Three students, and three faculty and staff members in the Department of Chemical Engineering received annual awards of the highest honor at the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering Awards Luncheon held at Emerson Alumni Hall on Friday, April 27.
Undergraduates, Kevaughnn A. Aiken and Savannah Shelton, and Ph.D. candidate Nevis Brosius were awarded the Attributes of a Gator Engineer Awards.
The college recognizes five undergraduate and five Ph.D. students who have strongly modeled one of the five attributes which include: Creativity, Leadership, Integrity, Professional Excellence, and Service to the Global Community.
Considered to possess the greatest distinction of any student award from the college, the Attributes of a Gator Engineer Awards are intended to recognize the various attributes of the New Engineer.
Kevaughnn A. Aiken was presented the Integrity Award.
Aiken is described as proactive, humble, and deeply caring about the safety and well being of others. His volunteer presentations at Introduction to Engineering have been compared to Ted Talks and encourage freshmen to build sincere relationships with others, and to learn from their mistakes. In a 2017 co-op with Dow Chemical, he took full responsibility for his projects including apologizing if something went wrong and then working toward a solution. Aiken’s supervisor said he earned the respect and admiration of all. And his production leader requested that Dow hire him full time.
“Kevaughnn is impelled toward right action, unfailingly honest, and an inspiration of integrity to others,” said his nominator and undergraduate advisor, Cynthia Sain.
Aiken also received the award for Outstanding Gator Engineer Two-Year Scholar. This award recognizes the college’s best transfer students who have a demonstrated a record of academic excellence and service.
Senior Savannah Shelton was presented with the Creativity Award.
Shelton is described as willing to discover new solutions and innovations in her leadership service and professional experience.
As a leader in the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, she used original event templates and handouts to brand the organization, and increased student membership. She also created the first ever Chemical Engineering minor fair, because she realized that students interested in packaging had no central source of information or networking.
Shelton resurrected the UF Packaging Club, established an executive board, a constitution, and gave the club a visible presence on social media. Due to her inventive efforts, the club is thriving – hosting recruiters on campus and competing in national design competitions.
After landing back-to-back summer internships with General Mills, she brought the same level of creativity to work where she designed and implemented studies to help ensure safety and save money. Savannah is widely considered to be a true innovator, always willing to explore new and interesting solutions.
Nevin Brosius, a Ph.D. candidate, was awarded with the Service to the Global Community Award.
Brosius was described as being driven to serve the larger community. He worked as the first ever outreach and service chair for the Chemical Engineering Graduate Student Council, and inspired others to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity – even taking on a last-minute project when other student groups cancelled.
At P.K. Yonge last fall, Brosius taught interactive STEM lessons to five classes of sixth grade students, and he’s a volunteer judge for the annual Alachua County Science and Engineering Fair.
Brosius’ own doctoral research is part of a large international effort that requires him to collaborate with, and travel to labs in both France and Japan. In an effort to be a positive ambassador in the global context, he decided to better educate himself about the history and culture of each country, including learning French.
One of his nominators noted that Brosius goes beyond simply performing local or global outreach, he finds true joy in it.
2018 Faculty Awardees
Tanmay Lele, Ph.D., was awarded the Doctoral Dissertation Adviser/Mentoring Award.
Lele’s mentoring philosophy is focused on helping students succeed in an inter-disciplinary world. His students are given opportunities to work with collaborators in multiple disciplines and at various universities. Lele’s students have received numerous awards at conferences.
Sergey Vasenkov, Ph.D., was awarded the Undergraduate Teacher of the Year Award.
Vasenkov is an exceptional teacher and effective communicator who encourages students to develop critical thinking skills through inquiry-based learning. His students feel they are learning useful problem-solving skills that are important beyond the course they are taking, and appreciate his dedication.
2018 Staff Awardee
Cythina Sain, Undergraduate Academic Adviser, was awarded the Staff Innovation Award.
Sain has been extremely creative and innovative in improving advising services in Chemical Engineering. She created and supervised the Chemical Engineering Peer Advisor student group, who provide academic and professional advice to other chemical engineering students. This has not only helped with advising the large number of undergraduates in the Chemical Engineering program, but also provided advising students with a unique opportunity to serve others. Sain has also created an advising web resource, and initiated Chemical Engineering Day, an annual event where industry representatives visit the department to provide career information and advice to improve the professional development of the students.