Two college profs cited as ‘rising stars’ earn university recognition

See the full [list] ( of Presidential Impact Fellows.

Two professors at the Texas A&M College of Architecture, Sam Brody and Wei Yan, hailed as rising stars in their field, were among 24 faculty honored as inaugural Presidential Impact Fellows by university president Michael K. Young.

Brody, professor of [urban planning] ( , develops research-based, comprehensive, holistic methods to conserve the Texas shoreline. Yan, professor of [architecture] ( , researches design by optimization, which combines architects’ creativity with the power of computational software to reveal design solutions that encompass aesthetics and measurable objectives such as maximum building energy performance.

The honor includes an annual stipend of $25,000 in each of the next three years to support each recipient’s teaching, research and service.

"The awards acknowledge an investment in the excellence of select faculty who, through their scholarship, personal commitment and results, are rising to meet the challenges of their field and demonstrating impact towards creating a better world," said Young, who presented the honors at a March 21, 2017 ceremony.

Impact Fellows were identified by his or her respective dean and confirmed by university academic leadership.

"This honor furthers our belief that these faculty are and should be considered among the nation's very best and will enable greater recognition for their excellence," said Karan L. Watson, university provost and executive vice president.

Brody, a faculty member in the [Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning] ( , researches coastal environmental planning, spatial analysis, and natural hazard mitigation.

The author of “ [Rising Waters: The Causes and Consequences of Flooding in the United States] ( ,” Brody has published numerous scientific articles on flood risk and natural hazard mitigation.

Brody has a joint appointment to Texas A&M University at Galveston’s Department of Marine Sciences where he holds the George P. Mitchell ’40 Endowed Chair in Sustainable Coasts.

A 2016 Texas A&M University System Regents Professor, Brody also directs TAMUG’s [Center for Texas Beaches and Shores] ( , where researchers develop conservation methods for Texas’ shoreline, bays and waterways that utilize a mix of natural, economic and political processes.

Brody teaches graduate courses in environmental planning and sustainable/resilient coastal development and works in public and private sectors to help local coastal communities develop environmental and flood mitigation plans.

The college’s additional Presidential Fellow, Wei Yan, aims to help bring design optimization into the mainstream of architectural research and practice.

The goal of design by optimization —the integration of designers’ creativity with computational approaches such as building modeling, performance simulations, and design algorithms — is to provide architects with design options that value a structure’s aesthetic appeal and its measurable qualities, such as energy consumption and the amount of interior daylight illumination.

Yan, who teaches computational design courses, has led collaborative research projects funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, U.S. Department of Energy, the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, Autodesk, Inc., and others.

Richard Nira

posted April 18, 2017