College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

ABE faculty and staff receive awards at College of Engineering Convocation

During the Fall 2012 College of Engineering Convocation on September 6, several Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Department faculty and staff were recognized for their accomplishments and service.

Superior Engineering Extension Award

Engineering extension and serving the people of Iowa and beyond is another priority of the college.

Hongwei Xin

Hongwei Xin, professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering

Hongwei is internationally known for integrating emerging animal industry issues into demonstration projects and applied research that benefits the livestock industry at the campus, state, national, and international level. He has demonstrated his extensive leadership skills as director of the Egg Industry Center, where he has planned educational programs as well as developed research and extension efforts to better serve the egg industry. The president of the United Egg Producers states that Hongwei has earned the much-deserved respect and appreciation from egg farmers not just in Iowa, but internationally as well.

Superior Engineering Advisor Award

Advisors serve an important role in keeping our students on track in their studies and continually support their needs.

Sue Ziegenbusch

Sue Ziegenbusch, academic advisor for agricultural and biosystems engineering

Sue is known for her contagious enthusiasm, passion for helping students, and ability to understand and solve curricular problems. Over the past five years, she has advised 150-200 students; recruited students; overseen summer and transfer orientation; and coordinated and facilitated the AE Learning Community. One nominator states: “She knows how to help students be successful by hitting a perfect balance of accommodation and tough love. Mrs. Ziegenbusch’s positive attitude, strong work ethic, and willingness to be frank with students when needed, make her a cornerstone staff member in ABE, and for the CoE.”


An important aspect of who we are as a land-grant engineering college involves a focus on practice. We apply science and transfer knowledge to improve the lives of people, and we truly live out our university’s motto: “Science with practice.” Much of this knowledge transfer happens through invention and technology. Patents open the door for advancement of ideas, as others make use of these valuable discoveries to improve the people’s lives.


Stuart Birrell

Stuart Birrell, associate professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering

Stuart developed a single-pass, variable-rate biomass collection technology for sustainable harvest of crop residues based on yield, soil type, and topography. This new precision agricultural technology allows real-time control of residue removal, from no removal in environmentally sensitive areas to higher sustainable removal rates on higher productive areas.