skip to main content

Virginia Tech News / Articles / 2013 / 07 

Doug Nelson receives his fourth National Science Foundation advisor award

July 3, 2013

From left, Don Senich and Doug Nelson
Doug Nelson, right, professor of mechanical engineering at Virginia Tech, receives the 2013 Long-Term Faculty Advisor Award from Don Senich of the National Science Foundation for his involvement with the EcoCar2 competition.

Douglas Nelson, professor of mechanical engineering at Virginia Tech, has received the National Science Foundation 2013 Outstanding Long-Term Faculty Advisor Award.

This award, complete with a $10,000 cash prize, is presented to the faculty advisor who best promotes the goals, objectives, and activities related to EcoCAR at their universities including its incorporation into the undergraduate engineering curriculum.

Nelson has received this award three times previously, most recently in 2009.

EcoCAR is a design competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. Engineering students across North America participate in the development of the "green" vehicles of the future.

"The College and the Mechanical Engineering Department, including its students, faculty, and staff are tremendously proud of Doug Nelson's stellar long-term contributions to EcoCAR 2 and its earlier versions. The team of students that he leads is a remarkable model of cooperation. Their enthusiasm for their EcoCAR mission is palpable at the events I have attended. Creating this cooperative spirit and collective dedication requires leadership, mentoring, generous contribution of time, and the wisdom to know when to step in and when to step back. Dr. Nelson has provided this quality of advising for many years with a strong impact on many students," said Richard C. Benson, dean of Virginia Tech's College of Engineering.

Nelson was the founding advisor of Virginia Tech's Hybrid Electric Vehicle Team, which started participating in 1994 in national alternative-fuel, student-designed vehicle competitions sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) and U.S. automakers. This challenge has evolved into the EcoCAR competition.

In 2005, NSF presented the Outstanding Long-Term Faculty Advisor Award to Nelson during the Challenge X 2005 Competition at Generals Motor's Milford Proving Grounds near Detroit. In 1998 NSF awarded Nelson the FutureCar Faculty Advisor's Award. The 2005 award came with a $15,000 grant and the 1998 honor netted Nelson $20,000.  The cash awards are used for the improvement and education of the design teams.

The judges of the NSF Advisor competition select the faculty advisor who has created the best automotive engineering and engineering design experience for his/her students, and who has best used EcoCAR to enrich the university engineering program.

Nelson, who joined the Virginia Tech faculty in 1986, is also a past recipient of the Society of Automotive Engineers' Ralph R. Teetor Educational Award in recognition of his outstanding contributions as one of the nation's top engineering educators in the field of automotive technology. In 2011 he was named a Fellow of the Society of Automotive Engineers.

Nelson earned his bachelor's degree and master's degree in mechanical engineering at Virginia Tech and his Ph.D. at Arizona State University.

Related Links