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Statler College announces faculty appointments for new Dean’s Leadership Fellows Program

Kostas Sierros, Leslie Hopkinson, and Qingqing Huang

Through a competitive application process, Kostas Sierros, Leslie Hopkinson and Qingqing Huang have been selected as the inaugural cohort of the Dean's Leadership Fellows Program.

Excellence in leadership development is a core value of the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources at West Virginia University. In order to foster and sustain leadership excellence, the Statler College has announced the selection of three professors to the Dean’s Leadership Fellows Program.

Story by Brittany Furbee, Communications Specialist
Photos by Paige Nesbit, Director of Marketing and Communications


The Leadership Fellows Program was created and designed to help identify and grow the next generation of pioneers and leaders for the College. The one-year program will eliminate barriers faculty may have previously faced when exploring leadership opportunities and empower them to become advocates of change in the areas of research, teaching or service, therefore advancing their career trajectory while benefiting students and the College.

Participating faculty members, will work closely with the Associate Deans and the Dean’s Office to advance their leadership skills and collaborate on projects that will enhance partnerships, events, and activities within the College.

“I strongly believe that part of my role as Dean is to support and develop the future leaders of the Statler College and WVU,” said Pedro Mago, Glen H. Hiner Dean of the Statler College. “Therefore, the Dean’s Leadership Fellows Program is a great initiative launched to provide selected faculty members with valuable experience and an opportunity to develop leadership skills while supporting major initiatives in the College.”

The implementation of this program demonstrates the College’s commitment to providing faculty members with the tools needed to succeed in the competitive world of academia. The Statler College has a reputation for excellence, and the faculty members who complete the Leader Fellows Program will be equipped to carry on that legacy.

Dean’s Fellowship for Research

Kostas Sierros , associate professor and associate chair for research in the department of mechanical and aerospace engineering, has been named the Dean’s Fellow for Research.

Through this appointment, Sierros will assist Xingbo Liu, associate dean for research, with meaningful initiatives to advance the College’s mission and to provide infrastructure related to strategic research activities. This will include activities such as mentoring faculty on research career issues, providing oversight for research committees, evaluating grant opportunities, and fostering collaborative, interdisciplinary research between the College’s departments and other schools.

“It feels really great to be able to learn from this novel program and help the College and the leadership team introduce new and interesting research initiatives that will help all faculty,” said Sierros. “This program will enable me to understand and learn more about organizational structure and strategic research initiatives at a college level and beyond.”

Sierros received his bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from the University of Newcastle in the United Kingdom in 2001. He earned his master’s in polymer engineering and science in 2002, and his doctorate in materials science and engineering in 2006, both from the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom.

Sierros joined the Statler College in 2007 and his current research is focused on the design, development, and characterization of optoelectronic devices for sustainable applications.

“The personalized learning approach offered in this program will be a great experience that I am looking forward to,” said Sierros. “I am looking forward to developing initiatives that will make the College an even better research environment for all to be in, work, and enjoy.”

Dean’s Fellowship for Academics

Leslie Hopkinson, associate professor in the Wadsworth Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, has been named the Dean’s Fellow for Academics.

In this role, Hopkinson will assist Robin Hissam, associate dean of academics and student performance, in the development of meaningful programs to enhance students’ success in their chosen fields of study. She will also provide meaningful contact with academic units outside the classroom, help facilitate connections across various disciplines, and assist in developing co-curricular programming for the College.

“I’m excited and honored to be selected as the inaugural Dean’s Fellow for Academics,” said Hopkinson. “This is a unique opportunity to develop personal professional leaderships skills while promoting the excellence of the Statler College.”

Hopkinson earned her doctorate in biological systems engineering at Virginia Tech in 2009. She joined the Statler College in 2010 as an assistant professor and was promoted to associate professor in 2016.

“This program will allow me to contribute to the College outside of my typical faculty role,” said Hopkinson. “I look forward to expanding my view outside of my discipline and working to promote student success among all engineering disciplines.”

Dean’s Fellowship for Engagement and Outreach

Qingqing Huang, assistant professor of mining engineering, has been appointed as the Dean’s Fellow for Engagement and Outreach.

Huang will assist Cerasela Zoica Dinu, associate dean for student, faculty and staff engagement, in developing meaningful engagement and outreach programs for the College. She will also serve as a liaison between the College and alumni as needed and will develop active networks with stakeholders, students, faculty, and staff at WVU.

“I feel honored and very excited to be named the Inaugural Dean’s Fellow for Engagement and Outreach,” said Huang. “It gives me an excellent opportunity to work with the Associate Dean for Student, Faculty and Staff Engagement, Dr. Cerasela Dinu, and the Dean’s office. I look forward to working with all of them.”

Huang earned her bachelors in mineral processing engineering from Central South University in China in 2009, and her doctorate in mining engineering from the University of Kentucky in 2016. She joined the Statler College in 2017 and looks forward to growing professionally during her year as a fellow.

“It will be a wonderful year working with great colleagues and of great learning experiences!” Huang explained.

Each fellow will be expected to develop, support, implement, and assess activities, events, and programing for the College. Through this intensive leadership development program, the inaugural faculty members will gain the opportunity to directly impact the University and become agents of change for the College.

“I am very excited about the talent, enthusiasm, energy, and new ideas that the inaugural class of fellows will bring into our administrative offices,” said Mago. “They will have an opportunity to work with our team and associate deans on exciting academics, research, and engagement and outreach initiatives that will help transform the Statler College.”

For more information about the program, please visit the engagement website.



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

For more information on news and events in the West Virginia University Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, contact our Marketing and Communications office:

Phone: 304-293-4135