Seven faculty members in the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences received awards on May 10 at a dinner held in their honor and attended by their families, colleagues and top college officials.

The award winners were: Molly Kennedy, Sez Atamturktur, Garrett Pataky, Amy Apon, Ronnie Chowdhury, John DesJardins and Simona Onori.

Seven outstanding faculty members received college awards and then posed for a photo with Dean Anand Gramopadhye. Those pictured are (from left): Garrett Pataky, Molly Kennedy, Simona Onori, John DesJardins, Sez Atamturktur, Gramopadhye, Amy Apon and Ronnie Chowdhury.

Seven outstanding faculty members received college awards and then posed for a photo with Dean Anand Gramopadhye. Those pictured are (from left): Garrett Pataky, Molly Kennedy, Simona Onori, John DesJardins, Sez Atamturktur, Gramopadhye, Amy Apon and Ronnie Chowdhury.

The college faculty awards reflect Clemson University’s tradition of excellence in teaching and research. They also honor those who have made or are making extraordinary contributions to improving  students’ Clemson experience.

Here’s more on each honoree in the order in which the awards were presented:


Honoree: Molly Kennedy, associate professor of materials science and engineering

Award: Murray Stokely Award

About: Kennedy has a passion for pedagogy that includes teaching and advising students, developing new courses and maintaining vibrant and contemporary undergraduate and graduate curriculums.

As chair of the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee for two years, Kennedy led the effort to remove some 14 legacy courses not being taught by the department but still listed within the course catalog.

She also conducted an iterative process of research and feedback from faculty to gain consensus on merging the inorganic materials and polymeric materials concentrations.

As part of the department’s Graduate Curriculum Committee, Kennedy helped create a new non-thesis MS option, which is attractive for industry and international applicants. She also crafted a BS/MS program to help our academically talented students accelerate through a shortened MS degree program.

And finally, she provided data which allowed for the overhaul of our graduate curriculum to make it stronger and better-aligned with materials science and engineering programs nationwide.

Kennedy has also positively impacted students beyond the department through her engineering education research, outreach through partnering with PEER and WISE and contributions to multiple National Science Foundation-funded educational programs.

In summary, for many years, Kennedy has been a dedicated teacher, mentor and visionary educational leader in the department and the university.


Honoree: Sez Atamturktur,  Distinguished Professor of Intelligent Infrastructure in the Glenn Department of Civil Engineering

Award: McQueen Quattlebaum Faculty Achievement Award

About: Atamturktur was recognized for her extraordinary record of securing research funding and disseminating peer-reviewed findings.

Her work focuses on identifying and mitigating the vulnerabilities of critical infrastructure components and systems. She is currently involved with 10 externally funded projects totaling $9.4 million. She is the principal investigator in seven of these projects and a co-principal investigator in three.

Last year, she was a principal investigator or co-prinicapl investigator for five active National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded projects.

Last Fall, she secured a $3 million dollar grant through the NSF Research Traineeship Program  previously known as NSF IGERT), the first grant of its kind in South Carolina.

Atamturktur also spearheaded the development and submission of a successful $3.4 million NSF ADVANCE proposal aimed at creating an inclusive academic culture at Clemson.

In recognition of her contributions in advancing the status of women at Clemson, she was selected by her peers to receive the 2016 Outstanding Woman Faculty Award.

Along with her research team, Atamturktur has authored more than 70 peer-reviewed scholarly articles, a number of which have received best paper nominations or awards.

She regularly receives funded invitations to speak at international conferences and meetings from institutions in countries such as France, Switzerland, Turkey, and Germany.


Honoree: Garrett Pataky, assistant professor of mechanical engineering

Award: Byars Prize for Excellence in Teaching Engineering Fundamentals

About: Pataky joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering as an assistant professor in the fall of 2015. His expertise in solid mechanics made him a natural fit for the sophomore level course ME2040 – Mechanics of Materials.

Over three semesters, student evaluations have generated an average overall teaching effectiveness score of 4.81, which is among the highest scores in mechanical engineering.

He believes that fundamental learning is strengthened with application so he has established two Creative Inquiry courses to introduce undergraduate students to research. Sophomores, juniors, and seniors are engaged in both projects, with many of these students having taken Mechanics of Materials from him.

