MARIETTA — For the second consecutive year, Southern Polytechnic State University students have been selected to receive two prestigious awards by the Georgia Engineering Alliance.
Garrett Bailey, a senior majoring in mechatronics engineering, was selected as the state’s Engineering Student of the Year. Christopher Cutter, a senior in mechanical engineering technology, is the state’s Engineering Technology Student of the Year.
The awards will be presented during the GEA’s 2012 Georgia Engineers Week Awards Gala on Saturday.
Georgia Engineers Week is being celebrated this week.
Bailey, a Walton High School graduate, recently became the first recipient of SPSU’s new Engineering Innovation Scholarship and he has maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout his time at SPSU.
A non-traditional student, he earned a philosophy degree from Georgia State University and, among other pursuits, worked as a ferryman on Martha’s Vineyard for several years before coming to SPSU in 2009 with the encouragement of his wife, Rachel, and father, retired Marine Col. George L. Bailey.
“I started a little company and while it was getting started, I started teaching Latin and I wanted to do something different,” said Bailey, 43.
In nominating Bailey, Dr. Chan Ham, mechatronics engineering director, wrote: “He is simply the best student in our engineering program due to his excellent dedication to both study and volunteering work.”
“The kids that are in my class say, ‘How to do you have three kids, work full-time and you get straight A’s?’” Bailey said.
“Well you know it’s really a lot easier for me because of that schedule, I have to be extremely disciplined in everything that I do, whereas they may decide to go to a party or play video games. I don’t have that option.”
Cutter’s 3.46 GPA places him in the top 15 percent of seniors in the MET program. He has made the dean’s list and has received a Georgia Engineering Foundation Scholarship for the past two years. He is secretary of the campus chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers and is active on the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Team.
Cutter, 22, said he first became interested in engineering in high school. “I found mechanical engineering was within the realm of things I was interested, such as the hands-on experience,” he said.
Cutter said he grew up in Savannah taking apart microwaves, televisions, vacuum cleaners and other machines just to figure out how all the parts inside worked together to make them operate.
“It kind of just fell to suit me to be able to fix it after I broke it,” said Cutter.
Cutter is the son of Melvin Cutter Jr. and Andrea Simpson. He is the eldest of four siblings and attended the Bradwell Institute in Hinesville.
“Chris has been bright and determined student, someone who always takes the initiative and is not a follower,” wrote assistant professor Dr. Simin Nasseri in nominating him for the GEA award.
“With his strong base in math, science and engineering, he can be a wonderful addition to any engineering company or any research program at a university.”
No other institution in recent history has been honored with both of these student awards for two consecutive years, said SPSU spokeswoman Diane Payne.