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MAE alum Shannon Yee receives ASME’s 2017 Pi Tau Sigma Gold Medal Award

Shannon Yee, '07 BS Mechanical Engineering, ’08 MS Nuclear EngineeringAs a rising star in the engineering field, alumnus Shannon Yee (’07 BS Mechanical Engineering, ’08 MS Nuclear Engineering) has worked to develop the next generation of energy technologies.  

To recognize his significant contributions, Yee was named the recipient of the 2017 Pi Tau Sigma Gold Medal Award by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). This annual award celebrates one individual’s outstanding achievement within 10 years of graduating with a bachelor’s degree.

When it came to Yee, there were many groundbreaking achievements for ASME to choose from.

During his time on campus, Yee became the first and only Ohio State student to receive the prestigious John and Fannie Hertz Foundation Graduate Fellowship. Advised by Vish Subramaniam, chair of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Yee was awarded a stipend and full-tuition support valued at more than $250,000 to explore his research interests without boundaries. His work, which flowed into his time as a PhD student, focused on translating new fundamental scientific discoveries into applied energy conversion technologies. 

“Developing new energy technologies lies at the intersection of engineering, business and policy,” said Yee. “One must appreciate and work to address the challenges in all of these spaces to have lasting impact.”

As a doctoral student at the University of California – Berkeley, Yee’s contributions to energy technology, education and policy were significant. As the first fellow of the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy (ARPA-E), Yee worked with his advisor Professor Arun Majumdar, who served as ARPA-E’s inaugural director, to launch the agency. Yee helped develop new programs, co-chaired the first ARPA-E Summit and established the ARPA-E fellowship program itself. During Yee’s time in Washington, D.C., he supported the BEEST program, which developed better batteries for electric vehicles in an aim to significantly extend their range and reduce carbon emissions.

Throughout his time in Columbus, Berkeley and Washington, D.C., Yee’s research explored thermal-to-electrical energy conversion technology and the underlying transport processes.

He continues this groundbreaking work as an assistant professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He has developed new thermal characterization techniques and high performance organic thermoelectric materials and betavoltaic converters, along with the design of a high efficiency solid-state heat engine. As the founder and director of Georgia Tech’s Scalable Thermal Energy Engineering Lab, Yee and his students work to develop scalable thermal conversion and transport technologies. 

Yee has conducted research at several national laboratories, including the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, where he currently serves as a visiting scientist. His work appears in journals, such as the Journal of Applied Polymer Physics; Review of Scientific Instruments; Sensors and Actuators A: Physical; and Nature’s Scientific Reports.

Kam King, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering