AE Students Garner College of Engineering Awards
The College also has awarded Mavis Memorial Fund Scholarships to AE graduate students Sang Lee and Craig Merret, and a SURGE Fellowships to graduate student Marta Baginska.
The Andrea J. Culumber Award honors a deceased student who received her BS in Mechanical Engineering in 1997. The award is based on leadership skills as well as personal qualities, such as enthusiasm, creativity, and kindness. This award includes recognition at the Knights of St. Patrick Ball and a scholarship.
The Pierce awards were established in 1969 in honor of Stanley H. Pierce, who served as an associate dean in the College of Engineering and who was an inspiring leader in the constant endeavor for better relations between faculty and students. These awards are given to both an outstanding student and an outstanding faculty member in recognition of their efforts to develop empathetic student–faculty cooperation.
As high school visitation chair for the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), Gonzalez was in charge of that group’s biggest annual event—bringing high school students to campus for a four-day visit in spring 2008. As event chair, Gonzalez organized transportation, attendance, housing, food, and workshops for the event. He set up activities to introduce the students to college life and persuade those who were undecided that Illinois was the right choice for them.
In his role as external vice president of SHPE, Gonzalez develops relationships with a broad range of engineering companies and strives to give Society members an opportunity to interact with companies that pertain to their interests. For example, he arranged a bowling event with representatives from Qualcomm so that students would be able to interact on a personal level with company recruiters. He also raised $21,000 to send approximately 20 freshmen and 30 other SHPE members to the group’s national conference in Arizona. During the Spring 2009 semester, he focused on raising money for new computers in SHPE’s campus office so that students will have access to better technology for their studies and work.
Gonzalez is also involved with other mentoring activities such as being a volunteer youth baseball coach, a guest speaker for 8th grade graduation at Maria Saucedo Scholastic Academy in Chicago, and a volunteer with the Illinois ELITES Program, whose goal is to help increase the quantity, quality, and diversity of Chicago’s contribution to the future knowledge-based workforce.
A junior last spring semester, Gonzalez plans to obtain a master’s degree in aerospace engineering, with a focus on spacecraft structures and hopes also to pursue a doctoral degree. His career goal is to work for NASA as a mission engineer.
Ciffone’s dedication to community leadership has been praised by his advisor, teachers, and fellow students.
A senior last spring who is also carrying a minor in computer science, Ciffone still finds time for extensive involvement in extracurricular activities to help foster positive student-faculty interaction and cooperation. He has been a member of the Aerospace Undergraduate Advisory Board for three years and currently serves as its head, helping shape a major curriculum revision, and developing a mentorship program to integrate freshmen and sophomores into senior design groups. To implement this program, Ciffone gained the support of faculty who teach senior design, as well as the head of the department.
As a member of the Engineering Council Dean Student Advisory Committee from 2006 to 2008, Ciffone has brought student concerns from throughout the college to its deans and faculty. He also demonstrated his leadership by obtaining corporate sponsorships for the 2007 E-Book student planner, raising money for charitable organizations, and organizing community service events.
The College awards Mavis Memorial Fund Scholarships to entering and continuing Ph.D. students who have demonstrated an aptitude for the instructional program. It is intended to encourage students to pursue an academic career. Applications are solicited from students and faculty and the department’s Graduate Awards Committee makes the official nomination to the Graduate College.
SURGE Fellowships are awarded to women and underrepresented students in the engineering area. The department nominates applicants to this program based on their application for admission and supporting documents.