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Three ASME Members Honored at the International Mechanical Engineering Education Leadership Summit

Three ASME Members Honored at the International Mechanical Engineering Education Leadership Summit

Three Society members were named the winners of prestigious ASME engineering education awards last month during the 2018 Mechanical Engineering Education Leadership Summit. The annual conference, which was held from March 14-17 in San Diego, Calif., is an annual strategy and management forum for leaders from academia, industry and government who are dedicated to shaping the future of mechanical engineering education, industry practice and public-private research and workforce development collaborations.

David R. Wallace
ASME member David R. Wallace, professor and MacVicar Faculty Fellow in the mechanical engineering department at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was named the winner of the Ben C. Sparks Medal at the Summit this year. Established in 1990, the medal recognizes eminent service to mechanical engineering or engineering technology education through outstanding contributions that result in innovative, authentic, practice-based, engineering design and build experiences for undergraduate students. The winner of the award receives a certificate, a bronze medal, and a $1,000 honorarium.

Dr. Wallace was cited for his “outstanding contributions that have transformed the way undergraduates across disciplines and cultures think about and practice mechanical engineering design through authentic, human-centered engineering experiences, and for inspiring the general public to embrace their own creativity and engineering spirit.” His current educational responsibilities involve several core project-based, hands-on design/build courses, including a senior capstone design course that leads students through the process of identifying product opportunities and developing new products, an introductory freshman design course dealing with toy product design, and a graduate design course that concentrates on user-centric design and design techniques.

Kendra Sharp
A second ASME member, Kendra Vail Sharp, Ph.D., was named the winner of the Edwin F. Church Medal at the conference. The award, which was established in 1972, is presented to an individual who has performed eminent service — above and beyond his or her normal activities — in increasing the value, importance and attractiveness of mechanical engineering education. As winner of the medal, Dr. Sharp received a certificate, a bronze medal and a $2,500 honorarium.

Dr. Sharp is a professor of mechanical engineering and the Richard and Gretchen Evans Professor of Humanitarian Engineering at Oregon State University. She was nominated for the award in recognition of her educational leadership achievements, which include establishing a formal humanitarian engineering program, teaching design in diverse global settings, and linking engineering to positive social impact. Sharp is also the co-author of more than 31 archival journal articles related to engineering design; small-scale hydropower and related development of climate software for power prediction, microfluidics including biological and energy applications; and experimental fluid mechanics.

Kathleen Sienko
ASME member Kathleen Sienko, Ph.D., associate professor of mechanical engineering and the Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan, was named this year’s recipient of the Donald N. Zwiep Innovation in Education Award. The honor recognizes mechanical engineering and closely related programs/departments for their exceptional and innovative engagement in and fostering advances in mechanical engineering education — particularly those that have demonstrated exemplary contributions to the advancement of mechanical and multi-disciplinary project-based engineering. The award includes a plaque-mounted certificate and a $2,000 honorarium.

Dr. Sienko was recognized for her work as founder and faculty director of the university’s Global Health Design Initiative (GHDI), which offers undergraduate students the opportunity to take part in several experiential learning programs that emphasize collaboration with stakeholders in order to define problems and implement solutions to address real-world healthcare challenges. Sienko has been the recipient of a number of additional awards including the National Science Foundation CAREER Award and the University of Michigan’s Miller Faculty Scholar Endowed Award, University Undergraduate Teaching Award and Provost’s Teaching Innovation Prize.

Nominations are currently being accepted for all three of these ASME Engineering Education awards. In addition to the certificate, medal and honorarium, each winner will receive travel support to the 2019 International Mechanical Engineering Education (MEED) Leadership Summit and an opportunity to deliver a presentation during the conference.

The deadline to submit a nomination for both the 2019 Ben C. Sparks Medal and the Edwin F. Church Medal is Sept. 15. Nominations for next year’s Donald N. Zwiep Innovation in Education Award must be submitted by Dec. 18. For more information on the Ben C. Sparks Medal, click here. For more details on the Edwin F. Church medal, click here. To learn more about the criteria for the Donald N. Zwiep Innovation in Education Award, contact Aisha Lawrey, Director, ASME Engineering Education, at

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