Lu, Gollob, Picard win ISR annual awards

Three annual awards were given at ISR’s 2018 Welcome Back Reception and Awards Ceremony on August 29, 2018. Congratulations to the winners!

George Harhalakis Outstanding Systems Engineering Graduate Student Award: Jiangheng Lu

Jiangheng Lu has been a student in Alireza Khaligh’s research group since 2015, and Dr. Khaligh nominated him for the award.

Jiangheng’s research spans several areas of power engineering and energy systems including modeling, simulation, design, and development of power electronics interfaces for electric vehicles (EVs) and renewable energy systems. His research has led to eight journal papers (six published and two under review) and four conference papers, in addition to a pending U.S. patent. He is currently working on the design, development and verification of a 6.6kW integrated onboard charger using real vehicle specifications from General Motors.

Briefly, here are three of Jiangheng’s research accomplishments. First, he designed two prototypes for high step-down DC/DC converters to power auxiliary loads in electric vehicles: a full bridge DC/DC LLC and a full bridge phase-shift DC/DC converter, which steps down a 400 volt high-voltage battery to 12 volts.

Second, he worked on a challenging NSF project to integrate onboard chargers and auxiliary power modules for electric vehicles. This required deep knowledge not only of power electronic circuits, but also magnetics and control systems. Jiangheng designed and developed a dual output 3.3 kiloWatt onboard charger. With this technology, Khaligh’s group participated in the Department of Energy’s 2017 Allegheny Region Cleantech University Prize Collegiate Competition, and received the 3rd overall place.

Third, in collaboration with another graduate student, Jiangheng proposed an innovative approach to control the power flow and minimize circulating power in a proposed dual output integrated charger. Based on this concept, Khaligh’s group received the University of Maryland’s 2018 Physical Sciences and Overall Top Invention of the Year Award.

Also, Jiangheng was the entrepreneurial lead in a recent NSF i-Corp project, in which he made group presentations and interviewed over 100 individuals and conducted customer discovery and market analyses for the Khaligh group’s technology.

ISR Outstanding Systems Engineering Undergraduate Student Award: Samuel Gollob

Samuel is a senior in the Mechanical Engineering Department and is minoring in Computer Science. He is a College Park Honors Scholar who is also a Banneker/Key Scholarship recipient and a member of the RISE program.

Samuel was nominated for the award by Sarah Bergbreiter.

Dr. Bergbreiter mentions that Samuel has impressed her “with his initiative, diligence, persistence, and willingness to dive in and learn new things.”

Samuel recently had his first conference paper—as first author—accepted to the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) 2018 after only one summer’s worth of work. He travelled to Brisbane, Australia to present his work. The paper is part of the large AFOSR Nature Inspired Flight Technologies and Ideas (NIFTI) project. ISR faculty on the project include Drs. Bergbreiter, Pamela Abshire, Timothy Horiuchi, Nuno Martins, and Miao Yu.

Samuel designed sensors that take size, weight, power, and computational complexity into account—a significant systems engineering challenge. He repeatedly tried new fabrication approaches and amended his designs based on what was successful. He also took the initiative to contact professors who run the instructional wind tunnel on campus to test these sensors. Dr. Bergbreiter was “beyond impressed with his initiative and ability to follow through on details that other students—even graduate students—would ignore.”

Recently Samuel worked on actuator and general mechanical designs in the Nanoscribe 2-photon photolithography system. He has learned to use this equipment, generated new designs, and tested them. This summer, he was a research intern at MIT, developing a novel platform for 3D tissue culture inspired by soft robotics.


Susan Frazier Outstanding Systems Engineering Staff Award: Ania Picard

Ania Picard is the Assistant Director of Administrative Affairs for the Maryland Robotics Center.

Miao Yu writes: “I have known Ania for almost 20 years, since early years when she worked as a graduate office coordinator in the ME department. Ania’s quality of work, dedication, accessibility and responsiveness is impressive, and she has done tremendous work with amazing quality and dedication to provide the highest level of support to the robotics center. I can’t be more grateful for her sense of responsibility, accessibility, and responsiveness.”

Ania not only does high-quality work on logistics, but actively contributes ideas. She has recruited students and speakers to support a student seminar series in robotics. She has supervised graduate assistants, has collected information on the robotics job market and robotics research frontiers, updated the center website, and created center newsletters. She even came up with the idea of creating customized “thank you” cards for visitors that promote robotics center research projects. Providing small gifts like this convey an enormous level of appreciation and continue to promote the MRC when visitors and speakers to campus return home.

Ania has made significant contributions to the center’s education programs. She has been the center’s primary point of contact to interface with the students in the Robotics Masters of Engineering program. She has shown her great passion to help the students in this program be successful, even as the population has gone from a handful to more than 100 students. Ania even participated in an Arduino workshop and read up on robotics topics to serve as a better advisor to students.

Robotics student Kanishka Ganguly wrote: “Ania Picard was my first point of contact for any course-related inquiries I may have had. She was kind, caring and always looking out for the well-being of her students, and made us feel at home. As an international student in a new country, it was a warm welcome indeed. She was always available to us students and was more than happy to help with our problems.”

Sarah Bergbreiter writes: “Because Ania is such a terrific advocate for the students, this will be reflected in the long-term reputation of the robotics center. I cannot adequately convey how much I appreciated and was impressed by her gestures. Ania is an excellent choice for this award. I do not say this lightly; I could not have done my job without her!”

Miao Yu says, “Ania is the “dream” staff member that any center director would feel fortunate to have. Her presence has certainly contributed to the development of good reputation for the Institute.”

Published August 30, 2018