Thursday, January 11, 2018
Mechanical Engineering Professor Tyler Susko has been named, with Professor Diba Mirza from the Department of Computer Science, co-recipient of the Northrop Grumman Excellence in Teaching Award. Given to junior faculty, the annual recognition goes to educators in the STEM fields who have shown excellence in their techniques, in their interactions with students, colleagues and staff, and in their activities and lectures. Candidates also are evaluated on student feedback based on the students’ interest, enthusiasm and achievement.
As participants in the UCSB Hyperloop capstone project, students of mechanical engineering lecturer Susko conceptualize and build their version of the high-speed transit vehicle of the future — but that’s only part of the fun. An expert in the design of machines, Susko focuses on the real-life interactions between machines and humans who use them. His students create meaningful, beneficial projects, learn fundamental and advanced mechanical engineering concepts and get a taste of research and independent product development.
Susko’s own research resulted in the prototype for the MIT-Skywalker, a rehabilitation robot that assists stroke victims and those who suffer from cerebral palsy to train themselves to move independently. He and his team worked on the project while he was at MIT.
“It is an honor to be selected in recognition of my teaching, especially by Northrop Grumman, who has been one of our top capstone project sponsors and employers of our graduates,” Susko remarked. “My job is easy because of the intellect and drive of our talented UCSB engineering students. I’m lucky to be able to interact with them weekly as they progress in their education to be engineers that UCSB is truly proud to call our own.”
Susko’s enthusiasm for teaching design extends to the youngest students as well, as he hopes to align early engineering and science education with young children’s innate imagination, resourcefulness and creativity to produce the engineers of the future. In addition to the Hyperloop team and students associated with Lab d4H (“design for humans”), Susko works with the Isla Vista Elementary School robotics outreach program.
Awards and Accolades