PRISM - American Society for Engineering Education - Logo - JANUARY 2005 - VOLUME 14, NUMBER 5
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Faculty's Finest: Marcus D. Ashford -  Driving Force

By Thomas K. Grose

WHAT DO YOU DO FOR AN ENCORE WHEN, AS A MECHANICAL ENGINEERING GRAD STUDENT, YOU HELPED DEVELOP A SYSTEM THAT REDUCED FORD NAVIGATOR EMISSIONS BY 80 PERCENT?

What do you do for an encore when, as a mechanical engineering grad student, you helped develop a system that reduced Ford Navigator emissions by 80 percent? Well Marcus D. Ashford accepted an appointment as an assistant professor in the mechanical engineering department at the University of Alabama-Tuscaloosa. He's been teaching since only last fall—initially a graduate course in thermodynamics—but is thoroughly enjoying the experience. The feeling of freedom that comes from being able to design a course "his way" is gratifying as well as humbling, he admits. Ashford, 32, has worked for the ExxonMobile Chemical Co. and the Ford Motor Co. He draws on those experiences in the classroom. He recalls how he understood thermodynamics as a student, but not nearly as well as he did when he worked for a chemical company. The improved catalytic converter he helped design was part of his doctoral dissertation at the University of Texas-Austin. Ashford is planning research projects in the area of automotive combustion, particularly the use of hydrogen. When Ashford, who's an African American, was an undergraduate at Louisiana State University, none of his engineering professors was black. So he hopes he can be a role model for black engineering students. "Forget about hydrogen. Women and minorities, in engineering, they are the real untapped resources," he says.

 

FEATURES
Lending a Hand - By Margaret Loftus
Crafting a New Curriculum - By Lucille Craft
Measure for Measure - By Alvin P. Sanoff
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Tech View - By Mary Kathleen Flynn
TEACHING TOOLBOX
THE SCIENCE OF FUN: Entertainment engineering programs are sprouting up. - By Linda L. Creighton
TEACHING: The Voice of Experience
FACULTY'S FINEST: Marcus D. Ashford
ON CAMPUS: A River Runs Through It
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LAST WORD: 2020: It's Sooner Than You Think - By Stephen W. Director
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