Fifth Annual New Faces of Engineering College Edition Honors Most Promising Engineering Professionals of Tomorrow

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Release Date: 

April 4th, 2016

WASHINGTON DC, April 4, 2016 – 13 of the nation’s most promising engineering professionals of tomorrow have been recognized with DiscoverE’s announcement today of the fifth annual New Faces of Engineering College Edition honors. These students exemplify the vision, innovation and leadership skills that form the foundational elements of a successful engineering career.

This year’s exceptional group all display a singular commitment to effecting positive change  through substantive, real world applications of their skills and training.  The students participate in a diverse range of projects and initiatives from renewable energy to medical breakthroughs. 

The students also share an instinctive recognition of the responsibility and vital importance of serving as mentors to younger students. The 2016 class is actively involved in the student chapters of their engineering societies and engineering outreach both on and off campus. In addition to their engineering feats and pro-social initiatives, these individuals have also demonstrated academic excellence and leadership within student organizations, as well as outstanding communication skills and non-engineering related community service.

Sponsored by NCEES, College Edition recognizes students in the 3rd, 4th and 5th years of their undergraduate engineering degree. The honorees, along with the participating engineering societies with which they are affiliated, include:


2016 New Faces College Edition Bios:


Alyssa Deardorff

Nominated by: Society of Women Engineers (SWE)

School: Oregon Institute of Technology

Major:  Renewable Energy Engineering

Second Major: Systems Engineering and Technology Management

Alyssa is fascinated with the intersection of technology and human impact. Combine that with her commitment to sustainability and renewable energy and you have someone with a clear roadmap for improving our world. Alyssa’s work with Solar Hope, a non-profit that brings renewable energy to developing regions, led her to Tanzania and Peru. There, she helped rural communities by installing solar photovoltaic systems for medical clinics and schools. Alyssa was also a Research Associate at the NASA Ames Research Center, which she describes as ‘an engineering fantasy realized.’


Sarah McIntyre

Nominated by: American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE)

School: University of Florida

Major: Biological Engineering, Minor: International Development

Sarah’s ‘aha moment’ came was when she interned with a company called Kalu Yala to establish a sustainable community in the remote Panamanian jungle. After two and a half months living off-the-grid, doing local biology research, and designing and building water diversion and catchment systems, Sarah was inspired to pursue a career in international sustainable development. Sarah believes dramatic improvements can come from simple designs combined with community empowerment – a perspective she believes will continue to move her forward in her professional career.


Robinson Merillat

Nominated by: National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE)

School: Colorado School of Mines

Major: Computer Science

Minor: Mathematics

Robinson and his teammates from CSM are prepping for the upcoming U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon, which challenges collegiate teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient and attractive. Robinson’s past work experience includes landscaper and a zip-line tour guide, both of which have helped him as he prepares for his career researching and developing virtual reality technology.  When Robinson isn’t engineering, you can find him with the rest of the CSM Swing Dance team or Ballroom Dance Club swinging the night away.


Steven Mezzacappa

Nominated by: American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)

School: Pennsylvania State University

Major: Architectural Engineering, Minor: Construction Management

Steven grew up on construction sites with his father and grandfather, which inspired him to go into the construction and architectural field. Steven is active in several organizations on campus, including Engineers Without Borders, for whom he builds homes for low-income families. He also works with Bridges to Prosperity, which provides isolated communities with access to essential health care, education and economic opportunities by building footbridges over impassable rivers.


Joseph Min

Nominated by: Chinese Institute of Engineers - USA (CIE-USA)

School: Johns Hopkins University

Major: Biomedical Engineering and Computer Science (Double Major)

Joseph was inspired by his mother, a molecular biologist, to become a biomedical engineer. Joseph is inspired to gives back to his community in the most hands-on way possible – by working as an EMT volunteer for the Hopkins Emergency Medical Organization, where he responds to medical emergencies for the entire JHU campus. Joseph has a passion for computer science, as well as engineering; he interned at Mission Data as a systems engineer where he wrote software solutions. Joseph is currently helping a team build a robot to aid doctors so they can be more efficient during surgery.


