Industrial Engineering Students Recognized with Department Awards and Scholarships

Industrial Engineering Students Recognized with Department Awards and Scholarships
Mia Quain

The Department of Industrial Engineering recognizes students each spring at the Annual Industrial Engineering Student Awards Banquet. The faculty, students, staff and alumni met together at the Fayetteville Town Center on the evening of April 18 for this annual event.

The department handed out its most prestigious awards, and the Arkansas Academy of Industrial Engineering awarded scholarships. This year, the value of scholarships provided by members of the academy was $146,750. The department is fortunate to award an additional $41,500 in other scholarships and $16,000 in Imhoff Global Studies Scholarships, bringing total scholarship dollars to $204,250 for 62 deserving students!

Departmental Awards

The Outstanding Senior and Outstanding Graduate Student awards are intended to recognize the top industrial engineering undergraduate and graduate students. The winners are selected by faculty vote based on excellence in academic performance, leadership, service, collegiality, ethics and dedication. The Graduate Research Award is also selected by faculty vote and recognizes the graduate student who made the most valuable contribution to departmental research efforts in 2022.

The honor of Outstanding Graduate Student for 2022 went to Jose Carlos Hernandez Azucena. With his adviser, Haitao Liao, Azucena has been conducting research in physics-informed statistical learning methods and constrained bilevel optimization methods for decision-making. Potential applications of this work include additive manufacturing and optimal sensor network deployment. In 2022, he completed three refereed journal articles on these topics, two of which have been accepted. He was selected as the finalist of the 2022 INFORMS Quality, Statistics and Reliability Best Refereed Paper Competition. He completed an internship with the IBM Watson Research Center in summer 2022 and will complete a Walmart Senior Data Scientist Internship this summer.

The 2022 Graduate Research Award was presented to Xinchao Liu. Liu, with his adviser, Xiao Liu, has conducted research in the varied areas of reliability, statistics, machine learning and deep learning. During his time as a doctoral student, he has been the first author of two refereed journal articles, three refereed conference proceedings articles and has participated in research presented at eight different conferences. His accolades include a Doctoral Academy Fellowship and the Society of Reliability Engineers Stan Ofsthun Best Student Paper Award at the Reliability and Maintainability Symposium, also known as RAMS. At RAMS, he also received the Hans Reiche Scholarship. He was part of a finalist team in the Quality, Statistics and Reliability INFORMS Data Challenge Competition in 2019. He has provided important service to the Department of Industrial Engineering serving as the treasurer of the INFORMS student chapter.

The Outstanding Senior Award is intended to recognize the most outstanding undergraduate industrial engineering student who graduated in fall 2022 or is graduating in either spring or summer 2023.

Abby Harris was recognized this year as the 2023 Industrial Engineering Outstanding Senior. Harris has represented the core values of this award to the highest standard throughout her time on campus. This is evidenced by her selection as our ArcBest Outstanding First Year Industrial Engineering Student in 2019, a great start to her academic career. In her sophomore and junior years, she worked as a peer mentor in the First-Year Engineering Program and in her junior and senior years, as an undergraduate teaching assistant in the department. She has served our department as the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers student chapter president-elect her junior year and president her senior year. Outside of the College of Engineering, she has also taken on leadership roles in her sorority and college ministry team. She has held multiple industry internships, including in pricing and supply chain engineering at ArcBest Corporation and in engineering and technology at JB Hunt. Harris was also selected as a Senior of Significance by the Arkansas Alumni Association.

Honors Graduates

The Honors Graduate Award is intended to recognize industrial engineering students who are on track to complete all honors requirements, including honors coursework and an honors thesis, by the end of spring 2023. Honors program coordinator Kelly Sullivan presented the awards. The following students completed an honors thesis:

  • Jessica Creech: The Impact of a Carbon Tax on Emissions in Selected Countries, advised by Justin Chimka.
  • Russ Harper: Testing the Effects of Different Designs on the Physical Properties of 3D-Printed Watch Bands, advised by Haitao Liao.
  • Tate Hasenclever: Smart Base Installations: Applying Systems Engineering Techniques to the Agile Development of Multidisciplinary Systems of Systems Projects, advised by Eric Specking.

Industry-Sponsored Awards

Each year, the ArcBest Corporation sponsors the Outstanding Freshman Award. This award is presented to one first-year engineering student who has declared industrial engineering as a major and is selected by the faculty and staff of the First-Year Engineering Program.

Trenton Cason and Blake Meier from ArcBest along with Teaching Associate Professor Tish Pohl presented the award to Ronni Formby.

Corporate sponsor Hytrol Conveyors presents the annual Hytrol Challenge Award, given each year to the best team in a competition in the transportation logistics or facility logistics course. This year, the competition is from a group project in facility logistics in spring 2022. The team of Anna Lee, Conner Oxford and Halle Schneidewind earned the highest score on a comprehensive end-of-semester project focused on designing an automated storage and retrieval system.

Student-Sponsored Awards

The Outstanding Faculty Advisor Award is intended to recognize a faculty member for their contributions to students. The award is sponsored by the INFORMS student group. Students nominate the faculty, and the nominations are evaluated by external faculty members. The Outstanding Faculty Advisor was Ashlea Milburn. The award was presented by Maryam Kheirandish and Shengfan Zhang.

The student group Alpha Pi Mu sponsors the Sophomore Scholar Award and the Imhoff Distinguished Service Award. The Sophomore Scholar Award goes to a new industrial engineering sophomore to recognize outstanding academic achievement. The recipient is chosen with input from faculty who teach sophomore-level courses. This year's recipient was Jacob Holmes.

The Imhoff Distinguished Service Award goes to an Alpha Pi Mu member to recognize their service and contributions to the Arkansas Alpha Pi Mu Chapter. Nominations are solicited from Alpha Pi Mu members, and Alpha Pi Mu members vote on the recipient. The recipient was Kathlyn Bowden.

The student chapter of the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers sponsors the Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Assistant, Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant, the Backbreaker Award, the Best Teacher Award and the Resident Raconteur Award.

The recipients were:

  • Outstanding Undergraduate TA: Blake Sooter
  • Outstanding Graduate TA: Fatih Cengil
  • Backbreaker Award: Kelly Sullivan
  • Best Teacher: Richard Cassady
  • Resident Raconteur Award: Tish Pohl

Tamara O. Ellenbecker, website developer
Department of Industrial Engineering


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