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Lee, Avci recognized as 2024 Herbert P. Dripps Fellows

Hang Woon Lee and Onur Avci

Assistant professors Hang Woon Lee and Onur Avci (right), 2024 Herbert P. Dripps fellows

Two assistant professors in the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources at West Virginia University have been recognized as Herbert P. Dripps Faculty Fellows in Engineering, effective January 1, 2024.

Story by Kaley LaQuea
Photos Supplied


Onur Avci from the Wadsworth Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Hang Woon Lee  from the Department of Mechanical, Materials and Aerospace Engineering were appointed to the three-year fellowship positions which are the result of a $1 million gift made by alumnus Herbert P. Dripps

The endowment at WVU provides funds for the College to use for supplemental compensation, work-related travel, research support, technology/equipment enhancements, library resources, staff support and student support.

"The Herbert Dripps Faculty Fellows program is an exceptional initiative to recognize our excellent and talented faculty members. I am highly grateful to Herb Dripps for his unwavering support towards our college and faculty," said Pedro Mago, Glen H. Hiner Dean of the Statler College. "Onur and Hang Woon are outstanding members of the faculty, and they are truly deserving of this honor. I am immensely proud of their achievements and excited to see their continued growth and success."

Avci, whose research is focused on structural dynamics, smart materials, sustainable infrastructure, and Machine Learning applications, received his bachelor’s in civil engineering in 2000 from Middle East Technical University in Turkey and his master’s and doctorate from Virginia Tech in 2002 and 2005, respectively.

“I am honored to be chosen for this title and I will continue to do my best and go the extra mile to fulfill the expectations that come with this recognition,” Avci said. “I am truly grateful to Herbert Dripps for creating this opportunity. I will make sure that this will benefit our students, college and university.”

Lee earned his bachelor’s in aerospace engineering from MIT in 2015 and his doctorate from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2022. Lee’s research focus, space systems operations, aims to improve the performance, reliability and cost-efficiency of current and next-generation space systems.

“I am immensely grateful and honored to have been awarded the Herbert P. Dripps Faculty Fellowship,” Lee said. “This support will be instrumental in establishing a leading-edge research program focused on space systems engineering and exploration, and in cultivating the next generation of space systems engineers proudly based in West Virginia.”

A continued loyal supporter of the college, Dripps earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from WVU in 1965. He transferred to the University after beginning his college career as a pre-med major at Georgetown University.

The Dripps gift was made through the WVU Foundation, the nonprofit organization that receives and administers private donations on behalf of the University.



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

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Phone: 304-293-4135