2020 Award Winners
University of Idaho
College of Engineering 2020 Awards
Our college awards ceremony is a time when we recognize our faculty, staff, graduate students and outstanding graduating seniors who serve as role models and help shape our college by setting a high standard of achievement. In addition, this year’s ceremony includes award winners from our 27th annual Engineering Design EXPO. We recognize their hard work and dedication to engineering.
Our faculty and staff award winners have been chosen by an executive committee of their peers. Our graduate and undergraduate award winners are chosen by faculty and departmental leadership as outstanding representatives of their major field of study. Our EXPO award winners are chosen by judges from industry and academia.
Sophia K. Theodossiou — Biological Engineering Ph.D. candidate
Sophia K. Theodossiou is a Ph.D. candidate in Dr. Nathan Schiele’s lab in the Department of Biological Engineering. Sophia was raised in Athens, Greece, completed a BA in Anthropology/Human Biology at Northwestern University in 2012, and moved to Idaho in 2013. After becoming a volunteer EMT with Moscow Ambulance, she decided she wanted to develop ways to help people suffering from musculoskeletal injuries, and returned to the University of Idaho in 2016 to pursue a biological engineering graduate degree. Under Dr. Schiele’s outstanding mentorship, Sophia discovered her passion for tissue engineering and has since worked to improve our understanding of how tendons form during development, with the goal of applying this knowledge to engineer functional tendon replacements. In her time at the University of Idaho, Sophia published several research papers and presented at numerous national and international conferences. She also had the honor and privilege of working with some of the University of Idaho’s brightest and most dedicated undergraduate researchers. After graduation, Sophia will begin a postdoctoral fellowship in biomedical engineering at Tufts University. Outside of the lab and the back of the ambulance, you can find Sophia skiing, trail running, and biking on Moscow Mountain (usually very early in the morning) with some of her favorite people from the amazing Moscow community that she loves.
Qianyi Li — Electrical & Computer Engineering
Qianyi Li received a B.S. degree from the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Chengdu, China, in 2017. She is currently pursuing the Ph.D. degree in electrical and computer engineering at the University of Idaho. She was a finalist of the Student Paper Competition at the 2019 IEEE AP-S/URSI Symposium. In 2019, she received the Graduate and Professional Student Association Travel Award from the University of Idaho.
Since 2017, Li has been a research assistant at the University of Idaho. Her research interests include antennas, RF/microwave circuits and machine learning applications in electromagnetics. Following her years at U of I, she plans to continue working on the machine learning-based circuit synthesis project and focus on the cross-application of electrical and computer science.
Li said her hometown of Liaoning, China, is very similar to Moscow, and small town Idaho feels like her second home. Having been at U of I for almost three years, Li said the most impressive part of campus is the kindness of professors. She has received a lot of useful advice from them and appreciates all the help provided.
Selso Gallegos — Mechanical Engineering
Selso Gallegos was born and raised in the small town of Parma, Idaho. He and his eight siblings are first-generation college students. From a young age he was determined to further his education and become an engineer. In 2017, he obtained his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Idaho. After graduating, he started his career at Intel Corporation as a Supply Chain Engineer, where he worked until he returned to the University of Idaho in 2019 to obtain a Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering. As a graduate student, he collaborated with Dr. Edwin Odom and Western Trailers to develop and implement a structural design tool. During graduate school, he also served as a mentor for various engineering capstone projects and helped teach students about manufacturing using the Mechanical Engineering Machine Shop. Selso is extremely motivated to continuously learn and develop himself as a professional. He passionate about giving back to his community by sharing his success and knowledge throughout his educational and professional journeys. After obtaining his master’s degree, Selso is moving to Boise and plans to pursue a career in engineering research and design.
