PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University’s College of Engineering and
Architecture has recognized its top teachers, researchers, staff and students for 1999. They were
chosen by students and faculty/staff peers.
The Outstanding Senior is Jeffrey D. Hall, mechanical/materials engineering, from Colfax. He
was an officer of several student organizations, received numerous merit-based scholarships and
grants, and was selected by faculty as an undergraduate teaching assistant. He was a peer tutor,
member of the Mini-Baja team and had an internship at Sandia National Labs. He has been on the
President’s Honor Roll seven times and will continue master’s studies at WSU in micro-electronic
manufacturing, eventually striving for a job as an automotive engineer.
The Outstanding Junior is Kim Priest, biological systems engineering, from Lynnwood. She
was a leader of organizations in her department, college and at the university level. She is an
ambassador for the college, recipient of a President’s Award for leadership and service, and has
been on the President’s Honor Roll since 1996. She helps recruit for CEA at high schools and
community colleges, mentors freshmen and promotes WSU. She’s been on a dean’s scholar list
and belongs to Sigma Iota honor society. She is a “Pets For People” volunteer, and has interned
at MetroWastewater Treatment plant, Boise Cascade and ARCO to prepare for a job in chemical
Outstanding Sophomore is Scott Lindblom, electrical engineering, from Boise, Idaho. He
heads the electrical systems development of the student fuel injection and engineering group. He
has been on the President’s Honor Roll for five semesters. WSU Mortar Board named him an
outstanding freshman scholar, and he belongs to Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society. He was
several times named employee of the month for a Boise pizza company and plays guitar in a
The Outstanding Teaching Assistant is David Nelson, civil engineering, from Liberty, Mo.
The master’s student assisted Ken Fridley’s timber designs course, helping create the virtual
aspect of it online. While he performed the traditional tasks of grading, stand-in lecturing and
answering student questions, he also helped develop the course on the web site and debugged
electronic glitches. Several of the 70 students referred to Nelson as “exceptionally fair, helpful,
friendly and accomplished.” Upon graduating in December, he plans to find a job with a
structural design firm, and eventually start his own consulting business.
Teacher of the Year is O.A. “Gus” Plumb, mechanical engineering, a professor at WSU for 23
years. He leaves in June to become dean of engineering at the University of Wyoming at
Laramie. He was noted for his continued excellence in the classroom, lab, advising office and
even the hallways, where he connects with students. Both students and peers say he strives to
adapt the curriculum in heat transfer and thermal fluids to relevant applications. Plumb continues
to perfect his methodology, is known for accessibility, mentoring, high standards, team building
and as a bridge to industry. He has taken leadership roles in the college, helped develop
curriculum and is active in his professional organization.
Researcher of the Year is James Petersen, professor of chemical engineering and director of
the Center for Multiphase Environmental Research. He strives to develop interdisciplinary
research and education about environmental research of global concern. Through the
two-year-old CMER, students in eight departments and three colleges come together to study
microbial cleanup of hazardous wastes and other environmental toxic risks. He recently won a
National Science Foundation grant to help as many as 60-some WSU doctoral-seeking students
receive $25,000 to explore the breadth and depth of environmental problems. He helped foster the
Inland Northwest Research Alliance through his contacts with the Idaho National Engineering
and Environmental Laboratory, and initiated an effort to allow students an early start on their
graduate studies while still undergraduates without losing credit when transferring to other
Outstanding staff member for 1999 is Marty Lentz, Wood Materials and Engineering Lab.
Lentz is the ace composites manufacturer who knows best how to create particleboard, oriented
strandboard and other such man-made wonders. For decades, he has been the steady guide and
mentor for graduate students, and the guardian of safety and efficiency in the massive lab. His
friendly, patient manner has inspired all.
These winners of college awards were selected from department-level honorees.