The University of Texas at Dallas

Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science


Jonsson School PhD Students Present Final Defenses Remotely, Honored for Work

Jonsson School PhD Students Present Final Defenses Remotely, Honored for Work

As a result of COVID-19, all students at The University of Texas at Dallas were required to move to online learning, including PhD students who were about to complete their degrees. The day after spring break ended, all remaining doctoral defense meetings were moved online. Graduating PhD students from the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science presented their defenses entirely remotely, and two were recognized for their exceptional efforts during the 2019-2020 year.

Mechanical engineering doctoral candidate Adolfo Lozano presented his defense virtually this spring.

“It was a different platform than I was expecting. I was hoping to participate in an in-person meeting so I could see everyone and engage with them,” said Adolfo Lozano, a mechanical engineering graduate student whose defense was moved online.

Lozano said that despite his initial concerns, everything went well. He had approximately 20 people virtually attend his defense, which was held earlier this spring.

“I think having the comfort of being at home helped some. Otherwise it was normal. I was still dressed up in a suitcoat and tie, although I told the committee that they couldn’t prove that I didn’t have shorts on,” he said.

Dr. Juan González, dean of graduate education, and his team moved quickly to ensure that every eligible doctoral student would have the opportunity to make a defense, which is the final step in qualifying for a doctoral degree. While some U.S. universities postponed their dissertation defenses because of the COVID-19 crisis, González said that was never an option at UT Dallas.

“The first degree that this University awarded was a PhD in physics. This is who we are,” González said. “We have never had one semester in our 50 years of history without at least one PhD student graduating. We were not going to break that record this semester. We wanted to make this possible, and I’m glad we did.”

UT Dallas graduate students were also recently honored by the Office of Graduate Education. One Jonsson School student received the Best Dissertation Award, and one was awarded the David Daniel Thesis Award.

Best Dissertation Award

Dr. Jiyoung Kim

Pavel Bolshakov BS’15, PhD’19

Pavel Bolshakov BS’15, PhD’19 in materials science and engineering earned the Best Dissertation Award for his dissertation entitled, “Investigation of Critical Interfaces of Transition Metal Dichalcogenide Devices for Future Device”. His research mentor was Dr. Chadwin Young. Bolshakov is now employed at Intel Corp.





David Daniel Thesis Award

Oscar Javier Chaparro Arenas PhD’19

One Jonsson School student earned the David Daniel Thesis Award, which is supported by an endowment established in 2006 by Daniel, president emeritus of UT Dallas and former deputy chancellor of the UT System. This year’s recipient was Oscar Javier Chaparro Arenas PhD’19 in software engineering. Dr. Andrian Marcus was Chaparro’s research mentor. Chaparro is now an assistant professor of computer science at the College of William & Mary.




Original News Center article here.