Nicholas Pancheri — Biological Engineering
Nick Pancheri was born and raised in Moscow, Idaho. A Vandal through and through, Nick grew up going to Vandal football and basketball games with his mom and dad – both proud Vandal alumni. As a graduating high school senior, Nick was awarded a fellowship from the Idaho IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) and Idaho STEM Action Center to conduct research in Dr. Nathan Schiele’s tendon tissue engineering lab in the Department of Biological Engineering. It was this experience where Nick first fell in love with biological engineering research and exploring factors that relate tendon formation. The INBRE program and the College of Engineering Grand Challenge Scholars Program (GCSP) have since supported Nick’s research.
As a 2020 Beckman Scholar, Nick will continue his research in Dr. Schiele’s lab over the next two years. His project aims to elucidate the role of collagen crosslinking in the development of tendon mechanical properties. These results will better inform tendon tissue engineering approaches, and eventually may be used to develop new regenerative therapies for the treatment of debilitating tendon injuries.
Nick is also a College of Engineering Ambassador, a member of the Biomedical Engineering Society, the 2019 GCSP Pitch Event Gary Dow Distinguished Top Finalist, Treasurer for the GCSP Club, a Senior Orientation Leader for Office of Admissions, and a proud Founding Father of Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity.
Maggi Laan — Biological Engineering
I grew up on a farm in Weiser, Idaho. Throughout high school, I had very influential science and agriculture teachers who got me involved in competitions and pushed me to go into the STEM field. I grew up visiting Moscow, as my dad was a Vandal, and have always felt at home here. This made going to the University of Idaho an easier decision. I have loved getting to know all of the staff and faculty in the Department of Biological Engineering as well as all of my peers. It is such a close-knit community at the university, and I knew that I would be supported in whatever I wanted to pursue. During my time here, I have worked at the Whitman Conservation District and interned at the Department of Energy in Soil and Groundwater at the Hanford Site. I am excited to pursue a career in bioenergy following graduation.
Clay Allred — Chemical Engineering
Clay Allred was raised in Indian Valley, Idaho. In high school, his chemistry class and his participation in the Idaho Science and Aerospace Scholars program led him to pursue an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering at the University of Idaho. While attending the U of I, Clay was active in AIChE, the U of I cycling team, and undergraduate research. He has accepted a full-time process control engineering position at WestRock in Longview, Washington. Clay is very thankful for the faculty and staff at the U of I and of all the relationships he was able to forge with his amazing classmates.
James Zillinger — Materials Science Engineering
James Zillinger is a graduating senior in Materials Science and Engineering. He was born and raised in Troy, Idaho, just 11 miles east of Moscow. Ever since taking a careers class he took in high school, he desired to go into engineering, specifically focused on nuclear materials. After graduating, James hopes to continue researching nuclear materials either in the work force, or by attending graduate school.
Amanda Kalab — Civil Engineering
Amanda Kalab is from Marysville, Washington. While at the University of Idaho, Amanda has participated in a variety student organizations, both in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and in the College of Engineering.
Amanda became involved in the student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) her first year on campus, serving as the chapter president in her senior year, as captain of the Steel Bridge Team in her junior year, and as vice-president of the Grand Challenges Scholars Program in her junior and senior years. Amanda is a CEE Ambassador, an Engineering Scholar, and a member of Tau Beta Pi, the engineering honor society. Amanda was selected as the Outstanding Junior in Civil Engineering in 2018-19.
Amanda has spent the past three summers interning for Sierra Construction Company and Kiewit, working as a Field Engineering Intern and a Structural Design Intern, respectively. Amanda will be employed by T. Y. Lin International as a Bridge Design Intern this summer and plans to attend Washington State University in the Fall to pursue a Master of Science degree in Civil Engineering with an emphasis in Structural Engineering. Upon completing her graduate training, she intends to work as a Bridge Design Engineer in the greater Seattle area.
