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Mehta, Tulu named Richards Faculty Fellows in Engineering

A portrait of Piyush Mehta and Berk Tulu

Piyush Mehta (pictured left) and Berk Tulu (pictured right), both assistant professors in the Statler College, have been named J. Wayne and Kathy Richards Faculty Fellows in Engineering. (WVU Photo/Paige Nesbit)

Two assistant professors at West Virginia University have been named J. Wayne and Kathy Richards Faculty Fellows in Engineering.

Story by Adrianne Uphold, Graduate Assistant

Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Piyush Mehta, from the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and Berk Tulu, from the Department of Mining Engineering, were appointed to the three-year positions, which provides funds to support and grow their respective research programs.

The fellowships are the result of a $1 million gift made in 2014 by alumnus J. Wayne Richards and his wife, Kathy. The endowment at WVU provides flexible funds to allow the College to hire, retain, reward and recognize faculty members who have not yet achieved tenure.

“Kathy and I are honored to have the ability to support and recognize these two outstanding young faculty members as they work to grow their research profiles,” Richards said. “With that, we look forward to the opportunity to support the following faculty members. Kathy and I are exceptionally proud of the Statler College and we look forward to helping our faculty members research endeavors.”

Mehta plans to use this opportunity to further his research in artificial intelligence.

“Wayne and Kathy Richards are WVU alumni and wholehearted supporters of the WVU community and the state of West Virginia,” Mehta said. “It is my esteemed honor to have myself carry their names. The support provided by the fellowship gives us the opportunity to further grow our research on the application of artificial intelligence for advancing space sciences and engineering and raise the status of WVU and the state in the field.”

Tulu noted honoring Wayne and Kathy’s legacy by using the funds to continue developing mine safety in West Virginia and the United States.

“I plan to honor Wayne and Kathy’s legacy by using the additional funds to further develop my research program in digital mining and ground control to improve the mine safety in WV and in the U.S.,” Tulu said.  

Mehta received his bachelor’s in aerospace engineering in 2009 and his doctorate in 2013, both from the University of Kansas. Mehta's research focuses on artificial intelligence for advancing space sciences and engineering. 

Tulu received his bachelor’s in mining engineering from Middle East Technical University in 2004, later coming to WVU in 2009 to receive his master’s and doctorate degree in mining engineering. His research focus areas include ground control, rock mechanics, geomechanics and field monitoring/instrumentation technologies.

“The Richards Faculty Fellows in Engineering is a fantastic program, and I am extremely grateful to Wayne and Kathy Richards for their strong and continued support to our College and our faculty.” said Pedro Mago, Glen H. Hiner Dean of the Statler College. “Piyush and Berk are exceptional faculty members in the College and very deserving of this honor. I am proud of their accomplishments and I look forward to their continued success.”  

Natives of South Charleston, West Virginia, the Richards’ have a history of support to the Statler College and to WVU athletics. In 2012, the pair pledged $250,000 to the Statler College Building Fund to help fund construction of its new Advanced Engineering Research Building. In 2013, they pledged $1.25 million to the Mountaineer Athletic Club for enhancements to the football complex.

Richard has dedicated years of service to the College and University on the Statler College Advisory Committee and WVU Foundation Board of Directors. After earning his bachelor’s degree in mining engineering from WVU in 1981, he spent 25 years in a number of senior operational, and sales and marketing positions with Schlumberger. He currently serves as president and CEO of GR Energy Services in Sugar Land, Texas. Kathy earned her degree in dental hygiene at WVU Tech in Montgomery.



Contact: Paige Nesbit
Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
304.293.4135, Paige Nesbit

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