2021 Student Awards in Engineering and Applied Sciences
David Wiles is a Spring 2020 graduate from WKU in Computer Science. He graduated Summa Cum Laude, and is continuing his education at Western seeking a Master’s degree in Computer Science. David also graduated with a minor in Music and occasionally plays the Cello at events around Bowling Green. Currently, he works at Fruit of the Loom as a software developer for e-commerce websites and is a part-time graduate student. For his graduate thesis, he is researching security techniques when executing untrusted code. He hopes to use his research throughout his career to ensure that people are protected when browsing the internet and using web services.
Thoughts from Sean...
Education is a privilege we take for granted; it is an invaluable asset, but potential can be squandered so easily if one lacks the motivation or ambition to pursue education with a purpose. Find that purpose. Think how you can utilize an education to support your family and your community. Pursue a passion that satisfies you and accomplishes something important to you. Imagine how you can impact the world and manifest it. Your words and actions reflect your character and merits, so treat everyone well and fairly if you hope to succeed in any endeavor in life.
Growing up just a block off campus, Harrison was always destined to become a Hilltopper. Harrison is a member of Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity, the American Institute of Architecture Students, and Bike4Alz Team 007. He is on the President’s List and will be graduating with Summa Cum Laude academic honors. After graduation, Harrison will be attending The Ohio State University pursuing a Master’s of Landscape Architecture as a College of Engineering Fellow.
Brian Gray is the son of Dean and Kelli Gray. He has two older sisters, Molly and Hannah, and one younger sister, Isabel. Brian was born and raised in London, Kentucky where he graduated from North Laurel High School. WKU has been a perfect fit for Brian during the last three years as he has grown as a student and a young man. Brian would like to thank all the faculty, staff, and community members who pushed him to reach his potential and gave him the resources to be successful in the future.
Rebecca Hurley is a senior civil engineering student at Western Kentucky University who will be an Engineer in Training upon graduation. She has been involved with the Concrete Canoe competition since she was a freshman and has made lifelong friends through this project. Her most prized memories come from the construction of these six canoes. Rebecca also had the honor of being the 2020 President of the American Society of Civil Engineers WKU Chapter. From her college and internship experiences, Rebecca has decided to pursue a career in geotechnical engineering with a focus on geohazard mitigation.
Jase Baker is a graduating senior in the civil engineering program from Benton, KY. In his time at WKU he has been a co-captain of his senior project, was invited to and joined the engineering honors society Tau Beta Pi, and acquired a 3.81 cumulative GPA. Beyond academics, he is grateful for the life lessons learned from his friends and professors along the way to help him navigate through the journey of life. Jase plans to graduate and further his career with an engineering firm in Nashville, TN this coming May.
Steven Matheny is from Louisville, Kentucky where he graduated from the AP program at Trinity High School and competed on the varsity wrestling team for 4 years. His journey to become an engineer started at a young age working long hot summers with his father for his surveying company. This early life made him into the talkative, inquisitive, hardworking, and open-minded man he is today. Upon graduation he will be working at BTM Engineering. Steven wishes to thank his parents and all the great teachers who helped him become the best version of himself.
Cole Schmidt is the son of Chris and Rebecca Schmidt. He was born and raised in Adair County, Columbia Kentucky. He has enjoyed his 4 years at WKU by being involved with residence life, ASCE, and geology club. After graduation, Cole will be working in Russel Springs Kentucky with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC). He is seeking an enriching career where he can dedicate myself to developing his education, work experience, and relationships within the engineering and geology profession. Cole's hobbies include: jiu jitsu, hammocking, and traveling.
JT Smith was born and raised in Russell County, Kentucky. He has attended Western Kentucky University for the past four years and will graduate this May with his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. JT has enjoyed connecting with his professors and peers at WKU through the American Society of Civil Engineers, participating in research work, and working on the concrete cornhole and concrete canoe projects. In the future he hopes to be a Structural Engineer and intends on eventually continuing his education through a master’s degree.
Aaron Caton is 23 years old and has an Associates Degree in Applied Science through Henderson Community College. He anticipates completing his Bachelor's degree in Computer Information Technology at WKU. He currently works in the CIT field and hopes that the Bachelor's degree will help advance his current career.
Isaac Essa is from Louisville, Kentucky. He is a dual major in Computer Science and Mathematical Economics. Before starting at WKU, he had no idea what career he wanted to pursue, so Isaac decided to take a few different classes to test the waters. Learning Python in CS 170 was such an awesome time for him, and it convinced him to join the CS program at WKU. He has learned so much since starting at WKU, and Isaac hope to continue that learning once he enters the field. Isaac is honored to accept the CS undergraduate award.
Conner Getchell is a senior graduating from WKU in May. In his personal time, he enjoys video games, film photography, and building custom drones. Receiving this award is such an honor as Connor spends the bulk of his day on a computer. He believes that any one pursuing education in a computer related field should get creative with it, and never stop trying to learn. After graduation Connor hopes to secure a job in software engineering with the knowledge and skill that WKU helped him obtain.
Kristina Riney is the 18-year-old daughter of Daniel and Michelle Riney of Bowling Green, Kentucky. She is an early graduate from the Barren Academy of Virtual and Expanded Learning and a Presidential Scholar at WKU. She is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and the National Society of Leadership and Success. Kristina is pursuing her B.S. in Computer Science along with a certificate in Game Design.