Lauren Smith — Electrical Engineering
I grew up in Shoreline, Washington. I enjoy spending time outdoors, hiking, water-skiing and snow-skiing. During my time at the University of Idaho, I was grateful for the number of opportunities that were presented to me. I have been involved on campus as a member of the Gamma Phi Beta sorority and a member of the ECE Ambassadors. I have also enjoyed working as a TA for ENGR 240 and as a lab TA for ECE 241. I learned a lot during my experience as a research assistant, where I helped research and simulate optimal strategies for future AEMoD systems. I was on the Virtual Fence team for my Capstone Design Project. This has been an exciting way to finish my college career working with people in many disciplines, and gaining hands-on experience with the engineering design process. After graduating, I plan to work as a Patent Engineer at Holland and Hart in Boise.
Mason Taylor — Computer Engineering
Mason Taylor grew up in a small, rural town in Indiana. It was there he started learning to code. Mason’s father is an Electrical Engineer, and he introduced Mason to programming at a young age. Beginning at age 12, Mason started learning web design, then application design principles, utilizing books and online forums.
Over the next several years, he continued to do personal projects, learning more about the fundamentals and best practices of software engineering. Then he and his family moved to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho in 2015. Later the same year, Mason started taking classes at North Idaho College. He chose to major in Computer Science, due to his former experience. After taking an interest in Mathematics from the Calculus series, he decided to add a major in Mathematics. He was also inspired by Engineering Physics, which got him interested in Engineering.
After graduating from North Idaho College, with degrees in Computer Science and Mathematics, he started at the University of Idaho in fall 2018. After expressing interest in both Computer Science and Electrical Engineering to one of the faculty, he was advised to enroll in Computer Engineering, which seemed to be the perfect fit. Mason will also obtain a minor in Mathematics along with the B.S. in Computer Engineering from the University of Idaho.
Mason was an active member in the North Idaho College Physics and Engineering Club, contributing to multiple engineering projects, and helping the club to start the North Idaho College STEM expo for showing off STEM to grade schoolers, high schoolers, college students and the general community. He was also a member of the FAST committee which granted funds to student clubs at North Idaho College and he participated in the Day of Service. Since starting at the University of Idaho, he has been doing ongoing contract software engineering work for Kaiser Aluminum and offering his services as a freelance web developer. He also participated in a NIATT research project, all while being a full-time student with a 4.0 GPA.
In his free time, Mason enjoys landscape and nature photography, skiing, or an occasional hike, bicycle ride, or dirt bike ride in the beautiful Coeur d’Alene area. He also likes spending time in the shop working on projects. After graduating, Mason hopes to find a job near Coeur d’Alene as an Embedded Systems Engineer or a Software Engineer.
Yiqing Ma— Computer Science
Yiqing Ma is graduating in May 2020 with a B.S. degree in computer science and a minor in mathematics. She started getting interested in computer science when she was a freshman at Shanghai Jiaotong University in China.
In the Fall 2017 semester, she transferred to the University of Idaho and had the opportunity to study computer science. In the last three years, she developed strong abilities in statistics, programming and algorithm design. She is also interested in 3D modeling and constructing 3D models for architectural design. She developed 3D models in her game project.
In Summer 2019, she interned as a data engineer in Kelly Service Shanghai Ltd. The job developed her better understanding of many practical skills in data processing and modeling. She is tutoring for both graduate and undergraduate students in the Python for Machine Learning class.
In her free time, she enjoys learning programming, painting, and reading. She also attended activities outside of college, and she was a volunteer in the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum. After graduating in May, she plans to pursue an M.S. degree in computer science.
Seth Ashby — Industrial Technology
Seth Ashby is an Industrial Technology major from Pocatello, Idaho. He started studying in the spring of 2015 while working full time at the INL Bio Energy lab. In 2016, he moved to the INL Material Fuels Complex, where he currently works as a nuclear operator.
Although going to school and working full time has been challenging, Seth has enjoyed drawing parallels between his work and school - especially metallurgy, robotics, electronics, and CAD. His greatest academic accomplishment is making the U of I Dean’s List.
