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Friday, September 02, 2011

USI engineering student Ken Schnautz
receives international award

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Kenneth Schnautz
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Elizabeth Courtney Randolph
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Kenneth Schnautz, a University of Southern Indiana student majoring in engineering, is the 2011 recipient of an international award for leadership and service to a student chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).

The Charles T. Main Student Section Award Silver Medal will be presented November 13 at the Members and Students Luncheon during the ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition in Denver, Colorado. The recipient of the silver medal receives a $2,000 honorarium.

Schnautz will complete a bachelor's degree in engineering with an emphasis in mechatronics in December.

During his freshman year, he played an integral role in forming the USI chapter of ASME after it had been dormant for several years. Schnautz is recognized for long-term leadership of the chapter, now a thriving organization, and for efforts significantly impacting the region, including the creation of a robotics competition that attracts more than 100 middle and high school students each year. Schnautz served as vice president of the USI ASME chapter in 2007-08 and was president from 2008-11.

The USI Robotics Competition celebrated its fourth year in 2011. As ASME chapter president, Schnautz has taken the lead in planning, advertising, communicating with middle and high school teachers, designing and building the course, and coordinating the judging. Prior to the event, the ASME student group offers two workshops to help teams and classroom teachers build their robots and test them on the course.

"The success of the USI Robotics Competition can be attributed to Ken Schnautz and his leadership of the student group," said Dr. Shelly B. Blunt, associate dean of the Pott College of Science and Engineering.

Schnautz has worked to increase the involvement of the USI chapter within the larger ASME community. In 2010, he coordinated arrangements for six USI students to attend the District C. Student Professional Development Conference in St. Louis, Missouri. He also attended the 2010 ASME Student Leadership Seminar in Champaign, Illinois, afterwards initiating a successful proposal to bring the event to USI this year. It will be held October 14-15.

USI engineering faculty commended Schnautz for his professionalism and initiative.

"If I had to summarize my involvement, it would be that I was willing to do the dirty work," Schnautz said. "If something needs to be done, I do it. If nothing seems to need doing, I find something to do, let it be organizing a robotics competition, building a website, selling t-shirts, or filing paperwork."

Schnautz is a member of the Student Advisory Board for the Pott College. He has provided engineering demonstrations for the Tri-State Science Fair at USI and the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis. His outreach includes serving as a volunteer for the first Southwest Indiana Regional SeaPerch Competition held this year at USI. He was a member of the engineering team that competed in May in the Lunabotics Mining Competition sponsored by NASA at the Kennedy Space Center. Schnautz also has assisted the USI chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers with its concrete canoe project.

In fall 2009, Schnautz completed a 15-week internship at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio. His research concentrated on correlating the electrical properties of soil with its density. He has completed three summer internships at Nidec Motor Corporation (formerly Hurst Motor Manufacturing), a maker of electronic motors, in Princeton, Indiana, and continues to work there this semester. His responsibilities include the testing and diagnostics of preproduction motor controllers. Schnautz also works as a lab assistant for the USI Department of Chemistry.

Schnautz has received the Biagi Chance Cummins London Titzer Endowed Engineering Scholarship (2007-11), Indiana Space Grant Consortium Undergraduate Scholarship (2008-09), a USI Departmental Scholarship (2007-11), and the Lily Endowment Internship Scholarship (2010-11).

He is a 2007 graduate of Reitz High School in Evansville.

Schnautz' goal following graduation is to work for an engineering firm in the Evansville region in a job relating to control systems, robotics, human-machine interface, or electronics.

ASME has more than 120,000 members in 150 countries. The organization established the Charles T. Main Student Section Award in 1919 and expanded it in 1983 to include a second-place award, with a gold medal presented to the first-place winner and a silver medal to the second-place recipient. Schnautz is USI's first recipient since 1987 when Keith G. Benedict, now a USI instructor in engineering, received the gold medal.




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