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CCEE’s Dr. Francis de los Reyes III wins NC State Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor Award

Dr. Francis de los Reyes

CCEE’s Dr. Francis de los Reyes III, who was recently named Glenn E. and Phyllis J. Futrell Distinguished Professor #2, received the Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor Award as part of the NC State 2021-22 University Teaching Awards ceremony. 

The award, sponsored by the NC State Alumni Association, is one of the most prestigious awards given on campus to recognize excellence in undergraduate education. Up to six recipients receive this recognition each year and retain the title for the duration of their career as an NC State faculty member. Each recipient also receives a cash award.

De los Reyes, who has been an NC State faculty member for more than two decades and currently teaches CE 481 (Environmental Engineering Project) and CE 484 (Water Supply and Wastewater Systems), has received several accolades including ​​the Water Environment Federation Gordon M. Fair Distinguished Engineering Educator Award and the NC State Outstanding Teacher Award. 

“His past awards clearly define him as an academic that cares about student learning, outcomes and overall success,” said CCEE professor Dr. Joel Ducoste in a letter of recommendation. 

Ducoste praised de los Reyes for his educational delivery style that helps communities understand how his research is helping to provide public health and environmental health protection.  

“He does this by engaging the community as a partner and not an outcome,” Ducoste said. “For him, it is a two-way street that he has learned from his interactions with students at NC State and now employs it to perform community based participatory research initiatives.”

Ducoste also said he appreciates de los Reyes’ individual mentoring approach, which encourages and inspires students to believe in themselves and perform at their best. 

“For example, during a research meeting, one of his graduate students was presenting results from experiments that he performed. The results did not make sense and the graduate student knew that there was something incorrect and clearly looked visibly concerned about what his advisor might say. Instead, Dr. de los Reyes shared his personal story about how he had trouble with his experiments while he was a graduate student and noted that these research challenges come up all the time and are part of the research learning process. While he shares his personal stories, he also demands excellence and provides constructive feedback that allows his students to excel.”

Dr. Z. Michael Wang, vice president of Hazen and Sawyer, teaches CE 481 alongside de los Reyes and said that he is the best teacher he has worked with. 

“De los Reyes cares about his students,” Wang said in a letter of recommendation. “With his teaching in other water system process design courses, his holistic approach has led students to apply the theories learned in class to real-world design practices, and the results are outstanding.”