The desire of these students to seek further instruction from Pataky showcases the enthusiasm he brings and spreads through his teaching.

In addition to his own projects, he also supports other organizations that offer hands-on, out-of-classroom learning experiences. For example, he has been instrumental in helping Clemson’s Formula SAE team move from steel to carbon fiber suspension members.

His passion for the subjects that he teaches and his commitment to his students often translate into extending office hours or meeting students outside assigned times.

One of his students quoted William Arthur Ward who said, “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”


Honorees: Amy Apon, chair of the Division of Computer Science in the School of Computing and Mashur “Ronnie” Chowdhury, Eugene Douglas Mays Professor of Transportation in the Glenn Department of Civil Engineering

Award: Collaboration Award

About: This year’s collaboration award singles out an outstanding interdisciplinary team that is breaking down barriers for collaborative research at Clemson and beyond.

Apon and Chowdhury are the co-directors of the Complex Systems, Analytics, and Visualization Institute (CSAVI). Key research thrusts of CSAVI include areas of computing such as Big Data systems, analytics, and visualization; and Intelligent Transportation Systems.

Two accomplishments of the collaboration stand out among the others.

First, CSAVI has been awarded an $8 million dollar U.S. Department of Transportation grant that will support several complementary research projects and students at Clemson and at participating institutions across South Carolina.

A second significant accomplishment of the collaboration is the pending publication of a new book, “Data Analytics in Intelligent Transportation Systems.” This book will fill a gap in data-enabled engineering for intelligent transportation, and will serve both as a textbook for interdisciplinary graduate courses and as a reference book for professionals in this area.

The book will be the basis for a new graduate course in computer science and civil engineering to be co-taught by Apon and Chowdhury in fall 2017. This course is expected to attract graduate students to Clemson, and provide the genesis for a new academic program or certificate in this area.

Apon and Chowdhury co-advise several Ph.D. students in both civil engineering and computer science and have published several co-authored papers. Their work has attracted support from NSF, DOT, BMW, LexisNexis, and AWS.

CSAVI is on track to be one of the most productive centers at Clemson. Pending proposals from CSAVI total more than $1.5 million at this time.

The successful collaboration between Apon and Chowdhury serves as an excellent template for other faculty to follow.


Honoree: John DesJardins, the Hambright Distinguished Professor in Engineering Leadership

Award: Mentoring Award

About: DesJardins’ mentorship roles have spanned multiple domains, including student academic advising, student organizations, international programs, undergraduate and graduate research, clinical collaborations, teaching, and faculty research.

He sees mentoring as the interactive process of insuring that the dreams, goals, and desires of others are achieved.

Academically, he has advised and mentored over 100 students. Since starting his own lab in 2008, he has mentored over 100 Creative Inquiry students, 50 undergraduate research students, and 35 graduate research students.

His advisees have been prolific in publications, presentations and awards for their work. They’ve produced 15 journal publications, six conference papers, and 130 conference abstracts with students as co-authors since 2008. Most of these student publications included having the student attend the conference, and presenting their work to a national audience.

In 2012 he was awarded the Phil and Melinda Bradley Award in Creative Inquiry Mentoring.

This recognition affirms his belief that mentoring is a slow and consistent process of gaining and maintaining the trust of another person, placing their interests, aspirations and successes above your own, for the common good of everyone.


Honoree: Simona Onori, assistant professor of automotive engineering

Award: Esin Gulari Leadership and Service Award

About: Onori was recognized for demonstrated initiative, leadership and dedication that go above and beyond expectations for faculty of her rank.

She is building an outstanding international reputation as a leader in automotive control research, based on a remarkable publication record, and an extraordinarily wide range of impactful service contributions.

Onori has been involved in the Organizing and Program Committees of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers; The International Federation of Automatic Control; and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

All of these positions require significant organization and leadership skills and are typically held by more senior individuals.

Onori serves as associate editor for two journals, the SAE International Journal of Alternative Powertrains, and Frontiers in Mechanical Engineering. She also acts as a paper reviewer for 18 technical journals.

Closer to home, she serves on the Graduate and Research Committee for the Department of Automotive Engineering and is actively involved with Clemson’s Women in Science and Engineering program.

In recognition of her outstanding record, Onori received the Carolinas Energy Leadership Award at the 2016 Energy Summit in Charlotte in the Emerging Leader category