Jacome chosen as a 2020 SAE Doctoral Research Fellow
Ricardo Jacome, a graduate student in mechanical and materials engineering and a researcher at the Midwest Roadside Safety Facility (MwRSF), has been chosen as a Doctoral Research Fellow by the Society of Automotive Engineers for 2020-21.
He is one of five doctoral students in the U.S. chosen for the honor, which provides $15,000 for the academic year. Students considered for the award must be pursuing doctoral studies in engineering with an intent of pursuing a career teaching engineering at a university.
Jacome, who does research on autonomous vehicles and the systems that control them, said the award means more to him because it is a validation of his career goals.
"It's not a typical fellowship. It symbolizes the recognition that I'm a student who is capable of teaching in an area of engineering that is demanding," said Jacome, who is working toward receiving his Ph.D. in May 2021. "My short-term goals involve getting a faculty position at a university and inspiring students to pursue this field."
Jacome came to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for graduate school and joined the MwRSF after earning a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, near where his family lives.
Since arriving in Lincoln, Jacome has earned myriad awards, including:
- Two Dwight D. Eisenhower Transportation Research Fellowships (2019 and 2020), awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation. That fellowship supplies recipients $15,000 and $5,000 per year with travel to the annual Transportation Research Board conference.
- The SAE 2018 Heinz C. Pretcher Scholarship, which includes $10,000 to support the recipient's entrepreneurial idea for intelligent transportation technology to improve vehicle safety and travel efficiency.
- The 2017-18 Nebraska Engineering Recruitment Fellowship.
- The 2018 Mid-America Transportation Center's Region VII University Transportation Centers Student of the Year.
In addition to his work on systems that keep vehicles safely on the road, Jacome has also been a tireless recruiter for engineering students considering transportation fields.
"Not a lot of people are aware that there is vehicle research going on at this university – not just UNL students, but prospective students as well," Jacome said. "But Midwest is a leader in these types of engineering, and I want to make sure as many other students know about it as is possible."
His devotion to his research, to engineering, to education and to students is what will make Jacome a successful faculty member, said Cody Stolle, research assistant professor at MwRSF.
"Ricardo is a natural-born leader. He coaches graduate and undergraduate students to follow in his steps," Stolle said. "He challenges the status quo, brings new technologies and ideas to light and proudly puts his signature not only on his work, but carries it to another generation of students.
"I know that whatever he puts his mind to, he will accomplish, and he will make the world and his community a better place for it."
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