Four Engineering Faculty Honored at University-Wide Award Ceremony

April 2, 2024

Faculty from the College of Engineering took four of 10 university-level awards presented at the Utah State University’s fourth annual faculty awards ceremony on March 28. The event recognizes all USU faculty awards that were previously announced at the Robins Awards and Research Week, among other events.

Rose Qingyang Hu, Electrical and Computer Engineering, D. Wynne Thorne Career Research Award

Outside of her countless work as the College of Engineering’s Associate Dean of Research, Hu specializes in 4G and 5G wireless network design, modeling and performance evaluation and technology standardization. Her work is known internationally and encompasses 15 years of academic research and teaching and a decade of industrial research and development. She has consistently addressed research challenges in 4G and 5G wireless communication and networks, as well as distributed collaborative AI and machine learning within 5G networks.

Hu was awarded the Outstanding Graduate Mentor of the Year at USU in 2022 and Faculty Researcher of the Year in the College of Engineering in 2014 and 2016. She currently directs the USU Communications Network Innovation lab, advises a group of PhD and MS students and teaches a handful of classes.

The D. Wynne Thorne Career Research Award is the premiere research recognition at Utah State University. Each year, it is awarded to a senior faculty member who has produced a majority of their research at USU. Learn more about Rose Hu’s career.

Angela Minichiello, Engineering Education, Outstanding Graduate Mentor of the Year Award

A former U.S. Army veteran and former thermal-mechanical engineer, Minichiello currently teaches foundational engineering and engineering science courses at USU. At the graduate level, she teaches historical and philosophical foundations of the field of engineering education.

Minichiello has mentored nearly 30 graduate students as their faculty adviser/major professor or supervising committee member. Her students have received numerous awards in both research and teaching at the national, university, college and department levels. In addition, her students have co-authored more than three dozen journal and conference proceedings papers with her and have made more than 50 presentations at professional conferences and events.

In addition to this award, Minichiello has been an NSF Career Award Recipient, as well as honored as Researcher of the Year and Undergraduate Mentor of the Year many years prior.

The Outstanding Graduate Mentor of the Year Award recognizes USU mentors who have done a notable job helping their graduate students prepare for a professional career. Find out more about Angela Minichiello.

Ron Sims, Biological Engineering, Undergraduate Faculty Mentor of the Year Award

Sims has over 50 years of experience in industry, government and higher education and an even higher number of meaningful contributions over the years. Before joining USU in 1982, Sims held leadership roles at companies and institutions across the country including the Research Triangle Institute, Bayer AG, and the International Program in Environmental Aspects of Industrial Development at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He served as head of what is now USU’s Biological Engineering Department from 2003 to 2014 and was director of the Utah Water Research Laboratory from 1996 until 2003.

Sims has connected teams of students with industry partners throughout his time as an instructor for the Biological Engineering capstone course. He is also the faculty mentor of several award-winning student clubs, including the Institute of Biological Engineering, Sustainable Waste-to-Bioproducts Engineering and the USUSA Aikido Club. He directs many undergraduate researchers in his lab, several of whom have also completed graduate degrees with Sims and earned national awards.

The Undergraduate Faculty Mentor of the Year Award recognizes USU mentors who have done an outstanding job helping their undergraduate students prepare for a career. Read more about Ron Sims.

Ryan Berke, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Undergraduate Research Mentor of the Year Award

Since 2015, Berke has advised 75 undergraduates who have collectively contributed to more than 100 scholarly papers, technical presentations and poster sessions. More than half of his graduating students have gone on to earn advanced degrees. His lab uses advanced imaging techniques to extract full-field, in situ deformation and strain measurements across temperature, time and length scales.

Under his leadership, the Engineering Undergraduate Research Scholars program has doubled in size, as has the rate of women and nonbinary students in the program. Berke also represents the College of Engineering on USU’s Undergraduate Research Advisory Board and is the Goldwater Scholarship Faculty Mentor.

The Undergraduate Research Mentor of the Year Award recognizes faculty members who have focused on research mentorship and acted as role models in the field of research. See what makes Ryan Berke stand out.