April 23, 2010

3 students among top 50 future technology leaders

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill -- Three Southern Illinois University Carbondale students are among the top 50 future technology leaders in Illinois, according to a statewide technology group.

The Illinois Technology Foundation, a Chicago non-profit organization aimed at promoting technology talent from academia to industry, selected graduate student Justin Behrens and undergraduates Dustin Kurtz and Phillip Orman for its yearly “50 for the Future” contest. All three are mechanical engineering students in the College of Engineering at SIUC.

“We are extremely proud of these individuals,” said John W. Nicklow, associate dean of the College of Engineering. “It is a testament to the quality of students and the opportunities available in this college. They represent future leaders in our community and in our professions.”

The ITF, which is the philanthropic arm of the Illinois Technology Association, announced the winners this week. The event, now in its fourth year, highlights future talent in the state’s technology field.

SIUC also placed three students on last year’s list.

On April 13, the students joined technology company leaders, and university and government officials, at a celebration in Chicago to honor the top 50 future technology leaders.

Behrens, of Oakwood, is a teaching assistant in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Energy Processes.

Kurtz, a senior, is the son of Darrell Kurtz of Paxton. He was a member of the award-winning robotics team this school year, which built The Juggernaut robot and earned a perfect score for robot design at a national collegiate robot-building contest. He also is a member of the SIUC Moonbuggy Team and Engineering Student Council.

Orman, a senior, is the son of Wes and June Orman of Mattoon. Like Kurtz, he was a member of SIUC’s robotics team and also Moonbuggy team, and he served on the Engineering Student Council.

A non-profit organization, the ITF supports technology talent development from elementary school through higher education. It builds relationships between industry, academia, students and government and seeks to nurture up-and-coming talent through leadership and collaboration.

The ITA is a consortium of technology companies dedicated to their growth and the regional technology industry through strategic development, peer leadership, networking and by providing access to experts in many fields.