NSF Outstanding Faculty Advisor Award

For more than 20 years, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has sponsored the NSF Outstanding Faculty Advisor Award for the Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions (AVTCs). This award recognizes an EcoCAR team’s faculty advisor who best promotes the goals, objectives, and activities related to EcoCAR at their respective universities; specifically, the emphasis is on the success of the incorporation of the EcoCAR goals, objectives, and activities into the undergraduate engineering curriculum in the areas of mechanical, electrical, manufacturing, industrial, and other related engineering disciplines.  Of special importance, are the benefits students receive as a result of the EcoCAR program and how this faculty advisors uses EcoCAR to enrich their university engineering program.

We are proud to announce that this year’s NSF Outstanding Faculty Advisor Award recipient is Dr. Hwan-Sik Yoon from the University of Alabama. Dr. Yoon has been instrumental in establishing three new courses in the mechanical engineering department that follow the EcoCAR curriculum, including a Vehicle Modeling and Simulation course, Introduction to Vehicle Systems and a third course on Machine Learning to align with the new focus of the EcoCAR Mobility Challenge.Additionally, he works closely with the student team leaders serving as an official advisor for six graduate students and a number of undergraduate researchers working on EcoCAR-related topics

According to Dr. Yoon’s students, not only does he attend all EcoCAR workshops and competitions but he attends all weekly EcoCAR team meetings and regularly provides guidance and feedback to help students adopt good engineering techniques and practices. Most notably, students commented that his caring and encouraging demeanor made a personal impact on them. Whether it was going out of his way to encourage a first generation college student to pursue an advanced degree or taking the time to understand a student’s interests to give them thoughtful career guidance, the students recognize how much he genuinely cares about them and their future.

His exemplary work ethic is readily apparent and he uses his knowledge to educate and inspire students through his own example. Dr. Yoon’s Dean commented, “His willingness to take on an advisory role in such a substantial student project as EcoCAR before tenure was quite a risk; however, he had the foresight to see the importance of getting our university into the program and our Department, College, and the University at large is glad that he did. Not only was he instrumental in our team being selected for both EcoCAR 3 and the EcoCAR Mobility Challenge, but his support for the students involved has been tireless.”

Congratulations to Dr. Hwan-Sik Yoon for receiving this outstanding award and $10,000 for the UA EcoCAR team!