Texas A&M Engineering welcomes new faculty, NAE member

New Engineering Faculty

Texas A&M Engineering welcomed six new faculty members in Fall 2011.

Dr. Zoya Heidari (far left) joined the Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering as an assistant professor in 2011. She received a Ph.D. in petroleum engineering from The University of Texas at Austin. She previously worked for the Formation Evaluation Research Group at UT. Her research interests include petrophysics, well logging, borehole geophysics, inverse problems, rock physics and unconventional reservoirs.

Renowned scholar Dr. P.R. Kumar (second from left) has joined the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering as a professor and holder of the College of Engineering Chair in Computer Engineering. Kumar, a member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), was formerly the Franklin W. Woeltge Professor and a researcher in the Coordinated Science Lab of The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has made groundbreaking contributions that have helped to shape industrial practice and research in both semiconductor manufacturing and wireless networking. He has distinguished himself in both research and education in the field of systems, which includes control, communications and computing. He has a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras, and master's and doctoral degrees in systems science and mathematics from Washington University in St. Louis.

Kumar is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). He also is the recipient of the Donald P. Eckman Award, the Engineering Council Award for Excellence in Advising, the IEEE Field Award for Control Systems and the IEEE Communications Society Fred W. Ellersick Prize. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (Eidgenossische Technische Hochschule) in Zurich and was given the Tau Beta Pi, Daniel C. Drucker Eminent Faculty Award from the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois.

Dr. Ryan G. McClarren (third from left) has been appointed assistant professor in the Department of Nuclear Engineering after having served as assistant visiting professor since 2008. During that time, he created a new graduate-level course for uncertainty quantification on computer simulation and has published more than 15 papers in various engineering and physics journals on high-performance computing for radiation transport problems. McClarren is establishing an uncertainty quantification and radiation transport research program, building on the department’s strengths in computational science to create insight into how we can use simulation to answer high-consequence questions with confidence. His research interests include computational science in nuclear engineering with a specific focus on uncertainty quantifications for multi-physics simulations and computational radiation transport in addition to leveraging recent advances in heterogeneous computing. After completing his Ph.D. at the University of Michigan, McClarren joined Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico as a postdoctoral associate and was a staff member as part of the Computational Physics Group.

Dr. Evdokia Nikolova (fourth from left) joined the Department of Computer Science and Engineering as an assistant professor. Nikolova graduated with a bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics with economics from Harvard University, a master’s degree in mathematics from the Statistical Laboratory at Cambridge University (U.K.) and a Ph.D. in theoretical computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her research aims to improve the design and efficiency of algorithms for complex systems (such as networks and electronic markets) by integrating stochastic, dynamic and economic analysis. Her recent work examines how human risk aversion transforms traditional computational models and solutions. She currently focuses on integrating risk-aversion in game theoretic models of stochastic network routing.

Dr. Jonathan D. Rogers (second from right) joined the Department of Aerospace Engineering as an assistant professor. He specializes in the areas of engineering design, flight dynamics and control of aerospace vehicles. Rogers’ research interests span a variety of vehicles and dynamic systems to include smart weapons, rotorcraft, UAV’s and wind turbines. He received his bachelor's degree in physics from Georgetown University, and his master’s and Ph.D. degrees in aerospace engineering from Georgia Tech. Previously, Rogers worked as a research engineer at the School of Aerospace Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Rogers has worked extensively with numerous government and industry partners on aerospace-related research over the past five years, including the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, General Dynamics, SAIC and British Aerospace. Rogers has additional expertise in the area of massively parallel computing devices (GPUs).

Dr. Andrea Strzelec (far right) joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering as an assistant professor. Strzelec received her Ph.D. in 2009 in combustion engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Engine Research Center. She performed her dissertation research in the Fuels, Engines and Emissions Research Center at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). After her Ph.D. work, she continued at ORNL as a postdoctoral research fellow in the Emissions and Catalysis Group. In August 2010, she accepted a postdoctoral research fellowship in the Energy Materials Group at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Her research interests include chemical kinetics, fuels, combustion, emissions aftertreatment and advanced neutron imaging techniques. Her current research focuses on characterization of diesel and gasoline particulate matter (PM) and neutron imaging of particulate and ash loading in diesel particulate filters.