Two professors from the Cullen College of Engineering have been honored with election to the Fellow grade of membership for the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).
The professors chosen for the 2022 class are Yashashree Kulkarni, Bill D. Cook Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and Roberto Ballarini, Thomas and Laura Hsu Professor and Department Chairman of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
ASME confers the Fellow grade of membership on worthy candidates to “recognize outstanding engineering achievements and contributions to the engineering profession and to ASME”. An ASME Member has to have 10 or more years of active practice, at least 10 years of active corporate membership in ASME, and be nominated by at least two ASME members or fellows.
Only about 3,000 members of ASME are Fellows, out of a total membership of about 75,000.
“Being recognized by the scientific community is indeed an incredible honor and I am humbled by it”, said Kulkarni. “Of course, this would not have been possible without the support of my amazing students, colleagues, and collaborators.”
Kulkarni is currently the Bill D. Cook Professor of Mechanical Engineering. She joined the Cullen College of Engineering in 2009. In 2019, she was appointed as the Director of Research Computing for the Cullen College of Engineering. Prior to joining the University of Houston, she was a post-doctoral scholar at University of California at San Diego. She earned her Bachelors’ degree from Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay, India and her PhD in Applied Mechanics from California Institute of Technology.
Kulkarni currently serves as an Associate Editor for the ASME Journal of Applied Mechanics. She was the recipient of the ASME's Sia Nemat-Nasser Early Career Award in 2017.
Ballarini expressed gratitude for the Fellow designation, and similar to when he earned ASCE Distinguished Member Status, he was quick to thank his colleagues.
“I am honored to receive this recognition from the ASME,” he said. “It reflects, more than anything, the contributions of my students to the fields of mechanics, mechanical engineering, and materials science.”
Ballarini joined the Cullen College of Engineering as Department Chairman in the Fall of 2014. He previously served as James L. Record Professor and Head of the Department of Civil Engineering at University of Minnesota, Leonard Case Professor of Engineering at Case Western Reserve University, and F.W. Olin Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering.
Ballarini is a Past-President of the ASCE Engineering Mechanics Institute (EMI) and currently serves as Editor of the ASCE Journal of Engineering Mechanics.
In 2019, EMI awarded him the Raymond D. Mindlin Medal, “For the application of elasticity and fracture mechanics to problems in numerous disciplines and at multiple length scales, and for seminal contributions to experiments for measuring the mechanical properties of materials and structures at the micro- and nano-scales.” The medal is named after the Columbia University professor, who is considered a giant of 20th Century mechanics (and coincidentally was Ballarini’s “academic great-grandfather”).