From left, Dean’s Scholars winners: Xinhua Liang, Xiaodong Yang, Jonathan Kimball, Mike Moats and Zhaozheng Yin, Not pictured: Josh Rovey

College of Engineering and Computing names inaugural Dean’s Scholars

New award honors early- and mid-career faculty, boosts research support

Six top young researchers at Missouri University of Science and Technology have been named Dean’s Scholars, a new award that recognizes prodigious research, teaching excellence and campus service in the College of Engineering and Computing.

The award honors assistant and associate professors who were nominated by their department chairs and selected by a five-person CEC committee made up of senior professors from the college’s nine departments.

“We have endowed chairs, and we have curators’ distinguished professors, but those are at the full professor level,” says Dr. John Myers, a professor of civil, architectural and environmental engineering and associate dean for academic affairs. “This program is really a first step to recognize outstanding scholars among our junior faculty.”

The two-year title includes a $10,000 research stipend for recipients. The winners received the news in surprise classroom visits and later recognized at an Oct. 21 ceremony at the Hasselmann Alumni House.

Dr. Jonathan Kimball, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, exemplifies the breadth of accomplishments among the half-dozen Deans’ Scholars.

Kimball, who joined Missouri S&T in 2008 after spending several years in industry, is “a passionate teacher who is committed to student success and who works diligently to bring hands-on research and project experience to undergraduates,” says Dr. Daryl Beetner, his department chair.

He’s joined in the inaugural class of Dean’s Scholars by these five colleagues:

  • Dr. Xinhua Liang, assistant professor, chemical and biochemical engineering. His nano research group works at the intersection of physics, chemistry and materials science by using atomic/molecular layer deposition to design and synthesize materials for such varied applications as energy storage and environmental remediation.
  • Dr. Michael Moats, associate professor of metallurgical engineering. Moats, who received his bachelor and master’s degrees from Missouri S&T and his doctorate at the University of Arizona, joined his alma mater in 2012 from the University of Utah. His work on a multinational research project has taken Moats to Brazil, Germany, Laos and South Africa in recent years.
  • Dr. Josh Rovey, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering. Since arriving on campus in 2008, Rovey has carved a national and global reputation in the fields of plasmadynamics and space propulsion. He founded the Aerospace Plasma Laboratory and has shepherded sizable research grants from NASA and others and is also his department’s associate chair for graduate affairs.
  • Dr. Xiaodong Yang, assistant professor, mechanical and aerospace engineering. Yang is also an NSF CAREER recipient and principal investigator in the Nanoscale Optics Laboratory, where he and his research team study the design, fabrication and characterization of engineered photonic, plasmonic and metamaterial nano structures – work that lies at the interface of engineering, physics, applied physics, and material science.
  • Dr. Zhaozheng Yin, assistant professor of computer science. Yin, who joined S&T after earning his doctorate at the Pennsylvania State University and completing a postdoc at Carnegie-Mellon University’s Robotics Institute, has earned a National Science Foundation early career development award (CAREER) for his efforts in computer vision, machine learning and biomedical image analysis.