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Awards – Archive

Our students do outstanding things, and we want to share their accomplishments!

ISPE 2018 Outstanding Juniors nominees
2018 Outstanding Juniors nominees: (L-R) Steven Russ (MSMSE), Nardos Ashenafi (MBE), Hallie Touchstone (MBE), Dean JoAnn Lighty, Robison Martin (CE), Samantha Headley (CE), and Paige Skinner (MSMSE)

2018 Outstanding Junior Engineering Students

This year marks the 32nd time that the Idaho Society of Professional Engineers (ISPE) Southwest Chapter is recognizing the top Boise State junior engineering students. The 2018 top Mechanical and Biomediacl (MBE) junior students nominated by their department for their academic, professional and personal achievements are Nardos Ashenafi and Hallie Touchstone. The students were interviewed by Kyle Desomber, Lead Managing Mechanical Engineer with McMillen Jacobs Associates, Spencer Shepard, Mechanical Engineer at CTA Architects Engineers and Randy Thorn, Principal Engineer at Idaho Power, to select the student whose name would be added to plaque displayed outside of ENGR 101.

Nardos Ashenafi grew up in Ethiopia and her dream to increase industrization in developing countries led to her decision to pursue a mechanical engineering degree at Boise State. She has excelled in her coursework at Boise State, earning a 3.988 GPA. Nardos is active in the Boise State Community, volunteering as a member of the Society of Women Engineers student organization for the last 3 years. She has worked the last years on their service project, GoBabyGo, which is to modify toy cars for children up to age 3 who experience limited mobility so they can use as mode of transportation. She has also served for year and half as a member of the executive team for the Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society, and for the last year has been as a member of the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society. Nardos has also worked for the last two years as a Learning Assistant/ Peer Educator, helping students understand concepts in two calculus courses and three engineering courses. She has also worked for a year as an undergraduate research assistant in not one, but two labs. In the Robot Control Lab she is currently working to improve the mathematical analysis of nonholonomic cooperative manipulation of robotic objects. In the Computational Biomechanics Lab she has created finite element analysis simulations for human knee geometries to find physiological features that make patients prone to dislocation, presenting her research at the Idaho Conference for Undergraduate Researchers in March 2017. When she is not at school or work, Nardos enjoys photography, hiking and playing basketball. Following graduation in the spring of 2019, her current plans include getting an internship in industrial robotics to get a taste for product development and go on graduate school to pursuer a Masters of Engineering, with an emphasis in robotics.

Hallie Touchstone is originally from Boise Idaho, graduating from Capital High School. She decided to attend Boise State to pursue a degree in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Biomedical Engineering because of her love for math, physics and biology. Hallie has held a number of work and research position on campus, starting with her first position in the Math Department as a grader for Calculus 1. For the last year and half, as a sophomore and junior, she has worked in the Mechanical Adaptions Laboratory as an undergraduate researcher, conducting experiments on how stem cells react to mechanical stimulus, using PCR (gene quantification), western blot (protein quantification), and immuno-histochemistry (tissue staining) techniques. During this time she has had the opportunity to attend and present at both the American Society for Gravitational and Space Research and Biomedical Engineering Society conferences on behalf of the laboratory to share their research and gain insight from experts in the field. Last summer she spent 10 weeks at the Bone and Signaling Lab at the NASA Ames Research Center. There as a lab assistant, she designed, conducted, and led experiments with the aim of discovering the effects of microgravity on bone. Among Hallie’s other interests and hobbies, she is an avid snowboarder, and has worked as an instructor at Bogus Basin for 6 seasons. Following graduation in the fall of 2019, Hallie’s current plans include applying to a graduate program in the biomedical engineering field.

Congratulations Nardos and Hallie!


photo of Brooke Ward

Here’s a chance to meet some of our amazing students. Check them out!

Brooke Ward graduated from Boise State in December 2014 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and entered the workforce. Over time, she realized that a graduate degree was what she wanted. Read about her decision and the things she has learned here. (LinkedIn article)

Past Spotlights:


Senior Awards – Fall 2017

The following graduating students have been recognized by the faculty and staff of the Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering for their excellent work.

Leadership Award – Emilie Murphy

Scholarship Award – Timothy Le Phero 

Scholarship Award – Abdullah Ahmad

Outstanding Graduating Senior – Erika Ramirez

Boise State Top Ten Scholar 2017

We are excited to once again have a Mechanical Engineering Student among the best and brightest of Boise State’s seniors.

