Daniela Vidal, program coordinator of Advanced Manufacturing at the University of Southern Indiana, is the recipient of the 2012 Sydney L. and Sadelle Berger Faculty Community Service Award. The award is given annually in recognition of service to the community by a USI faculty member.
As a prominent local leader, Vidal has a strong interest in cultural diversity and developing the workforce in southern Indiana. She has offered guidance to a variety of service organizations in the community. She is a founding member and officer of HOLA (Hospitality and Outreach for Latin Americans), an organization which has helped ensure success of Latinos in the region since 2003. Her HOLA work was instrumental in helping found the Juan Diego Center, to provide language and cultural training for the community, co-sponsored by the Catholic Diocese of Evansville. The center helps Latinos integrate and assimilate into the Evansville community, give them the tools they need to achieve a better level of healthcare, education, and income.
Her volunteer work on the WIRED (Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development) integration team provided a regional, integrated approach to workforce and economic development that should help provide jobs for years to come.
She serves on the Board of Directors for the Legal Aid Society and on the EVSC School Community steering committee. Her Legal Aid Society efforts helped to provide Vanderburgh County’s poorest citizens access to free legal advice and representations. She was a member of the financial education committee with the Bank on Evansville Initiative to assist in the coordination of efforts by 65 local financial institutions to provide bank accounts to citizens who have never had bank accounts and to those who have lost their accounts in the past. The initiative helps Evansville’s poor keep more of their hard-earned money in their own pockets instead of signing it over to predatory lenders and check-cashing services.
She and her husband Alfonso and children came to Indiana in 2000, and she joined the Department of Engineering at USI in early 2009 as coordinator of advanced manufacturing and industrial supervision. She teaches robotics, advanced manufacturing principles, engineering materials, engineering economics, and statistics, and safety in manufacturing. Earlier she was a product research scientist at Mead Johnson Nutritionals and a project engineer for Procter & Gamble in Caracas, Venezuela.
Vidal organized a project for her advanced manufacturing students to develop a robotic workstation to enable Evansville ARC clients to work in an advanced manufacturing environment developing new jobs for individuals with disabilities. “This allowed her students to apply their skills not only to a traditional workforce, but to help enable those with disabilities to make full contributions in the workplace,” said Dr. Susan J. Ellspermann, former director of the USI Center for Applied Research.
“Vidal’s work exemplifies USI’s commitment to outreach and engagement in our region,” said Dr. Zane Mitchell, chair of the Department of Engineering. “She translates her volunteerism into problem solving that directly benefits our University and the community at large. Her participation helps put a positive and public face on the impact of USI on this community.”
The award winner is selected by the USI Faculty and Academic Affairs committee. It was announced during the Honors Program for the Pott College of Science, Engineering and Education in April 2012.
Photo Credit: USI Photography Services