BMES student chapter honors faculty and staff with annual awards

Dr. Javier Jo and Dr. Fidel Fernandez

The student chapter of the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) has announced the Faculty and Staff of the Year Awards. Recognized during the organization's annual "Picnic with the Profs," the BMES officers recognized Dr. Javier Jo (pictured on the left) as the recipient of the faculty award and Dr. Fidel Fernandez as the recipient of the staff award.

Selection for the faculty award was based on three main criteria. The first focused on how student-oriented the faculty member was and to what extent they keep the students’ goals in mind. The second criterion focused on how genuine the faculty member is perceived to be by students, and the last criterion used was the level of faculty involvement.

For the faculty award, the BMES executive board nominated faculty members and then voted to select the top three. Undergraduate and graduate students voted via an email survey. Jo, an assistant professor in the department, received the award due in part to his willingness to help out students.

Staci Jessen, the 2010-11 BMES president, recalled a time that she and her partner were struggling with a computer project for Jo's class. After multiple trips to Jo’s office to ask questions, he offered to come to the computer lab to help them, as well as other students who were there working on the project. And to improve his teaching effectiveness, Jo asked the students in his class to fill out evaluations about three weeks into the course. Jessen said he read their responses and immediately made changes to his lectures.

“It was really beneficial. You can tell by his attitude and the effort he went through to accommodate our requests that he cares for the students and genuinely wants us to learn the material.”

For the Staff of the Year Award, the BMES Executive Committee nominated staff members and voted internally. The award was based on the staff member’s involvement with BMES, genuineness, and dedication to the students.

Jessen described Fernandez as the biggest student advocate she has ever met, and she said he exemplifies all three of these criteria.

“As far as his involvement with BMES, I can honestly say that nothing would happen in this organization if he was not a part of it,”  Jessen said. “He helps us to contact the companies, order food, design t-shirts, and always has excellent suggestions/comments at our officer meetings.”

BMES has been recognizing faculty through this award since 2005, and the staff category was just added last year. More information on BMES may be found on at