Phi Kappa Phi Scholar 2010-2012

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  • Closed until 2016

Current Recipients

Carolyn Eggleston 
Phi Kappa Phi Scholar

Jeffrey Snedeker 
Phi Kappa Phi Artist 

Sarah A. Rajala
Professor and Dean of Engineering
Mississippi State University

Dr. Sarah A. Rajala has been selected by The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi as the 2010-2012 Phi Kappa Phi Scholar for her accomplishments in research, teaching, administration and public service.

Rajala is professor and dean of engineering at Mississippi State University and holds the Earnest W. and Mary Ann Deavenport Jr. Endowed Chair. Before coming to Mississippi State in 2006, she was a member of the faculty at North Carolina State University from 1979 to 2006 and served as director of the Center for Advanced Computing and Communication, associate dean for academic affairs, and associate dean for research and graduate programs.

"Dr. Rajala possesses that rarest of academic gifts – the ability to excel simultaneously as a scholar in her chosen discipline, as a highly regarded teacher, as a practitioner in the scholarship of teaching and learning, as an academic leader in her current role as an engineering dean," said Dr. William McKinney, chair of the Phi Kappa Phi Artist selection committee.

The focus of Rajala’s research has been on the analysis and process of images and image sequences and on engineering educational assessment. She has directed numerous master's theses and Ph.D. dissertations, authored and co-authored nearly 200 publications and secured a patent on image sequence compression.

In the classroom and through professional organizations, Rajala has worked to improve engineering education for all students. She has received numerous teaching awards, provided key leadership in implementing methods to reform engineering education and was elected President of the American Society for Engineering Education for 2008-09. In this position, she traveled around the world advocating for improvement in the engineering education process and for ways to improve the representation of women and minorities in the engineering professions.

Named Mississippi State’s first female dean of engineering in 2008, Rajala has a history of opening doors for women and minorities in engineering. As the first female tenure-track professor in the engineering department at NCSU, she organized networking activities for the college of engineering women faculty and helped create a maternity leave policy for tenure-track faculty members where none had existed. Further, she helped establish the Women in Engineering program, which serves to coordinate, educate and sponsor many programs for women and provides K-12 outreach.

Rajala received her B.S. degree from Michigan Technological University, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Rice University.

First presented in 1974, Phi Kappa Phi Scholar Award recognizes those who have excelled in teaching, research and public service. Recipients receive a $1,000 honorarium. 

The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi