and Assistant Teaching Professor Carolyn Riedel) and Jincheng Wang (nominated by Associate Teaching Professor Jennifer Johannsen) have received the Teaching Excellence Award.
HyeokJae (Jake) Lee (nominated by T.A. Wilson Professor of Aerospace Engineering Ashraf Bastawros) and Mohamad Shabara (nominated by Associate Professor Ossama Abdelkhalik) have received Research Excellence Awards.
In nominating Eghbalpoor for the TEX honor for his assistance in teaching of a course, Sheidaei said “his proficiency in finite element software has been instrumental in providing invaluable assistance to students. She also noted he “has an exceptional ability to identify students’ individual needs, particularly during challenging lab sessions.”
Riedel noted Eghbalpoor “quickly learned all the course material, taught himself a few different skills to better help the students, and was a fantastic sounding board and assistant with course material.” One of those “few different skills” was teaching himself the Python 3 computer program that is used significantly in the course.
Johannsen praised Wang, saying he is “extremely well-prepared and has developed a unique blend of instruction and class time devoted to problem-solving practice in a collaborative learning format.”
She added, “he is always especially busy during the weeks leading up to exams, but he never flinches when I ask him to help a student or when a student asks for an additional meeting.”
Lee has worked with Bastawros on two different research projects and his work has been presented at two conferences. Bastawros reported that Lee has designed and assembled a required imaging and testing protocol, optimized digital image correlations parameters and developed a data analysis protocol. He states, “he is a very mature researcher with focus on advancing his technical understandings and skills” and that he “is an exemplary research assistant and a role model for all other graduate students.”
In recommending Shabara for his REX award, Abdelkhalik pointed out that he has had two published journal papers and has presented papers at eight conferences. He went on to say that because of the hard work he has exhibited in research funded by the National Science Foundation that he requested additional funding for his to spend six months with an internship at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado.