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Three new Engineering chairs
Left to right, Eric Furst, Sue McNeil, and Ajay Prasad are now chairs of their departments in the College of Engineering.

Three new Engineering chairs

Photo by Joy Smoker

CBE, CEE and ME departments have new leadership

The University of Delaware’s College of Engineering is pleased to announce the appointment of three new department chairs. “These faculty members are already trailblazers in their fields, and I anticipate that they will be outstanding departmental leaders,” said Babatunde Ogunnaike, dean of the College of Engineering.

Eric M. Furst

Eric Furst, professor and chair in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, joined the UD faculty in 2001. His research focuses on the physics and chemistry of colloidal, polymeric, biomolecular, and other soft materials. These findings have applications in complex fluids engineering, biotechnology, and nanomaterials for energy conversion. He is a Fellow of the American Chemical Society and the 2016 recipient of UD’s College of Engineering Excellence in Teaching Award. Furst earned a bachelor’s degree with university honors in chemical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University and master’s and doctoral degrees in chemical engineering from Stanford University. 

“Our award-winning faculty and students lead in scholarship and education in a broad range of fields in chemical engineering, from polymers to energy to biopharmaceuticals,” said Furst. “I am proud to serve our department, and I am excited for the future of chemical and biomolecular engineering at Delaware, especially the opportunities we have to build still higher on our legacy of excellence and innovation.”

Furst succeeds former chair Abraham Lenhoff, Allan P. Colburn Professor of Chemical Engineering.

Sue McNeil

Sue McNeil, chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, joined UD’s faculty in 2005. She also teaches in the School of Public Policy and Administration and is a former director of the Disaster Research Center. McNeil’s research centers on transportation asset management, life-cycle costing, application of advanced technologies, economic analysis, condition assessment and deterioration modeling, and decision support. She is a distinguished member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and the Editor-in-Chief of ASCE’s Journal of Infrastructure Systems. Her research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the United States Department of Transportation, Delaware Department of Transportation and U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  She earned bachelor’s degrees in civil engineering at the University of Newcastle in Australia and a master’s and doctoral degree from Carnegie Mellon University.

“As chair, I look forward to the growth of our department, which is premiering a construction engineering and management degree this year,” said McNeil. “We also have impressive faculty and students studying sustainability, clean water, bridges, railroads, and many other facets of civil and environmental engineering. I also look forward to connecting with our successful alumni all across the country.”

McNeil succeeds former chair Harry (Tripp) Shenton III, professor in civil and environmental engineering.

Ajay Prasad

Ajay Prasad has been at UD since 1992. An Engineering Alumni Distinguished Professor and chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, his work with fuel cells and role in developing and directing UD’s Fuel Cell Bus Program has garnered widespread recognition. For eight years, he was the director of the Center for Fuel Cell Research, now known as the Center for Fuel Cells and Batteries. Prasad’s other research interests include lithium-ion batteries, thermoelectric devices, wind and ocean current energy, solar thermal energy, and connected vehicles. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineering and a recipient of UD’s Excellence in Teaching Award. Prasad earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, a master’s in mechanical engineering from the University of Miami, and a doctoral degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford University.

“From our award-winning makerspace to our research on connected vehicles to our excellence in clean energy technologies, our department exemplifies academic breadth and diversity,” said Prasad. “I look forward to leading the Department of Mechanical Engineering as it continues on its path of excellence.”

Prasad succeeds former chair Suresh G. Advani, George W. Laird Professor of Mechanical Engineering.




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