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Engineering Research Faculty Awards

Researcher of the Year - 2020

Chris Saunders

 

Using statistical probability to interpret crime scene evidence has garnered associate professor Christopher Saunders of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics the Outstanding Researcher Award from the Jerome J. Lohr College of Engineering.
While completing his doctorate in statistics at the University of Kentucky in 2006, under the direction of associate professor Constance L. Wood, Saunders was recruited to support the FBI and broader intelligence community as an Intelligence Community Postdoctoral Research Fellow in pattern recognition and forensic source identification problems related to handwriting. 
Saunders then spent the next two years at George Mason being trained in machine learning, statistical pattern recognition and the interpretation of forensic evidence under the tutelage of professor Donald Gantz, now retired, of the Department of Information Sciences and  Technology;  Kathryn B. Taylor, now retired, of the Office of the Chief Scientist, Intelligence Community Post-doctoral Research Program; and JoAnn Buscaglia, research chemist at the FBI Laboratory. 
“These excellent mentors helped me discover how statistics can be applied to topics within the forensic field and I want to thank them for putting me on this research path,” Saunders said.
After the fellowship ended, Saunders continued as an assistant research professor in the document forensics lab at George Mason and Lead Signal Processing Engineer at The MITRE Corporation until coming to South Dakota State in 2012. 
Saunders collaborates with forensic research scientists to develop ways to quantify impression, pattern and trace evidence with the majority of his funding for basic research coming from the National Institute of Justice and Office Ridge Institute for Science and Education. 
Recently, he received a subaward to support two projects at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Lincoln Laboratory related to developing methods of using residue from an explosion to trace where the components were manufactured and the quantification of touch DNA samples. 


Young Investigator of the Year - 2020

Todd Letcher

Graduate and undergraduate students have the opportunity to explore the virtually limitless applications of 3D printing, thanks to the work of assistant professor Todd Letcher. For developing additive manufacturing as a research area in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Letcher received the Jerome J. Lohr College of Engineering’s Young Investigator Award.
Letcher, who came to SDSU in 2012 after completing his doctorate at The Ohio State University, where his research focused on materials characterization and the mechanical behavior of materials related to fatigue. After a one-year stint as a postdoctoral researcher for the Materials Evaluation and Testing Laboratory, Letcher was a lecturer for a year before becoming an assistant professor in fall 2014.  He was recently promoted to associate professor and granted tenure. 
He purchased his first 3D printer in early 2014 through support from the university’s Scholarly Excellence Fund. That purchase has blossomed into an entire laboratory filled with 3D printers and an adjoining room in which his students can fabricate their own filament.
Though he explored 3D printing for biomedical applications, Letcher’s research now focuses largely on in-space applications. Two years ago, a team of graduate and undergraduate student built a 3D printer that stands 10 feet tall and operates on a 14-by-21-foot base as part of NASA’s 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge. The goal was to design and build shelters for astronauts on Mars.
Through a NASA grant, another senior design team developed and tested innovative materials to use for 3D printing at the International Space Station. The team published a paper in the September 2019 Journal of Composites Science about using basalt, which can be mined on Mars, as one of the components in the feedstock for in-space manufacturing applications.

 


Grantswinship Awards - 2020

These faculty and staff members of the Jerome J. Lohr College of Engineering have received at least $100,000 in external funding awards and/or have achieved at least $100,000 in expenditures of external funds.

2020 Grantswinship Winners

Faculty members in the Jerome J. Lohr College Engineering who secured or had research expenditures of $100,000 or more during the 2019 fiscal year are—front row, from left, Chris Schmit, Suzette Burckhard, Larry Leigh, Sung Shin, Tim Hansen, Jeffrey Doom and Stephen Gent; middle row, Rich Reid, Greg Michna and Todd Letcher; back row, Qiquan Qiao, John McMaine, Rouzbeh Ghabchi, Nadim Wehbe, Junwon Seo and Francis Ting.  Not pictured are Greg Derynck, Xijin Ge, Dennis Helder, Cedric Neumann, Chris Saunders, Mostafa Tazarv, Reinaldo Tonkoski and Greg Vavra.