Michaela is a sophomore majoring in computer science and linguistics from Louisville, Kentucky. Despite being a computer science major, her true interests lie in the world of linguistics and translation, and she hopes to one day create a translator that can make communication easier for those without a common language. She’s a computer science ambassador for SEAS, and she hopes to inspire future students to be part of the major. Her interests aren’t all scholarly, however; she’s a huge fan of the musician Owl City and she spends nearly all of her time playing games like “Stardew Valley.”
Cameron Blevins is a native of Columbia, Tennessee, and a graduate of Zion Christian Academy class of 2017. He will be graduating from Western Kentucky University in May of 2021 with a degree in Construction Management. At WKU Cameron was a member of the Associated General Contractors Chapter campus chapter and served as the Chapter’s President (Fall 2020 -Spring 2021). He was also the team captain for the Associated Builders and Contractors National Construction Management Competition that took place in the Spring of 2021. After graduation, Cameron will be a Project Engineer with Layton Construction in Nashville, Tennessee.
Murphey Kilgore is junior in Electrical Engineering at WKU with minors in Math and Computer Science. He is from Bowling Green. Murphey works as a Student Research Assistant at WKU’s Center for Energy System under the direction of Dr. Farhad Ashrafzadeh. He is the Secretary of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia’s Iota Mu Chapter, President of WKU’s IEEE Chapter, member of Tau Beta Pi, Phi Kappa Phi, and plays saxophone in WKU’s Big Red Marching Band and Pep Band.
Landon Owens is a senior majoring in electrical engineering. Landon is currently an intern at HeathCo in Bowling Green, Kentucky as well as an undergraduate research assistant at the Center for Energy Systems on campus. He is an outstanding student. Landon plans on continuing education and pursuing a master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering.
Brent Smith is an engineering intern at HeathCo and is from Scottsville, Kentucky. Brent is interested in joining the armed forces and becoming a pilot. He is a member of the Tau Beta Pi honor society and is an officer in WKU’s IEEE chapter. Brent enjoys being outside and exercising as well as playing disc golf and has been teaching himself piano for the past year. Brent also hopes to one day get a degree in aeronautical or aerospace engineering and maybe pursue a masters and PhD.
Liam is a sophomore student majoring in Electrical Engineering and minoring in both Computer Science and Systems Engineering. He has been on the President’s List each semester with a 4.0 GPA. Liam has enjoyed working with electronics and programming from a young age, and has a passion for experimenting and understanding the world. With 3 years’ experience working in the WKU Makerspace and half a year of experience in product prototyping, he intends to enter a career in robotics and systems design following his graduation, and is very interested in artificial intelligence research.
Chris started at SKYCTC in 2011 and graduated in 2015 with an Associates of Applied Science Degree in both Electronics and Industrial Maintenance. After graduating from SKY he started working as a maintenance technician at various companies in region. In 2018 he was promoted to Maintenance Coordinator by his employer. In June of 2019, his job was eliminated due to downsizing. At that time he made the decision to further his education. In the fall of 2020, he started pursuing an Engineering Technology Management Degree at WKU. After graduation he would like to pursue a job in a supervision/management role at a local company.
Steffen Boltz is pursuing the Joint Undergraduate Master Program (JUMP) in the Manufacturing Engineering Technology and Engineering Management programs so he could finish with both undergraduate and graduate degrees in four years. He Is also pursuing a graduate certification in lean and Six Sigma process improvement methodologies. Steffen is a trained gunsmith, bench jeweler and veteran of the US Army Infantry.
Riley Bishop is from Madison, WI but grew up in Lexington. His main interest in the field of mechanical engineering is in fluid mechanics, which was largely formed from his participation in Senior Project: Wind Tunnel Data Acquisition System through LabVIEW. Riley will be working full-time as a Mechanical Estimator for Green Mechanical Construction after graduation. In the future, Riley would like to attend graduate school for more in-depth studies in fluid mechanics. He will also be working towards passing the FE exam in the next year.
Ethan is the son of Sam and Heather Hinkson and newlywed husband to Brooke Hinkson. In addition to attending Western, he also co-ops for LG&E while his wonderful wife pursues dentistry at UofL. He attributes all his academic success to Jesus who saved him from a destructive, lazy lifestyle in high school and who has been faithfully forgiving, providing for, and directing him ever since. He also thanks his parents for loving and homeschooling him, giving him a solid emotional, spiritual, and educational foundation and his twin brother, Clark, for helping him study and making him laugh in college.
As a student, Caroline Camfield is currently involved in Tau Beta Pi as corresponding secretary, WKU Jump Rope Club as president, WiSE as president, and the Jumpin’ Jaguars jump rope team. Additionally, she has worked for the Center for Energy Systems since the spring semester of 2019 in an administrative and technical role. After graduation, Caroline plans on pursuing a concurrent master's degree in Mechanical Engineering and PhD in Engineering Education. Through these degrees, she would like to continue research on sustainable energy sources, how sports can be used to engage students in STEM, and the involvement of under-represented groups in engineering.
Joshua Estes grew up in a smaller town towards Eastern Kentucky. He is a member for Tau Beta Pi, and is currently interning at New Mather Metals. Joshua is hoping to work in the R&D/prototyping field, with a goal for NASA as well as pursuing further education in the future. While at Western, Joshua has made many memories doing the most random things with friends. Joshua is grateful for all his friends and family and for the continuing support they’ve always given him.
Mick Sloane began teaching Industrial Maintenance at the Russell Spring Area Technology Center in 2006. As an in-service occupational based teacher Mick was required to begin work on an associate of Vocational Technical Education which he completed in 2010. Mick then took the initiative to complete his bachelor's so that he could better share his technical experiences with his students. Mick's son Wyatt will graduate from WKU with an engineering degree in the Fall of 2021.