Sarah Rajala, dean of the Iowa State University College of Engineering, has been named national engineer of the year by the American Association of Engineering Societies (AAES) – representing 17 multidisciplinary engineering societies from industry, government and academia. Rajala received the award on April 18 at a ceremony in Washington D.C.
The AAES national engineer of the year award recognizes Rajala’s outstanding service in three key areas: 1) inspirational leadership at the institutional, national and international levels; 2) innovations in engineering education and assessment; and 3) her tireless efforts to promote diversity in the engineering field.
“It is indeed appropriate that Sarah Rajala receive the AAES national engineering award,” said Joseph J. Rencis, president of the American Society for Engineering Education, one of the AAES member societies. “She is a trailblazer and embodies the criteria of inspirational leadership and devotion to engineering education, advancement of the engineering profession and promotion of public policies.” Rencis also praised Rajala’s diversity efforts, adding “Sarah has recognized the engineering profession cannot achieve full success without full participation of the rich diversity of talent in our global population.”
Rajala joined Iowa State on April 1, 2013 from Mississippi State University where she was dean of the Bagley College of Engineering. Prior to her dean positions, she had a distinguished career as a professor, center director and served in various academic leadership positions. Rajala earned her bachelor’s degree from Michigan Technological University and master’s and Ph.D. degrees from Rice University.
Another AAES award went to ISU College of Engineering alumnus Raymond Paul Giroux (BSConE’79), senior engineer with Kiewit Infrastructure West Co. He received the Norm Augustine Award for outstanding achievement in engineering communication for his ability to effectively capture the public’s attention and to engage the engineering profession in understanding how mega engineering projects such as the Brooklyn Bridge, Hoover Dam, Golden Gate Bridge and Panama Canal are truly engineering miracles.
The Iowa State College of Engineering is one the largest engineering programs in the country offering 12 majors and five minors to more than 9,300 students. The college is consistently ranked a top 25 engineering program at public universities.