Yoder named Student Employee of the Year for Montana Tech



Jay Yoder, a junior in the Mechanical Engineering program, is the recipient of the Montana Technological University 2023 Student Employee of the Year award. Yoder was announced as the recipient at the Annual Student Employee Recognition gathering on Tuesday, April 11, 2023.

Yoder, a research assistant in the Mechanical Engineering Department, was selected based on the National Association of Colleges and Employers' criteria for competencies and personal characteristics. Competencies include critical thinking, problem-solving, oral and written communications, collaboration, teamwork, and high standards of respectable professional and personal characteristics.

"Yoder has continually exceeded expectations and has repeatedly gone the extra mile," Associate Professor Peter Lucon stated in his nomination of Yoder. "Jay has worked in our research lab for over a year, working full-time through the summer. He has excelled and is performing near the graduate student level in both leadership and technical abilities. He independently thinks through the research and performs his calculations." 

Summarizing Lucon's nomination form, Yoder goes above and beyond the call of duty. He takes the initiative without being prompted to learn concepts above his current coursework and effectively implements these concepts and new skills into his research projects and responsibilities. He implements self-study skills, and collaborates with other faculty, while being receptive to their coaching to analyze and design systems. "Jay's ability and willingness to work well beyond his current knowledge and experience is a trait that is highly desirable but not often found in a junior-level student," Lucon stated. Yoder's results contributed to the design of the testing fixture for the Mechanical Engineering Department's Cold Spray Project.  

In addition to his effective skills and knowledge, Yoder displays exceptional professional characteristics, as described by Lucon. Yoder has a positive attitude, excellent work ethic, great leadership skills, and time management skills, and he respects others' time. Our campus values all of these characteristics.

Not only does Yoder complete his responsibilities, but he also mentors five other undergraduate research assistants. "His mentorship has helped other students understand deadlines, present at design reviews, and develop engineering thought processes and rough order of magnitude check calculations," stated Lucon.  

Yoder is a well-deserving recipient based upon Lucon's nomination of Yoder for displaying initiative, contribution, mentorship, and much more.