April 01, 2009

Three engineering students earn statewide honor

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE -- Three undergraduate engineering students at Southern Illinois University Carbondale are among 50 students selected statewide as potential technology leaders of tomorrow.

The Illinois Technology Foundation, a Chicago non-profit organization aimed at promoting technology talent from academia to industry, selected Lisa Furby, Max Kleiboeker and Christopher Scott Williams as winners in its annual “50 for the Future” competition. The winners will attend a reception in Chicago on Thursday, April 2, during which they will have the opportunity to network with technology company leaders, and university and government officials as they chart a course for their futures in the technology field.

John W. Nicklow, associate dean of the College of Engineering, said the competition was highly competitive and involved an arduous application process.

“It was quite in-depth, where we had to go over each student’s demonstrated abilities, their accomplishments here, their character and leadership skills and their potential to impact technological progress in the state,” Nicklow said. “At the end of the day, to have three students selected is great. It’s definitely something each can build on and put on their resume as this says they are one of the people who will provide real opportunity in the future. We’re extremely proud.”

The event is in its third year and promotes students who use technology in innovative ways. It does this by connecting them with industry and academic leaders throughout the state. The contest is open to students in high school through graduate students at universities. Top executives from more than 30 of the state’s leading technology companies support the event and act as judges.

Nominees must demonstrate their interest and potential in the field of technology. All nominees receive access to potential employers and winners of the competition form the core of a student advisory board that helps guide the year-long industry-based programming for all nominees.

Furby is a senior in mechanical engineering from Carbondale. A winner of the University’s Undergraduate REACH Awards and member of the University’s Leadership Council, she is the daughter of Thomas H. and Leanne M. Furby.

Kleiboeker is a senior in engineering technology from Carlyle. A winner of the Blaudow engineering leadership scholarship, and a two-time member of the SIUC robotics team that competed at the National Association for Industrial Technology annual robotics competition, he is a transfer student from Rend Lake College in Ina.

Williams is a senior in civil engineering from West Frankfort. A REACH award winner and member of the University’s Leadership Council, Williams is the son of Kathy and T. Scott Williams.