New Mexico State Professor Receives Prestigious Education Award from the National Society of Professional Engineers

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Stacey A. Ober
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Sunday, July 12, 2009

David A. Rockstraw, Ph.D., P.E., has been awarded the prestigious Engineering Education Excellence Award by the National Society of Professional Engineers and was recently recognized at the 2009 NSPE Annual Meeting in St. Louis.

The Engineering Education Excellence Award recognizes engineering faculty who have demonstrated the ability to link engineering education with professional practice. Recipients must be licensed professional engineers and have a tenure-track faculty appointment in an Accreditation Board for Engineering Technology-accredited engineering program and be 45 years or younger in age at the time of nomination. The award is sponsored by the Sustaining Universities Program of the Professional Engineers in Higher Education (PEHE) practice division of NSPE. 

Rockstraw is a professor of chemical engineering at New Mexico State University, where he is heavily involved in promoting the importance of professional licensure among the chemical engineering students in the department. He worked to successfully incorporate the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam into the undergraduate curriculum and did so in a manner that permits the collection of data for assessment purposes. Rockstraw has 14 years of teaching experience and consistently receives accolades from his students including the 2008 New Mexico State University Engineers Council Outstanding Professor Award and the 2004 Aspen Plus International Innovation in Engineering Education Award.

Rockstraw is also an active participant in professional development activities for students, such as serving as the American Institute of Chemical Engineers student chapter advisor and taking chemical engineering students into local area public schools to perform science shows. Rockstraw also furthers engineering education by serving as the southwest region vice president of PEHE and as governor of the Education Practice Division for the New Mexico Society of Professional Engineers.

Rockstraw holds a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from Purdue University and a doctorate in chemical engineering from the University of Oklahoma.

For more information on the award, or the nomination process, please visit the PEHE award Web site at The deadline for the 2010 award nominations is March 31, 2010.

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The National Society of Professional Engineers is the national society of licensed professional engineers from all disciplines that promotes the ethical and competent practice of engineering, advocates licensure, and enhances the image and well-being of its members. Founded in 1934, NSPE serves more than 45,000 members and the public through 53 state and territorial societies and more than 500 chapters. For more information, please visit