Twelve College of Engineering Faculty Honored at 2017 TAF Awards Ceremony


The Tiger Athletic Foundation honored 80 LSU faculty members, including 12 from the College of Engineering, for their distinguished research and work with students.

The annual ceremony was held May 3 at the Lod Cook Alumni Center.

Michael Benton, a professor in the Cain Department of Chemical Engineering for the past 10 years, received the TAF Undergraduate Teaching Award.

“It is definitely a great honor to receive the TAF Undergraduate Teaching Award,” Benton said. “But I feel it is the awesome LSU students that really do all of the hard work and deserve all the credit.”

John Flake, interim department chair for the Cain Department of Chemical Engineering, said, “This is sort of a recognition of all the things he has been doing for a long time to support students. He does a terrific job with undergraduates. We’re lucky to have Benton here.”

Adam T. Melvin, also a chemical engineering professor, has worked at LSU for the past four years and received the TAF President’s Award. While obtaining his PhD at North Carolina State University (NCSU), Melvin realized he wanted to teach.

“They [NCSU] were really big on active learning and engineering education,” Melvin said. “When I came to LSU, I wanted to make sure I had an active research group and was still able to teach.”

Melvin was not the only one to notice NCSU’s influence on his teaching career.

Flake said Melvin brought many skills on how to become an effective teacher from NCSU. He explained Melvin teaches a sophomore-level class that a lot of students find challenging. Instead of teaching one large class, Melvin splits the class into two sections to help the students better understand the material.

One of the requirements of the TAF Awards application process was to have students write letters about the professor. Melvin said many students were enthusiastic about writing letters for him.

“I think that is more exciting than winning the actual award because you see how students are appreciating what you are doing,” Melvin said.

Each TAF Award comes with a monetary prize. Melvin said he is using the funds to take his research group to an international conference in Savannah, Ga. to present their research.

In addition to these two individuals, 10 other faculty members were recognized for their hard work and dedication to students.

Below is a list of the 2017 distinguished faculty members:

LSU Alumni Professorship
Donald & Norma Nash McClure Alumni Professorship: Todd Monroe

LSU Distinguished Faculty Award
Chandra S. Theegala

LSU Alumni Association Rising Faculty Research Award
Aly Mousaad Aly
Carol Friedland
Manas Ranjan Garita

Tiger Athletic Foundation President’s Award
Adam T. Melvin

CxC Outstanding Service-Learning Faculty Award
Marybeth Lima

Tiger Athletic Foundation Undergraduate Teaching Awards
Babak Akbari
Mike Benton
William Duncan
Stephanie Heumann
John Scalzo

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Raven Nichols, communications intern, LSU College of Engineering