In 2016, Seth married a full-time farm girl and added part-time tractor and semi driver to his list of tasks. They had a baby girl this past September and he’s loving being a dad. In his minimal spare time, he works with the young men of his church group and built a house for his family. Seth is looking forward to acquiring the hobbies of sleep and recreation.
He’s grateful for those professors who have taken the time to work with and help him learn. Seth is excited to be completing his degree and looks forward to the future learning opportunities he will have in the field of industrial technology.
Kate Seegmiller — Mechanical Engineering
Kate was raised in Emmett, Idaho. She grew up swimming and playing the piano, and in high school she ran track and cross country. During her senior year in high school, she took an introductory engineering class, which sparked her interest in design. Later on, she won the National Merit Scholarship and decided to attend the U of I, where both of her parents had attended and where her grandfather had taught engineering courses for many years. She decided to pursue mechanical engineering after her first semester, and quickly found herself enjoying it immensely.
Kate began doing undergraduate research under Dr. Robertson during her junior year. Within her research she studied the structural biomechanics of maize. Eventually, she developed a method to determine the structural efficiency of a maize plant, and was able to co-author several papers and share her work at conferences. Research eventually led her to explore other opportunities, including becoming a member of the Grand Challenge Scholars Program in her junior year and becoming an engineering ambassador in her senior year, which allowed her to share her love of engineering with others. During her senior year, she was involved in a capstone project with ATI, where she helped to design a new packaging system for volatile metal powders.
After graduating, Kate plans on moving to Washington with her husband, a fellow mechanical engineer who she met at U of I. She would like to thank him, her parents, grandparents, and professors for helping her get as far as she has.
Ian Glasgow — Mechanical Engineering
Ian Glasgow was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska. He did not learn how to read until the fifth grade, saying he thought “reading was for nerds." Ian had no childhood aspirations. He said, “my highest achievement as a child was placing second in the state for fourth level gymnastics, second out of two competitors." He attributes the change in his attitude about school and work to the Calvin Coolidge quote, “Nothing in this world will take the place of persistence,” which his father used to read to him frequently as a child. By high school, Ian was excelling in his classes, enjoying physics, chemistry, and calculus. By the time he got to college, he couldn’t see himself doing anything but mechanical engineering.
During his years at the University of Idaho, he tried to take advantage of as many opportunities as possible. He worked as a peer mentor, joined the honors program, and became the events coordinator for ASME. In his junior year, he performed research for Dr. Daniel Robertson on the relationship between turgor pressure and mechanical strength.
Later that year, he acquired a job at the Industrial Assessment Center (IAC). There he worked with specific companies and performed cost-benefit analysis on implementing mechanical engineering solutions to reduce energy consumption and save money. The main focus of Ian’s college career was computer-aided mechanical design. In January of 2018, Ian had no experience in computer-aided design.
By July of 2019, he became a Certified SolidWorks Expert (CSWE) and is now teaching the advanced SolidWorks class at the University of Idaho. Ian would like to point out that this progress could not have been made without the resources provided by the University of Idaho and guidance of Christopher Bitikofer, Sarah Willis, Dr. Joel Perry, and Dr. Edwin Odom. For his capstone project, Ian was assigned to the Insulation Station capstone team. There, he put his CAD skills to use and worked on a team to design an insulation cutting and measuring module for Boeing. Ian plans to acquire a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Idaho under Dr. Edwin Odom, and then pursue work in the aerospace industry.
He attributes his success in college to, above all, hard work, but also the competitive friendship he shared with Alex Kiss, Phillip Flexer, Mackenzie Sexton, An Le, Josh Kohl, Jack Gonzalez, Sam Baran, and Donald Funk and the amazing ME faculty that helped him pursue his goals every step of the way.
