Robert E. Stewart Engineering-Humanities Award

By Ian Hahus, August 1, 2018

Hello, my name is Ian Hahus! For those of you who don’t know me, I have been a land and water resources Ph.D. student under Dr. Kati Migliaccio for the past four years and am graduating this August! I was asked to write a short blog post about the Robert E. Stewart Engineering Humanities Award that I’ll be receiving next week at American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) Annual International Meeting in Detroit, Michigan. This award is given in honor of a former president of ASABE Robert E. Stewart to “acknowledge and perpetuate his lifelong dedication to the social and cultural contributions that agricultural engineering makes to the quality of life and to the application of the humanities to engineering research, design, developments, and teaching.”

Well, I don’t know if I’ve really done anything quite that fancy, but I do often find myself somewhere in between engineering and the humanities. I have always been interested in both ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ sciences, so I’ve enjoyed having opportunities to bring them together in a few of the student organizations that I’ve been in over the years.

With Purdue’s ASABE chapter, we used crumpled paper and washable markers to talk to kids about fertilizers and pesticides and how engineers can help keep them out of waterways. By the time I joined the UF Wetlands Club, we had fancy EnviroScapes to do the same thing.

As an officer in UF’s American Water Resources Association chapter, I helped organize and participated in an art show inspired by Florida’s water resources and our interactions with them. Engineering is great for solving a lot of our problems, but sometimes it takes something a little more personal to help people connect with and appreciate the issues.

I feel that winning this award is just a continuance of a tradition that began in this department before I got here. When I started my Ph.D., I was lucky enough to make some friends that were very active in the department and in other organizations of all kinds. Having been fairly active at Purdue, meeting up with likeminded people right off the bat really set me up to have a lot of great opportunities here at UF. I look at it like everyone that gets a degree gets a degree, so it’s the other things that I’ve been able to do here that have really defined my college experience.

Plus, I’ve found that joining clubs and making friends is a great way to get free food.