Mahajan honored with Caplenor award

COOKEVILLE — Satish Mahajan, Director of the Center for Energy Systems, has been awarded Tennessee Tech University’s highest faculty honor, the 2021 Caplenor Faculty Research Award.

The director of Tech’s Center for Energy Systems Research (CESR) and a professor of electrical and computer engineering, Mahajan’s current research is focused on electrical power systems, renewable energy, Photovoltaics/nanoparticle doped devices and sensors. 

“Satish is an exceptionally talented researcher. He has many original ideas,” said Thomas Thundat, SUNY Empire Innovation professor, department of chemical & biological engineering at the University of Buffalo. “A hallmark of his approach is his generosity in sharing his ideas with others, which not only inspires many young researchers but also spreads his scientific influence at TTU and around the world.”

In his 33 years at Tech, Mahajan has advised 29 master’s students and 12 Ph.D. students since he began his career at Tech an assistant professor in 1987. His students are well-published, and have built successful careers.

“Dr. Mahajan has built a consistent record of high-quality, peer-reviewed publications and competitive external funds,” said Vahid Motevalli, associate dean for research & innovation and a professor of mechanical engineering. “During his career, he has published 160 journal papers, conference proceedings and presentations. His efforts in research while at Tech has resulted in more than $6M in external funding when he has served as PI, or co-PI. He has received nearly $3.5M of the funding since 2015. His external funding has been from NSF, NASA, DoD, TVA, EPRI and other government and industry agencies.”

Mahajan has enjoyed his time at Tech whether it is working with students or other departments on campus.

“I work with a lot of young minds and what I have seen is they are not only intelligent, they are respectful and curious and serious about their profession or career,” said Mahajan. “I’ve been here 33 years, and I have worked with not just departments in engineering, but I have worked with agriculture, business, physics, chemistry, biology, geology and sociology. Interdisciplinary research is the name of the game.”

The Caplenor award was established in 1984 in memory of Charles Donald Caplenor, former associate vice president for research and dean of instructional development. This is the first time Mahajan has garnered the prestigious award.

“It’s always good being recognized by my peers. It makes me more motivated. I am a humble person and I came from a modest background,” said Mahajan. “The first thought that came to my mind when I found out about the award was my parents. They made a lot of sacrifices. They are the reason why I am where I am today.”

Caplenor Award Recipients

  • 2020-2021, Dr. Satish Mahajan, Director of the Center for Energy Systems
  • 2019-2020, Dr. Ismail Fidan, Department of Manufacturing and Engineering Technology
  • 2018-2019, Dr. Tor Guimaraes, Department of Decision Sciences and Management
  • 2017-2018, Dr. Joseph Biernacki, Department of Chemical Engineering
  • 2016-2017, No award
  • 2015-2016, Dr. Michael Birdwell, Department of History
  • 2014-2015, Dr. Pedro Arce, Department of Chemical Engineering and Dr. Greg Danner, Department of Music
  • 2013-2014, Dr. Ying Zhang, Department of Mechanical Engineering
  • 2012-2013, Dr. Robert Qiu, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • 2011-2012, Dr. Faisal Hossain, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • 2010-2011, Dr. Sakir Ayik, Department of Physics
  • 2009-2010, Dr. Joseph Biernacki, Department of Chemical Engineering and Dr. Mohamed Abdelrahman, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • 2008-2009, Dr. Jiahong (John) Zhu, Department of Mechanical Engineering 
  • 2007-2008, Dr. Phillip Bettoli, Dept. of Biology, and Dr. Kwun-Lon Ting, Department of Mechanical Engineering
  • 2006-2007, Dr. Lewis Keith Crouch, Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • 2005-2006, Dr. David Dean Richey, Department of Curriculum and Instruction
  • 2004-2005, Dr. George Buchanan, Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Dr. David Viera, Department of Foreign Languages
  • 2003-2004, Mr. Ralph Winston Morris, Professor, Department of Music and Art
  • 2002-2003, Dr. John J. Wheeler, Associate Dean and Professor, College of Education
  • 2001-2002, Dr. Joseph O. Ojo, Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • 2000-2001, Dr. Ali Alouani, Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • 1999-2000, Dr. Tor Guimaraes, Decision Science and Management
  • 1998-1999, Dr. Sastry Munukutla, Mechanical Engineering
  • 1997-1998, Prof. Robert Jager, Music
  • 1996-1997, Dr. Sharon Berk, Biology
  • 1995-1996, Dr. Michael Gunter, Political Science
  • 1994-1995, Dr. Helen Deese, English
  • 1993-1994, Dr. George Webb, History
  • 1992-1993, Dr. Raymond Kozub, Physics
  • 1991-1992, Dr. John Peddieson, Jr., Mechanical Engineering
  • 1990-1991, Dr. Dale Ensor, Chemistry
  • 1990, Dr. Periasamy Rajan, Electrical Engineering
  • 1989, Dr. Donald Weinrauch, Management and Marketing
  • 1988, Dr. Scott Northrup, Chemistry
  • 1987, Dr. David Yarbrough, Chemical Engineering
  • 1986, Dr. Jerry Ayers, Education
  • 1985, Dr. John Gordon, Civil Engineering
  • 1984, Dr. Cemil Bagci, Mechanical Engineering

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