Texas Engineering alumni lead industries, launch companies and help develop solutions that improve lives around the world. We’re proud to share just a few of their accomplishments from the past year.


Ali H. Dogru (Ph.D. PE 1974) was elected to the National Academy of Engineering for his development of high-performance computing in hydrocarbon reservoir simulation. Dogru is a chief technologist and fellow in computational modeling technology for Saudi Aramco and a visiting scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Noboru Kikuchi (M.S. ME 1975; Ph.D. ME 1977) was elected to the National Academy of Engineering for his contributions to theory and methods of computer-aided engineering and leadership in their applications in the automotive industry worldwide. Kikuchi is president and chief operating officer of Toyota Central Research and Development Labs in Nagoya, Japan, and emeritus professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Rex W. Tillerson (B.S. CE 1975) was confirmed as the 69th U.S. Secretary of State. In this cabinet position, Tillerson serves as the top foreign policy advisor to President Donald Trump and the leader of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Foreign Service. Tillerson was previously chief executive officer and chairman of ExxonMobil Corp.

Charles Mallini (B.S. ASE 1977; M.S. ASE 1987; M.S. ME 1987) led a NASA research team in a study of the sun during the 2017 total solar eclipse, sending two research jets into the stratosphere to capture high-resolution photos that allow scientists to observe the sun’s atmosphere. Mallini is branch chief of NASA’s WB-57F Program.

Randall W. Poston (B.S. CE 1978; M.S. CE 1980; Ph.D. CE 1984) was elected to the National Academy of Engineering for his development of diagnostic and repair technologies for concrete structures and leadership in concrete building code development. Poston is senior principal at Pivot Engineers.


Duy-Loan Le (B.S. ECE 1982) was inducted into the Asian Hall of Fame, which was founded in 2004 to honor achievement, inspire the next generation and build the national community of Asian Pacific Americans. Le retired in 2015 as the first and only woman elected senior fellow at Texas Instruments Inc., closing out her distinguished 33-year career at the semiconductor company.

Deb A. Niemeier (B.S. CE 1982) was elected to the National Academy of Engineering for developing groundbreaking tools to characterize the impact of transportation emissions on air quality and environmental justice. Niemeier is a professor at the University of California, Davis.

John A. Brooks (B.S. P E 1984) was appointed president and chief executive officer of Penn Virginia Corporation, an independent oil and gas company. Brooks has more than 33 years of energy industry experience and 24 years of management experience, and he has been with Penn Virginia for over 15 years.

Kevin Hansel (B.S. ECE 1986) was appointed chief information officer of SailPoint Technologies Inc., a leader in identity governance. Hansel will oversee the company’s IT organization and drive IT strategy and innovation while scaling the company’s information system capabilities in support of SailPoint’s continued expansion.

Stephanie Watts Butler (M.S. ChE 1989; Ph.D. ChE 1991) received the Society of Women Engineers Achievement Award for her outstanding technical contributions throughout her over 20 years in the engineering profession. Butler is a technology innovation architect at Texas Instruments and currently holds 16 U.S. patents.

Steve E. Watkins (Ph.D. ECE 1989) became the president-elect of IEEE-Eta Kappa Nu, the honor society of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. In 2018, he will lead the honor organization as president and will chair the board of governors. Watkins is a professor at Missouri University of Science and Technology.


Sergio Manuel Alcocer (Ph.D. CE 1991) was elected to the National Academy of Engineering for his improvements to the seismic safety of buildings in developing countries through design standards and government policies. Alcocer is a research professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico and the former undersecretary for North America in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico.

Andrew Dunn (Ph.D. BME 1997) received the 2017 Edith and Peter O’Donnell Award in Engineering from The Academy of Medicine, Engineering & Science of Texas. He was also elected a fellow of the Biomedical Engineering Society. Dunn is a professor of biomedical engineering in the Cockrell School of Engineering and director of the Center for Emerging Imaging Technologies at The University of Texas at Austin.