BEST OF SHOW
Garage Sensor System over a Mesh Network
Joel Berain, Computer Science
Nikolai Tiong, Computer Science
Tyrel Parker, Computer Science
Zane Goodrick, Computer Science
Articular Cartilage Smoother for Arthroscopic Surgeries
Ethan Overfelt, Biological Engr.
Katie Farris, Biological Engr.
LeeAnn Hold, Biological Engr.
Suhaim Altaleb, Mechanical Engr.
Qingyun Wang, Electrical Engr.
Qian Xu, Electrical Engr.
Lissa Nickell, Biological Engr.
Industrial Heat Treatment of Ammunition Cases
Aspen White, Chemical Engr.
Adrien Malinowski, Chemical Engr.
Connor McDonnell, Chemical Engr.
Bryan Hayden, Chemical Engr.
BEST TECHNICAL PRESENTATION
Lean Process Shellcase Induction Annealing
Matthew Meagher, Mechanical Engr.
Josh Clark, Mechanical Engr.
Zachary Woffinden, Mechanical Engr.
Dwain Stucker, Mechanical Engr.
Liquid Cooling for Li-Ion Battery
Tarrin Funderburg, Mechanical Engr.
Donald Funk, Mechanical Engr.
Jesus Barrera, Mechanical Engr.
Ryan Gonzalez, Mechanical Engr.
Debaling Agricultural Materials
Sean Leonard, Mechanical Engr.
Loren Jenkins, Mechanical Engr.
Yaser Alghreeb, Mechanical Engr.
Steven Mortensen, Biological Engr.
Dual Robot Log Handling
Sam Malinowski, Mechanical Engr.
An Le, Mechanical Engr.
Deryk Ahner, Mechanical Engr.
Jongin Hwang, Mechanical Engr.
Virtual Fence IC Design
Xuyue Gu, Electrical Engr.
Ziqing Zhu, Electrical Engr.
Lauren Smith, Electrical Engr.
Samantha Baran, Electrical Engr.
Austin Grieve, Mechanical Engr.
Power Distribution Network – Transactive
Christine Page, Electrical Engr.
Nikki Tran, Electrical Engr.
James Todd, Computer Science
Karstin Neill, Computer Science
Carbon Dioxide Capture with Borohydrides
Mason Anderson, Chemical Engr.
Ahmed Alasiri, Chemical Engr.
Kaed Benski, Chemical Engr.
Jesse Brown, Chemical Engr.
Rear Driven Snowmobile
Thomas Entwit, Mechanical Engr.
Brannon Hudson, Mechanical Engr.
Aref Hakami, Mechanical Engr.
Lexi Brooks — Most Outstanding Ambassador
Izzie Strawn — Dedicated Influencer
Nick Pancheri — Rookie of the Year
Hannah Doyle — Rookie of the Year
Steven W. Beyerlein, Ph.D. — Mechanical Engineering.
Steve Beyerlein joined the University of Idaho in 1987. He has taught Mechanical Engineering courses in freshman design, sophomore design, computer-aided design, fluid mechanics, heat transfer, senior design, lean manufacturing, and combustion engine systems. He has both a practitioner and research interest in instructional design, active learning strategies, assessment for learning, and faculty development. Early in his career, he was active in the Center for Applied Thermodynamic Studies where among other things he worked on equations of state used by the international natural gas industry for pipeline operations and sales. For the last twenty years, he has been an active participant in the National Center for Advanced Transportation Technology (NIATT). He has been involved in multiple generations of student vehicle projects, including an electric racecar the one the Arizona Electrics Competition in 1999, DOE Future Truck, SAE FSAE, SAE FHSAE where UI placed first in international competition in 2013, and the Clean Snowmobile Competition where UI has placed in the top three multiple times over the last fifteen years. Since 2015 Dr. Beyerlein has served as the Mechanical Engineering Department Chair where he has diversified the industrial advisory board, spearheaded major shop/lab infrastructure improvements, connected with many UI alumni through e-communications as well as social events around the northwest, and contributed to program assessment/accreditation efforts at the college as well as institution level.
