Fluor Awards Recognize Research, Teaching, and Service Excellence

The Fluor awards program offers the opportunity to recognize exceptional faculty, staff and graduate students within the College of Technology and to the University and business communities. Through the generosity of Fluor Corporation, each recipient receives a $1,000 honorarium. The College of Technology celebrated the distinguished accomplishments of five faculty and staff members on Wednesday, May 1.

Dr. JungKun Park

Dr. JungKun Park received the Fluor Award for Faculty Research Excellence, which recognizes a tenured or tenure-track faculty member for his or her scholarly contributions. Dr. Park joined the Department of Human Development and Consumer Sciences in 2010 from Purdue University, where he was assistant professor in E-commerce in the Department of Consumer Sciences and Retailing.

A noted scholar in the many fascinating and trending areas of online retailing, and information communication technologies that affect consumers and organizations, his work is shaping global best practices as demonstrated by an impressive list of publications and conference presentations. Dr. Park has produced more than 50 scholarly research articles, abstracts, and presentations since 2010. Within the last 2 years, he has published 11 articles in nine different scholarly journals such as the Journal of Business Research.

With a focus on China, Korea, Mexico, as well as the US, he works with massive data bases to analyze consumer behavior trends with implications for social media success in a variety of consumer product areas.

Dr. Mequanint Moges

The Fluor Award for Faculty Teaching Excellence Non-Tenure/Non-Tenure-Track was presented to Dr. Mequanint Moges.

Dr. Moges joined the Engineering Technology Department in 2005 as Instructional Assistant Professor, and has since become Instructional Associate Professor and Undergraduate Program Coordinator. Prior to joining the College, he served as a research and teaching assistant in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering at Stony Brook University, New York, where he earned his Ph.D. in Computer Communications & Networking.

Dr. Moges is active in several Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) grants and was co-primary investigator (PI) on a Faculty Development Program Initiative (FDIP) and National Science Foundation (NSF) grants, and has successfully established orientation and teaching methodologies for teaching assistants and part-time faculty. He has taught more than 15 different courses and has always earned excellent to exemplary student evaluations. Several projects have received national and university awards. In fact, ILOOP is a smart endoscope that uses sensors to make endoscopy safer and more effective. Its design earned the "Most Creative" award at the ASEE-SME Design and Manufacturing Competition last year. In addition, his students participated at the Cornell Cup USA and earned distinguished recognition from Intel.

Bouchra Bakach

The Staff Excellence award was presented to Bouchra Bakach, Instructional Designer for the College of Technology.

Bakach earned her Master's degree in Human Resources Development from the College of Technology. In addition, she earned a Master's in Germanic Linguistics and Teaching German as a Foreign Language from Bielefeld University, Bielefeld, Germany. She joined the College of Technology in 2010.

Bakach implemented a challenging new Blackboard version, "Blackboard Learn," working one-on-one with numerous faculty and staff members, and building templates to make the process for setting up a class in Blackboard easier, conducting 67 training sessions for faculty and staff to support and assist them with the integration and rollout of the system.

She serves as a valuable mentor for instructional assistants in development of the strong software design skills required for creating online and hybrid courses. In addition, she initiated co-locating the instructional assistants to allow peer learning and competitive group dynamics.

She has participated in QEP projects to assist faculty in designing instructional activities and serves on the Faculty Development and Instructional Support (FDIS) committee, which is designing an educative webpage to serve as a major resource portal for the UH system.

Dr. Rupa Iyer

Dr. Rupa Iyer was presented the Fluor Award for Service Excellence. She is an Associate Professor in the Engineering Technology department and founder of the Biotechnology Program in 2006, which is one of the fastest growing programs in the college. Enrollment has increased from fewer than 10 to 230 students within 4 years. She is also the Director of the Center for Life Sciences Technology. Dr. Iyer earned her Ph.D. in Mycology from Michigan State University and joined the college with extensive academic experience in biology and biotechnology.

She founded the International Student Pharmaceutical Chapter at UH and mentored students toward advancing to national competitions. Iyer aggressively promotes the college to international collaborations, directed projects that support workforce development, outreach, and training in biotechnology.

She is an active career day speaker and science fair judge, representing the college and the university to promote the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) career and has initiated summer high school camps, and teacher workshops.

Iyer donates her time and effort to support local and global charities like the Indo American Charity Foundation and Save a Mother Charity Foundation; and participates in engineering and science associations such as the Rice Alliance for Life Science Technology, and the American Society for Engineering Education.

Lindsey Ligon

The Fluor Award for Graduate Student Excellence recognizes contributions of College of Technology graduate students in either teaching or research. Lindsey Ligon, graduate assistant in the HDCS Department received the award.

Ligon is in the final stages of earning her M.S. in Human Resource Development in the College of Technology. Working with Dr. Shirley Ezell to improve the internship class experience, her responsibility included maintaining their records and securing internship sites, which is a role that requires exceptional communication skills and developing strong relationships with sponsors.

She helped students with their personal and professional development by training and mentoring other graduate assistants. Although her graduate degree is in Human Resource Development, Lindsey has stretched beyond that to contribute to the success of the Retailing and Consumer Science program. She assisted with the launch of the Global Retailing graduate program, organizing the Target Case Competition, which resulted in the company's hiring of four students for their executive team lead program. As a coordinator for the very active Retailing Advisory Board, her preparation was instrumental in helping the department develop solid relationships with industry professionals.

Ligon's work demonstrates her excellence as a role model who willingly offers her time and talent to making our college and UH better—training and mentoring other graduate assistants.