The Joint BME Department Achievement Committee would like to congratulate and recognize the recipients of achievement awards for the spring and summer of 2022:
Staff Service Achievement
The committee would like to recognize two of our phenomenal staff members with the award for Staff Service Achievement:
Andrea (Andi) Scheer is, without a doubt an extremely valuable employee, one of BME’s greatest gems. Andi is smart, efficient, and takes great pride in her work and her efforts to keep the department running smoothly. She is not only excellent at her assigned tasks, but also excels at treating everyone she assists with respect and making sure that each is provided what they need to succeed. The far-reaching scope of her contributions range from bookkeeper, human resource administration, student services, and morale officer! There were several inspirational testimonials among the nominations which confirm how fortunate we are to have Andi in our department.
Catherine Matthieu is a tremendous asset to BME faculty for all the support she provides in helping so many in the department navigate the complex components of our grant submissions. She is excellent at what she does and extremely knowledgeable! For nearly single handedly managing our diverse portfolio of grant submissions across both UNC and NCSU faculty, she is highly deserving of this recognition.
Faculty Service Achievement
The award for faculty service goes to Dr. David Lalush. Dr. Lalush coordinated the efforts of all our faculty to prepare our report for ABET accreditation. This is an incredibly time-consuming but incredibly important service to the department in preparation for our on-site visit in the fall of 2022. The nominators noted that the report he created was absolutely outstanding.
Faculty Teaching and Mentoring Achievement
The award for faculty achievement in teaching and mentoring goes to Dr. Bill Polacheck. Nominations spoke very highly of Dr. Polacheck’s open and accessible mentoring style. They specifically valued his time commitment to going out of his way for in-person interactions and demonstrations with students to help them with critical laboratory techniques.
Post-doc Teaching and Mentoring Achievement
Dr. Rachel Walmer is the Post-doc recipient of the teaching and mentoring award for the joint department. Dr. Walmer received overwhelming support from the available nominations. The nominations described her as an outstanding researcher, teacher, and mentor. She participated in the UNC Teaching Institute and brought back ideas that will enhance the mentoring of undergraduate students. She also spearheaded the JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) Fellows program to develop equity in science courses.
Post-doc Research Achievement
Dr. Arian Azarang is being recognized for his contribution to research. Dr. Azarang finished his dissertation with 12 published papers in just over 3 years and received the 2022 Honorable Mention for the university-wide Best Thesis Award. As a post-doc, he has developed and received credit approval for a new undergraduate BME course, submitted 2 journal papers with another two fully drafted, submitted abstracts for presentation at two international conferences, and closely and successfully mentored several undergraduate students.
Ph.D. Student Teaching and Mentoring Achievement
The award for Ph.D. Student achievement in teaching and mentoring goes to Aryssa Simpson. This year, Aryssa led the first BME Summer Camp held in person since the summer of 2019. She was assisted by Travis McKay and Siena Mantooth, who acted as camp advisors. The camp is a one-week residential experience, which introduces rising 11th and 12th graders to the engineering design process. Aryssa secured over $6k in scholarship funding for 5 African American students to attend this year. She also spearheaded an effort to start another BME camp with the North Carolina Mathematics and Science Education Pre-College Network, which targets underrepresented/ low-income families. Aryssa’s outstanding efforts are a perfect example of how department members can engage in ensuring diversity within BME for future generations.
Ph.D. Student Research Achievement
Wentao Liu is the Ph.D. student recipient for research. Wentao has published an impressive four journal papers since he joined BME. He has also recently given oral and poster presentations at the flagship international conference in robotics. His nominators mentioned that his high-quality work has greatly enhanced the visibility of our joint department and the impact of our research focus in the field of rehabilitation engineering.