Rath Award Recipients

This Year's Rath Award Recipient:


De’Ajree Branch
photo by Jack Looney
De’Ajree Branch

De’Ajree Branch, a UVA graduate student in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Science, is the 2024 winner of the Bhakta Rath Research Award. Her research is focused on a new form of renewable energy, energy from rivers, with support from her advisor Eric Loth, Rolls-Royce Commonwealth Professor and Director of the Fluids Research Innovation Lab.

The Bhakta Rath Research Award, established in 2022 by a gift from Dr. Bhakta B. Rath and his wife, Sushama Rath, offers an opportunity to promote and reward excellence in Public Impact Research (PIR) for graduate students or postdocs and their collaborating UVA faculty member. The award recognizes those who conduct exceptional research in anticipation of the future needs of the nation.

Branch’s research is on riverine energy where she is examining the influence of river conditions on energy system performance for oscillating hydrofoils. Her renewable energy research has the potential for technology commercialization, and could help support our world and environment.