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Dr. Juan Calderon receives Outstanding Faculty Award

The Outstanding Faculty Advisor Award recognizes exceptional efforts made by EcoCAR Faculty members who have positively integrated EcoCAR goals, objectives, and activities into their university’s undergraduate engineering curriculum, how they developed EcoCAR-related interdisciplinary relationships or activities, and how the faculty has enriched the university engineering program through EcoCAR. Of special importance are the benefits students receive as a result of the EcoCAR program.

Judges for this award determine a winner based on nominations submitted from participating EcoCAR Teams that include student testimonials, university impacts, and university administration recommendations.

This year, Dr. Juan Calderon, Faculty of the Embry-Riddle / Bethune Cookman University team, received the EcoCAR Year 1 Outstanding Faculty Award.

In the nomination for this award, Dr. Calderon’s students emphasized how he has provided an insightful and nurturing environment where all students are equipped with the necessary tools and confidence to reach their full potential. One student remarked, “Despite my initial self-doubt, Dr. Calderon’s belief in me and unwavering support enabled me to take on my responsibilities with confidence.”

Dr. Calderon’s fellow faculty members were quick to note that without Dr. Calderon, there would not be a collaboration with ERAU-BCU at all. When long-time Embry-Riddle Faculty Advisor, Patrick Currier, approached Dr. Calderon with the idea of collaborating with Bethune Cookman for the EV Challenge, Dr. Calderon immediately recognized the incredible opportunity for a school that had never attempted a project on the scale of EcoCAR. He refused to take “no” as an answer as he knocked on every door until he found someone willing to sponsor the team and submitted the university’s paperwork the morning the proposal was due. Dr. Calderon was instrumental in setting up team offices, navigating complicated academic processes, and recruiting students to participate on the team.

Here are just a few of the testimonials that have been given about Dr. Calderon by his students, colleagues, and the leadership at his university:

“What makes Dr. Calderon special is his ability to help students reach their full potential and become first-class engineers. He cares deeply about the well-being of his students and he is dedicated to providing personalized guidance and support to each one of them.”

“His colleagues consistently seek him out for research collaborations, and he builds these initial collaboration ideas into thorough and effective proposals which provide vital external funding to support Bethune-Cookman students in their learning experience.”

“Dr. Juan Calderon is the most enthusiastic professor I have met. He makes EcoCAR very fun and engages us in every project no matter how small.”

“By fostering a welcoming and inclusive environment, Dr Calderon helped me feel valued and supported, regardless of my level of experience or knowledge.”

“I believe every student needs a “Dr. Calderon” kind of professor in their life.”

In recognition of Dr. Calderon’s accomplishments, his spirit of the competition, and mentorship of his students, the Embry-Riddle / Bethune Cookman team will receive $10,000 to go toward their EcoCAR program.

Congratulations to Dr. Calderon on this well-deserved award.