The ATLAS Center supports an annual Student of the Year Program to recognize student achievement. One student from each institution will be selected through a competitive process and the winning students will receive a stipend and support to travel to the CUTC and TRB meetings held in Washington, DC each January.
ATLAS Outstanding Student of the Year – ($1,000 Award)
Nathan Schulz is a Student Technician at the Roadside Safety and Physical Security Division of the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI). He is currently a senior level undergraduate student in Civil Engineering at Texas A&M University. Nathan’s research responsibilities include assisting with the ATLAS sponsored research project Heavy Truck Crashworthiness Occupant Protection that is being collaboratively conducted by TTI and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI). Nathan has become a valued team member to this highly technical and complex project by learning about biomechanics and occupant dynamics and developing finite element models of occupant restraint systems including seat belts and air bag systems for use in impact computer simulations. These models are being used to research the crashworthiness of commercial trucks in various impact scenarios and to evaluate strategies for reducing risk of occupant injury in these types of crashes.
His excellent learning skills and professionalism are reflected by the level he embraces each of his assigned tasks, often finding innovative, creative ways to solve a problem. Fellow professional researchers have noted that Nathan’s level of performance, communication skills and competence exceeds that of other students, including graduate students, who have more years of experience. On the basis of his proven research accomplishments while maintaining an outstanding academic record, Nathan was chosen to represent the ATLAS UTC and receive this award. After completing his undergraduate work, Nathan plans on pursuing a Masters of Engineering degree at Texas A&M.
ATLAS Outstanding Graduate Student – ($500 Award)
Adrian Contreras is currently a graduate student at Texas A&M University and is working towards an M.E. in Transportation Engineering with a focus on design. He was born in San Antonio, TX and attended Texas A&M for his undergraduate studies, where he earned a B.S. in Civil Engineering. Adrian has held positions in organizations such as the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) and the Texas A&M Chapter of Chi Epsilon. He is also a current member of the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) and works as a graduate research assistant with the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI). Upon graduation, Adrian hopes to stay in Texas to work with a consulting firm on transportation engineering projects. When he is not studying or working, Adrian enjoys recreational activities (such as jogging and badminton), listening to music, and watching movies.
ATLAS Outstanding Undergraduate Student – ($500 Award)
George Gillette is enrolled as a sophomore in Texas A&M University’s B.S. program in Civil Engineering. He reduces data for Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) as a student worker. He has worked in applications of image processing for improved data reduction and statistical analysis for a variety of transportation projects. Outside of TTI, he pursues Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) proposals to gain real-world experience in the fields of engineering and basic business management in order to expand his educational horizons. He is both an Engineering Honors and University Honors student. Currently, he is working as a Sophomore Advisor in the University Honors program and helps freshmen in their transition to Texas A&M University. Additionally, he is a project leader in Engineers Without Borders for the Personal Energy Transport project, designed to help the disabled in third-world countries. Beyond university extra-curricular activities, he enjoys reading classic literature and poetry, competitive sports, and playing piano.