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Dr. Yan Zhou ’14, a former student from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering | Image: Courtesy of Dr. Yan Zhou

Dr. Yan Zhou ’14, a former student from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University, received the 2020 Ronald P. Harrelson Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineering Award from the Society of Manufacturing (SME).

This honor recognizes the achievements of 15 individuals, age 35 or younger, who have made exceptional contributions and accomplishments in the manufacturing industry. 

“I feel humbled to receive this award, a significant recognition of our work in manufacturing industrial process fluids,” he said.

Zhou received his doctoral degree in materials science and engineering from Texas A&M in 2014 and focused his research on the interfacial interactions between biomaterials and biological systems at different scales for his graduate work. 

Now, a senior research and development engineer at Quaker Houghton, Zhou is developing industrial process fluids to the primary metals and metalworking markets. The courses he took and the research he did at Texas A&M equipped him with the right knowledge and expertise needed to excel in his career.

In particular, Zhou attributed his current success to the materials science and engineering interdisciplinary program at Texas A&M. 

“The interdisciplinary program has many exciting research areas to choose from,” said Zhou. “I am grateful to my Ph.D. advisor, Dr. Hong Liang, who had provided me the platform and the opportunity.”

At Texas A&M, Zhou was the recipient of multiple awards and honors, including the Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers (STLE) Young Tribologist Award (2012) and the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation Grant (2012). Zhou also served as president of the STLE Texas A&M section (2013–14).

“Materials science and engineering is an exciting program and provides a lot of opportunities for people with career goals in academia and industry,” said Zhou. “If I could go back to my time at Texas A&M, I would like to reflect more on my projects and try to gain bigger pictures. Why am I doing this project? Why is it important? Why am I using x technique but not y technique? Besides working in the lab, I would also like to take as many courses as possible to broaden my horizons.” 

SME is a nonprofit association of professionals, educators and students committed to promoting and supporting the manufacturing industry.