Arava appointed to associate dean for research and graduate studies in College of Engineering

After conducting a comprehensive internal search, the Wayne State University College of Engineering announced the appointment of Leela Arava, Ph.D., as the associate dean for research and graduate studies, effective Feb. 12, 2023.

Arava joined Wayne State University as an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering in 2013. He was promoted to associate professor in 2018 and full professor in 2022.

During his tenure in the College of Engineering, Arava established a nationally recognized research group focusing on fundamentals of electrochemical principles applied to energy storage systems such as batteries, supercapacitors and fuel cells. His research group designs a variety of nanomaterials and understands their transport phenomena, electrode kinetics, electrocatalytic activity, and thermal and electrochemical stabilities under extreme operating conditions. He has developed high-energy and safe batteries for electric vehicles, micro-batteries, power micro-sensors, and flexible hybrid energy devices for wearable assistive technologies.

Arava has published more than 110 peer-reviewed international journal articles and two book chapters, and holds 16 patents. He has delivered more than 60 invited talks and seminars in academic and industry arenas. His publications have been cited more than 14,000 times and have an H-index of 48. Since 2013, Arava has secured over $5 million in extramural grants and contracts from industry and competitive federal funding agencies. He is the recipient of the prestigious NSF CAREER Award, the Doctoral New Investigator Award from the American Chemical Society-Petroleum Research Fund, the Emerging Investigators Award from Materials Research Express, the WSU Academy of Scholars Junior Faculty Award, the WSU Career Development Chair Award, and both the College of Engineering Excellence in Teaching and Research Awards.

To engage high school students in STEM education and to make WSU their school of choice, Arava developed the Mobile Energy Lab in 2015 as an outreach initiative to provide Detroit Public School students with a unique hands-on learning experience pertaining to sustainable energy such as batteries, fuel cells and solar cells. Out of this initiative, many high school students joined the mechanical engineering summer internship program.

Arava has represented the College of Engineering on the Academic Senate since 2017, and served on the Strategic Planning Steering Committee and the Review Advisory Panel for the Academic Program Review. He chaired the College of Engineering Faculty Assembly Executive Committee and is currently the graduate program director for the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Arava has served on numerous other college, departmental and university committees. He is also an associate editor for the ASME Journal of Electrochemical Energy Conversion and Storage.

Faculty spotlight

← Back to listing