Drs. Rohan Shirwaiker and Elena Veety have been announced as the winners of this year’s George H. Blessis Outstanding Undergraduate Advisor Award, given by the College of Engineering at North Carolina State University.
The award recognizes faculty members who consistently and willingly give their time and effort to advising, counseling and mentoring students and assisting student groups. It is also a continuing memorial to George H. Blessis, a faculty member whose interest in undergraduate education and advising serves as an example today.
Candidates are nominated by their department and are selected by the College of Engineering Teaching and Advising Awards Committee. The awardee receives $1,000 and a certificate and the recipient’s name is engraved on a permanent plaque displayed in the administrative building for the College of Engineering.
Shirwaiker, an associate professor in the Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, has served as a faculty member at NC State since 2011. He is known for being an active advisor to all of his students and has been instrumental in encouraging students to continue for a Ph.D. His advisees are enthusiastic in their feedback about him and note that he gives his time and attention to their needs.
A former student and three-time graduate of the department noted, “Rohan was not one of my academic advisors and therefore got nothing in return for helping me. However, if I had a big presentation he would take the time to run through my slides/notes. He reviewed countless papers for me. He also introduced me to two successful job opportunities. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to learn from someone who has such high standards. Rohan is still someone I consider a mentor with sound advice and with ambition I can only hope to achieve!”
Veety, a teaching assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and operations and education director for the National Science Foundation Advanced Self-Powered Systems of Integrated Sensors and Technologies (ASSIST) Center, joined the NC State faculty and the ASSIST Center in 2012. She is known for her commitment to advising, assisting and mentoring undergraduate students. Under her leadership, the ASSIST Center has grown its reputation as having a nationally recognized high-quality education program that is an example for other NSF Engineering Research Centers.
A student shared, “Dr. Veety is an outstanding mentor and resource for students in the ASSIST Center. She goes above and beyond to connect with individuals on a personal level to better help and advise them. She approaches problems with creativity and a positive attitude that spreads to her colleagues and she works tirelessly to expand and improve the Education & Outreach arm of the ASSIST Center. I am incredibly grateful to her for providing a sounding board when I struggled in graduate school.”
Typically, the award is given at the College’s spring faculty meeting. But, due to COVID-19 and the restrictions placed on large gatherings, Shirwaiker and Veety will be honored at the fall faculty meeting.