Image of Katherine Hollar

Katherine Hollar
Degree: Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering and a minor in biomedical engineering
Future Plans: Obtain a Master of Science in mechanical engineering with a research emphasis in biomedical engineering.

During her time at Boise State, Katie has been immersed in academics, student organizations and community involvement. For the past two years, Katie has worked as a research assistant for Dr. Trevor Lujan in the Northwest Tissue Mechanics Lab. At this lab, she helped develop an original software, called OrthoRead, to quickly and cost-effectively assess fracture healing in radiographs. Due to her contribution, she became a co-author in a Journal of Orthopaedic Research publication.

Katie has also independently created an imaging technique to measure surface wear in polymer liners of joint prosthesis, which may transform how new implant materials are evaluated. This work was selected as a finalist for the Bachelor of Science student paper competition at a 2016 national conference and she will be the first author on a research publication that details this novel imaging procedure this spring.

In addition to research, Katie serves as an officer in the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society, the Society of Women Engineers and as a College of Engineering Peer Ambassador. Through these positions, she has worked to inspire female students to explore engineering. She is also a volunteer at the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry, where for the past two years she has helped distribute food to low-income Boise residents.

Because of her commitment to learning and community service, Katie has been the recipient of several scholarships, including the prestigious Boise State Alumni Legacy Scholarship and Idaho Northwest Society of Women Engineers Scholarship.

Katie is from Boise, Idaho.

Senior Awards – Spring 2017

The following graduating students have been recognized by the faculty and staff of the Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering for their excellent work.

Image of Wankun Sirichotiyakul

Leadership Award – Wankun Sirichotiyakul
I will be graduating from Boise State University with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering along with Computational Science and Engineering and Applied Mathematics minors. As an International Student from Thailand, Boise State has given me not only the education, but also the American cultural experiences. Throughout my undergraduate career, I had the pleasure of serving as Learning Assistants in multiple ME courses including Heat Transfer, Thermodynamics, and Machine Design I.  Outside of school, I spend my time learning Photography, playing tennis, and taking apart (aka breaking) my cars. I will be pursuing a M.S. in Mechanical Engineering at Boise State with a focus in the Robotics and Controls field. 

Image of Andie Zoeller

Scholarship Award – Andie Zoeller
I will be graduating in May 2017, with my B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. Even though starting out as a music major, I have completed my engineering degree in four years, receiving honors every semester and will be graduating Magna Cum Laude. I have spent my degree working as a learning assistant, an undergraduate researcher and an intern with HP. My undergraduate research experience was with the Industrial Assessment Center under direction of Dr. John Gardner. My internship at HP has allowed me to gain experience in mechanical engineering, marketing, business, computer science and electrical engineering aspects. I have accepted a full time job offer at HP for after graduation and plan to eventually get my MBA to move into management.  

Image of Oliver Alvarez

Scholarship Award – Oliver Alvarez
I will be receiving my B.S. in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Applied Mathematics in the spring of 2017. I have successfully finished my fourth year at Boise State University making the Dean’s List numerous times. In addition to this I was also a part of Tau Beta Pi, a prestigious engineering honors society. After graduation, I will be pursuing a master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering here at Boise State.

Image of Maddie Krentz

Outstanding Graduating Senior – Madison Krentz
I will be graduating with honors in the Spring of 2017 with a B.S in Mechanical Engineering and a minor in Applied Mathematics and Biomedical Engineering. During my time here, I was a gymnast for Boise State. I served as captain for two years, won two conference championships, and secured honors as an Athletic and Academic All-American. I was accepted into the Accelerated Masters program and began coursework for my M.S in Mechanical Engineering last fall. I have worked as a research assistant for Dr. Trevor Lujan in the Northwest Tissue Mechanics Laboratory for two years and plan to continue my research on fatigue failure in the meniscus as well as begin work on my thesis. I currently serve as a peer ambassador for the College of Engineering, and I am the secretary of Tau Beta Pi, the Engineering Honors Society. In my spare time, I love to fly fish and be outdoors. 

Outstanding Junior Nominees 2017

Alondra Perez
Alondra Perez
Louise McGowin
Louise McGowin

Each year the Idaho Society of Professional Engineers recognizes outstanding junior engineering students. ME nominees for 2017 are Alondra Perez and Louise McGowin.

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