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Students and faculty recognized at ATMAE conference

Students and faculty from Morehead State's Elmer R. Smith College of Business and Technology were recognized for their achievements at the Association of Technology, Management and Applied Engineering (ATMAE) annual conference held last November in Louisville.

The Morehead State University Robotics Team was recognized with the People's Choice Award at the Student Division Robotic Competition. The team was led by Dr. Jorge Ortega-Moody, associate professor of Engineering and Technology Management at MSU's School of Engineering and Computer Science. Members of the team are:

  • David Bischofberger, a freshman visitor exchange student from Switzerland;
  • Christina Childs, a senior from Hillsboro majoring in mechanical and manufacturing engineering technology;
  • Hayden Hall, a senior from Hippo majoring in systems integration engineering
  • Ethan Hernandez, a junior from Paris majoring in mechanical and manufacturing engineering technology;
  • Quang Le, a senior from Vietnam majoring in mechanical and manufacturing engineering technology and;
  • Zachary Sapp, a junior from Mt. Sterling majoring in mechanical and manufacturing engineering technology.

Teams were tasked with designing, developing, and demonstrating a semi-or-fully-automated robotic system to perform a user-defined function. The team's robot is designed for implementation in a greenhouse setting, using machine learning algorithms to identify problems with plants, such as harmful insects and diseases. The robot then sprays plants with appropriate pesticides and fertilizers. For the mechanical aspects of the robot, the team used all recycled parts that were no longer used on campus. The team competed for two days against ten other teams at the conference.

Also, during the conference, Dr. Ahmad Zargari, professor and associate dean of the School of Engineering and Computer Science, was honored with ATMAE's prestigious Charles W. Keith Award.

The Charles W. Keith Award is a special award named in honor of the man whose vision and action resulted in the foundation of the National Association of Industrial Technology (NAIT), ATMAE's predecessor association. The award honors individuals who have significantly contributed to the association's development. The nominee must be one whose contributions to the organization have been consistently outstanding and who has made exemplary accomplishments toward the significant development of ATMAE.

Dr. Zargari established his relationship with the organization more than 30 years ago. He served as the NAIT (ATMAE) Board of Directors Chair in 2005, was recognized as an ATMAE Senior Fellow in 2019, and currently serves as the Chair of ATMAE's Board of Accreditation. He joined MSU as an Assistant Professor in 1994. In 1998, he led the preparation of MSU's Industrial Technology programs toward NAIT accreditation. Currently, five programs in the School of Engineering and Computer Science, including the Bachelor of Science in Construction and Civil Engineering Technology, Electronics and Computer Engineering Technology, Mechanical and Manufacturing Technology, Bachelor of Science in Technology Management, and Master of Science in Engineering and Technology Management has been ATMAE accredited/reaccredited through November 2026.

"Due to my association and involvement with NAIT/ATMAE, when I joined MSU in 1994, I was able to build a team of motivated MSU faculty to prepare for ATMAE accreditation, and our programs have maintained accreditation since 1998," Zargari said. "I am pleased that I have contributed to ATMAE's mission on promoting academic program accreditation, personal certification, and the professional development for educators and industry professionals, and I am humbled and pleased that the Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering (ATMAE) professionals have recognized my continued contributions."

To learn more about MSU's Smith College of Business and Technology, email or call 606-783-5158.

Photo Caption: Members of the MSU Robotics Team, from left to right: Quang Le, Ethan Hernandez, Coach Jorge Ortega-Moody, David Bischofberger, Christina Childs and Hayden Hall. Not pictured is Zachary Sapp.

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