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Faculty & Staff

Faculty & Staff

The mission of the College of Engineering is to give students the theoretical and practical background needed to apply scientific knowledge to meet society's material and physical needs.

Department of Chemical, Civil, and Mechanical Engineering

Nikos Kiritsis

Dr. Nikos Kiritsis, Dean, College of Engineering

Coming soon!

Office: Drew Hall 145
(337) 475-5857

Dr. Pankaj Chandra

Coming Soon!

Office: Drew Hall 104
(337) 475-5856
Dimitrios Dermisis

Dr. Dimitrios Dermisis

Coming Soon!

Office: Drew Hall 133
(337) 475-5859
John Griffith

Dr. John Griffith, Department Head

I am fortunate to have the privilege of contributing to the education and training of future engineers.  In doing so, I bring to my classes and advising sessions a philosophy that an engineering graduate should be a changed person, interested in his or her craft, with skills to handle complexity and a sense of responsibility to contribute to the community at large.

First of all, the educational experience should be interesting to the student.  I try to find examples of engineering in the students' everyday experience to reinforce topics learned in class.  By looking under the hood of their car, or just turning on a garden hose, a student can tap into relevant engineering systems.  I believe that If you can't find interest and enthusiasm in the topics you are learning, you should find another field to study - you'll be doing this all of your life, and you should earn your living doing something you truly enjoy. 

Secondly, the engineering educational experience should change the student.  I have had many students that are brighter than I am, and yet I still have to find ways to challenge them, stretch them, and make them more versatile through the learning process.  This change should be progressive, beginning in the freshman year, and clearly observable as the student approaches graduation.  I see the student not as a cup to be filled with knowledge, but rather as an engine to be tuned.  An engineering student must develop skills in organization and logical thinking so as to handle the complex systems necessary to a heavily populated world.  Today an engineering student may solve problems involving complex calculus and physics, under deadlines with real consequences to their grade.  Tomorrow, the same student will solve problems not involving calculus, but with a similar diligence and thought process, to produce and manage systems under deadlines with real consequences to the safety and well-being of many people.

This brings up the final element in my philosophy of education - that the student, the 'tuned engine', will purposefully harness himself/herself to the community at large.  It is nice to earn a good living, but somewhat more satisfying to see your work make a real difference in the world.

Office: Drew Hall 134
(337) 475-5858
Zhuang Li

Dr. Zhuang "John" Li

Dr. Zhuang Li, an Associate Professor of Mechancial Engineering, received his Ph.D degree from Auburn University in 2005. He joined McNeese State University in 2008.  He is also serving as the Associate Editor of the International Journal of Acoustics and Vibration.  His research interests are in acoustics, mechanical vibration, and advanced signal processing.  He has published more than twenty journal papers and book chapters.  He has chaired various conference sessions. He also received the Faculty Excellence Award in the first year of his teaching career and the Pinnacle Award in 2011.  He is a member of ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers), IIAV (International Institute of Acoustics and Vibration), and ASA (Acoustical Society of America).

Office: Drew Hall 115
(337) 475-5869
Richard Robinson

Dr. Richard Robinson

The goal and objectives of any course I teach is to aid in developing engineers that are successful in their careers.  In order to be able to accomplish this success, the student must not only acquire knowledge in the subject matter but more importantly must  develop analytical and critical thinking skills for solving problems in new situations and/or in new areas as would be expected of a practicing engineer. To be able to think and function as would a successful engineer, a student must not only be able to solve the problems at the end of the chapter (where the scope of the material is quite restricted) but also must be able to integrate this material with material from other courses.

In a student's engineering college experience there should be a gradual transition from problems of very restricted form and subject matter, as freshmen, to more opened ended and integrated problems in the senior year. In the freshman year the student might only be expected to know how to apply the equations in a particular chapter given the needed data.  A senior however should be ultimately expected to solve problems using not only the current course material but material from previous courses that has not necessarily been highlighted in the current chapter of the text.  In some situations the senior is expected to analyze the data for its accuracy and completeness.  The solving of a distillation problem might demonstrate this change.  A sophomore would have to use only material and energy balances, i.e. the subjects being covered in the course.  The student would be given only correct data that is needed to solve the problem and no extraneous data given.  A senior might be ask to look at the problem incorporating the concepts of mass transfer and fluid mechanics which had been studied in preciously courses but had not been emphasized in the current course. Extensive plant data might be given to the student much of which is not required for the problem solution and some of which maybe erroneous.   For seniors this may initially be out of their comfort zone but as the student is exposed to more of the real world problem environment the student's confidence and success should increase. This emphasis on course integration will help students in their preparation for professional registration (FE exam) and for success in their work place.

In a professional engineering environment, an individual is in general not asked to solve a quantitative problem in fifty minutes testing their speed and accuracy.  They could be assigned projects in which they would budget their time or work extra to determining a solution.  They might be asked to a meeting to give an impromptu qualitative answer. In the classroom environment, I try to replicate both of these situations. First by giving student the extra time they may need to complete a test thus making it a question not of speed but of the students understanding of the concepts.   Second I ask questions to class as a whole or to individuals for qualitative answers that show basic understanding of the subject.  With this approach the student should be better prepared to be successful in their engineering career.

Office: Drew Hall 120
(337) 475-5250
Jonathan Sullivan

Dr. Jonathan Sullivan

Coming Soon!

Office: Drew Hall 124
(337) 475-5871
Ted Thompson

LTC Ted Thompson

Coming Soon!

Office: Drew Hall 106
(337) 475-5864
Jay Uppot

Dr. Jay Uppot

Teaching is a noble profession.  It is an activity where you impart knowledge to your students, without you loosing anything.  In fact you gain by discussing the knowledge with your students.  Many a time I get new insights by looking from the point of view of my students. Thus you learn by teaching.

The most important thing in teaching is that you must be prepared. The students must know that you are the master of the subject.  That would mean not just delivering the subject matter from the text book, but adopting it to make it more interesting by practical examples, humor and making them think. You must capture their attention by your presentation of the subject. A professor may have all the knowledge on a topic, but if it is not delivered properly the students will not catch it.  I know if the students are with me when I am teaching just by looking at their faces.  They will ask questions. There will be discussions among them in the class.
After I teach a class, I come to my office and do an autopsy of my performance, so I can improve next time.  I treat each class as a live show where I must shine.

Make the students think.  I do not give everything away in the class.  That will be spoon feeding.  Hold something back.  Challenge them to figure it out. Weekly quizzes are the best way of making them think and get answers.

I teach from the point of view of practice.  I discuss real field problems in the class. I discuss several case histories pertaining to the topic being taught. 

My exams will contain easy to difficult questions. It will follow the normal distribution curve.  One of my exams will be modeled after the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam so it will serve as a practice for the FE exam which they have to take.

I go at least five minutes early to my class.  I return the graded assignments on time and discuss them in the class.  When giving back the exams, I write the whole range of scores on the board so that the students will know where they stand.

I use overhead transparencies taken from the text book and from other sources.  If taken from other sources, I give the students copies of the transparencies.

In solving problems, hand calculations come first for me. Use of computer programs comes later.

I am always available for the students, not just during my posted office hours. I take  a real interest in their learning process and always go out of my way to help them.  I make sure that when they take a course from me they learn something.  I always tell that if they like my course, tell others and if they don't, tell me.

Office: Drew Hall 135
(337) 475-5868
Ning Zhang

Dr. Ning Zhang

Dr. Ning Zhang, an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, received his Ph.D. degree from Kansas State University in 2005.  He continued his postdoctoral research at the Urban Operational Laboratory, a United States Marine Corps (USMC) sponsored program from 2006 to 2008, where he was the lead scientist in two USMC funded projects to research and develop enhanced non-lethal capabilities and protective technologies for modernization of the Marine Expeditionary Rifle Squad (MERS).  He has been a research scientist in the field of computational fluid dynamics with applications in mechanical, aerospace, and hydraulic engineering for the past 15 years.  Dr. Zhang joined McNeese State University in 2008, where he led research including sediment and oil-spill transport in coastal water systems, aerodynamics of micro aerial vehicles, and simulation-based hydro turbine optimizations.  Dr. Zhang has achieved national and international acclaim among his peers, particularly through numerous publications at peer-reviewed international journals, presentations at international conferences, as well as organizing numerous technical symposiums.  Dr. Ning Zhang is a senior member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), and a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).  He has served as Vice Chair of ASME Computational Fluid Dynamics Technical Committee since 2012.  Dr. Zhang has also served as the McNeese Institutional Coordinator to Louisiana Space Consortium (LaSPACE), Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON), and Coastal Sustainability Consortium Technical Council.

Office: Drew Hall 119
(337) 475-5873

Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Matthew Aghili

Dr. Seyed M. Aghili PE, Department Head

Dr. Aghili is a Professor of Electrical Engineering and currently serving as the Head of the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department.  He is a registered Professional Engineer in the State of Louisiana.  Dr. Aghili received his M.S. and PhD in Electrical Engineering from the Florida Institute of Technology.  He received his B.S. in Industrical Technology-Plant Engineering and M.S. in Management Technology from the University of Wisconsin-Stout.  His teaching and research interests are in E-learning in engineering, digital systems design, computer network engineering, network routing algorithms, microcontrollers, fuzzy logic controllers, artificial neural networks, and robotics.  Dr. Aghili is a Microsoft Certified System Engineer and Cisco Certified Network Associate.  He is a two-time Pinnacle Excellence Award recipient.

Office: Drew Hall 123 
(337) 475-5863
Dr. Paul Bender

Dr. Paul Bender

Dr. Bender is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.  He holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Missouri State University, a M.S. in Computational Mathematics from Ohio University, and a Ph.D. in Computer Science and Engineering from Wright State University.  These degrees were completed in 1998, 2004, and 2008 respectively.  He is a member of the ACM and IEEE.
Dr. Bender's research interests include various topics in Operation Systems and Networking, including adhoc networks, real time systems, multimedia communications, and system security.  The focus of his current research is on the application of sensor network technologies to the water driven ecosystems of Southwest Louisiana.

Office: Drew Hall 206
(337) 475-5800
Michael Connella

Dr. Michael Connella III

Dr. Connella earned his Ph.D. in Solid State Physics from Tulane University and began his career with NASA working on the Saturn V Moon Rocket project.  From 1968 to 1979, he taught Physics and Physical Science at McNeese State University, and because of his intrigue in "Space", he built the University's Observatory, telescopes, and developed Astronomy and Physical Science classes.  In 2002, with over 20 years experience working in the Petrochemical Industry where he was project manager for several multi-million dollar projects, Dr. Connella returned to McNeese State University in Engineering Technology teaching Instrumentation and Electronics.  He has authored and edited several textbooks on Instrumentation and developed Instrument Lab Manuals as well as teaching seminars on controllers and control functions for industrial personnel.

Office: Drew Hall 326
(337) 475-5845

Dr. James Dennison

Coming Soon!

Office: Drew Hall 122
(337) 475-5860

Brent Garner

Brent Garner

Mr. Garner is a graduate of McNeese State University with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and of Southern Methodist University with an M.S. in Electricial Engineering.  His industrial career spanned about a decade, working in the defense electronics industry for Honeywell in New Mexico and for Raytheon in Texas.  Currently an Associate Professor of Engineering Technology as well as the Program Coordinator of the Electronics program.  Mr. Garner has taught the upper-level PLC course in Engineering Technology for over a decade and the PLC portion of an engineering controls lab for five years.  He also teaches digital design and project courses.
Office: Drew Hall 316
(337) 475-5855
Kay Kussman

Kay Kussmann

Ms. Kussmann is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.  She holds a B.S. in Mathematics Education from Louisiana Tech University, and a M.S. in Computer Science from the University of Southwestern Louisiana.  Her research interests include databases, data mining, data warehouse, artificial intelligence, robotics, gaming, cloud computing, and computational modeling.  She is a past Pinnacle Excellence Award receipient.

