In recognition for devotion to advancing research intellectual merit and benefiting the broader impacts to society, the Department of Mechanical Engineering recognized Graduate Student Researchers of the Year at an event on August 24, with faculty and students. Awards were presented for each of the four broad mechanical engineering research areas:

“Our students’ success is the department’s success,” said graduate program director and associate professor Mathieu Francoeur. “Each of the students we are recognizing with this award are the best of the best not only in their research lab, but internationally in their respective disciplines. These scholars have produced multiple publications in internationally respected core journals in their fields of study and/or have received best paper awards from internationally respected conferences. They are shinning stars well on their way to becoming research pinnacles in their own right.”

2017-2018 Graduate Researchers of the Year:

Robert with plaque 450
Robert Rantz, Ph.D. student advised by associate professor Shad Roundy, and member of the Laboratory of Integrated Self-Powered Sensing. Rantz received his B.S. in mechanical engineering from Florida State University. His research interests are mathematical modeling, dynamical systems, controls, robotics, optimization, and vibration energy harvesting.

Dejun with plaque 450Dejun Guo,
Ph.D. student advised by associate professor Kam K. Leang, and member of the DARC Lab, and the University of Utah Robotics Center. Guo received the B.Eng. from Northwestern Polytechnical University, Xi’an, China, in 2012 and the M.S. degree in the Department of Automation, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China in 2015. His research focuses on control theory, visual-servo control, and precision mechatronics, with application in aerial robots and nanopositioning systems.

Matt Converse and Ken Monson 333wMatt Converse
, Ph.D. 2018, graduated under the supervision of associate professor Ken Monson, in the Laboratory of Head Injury and Vessel Biomechanics. Converse received his B.S. from Brigham Young University in 2012. While at the U his research was how traumatic brain injuries alter the mechanical behavior of cerebral blood vessels. Currently he is a research scientist at W.L. Gore and Associates.


Mohammed with plaque 450Mohammad Ghashami, Ph.D. student advised by associate professor Keunhan Park, and is a member of the Utah Nano-Energy Laboratory. Ghashami received his B.S. from the University of Tehran, Iran. His research area is experimental investigation of near-field thermophotovoltaic energy conversion.

Mehdi with plaque 450wMehdi Jabbarzedah, Ph.D. 2018 graduated under the supervision of associate professor Henry Fu, and is a member of the Fluids and Biomechanics Laboratory. Jabbarzedah received his B.S. from AmirKabir University of Technology, Iran, and is currently a postdoctoral research associate in the Fluids and Biomechanics Laboratory. His research interests are: low Reynolds number hydrodynamics, biophysics of bacteria, hydrodynamic interactions and motion of bacteria.