Engineers receive annual achievement awards

Seven distinguished alumni and a former dean of the School of Engineering & Applied Science at Washington University in St. Louis were honored at a dinner April 19 at the Coronado Ballroom.

Six received Alumni Achievement Awards, one a Young Alumni Award, and the former dean received the Dean’s award.

The honorees:

Larry Chiang (SI ’73, SI ’75)


Chiang worked at at Bell Laboratories and for several American companies, before returning to Taiwan in 1985.

As the vice president of sales and engineering of Siemens Telecommunications in Taiwan, Chiang participated in the digitalization of the company’s analog telecommunications network. He was promoted to executive vice president and established a joint venture with Fujitsu for fiber optical products in 1992.

As president of Siemens Telecommunication in 1995, Chiang participated in the design, delivery and commissioning of two GSM mobile networks.

Chiang retired in 2005 and became a senior advisor at Siemens Telecommunications. Today, he works as an investment consultant and supervises a venture capital fund.

To show his appreciation of research assistantships he received while attending graduate school, he established an endowed scholarship ata WUSTL. He also provides scholarships for students in China.

For a video tribute to Chiang, click here.

Richard Janis (SI ’74, GA ’74)


As a professional engineer, registered architect and president of William Tao & Associates, Janis leads building projects both in St. Louis and around the world.

In 2005, Janis was engineer of record and LEED accredited professional for WUSTL’s first LEED-accredited building, Earth & Planetary Sciences (now Rudolph Hall). More recently, he led the engineering design of the School of Medicine’s LEED Gold Data Center.

Janis earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Missouri-Rolla (now Missouri University of Science & Technology) in 1968. He earned master’s degrees in architecture and mechanical engineering at WUSTL in 1974.

Janis went to work with William Tao & Associates, a practice devoted to energy-effective design of buildings. When Tao retired in 1989, Janis became CEO. The firm continued to maintain an industry leadership role in design, growing to include many different engineering services.

Janis has participated in many professional organizations, including the American Institute of Architects and United States Green Building Council, where he served on the executive committee. He is also a past president of the St. Louis chapter of the International Facility Management Association (IFMA).

A senior lecturer for the School of Architecture, Janis has taught at WUSTL since 1976. He is also an adjunct instructor for the School of Engineering & Applied Science where he teaches sustainable systems design. He is coauthor, with Bill Tao, of Mechanical and Electrical Systems in Buildings, soon to be in its fifth edition.

For a video tribute to Janis, click here.

Deepak Kantawala (SI ’63, SI’ 66)


Kantawala currently serves as a consultant to India’s Central Pollution Control Board, with responsibility for reviewing water-quality criteria and standards for India’s fresh, marine and ground waters.

He has been involved in the design and commissioning of more than 100 industrial wastewater treatment plants for various industry subsectors, such as pharmaceuticals and pesticides, and for companies ranging from NOCIL (Shell), to Monsanto.

He also participated in the design and commissioning of effluent treatment plants for industrial estates and of sewage treatment plants.

Kantawala earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Bombay in 1960, and then moved to the United States to attend WUSTL, where he earned master’s and doctor of science degrees in environmental and sanitary engineering in 1963 and 1966, respectively.

Kantawala was the recipient of Institution of Engineers (India) Environmental Engineering Design Award for the year 1989-90. In 2000, he was presented with the Chemtech Foundation Chemical Industry Stalwart Award.

He is a member of the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and has served in various capacities for the World Bank, World Health Organization, USAID and the government of the Netherlands.

He served as chairman of India’s Research Council of the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute from 1994-97. He is a member of the Water Environment Federation and of India’s Institution of Engineers, a life member of the Indian Water Works Association and pf the Indian Association of Environmental Management, and president of the Indian Environmental Association.

For a video tribute to Kantawala, click here.

Janice Karty (EN ’78)


After earning a bachelor’s in engineering in 1978, Karty went on to earn master’s and doctoral degrees from Rice University in 1981 and 1983, respectively. In 1985, she joined McDonnell Douglas Astronautics Company (now Boeing), as a research scientist

Karty currently serves as a technical fellow within Boeing Defense, Space and Security. Since 2010, she has worked on electromagnetic environmental effects (known as E3) for products such as the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, the F-15, and the T-45 Training System.

During her 27-year career at Boeing, she has established a record of sustained technical excellence. She was elected to be a Boeing associate technical fellow in 2001, and named a technical fellow five years later.

Karty is a frequent guest lecturer at WUSTL as well as a local science fair judge. She often visits area high schools to speak about careers in engineering and the sciences.

For a video tribute to Karty, click here.

Milind Kulkarni (SI ’96, PMBA ’08)


Kulkarni serves as vice president and chief technology officer of solar materials and quantitative silicon research at MEMC Electronic Materials.

In this role, he directs cross-functional research on polysilicon production, continuous Czochralski growth, directional solidification, wafering and cleaning processes, solar cell technology and module production.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Mumbai, Kulkarni moved to the United States, where he earned a master’s degree from Oregon State University and a doctoral degree from WUSTL, both in chemical engineering. He later earned a master’s degree in business administration at WUSTL as well.

In 2005, Kulkarni became a senior fellow in MEMC, the highest technical recognition offered by the company. In 2009 he became a vice president. In 2011 he was named chief technology officer.

Kulkarni developed unifying theories to describe polishing and decorating etchants, developed a novel silicon-etching process, explained the unique defect distributions near the periphery of defect-engineered silicon crystals, and developed key mathematical tools and process insights to enable defect engineering of Czochralski silicon crystals.

He has also guided improvements in the methods used to produce polysilicon and crystalline silicon, and in wafering technologies for making solar cells.

The author of two book chapters, two award-winning journal papers and many other publications, Kulkarni serves as a reviewer for several professional journals in his field.

For a video tribute to Kulkarni, click here.

James McKelvey, Jr. (EN ’87, LA ’87)


McKelvey is an engineer, artist and entrepreneur. As an undergraduate engineer at WUSTL, McKelvey wrote two computer programming textbooks. After graduation he took a job with IBM and a side position as a teaching assistant in glassblowing.

In 1990, he co-founded Mira Digital Publishing, which is today a leader in electronic publishing for scientific conferences.

In 2000, he co-founded Third Degree Glass Factory, one of the most successful glassblowing schools in the world. He also wrote The Art of Fire: Beginning Glassblowing, the leading textbook for novice glassblowers.

In 2009, McKelvey co-founded Square, one of the fastest-growing technology companies in the U.S., which enables anyone to take credit card payments anywhere using their mobile device. McKelvey now sits on the board of directors of Square.

For a video tribute to McKelvey, click here.

Jennifer Dionne (EN ’03, EN ’03)


Dionne, the recipient of the Young Alumni Award, is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Materials Science & Engineering at Stanford University.

Her research investigates metamaterials — engineered materials with optical and electrical properties not found in nature — for applications ranging from enhanced solar energy generation to subwavelength optical imaging and nanophotonic manipulation.

Dionne earned a bachelor’s of science degree in systems science & engineering and physics in 2003 from WUSTL. She earned a doctoral degree in applied physics in 2009 from the California Institute of Technology.

The recipient of many young investigator achievements, she has won the NSF CAREER Award (2012), the AFOSR Young Investigator Award (2011), Technology Review’s Top Young Innovator Award (2011), the Hellman Fellowship (2011), the Terman Fellowship (2010), the Clauser Prize for Best Caltech Thesis (2009) and the MRS Gold Medal Graduate Student Award (2008).

She is the author of Introduction to Solar Photonics and one of the organizers of a science-as-art exhibit, “NanoArt: More than Meets the Eye.”

For a video tribute to Dionne, click here.

Salvatore Sutera


Sutera, the recipient of the Dean’s Award, came to WUSTL in 1968 to serve as the chair of the Mechanical Engineering Department, a post he held for 25 years. Sutera was instrumental in the creatopm pf undergraduate degree program in biomedical engineering.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from The Johns Hopkins University in 1954 and a master of science in mechanical engineering from the California Institute of Technology in 1955. He spent the following year as a Fulbright Fellow in Paris, France.

Following a year with the DuPont Corp. in Delaware, Sutera returned to Caltech and earned a doctoral degree in 1960. From 1960 to 1968, he was a member of the engineering faculty at Brown University.

Early in his academic career, Sutera began to focus his research on biomechanics. He and his collaborators made many contributions to the understanding of blood flow in the mammalian microcirculation, flow-induced trauma to blood in artificial organs, and the mechanical properties of the red blood cell in health and disease.

A dedicated Francophile, Sutera spent a semester as a visiting professor at the University of Paris in 1973. He has been an active member of the Alliance Française of St. Louis for more than 20 years and has served on the board of directors of St. Louis-Lyon Sister Cities Inc.

For a video tribute to Sutera, click here.