Srinath Ekkad, Rolls Royce Commonwealth Professor for Aerospace Propulsion Systems in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech, has received the university's 2014 Alumni Award for Excellence in Graduate Academic Advising.

Established by the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, the Alumni Award for Excellence in Graduate Academic Advising is presented annually by the Office of the Provost to Virginia Tech faculty members who have been particularly dedicated and effective while advising graduate students. Recipients, who may be nominated by university colleagues or students, are selected by a committee of former award winners, receive a $2,000 prize, and are inducted into the university’s Academy of Advising Excellence.

A member of the Virginia Tech community since 2007, Ekkad has established an exemplary track record as a graduate advisor in his seven years at the university. He has graduated seven doctoral degree students and 14 more master’s degree students. Three more Ph.D. students will graduate in May.

Ekkad places his graduate students in positions of substantial responsibility. They act as project managers, a role that allows them to interact directly with research sponsors. And he is known for his ability to help each student customize his or her specific career path towards industry or academe.

“It is clear that his student genuinely like, respect, and appreciate him very much and are grateful for the time, guidance, and wisdom he has shared,” wrote Warren Hardy, associate professor of mechanical engineering and director of the Virginia Tech-Wake Forest University Center for injury Biomechanics, in his letter of nomination. “This accomplishment is particularly impressive given the number of engineering graduates he has mentored over a relatively short period of time.”

“He inspired confidence in me and trusted in my abilities as a researcher even when I had my own doubts,” wrote Santosh Abraham, and engineer with Siemens Corp. who studied under Ekkad for both his master’s degree and Ph.D. “He is a very approachable and warm person, which in my opinion is his greatest strength. I still follow his lessons to this day in my everyday affairs and I try to be as good a mentor to young engineers as he was to me.”

Ekkad’s research focuses on the development of highly accurate, 2-D, high-resolution surface heat transfer measurements for complex geometries.

His work in applying these techniques in complex geometries in gas turbine engine systems is widely recognized.

He has received more than $8 million in external research funding grants, approximately $3.2 million of which has come during his time at Virginia Tech from sponsors including the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, and several corporations.

Ekkad was named Fellow of American Society of Mechanical Engineers in 2010 for his overall research contributions to the field of heat transfer. He received the College of Engineering Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research in 2012.

He received his bachelor’s degree from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University (India), a master’s degree from Arizona State University, and a Ph.D. from Texas A&M University.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

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