Awards highlight CEGE teaching, research and outreach initiatives

Posted: April 17, 2020

Each year, The College of Engineering honors excellence in teaching, research and service. Faculty, staff and partners are recognized for distinguished contributions in several areas and the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geodetic Engineering (CEGE) was well-represented on this year's list of awardees. Traditionally held each spring, this year’s awards event was postponed until normal campus activity resumes.

The following members of the CEGE community were selected as recipients of the College of Engineering Distinguished Faculty Awards:

Gil Bohrer
Gil Bohrer, professor, was awarded the Harrison Faculty Award for Excellence in Engineering Education in recognition of his outstanding contributions to advance mechanistic understanding of interactions between the atmosphere and biosphere pertaining to water exchange, greenhouse gas budgets and animal movement.

Allison MacKay, Professor and Chair, CEGE, noted his thoughtful and caring approach to his instruction of students. "Professor Bohrer is a passionate scholar with the special talents of robust, technical depth and creative vision to make new connections across subdisciplines," she said.

Established in 1983 with a gift from Doris and Stanley Harrison (’58, electrical engineering), this award honors an early to mid-career faculty member’s excellence in teaching and qualitative aspects of teaching, exceptional research, or contributions to engineering or architecture concepts. 

Tarunjit Butalia
Tarunjit Butalia, research associate professor, was recognized for the outstanding quality of his instruction of CEGE's students. He was named the recipient of the David C. McCarthy Engineering Teaching Award. In submissions nominating him for this honor, colleagues described Butalia as an innovative, inspirational, compassionate and ethical teacher.

The McCarthy Award recognizes the contributions of College of Engineering junior faculty and staff to create more innovative and effective teaching and learning. 

This is the second straight year that Professor Butalia's outstanding efforts in the classroom were recognized by the College of Engineering. In 2019, he was awarded the Charles Ellison MacQuigg Award for Outstanding Teaching.

For his service to the greater community, Butalia was also named the recipient of the Dean’s Award for Distinguished Outreach Achievements.

The award recognized Butalia's efforts in implementing and sustaining The Ohio State University Coal Combustion Products Program (CCP), a 20-year public-private partnership to advance sustainable waste management in Ohio.

Allison MacKay noted the "above and beyond" nature of Butalia's research, which has provided design advances that have resulted in diversion of 75 million tons of coal combustion residues from landfills in Ohio. Butalia sought "engagement outside of the university through creative problem solving, training, and sharing engineering knowledge to address the societal problem of energy-sector wastes which impact many communities in Ohio," she said.

Established in 2015, this award recognizes an individual faculty member who has demonstrated significant and longstanding achievement of positive community impact through outreach activities or programs within the college.

Halil Sezen (L) and Jieun Hur (R)
Halil Sezen, professor, and Jieun Hur, assistant professor of practice, were recognized by the College for their efforts as part of a research team that crossed various engineering disciplines. Together with Tunc Aldemir, professor, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) and Richard Denning, retired professor, MAE, Sezen and Hur received the Lumley Interdisciplinary Research Award.


The Nuclear Structures Team, as their research collaboration is known, began in 2014, with the goal of improving risk predictions of seismic hazards in nuclear power plants. In praising the group's efforts, Professor MacKay stated that the Nuclear Structures Team's accomplishments "embody the role of academic engineering departments to develop research advances with direct application to solve real world problems involving complex, interconnected systems."

Named for John H. Lumley (’27, ceramic engineering), this team award recognizes interdisciplinary research accomplishments of the college’s faculty and research staff. 

Rongjun Qin
The College also recognized individual researchers for their efforts, awarding Lumley Engineering Research Awards to assistant professors Karen Dannemiller and Rongjun Qin, respectively.

While discussing Qin's innovative research in the field of 3D reconstruction and semantic segmentation of satellite images, Allison MacKay also noted how productive the researcher has been since he began his appointment at Ohio State in 2016. "I regard him as an exceptional early-career nominee for this award," she stated.


Karen Dannemiller
Professor Dannemiller's research seeks to better understand the chemical and microbial processes in our indoor environments that impact human health. Her Indoor Environmental Quality research group refines measurement techniques to make them more accessible or relevant while discovering new associations between environmental measurements and disease. 

The Lumley Engineering Research Awards are presented to a select group of outstanding researchers in the College of Engineering who have shown exceptional activity and success in pursuing new knowledge of a fundamental or applied nature.

Dannemiller's interdisciplinary work was also recognized with a new award created by The Buckeye Engineering Women in Executive Leadership (BEWEL). The group of distinguished COE alumnae focuses on advancing women leaders in industry, academia, and government.  

The inaugural BEWEL Leadership in Innovation Award  was presented to Karen Dannemiller for the development of novel measurement techniques to characterize public health risks posed by biological and chemical exposures through air quality in the built environment.

In her remarks to CEGE faculty, Lisa A. McCauley ('79, aeronautical and astronautical engineering), Chair, BEWEL, noted not only the interdisciplinary nature of Dannemiller's research but the professor's leadership and mentorship within the University as well as her outreach activities in the community such as podcasts and YouTube videos.

The BEWEL award is presented to a junior or mid-career female faculty member who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in research, innovation and/or scholarship.

The fact that this year's ceremony had been postponed until students, faculty and staff return to campus, did not diminish Dean David Williams' enthusiasm for this year's slate of Buckeye Engineering innovators. “Thanks to the exemplary accomplishments of our faculty, researchers and partners, we continue to excel in our mission of providing a quality education to more than 10,000 students, as well as engineering impactful solutions to problems near and far,” Williams stated. “I am proud to recognize the incredible talents and achievements of these distinguished awardees.”

- College of Engineering Communications contributed to this story.


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