Professor Steve Robinson has been named one of the inaugural recipients of the UC Davis Graduate Advising and Mentoring Award for his outstanding work in the mechanical and aerospace engineering (MAE) graduate program.
These new awards, administered by UC Davis Graduate Studies, honor outstanding excellence in advising and mentoring of graduate students. Winners are nominated by their graduate program to highlight a faculty member’s positive impact on both graduate students and colleagues.
“Advising and mentoring efforts enhance graduate student retention and well-being, allowing graduate students to successfully navigate and thrive in graduate programs,” said the Graduate Studies news article.
Robinson was one of 34 faculty members out of over 100 graduate programs to be recognized. He joins CHE assistant professor Ambarish Kulkarni, ECE associate professor Josh Hihath and CEE professor and chair Chris Cappa as the four winners from the College of Engineering.
“Graduate students are the lifeblood of research at UC Davis, and it’s certainly true in my lab Just as important is the culture of teaming, innovation, sharing, teaching, and brainstorming that marks a successful research lab,” he said. “My students continually surprise, teach, and amaze me with their ideas and insights and positive attitude – even in these stressful times.”
In his Human/Robotics/Vehicle Integration and Performance (HRVIP) lab, Robinson mentors 15 graduate students, along with several undergraduate researchers. He is also the director of the UC Davis Center for Spaceflight Research and the NASA-funded multi-institution Habitats Optimized for Missions of Exploration (HOME) Space Technology Research Institute.
Robinson is a UC Davis alumnus, graduating with B.S. degrees in mechanical engineering and aeronautical engineering before moving to Stanford University for his M.S. and Ph.D. He then embarked on a 36-year career with NASA, first as a researcher at NASA Ames and Langley laboratories, and later as an astronaut. In total, he spent 48 days in space and 20 hours on space walks aboard the space shuttles and the International Space Station.
The award adds to Robinson’s long list of accomplishments. At NASA, he earned four Spaceflight Medals, the Outstanding Leadership award and the Distinguished Service Medal—the agency’s highest honor. As a UC Davis alumnus and now faculty member, he has received the UC Davis Medal from the university along with Distinguished Engineering Alumni Medal from the College of Engineering. He was also awarded the College of Engineering Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award last year.