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Peers laud ASU engineering professors, student


February 12, 2010

Two Arizona State University engineering professors and a student will receive top awards from the Greater Phoenix Area Engineers Week coalition.

The group’s Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Douglas Montgomery, an industrial engineering professor in the School of Computing, Informatics, and Decisions Systems Engineering, a part of ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.

The Outstanding Educator Award will go to Subramaniam Rajan, a professor in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment.

The Engineering Student of the Year Award will go to Nathan Dunkin, who is working toward a bachelor’s of science degree in civil and environmental engineering.

National Engineers Week (Feb. 14-20) is promoted by a national foundation and a coalition of regional groups that work together to advance the engineering profession.

The Greater Phoenix Area group draws award nominations from almost 40 local chapters of various professional engineering societies, an equal number of engineering and construction companies, and several public agencies and educational institutions.

The E-Week Awards Reception will be Feb. 18 at the Sheraton Downtown Phoenix Hotel.

Montgomery is being recognized for numerous achievements throughout four decades as a teacher, researcher, textbook author and industry consultant.

He has earned several of the most prestigious national and international professional awards in his specialty of engineering statistics. He is also an ASU Regents’ Professor, the highest designation that is bestowed on faculty at Arizona’s state universities.

The 10 textbooks he has written or co-written and teaching methods he has developed are used by universities and companies throughout the world.

Montgomery has been an adviser to more than 50 engineering Ph.D. students, many of whom now teach at leading universities and have substantial roles in industry.

His research has led to numerous advances in industrial engineering processes and improvements in product design.

His research journal editing “has helped shape the current trends in engineering statistics research,” says Ronald Askin, director of the School of Computing, Informatics and Decision Systems Engineering.

Montgomery has had a “tremendous impact on the many students he taught, the thought processes of other researchers, the practice of engineering, and our society at large,” Askin says.

Rajan is being honored for the positive impacts of his teaching at ASU over the past 25 years.

He teaches some of the tougher courses, yet students have cited his classes as among the most beneficial in shaping their future success in engineering, says Paul Westerhoff, director of the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment.

“He consistently receives among the highest student evaluations for his undergraduate and graduate classes, and has long been recognized by colleagues in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering as an outstanding teacher,” Westerhoff says.

For many years, Rajan led the civil and environmental engineering curriculum committee, and now chairs the school’s graduate programs chair. In these roles “he has helped shape a curriculum that maximizes the potential for our students to succeed in their careers,” Westerhoff says.

Rajan is the author of a popular textbook on structural analysis and design. He has mentored 45 masters and doctoral degree students, many of whom are now employed as educators, owners of engineering consulting firms and professional engineers in various industries.

Dunkin has maintained a perfect grade point average during three years at ASU, but also excelled in assisting researchers, completing internships in engineering-related industries and contributing to extracurricular student and community organizations.

Dunkin is “dedicated to learning beyond the walls of the classroom,” says Brooke Mayer, a teacher in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment. 

His work has contributed to several collaborative engineering journal articles on advanced water quality analyses being written by ASU researchers. Through internships and community efforts, he has employed his skills in engineering projects in Mexico, Nicaragua and the Middle East.

He played a role in important studies of the quality of drinking water in the Phoenix area.

His academic performance, research contributions and community service have helped earn him educational support from several university and industry scholarship programs.

Dunkin also is in the honors student program through ASU’s Barrett, The Honors College. He plans to pursue a graduate degree.

Mayer says Dunkin already has built a “strong foundation for establishing himself as a successful professional engineer, and using his education to help communities in need.”

For more information on National Engineers Week and the Greater Phoenix-Area Engineers Week activities, see www.eweek.org and www.eweek-phx.org .