Paul Hirsh, a student in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department who is working as a laboratory intern, has won a Scanlon Student Employee of the Year Award. Hirsh will also be returning to the MIE department in the fall of 2021 as a graduate student. As a Scanlon recipient this year, Hirsh will receive a monetary award of $500 and a certificate documenting his meritorious service to the university.
Hirsh is one of 10 outstanding UMass Amherst students who have demonstrated leadership, initiative, and a unique work ethic, designating them as an asset to their department and to the university community.
Hirsh’s nomination for the award was drafted by MIE Professor Krish Sharman, together with Jacob Davis (M.S. student) and Jessica Nguyen (postdoctoral researcher) at the Ocean Resources and Renewable Energy Group.
According to Hirsh’s nomination, “During the past one and half years of his employment in our laboratory, we have come to regard Paul as an indispensable member of our team. Paul’s hiring to our team coincided with critical period in our research team’s formation within the MIE department; over the course of the past two years, our team has focused on the ground-up development of our experimental hydrodynamics laboratory.”
As the nomination continued, “During a time when reliable team members are most needed, Paul has risen to the occasion. Amongst a research team of post-docs, graduates, and interns, Paul shines for his unwavering work ethic and devotion to the success of the group.”
The nominators explained that Hirsh has been involved in nearly every aspect of the research group’s efforts. The breadth of work associated with lab development has called on Hirsh to perform equipment design, assembly, and maintenance, among many other tasks.
“For instance,” said the nomination, “this past semester, Paul leveraged the skills he has obtained as a mechanical engineering student to co-lead the design of the actuator support frame, a core component of our experimental wave tank.”
Driven by his flourishing interest in renewable energy, as the nomination explained, Hirsh has been actively engaged in the development and setup of the lab’s first experimental campaign on wave energy conversion.
“Through these efforts,” said the nomination, “he has learned new skills such as computer-aided design, fabrication, and data acquisition techniques. Further, he has expanded his knowledge of hydrodynamic theory and power conversion. With each new task, Paul accepts the challenge with the enthusiasm of an avid learner and dedication of a true team player.”
As Hirsh’s nomination concluded, “Paul’s devotion to the department and university extends well beyond the scope of our group’s work. During the warmer months, he works a second job on the UMass landscaping crew. Beginning this spring semester, Paul also began parallel employment as assistant to the Gunness Laboratory Manager, Dana Parsons. Paul balances and excels in these positions, all on top of a fulltime student course load.” (May 2021)