NC State Recognized at ASABE AIM in Boston

Students and faculty traveled to Boston, Massachusetts to attend the 2019 American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) Annual International Meeting.

ASABE presents a forum to expand awareness of current industry trends, promote and acknowledge innovations in design and technology, and provide opportunities for professional development – all with a focus on the economic, political and societal impacts facing the industry. The meeting also welcomed the newest ASABE president, Sue Nokes. Nokes is an NC State BAE alumni and current advisory board member. 

Highlights of the conference include networking opportunities, technical and poster presentations, industry keynote speakers professional development sessions, technical and cultural tours, and a career fair.

The NC State Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering sent more representatives than any other university at the annual international meeting. In addition to presenting their research in presentations and poster sessions, students and faculty were recognized by the professional society in several categories.

Congratulations to Dr. Dani Jones on receiving a Superior Paper Award on her paper published in Transactions of the ASABE titled “Assessment of Perennial Grass Inventories Predicted in the Billion-Ton Studies”.

Congratulations to our students that participated in the ASABE competitions!

Engineering Ethics Video Competition – 1st Place

Graduate students Mahmoud Shehata and Lise Montefiore worked with BAE students and faculty to create their first-place winning video, Research Ethics. For this competition, in a video of five minutes or less, describe ethical issues faced by agricultural and biological engineers in practice or research.

Potential themes include ethical issues involving engineering design, manufacturing, practice, management, research, etc. Present the issue(s) in an engaging manner that promotes group discussion.

KK Barnes Research Paper Competition – 1st Place

Carrie Sanford won first place for her undergraduate research titled, “Influence of Carbon Source Preadaptation and pH Adjustment on Soluble Sugar Consumption and Product Formation by Clostridium autoethanogenum“.

The objective of the K. K. Barnes Student Paper Awards Competition is to encourage undergraduate students in the preparation of better technical papers on subjects in the agricultural, food or biological engineering field. It is intended as a special inducement to supplement the training provided in the undergraduate curriculum by providing early practice is a type of performance required of professionals in the work in which they will later engage.

The competition consists of two parts: a written competition and an oral competition. The authors of the top three written papers are invited to attend the ASABE Annual Meeting to participate in the oral competition.

Engineering Ethics Essay Competition – 2nd Place


Graduate student Megan Boland’s essay on the ethics of labeling new food-related technology in agriculture such as CRISPR and GMOs.

Open to undergraduate and graduate student members of ASABE and/or the Institute for Biological Engineering (IBE), entrants will submit an original essay of up to 1,500 words, choosing an ethics topic impacting the practice of professions related to agricultural and biological engineering, systems, or technology. Up to three finalists will be selected to present their papers at the next Annual International Meeting (AIM).


Gunlogson Environmental Design Student Competition – 3rd Place

Undergraduate students Jessica Conner, Akira Romero, Emma Thomas, and Sindy Huang earned 3rd Place for their senior design project, the Digital Classroom Group. The group worked with faculty mentor Laura Merrimen and industry sponsor Custom Controls Unlimited to install a digital classroom and well monitoring station to provide real-world data to BAE faculty to use in their classes.

The purpose of the competition is to encourage undergraduate students to participate in the design of a relevant engineering project and to provide an arena of professional competition for environmentally and biologically related design projects. This competition is complementary to the AGCO National Design Competition, which focuses on agricultural and food-related projects, while Gunlogson focuses on environmentally and biologically related projects.


Fountain Wars

This was NC State’s first year competing in this competition. The team made up of undergraduate students Kyra Sigler, Ben Lee, Emory New, aim to compete at the 2020 ASABE aim competition in Omaha.

Fountain Wars is a hands-on, real-time design competition where students design and model their entry on-site at the Annual International Meeting (AIM), and build and test their actual entry under time pressure during the competition at the AIM.

Fountain Wars requires a modest design document and limited expenditures. As such, it is primarily targeted at student clubs or participants in sophomore/junior-level class design projects. Teams will arrive at the competition with a design for their fountain, along with the necessary PVC pipe, couplers, fittings, valves, nozzles, and pumps to assemble their design. After making a brief, marketing-style promotion, they will construct their system during a 120-minute construction period.

Awards are based on scores of the written report, oral presentation, construction, technical tasks and aesthetic display segments of the event.


AGCO National Design Competition – 2nd Place

Undergraduate students Hannah Monroe, Lucas Mitchell, Carrie Sanford worked with faculty sponsors Matthew Whitfield and Edward E. Godfrey on their project titled, “Postharvest Handling of Chopped Biomass Feedstocks through Densification for Long”.

The purpose of the AGCO National Student Design Competition is to encourage undergraduate students to participate in the basic design of an engineering project useful to agriculture and related areas and to provide an arena of professionalism in which the student can experience peer recognition of a well-conceived and executed design project.


AGCO National Design Competition – 3rd Place

Undergraduate student Ben Foote, Sam Beavans, Ryan Jackson and Ryan Phillips worked with faculty sponsor Gary Roberson and the NCDOT to develop a precision seeder for the NCDOT wildflower program.

Robert E. Stewart Engineering Humanities Award

Incoming masters student Joanna Quiah who recently completed her undergraduate degree from Oklahoma State University.

Recognizes an outstanding student for their contributions to the advancement of the interaction of the profession and the humanities, including the arts, foreign languages, English, history, linguistics, music, philosophy, religion, or theater.

The award was established in 1986 by Bonnie Stewart as a tribute to her husband Robert, a McCormick Medalist, past president and Fellow of ASABE. The award acknowledges and perpetuates his lifelong dedication to the social and cultural contributions that agricultural engineering makes to the quality of life and the application of the humanities to engineering research, design, developments, and teaching.