Outstanding graduate students honored for research, teaching

Sana Hosseini, Zan Zhu and Andrew Ward
From left: Sana Hosseini, Zan Zhu and Andrew Ward

Competition was fierce for VCU Engineering’s Outstanding Graduate Research award this year, with 16 nominees from all five of the college’s departments. Two winners were selected.

Four graduate students were nominated for the Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award, with one winner.

All three winners will receive cash awards and their names will be inscribed on plaques outside the dean’s office.

Outstanding Graduate Research Assistant Award 

Sana Hosseini
Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering
Research: developmental side of respiratory drug delivery
Adviser: Laleh Golshahi, Ph.D.

Zan Zhu
Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering
Research: synthesis of novel functional materials and their applications in environmental aspects
Adviser: Wei-Ning Wang, Ph.D.

At a recent virtual ceremony held by Zoom teleconference, Barbara D. Boyan, Ph.D., the Alice T. and William H. Goodwin, Jr. Dean, College of Engineering, congratulated the student researchers. “These are two very important topics to investigate and the results of these studies will make a difference to human health and humankind,” Boyan said. “They show that VCU Engineering really is multidisciplinary.”

Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award 

Andrew Ward
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Ward helped to build the first server on Discord, the social group-chat platform, to design computer engineering labs for remote interaction, and developed processes for recording and livestreaming lectures. Boyan said the new tools would continue to be used when students return to campus. “That says something, that we developed something during COVID-19 that is going to go on and be something that Andrew will be known for,” she said.