2016 year in review – growing A college

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Dr. Gemunu S. Happawana, Chair

Lyles College of Engineering is growing stronger each year. With the leadership of each Department Chair, the Dean of Lyles College of Engineering as well as the support of Fresno State Administration, the college has promoted and hired experienced faculty. Dr. Gemunu S. Happawana has been a professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Fresno State since 2008. Now serving his second term as chair of the Mechanical Engineering Department, he will continue to strengthen the department and with the support of Fresno State administration, increase the number of full and part-time faculty,  faculty to student ratio to 25, increase the infrastructure and develop state-of-the-art labs, grow the advisory board, develop certificate classes, and further develop the graduate program. Since he began his term in 2001, the graduate program has been restructured and has increased from six to 25 students.

“Over the last two-years, efforts in faculty hiring have led to the addition of new talent to our ME family,” Happawana said. “Six new primary faculty have now started their careers in Fresno State’s Mechanical Engineering Department. We also want to send best regards to several faculty who retired, including professors Loscutoff, Mahanty and Penn. These faculty have helped build the reputation of our department.”

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Dr. Reza Raeisi, Chair

The Mechanical Engineering Department is the largest program in the Lyles College. Students in the ABET accredited program learn to conceive, innovate, design, test, modify and manufacture a myriad of devices and systems. Happawana says they leave Lyles College with an in-depth understanding of the wide array of computer aids and other tools now available to mechanical engineers.

“It is a demanding discipline, but with rich rewards,” Dr. Happawana explained.

Dr. Reza Raeisi now serves as  Chair for the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department (ECE). He joined Fresno State in fall 2007 as an Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He was promoted to full Professor in fall 2011 and began his service as Graduate Program Coordinator in fall 2009. Dr. Raeisi has more than 25 years of domestic and international experience and professional skills in both industry and academia.

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Brad Hyatt, Chair

“I will further work to strengthen the ECE Department by promoting faculty development and creativity, and instigating a technique for recognition of faculty and students accomplishments and continue on working and developing stronger ties with alumni and industry members,” Raeisi said.

“I believe in experiential learning, the value of diversity, international awareness and cross-cultural understanding.”

Brad Hyatt, Associate Professor of Construction Management (CM), was promoted to Chair of the Department of Construction Management.

Hyatt has been at Fresno State since 2009 and looks forward to carrying on the CM tradition. His hope is to continue to develop leaders who will make an impact in the construction industry. By connecting with alumni and industry members, Hyatt hopes to strengthen the department and to ultimately raise the bar to help make Construction Management the program of choice in the region.

Dr. Xiaojun Li

Dr. Xiaojun Li

“Our program has strong ties with students, faculty, staff, industry, and alumni. It is an honor to be chosen to lead such a passionate and diverse group,” Hyatt said.

Dr. Xiaojun Li, joined Lyles College of Engineering as Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering in 2016. Dr. Li graduated from the Washington State University with a Ph.D. in civil engineering. His research interests are in the areas of sustainable pavement materials, developing sustainable solutions for transportation, with emphasis on recycled materials, industrial/municipal waste/byproducts, bio-materials, and composite materials. His research goal is to achieve a more sustainable transportation infrastructure that satisfies the concerns of the economy, environment, and society.

Dr. Farbod Khoshnoud

Dr. Farbod Khoshnoud

Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Dr. Farbod Khoshnoud, came to Lyles College of Engineering from Brunel University in London. He worked as a visiting scientist and postdoctoral researcher in the Industrial Automation Laboratory, Department of Mechanical Engineering, at the University of British Columbia (UBC) for five years. He also spent two-years at California Institute of Technology as a visiting researcher. He has worked on self-powered dynamic systems, and recently, he and his students built and tested a solar powered autonomous airship. Dr. Khoshnoud uses nature-inspired and bioinspired approaches to improve engineering design. His research has been funded by Defense Science and Tech Laboratory, Royal Academy of Engineering, NATO advanced science institute.

Dr. Zhi Liang

Dr. Zhi Liang

Dr. Zhi Liang serves as Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering. He received his Bachelor and Masters degrees in Materials Science and Engineering from Shanghai Jiaotong University in China and a Ph.D. in Mechanical engineering from Missouri University of science and technology in United States. After graduation, Dr. Liang joined Rensselaer Nanotechnology center in RPI as a postdoctoral research associate and worked there for four years. His research is focused on micro/nanoscale heat and mass transfer.

Dr. Dare Afolabi

Dr. Dare Afolabi

Dr. Dare Afolabi joined Lyles College of Engineering as Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering. He earned a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Imperial College, London, England, with applications in dynamics and stability of jet engines. He has many years of teaching and research experience, notably at Purdue in Indiana. Some of his research highlights include the work that he did on vibration problems in the Space Shuttle Main Engine at NASA Glenn and NASA Langley Research Centers.

Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering, Dr. Maryam Nazari, obtained her Ph.D. in Structural Engineering with a Minor in Engineering Mechanics at Iowa State University. Maryam’s research expertise includes resilient and sustainable design of concrete building and bridge systems, seismic design techniques using innovative lateral load resisting systems, and rehabilitation of deficient and aging civil infrastructure. Before starting the doctoral program, Nazari worked in the industry as a structural design engineer and a seismic specialist.

Dr. Maryam Nazari

Dr. Maryam Nazari

Dr. Kimberly Stillmaker

Dr. Kimberly Stillmaker

Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering, Dr. Kimberly Stillmaker, received her Masters Degree and Ph.D. at UC Davis, where her research focused on fracture-mechanics based analyses of welded connections in steel moment frames. Prior to attending UC Davis, she taught as a lecturer at California State University, Sacramento and worked as a structural engineering EIT at Taylor Teter Partnership in Fresno. Stillmaker attended Fresno State as a member of the Smittcamp Family Honors College, graduated with the Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Lyles College of Engineering where she also received the Deans Medalist Award. Dr. Stillmaker is pleased to return to her Alma matter.

Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Dr. Mazen Eldeeb, received his Bachelor and Masters degrees in engineering in Cairo University, Egypt and his Ph.D. from Syracuse University in December 2015. He previously worked as an Assistant Lecturer at Cairo University, a Research Assistant at the American University in Cairo, and as a Teaching and Research Assistant during his Ph.D. at Syracuse University. Right after finishing his Ph.D., he accepted a tenure-track position at Fresno State. His most recent research is titled “An experimental and chemical kinetic modeling study of di-methyl-cyclo-hexane oxidation and pyrolysis.”

Dr. Mazen Eldeeb

Dr. Mazen Eldeeb

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Dr. Kerry McBee

After working in the industry for many years, Dr. Kerry McBee, now serves as Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Lyles College. Dr. McBee completed his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Colorado School of Mines and his master of science degree in electric power engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. During his engineering career, Dr. McBee has focused on smart grid implementation, power quality, and forensics. As a researcher, his interests include smart grid functionality, power system optimization, and renewable energy integration.