Congratulations to this year’s recipients of the University of Utah College of Engineering Teaching and Staff Awards. These awards are given annually to faculty and staff who have demonstrated outstanding work in the college over the past year.

Below are the awards received by members of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, along with comments from some of the colleagues and students who nominated them. To see a full list of recipients and their awards, click here.


COE Outstanding TA  

Shaun McKellar 

University of Utah electrical and computer engineering teaching assistant Shaun McKellar has been awarded the College of Engineering Top TA Award for his significant contributions to the academic success of his students and the ECE community.  

McKellar studied both electrical engineering and physics during his time as an undergraduate student. Some of his favorite topics include circuit analysis, calculus, and physics. Since coming to the University of Utah in 2019, McKellar has worked on undergraduate research projects such as antenna design for biomedical devices, COVID-19 research, and neurostimulation devices. He was driven to pursue a teaching assistant position by his “relentless passion” for academics and inclination for communicating and teaching. 

McKellar was a teaching assistant for courses such as Intro to Electromagnetics and Intro to Semiconductor Physics. Students who had the opportunity to work with McKellar describe him as passionate, supportive, and enthusiastic. 

“He was so knowledgeable, friendly, helpful, and most of all, uplifting,” said one of McKellar’s students. “He wanted everyone to know they could succeed and was always willing to offer students help in classes he TA’d, and even classes he didn’t. He is an incredible student and will no doubt go on to make an incredible career for himself, wherever that happens to be.” 

In total, McKellar was nominated for the Top TA award by 14 of his students. 


COE Outstanding Service  

Mike Scarpulla 

University of Utah electrical and computer engineering associate professor Mike Scarpulla was awarded the College of Engineering Service Award. He was selected for the award this year in large part because of his exceptional service after the flood of Merrill Engineering Building last August.  

Mike was in the building from the very beginning and provided leadership, management, and communication, which helped mitigate the damage to both his own labs and those of other research groups. One of his faculty colleagues called his service through this event “heroic.” He continued to work long hours through the recovery, helping to protect and secure equipment, and advising both the ServPro disaster cleanup crew and his faculty colleagues.