Juergen Hahn (M.S. ChE 1998; Ph.D. ChE 2002) developed an algorithm that accurately predicts whether a child is on the Autism spectrum disorder. The algorithm, developed by Hahn and his fellow researchers at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, is the first physiological test for autism and opens the door to earlier diagnoses and potential future development of therapeutics.


Jasson Casey (B.S. ECE 2001) became senior vice president of engineering and chief technology officer at SecurityScorecard, a leader in security ratings. An 18-year veteran in the telecommunications, computer networking and security industries, Casey most recently ran the engineering department for IronNet Cybersecurity.

Cristal Glangchai (B.S. M E 2001; B.A. Plan II Honors 2001; M.S. BME 2005; Ph.D. BME 2008) became director of the newly opened Blackstone Launchpad at The University of Texas at Austin. This interdisciplinary, cross-campus effort will introduce entrepreneurship as a viable career path for UT Austin students.

Muhammad M. Hussain (M.S. ECE 2004; Ph.D. ECE 2005) has been elected a fellow of the American Physical Society in recognition of his work in physics. Hussain currently serves as an associate professor at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Thuwal, Saudi Arabia, and is principal investigator of its Integrated Nanotechnology Lab.

Tania Betancourt (M.S. BME 2005; Ph.D. BME 2007) was promoted to associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Texas State University.


Laura Fisher (B.S. ME 2010) received the Manufacturing Institute’s Emerging Leader STEP Ahead Award, which recognizes exceptional female leaders in manufacturing for their advocacy, mentorship, engagement and leadership in the industry. Fisher is a reliability engineer at BASF in Freeport, Texas, where she leverages her technical expertise and leadership skills to enhance efficiency and safety.

Sowmiya Chocka Narayanan (M.S. ECE 2010) co-founded the fashion shopping app Lily and serves as its chief technical officer. Narayanan spent two years building the app and engaged in 10,000 hours of interviews with women to develop the app’s “Perception and Empathy Engine,” which allows Lily to understand the shopper’s emotions and body perceptions before selecting the perfect clothes. Lily won a 2017 SXSW Accelerator Award.

Ankur Singh (Ph.D. BME 2010), an assistant professor in the Sibly School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and the Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering at Cornell University, received the 2017 Young Investigator Award from the Society for Biomaterials. Singh also received a U.S. Department of Defense Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program Career Development Award.

Noble Hatten (B.S. ASE 2011; M.S. ASE 2012; Ph.D. ASE 2016) was named director of the Texas Spacecraft Laboratory in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin, a lab where undergraduate and graduate students across disciplines design and build small, cost-effective satellites to help advance the space industry. Hatten will be focused on recruiting new students to work on a variety of hands-on satellite missions.

Payam Banazadeh (B.S. ASE 2012) was named one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in the Enterprise Technology category for his work at Capella Space, the first company to combine Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) with small, inexpensive satellites called CubeSats in an effort to launch the United States’ first commercial SAR satellite into space. Capella Space was also named on Inc’s Top 25 Disruptive Companies.

William Liechty (Ph.D. ChE 2013) received the American Institute of Chemical Engineers 35 Under 35 Award, which recognizes outstanding young institute members who have made significant contributions to the organization and the chemical engineering profession. Liechty is an associate research scientist in the food, pharmaceutical and medical business at Dow Chemical Co.

Menzer Pehlivan (Ph.D. CE 2013), was named one of the American Society of Civil Engineers’ (ASCE) 2016 New Faces of Engineering and appeared in the ASCE-produced film “Dream Big: Engineering Our World.” The first IMAX film to answer the call of the STEM initiative, “Dream Big” aims to inspire kids of all backgrounds to become the innovators who will improve lives around the world in the 21st century and beyond.

Rebekah Scheuerle (B.S. ChE 2013) received the American Institute of Chemical Engineers 35 Under 35 Award, which recognizes outstanding young institute members who have made significant contributions to the organization and the chemical engineering profession. Scheuerle, who is pursuing her Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge, is a board member and researcher at JustMilk, a nonprofit dedicated to improving maternal and infant health through top quality, user-informed medical devices.

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