Alfred University News

Alfred University senior engineering student recognized for co-op experience

An Alfred University senior engineering student was presented with an award Thursday, Nov. 17, recognizing her for work in her co-op experience.

Olivia Gilbert, a materials science and engineering major from Ontario, NY, was presented with the McMahon Achievement Award. Gabrielle Gaustad ’04, dean of the Inamori School of Engineering at Alfred University, presented Gilbert with their award, which included a $250 cash prize, prior to Thursday’s John F. McMahon Memorial Lecture.

Gilbert, a Wayne High School graduate, is the daughter of Rick and Laurie Gilbert. She was recognized for her co-op project at Alfred University during the spring of 2022, supervised by Holly Shulman, professor of ceramic engineering.

“Olivia functions at an engineering level that I only see from seasoned, experienced engineers,” Shulman commented. “We needed to put together experiments that required innovation, flexibility, and higher-level logical thinking. She learned so quickly, while working firsthand. She recorded data, organized it, worked on data analysis and reporting, all at an exceedingly high standard.  She is punctual, reliable, and hard working.” 

Following the awards presentations, the McMahon Lecture was presented by James W. McCauley, former dean and professor of ceramic engineering in the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. In his lecture, McCauley discussed the Materials in Extreme Dynamic Environments (MEDE) program managed at Johns Hopkins University in collaboration with the Army Research Laboratory, which he conceived and initiated.

McCauley served as dean (SUNY unit head) and professor of ceramic engineering at the NYSCC from 1990-96 and is retired from the U.S. Army Research Lab (ARL), where he served as chief scientist (ST) for Advanced Materials. He is currently adjunct research scientist in the Johns Hopkins Extreme Materials Institute.

The John F. McMahon Memorial Lecture Award is presented annually to an outstanding ceramic engineer. The award was created by alumni in honor of the late John F. McMahon, an alumnus, professor and dean of what is now the Inamori School of Engineering.