Mary Kasarda, associate professor of mechanical engineering in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech, received the university's 2010 Alumni Award for Outreach Excellence.

Established by the university's Commission on Outreach and International Affairs, with support from the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, the Alumni Awards for Outreach Excellence reward Virginia Tech faculty members who as individuals or team members have extended the university's outreach mission throughout the commonwealth, the nation, and the world. Awardees are nominated by their peers, receive a $2,000 prize, and are inducted into the university's Academy of Outreach Excellence.

In addition to her duties as associate professor of mechanical engineering, Kasarda is an associate department head for graduate studies for the mechanical engineering department. Her research focuses on magnetic bearings, machine health monitoring, and engineering education.

After joining the Virginia Tech faculty in 1997, she received a National Science Foundation Early Faculty Career Development Program (CAREER) award in 1998 and the Virginia Tech College of Engineering Outstanding New Assistant Professor Award in 2000.

From 2003 to 2004, she acted as an education consultant through Virginia Tech to Sweet Briar College to help create a new engineering program at this all-women liberal arts college, and she currently serves as on its Engineering Program Advisory Board. She is a member and chair-elect of the American Society of Mechanical Engineering Committee for Engineering Accreditation.

She currently works with Brenda Brand, of the Virginia Tech School of Education, in the Virginia Tech/Montgomery County Public Schools Robotics Partnership which situates university undergraduate mechanical engineering students in a high school robotics classroom on a regular basis, which includes preparation for the FIRST robotics competition for the high school students.

Kasarda received her bachelor's degree, master's degree, and Ph.D. from the University of Virginia. She also has six years of professional engineering experience including employment with duPont and Ingersoll Rand.

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