Professor wins engineering education award
Katie McCarty | Sunday, March 23, 2014
The American Society of Engineering Education recently featured Jason Hicks, assistant professor of chemical and bio-molecular engineering, as a “Leader in Engineering Education.”
Hicks earned the recognition due to his contributions and dedication, both inside and outside the classroom to the engineering program, according to a press release.
Hicks, a Kentucky native, attended Kentucky Wesleyan College and graduated with a B.S. in chemistry. He then attended Vanderbilt University to obtain a B.E. in chemical engineering and Georgia Institute of Technology for his graduate work in chemical engineering. He attributed his abilities as an instructor to several of his own professors throughout his education.
“I had multiple remarkable instructors who inspired me to pursue a career in education,” Hicks said. “They were clearly dedicated to their students, and they spent a lot of time investing in me. They imparted knowledge, skills and passion for learning and being creative to me, and this career gives me the opportunity to regularly interact with students and pass these things along to them.”
Hicks teaches several classes within the department of chemical engineering and conducts research on the synthesis and characterization of materials and catalysts for energy applications.
“We are focused on developing new catalysts to generate clean liquid fuels,” Hicks said. “This includes removing sulfur from diesel fuels, converting [carbon dioxide] to liquids, producing biofuels from non-edible biomass feedstocks and producing chemicals from renewable resources.”
Hicks said the feature was especially meaningful given his relatively short time as a professor.
“This is my fourth year at Notre Dame teaching primarily senior undergraduate students, and I am very excited to be recognized as a junior faculty member,” Hicks said. “The [department of chemical and biomolecular engineering] has excellent educators, and I have had many opportunities to learn from my senior faculty.”
Hicks said he receives his passion for engineering from its potential to enhance lives.
“An engineering education provides students with skills needed to design, construct and operate processes that impact our society,” Hicks said. “Engineers are needed to develop technologies for energy, food, pharmaceutical, textile, manufacturing, transportation and computer industries.
“I am passionate about engineering because we can use this knowledge to directly and indirectly enhance our lifestyles.”