Office: Drew Hall 207
(337) 475-5801
Qui Liu

Dr. Qiu Liu

Coming Soon!

Office: Drew Hall 314
(337) 475-5849
Vipin Menon

Dr. Vipin Menon

Dr. Menon received his PhD in Computer Science from Tulane University in 2007 and joined McNeese that year.  He is a professional member of the ACM, IEEE,  Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI),  American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE),  Mathematical Association of America (MAA), and American Mathematical Society (AMS).  Dr. Menon's primary research interests include Artificial Intelligence, Databases and Data Mining.  His secondary interests are Algorithms, Web Technologies, and Computer Science Education.  Dr. Menon serves on the Steering Committee of the CCSC-SC (covering Louisiana, Texas, and Oklahoma) and was Conference Chair at the 25th Annual Conference of the Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges, South Central Region at St. Edwards University in Austin, Texas in April 2014. Courses taught by Dr. Menon at McNeese include Csci  180, 281, 308, 102, 284, 241, 309, 419/549, 425/555, 426/556, 415/545, 619, 631, 637, 601, and a variety of special topics courses which are taught as advanced courses at the graduate level such as Neural Networks, Computational Geometry, Complexity Theory, Parallel and High Performance Computing, and Data Mining.

Office: Drew Hall 204
(337) 475-5806

Dorothy Ortego

Coming Soon!

Office: Drew Hall 322
(337) 475-5844

Javier Pineros

Mr. Pineros received a Bachelor's degree in Electronics Engineering from Universidad Distrital "Franciso Jose de Caldas", Bogota - Colombia, and a Master's degree in Engineering from McNeese.  He worked in Telecommunications for NEC Corporation as a Field Engineer and Systems Engineer in the area of Digital Switching Systems.  Pineros joined McNeese in 2006 and is currently an Assistant Professor of Electronics Engineering Technology in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sicen where he has taught courses in Fundamentals of Electricity, Electronic Devices, Instrumentation, and Digital Electronics, as well as courses in Communications/Computer Networks and Digital Design with Microcontrollers.

Office: Drew Hall 315
(337) 475-5853

Loretta Spruel

Coming Soon!

Office: Drew Hall 
(337) 475-5771


Amber Reese

Amber Reese

Administrative Assistant to the Dean
Office: Drew Hall 146
Phone #: (337) 475-5875
Fax #: (337) 475-5237

Nancy Brignac

Secretary to the Department of Chemical, Civil, & Mechanical Engineering 
Office: Drew Hall 140
Phone #: (337) 475-5874
Fax #: (337) 475-5286

Rhonda Levergne

Secretary to the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Office: Drew Hall 324
Phone #: (337) 475-5854
Fax #: (337) 475-5292 

Dennis Bennett

Mechanical Laboratory Technician
Office: ETL 116
Phone #: (337) 475-5872 

New Faculty Members

Amber Reese

James Bernard

Instructor - Department of Chemical, Civil, and Mechanical Engineering
Office: Drew Hall 311
Phone #: (337) 475-5917
Fax #: (337) 475-5286

Amber Reese

Dr. Matthew Hayes

Assistant Professor - Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science 
Office: Drew Hall 212
Phone #: (337) 475-5816
Fax #: (337) 475-5292

Amber Reese

Dr. Ruting Jia

Assistant Professor - Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science
Office: Drew Hall 121
Phone #: (337) 475-5862
Fax #: (337) 475-5292

Front of Drew Hall