Ivan Esparragoza, associate professor of engineering at Penn State Brandywine, was named the first winner of the George W. Franz Advising and Mentoring Award at the campus? Spring Honors Convocation on April 17. The Franz award annually recognizes a faculty or staff member for his/her efforts in helping others to achieve their potential.

Esparragoza, a member of the faculty at Penn State Brandywine since 2001, goes above and beyond for his engineering students. In the spring, the campus? Engineering Club--for which Esparragoza serves as academic advisor--earned the opportunity to represent Penn State University at the National Rube Goldberg Machine Contest, despite having no upperclassmen.

He was excited to receive the Franz Award.

"I am still in shock and I can't believe it. I engage with the students because I love helping them develop their potential," the Middletown Township resident said. "I feel great and I share this award with my wife and my kids. They have been very supportive."

Among other things, Esparragoza has worked in the past with his students to design a wheelchair that would be conducive to the specific needs of a person with physical challenges, and his current students are working on a project with students at a university in the United Arab Emirates to develop the launching mechanism for an unmanned aerial vehicle for taking inventory of game preserves in South Africa. The goal is to ensure the delicate ecological balance of these preserves is maintained in a cost-effective manner.

"We focus on real projects where they can connect with the world and solve real problems, because this is how students come to appreciate the true value of their education and how to put what they've learned to use for the good of humanity," he said.

Campus Chancellor Sophia Wisniewska said: "Ivan is well known on campus as someone who goes the extra mile to mentor his students, and provide them with tremendous learning opportunities in the classroom, and in the community. He is a great choice to receive the first George W. Franz Advising and Mentoring Award at Penn State Brandywine."