College of Engineering Recognizes Graduates

Class of 2017

On Saturday morning, May 20, the College of Engineering recognized its 2017 graduates during the traditional convocation ceremony. Hundreds of family members and friends turned out to celebrate the achievements of the College’s 263 bachelor’s degree graduates, 114 master’s degree recipients, and nine PhDs.

Faculty Awards

The ceremony began with a brief welcome from Drosdick Endowed Dean of Engineering Gary A. Gabriele, PhD, who then presented two faculty awards. Electrical and Computer Engineering Instructor Edward Char received the Reverend William F. Farrell Award, which recognizes a faculty or staff member who demonstrates exemplary personal concern for students. The College of Engineering Teaching Award was presented to Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering Leslie McCarthy, PhD, PE. Chosen by a vote of the senior undergraduate engineering students, this award recognizes innovation in the classroom, excellent student learning outcomes and advancement in the field of engineering education.

Doctoral Students

Gerard “Jerry” Jones, PhD, Senior Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research, began the student recognition and awards portion of the event. He first named those who earned doctoral degrees and the title of their dissertations:

  • Mahsa Ebrahim, “Identification of the Impact Regimes of a Liquid Droplet Propelled by a Gas Stream Impinging onto a Dry Surface,” advised by Dr. Alfonso Ortega
  • Amanda Jean Hess, “Rain Garden Evapotranspiration Accounting,” advised by Drs. Bridget Wadzuk and Andrea Welker
  • Branka Jokanovic, “Sparsity-Aware Time-frequency Distributions,” advised by Dr. Moeness Amin.
  • Michael Lee Pluimer, “Evaluation of Corrugated HDPE Pipes Manufactured with Recycled Content in Commuter Rail Applications,” advised by Drs. Leslie McCarthy and Andrea Welker
  • Mohsan Samadani, “Model-based and Data-driven Algorithms for Diagnostics of Nonlinear Dynamic Systems,” advised by Dr. C. Nataraj
  • Yue Xu Schuman, “Mechanical Reinforcement, Shape Stabilization and Thermal Improvement of Phase-Change Energy Storage Materials Using Graphene Oxide Aerogel,” advised by Drs. Gang Feng and Amy Fleischer
  • Mahmoud Kabalan, “Large-Signal Lyapunov-Based Stability Analysis of DC/AC Inverters and Inverter-Based Microgrids,” advised by Dr. Pritpal Singh

Mahmoud Kabalan, PhD, was presented with the College of Engineering Outstanding Doctoral Student Award. 

Master’s Degree Students

Following recognition of the PhD recipients, representatives from each department presented degrees and awards to the College’s Master of Science degree graduates. Winners of the Outstanding Graduate Student Award for each department were announced as follows:

Chemical Engineering: Matthew Nicholas

Civil and Environmental Engineering: Tobias Muller

Electrical and Computer Engineering: Giorgi Kalandadze

Mechanical Engineering: Carrie O’Donel

Sustainable Engineering: Lindsey Walaski

Matthew Nicholas won the 2017 Outstanding Graduate Student Medallion, which recognizes outstanding academics and research, as well as leadership and service to the University and College.

Undergraduates: Class of 2017

The largest portion of the ceremony was dedicated to the College’s graduating seniors. In addition to recognizing all of the students and naming their honors distinctions, each department chair awarded a medallion to an outstanding undergraduate selected by the faculty of that department. Criteria included academic achievement and the quality and consistency of the students’ co-curricular contributions to the College and the department. Medallions were presented to:

Christopher Neely – Robert E. White Chemical Engineering Award

Rebecca Connolly – Civil and Environmental Engineering Faculty Award

Saya Doyama – Computer Engineering Outstanding Student Award

Savannah Benbrook – Electrical Engineering Outstanding Student Award

Allson Boyd – Outstanding Mechanical Engineering Student Award

The College’s most prestigious undergraduate prize, the Robert D. Lynch Award, was presented to Thomas Saldutti CE. Sponsored by the Engineering Alumni Society, this award acknowledges a senior’s outstanding academic achievements and exemplary dedication to serving the community.

The 2017 Convocation concluded with Civil and Environmental Engineering Assistant Professor Frank Falcone, PhD, and Director of Professional Development and Experiential Education Frank Falcone leading the graduates in Villanova’s alma mater, after which Kimberlee Casey ME, president of the Engineering Student Council, lead the recitation of the Engineers Creed.

To view an album of 2017 Convocation photos, visit the College’s Facebook page. You can also visit the College website to see which employers and graduate schools the Class of 2017 is headed for!