Samrat Choudhury, Ph.D. — Chemical and Materials Engineering
Samrat Choudhury is an assistant professor in the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering. Prior to joining the University of Idaho, Choudhury served as a scientist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory where he initially joined as a Director’s Postdoctoral Fellow in 2010. He graduated with a doctorate in materials science and engineering from the Pennsylvania State University in 2008 and a master's in metallurgy from Indian Institute of Science in 2000. He completed his undergraduate degree in metallurgical engineering from Regional Engineering College, India, in 1998.
Ray Anderson — Director of IT
Ray Anderson, a life-long Idahoan, came to the University of Idaho as a student in the fall of 1990 from Payette, Idaho. During his senior year in Computer Science, he was hired by the university's Computer Services department (now ITS) as Temporary Help for Customer Support. In 1995, he was hired as a full-time Consultant II in Computer Services and then transitioned to a Systems Analyst the next year. Four years after that he went to the Microelectronics Research and Communications Institute within the university as their IT Resource Manager. While there and with encouragement from many people, he graduated with a BS in Computer Science. In 2011, he went to work for the College of Engineering as an IT Resource Manager for Research, with a specialty in High-Performance Computing. Then in 2016, he was hired as the Director of IT for the College of Engineering. Ray enjoys the technical and people part of his job providing help to the staff, faculty and students of engineering.
Jenine Cordon — Web Coordinator
Jenine Cordon graduated from the University of Idaho in 2000 with a bachelors degree in Visual Communications. For the next 14 years, she worked as the New Media Specialist at the UIdaho-ITS Center for Teaching Innovation. In that position, Jenine supported faculty in their online teaching and was rewarded for her dedication and creativity with the U of I Outstanding Technical and Paraprofessional Employee of the Year award in 2014. She then chose to expand her skills by taking a position with UIdaho central IT as an Application Administrator where she implemented the current instance of Sitecore, as well as many other institutional business applications. In 2019, Jenine returned to her web roots by joining the College of Engineering as Web Coordinator where she's recently had an exciting couple of months balancing the needs of the college as they relate to COVID-19, online teaching, and virtual EXPO.
Jenine loves the outdoors, kayaking, camping, hiking, biking, bird-watching, working in her yard and reading in her hammock. She also enjoys cooking and trying new recipes.
Beth Cree— Assistant to the Dean
Beth Cree moved to Moscow, Idaho in 1984 to attend school full time at the University of Idaho. In 1989, she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and chose to stay in Moscow. In 1996, Beth started at the University of Idaho as a Senior Secretary in the Department of Geography. From 1998 thru 2012, she was the Assistant to the Director of the Microelectronics and Research Communications Institute. She joined the College of Engineering in the summer of 2012 as the Grant and Contracts Specialist. In May of 2015, Beth was appointed as Assistant to the Dean and will retire in June of 2020. Beth has four grown children, eight grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. Much of her time when she retires will be spent with family and friends. She enjoys reading, bird watching, walking/hiking, and hosting summer guests through the University of Idaho’s State 4H International Program. When the world settles down from the COVID-19 Pandemic, Beth hopes to travel to Japan to visit the various women she has hosted. She also hopes to visit her niece who lives in Italy. One dream she has is to volunteer for up to 24-months at the Ebenezer Senior Home in Haifa which is a coastal city in Israel.
Marie Wagner— Student Services & Programs Coordinator
Marie Wagner grew up in Woodinville, Washington. After moving to Pullman to attend Washington State University to study wildlife ecology, she stayed to pursue her master’s degree at University of Idaho in environmental science. After spending a year as an AmeriCorps Volunteer at the local non-profit, Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute, she began her work at the College of Engineering. She currently lives in Moscow with her husband, two birds, and their dog. When she isn’t at work, she is gardening, refurbishing furniture, and watching movies with the dog, as well as making culinary and baked delectable delights!