School of Engineering Annual Awards

School of Engineering Faculty

photo of Meeko Oishi

Meeko Oishi
Senior Faculty Research Excellence Award
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Meeko Oishi is an internationally-recognized expert in control theory, with contributions in probabilistic safety and in human-in-the-loop control. Her lab group has won several best paper awards from top conferences in her field, and has been funded by NSF, AFRL, and Sandia National Laboratories. Oishi's research focuses on theory and implementation of algorithms for autonomous and human cyber-physical systems.

She received an NSF CAREER Award in 2013 for “Formal Tools for Analysis and Design of Collaborative Hybrid Systems.” Oishi is leading “Cognitive Autonomy for Human CPS: Turning Novices into Experts,” a multi-institutional 5-year, $5.5 million project funded by the NSF through the Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) program that is seeking to develop a framework for improving these systems and making them more adaptable to real-life human behavior.

photo of Andy Shreve

Andrew Shreve
Senior Faculty Teaching Excellence Award
Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering

Andy Shreve is Regents’ Professor of Chemical & Biological Engineering and has served previously as the director of the Center for Biomedical Engineering. He joined UNM after working for eight years at Los Alamos National Laboratories.

His students say that Professor Shreve has an unparalleled ability to assess and access his students' prior knowledge around a subject and to use this information to foster the learning process. Andy is remarkably versatile, in terms of the breadth of classes he has taught. When he picks up a new subject to teach, one that seemed difficult when taught by other teachers, he breaks the subject down into the basics, and then builds off the basic material, so that complex material does not seem as difficult. He continues to develop more effective methods of teaching, for example recording his lectures using an iPad, which came in very handy when all UNM classes had to transition to online teaching. It is no surprise that his classes uniformly receive very high student evaluations.

photo of Osman Anderoglu

Osman Anderoglu
Junior Faculty Research Excellence Award
Department of Nuclear Engineering

Osman Anderoglu’s main research focus is in the area of materials science, specifically materials used in nuclear reactors. This is a very challenging area because of the harsh environment that materials used in reactors are exposed to. Anderoglu’s research is used to determine the effects of extreme heat or high fluxes of nuclear particles on the various components of nuclear reactors, measuring properties such as embrittlement of structural materials and radioactive activation in containment structures. Although he has only been at UNM for four years, Osman has been successful in initiating a research effort in this area at UNM which has already attracted significant funding, and has led to high-quality publications.

Dr. Anderoglu has also started two new efforts at UNM. One of these efforts stems from the construction of a test setup for studying the use of lead as a coolant for nuclear reactors – called a “lead-loop.” The use of lead as a coolant is being considered as an option in several advanced reactor designs for the future. Few universities have the capability to do this type of research, so having this facility at UNM will greatly enhance our visibility and reputation within the nuclear engineering materials community. In the other new effort, Osman has obtained a sophisticated electron microscope to support his materials science efforts. This has been set up as a user facility so that researchers from elsewhere can come to UNM to have their samples tested. This will provide further funding for research at UNM, and equally important, will bring researchers from elsewhere to UNM to see our facilities and hear about our research efforts.


Nick Ferenchak
Junior Faculty Teaching Excellence Award
Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering

Dr. Nick Ferenchak is an assistant professor in CCEE and is leading UNM research on autonomous vehicles. Nick joined UNM four years ago. His approach to teaching focuses on integrating his advanced transportation research into his curriculum, thus attracting students to today’s challenges and innovations. He helps students gain real-world experience and keeps them engaged through in-class exercises and discussion. He has terrific feedback from students. Congratulations to Dr. Nick Ferenchak for such excellent recognition.

photo of Vanessa Svihla

Vanessa Svihla
Harrison Faculty Recognition Award
Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering

Vanessa Svihla is an associate professor with a joint appointment in Organization, Information & Learning Sciences (OILS) and in Chemical & Biological Engineering (CBE). She also serves as a special assistant to the dean of engineering of learning aciences. She has been awarded the NSF Early Career Award and numerous other awards that recognize her outstanding scholarly contributions to Engineering Education Research: Best Diversity paper at the ASEE in 2016 and in 2019, the Christine Stanley Award for Diversity and Inclusion Research in Educational Development, the ASEE-GSW Section Outstanding Young Faculty award and she was honored with a proclamation by the New Mexico Legislature in 2019.

Vanessa is the architect of the CBE FACETS (Formation of Accomplished Chemical Engineers for Transforming Society) funded by the NSF/RED (Revolutionizing Engineering and Computer Sciences Departments) program. The initial research on this grant demonstrated that non-traditional students, under-represented in engineering, bring unique assets. Recognizing these assets, and working them into the teams that solve engineering problems could contribute significantly to broadening participation, which is a major focus at UNM. Dr. Svihla has used her expertise to contribute to various UNM initiatives. For instance, as an assistant professor, she chaired Taskforce 1 of the UNM Redesign Initiative in the Spring and Summer of 2018. Based on this work, she was also asked to serve on the UNM ReDesign Central Committee from Fall 2018 to Spring 2019. She also serves as a mentor in the American Educational Research Association New Faculty Mentorship Program, and as a Lead Mentor in the NSF EEC CAREER Network. Dr. Svihla has used her expertise to serve the State of New Mexico. Building on her experience with alternative forms of assessment, she worked from 2012-2015 with several schools to build a collaboration focused on performance assessment. She developed a blueprint that several schools continue to use to rigorously plan, implement, and evaluate performance assessments. Based on this impactful work, Dr. Svihla was selected by Governor Lujan Grisham to serve on the New Mexico Student Success Taskforce from 2019 to 2020.

photo of Carl Willis

Carl Willis
Glenn Whan Memorial Award
Department of Nuclear Engineering

Although he has only been teaching at UNM for a short time, Carl Willis has already made a large impact on the nuclear engineering department and its students. He teaches the Introduction to Nuclear Engineering course to our first-year students and also teaches the senior seminar course to our soon to be alums. So he is both the first and the last person our undergraduates see during their career at UNM. Carl is doing a great job with these students, preparing the 1st-years for the rigors of the NE program, and preparing the seniors for the rigors of the workplace or graduate school. He also teaches other courses in the curriculum most notably lab courses where he has made many innovations, bringing his experiences in industry into the classroom. Carl has also realized that many high school students who are interested in engineering and science know hardly anything about nuclear engineering and nuclear science. So he has volunteered to take on the job of designing and offering a summer camp experience for high school students that was to be offered for the first time during the summer of 2020 (postponed due to COVID-19, but stay tuned for future announcements!). To make this happen, Carl had to work with many members of the nuclear engineering community in New Mexico, and attracted significant funding from outside UNM. The camp has attracted Interest from all over New Mexico and from around the U.S. It is hoped that the camp will be an annual event and will benefit the nuclear engineering profession by increasing the number of students pursuing NE degrees. Hopefully most of our camp alumni will enroll at UNM for their engineering degrees!