Brooke Neufeld

Nominated by: IEEE-USA

School: California State Polytechnic

Major: Electrical Engineering

Influenced at an early age by her dad, an electrical engineer, it’s no surprise that Brooke Neufeld ended up studying engineering. At Cal Poly, Brooke has completed internships at SpaceX working on Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) and at NASA Armstrong, completing an auto-tracking antenna for small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV). Brooke is also a consultant for high school engineering projects and other STEM outreach programs. Brooke is also an avid rock climber and can’t think of a better way to spend her afternoons than a relaxing 50 feet up in the air.


Danielle Passaglia

Nominated by: ASHRAE

School: University of Nebraska Lincoln

Major: Architectural Engineer

Danielle, a senior, intends to become an engineer for sustainable building design and energy modeling.  She works with The Green Impact Campaign, a non-profit that brings student volunteers and small businesses together to mitigate climate change by providing free energy assessments and tips to people and businesses. Danielle is involved in her school’s Ambassadors Program. Through this program, she has been involved in Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day to mentor girls age K-12 and present real world engineering applications and activities to them to get them excited about engineering.


Kaithlyn Pinnock

Nominated by: National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals (NOGLSTP)

School: University of Central Florida

Major: Industrial Engineering

Throughout middle and high school, Kaithlyn loved being a part of the Robotics scene. She served as a project manager at VEX Robotics and TETRIX events, as well as participated in Habitat for Humanity and the FIRST Robotics competition. Kaithlyn became serious about her career after joining IIE and being motivated by its variety of Industrial Engineers. Kaithlyn is currently a Professional Analytics intern with The Walt Disney Company. And she volunteers with the Give Kids The World Village program, which provides weeklong cost-free vacations to children with life-threatening illnesses.


Yazeli Cruz Rivera

Nominated by: Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE)

School: University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez

Major:  Industrial Engineering

Minor: NA

Yazeli’s love of learning and research, her drive to understand the world through science, and her commitment to giving back to the community has motivated her throughout her career. In 2013, she was the only student selected from Puerto Rico to be a part of INROADS, an organization dedicated to developing and placing talented underserved youth in business and industry. She is now a Research Assistant at her university where she is  looking at potential cancer gene biomarkers and studying characteristics of Alzheimer’s disease. 


Harsh Sahani

Nominated by: Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE)

School: Graphic Era University (India)

Major:  B.Tech

Minor: Petroleum Engineering

The opportunities engineers have to be creative, inventive, and problem solvers inspire Harsh.  He wasn’t fully aware of the various career options engineering offers until he came to college, but once he began regularly attending programs hosted by SPE, and became a student member, he knew this was the career for him. He voraciously studies the latest trends in the petroleum industry, works with mentors and volunteers with SPE.  He looks forward to the day soon when he will be working on an oil rig or other far flung location.


Jacob Steinmetz

Nominated by: ASME

School: Iowa State University

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Jacob was inspired to become an engineer in 7th grade after an engineer from IBM came to his classroom during Engineers Week. Jacob has been an active member of the Renewable Energy Vehicles Club where he, along with his teammates, have constructed a two cylinder engine to run on compressed air. He is also involved with ASME and Peer Tutoring, where he mentors other students in engineering. Jacob is also a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity where he is inspired to his construction skills for the benefit of others.


Shaquille Tensley

Nominated by: National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE)

School: University of Dayton

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Minor: Leadership / Management

As a freshman, Shaquille Tensley designed an IPad carrying case that provides stroke victims with independence and mobility. The cases have an ergonomic shoulder strap that can be modified with one hand; ideal for users who lost strength in one side of their body. At the University of Dayton, he served as an advisor to the Minority Engineering Program and also played wide receiver on UD’s varsity football team. Shaquille has completed three internships with the Eaton Corporation’s Electrical Sector where he redesigned and did trouble shooting on problematic aspects of manufacturing machines.


Eulises Valdovinos

Nominated by: National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME)

School: San Jose State University

Major: Industrial & Systems Engineering

Minor: Mathematics

In high school, Eulises thought he’d complete vocational school and then start working. But his plans changed when two teachers saw a different path for him and insisted he consider college. Now an engineering major, he is the first in his family to attend college. Eulises is paying it forward as he mentors his younger brother and is a peer advisor to over 35 students in the MESA Engineering Program. His membership in the Engineering Leadership Pathways Scholar, and the Society of Latino Engineers have provided him with the tools to accomplish becoming a project manager in the field.

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