Engineering Dominates Top Student Employee Awards

Monday, April 14, 2014

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Dave Bein, a third-year mechanical engineering major originally from Silvis, Ill., has been named the State of Iowa student employee of the year, one of seven University of Iowa students recognized for exemplary performance in campus jobs.

Bein also was named the UI campus student employee of the year, based on criteria established by the National Student Employment Association. Supervisors nominate students for reliability, quality of work initiative, professionalism, and uniqueness of their contributions.

“We want to thank not just this year’s winners, but all student employees,” says Cindy Seyfer, senior associate director in the Office of Student Financial Aid. “The university couldn’t meet its teaching, research, and service goals without them.”

Bein has worked with the UI College of Engineering’s Center for Computer Aided Design and the Virtual Soldier Research lab since 2011, parlaying his personal experience as a U.S. Marine into his role as resident military advisor.

He helped create more than 100 detailed 3D models of Marine Corps weapons and gear, a key component in the lab’s successful bid for a contract to optimize the equipment loads soldiers carry. He’s since expanded into avatar design, software testing, motion capture, and other elements that go into creating the world’s most advanced virtual soldier, Santos.

Bein has traveled to Quantico, Va., to meet with software end users and collect date for Marine equipment and procedures. He is liaison to program managers at the Quantico and coordinates much of the communication between the UI team and the base.

President Sally Mason will honor Bein and other campus winners during an April 22 luncheon. Other College of Engineering award recipients include:

Ben Goert (Certificate of Distinction)

Goert, a fourth-year electrical engineering major from Iowa City, Iowa, is project manager on a $15,000 research project at the Center for Computer Aided Design, where he’s worked since 2010. He’s published a conference paper and presented his work independently. Working on a U.S. Air Force grant, he coordinated 10 different projects into one software package, an example of his knack for managing complexity.

Brett Herring (Certificate of Distinction)

A fourth-year civil engineering major from Carlisle, Iowa, Herring has worked for Planning, Design, and Construction in Facilities Management since 2011. He oversaw implementation of new GPS systems, generated critical documents for FEMA-funded projects, and helped develop a campus accessibility map. As a student supervisor, he trains peers to take on similar work.

Abhinav Sharma (Certificate of Appreciation)

A third-year mechanical engineering major from Cameroon, Sharma is an undergraduate research assistant in the Center for Computer Aided Design. He has developed a facial expression engine for the advanced virtual soldier simulation Santos, and now is working on a muscle model—delivering work in weeks and months rather than years. He also represents the Virtual Soldier Research lab during events and tours.