Awardees of the Dean’s Award for Outstanding PhD Theses

| 25 Aug 2021

The School is proud to congratulate Ankita Singh, Huasheng Lin and Chenhao Sun on being awarded the Dean’s Award for Outstanding PhD Theses in the first round of 2021!

The Dean’s Award for Outstanding PhD Theses recognises PhD graduates who have been commended by their thesis examiners. Our candidates have produced theses that have received outstanding and excellent levels of achievement for all examination criteria, and in the opinion of their examiners is in the top 10% of PhD theses examined.

A wonderful achievement and testament to the efforts of our PhD graduates and their supervisors!

Find out more on Ankita, Huasheng and Chenhao and their achievements and their careers since completion.

Ankita won the award for the thesis in “Computer vision and textural analysis for characterization of X-ray images of rocks”.

Ankita is following in the steps of her father who is a Chemical Engineer. Her strong publication record and previous data-science Internships enabled her to gain employment as a Graduate Data Scientist with the PACE analytics team at Rio Tinto.

Photo of Dr Ankita Singh


During her undergraduate studies, Ankita was involved in many co-curricular activities including being an: Engineering Peer Mentor, Academic Tutor for ENGG1811, Environment Volunteer at Stationery Reuse Centre, and a Petroleum Engineering Student Ambassador. She was also a part of the university team that participated in the Petro Bowl Championship in Dubai during the SPE Conference aiding the school to secure one of the top 8 universities positions.

Before starting her PhD, Ankita was the secretary for the first Australian meeting of Interpore conference in 2016. Towards the end of her PhD, she got involved with the Digital Rocks Portal, an open-source repository for rock images where she contributes to promote the monthly newsletter.

Ankita also has a younger sister who is a student at UNSW Medicine currently studying a Bachelor of Medical Studies/Doctor of Medicine making her family a high achieving one.

We spoke to Ankita regarding her award, new role at Rio Tinto and her time at UNSW.

To view the full interview and read the advice Ankita has for Engineering students, click here.

Huasheng won the award for the thesis in “Reliable Estimation of Horizontal Stress Magnitudes from Borehole Breakout Data”.

Huasheng has always been concerned about increasing safety in the Mining Industry and the outcome of the research from his PhD thesis has been implemented at numerous mine sites in Australia. Huasheng is currently a Graduate Geotechnical Engineer at Glencore where he can implement his research and work at mine sites as well as corporate offices across open cut and underground operations.

Photo of Dr Huasheng (Bill) Lin


His PhD enabled Huasheng to land a job at Glencore as his research project was funded by the Australian Coal Industry Research Program and Glencore.

During his time at university, he met his wife during the semester break when she asked him for directions. The couple have been together for over 5 years now.

“I initially had other things in my mind but the best moment of me studying at UNSW (and my whole life) has to be meeting her on campus”.

We spoke to Huasheng regarding his award, role at Glencore and his advice for future Engineers.

To view the full interview and learn more about Huasheng had to say, click here.


Chenhao won the award for the thesis in “The Theory of Wetting based on Topology and Integral Geometry”.

During his PHD, Chenhao published three research papers which were published in top journals. He has been recognised for his research by Scientists and Experts all around the world, such as Martin Blunt (the member of UK's Royal Academy of Engineering) at Imperial College; Alex Hansen at NTNU, and of course some influential Professors and the Chinese Academy of Science (CAS) members in China.

Photo of Dr Chenhao Sun


During his time as UNSW, he was also awarded the University Medal amongst many school awards and prizes. His dream job as a child was to become a Scientist which he has fulfilled undertaking research in his current role as a Lecturer in the College of Geosciences at the China University of Petroleum in Beijing.

We spoke to Chenhao regarding his award, role as a Lecturer and what he sees in the future of the Petroleum and Energy Industry.

To read the full interview and learn more about Chenhao and his research, click here.