Accolades: Faculty, Students Earn Honors, Scholarships

Accolades is an occasional News Center feature that highlights recent accomplishments of UT Dallas faculty and students. To submit items for consideration, contact your school’s communication manager.

Mechanical Engineer Garners Best Paper Award

Dr. Jie Zhang

Dr. Jie Zhang

Dr. Jie Zhang, assistant professor of mechanical engineering in the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science, received a best paper award at the 2017 IEEE Power & Energy Society General Meeting, held last month in Chicago.

Zhang attended the conference with graduate student Cong Feng, the lead author of “Short-term Global Horizontal Irradiance Forecasting Based on Sky Imaging and Pattern Recognition,” which was chosen in the category for Power System Planning, Operation, and Electricity Markets. Research associate Mingjian Cui and mechanical engineering senior Meredith Lee were also co-authors of the paper, which concerned improving short-term solar power forecasting for power system operations.

Zhang directs the Design and Optimization of Energy Systems (DOES) Laboratory, which focuses on renewable energy, energy management, power systems, big data analytics and complex engineered systems.

Jennifer OiNeill

Jennifer O'Neill

Two Students Clinch Top Writing Awards

Two graduate students won first-place awards from the Texas Association of Creative Writing Teachers and have been invited to read at the association’s annual meeting in September in San Antonio.

Jennifer O’Neill, who is pursuing a master’s degree in studies in literature, took first place in the Graduate Student Fiction category. O’Neill studied under Dr. Clay Reynolds, professor of arts and humanities and director of the creative writing program at UT Dallas.

O’Neill’s winning story, “Flowers and Gold,” was composed in Reynolds’ fiction writing workshop last fall.

Toni Muñoz-Hunt MA’15 won in the Graduate Student Creative Nonfiction category. Muñoz-Hunt wrote her award-winning essay, “Border Sisters,” in a workshop led by Dr. Betty Wiesepape, clinical associate professor in arts and humanities.

Toni Muoz-Hunt MA15

Toni Muñoz-Hunt MA’15

She is pursuing a PhD in aesthetic studies.

“Jennifer and Toni are representative of the very best of our students, but they are by no means unique. They exemplify the levels of excellence that are possible when academic knowledge is supported by caring mentoring and encouragement,” Reynolds said. “Dr. Wiesepape and I are both very proud of these awards. They represent the kind of results we hope to see in every student.” 

Social Scientist to Receive Kondratieff Medal

The International N.D. Kondratieff Foundation will award Dr. Brian J.L. Berry, Lloyd Viel Berkner Regental Professor, with a Kondratieff Medal on Tuesday, Sept. 26, in Moscow.

The award recognizes Berry’s commitment to building quantitative social science and for his investigations of long-term economic and political cycles, or Kondratieff Waves, in market societies.

Dr. Brian J.L. Berry

Dr. Brian J.L. Berry

The award is named in honor of Nikolai Kondratieff, a Russian economist who was a proponent of free market enterprises in the Soviet Union. Kondratieff concluded that economic development in capitalist nations followed cycles of 50 to 60 years and that, contrary to Marxist thought, they were not doomed to imminent collapse but could regenerate.

Berry, former dean of the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences, has focused on hypotheses of Kondratieff Waves since he joined UT Dallas in 1986. Before that, he was committed to creating a new spatial science, one manifestation of which is geospatial information sciences.

Berry will make an acceptance speech, “Patterns in Space, Rhythms in Time,” over the internet that will be streamed at the Moscow event.

Students Earn Risk Management Scholarships 

Truong Nguyen and Alina Moraru, actuarial science majors in the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, recently received $5,000 scholarships from the Spencer Educational Foundation.

Nguyen and Moraru are members of the UT Dallas chapter of Gamma Iota Sigma, an international business fraternity for students of insurance, risk management and actuarial science,

Debra Richardson, a member of the finance and managerial economics faculty at the Naveen Jindal School of Management and director of the Risk Management and Insurance Concentration, formed the UT Dallas Gamma Iota Sigma chapter in 2016 to promote, encourage and sustain student interest in insurance, risk management and actuarial science as professions. She encouraged Nguyen and Moraru, who take cross-disciplinary classes at the Jindal School, to apply for the scholarships.

“I want to help young people understand the significant opportunities available in this industry,” Richardson said. “With baby boomers retiring in droves and positions becoming available through natural attrition, the industry understands that it needs to invest in its own future.”

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].