John Tanner Upthegrove, lab and research specialist for the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology, has received the university’s 2016 President’s Award for Excellence.

The President’s Award for Excellence is presented annually to up to five Virginia Tech staff employees who have made extraordinary contributions by consistent excellence in the performance of their job or a single incident, contribution, or heroic act. Each recipient is awarded a $2,000 cash prize.

Upthegrove supports both faculty and students’ research projects, education initiatives, and public engagement activities.

He has assisted with several large scale multimedia productions including Tech-or-Treat with over 800 attendees and the Virginia Science Festival with over 4,000 attendees. No event is too big or too small for Upthegrove.

In supporting the research initiatives of ICAT faculty and students, Upthegrove became the project manager for designing, developing, and implementing the Cube. Over the course of his work with the Cube, he has developed several tools and apps that make integrating 3D sounds into presentations easier.

“Tanner has been the driving force behind designing and implementing all of these capabilities and making them usable by a wide variety of groups across the university,” wrote Thomas Martin, associate director of ICAT and professor of electrical and computer engineering, in a letter of nomination. “He has worked selflessly and tirelessly to make the Cube a world-class facility since the building opened in 2013.”

Upthegrove is also currently a master’s student and is proactively submitting papers to conferences to promote the work of ICAT and Virginia Tech.

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