Andrej Lenert, assistant professor in the U-M Department of Chemical Engineering, has received the 1938E award from the U-M College of Engineering. The award is granted annually to an assistant professor who demonstrates outstanding teaching, counseling, and contribution to their department.
“I am highly honored to be recognized by the College of Engineering with a 1938E award,” said Lenert. “This recognition reflects the quality of mentorship in teaching, research, and service that I’ve received from my colleagues in the department and the College. I would also like to acknowledge the fearless commitment of my students to learning and research.”
Considered among the most prestigious awards in the College, the 1938E award is given annually to one assistant professor from the entire college. It recognizes “an outstanding teacher in both elementary and advanced courses, an understanding counselor of students who seek guidance in their choice of a career, a contributor to the educational growth of his/her College, and a teacher whose scholarly integrity pervades his/her service and the profession of Engineering.”
Since joining U-M ChE as an assistant professor in 2016, Lenert has quickly built an exceptional record of teaching and mentorship, promoting diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), and innovative research.
Lenert has redesigned multiple courses, including Chemical and Engineering Thermodynamics (CHE 330). His restructuring of the graduate student orientation course, Chemical Engineering Research Survey (CHE 595), extends the course to include material on DEI and implicit bias. The new elective he developed, Fundamentals of Solar Energy Conversion, prepares students from diverse academic backgrounds to contribute to the solar energy conversion field.
As chair of ChE graduate recruiting, he launched the annual “Explore Graduate Studies in Chemical Engineering” program (ChE GradExpo). The program and other recruiting efforts have grown female and minority representation among incoming graduate cohorts.
Lenert’s current research focuses on the intersection of heat transfer, photonics, and nanomaterials. The ultimate goal of his research program is greater integration of renewable energy through new approaches for controlling energy transport. Among the many achievements of Lenert’s research, his work has led to a breakthrough photovoltaic cell for conversion of thermal radiation, known as the air bridge cell, which delivers a record-breaking 30% gain in efficiency. This well-funded research program has been supported by several agencies, including the US Department of Energy, US National Science Foundation, and DARPA.