New Faculty for 2014-2015

Categories: General News Tags: Newsletter

The William States Lee College of Engineering at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte proudly welcomes 11 new faculty members in 2014. As educators and researchers, these new hires bring credentials from some of the finest universities in the country and a wealth of professional experience from industry. With UNC Charlotte and Lee College of Engineering enrollments increasing steadily during the past 10 years, these new faculty members will be vital in educating the next-generation of engineers and technologists.

Kent Day

Dr. Yamilka Baez-Rivera
Lecturer and Duke Energy Smart Grid Lab Manager
Associate of the Energy Production and Infrastructure Center
Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering, Mississippi State University, 2011

In her position as manager of the EPIC Duke Energy Smart Grid Laboratory, Dr. Baez-Rivera will be working with students, faculty and industrial collaborators on a number of different projects. Her primary research will consist of simulations, visualization and hardware in the loop, which is the integration of equipment in real-time simulations used to develop a smarter and more intelligent electric power grid. Before coming to UNC Charlotte, Dr. Baez-Rivera taught engineering technology and medical imaging at ECPI. While attending Mississippi State University as a Ph.D. student, she interned with Northrop Grumman working with load shedding and stability control for the LHD-8 Navy assault ship during its design and implementation phase.

Research interests:

  • Smart Grid integration
  • Power systems control
  • Power systems modeling and simulation

Dr. Jonathan Beaman
Lecturer, Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Science
Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering, UNC Charlotte, 2011


  • MEGR 2141 – Engineering Mechanics 1
  • MEGR 2144 – Solid Mechanics
  • MEGR 3121 – Dynamics Systems I
  • MEGR 3122 – Dynamics Systems II
  • MEGR 3171 – Intro to Measurement and Instrumentation

Dr. Hansang Cho
Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Science
Ph.D. in Bioengineering, University of California at Berkeley, 2010

Dr. Cho’s expertise includes developing bioengineered microenvironments and nanobiosensors. He worked as a research fellow at Harvard Medical School/Mass General Hospital to implement his expertise in brain-on chips for the study of Alzheimer’s disease and neurovascular diseases. His current research focuses on cells chips for new discoveries in the areas of neurosciences and cancer biology, innovative mechanical components involving multiple physics, and portable platforms for healthcare diagnostics and environmental sustainability.

Research interests:

  • Microfluidics-based cell chips including brain-on-chips and cancer-on-chips
  • Surface plasmonics-based optofluidic mechanics
  • Healthcare diagnostic and environment-monitoring platforms and sensors

Dr. Milind Khire
Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Associate of the Energy Production and Infrastructure Center
Ph.D. in Geo-environmental Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1995

Dr. Khire comes to UNC Charlotte from Michigan State University where his work included field-based research on problems that pertain to groundwater protection, environmental sustainability and waste management. His projects have included developing innovative methodologies to improve the efficiency of leachate recirculation systems for landfills, developing alternative cost-effective ground water monitoring systems for operational and closed landfills, field-scale testing and permitting of earthen covers for landfills, and subsurface sensing technologies for real-time optimization of hydraulic performance in landfills.

He worked as a senior geo-environmental engineer for Tonkin and Taylor in Auckland, New Zealand, from 1999-2001, and was a project engineer for Geosyntec Consultants in Boca Raton, Florida, from 1995-1999.

Research interests:

  • Field-scale hydrology
  • Bioreactor landfills
  • Contaminated groundwater treatment
  • Green roofs
  • Geothermal systems

Kevin Lindsay
Freshman Lecturer and Advisor, MAPS Program Director
M.S. in Physics, Clemson University, 2003; MBA, Loyola University in Maryland, 2010

Mr. Lindsay comes to the Lee College of Engineering from the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland. His 10 years of experience at STScI culminated in his final duties as a senior research and instrument analyst and were spent working on astrophysics research, astronomical data analysis, and space-based instrumentation characterization and calibration. While at STScI, Mr. Lindsay focused the majority of his efforts as a member of the development team for the Hubble Legacy Archive, as a member of the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph pipeline and calibration teams, and as a member of the Operations Detector Laboratory, where he worked on the characterization of spaced-based CCD detectors.

