Professors Earn Top Honors as Titans of Tech

  • Dr. Gil Lee, his wife, Dr. Jung Lee, a senior lecturer at UT Dallas, and Dr. Ray Baughman attended the Tech Titans Awards Gala. Gil Lee took home the Community Hero Award, while Baughman, the Robert A. Welch Distinguished Chair in Chemistry, received the Tech Titans Technology Inventors Award.

UT Dallas professors Drs. Ray Baughman and Gil Lee were recently honored for their respective contributions to innovation and the community at the 15th Anniversary Tech Titans Awards Gala

Baughman, the Robert A. Welch Distinguished Chair in Chemistry and director of the Alan G. MacDiarmid NanoTech Institute, received the Tech Titans Technology Inventors Award, which recognizes pioneering accomplishments and breakthrough ideas. 

“Inventions require a team — ideas come from many people and we work together to transform those ideas into new products,” he said. “I want to thank UT Dallas for providing an environment that enables, encourages scientists to be creative in terms of new ideas.” 

Baughman and his University research group invented methods for fabricating materials from carbon nanotubes, including transparent, highly conducting carbon nanotube sheets that are lighter than air and pound for pound stronger than steel. UT Dallas recently licensed the patented process to Lintec of America. 

Inventions require a team — ideas come from many people and we work together to transform those ideas into new products. I want to thank UT Dallas for providing an environment that enables, encourages scientists to be creative in terms of new ideas.

Dr. Ray Baughman,
recipient of the Tech Titans Technology Inventors Award

His group also developed processes for twisting the sheets into yarns that can be used for diverse applications, including artificial muscles that are 100 times stronger than natural muscles, and clothing that harvests and stores energy. In addition, he and his team discovered a way to convert ordinary fishing line and sewing thread into powerful artificial muscles. 

Most recently, Baughman’s group wrapped carbon nanotube sheets around rubber cores to construct stretchy, electrically conducting fibers that might one day be used for elastic electronic circuits, robots and exoskeletons having great reach, and super-stretchy charger cords for electronic devices. 

Lee, professor of electrical engineering in the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science, received the Community Hero Award, which honors a technology company employee for outstanding achievements in community service to the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Lee is president and founder of IntelliChoice Inc., a nonprofit organization that teaches mathematics skills to underprivileged North Texas children in kindergarten through 12th grade who lack educational opportunities and resources. IntelliChoice volunteers consist primarily of UT Dallas professors and students. 

“We started with one center in 2005 and now we have six centers. Two more are on the way,” Lee said. “The key to success with this program is in our tremendous volunteers — professors, engineers, lawyers, and college and high school students — we have 145 volunteers. This award goes to all the volunteers who make our program possible.” 

At UT Dallas, Lee teaches classes and lab courses regarding electronic devices and conducts research concerning device fabrication and material growth, among other areas. At IntelliChoice, he teaches participants; recruits and supports volunteers; coordinates logistics of serving multiple learning center locations throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area; establishes new centers; and raises funds for student scholarships. 

In 2014, IntelliChoice awarded $20,000 in scholarships to 40 children throughout the Dallas area. 

Dr. Orlando Auciello, professor of materials science and engineering and holder of the the Distinguished Chair in Engineering at UT Dallas, was also nominated for the Technology Inventors Award.  

Dr. Mario Rotea, who holds the Erik Jonsson Chair, and Dr. Bernine Khan, assistant dean in the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, received nominations in the Tech Titans of the Future — University Level category for their work in encouraging students to choose engineering- and technology-related career paths. 

UT Dallas alumnus Steven Foland BS’08, MS’10, PhD’13 was also nominated for the Community Hero Award. Foland, a senior lecturer in bioengineering at the Jonsson School, is founder of The Shoulders of Giants, a Dallas-based nonprofit dedicated to providing opportunities for technical professionals and science enthusiasts to collaborate on educational efforts, humanitarian projects and other philanthropic goals. 

Other Jonsson School alumni nominated for awards included John Olajide BS’04, who is founder of Axxess, a home health technology company rooted in consulting and software development. The company was nominated for the Emerging Company Innovation Award. Naveen Jindal School of Management graduate Roopa Amin BA’85 was nominated for the Technology Adapter Award for his work at the Dr Pepper Snapple Group. 

Dr. David E. Daniel, with UT Dallas Deans Hasan Pirkul (left) and Mark Spong (right), was inducted into the Hall of Fame at the gala.Former UTD President Joins Tech Titans Hall of Fame

Former UT Dallas President Dr. David E. Daniel joined the ranks of North Texas’ biggest names in the tech industry as he was inducted into the Tech Titans Hall of Fame. 

The Hall of Fame recognizes outstanding leadership in assisting, advancing and accelerating the performance of the technology industry or adoption of technology in North Texas for more than a decade.

“To me, selecting a university representative validates the relationship between great universities and great tech communities and the synergies that take place,” Daniel said. “Great research universities attract top talent, cultivate genius and connect communities, but unless that connection takes place, we don’t see the innovation.”

Daniel became deputy chancellor and chief operating officer of the UT System earlier this summer. Daniel is the second-highest ranking administrator in the UT System, and assists in the formulation and implementation of the UT System’s major goals. He is also responsible for personnel and daily functioning of the UT System Administration. 

 Zachary Oldham, with his father, Oliver (right), and Dr. Mario Rotea (left) of UT Dallas, earned the Tech Titans' $5,000 Florence Shapiro STEM scholarship. Student Wins Scholarship

UT Dallas freshman Zachary Oldham received the Tech Titans’ $5,000 Florence Shapiro STEM Scholarship. Oldham, a graduate of Plano Senior High School, is studying engineering.

Oldham, who is an Eagle Scout and played percussion in his high school band, graduated with a 3.9 grade-point average and was an active member of the National Honor Society. He also was among 30 students named in the “Who’s Who at Plano High.”

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

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