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Mechanical Engineering Faculty Team Increases by 2

September 29, 2014

The School of Engineering has hired four faculty members for the 2014-15 academic year, two of whom are mechanical engineers.

The faculty hires reflect areas of rapid enrollment growth, greatest potential for interdisciplinary collaboration, research potential and other factors aligned with the university’s strategic academic vision and long-term mission, said Tom Peterson, provost and executive vice chancellor.

For example, Po-Ya Abel Chuang, who most recently served on the faculty at Purdue University, is a subject-matter expert in thermal management, combustion, propulsion, turbomachinery and fuel cell technology. Here at UC Merced, he’ll continue his research into PEM fuel cell and thermal management with a focus in renewable energy. The assistant professor will also teach thermodynamics and a professional seminar course.

“These outstanding professors offer our current and prospective graduate students terrific opportunities for interdisciplinary research collaborations and training,” said Marjorie Zatz, vice provost and dean of graduate studies. “Individually and as a cohort, these stellar experts contribute to UC Merced’s growing prestige across a wide range of research areas.”

Ala Qattawi will join the program as an assistant professor in January. Fitting with the school’s entrepreneurial spirit, Qattawi will join the mechanical engineering faculty with an interest in areas of innovative manufacturing processes and design procedures. His primary goal is generating optimized sustainable components and fabrication practices, mostly for sustainable scalable production volume with low capital investment.