By Nat Levy

It was another big year in 2023 at the Cockrell School of Engineering. New partnerships, major accolades and exciting research breakthroughs were part of a litany of highlights for our Texas Engineers.

The new Gary L. Thomas Energy Engineering Building fosters even more multidisciplinary collaboration across Texas Engineering and further establishes the school as a world leader in energy education and research.

Amazon and UT Austin established a new Science Hub that will further understanding of video streaming, search and information retrieval and robotics.

Meet the Dean

Roger Bonnecaze became the dean of the Cockrell School after serving for nearly a year as the interim dean. He’s an internationally recognized expert in rheology and modeling and simulation for nanomanufacturing who has served as a faculty member at The University of Texas at Austin for nearly 30 years.

2023 Leadership Changes

Tyrone Porter portrait

Tyrone Porter, an accomplished imaging scientist, became the newest chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering.

Jamie Warner, who joined the Walker Department of Mechanical Engineering from Oxford University in January 2020 to lead the new Electron Microscopy Facility, took over as the new director of Texas Materials Institute.

Woodrow W. Winchester, III, an expert in engineering professional development and continuing education, was selected to lead Texas Engineering Executive Education.

Lydia Contreras

Chemical engineering professor Lydia Contreras was named UT Austin’s new vice provost for faculty diversity, equity and inclusivity.

Civil engineering professor and construction engineering expert Fernanda Leite will be the next associate dean for research at the Cockrell School, succeeding John Ekerdt.

Matthew Balhoff, director of the Center for Subsurface Energy and the Environment, has been named the next chair of the Hildebrand Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering.

Emily Doran became the new chief development officer after serving as senior director of principal gifts for the Cockrell School.

NBC, CBS and others turned to Ofodike Ezekoye to explain safety issues with lithium-ion batteries following a spate of fires.

Read more about Ezekoye’s work, and other Texas Engineers’ research on batteries, in our cover story.

Hundreds of K-8th Grade students took over the UT Austin campus for Girl Day.

Texas Engineers were part of a massive team that laid out the case for geothermal as the next big source of clean energy in Texas.

Faculty members piled up the awards and honors for the many achievements:

The first class of Linford Scholars came to the Forty Acres. The program will provide need-based scholarship support for 100 high-potential students from low- and middle-income families per year.

The student-led Texas Rocket Engineering Lab got a boost from Lockheed Martin in its years-long quest to become the first student-led university team to launch a single-stage, bipropellant rocket to the edge of space.

For the first time, Texas Engineers flipped their tassels at the Moody Center, the site of the 2023 Cockrell School Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony. A few highlights:

At the event, the Electrochemistry Society created a new award in his name, which was later won by his long-time colleague Arumugam Manthiram.

The new NSF-funded Center for Diversity and Equity and Inclusion launched and awarded its first round of DEI Seed Grants for staff and student-led projects.

Maanas Gupta, a third-year biomedical engineering student was named a Goldwater Scholar, the preeminent award for undergraduate students who conduct research in the natural sciences, mathematics or engineering.