Prior Researchers of the Year

2019: Reinaldo Tonkoski

2018: Suzette Burckhard

2017: Nadim Wehbe

2016: Qiquan Qiao

2015: Chris Schmit

2014: Qi Hua Fan

2013: Francis Ting

2012: Delvin DeBoer

2011: Nadim Wehbe

2010: David Galipeau

2009: Fred Delfanian

2008: Kasiviswanathan (Muthu) Muthukumarappan

Prior Young Investigators of the Year

2019: Rouzbeh Ghabchi

2018: Mostafa Tazarv

2017: Chris Saunders

2016: Cedric Neumann

2015: Stephen Gent

2014: Xijin Ge

2013: Mahdi Farrokh Baroughi

2012: Qiquan Qiao

Prior Grantswinship Award Winners

2019

Suzette Burckhard
Jeff Doom
Ge Xijin
Stephen Gent
Rouzbeh Ghabchi
Tim Hansen
Dennis Helder
Larry Leigh
Todd Letcher
John McMaine
Greg Michna
Cedric Neumann
Qiquan Qiao
Rich Reid
Chris Saunders
Chris Schmit
Junwon Seo
Shin Sung
Mostafa Tazarv
Francis Ting
Reinaldo Tonkoski
Nadim Wehbe

2018

Tom Brandenbuger
Suzette Burckhard
Greg Derynck
Stephen Gent
Rouzbeh Ghabchi
Dennis Helder
Larry Leigh
Semhar Michael
Cedric Neumann
Qiquan Qiao
Rich Reid
Chris Saunders
Chris Schmit
Junwon Seo
Mostafa Tazarv
Reinaldo Tonkoski
Francis Ting
Greg Vavra
Nadim Wehbe

2017

Ross Abraham
Tom Brandenburger
Suzette Burckhard
Stephen Gent
Tim Hansen
Dennis Helder
Larry Leigh
Huitian Lu
Semhar Michael
Cedric Neumann
Jon Puetz
Qiquan Qiao
Rich Reid
Ghabchi Rouzbeh
Chris Saunders
Chris Schmit
Mostafa Tazarv
Francis Ting
Greg Vavra
Sharon Vestal
Nadim Wehbe

2016

Ross Abraham
Suzette Burckhard
Fred Delfanian
Stephen Gent
Dennis Helder
Zhong Hu
Guanghui Hua
Cedric Neumann
Jon Puetz
Qiquan Qiao
Rich Reid
Chris Saunders
Chris Schmit
Sung Shin
Reinaldo Tonkoski
Greg Vavra
Sharon Vestal
Nadim Wehbe

2015

Ross Abraham
Suzette Burckhard
Fred Delfanian
QiHua Fan
Stephen Gent
Dennis Helder
Cedric Neumann
Jon Puetz
Qiquan Qiao
Rich Reid
Chris Schmit
Sung Shin
Ken Skorseth
Sharon Vestal
Nadim Wehbe

2014

Ross Abraham
Suzette Burckhard
Fred Delfanian
Stephen Gent
Dennis Helder
Greg Michna
Jon Puetz
Qiquan Qiao
Xiao Qin
Rich Reid
Chris Schmit
Sung Shin
Ken Skorseth
Sharon Vestal
Nadim Wehbe

2013

Ross Abraham
Mahdi Baroughi
Venkat Bomissetty
Fred Delfanian
QiHua Fan
Dave Galipeau
Xijin Ge
Stephen Gent
Teresa Hall
Dennis Helder
Jung-Han Kimn
Alex Moutsoglou
Jon Puetz
Qiquan Qiao
Xiao Qin
Rich Reid
Chris Schmit
Sung Shin
Ken Skorseth
Mike Twedt
Sharon Vestal
Nadim Wehbe

2012

Mahdi Baroughi
Bruce Berdanier
Venkat Bommisetty
Fred Delfanian
QiHua Fan
Dave Galipeau
Xijin Ge
Stephen Gent
Teresa Hall
Dennis Helder
Jung-Han Kimn
Alex Moutsoglou
Jon Puetz
Qiquan Qiao
Xiao Qin
Rich Reid
Chris Saunders
Chris Schmit
Sung Shin
Ken Skorseth
Francis Ting
Mike Twedt
Sharon Vestal
Nadim Wehbe

2011

Ross Abraham
Bruce Berdanier
Venkat Bommisetty
Delvin DeBoer
Fred Delfanian
Dave Galipeau
Xijin Ge
Stephen Gent
Teresa Hall
Dennis Helder
Alex Moutsoglou
Jon Puetz
Qiquan Qiao
Rich Reid
Christopher Schmit
Ken Skorseth
Mike Twedt
Sharon Vestal
Nadim Wehbe