Research interests:

  • STEM public outreach
  • Diversity
  • Student engagement
  • Secondary school-to-university transition

Dr. Demba Ndiaye
Assistant Professor, Engineering Technology and Construction Management
Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering, École Polytechnique de Montréal (University of Montreal), 2007

Dr. Ndiaye joins UNC Charlotte from the consulting industry, where he was a senior energy analyst and mechanical engineer for more than five years. His work included building performance simulations and HVAC systems designs for high-performance green buildings for the federal government and other clients.

Dr. Ndiaye also worked as an energy consultant for the United Nations Development Program for about three years. Additional work experience includes an assistant professorship at the University of Moncton (Canada), and a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. Dr. Ndiaye is a registered professional engineer, and holds a LEED AP BD+C certification from the USGBC and a BEMP certification from ASHRAE.

Research Interests:

  • Direct-expansion ground-source heat pumps
  • Impact of user behavior on energy consumption
  • Building performance simulation
  • Green buildings/zero-net-energy buildings
  • Renewable energy/energy efficiency
  • Thermal systems

Dr. Agnes Galambosi Ozelkan
Senior Lecturer, Systems Engineering and Engineering Management
Ph.D. in Systems and Industrial Engineering, University of Arizona, 2003

For the past eight years, Dr. Ozelkan has educated a wide range of students in university programs at both undergraduate and graduate levels, delivering her courses on campus, online and in blended classes. Topics taught include quantitative modeling and optimization, conceptual managerial courses, introductory math and programming, and advanced systems and business. Her current teaching interests include decision and risk analysis, applied statistics, experimental design, operations research, system design, computational methods, lean systems modeling, and sustainable system design.

Dr. Ramesh (Rudy) Shankar
Director, Energy Technology Innovation
Associate of the Energy Production and Infrastructure Center
Ph.D. in Applied Sciences, University of Delaware, 1978

Dr. Shankar’s role within UNC Charlotte’s Energy Production and Infrastructure Center will be to broaden EPIC’s scope of research in grid modernization, the Smart Grid, renewable energy and energy utilization. He will create and merge industry and utility partnerships between EPIC constituents and stakeholders.

Prior to coming to UNC Charlotte, Dr. Shankar was vice president and chief technology advisor for the Tennessee Valley Authority, a federally owned utility servicing 11 million customers in seven states. As TVA’s expert for technology identification, he developed, demonstrated and delivered practical technology solutions to manage renewable energy technology, electric transportation and infrastructure, consumer innovation, power generation and power delivery.

Dr. Shankar’s other experience includes serving as president/CEO of Signatech Systems, leading efforts to develop requirements for asset management and fleet-wide monitoring for a large Asian utility (30 GW capacity), consulting with the U.N. IAEA on nuclear power requirements for developing countries, and working as program manager and market director for the Electric Power Research Institute.

Dr. Christopher Vermillion
Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Science
Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering-Systems, University of Michigan, 2009

Dr. Vermillion worked as a post-doctoral researcher and senior engineer at the Toyota Technical Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan, conducting research related to the application of constrained optimal control approaches to the management of several competing objectives in advanced automotive powertrains. Following Toyota, he served as a lead engineer and still remains active as a technical advisor for a MIT-based startup, Altaeros Energies, designing a tethered wind energy system that uses a lighter-than-air shell to elevate a horizontal axis turbine to altitudes far in excess of towered turbines’ hub heights.

Research interests:

  • Flight dynamics and control of tethered wind energy systems
  • Hierarchical control theory and applications
  • Model predictive control
  • Vehicle control systems
  • Simultaneous plant and controller optimization
  • Human-in-the-loop control

Dr. Erika Weber
Lecturer, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Ph.D. in Civil Engineering – Structures, University of Utah, 2014

Dr. Weber comes to the Lee College of Engineering with more than five years of structural design experience in Nevada and Utah, where she worked on a wide range of structural projects. She is a licensed engineer in both California and Nevada. Dr. Weber’s teaching focus is in the design of steel, concrete, wood and masonry structural systems.

Research interests:

  • Structural integrity, behavior and design of bridge and building components
  • Finite element modeling of structural components

David Yarbrough
Lecturer, Civil Engineering Technology and Construction Management
Master of Science in Engineering, UNC Charlotte, 2014

Mr. Yarbrough has more than 30 years of engineering experience serving the manufacturing and land development industries. He has several years of teaching experience in the areas of land surveying and environmental engineering.

Research interests:

  • Applications of GPS/GLONASS in surveying and civil engineering
  • Water quality modeling of watersheds and reservoirs
  • Pretreatment and management of industrial wastewater discharges and contaminated air exhausts