Shashank Priya, professor of mechanical engineering and Turner Fellow in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech, has been named the Robert E. Hord Jr. Mechanical Engineering Professor by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

The Robert E. Hord Jr. Professorship of Mechanical Engineering was established by a gift from the late Robert H. Hord Jr. Hord, who earned his bachelor’s degree in 1949 and a master’s degree the following year, both from the College of Engineering, was an enthusiastic supporter of Virginia Tech’s chemical and mechanical engineering programs. The professorship acknowledges and rewards faculty in the Department of Mechanical Engineering who have shown exceptional merit in research, teaching, and/or service. Recipients hold the position for a five-year term.

A member of the Virginia Tech community since 2007, Priya has made significant contributions to research and scholarship in the broad areas of energy harvesting, smart materials, devices, and bio-inspired systems. He has authored or co-authored more than 260 journal papers and has guest edited nine books and special issues.

Priya has been a principal investigator or co- principal investigator on research grants amounting to more than $20 million from sources including the Office of Naval Research, the Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, the Army Research Office, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the National Institute of Health, and private industry.

His research on lead-free piezoelectric ceramics has led to new compositions that provide high electromechanical coupling factors, dielectric constants, and piezoelectric constants relative to lead-based ceramics. Priya has also made significant contributions to the field of magnetoelectric composites covering laminate and particulate structures.

He is currently leading an Office of Naval Research-Multi University Research Initiative program on bio-inspired unmanned underwater vehicles. His work on robotic jellyfish prototypes has received wide spread coverage in the scientific literature as well the popular press.

Priya is the founding director of the National Science Foundation-Industry/University Collaborative Research Center for Energy Harvesting Materials at Virginia Tech, which has attracted worldwide attention as one of the premier centers for energy harvesting with partners in Germany, India, and South Korea. Because of his stature in the research community.

Priya has graduated 15 Ph.D. students and 16 master’s degree students, and mentored nine post-doctoral research associates and research scientists. At present, he is advising 11 graduate students and seven post-doctoral fellows and research scientists.

Priya is Fellow of the American Ceramic Society and editor-in-chief of the journal Energy Harvesting and Systems.

Priya received his bachelor’s degree from Allahabad University, an integrated master’s degree from Indian Institute of Science, and a doctoral degree from Penn State University.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

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