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2019 Faculty Research Awards

Professor Elizabeth Basha Recieves the Undergraduate Research Mentoring Award

University of the Pacific is committed to providing undergraduate students the opportunity to participate in research, which applies theoretical learning to solve real-world problems and fosters discovery. In support of this commitment, in 2014 the Office of Undergraduate Research established the Excellence in Undergraduate Research Mentoring Award to recognize a faculty member each year for excellence in encouraging and mentoring undergraduate student research.

Elizabeth Basha '03, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering in the School of Engineering and Computer Science, was selected as the recipient of the 2019 Excellence in Undergraduate Research Mentoring Award. A dedicated teacher and highly respected scholar, Basha has made significant research contributions in the field of robotics and sensor networks.

Basha has a strong record of securing research funding, including a three-year National Science Foundation grant to investigate the use of aerial robotics to maintain sensor network systems, which supported student researcher participation as well as the purchase of robotic equipment. Funding she secured through a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant for aerial wetlands monitoring has supported a total of seven undergraduate research students on semester-long projects since fall 2017. She also established Pacific Tigers Engineering Abroad (PacTEA), a program that enables students to research and design real-world engineering solutions in projects throughout Central America.   

Setting high standards for her research students, Basha encourages them to present and publish their work. Her mentees have presented research at peer-reviewed national and international conferences and have co-authored research projects published in peer-reviewed journals.

"Dr. Basha has been a great mentor for me as an electrical engineering student," said Angel Tejada '19. "The skills I've learned under her guidance have already been used outside my work for her, including my newfound knowledge of power systems I applied in my senior project-skills I would not have had if not for Dr. Basha." 

Professor Mary Kay Camarillo Recieves the Faculty Research Lecturer Award

University of the Pacific's Faculty Research Lecturer Award recognizes faculty members with a history of research or artistic contributions during their service at Pacific. The award is presented at Pacific's Research Day, held annually in April. Mary Kay Camarillo, professor of Civil Engineering in the School of Engineering and Computer Science, is the 2019 award recipient.

Camarillo joined Pacific in 2009 after receiving her PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering from UC Davis. Since then, she has made a tremendous impact at Pacific through her teaching, research, and service. While a professor at Pacific, Camarillo became a visiting faculty member at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Her research focuses on water, waste, and energy issues in California and their associated technological, management, and policy issues.

Since 2013, Camarillo's research has reviewed technologies used in the oil and gas industry to treat wastewaters produced during conventional oil and gas production and evaluated how these technologies could be applied to treat wastewaters produced during unconventional oil and gas production. This research has allowed her to investigate wastewater disposal practices associated with the oil and gas industry in California. Additionally, Camarillo has studied low dissolved oxygen conditions in the San Joaquin River and Stockton Deep Water Ship Channel as part of the San Joaquin River Dissolved Oxygen Total Maximum Daily Load Project, an initiative in the Federal Clean Water Act that seeks to create a plan for restoring impaired waters by identifying the maximum amount of a pollutant that a body of water can receive while still meeting water quality standards. Her research is helping to improve the environment locally and statewide.   

Camarillo recently joined water law expert Stephen McCaffrey, the Carol Olson Endowed Professor of International Law at Pacific McGeorge School of Law, on Capital Public Radio to discuss the legal and practical challenges behind Gov. Jerry Brown's Delta Tunnels project.