2013 Award Winners

Gary Pennell
2013 Lou Takacs Award
Nucor-Yamato Steel Company
Gary Pennell photo

Gary Pennell is Chief Metallurgist at Nucor-Yamato Steel Company in Blytheville, AR. He is an alumnus of Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T), receiving his B.S. in Metallurgical Engineering in 1997. Gary, himself being the first student to ever co-op with Nucor in 1996, has helped organize Nucor’s corporate recruiting task force to increase Nucor’s presence on the university’s campus.  This resulted in Nucor becoming one of Missouri S&T’s top recruiters regularly, and in the 2011-2012 academic year, Nucor was the number one cooperative education employer of Missouri S&T students.  Gary has led recruiting efforts in a number of ways.  He has attended every career fair as well as going the extra mile to reach out to additional students on campus.  He was a lead orchestrator in the organization of “Nucor Week” on the campus in September, 2011.


Gary has also been influential in providing important gifts to the university both individually and through Nucor.  Through his efforts and support, Nucor Steel provided a $2 million gift in 2006 to Missouri S&T’s Materials Science and Engineering department to endow the F. Kenneth Iverson Chair of Steelmaking Technologies.  This was the largest corporate cash gift in the school’s history.


“In our collective 40 years in academia, we have never witnessed an alumnus who has collectively achieved so much in all areas of what a meaningful relationship with industry represents.”

Gayle Elliott
Associate Professor
2013 Alvah K. Borman Award
University of Cincinnati
Division of Professional Practice
Gayle Elliott photo

Gayle Elliott earned BS and MS degrees from the University of Cincinnati, and is currently Associate Professor in the Division of Professional Practice.  She is responsible for the University's International Co-op Program, and for placing mechanical engineering students in co-op jobs in the US. Initially part of the College of Engineering, Gayle has worked with the International Engineering Co-op Program since 1993. In 1998 she created and began working with similar programs in the Colleges of Applied Sciences, Business and the College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning.  She has extensive experience developing international exchange programs and is an active member in several international engineering education organizations and projects. 


Gayle is General Conference Chair for the 2013 CIEC.  She served as Assistant Conference Chair for the 2012 CIEC and CEED Program Chair for the 2010 and 2011 conferences.  She is also a member of the ASEE International Division and will serve as Program Chair for the International Division at the ASEE annual conference in 2014.  She is also a founding member of the Organizing Committee for the International Engineering Education annual colloquium. 


“Gayle has dedicated her efforts to cooperative education, and her approach to expand the coop experience into a global environment is not only unique, but she was clearly a trailblazer when she started this work 20 years ago; she has changed the way many of us look at cooperative education. Gayle has contributed strong service and leadership to CEED and also to the cooperative education and international engineering education community as a whole.  Her list of presentations and accomplishments is substantial and includes local, regional, national, and international in the fields of engineering education and work integrated learning.”

Kirk Barber
2013 Intern Student of the Year
Indiana University Purdue University – Indianapolis (IUPUI)
Kirk Barber photo

Kirk Barber was born and raised in California before moving to the Midwest at age 16.  In 2008, Kirk graduated from high school with Academic Honors and subsequently enrolled in the Motorsports Engineering and Mechanical Engineering dual degree program at Indiana University Purdue University – Indianapolis (IUPUI).  Kirk has truly made the most of his college experience.  He served as a School ambassador, was involved in Motorsports Club, IUPUI Formula SAE Club, and the Purdue Grand Prix, and completed three internships. 


Most recently, he interned at Allison Transmission for two summers, where he excelled as a member of the Off Highway and Electric Drive team.  In his free time, Kirk enjoys spending time with family, friends, and his fiancée and also working on cars. Kirk has been involved with auto racing since the age of seven.   His most proud accomplishments include publishing an engineering technical article, being a Top 100 student at IUPUI, and currently being recognized for his internship achievements with Allison Transmission.

Benjamin Ko
2013 Co-op Student of the Year
University of Cincinnati
Benjamin Ko photo

Ben Ko is a senior Biomedical Engineering student at The University of Cincinnati, where he has been named Engineer of the Month and nominated for the Herman Schneider Co-op Excellence award. Ben was the president of UC’s Biomedical Engineering Society for two years, and he is currently involved with the College of Engineering’s Faculty Curriculum Committee as the student representative.

Ben completed his three six-month co-op rotations at a Cincinnati company, AtriCure, which designs and manufactures medical devices for cardiac surgery. While there, Ben, as a member of a product development team, was given the opportunity to travel across the USA and to Europe to train surgeons, nurses, and sales representatives on how to use the company’s new devices. He attended upwards of 40 open heart surgeries in which he played an active role. When he was in the AtriCure home office, Ben contributed to the design team by conveying Voice-of-Customer needs, performing analysis on device characteristics, and leading post-market surveillance for the Capital Equipment division.

Ben embraced the opportunity to be the resident expert on the equipment and assumed the responsibility of educating the engineering team and sales force,” says Keith Martin, AtriCure’s Engineering Director. Thankful of his time at AtriCure, Ben writes, “Through my extensive co-op experience, I have been given the rare opportunity to truly know what I want to pursue with my degree in BME.”

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