SAE International Announces Winners of Second Annual Student and Young Professional Technical Paper Competition

Competition Honors Four Individuals for their Commitment to Shaping the Future of Mobility Engineering

WARRENDALE, Pa. (April 28, 2020) – SAE International announced today the four winners of the second annual SAE Student and Young Professional Technical Paper Competition. Selected by SAE International’s Competition Panel, the winners—two students and two young professionals—will have their papers published and be recognized with a plaque and monetary prize to support their future in mobility engineering. 
“This competition recognizes young individuals whose thinking will help evolve the world of mobility engineering,” said Donna Edenhart, Director of Membership and Sections at SAE International. “We are thrilled to see the innovative work submitted in this year’s competition and look forward to providing up-and-coming engineers with the opportunity to gain industry exposure and recognition for years to come.”
The 2020 student winners are:

  • George Koutsakis, Ph.D. Student, University of Wisconsin – George is working as a research assistant at the Engine Research Center (ERC) of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, focusing his work on the in-cylinder multilayer wall heat transfer in internal combustion engines. He was the first team leader of the Typhoon MotoRacing project and received his degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Western Macedonia - Greece in 2016. He then joined the ERC in May 2017.

  • Erika Ziraldo, Ph.D. Student, University of Guelph – Erika’s doctoral research investigates patterns in human driving behavior for applications in accident reconstruction and decision-making for autonomous vehicles. Erika recently completed a Mitacs Accelerated Internship with Kodsi Engineering where she applied her research on driver response times to real-world accident reconstructions. Her current research is focused on the interactions between autonomous vehicles and human drivers during hazardous scenarios.

The 2020 young professional winners are:  

  •  Dhaval Lodaya, Senior Project Engineer, Gamma Technologies LLC – Dhaval is a senior project engineer in Electrified Vehicle Applications at Gamma Technologies, where he works in system and component level modeling and controls of hybrid electric and electric vehicles, developing high level vehicle controllers including rule based, optimal controls and low-level vehicle controllers. Dhaval is responsible for development of GT-DRIVE+, a vehicle modeling framework and for the development of optimal control algorithms such as ECMS and dynamic programming. He earned his master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering with a focus on Electrified Powertrain Controls from Michigan Technological University.
  • Dr. Dario Lopez-Pintor, Post-Doctoral Researcher, Sandia National Laboratories – Dario is currently a post-doctoral appointee of the Department of Engine Research, Combustion Research Facility – Sandia National Laboratories, where he works under the mentoring of Dr. John E. Dec in the Low-Temperature Gasoline Combustion Laboratory.  He received his Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering and his Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from University of Vigo in 2013, where he graduated with honors, obtaining the Spanish National Outstanding Graduation Award from the Spanish Ministry of Science and Education. He received his Master of Science in Reciprocating Internal Combustion Engines and his Ph.D. in Propulsive Systems for Transport Media from Polytechnic University of Valencia in 2014 and 2017, respectively, where he graduated Cum Laude. He received the SAE Excellence in Oral Presentation Award for his presentation at the SAE’s WCX World Congress Experience 2019.

About SAE International
SAE International is a global association committed to advancing mobility knowledge and solutions for the benefit of humanity. By engaging nearly 200,000 engineers, technical experts and volunteers, we connect and educate mobility professionals to enable safe, clean, and accessible mobility solutions. We act on two priorities: encouraging a lifetime of learning for mobility engineering professionals and setting the standards for industry engineering. We strive for a better world through the work of our philanthropic SAE Foundation, including award-winning programs like A World in Motion® and the Collegiate Design Series™. More at


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