Mechanical Engineering PhD grad claims Guy Stevenson Award for Excellence in Graduate Studies
Robert James Loomis lll is the winner of the Guy Stevenson Award for Excellence in Graduate Studies, which honors a former Graduate Dean. The Stevenson Award is presented to a doctoral degree recipient who excels in scholarship, leadership, and other areas within his or her discipline. Loomis will carry the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies banner at commencement ceremonies.
According to his thesis advisor Dr. Balaji Panchapakesan, "James is the type of graduate student every advisor dreams of. James can take an idea and transform it experimentally into new avenues of scientific research." Such abilities are a clear mask of excellence in research and show great promis for a future as an academic/industry leader. James's doctoral work has opened new avenues of research in functional nanocomposites. Two of his articles on grapheme-based photomechanical actuators and grapheme-based photoconductive devices, published in the journal Nanotechnology, were downloaded more than 3000 times within a year of their publication. Both of these works were showcased by the Nanotechnology journal, which publishes more than 1000 papers every year from scientists all around the world, as "top gems" in 2012. His mentor notes that "even one paper being showcased in the annual highlights of the journal is a significant achievement for anyone's research, let alone two within the same year." James' recent work on incorporating thermally expanding mircosphere in nanotube-based polymer composites has opened a new line of thought on how to design future stimuli responsive materials with large changes in size, density, mechanical and electrical properties.
James joined Dr. Panchapakesan's group from industry with no prior experience in academic publication. However, at the time of this award, he has published nine journal articles and has an upcoming article in the new journal called Scientific Reports by NATURE publishing group. Further, James' work had led to several patent applications and featured cover images in journals. His work will have significant impact in the area of functional composites for years to come.
In addition to the Stevenson Award, James is also a recipient of the Graduate Dean's Citation. He delivered the outstanding student address at the doctoral hooding ceremony for the University of Louisville held May 10 at the KFC Yum! Center.
James was mentored by J.B. Speed School of Engineering Associate Professor, Dr. Balaji Panchapakesan.