Mariappan Jawaharlal receives CSU excellence award

By Miranda Holguin

One of Cal Poly Pomona’s very own was chosen to receive the Wang Family Excellence Award given by the California State University system, the largest university system in the nation.

Only four faculty and one staff member were chosen from over 25,000 faculty members. Mechanical engineering professor Mariappan Jawaharlal, known commonly on campus as “Jawa,” was among the honorees.

“I was surprised. I knew I was nominated by President Coley, but when I received a cold call directly from the chancellor without any warning, I was indeed surprised. I feel honored and humbled. I must have been lucky,” said Jawaharlal via email correspondence.

He and the other honorees each received a certificate and $20,000 as a gift secured by CSU Trustee Emeritus Stanley T. Wang.

Honorees were recognized on Jan. 31 at the Chancellor’s Office after the CSU Board of Trustees meeting, and all 23 university presidents attended.

According to PolyCentric, The Wang Family Excellence Award is given to CSU faculty members who go above and beyond the call of duty in their respective areas of expertise, as well as having a major impact on their students.

Jawaharlal said he was recognized as an “outstanding faculty [member] for exemplary contributions and achievements in teaching, scholarly activities and community outreach.”

This isn’t the first time Jawaharlal’s efforts have been acknowledged. “Last year I received the highest award at Cal Poly Pomona, the Provost Award for Teaching Excellence. A few years before, I received the Northrop Grumman Award for excellence in teaching and a few other awards,” said Jawaharlal.

Jawaharlal is well-known on campus for his excellence in teaching, but also for co-founding the Femineer program at CPP.

The program reaches out to K-12 female students to encourage them to look into STEM fields as an option for their educations and future careers.

Fellow engineering department faculty expressed their sentiments about Jawaharlal receiving this award.

“He is active in his teaching and is quick to give of himself to others,” said aerospace strength and structures professor Todd D. Coburn. “He has demonstrated greatness not only at the university, but also at elementary, middle and high schools by helping them to get their STEM and robotics programs started and improved. It seems his abilities have no bounds, as he also has written numerous humorous and useful articles for The Huffington Post exploring different ideas related to teaching and learning.”

Mechanical engineering professor Paul Nissenson, who has worked closely with Jawaharlal said, “Dr. Jawa is a very dedicated teacher, both here at Cal Poly Pomona and in the local community. The amount of time he spends performing K-12 education-related outreach is amazing.”

Jawaharlal has made a lasting impact on campus.

“Regardless of the topic, Dr. Jawa is one of the most dynamic and engaging speakers I have ever seen,” said Nissenson.

Mariappan Jawaharlal seen with President Coley and Dean of the College of Engineering Cordelia Ontiveros

Courtesy of Mariappan Jawaharlal

Mariappan Jawaharlal seen with President Coley and Dean of the College of Engineering Cordelia Ontiveros

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