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Professor, Five Alumni Elected to National Academy of Engineering

David Allen

David T. Allen, professor and Melvin H. Gertz Regents Chair in Chemical Engineering

The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) announced today that David T. Allen, professor in the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering at The University of Texas of Austin, along with five Cockrell School of Engineering alumni, have been elected to the prestigious academy.

Election to the academy is among the highest professional distinctions bestowed upon an engineer. Membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to engineering research and practice, including pioneering new and developing fields of technology and making major advancements in the engineering field and profession. In all, 84 new members and 22 foreign members joined the NAE in 2017.

“We are extremely proud of David, whose leadership on several influential air quality studies has led to new approaches to reducing emissions globally,” said Sharon L. Wood, dean of the Cockrell School and a member of the NAE. “In addition to his achievements in research, his work developing engineering educational programs through his innovative Engineer Your World curriculum has engaged thousands of high school students across the country. David truly exemplifies engineering leadership.”

Since 2013, nine UT Austin professors have been elected as new members to the NAE, and the university has 39 current and emeritus members, among the highest total membership of any U.S. institution.

In addition to Allen, five Cockrell School alumni have been elected to the academy this year: Sergio Manuel Alcocer, Ali H. Dogru, Noboru Kikuchi, Deb A. Niemeier and Randall W. Poston.

About the six new members representing the Cockrell School of Engineering:

David T. Allen is director of the Center for Energy and Environmental Resources in the Cockrell School of Engineering and holds the Melvin H. Gertz Regents Chair in Chemical Engineering. He was recognized by the NAE for contributions to improving air quality and for development in the education and practice of sustainable engineering. Allen served as chair of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Science Advisory Board from 2012 to 2015. He is a past recipient of the Lewis Award for Contributions to Chemical Engineering Education, the Texas Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award, the Lawrence Cecil Award and the National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award. He received a B.S. and M.S. in chemical engineering from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in chemical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology.

Sergio Manuel Alcocer (Ph.D. CE 1991) is a research professor in the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and the former undersecretary for North America in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico. He was recognized for improvements to the seismic safety of buildings in developing countries through improved design standards and government policies. In 2001, Alcocer received the National University Distinction for Young Academics in the area of Technological Innovation and Industrial Design. In 2014, he received the Award of Distinction by The Consortium for North American Higher Education Collaboration, and in 2015, he was named a Distinguished Engineering Graduate of the Cockrell School of Engineering. He received a B.S. in civil engineering from UNAM and a Ph.D. in civil engineering from the Cockrell School.

Ali H. Dogru (Ph.D. PE and Applied Math 1974) is a chief technologist and fellow in computational modeling technology for Saudi Aramco and a visiting scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is being recognized for the development of high-performance computing hydrocarbon reservoir simulation. He received the Society of Professional Engineers’ John Franklin Carl Award in 2012 and the World Oil Innovative Thinking Award in 2010. Dogru earned a B.S. and MSc in petroleum engineering from Istanbul Technical University and a Ph.D. in petroleum engineering and applied math from UT Austin.

Noboru Kikuchi (M.S. ME 1975; Ph.D. ME 1977) 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. Kikuchi was recognized for contributions to theory and methods of computer-aided engineering and leadership in their applications in the automotive industry worldwide. Kikuchi is a recipient of the Computational Mechanics Achievement Award from the Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers and the United States Association for Computational Mechanics’ Computational Structural Mechanics Award. He received a B.E. in civil engineering from the Tokyo Institute of Technology and an M.S. and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the Cockrell School.

Deb A. Niemeier (B.S. CE 1982) is a professor at the University of California, Davis. She was recognized for developing groundbreaking tools to characterize the impact of transportation emissions on air quality and environmental justice. In 2015, she became the first-ever civil engineer to receive a Guggenheim Fellowship and in 2014, she was elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She received the Aldo Leopold Leadership Award in 2006 and the National Science Foundation CAREER Award in 1997. Niemeier received a B.S. in civil engineering from the Cockrell School, an M.S. in civil engineering from the University of Maine and a Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering from the University of Washington.

Randall W. Poston (B.S. CE 1978; MSE CE 1980; Ph.D. CE 1984) is senior principal at Pivot Engineers. He was recognized for the development of diagnostic and repair technologies for concrete structures and leadership in concrete building code development. He received the American Concrete Institute’s (ACI) Henry C. Turner Medal in 2006, the ACI Henry L. Kennedy Award in 2014 and the ACI Delmar L. Bloem Distinguished Service Award in 2015, and in 2014, he was named a Distinguished Engineering Graduate of the Cockrell School. In 2002, Poston’s Marina del Rey Seawall Rehabilitation Project was named the International Concrete Repair Institute’s Project of the Year. He received a B.S. in civil engineering and an MSE and Ph.D. in structural engineering, all from the Cockrell School.