Mechanical Engineering student wins National Society of Black Engineers award

AUSTIN, Texas—A University of Texas at Austin mechanical engineering student has been named the 2004 Graduate Student of the Year by the National Society of Black Engineers for his groundbreaking automobile research.

Ph.D. student Marcus Ashford will receive the award, given annually as part of the society’s Golden Torch awards, at this year’s national ceremony in Dallas.

Ashford, a native of Zachary, La., will graduate in May 2004 and is considering careers in academia and research and development.

Working with Dr. Ron Matthews, a mechanical engineering professor at The University of Texas at Austin, Ashford developed an on-board distillation system for gasoline-powered vehicles that reduces emissions by 82 percent.

The University of Texas at Austin and Ford Motor Co., patented the system in 2001. It promises to lead to vehicles that start more easily, run more smoothly in cold weather, have better fuel economy and are less expensive.

“In my more than 25 years of teaching and supervising graduate students, Marcus is one of the very best I have worked with,” says Matthews. “He is extremely personable, dedicated, motivated, mature and intelligent.”

With 15,000 members and more than 300 chapters nationwide, the National Society of Black Engineers is the largest student-run organization in the country “dedicated to raising the profile of African-American engineers.”

For more information contact: Becky Rische, College of Engineering, 512-471-7272.