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A&A Student Excellence Awards 2023

July 10, 2023

These awards recognize outstanding contributions from students in three critical areas of academic work – research, teaching and service. Students were nominated by faculty, staff, supervisors, and peers. The recipients each receive an award of $1000.

Meet the 2023 recipients of the A&A Student Excellence Awards!

Excellence in Research

This award recognizes distinguished achievements and sustained progress in research in the A&A Department. Major selection criteria include overall quality of research, significance of the work to the Department and to the field and publications and professional presentations pertaining to the research.

Doctoral level: Chris Hayner (PhD program)

For Doctoral Research 

Advisers: Assistant Professor Karen Leung and Professor Behçet Açikmeşe

Chris Hayner

Chris Hayner

Chris is an outstanding researcher; he was recently awarded the prestigious NASA NSTGRO graduate fellowship for his work on perception-aware trajectory optimization for planetary landing and has co-authored four papers at top international robotics conferences and control journals. However, Chris is also excellent at being a team player and mentor to his peers, volunteering to help out the undergraduates in his lab, or giving a presentation or tour. Chris’ great strengths in research and team collaboration culminate in his many projects in cooperation with other research labs such as such as the Terrain Analysis and Cryosphere Observation Lab directed by Professor David Shean, and industry partners such as Starfish Space, Applewhite Aero, Hood Technology, Chelan County Sheriff’s Office, and Microsoft.

Master’s level: Collins Davis (MS program)

For Graduate Research “Computational modeling of rain erosion.”

Adviser: Associate Professor Marco Salviato

Collins Davis

Collins Davis

Collins’ research aims to reduce the cost of and better the process that Boeing spends millions of dollars on each year: computational modeling of rain erosion. Boeing does this to characterize the durability of coatings experimentally and verify that they are able to survive rain erosion during flights; currently, the only way to do this is to perform a whirling arm test, which consists in having a large wing rotate at service speeds inside a chamber which produces rain drops, an extremely time consuming and expensive task. However, this is where Collins’ research comes in: by combining multiscale testing (both at UW and working as an intern at Boeing) and FE simulation, Collins was able to develop, calibrate, and validate a very sound computational framework. He developed new ways to characterize the compressive behavior of the coatings by leveraging nanoindentation. This impressive feat that Collins achieved, Marco Salviato (Collins’ adviser) remarked, was done in 1-5 years by the grad student rather than the estimated 3-4 years by a PhD student. Not only is Collins an accomplished researcher who has published a paper in peer-reviewed conference proceedings, he is also an extremely independent hard worker who was able to present biweekly in front of 10+ Boeing engineers.

Undergraduate level: Yusuf Rasyid (BS program)

For Undergraduate Research “Experimental characterization of the fracturing behavior of Discontinuous Fiber Composites (DFCs).”

Adviser: Assistant Professor Marco Salviato

Yusuf Rasyid

Yusuf Rasyid

Yusuf has demonstrated independence, creativity, and hard work in research. His work with the experimental characterization of the fracturing behavior of Discontinuous Fiber Composites (DFCs) within a project funded by the FAA and Boeing has gone way beyond what his adviser had expected of an undergraduate student. Within the project, Yusuf designed and manufactured a set of new fixtures to test the tensile and bending behavior of DFC brackets. Moreover, he performed all the tests using Digital Image Correlation (DIC) to measure the strain field and identify mechanisms of failure. Thanks to his outstanding work, two journal articles with Yusuf as a co-author are currently under review in the best journals on composite mechanics.

Excellence in Teaching

This award recognizes sustained commitment to and distinguished achievement in classroom teaching. This may include the ability to communicate material in an effective way, facilitating students' progress toward becoming independent problem solvers, the use of inclusive teaching practices that support all students and developing and using innovative teaching tools/techniques.

Arvindh Sharma

For excellence in teaching and dedication to students.

Arvindh Sharma

Arvindh Sharma

During winter quarter, Arvindh taught AA 556 and demonstrated tremendous commitment to the A&A department by picking up the teaching load of the grad-level course four weeks into the quarter. Despite the challenge, Arvindh was able to give an in-depth review of the material already covered and focused on the mathematical foundation for waves to help students develop an intuition for harder topics in kinetic and fluid theory. Additionally, Arvindh used helpful examples with videos and animations to illustrate difficult concepts. At the end of the course, students gave Arvindh excellent evaluations and said that they can now follow research papers and plasma seminars better thanks to the course.

Excellence in Service

This award recognizes consistent commitment to and achievements in furthering our department's public service mission. This can include advancing an inclusive climate and culture, providing public outreach and education, leadership in student organizations or activities and/or mentoring of students.

Graduate level: Danny Broyles

For service to the department through dedicated mentorship in the Control and Trustworthy Robotics Lab (CTRL).

Danny Broyles

Danny Broyles

Danny’s service as a researcher and mentor at the CTRL has been instrumental in helping fellow students in their research, assisting them by answering questions whenever needed and sending them resources to guide them. Danny’s quick responses and willingness to be involved has inspired others to also be more engaged in their research. Additionally, Danny is clearly passionate about the work that the CTRL does, volunteering to give tours of the lab to prospective PhD students and industry representatives. His highly effective communication skills have also come in handy, as Danny has been a featured speaker multiple times, giving presentations on a variety of interesting and practical topics.

Undergraduate level: Caleigh Stagnone

For service to the department in advancing inclusivity through the JEDI and uSAC committees and mentorship.

Caleigh Stagnone

Caleigh Stagnone

Caleigh is a key member of the JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion) committee, which seeks to create a supportive community based in respect in the A&A department, and also dedicates her time to serving on uSAC (undergraduate Student Advisory Committee). As such, Caleigh serves as a liaison between the JEDI committee and students as well as the department’s administration. Additionally, Caleigh is a leader in Design Build Fly (DBF), with the UW team placing 6th in the most recent competition, the best ever for a UW DBF team. Overall, Caleigh is a mentor and leader to women engineering students not only in the A&A department but in the engineering college as a whole.