Each year, the National Science Foundation presents the ‘Outstanding Faculty Award’ to one incoming and one long-term AVTC faculty advisor who best promote the goals, objectives and activities related to EcoCAR at their universities.
These awards recognize faculty advisors who have successfully incorporated the EcoCAR goals, objectives, and activities into the undergraduate engineering curriculum in the areas of mechanical, electrical, manufacturing, industrial and other related engineering disciplines. Of special importance are the benefits students receive as a result of the EcoCAR program. NSF awards each university with a $10,000 cash prize for their accomplishments.
This year, the ‘Outstanding Long-Term Faculty Advisor’ award was presented to Gary Neal of Penn State University. Neal’s work with the Penn State University Advanced Vehicle Team (PSU AVT) started as a graduate student with FutureTruck and since then, has grown into a passion that is very successful in competition and provides an unmatched learning experience for all of the students involved.
“Having previously participated on Penn State’s team as a student, I know first-hand the program’s benefit to its participants,” said Neal. “As a student, the competitions opened my eyes to what it truly takes to successfully execute a large-scale development effort. I saw the knowledge and experience that students gained, the camaraderie generated between team members, the healthy competition produced between universities and the networking and interaction opportunities between academia, industry and government.”
Now as a Faculty Advisor, Neal gets to educate students on the unique attributes of advanced vehicle technologies.
“To imagine the PSU AVT without Gary Neal is something I am personally unable to do,” said co-team leader Luke Shepley. “He is one of the great engineering mentors of my college career and the lessons I have learned from him will stay with me throughout my entire life. Without exaggeration, I feel that I am years ahead in terms of my college education and my own professional abilities due to the environment Gary has created. Without him, the PSU AVT would not be what it is today: an amazing environment for learning real-world automotive engineering skills.”
The National Science Foundation and EcoCAR 2 would like to congratulate Gary on his accomplishments with the Penn State team!