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K-State Today

October 26, 2011

Recognizing success: Four engineering professors earn endowed chairs, awards

Submitted by Communications and Marketing

Kansas State University's College of Engineering is recognizing the accomplishments of a chemical engineering professor and three civil engineering professors with appointments to endowed chairs.

Vikas Berry, assistant professor of chemical engineering, was awarded the William H. Honstead Professorship in Chemical Engineering for up to three years. Berry's fields of research include graphene science, bio-nanotechnology, materials science, molecular/dielectric devices, sensors and electronic materials. He and his colleagues are the first group to use bio-integrated research with graphene, a carbon nanomaterial only one-atom thick. His work has received widespread citations by researchers and science portals from around the world.

Currently, Berry is conducting research to establish the properties of chemically and structurally modified graphene and other two-dimensional nanomaterials for field-effect transistors, protective transmission electron microscopy and enhanced-sensors applications. His research is funded by the National Science Foundation, Office of Naval Research, industry and the university. He's earned many honors, including the National Science Foundation CAREER Award in 2011 and the Sigma-Xi Outstanding Junior Scientist Award in 2010.

Berry received his bachelor's degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi, India, in 1999. He earned his master's degree from the University of Kansas in 2003, followed by his doctorate from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 2006.

Mustaque Hossain, professor of civil engineering and associate director of the university's Mid-America Transportation Center, was awarded the Munger Professorship in Civil Engineering for up to three years. His research interests focus on transportation engineering, specifically highway materials, pavement design and performance evaluation and nondestructive testing of pavements with a goal of advancing and preserving rural roads and highway infrastructure in Kansas and the nation.

Hossain teaches several civil engineering courses at Kansas State University and has sponsored many transportation-related projects, including the Kansas Pavement Preservation Initiative with the U.S. Department of Transportation from 2007-2011. His awards include being named a Dwight D. Eisenhower Faculty Fellow from the U.S. Department of Transportation in both 1996 and 1999.

Hossain received his bachelor's and master's degrees in civil engineering from the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, and his doctorate in civil engineering from Arizona State University.

Yacoub Najjar, professor of civil engineering, received the Thomas and Connie Paulson Civil Engineering Outstanding Faculty Award for up to two years. In addition to being a Thomas and Connie Paulson Civil Engineering Outstanding Faculty Member, Najjar has sat on the editorial boards of both the Computers and Geotechnics journal and the American Society of Civil Engineers' International Journal of Geomechanics.

Najjar's research focuses on the application of artificial neural networks and computational mechanics to advance the civil infrastructure. He also conducts research on the interaction of soil and civil structures, transportation, geo-mechanics, geo-synthetics and geo-environmental systems. He has been published in many journals, teaches several courses at K-State and has received several awards and honors, including the Midwest Section Outstanding Teaching Award from the American Society of Engineering Education in 2006.

Najjar received his bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Yarmouk University in Jordan, and his master's degree and doctorate in civil engineering from the University of Oklahoma.

The Martin K. Eby Distinguished Professorship in Civil Engineering was awarded to Bob Peterman, professor of civil engineering, for up to three years. Peterman's research interest is structural engineering, and he is currently focusing on understanding the behavior of prestressed concrete structures, experimental testing of concrete materials, durability of bridge decks and time-dependent deformation in structures with a goal to advance and preserve civil infrastructure in the state and nation.

Peterman is currently sponsoring two projects, including "Quantifying the Effect of Pre-stressing Steel and Concrete Variables on the Transfer Length in Pretensioned Concrete Crossties." Besides being published in many publications, Peterman has been recognized with several awards and honors, including being named a Martin K. Eby Distinguished Professor and receiving the Young Educator of the Year Award from the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute in 2005.

Peterman received his bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Lafayette College, and his master's degree and doctorate in civil engineering from Purdue University. He also completed his postdoctoral work at Purdue University.

Charitable contributions support a number of outstanding faculty members in the form of endowed chairs. In 2011 more than $2 million has been donated for endowed chairs, with an additional $6.5 million committed. An appointment to an endowed chair is another great honor given to dozens of top Kansas State University faculty. Find out more about the university's endowed faculty chairs and professorships at http://www.k-state.edu/faculty/.