Award Winners

2017-2018 Engineering Faculty Awards Announced

The School of Engineering is proud to announce the 2017-18 School of Engineering Faculty Award recipients: Prashanth Asuri, Teacher of the Year; On Shun Pak, Researcher of the Year; Paul Semenza, Adjunct Lecturer of the Year; and Robert Marks receives the Gerald E. Markle Award for Teaching Excellence in Applied Mathematics and Engineering.

Prashanth Asuri

Teacher of the Year – Prashanth Asuri, Bioengineering, BioInnovation and Design

Dr. Prashanth Asuri, associate professor of bioengineering is unwavering in his drive to prepare undergraduate and graduate students for successful and rewarding careers in bioengineering, biotechnology, and healthcare innovation. His consistently high teaching evaluations reflect his care for students, love of teaching, generous mentorship, and dedication to student learning. As one student put it, “He is very committed to ethics, science, teaching, and most of all—his students.” Outside the classroom, he serves as a champion of lifelong learning, obtaining a Master’s of Business Administration degree from SCU in 2017. Recently, he created, and now serves as director, of the School of Engineering’s new BioInnovation and Design educational program, which includes a number of new courses as well as a project-based laboratory. Innovative, entrepreneurial, and driven to give students the very best tools for success, Dr. Asuri nurtures students’ technical, design thinking, and entrepreneurial skills, gives generously of his time, experience, and talent, and is an inspiration to students and colleagues, alike.


On Shun Pak, Mechanical Engineering

Researcher of the Year – On Shun Pak, Mechanical Engineering

Dr. On Shun Pak joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering as assistant professor in 2014, and has since published 9 journal papers, 1 refereed conference paper, and 1 book chapter. His research at the interface of fluid mechanics and biology has advanced understanding of the roles fluid forces play in various biological processes at small scales, and he has applied bio-inspired principles to the design of engineering systems for biomedical applications, such as targeted drug delivery and microsurgery. He has published in leading journals, including the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Journal of Fluid Mechanics, Physics of Fluids, and others, and has garnered nearly 700 citations. Additionally, Dr. Pak publishes and presents at prestigious conferences such as this year’s American Physical Society Annual Meeting, where he made five presentations. Much of Dr. Pak’s research involves collaboration with other institutions, an indicator for potential growth in his research area, and a number of his publications have involved SCU students as co-authors.


Adjunct Professor Paul Semenza

Adjunct Lecturer of the Year – Paul Semenza, Engineering Management and Leadership

Paul Semenza has been teaching in the School of Engineering’s Engineering Management and Leadership program for just two years, but in that time the Tufts and Harvard University-educated adjunct professor has made a lasting impression on his students. Bringing to the classroom his career experience as technology market and technology analyst manager, he shares his deep understanding of global technology industries and supply chains, market dynamics, economics, and technology policy. Students laud the group projects and case studies from Google, Intel and other industry leaders included in his teaching as helping them understand how the concepts they learn in class relate to real world scenarios. He is also praised for being collaborative, open minded, helpful, patient, and an excellent listener—traits that encourage learning, positivity, and acceptance in his classroom.


Robert Marks

Gerald E. Markle Award – Robert Marks, Applied Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering

Robert Marks, who received his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in materials science, has distinguished himself in his teaching of Applied Mathematics 200 and 201 (Advanced Engineering Mathematics I and II). Students in these courses praise his clear communication, insight, enthusiasm, and availability. These courses are cross-listed with the Department of Mechanical Engineering, where he has taught a variety of other courses over several years. He has authored more than a dozen papers related to his research on kinetic and thermodynamic behavior of materials in multi-phase systems. We congratulate him as this year's recipient of the Gerald E. Markle Award for Teaching Excellence in Applied Mathematics and Engineering.