Engineering Ambassadors win Johnson & Johnson medal

The Penn State Engineering Ambassadors program has been named the winner of the 2012 Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies Inc. Medal by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) for its efforts in diversity and inclusiveness.

According to a letter from the company, the Engineering Ambassadors are being recognized "for empowering student representatives through the development of communication and leadership skills that are critical in their role as Engineering Ambassadors and for their future professional success; for providing outreach presentations at middle schools and high schools to encourage careers in engineering and to recruit more women into the field; and for sharing the program’s success with other universities."

The program was nominated by Mary Frecker, professor of mechanical engineering, for the Johnson & Johnson award. The award includes a $2,000 honorarium, a bronze medal, certificate and a two-day travel supplement. The award will be presented at the ASME Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition on Nov. 11 in Houston, Texas.

The Engineering Ambassadors program was established in 2009 by Melissa Marshall, its current faculty adviser; Michael Alley, associate professor of engineering communication; and Karen Thole, head of mechanical and nuclear engineering. Consisting of students from all engineering majors, the ambassadors share their academic experiences and inspire younger students -- with a special focus on female students -- to study engineering, particularly at Penn State.

Since the program's inception, ambassadors have traveled as far away as Norway to share their experiences. With support from United Technologies Corporation, the Penn State students have worked with students and faculty from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Worchester Polytechnic Institute and the University of Connecticut to expand the Engineering Ambassadors program. The Engineering Ambassadors will host a workshop at Penn State Aug. 17 to 19 to share their program model with students and faculty from up to 20 universities from across the country. The workshop will establish the Engineering Ambassador Network, a nationwide consortium of Engineering Ambassador programs that utilize the strategies pioneered at Penn State.

The Penn State Engineering Ambassadors received the Gateway to Equity Award from the State College branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) in April. The Gateway to Equity Award recognizes an individual, group, organization or business that has shown by action and philosophy the promotion of equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy or research.

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Last Updated May 21, 2012