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ASABE Announces 2019 Class of "New Faces of ASABE"

Monday, February 11, 2019
ASABE Announces 2019 Class of "New Faces of ASABE"

The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) has named six young members to its class of 2019 "New Faces of ASABE – Professionals."

In addition, Jason Schuster, EIT, was chosen as the top honoree among the class and will represent ASABE at Engineers Week activities in Washington, DC, beginning February 17.  

Nominated by engineering colleagues and fellow ASABE members, the 2019 class was formally announced this week, at the 2019 Agricultural Equipment Technology Conference, in Louisville. Through their professional and extracurricular pursuits, New Faces of ASABE, all 35 years of age or younger, represent the best of a profession that endeavors throughout the world to improve quality of life and make sustainable use of precious natural resources. A separate category, College Edition, honors undergraduate students.

Schuster is an engineer with John Deere's Large Tractor Product Test & Evaluation group, in Cedar Falls, Iowa. He holds both bachelor's and master's degrees from Iowa State University and has obtained status as engineer-in-training--EIT--the first step to earning licensure as a Professional Engineer. Schuster has been active in ASABE's Young Professionals Community, serving as a representative to the Meetings and Membership councils, and also in ASABE's Iowa Section. Schuster's support of STEM education has taken him into community school, where he has volunteered during National Hour of Code Week, and as a graduate student in agricultural and biological systems engineering at Iowa State, where he helped integrate precision agriculture and industry into the classroom to build closer relationships between industry and academia.

Schuster recognizes the particular value of agricultural and biological engineering. "To meet global food and energy demands of the next generation, smart and connected agricultural machinery will need to be developed," he says. "Agricultural and biological engineers will more sought-after than ever. It is my vision to be a leader by embracing agricultural autonomy and demonstrating technology advantages through agronomic benefits."

As ASABE's top honoree, Schuster will travel to Washington, DC, to serve as a judge, alongside ASABE leadership, for ASABE's special awards, for sustainable food production and use of renewable fuels, at the Future City Competition National Finals. Sponsored by DiscoverE, whose programs include National Engineers Week and Global Day of the Engineer, Future City is a competition for middle school students that challenges them to learn about, and integrate, appropriate engineering inputs in a city of the future that they imagine and design.

Other members of the 2019 class of New Faces of ASABE - Professionals includes:

  • Daeun Choi, PhD, an assistant professor at The Pennsylvania State University, where she conducts research on machine vision and precision agriculture. She is also a mentor to a local 4-H robotics team.
  • Jasmeet Lamba, PhD, an assistant professor at Auburn University Department of Biosystems Engineering, hopes to improve the sustainability of agriculture by development of innovative water-quality management practices, especially those that mitigate nonpoint source pollution.
  • Kai Liu, PhD, postdoctoral researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, whose childhood spent on a family farm in China spurred him to study agricultural engineering, to find solutions to the global challenges related to sustainable production of food, livestock housing and management, and animal behavior and welfare. His specialty is precision livestock faming.
  • Laura Merriman, PE, PhD, assistant professor at North Carolina State University, who takes pride in her mission to train the next generation of agricultural and biological engineers. Her hope, she says, is not only to impart technical theories,critical thinking, and a strong work ethic, but also to produce alumni thatcontribute to and become leaders in society. 
  • Femeena Vallapil, s a PhD student at Purdue University who develops decision-making tools useful in the food-energy-water nexus, particularly in water-resource availability and management. She was named one of only 25 “Green Talents,’ by the German Federal Ministry, for her contributions toward sustainable development.

New Faces of ASABE celebrates the activities and accomplishments of ASABE members, whose stories serve as inspiration to their peers, the public, and the future engineers who will follow in their footsteps. The program has two categories, College Edition, for third-year and higher undergraduates, and Professionals, for professional members age 35 and younger. College Edition honorees for 2019 were also announced.

Nominated by engineering colleagues and fellow ASABE members, the 2019 Class of New Faces of ASABE was formally announced this week, at the 2019 Agricultural Equipment Technology Conference, in Louisville.

ASABE is an international scientific and educational organization dedicated to the advancement of engineering applicable to agricultural, food, and biological systems.