Engineers with a Vision

By Karen Updyke, School of Engineering

According to Associate Dean Margie Pinnell, “We have a good problem in that we have so many faculty and staff that do this that selecting the Vision award winners is a very difficult task! The Vision awards were created as a direct result of our strategic planning process and recognize and celebrate our faculty and staff who are making significant contributions to supporting and advancing our school’s values.”

The 2017 Vision Awards were presented at our annual fall faculty and staff meeting. The four recipients from the University of Dayton School of Engineering were: Laura Bistrek, Vision Award for Community; Jun-Ki Choi, Vision Award for Innovation; Vijayan Asari, Vision Award for Excellence; and Amy Ciric, Vision Award for Engagement and Service.


The 2017 Vision Award for Community was presented to Laura Bistrek, director of the Diversity in Engineering Center (DEC). Bistrek was recognized for her significant contributions in the area of diversity and inclusion through her involvement with the School's Minority Engineering Program (MEP), the Women in Engineering Program (WEP) and, most recently, for her extraordinary leadership of the Diversity in Engineering Center.

Bistrek joined the University of Dayton in 2006 as program manager for MEP and WEP. In August 2015, she was named director of the DEC. Under her direction, the School's diversity and inclusion programs and commitments were enhanced through her continued cultivation and collaboration with groups within the School as well as across campus, including the Women's Center, the Center for International Programs and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Bistrek's consistent message about the overall benefits of a diverse and inclusive University has resonated across campus from her participation on search committees to her service as an advocate for our underrepresented faculty, staff and students.


The 2017 Vision Award for Innovation was presented to Jun-Ki Choi, in recognition of his innovative teaching techniques and strategies that include unique experiential learning experiences for our students, as well as his continued pursuit of research and scholarship.

Choi is an assistant professor with the University of Dayton's Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Choi partnered with Crown Equipment Corporation in New Bremen, Ohio, to give his students the opportunity to study design for sustainability over the product lifecycle, using real-world challenges supplied by Crown. His course, Design for Sustainability, was featured in the Kern Entrepreneurial Network magazine, KEEN’zine, http://online.fliphtml5.com/zyet/swsb/#p=38

He co-leads the University’s Solar Thermal Adsorption Refrigeration (STAR) team, winning three awards from the National P3 (People, Planet, Prosperity) Competition, and several grants, including the University’s initial STEM Catalyst grant. As a KEEN Fellow, he is active in the Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network. 


The School of Engineering 2017 Vision Award for Excellence was presented to Vijayan Asari for his significant accomplishments in the area of scholarship, which includes over $5M in funding support and numerous publications and citations. Asari routinely supports our undergraduate and graduate students and engages in service to the department, School, University of Dayton and the profession to inspire our youth in the pursuit of an engineering education.

Asari is a professor with the University's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, the Ohio Research Scholars Endowed Chair in Wide Area Surveillance, and the director of the School's world-class research facility, Vision Lab (Center of Excellence for Computer Vision and Wide Area Surveillance Research). He collaborates with local, national and international faculty and industry research partners, supervises 12 Ph.D. and 11 M.S. graduate students as well as 38 undergraduate research students, and has research funded from government to private industry sources. He has numerous publications and has been cited by researchers around the world. He has three U.S. patents with two more under review. Asari and the Vision Lab team routinely open their doors for lab tours, etc. for campus visitors and have sponsored multiple capstone projects. He has served on a wide range of committees from engineering to the University's Strategic Visioning Steering Committee.


The School of Engineering 2017 Vision Award for Engagement and Service was presented to Amy Ciric, lecturer with the University of Dayton's Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering, because of her commitment to our vision to serve the common good and because her vision and work engage our students in service for the common good. 

Access to vaccines requires effective refrigeration solutions in communities that endure extreme poverty, which is recognized as a strategic target for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (3.B.1). It is also the goal of Ciric's Solar-Thermal Adsorptive Refrigerator (STAR) project, which won three awards from the National P3 (People, Planet, Prosperity) Competition and several grants. Nationally recognized for quality and impact, the STAR project established the University as a leader in pursuing innovative refrigeration technologies that serve global needs. Dr. Ciric and the STAR research team are dedicated to the development of an environmentally benign, non-electric refrigeration solution to store vaccines in off-the-grid areas. Ciric's vision and work to engage our students in service to the common good are exemplary. 

Previous Post

Two engineers receive UD Alumni Awards

Two engineering alumni, including an engineering legend who is credited with developing the first solid state computer, received Alumni Awards at a ceremony this past weekend.

Read More
Next Post

Dayton Flyers: Saving Lives and Saving Seats

Dayton Engineering graduates and students win big for innovative designs and research, ranging from more comfortable stadium seating to emergency response drones.

Read More