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Drexel Engineering Student Koerner Awards Candidates

March 25, 2014

Drexel alumnus, 2006 Engineering Leader of the Year and emeritus faculty member of the civil, architectural and environmental engineering department, Dr. Robert M. Koerner, ‘56 ‘63 and spouse Paula W. Koerner have donated a total of $50,000 to the College of Engineering to help support Drexel Engineering graduate students from their fund named, “The Koerner Family Awards for Graduate Students in the College of Engineering.” The fund will benefit graduate students Chris Barr, Ben Cohen, Jefferson A. Cuadra, Caitlin Dillard, Douglas Goetz, Cole Smith, Mark Winter, and James Worcester. The students represent each engineering department and were selected by Dr. Joseph Hughes, dean of the College of Engineering.

The graduate students benefiting from the award had to fulfill the following requirements: Successful completion of the respective departmental candidacy examination toward a Ph.D.; proof of U.S. citizenship; submission of a resume and of a written summary of the research undertaken at the end of the academic year. Drexel congratulates the following students on receiving the Koerner Award:

Cole Smith:

Is the first graduate student to work for Dr. Steven May in the Materials Science and Engineering department at Drexel University. It is his fourth year working on complex oxide thin films for electronic device applications, and he is hoping to graduate within the next year. The Koerner award has allowed him a bit of financial freedom this year, and he’s thinking of upgrading some of his computational hardware in order to speed up some code he wrote that simulates measurements of atomic structures.

Caitlin Dillard ‘17:

Is a second year Ph.D. candidate in chemical engineering (anticipated graduation: 2017). Her research is in the field of organic solar cell materials, more specifically, materials characterization of semiconducting polymer blends and block copolymers. With added motivation of the Koerner award, she will continue pursuing her work in the lab as well as her work in mentoring, volunteering, and tutoring.

Mark Winter ‘14:

Is beginning his fourth year as a Ph.D. student in electrical and computer engineering, studying with Dr. Andrew Cohen. He expects to graduate in summer of 2014. His research focuses on incorporating domain specific knowledge to improve pattern recognition and image processing algorithms for analysis of biological image sequences. This award will help him in the purchase of computational hardware to assist in this work.

Jefferson A Cuadra 15:

Is a Ph.D. candidate at the Theoretical and Applied Mechanics Group in the Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics Department. His current research project pertains to the integration of fatigue and fracture analysis with data-driven computational modeling of next generation materials such as newly developed composites and metallic alloys, which are used in aerospace and power generation applications. The Koerner Family Award will support his last year research testing plans and will provide the opportunity to attend and present his research work at various technical conferences.

Ben Cohen ‘10:

Is originally from Havertown, Pennsylvania, and graduated from Drexel in 2010 with a BS/MS in Civil Engineering, concentration in structural. Upon graduation, he worked for Boeing Commercial Airplanes before he was offered the opportunity to return to Drexel to pursue a PhD in Civil Engineering. He is currently a research assistance examining bridge preservation technique. His research interests are: Asset management of Infrastructure; Complex, Large-scale, Interconnected, Open, Sociotechnical (CLIOS) Systems; and Bridge Performance. Dr. A. Emin Aktan and Dr. Sabrina Spatari advise him in his research.

Douglas Goetz ‘16:

Is a third year Ph.D. candidate in Environmental Engineering and expects to graduate in 2016. His research focuses on the air quality impacts of Marcellus shale natural gas extraction and development. The Koerner Family Award will allow him to travel to conferences and other events that are not already covered by research assistantship.

James Worcester ‘14:

Is a student in the Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics Department, expecting to graduate in 2014. His research is in distributed robotics, focusing on the problem of cooperative assembly. The Koerner award will help him complete his research here at Drexel and pursue a career in the robotics industry.

Chris Barr ‘15

Is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Materials Science and Engineering department at Drexel University advised by Dr. Mitra Taheri with an estimated graduation in June 2015. His research is focused on understanding the response of stainless steel and Ni-based alloys under extreme environments of high temperature neutron and ion irradiation. The Koerner Family Award will provide assistance for the continued pursuit of his academic and research goals at Drexel.

With the Koerner Family’s contribution, Drexel Engineering has agreed to also contribute another $10,000 to support this effort from the dean’s fund.