PhD students Porter, Yap awarded for outstanding research

Department's Emmett T. and Geraldyne Smith Roberts Award comes with $4,000 prize.

Headshots of Justin Porter and Te Faye Yap

Justin Porter and Te Faye Yap, fourth-year doctoral students in mechanical engineering (MECH) at Rice University, have each received the 2022 Emmett T. and Geraldyne Smith Roberts Award for outstanding research.

The award is given annually by the MECH department and comes with a $4,000 prize. To be eligible, a student must have a minimum GPA of 3.6 and have published at least one paper.

Porter was nominated for the award by his adviser, Matthew Brake, assistant professor of MECH; Yap by her adviser, Daniel J. Preston, assistant professor of MECH.

“My research,” Porter said, “seeks to improve computational models of bolted structures that can then be used to improve designs of jointed connections. Better models and joint designs will reduce the current $2 billion annual cost of vibration testing of structures.”

Yap’s research focuses on heat transfer, interfacial phenomena, and the temperature-dependent reaction kinetics of elastomer curing and virus inactivation, including COVID-19.

Porter earned his B.S. in MECH from the University of Oklahoma in 2019. In 2020 he was one of 26 students in the country to win a Department of Energy Computational Science Graduate Fellowship.

Yap earned her B.S. in MECH from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 2019. She has also been awarded a $1,000 travel grant by the Rice Institute of Biosciences and Bioengineering. With it, she will attend the Micro Flow and Interfacial Phenomena Conference and present her research. The conference will be held on June 20-23 at the Beckman Center of the National Academies of Sciences and Engineering in Irvine, California.