Skip navigation links

May 16, 2024

2023-2024 Graduate student research award winners

Event creates opportunities to showcase research and excellence

Student presenting their poster to a faculty member
Ali Saffary presenting their research poster

The Michigan State University College of Engineering Graduate Student Awards Ceremony and Graduate Research Symposium showcased nearly 200 students. The annual events, created by the college in 2012, give participants ranging from first-year graduates to those nearing completion of their Ph.D. the opportunity to share their work and network with faculty, staff and industry partners. Students also gain valuable experience giving research presentations that capture the priorities and mission of the college’s eight academic departments.

A number of awards were presented during the events.

Fitch H. Beach Award for Outstanding Doctoral Research

Professional Headshot of Liang Zhao and Irene Xagorarki
Liang Zhao won the 2024 Fitch H. Beach Award. With him is his adviser Professor Irene Xagoraraki

The Fitch Beach Award is the most prestigious research competition in the College of Engineering. Established by Janet M. Beatty in honor of her uncle, Fitch H. Beach, this award recognizes the most outstanding PhD student researchers within the College of Engineering. The faculty within each department selects one nominee, and the award is judged based on nominees’ records and presentations. Winners receive stipends, a certificate, and a medal to be worn at graduation.




First Place: Liang Zhao, Civil and Environmental Engineering (Advisor: Irene Xagoraraki); receives a $2,000 stipend, plus a certificate and medal to wear at graduation

Second Place: Sharmila Samaroo, Chemical Engineering and Materials Science (Advisor: David Hickey); receives a $1,750 stipend, plus a certificate and medal to wear at graduation

Third Place: Logan Soule, Biomedical Engineering (Advisor: Dana Spence); receives a $1,500 stipend, plus a certificate and medal to wear at graduation

Honorable Mention Awards (listed alphabetically by program; each student receives a $1,000 stipend, plus a certificate and medal to wear at graduation)

  • Babak Dialameh, Biosystems Engineering (Advisor: Ehsan Ghane)
  • David Butts, Computational Mathematics, Science and Engineering (Advisor: Michael Murillo)
  • Steven Grosz, Computer Science and Engineering (Advisor: Anil Jain)
  • Xinda Qi, Electrical and Computer Engineering (Advisor: Xiaobo Tan)
  • Michael Hayes, Mechanical Engineering (Advisor: Andre Benard)

Outstanding Graduate Student Awards

This annual award recognizes the most outstanding graduate student from each doctoral program in the College of Engineering. These outstanding PhD students were selected by the faculty within their program, and each receive a $1,000 stipend, certificate, and a medal to be worn at graduation. 

Professional Headshot of Meghan Hill
Meghan Hill, of Biomedical Engineering, is one of this year's Outstanding Graduate Students
  • Meghan Hill, Biomedical Engineering (Advisor: Taeho Kim)
  • Josué Kpodo, Biosystems Engineering (Advisor: Pouyan Nejadhashemi)
  • Shalin Patil, Chemical Engineering (Advisor: Shiwang Chang)
  • Farhad Abdollahi, Civil Engineering (Advisor: Emin Kutay)
  • Xitong Zhang, Computational Mathematics, Science and Engineering (Advisor: Rongrong Wang)
  • Han Xu, Computer Science and Engineering (Advisor: Jiliang Tang)
  • Xinda Qi, Electrical & Computer Engineering (Advisor: Xiaobo Tan)
  • Zheng Li, Environmental Engineering (Advisor: Alison Cupples)
  • Sabrina Curley, Materials Science (Advisor: Caroline Szczepanski)
  • Mohammad Hajidavalloo, Mechanical Engineering (Advisor: Zhaojian Li)

2024 Research Symposium Best Posters

  • Amirali Soltanpour, Civil Engineering, Electrifying Travels Along Lake Michigan Circuit
  • Annie Needs, Chemical Engineering, Pioneering Targeted Therapy for Neuroblastoma: Engineering Specificity and Potency in Antibody Therapeutics
  • Avirup Roy, Electrical Engineering, On-device Semi-supervised Activity Detection: A New Approach to Privacy-aware Personalized Health Monitoring
  • Behlul Kula, Civil Engineering, Implementation of VR Technology for Energy Audit Training
  • Garrett Weidig, Mechanical Engineering, Smooth Moves: Kinematic Smoothness as an Assessment Tool
  • Girish Chandar Ganesan, Computer Science, Remove Projective LiDAR Depthmap Artifacts via Exploiting Epipolar Geometry
  • Jared Reiling, Computational Mathematics, Science and Engineering, Improving Accuracy of Multi-animal Motion Tracking
  • Nitish Shukla, Computer Science, Face Demorphing via Image Decomposition
  • Poornachandra Vaddy, Civil Engineering, Measurement of Different Layers’ Dynamic Modulus in Multi-layered Pavement Cores using Image Processing Technique
  • Raheel Tariq, Civil Engineering, Vehicle Classification and Tire Analysis Using Piezoelectric Sensors
  • Redwan Sony, Computer Science, Automatic Comparative Chest Radiography Using Deep Neural Networks
  • Subal Sharma, Electrical Engineering, Rayleigh Wave Based Characterization of Rolling Contact Fatigue Micro-cracks Array Using Machine Learning
  • Tzu-Han Hsu, Computer Science, Automated Program Repair for Security Hyperproperties
  • Zebadiah Miles, Electrical Engineering, Ultrasonic Digital Twins

3MT (three-minute thesis) Competition winners

First Place: Mohamad Yaman Fares, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Tire-Derived Aggregates (TDA) as Lightweight Fill for Road Structures

Second Place: Mehrsa Mardikoraem, Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, EvoSeq-ML: Advancing Data-Centric Machine Learning with Evolutionary-Informed Protein Sequence Representation and Generation

Third Place: Christiana Kiesling, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Indoor Air Quality Challenges in Rural Alaskan Homes

People’s Choice: Hamad Muslim, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Quality Assessment of Longitudinal Joints in Flexible Pavements

Contact: Kelley Monterusso, College of Engineering - Media and Public Relations