Outstanding graduate students recognized

Three graduate students were honored at the Dwight Look College of Engineering Outstanding Engineering Student Awards banquet Sept. 19 at the Memorial Student Center on the Texas A&M University campus.

The Outstanding Graduate Student award recognizes master’s and doctoral students who have demonstrated excellence above and beyond the usual levels of achievement. Awardees must be in good academic standing with a minimum cumulative  and degree GPA of at least 3.75. Two doctoral level students were recognized with the award.

Outstanding Graduate Student – Master’s Degree Level


Kristina Yancey
is a Master of Science student in the Department of Nuclear Engineering. She is a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship recipient focusing on various projects in the Advanced Energy Technologies Group involving nuclear fuel cycle assessments and principally creating a Spent Fuel Database. She has traveled around the world to present four of her papers. Yancey spent a year doing research at the Paul Scherrer Institute in Switzerland on a Fulbright Fellowship and serves on the Texas A&M Disability Services Student Advisory Board. She founded the Texas A&M chapter of Women in Nuclear and serves as the graduate adviser for the group.

Outstanding Graduate Degree – Doctoral Level


Tony Akl
, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, has maintained a 4.0 GPA while also working as a graduate research assistant at the Optical BioSensing Laboratory at Texas A&M. He has published six original refereed journal articles with two more in review, he has one in preparation and has authored 21 conference proceedings and presentations at national and international meetings. He was recognized by the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies at Texas A&M with the 2012 George W. Kunze Endowed Graduate Award for excellence in academics, research and service.  In addition, he has been active in K-12 outreach, serves as the design chair for the student chapter of Engineering World Health (EWH) and mentors three undergraduate student senior design teams working on EWH projects.


Suming Lai
, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, has maintained a 4.0 GPA while pursuing his research, which includes modeling, design and optimization of IC power delivery network with on-chip regulation. He joined IBM as a CAD engineer co-op from January to August 2013, working on the enhancement of the power grid analysis tool for server-class processors and the development of a platform for power grid analysis of next-generation processor designs. Suming has five journal papers and six conference papers under his name and in 2012 he won the William J. McCalla Best Paper Award from IEEE/ACM International Conference on Computer-Aided Design. Lai also mentors graduate students and has given a significant amount of his time and effort to mentor two junior Ph.D. students to assist them with their research.

The awardees received a plaque as well as a $5,000 one-time scholarship award.