New Faces of ASABE are announced annually just ahead of National Engineers Week. Through the stories of these individuals, New Faces of ASABE aims to inspire their peers, the public, and future engineers who may follow in their footsteps. By their professional and personal achievements, the New Faces of ASABE are making a world of difference.

ASABE offers two categories: the Professionals Edition honors ASABE members 35 years old and younger, while College Edition honors our undergraduate student members.

2020 Honorees

New Faces of ASABE - Professionals 

Sierra Young, PhD, EIT, was selected this year’s winner in the Professionals category. Young is an assistant professor of biological and agricultural engineering at North Carolina State University.

Orthodontics might seem an unlikely introduction to engineering, but that’s how Sierra came to the profession. Sierra’s father was an orthodontist. “During the summers growing up,” says Sierra, “I worked in his practice where we discussed ‘engineering’ the mouth to do what we want--what I now understand to be the integration of mechanical engineering and biology. Orthodontics was my first encounter with using math and science to solve complex design problems.” She says her work is motivated every day by the potential of technology and agriculture to transform the way we produce food, fuel, and fiber at both national and global scales.

Sierra is currently serving as vice chair of ASABE’s Emerging Information Systems committee, ITSC-254, and has been deeply involved in a variety of other professional and STEM-outreach activities.

As ASABE’s top New Face for 2020, she will travel to Washington, DC, to join ASABE leadership as a judge in the Future City Competition finals, where ASABE sponsors two special awards, for food sustainability and use of renewable fuels. 


Yin Bao, PhD, is an assistant professor at Auburn University, where his work focuses on sensors, computer vision, robotics, artificial intelligence and their deep integration to solve the challenges in production agriculture and biological research. Bao says that engineering empowers him to solve problems that impact our daily lives. "I chose agricultural and biological engineering in particular because it focuses on the pressing challenge of how to meet the ever-increasing demand for food, feed, fuel, and fiber around the globe in a sustainable way.”

Richard "Trey" Colley, EIT, MS, precision agriculture manager at Agri-AFC, LLC, in Daphne, Alabama, where he helps producers implement the latest precision ag practices to improve their bottom line while remaining environmentally and economically sustainable. Prior to his current position, Colley was the precision-ag program manager at The Ohio State University, where his team developed the award-winning eFields program and worked in collaboration with extension educators, university faculty, and industry leaders to investigate innovative agricultural research topics through on-farm trials.

Sarah Daly is a PhD candidate in Agricultural and Biological Engineering at Purdue University. Daly grew up in the Cleveland, Ohio, area, where she learned firsthand from Lake Erie the implications of agricultural runoff on water quality.  With a career in agricultural and biological engineering she hopes to study and contribute to new biological advances, namely in bioenergy and the reduction of agricultural pollutants.  Her goal, she says, is to both improve our quality of life and to preserve these natural resources for future generations.

Randall Etheridge, PE, PhD, is an assistant professor of engineering at East Carolina University, where his work focuses on addressing flooding and water quality issues in rural communities in eastern North Carolina who do not have the financial resources to hire engineering consulting firms.  “I want to connect the expertise of engineering students with these communities to help them develop solutions that meet the needs of the community,” says Etheridge. He hopes this model will enhance the education of the students through providing real world experience, while also helping the rural communities with their unique challenges.

An assistant professor at the University of Tennessee, Hao Gan, PhD, was influenced by science fiction movies. He has always been fascinated by robots and autonomous systems and knew from a young age that he wanted a career that would involve robotics. “With agricultural engineering,” he says,  “I found that I could apply robotics and automation to solving one of the biggest challenges faced by human beings, food shortage and environmental problems, which makes my research impactful and meaningful.

Yu Jiang, PhD, is an assistant research professor at Cornell University, where he conducts research on the integration of advanced sensing, robotics, and computing technologies to develop new systems that can be used to improve agricultural productivity, quality, and sustainability. He hopes that his work will ultimately help to revolutionize agriculture and to address critical issues like global poverty and human health quality. "I am extremely excited about potential changes that can be made through my research and professional activities," says Jiang. "In particular, those changes would not only benefit consumers, growers, and agricultural stakeholders in a foreseeable future but also make people rethink and reevaluate the modern agriculture to our whole society."

Kul Bikram Khand, PhD, is a research scientist with ASRC Federal USGS EROS Center, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. where is he excited to play a role in addressing one of the world’s most pressing problems: water scarcity. He was inspired to become an engineer as a child growing up in rural Nepal. ”When I was about 6 or 7 years old,” he recalls, “roads were constructed for the first time in our village.” He recalls being told that it was engineers who were building the roads. ”As a kid, it was fascinating for me to observe the changes made by engineers which had brought hopes for development in the village.”

An assistant professor of environmental engineering at Arizona State University, Rebecca Muenich, EIT, PhD, is passionate about ensuring the long-term sustainability and viability of our agricultural system. “I believe that farmers are some of the last true stewards of the land,” she says, “and I hope that my work will help farmers continue to farm sustainably into the future.” Muenich enjoys teaching and mentoring students and helping them mature as engineers, and she’s proud of the work she and her students have been doing to develop data and modeling that will advance the sustainable management of large livestock operations.

Wen-Hao Su, PhD, a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, Davis, focuses on development of smart machines and robots to meet the planet’s need for plentiful, nutritious and flavorful food supplies. As the first author, Su has published 2 book chapters and over 20 peer-reviewed papers in renowned journals related to agricultural engineering. He credits ASABE Fellow David Slaughter with inspiring him toward an engineering career. Su is following in Slaughter’s footsteps to advance the leading edge of engineering knowledge to agriculture, having developed reliable robotic sensing systems for achieving universal weed control and food quality control.  “As engineers,” Su reminds us, “we are constantly changing the world with inventions and solutions that improve people’s lives.”

New Faces of ASABE - College Edition

Brieana (Brie) Saur, is the New Faces of ASABE - College Edition winner for 2020. Saur is a senior at North Carolina State University and will graduate in May of this year.

Brie says that working in the stormwater management field has made her realize the problem that is ever increasing with the amount of development and the frequency of more intense storms. As a future biological engineer, Brie hopes to recognize and design to a changing climate and weather conditions in order to keep the health, safety, and welfare of the public at the utmost importance. 

Brie credits the example her mother, working in the IT field, set for her in setting her sights on a career in engineering, and she was influenced by an adult acquaintance, a biomedical engineer, to consider a career in agricultural and biological engineering.

Brie says she has benefitted from countless experiences through ASABE. "Being involved led to more connections with my peers and professors within the department which has helped me both academically and in my extracurricular affairs. She notes that the NC State section of ASABE hosts an in-house career fair for our students, which led to an internship as well as a full-time position after graduation. NC State also hosts a re-invigorated North Carolina Section of ASABE, which has exposed her and others to discussions on emerging issues in the industry and how young graduates can help battle those problems.