In the Spotlight: Fall 2015

Michael W. Renfro: Chair, Department of Mechanical Engineering

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ew mechanical engineering department chair Mike Renfro comes to UK from the University of Connecticut, where he began teaching in 2002. During his tenure, he also served as director of graduate studies and associate department head in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Renfro brings research, teaching and administrative experience to compliment that of the department and college in energy and aerospace. He received his doctorate in mechanical engineering from Purdue University in 2000. Renfro’s research is in the area of optical diagnostics applied to power production technology, particularly combustion, gas turbine and fuel cell systems. A National Science Foundation CAREER Award recipient, he has received extensive research support through various granting agencies and industry partners.

Jonathan Kellogg: Senior, Civil Engineering

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lthough a senior, Jonathan Kellogg has already begun to channel his skills and civil engineering education toward humanitarian ends. In the fall of 2014, he journeyed to the Ugandan cities of Kampala and Jinja, where he spent the semester not only gaining hands-on experience as a soon-to-be engineer, but laying the groundwork for the nearly $7 million Amazima Academy, which will educate hundreds of Ugandan students. Kellogg viewed the trip as a way to not only gain valuable professional experience, but also follow in the footsteps of his grandparents who were missionaries to Kenya. Among his tasks, Kellogg drafted the site utility plan and electrical and plumbing plans, created a water distribution model and also designed the wastewater treatment system. On weekends, he would teach and play with local orphans.

William T. Smith: Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

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ill Smith is a Kentucky native who graduated from the UK with an electrical engineering degree in 1980. After receiving his masters’ and doctoral degrees from Virginia Tech, he returned to campus as an assistant professor in 1990. In his 25-year career, he has won his department’s teaching excellence award three times and Tau Beta Pi’s Outstanding Engineering Professor Award three times. This spring, Smith’s dedication to student success at UK earned him his second Henry Mason Lutes Award for Excellence in Engineering Education—exactly 20 years after he first won the award. Smith has been the department’s director of undergraduate studies for electrical engineering since 2006 and serves as the associate chair. A stalwart on the Engineering Alumni Association board of directors, Smith became its president in July and will serve a two-year term.