Josh Delarm, senior in mechanical engineering, has spent his time at Iowa State combining leadership skills with engineering knowledge, which resulted in his recent nomination for ISU Student Employee of the Year.
Delarm began working as a Resource Hub tech in the Make to Innovate (M2I) lab approximately two and a half years ago. M2I serves as a workspace for student projects, and techs are tasked with monitoring the lab to ensure equipment is being used safely and correct procedure is being followed.
While working over the summer, Delarm was able to take part in a remodel of the M2I lab. “The remodel over the summer was really interesting,” Delarm said. “Being able to take a space that’s not being utilized correctly and redesigning it how we see fit as students, and then going through and doing that remodel, and also being able to implement those procedures so that we make sure everything’s being done effectively and we keep track of everything was pretty rewarding.”
After the remodel, Delarm starting implementing organizational systems in the lab, like a tool checkout procedure to better keep track of supplies. He was promoted to a semi-management position, which included day to day oversight of student techs in the lab.
In addition to overseeing lab work on his fellow students’ projects, Delarm devoted time to his own projects. The MAVRIC (Mars Analog Vehicle for Robotic Inspection and Construction) team was lacking members two years ago when Delarm took over, and is now hoping to compete in the University Rover Challenge this summer in Hanksville, Utah. The team has been hard at work building their Mars rover, putting in 360 man hours over winter break and planning to keep the pace up over the rest of the semester.
The MAVRIC team also took part in World Space Week at the beginning of the fall semester, which allowed them to showcase their work to middle school and high school students. “We had an individual from Australia, and another from Austria able to drive our rover from those respective locations while our rover remained here. So we created an online system that would run the rover,” Delarm said.
Delarm considers his work with the MAVRIC team one of his favorite experiences at Iowa State. “The best thing you can do in school is hands-on experience,” Delarm said. “I got a lot of everything: management, trying to teach new people how to do things. I got back to the technical aspect, the hands-on aspect by teaching people, and then back to the management aspect by keeping everybody on track.”
Delarm is staying busy at the M2I lab, as well as the Prototyping & Fabrication Service Center, where he is planning to implement similar systems for equipment checkout and organization.
His nomination for Student Employee of the Year came as a surprise to Delarm. M2I Coordinator Matt Nelson, Teaching Laboratory Associate James Benson and Building and Lab Supervisor Bill Rickard collectively nominated him for the honor, which is decided based on reliability, quality of work, initiative, professionalism, interpersonal skills and unique contributions to the employer. “It was pretty cool. I actually didn’t know they did that at all, but Matt, Jim and Bill all nominated me together so I felt that that was pretty cool,” Delarm said.
He is unsure about plans after graduation, but would like to stay in Ames and is considering biomechanics and robotics as possible fields. Delarm says ideally he will pursue management, and continue combining his expertise in leadership and technical work.