Texas Tech University

SafeRaider Awards

SafeRaider Awards promote a culture of safety by recognizing and honoring individuals within the Whitacre College of Engineering who have made an outstanding effort and commitment to maintain a safe learning and research environment. Award winners are not only dedicated to ensure safety in their own research or teaching, but also serve as leaders to inspire safe practice and develop a culture of safety.

Visit the SafeRaider website for more information about the SafeRaider program and to submit nominations for 2019.

2018 SafeRaider Award Recipients

Mr. Jason Guinn

Senior Technician
Nanophotonics Center, Electrical and Computer Engineering

VladimirJason Guinn took a comprehensive look at all operations in the Nano-Photonics Center and improved the safety of the labs. This is being recognized by the department, the college, and the TTU EHS department. The Nano-Photonics Center is one of the premier centers of advanced research on campus and is doing experimental research that uses a lot of potentially dangerous chemicals, radioactive substances, X-Ray machines etc. Jason is doing an outstanding job in keeping all equipment safe, educating the researchers on the proper operation of the equipment, reinforcing the use of personal protective equipment, and updating all the safety data sheets. He is keeping up with all reporting and training requirements and maintaining a good housekeeping.

2017 SafeRaider Award Recipients

Dr. Vladimir Kuryatkov

Senior Research Associate, Nano Tech Center
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

VladimirDr. Kuryatkov is the safety officer for the Nano Tech Center (NTC) and he took on the tremendous responsibility to keep everyone safe in NTC. Dr. Kuryatkov worked collaboratively with the ECE departmental and college safety committees to ensure research activities were being conducted in a safe way and that operations were in compliance with safety policies. Dr. Kuryatkov actively participated in safety surveys and made corrections/modifications promptly while on-site or once the inspection report was received. Besides his safety duties in NTC, he also kindly offered in-person training with his abundant experience and expertise for graduate students from other Engineering departments on how to properly handle hydrofluoric acid (extremely toxic and corrosive chemical). Dr. Kuryatkov really set a good example of maintaining a high safety standard for himself while at the same time, helping others achieve the same goal. This is exactly the safety culture we strive to develop in the WCOE community.

Mengyun Zhang

Ph.D. Student
Industrial, Manufacturing & Systems Engineering

MengyunZhangMengyun is currently a second-year Ph.D. student in Dr. Changxue Xu's group in the department of Industrial, Manufacturing & Systems Engineering. She is the safety captain in her lab and leads the effort to maintain safe practices. She prepares and organizes all the safety documents in the lab, including the biosafety cabinet certificate, lab safety manual, chemical hygiene plan, protocols, and performs bi-weekly internal safety checks. At the same time, she helps other lab members to maintain a high standard of lab safety, such as wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) in the lab, checking SDSs prior to using any chemicals, and washing hands before exiting the lab. She devised the idea of mini-protocols, which are sections of protocols posted near work areas, to serve as reminders to follow the protocols and safety precaution. She has also been an assistant to the departmental safety committee. During the relocation of IMSE department to the new building (old Petroleum Engineering) in October 2016, Mengyun was actively involved in addressing and solving safety issues during the relocation process. When she realized an issue with chemical storage, she took immediate action to purchase secondary containers and re-organize chemical bottles. Afterwards, she notified every lab in the department of the proper chemical storage technique. Mengyun sincerely did a very good job of maintaining a safe working environment for her lab and the IMSE department.


2016 SafeRaider Award Recipients

Dr. Stephen Bayne

Professor, Associate Chair for Graduate Studies
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

BayneDr. Stephen Bayne was from Barbados and completed his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Texas Tech in 1997. Currently, he is a professor and associate chair for graduate studies in the Electrical and Computer Science Engineering department. Also, he serves as a faculty representative in the ECE departmental safety committee and leads an initiative to ensure safety remains the top priority in various research and teaching activities. He organizes group safety meeting with topics such as safe behavior in the lab, lessons learned from recent near misses or incidents, updated procedure for new experiment etc. Periodically, he invites the departmental safety representative to walk through his lab and make sure his lab is in compliance with safety standards. He also has made additional safety measures in the lab by adopting the Army Research Laboratory (ARL) safety guidelines. Furthermore, he includes electrical safety as part of his classes to equip students with safety knowledge and a safety mindset. 

Dr. Caroline C. Ahrens

Postdoc Researcher
Department of Chemical Engineering

AhrensDr. Caroline C. Ahrens is from Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, and graduated with a Ph.D. from MIT in 2014. She joined the Chemical Engineering department in 2015 as a postdoc researcher working with Dr. Wei Li and Dr. Siva Vanapalli. She joined TTU with extensive knowledge about general safety practice for biological and chemical hazards and quickly became familiar with TTU safety policies. She initiated the application of biosafety level II (BSL II) certificate for the Li and Vanapalli labs in ChE and Sheng Lab in ME, which were all approved by the TTU Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) in 2015.  She has made tremendous efforts to ensure every lab member correctly practices BSL II regulations in daily work by following all safety protocols. She constantly encourages lab mates to build good safety habits by wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) in the lab, checking SDSs before using any chemicals, confirming the type of waste before disposal and washing hands before exit lab. Moreover, she shares safety information and resources with lab mates and supervisors, fulfills good safety practices she learned from other institutes and applies safety practices properly in her current labs.

Yang Yu

Ph.D. Candidate
Department of Petroleum Engineering

YuMr. Yu was from Daqing, China, and joined TTU in 2011. He is presently a third year Petroleum Engineering Ph.D. candidate supervised by Dr. James Sheng and serves as a student representative on the PE department safety committee. Mr. Yu received multiple nominations for the SafeRaider Award for his extraordinary dedication to safety. Mr. Yu goes above and beyond when it comes to safety in the labs. He has volunteered to be the safety captain without being asked, not only for research labs, but also the undergraduate learning lab. He takes extra care to maintain the labs vigilantly and encourages safe practice. Mr. Yu is an excellent example of a graduate student who promotes a safety culture with his fellow graduate students and with undergraduate students within the classrooms.