Each year the American Society of Biological and Agricultural Engineers (ASABE) chooses two individuals – a professional and a student – to act as the New Faces of ASABE. New Faces of ASABE are announced annually just ahead of National Engineers Week. Through the stories of these individuals, New Faces of ASABE aims to inspire their peers, the public, and future engineers who may follow in their footsteps. By their professional and personal achievements, the New Faces of ASABE are making a world of difference.
ASABE offers two categories: the Professionals Edition honors ASABE members 35 years old and younger, while College Edition honors our undergraduate student members. This year, both of the top honorees come from NC State’s Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering.
New Faces of ASABE – Professionals
Sierra Young, PhD, EIT, was selected this year’s winner in the Professionals category. Young is an assistant professor in robotics and sensors.
Orthodontics might seem an unlikely introduction to engineering, but that’s how Sierra came to the profession. Sierra’s father was an orthodontist. “During the summers growing up,” says Sierra, “I worked in his practice where we discussed ‘engineering’ the mouth to do what we want – what I now understand to be the integration of mechanical engineering and biology. Orthodontics was my first encounter with using math and science to solve complex design problems.” She says her work is motivated every day by the potential of technology and agriculture to transform the way we produce food, fuel, and fiber at both national and global scales.
Sierra is currently serving as vice chair of ASABE’s Emerging Information Systems committee, ITSC-254, and has been deeply involved in a variety of other professional and STEM-outreach activities.
As ASABE’s top New Face for 2020, she will travel to Washington, DC, to join ASABE leadership as a judge in the Future City Competition finals, where ASABE sponsors two special awards, for food sustainability and use of renewable fuels.
New Faces of ASABE – College Edition
Brieana (Brie) Saur, is the New Faces of ASABE – College Edition winner for 2020. Saur is a senior and will graduate in May.
Brie says that working in the stormwater management field has made her realize the problem that is ever increasing with the amount of development and the frequency of more intense storms. As a future biological engineer, Brie hopes to recognize and design to a changing climate and weather conditions in order to keep the health, safety, and welfare of the public at the utmost importance.
Brie credits the example her mother, working in the IT field, set for her in setting her sights on a career in engineering, and she was influenced by an adult acquaintance, a biomedical engineer, to consider a career in agricultural and biological engineering.
Brie says she has benefitted from countless experiences through ASABE. “Being involved led to more connections with my peers and professors within the department which has helped me both academically and in my extracurricular affairs. She notes that the NC State section of ASABE hosts an in-house career fair for our students, which led to an internship as well as a full-time position after graduation. NC State also hosts a re-invigorated North Carolina Section of ASABE, which has exposed her and others to discussions on emerging issues in the industry and how young graduates can help battle those problems.