There were 250 attendees at this year’s 2016 Pioneers of Progress Awards held July 12 in the Capital Ballroom of the Marriott Hotel. Building upon the past and looking forward to tomorrow is the mission of the Days of ’47, which has hosted the award ceremony since 1995. The specific theme this year is Inspiring Today’s Generation.
The Awardees for this year are Cynthia Furse for Science and Technology, a U Professor and graduate, Keth B. McMullin in Buisness and Enterprise, another U graduate; Clive Romney in Creative and Historic Arts, Apa Sherpa — who has climbed to the summit of Mt. Everest a world record 21 times — in Sportmanship and Athletics, a former UVU president Matthew S. Holland in Health, Education and Humanitarian Assistance, and finally, the 1966 United States Marine Corps 1071 Platoon, “Utah’s Honor Platoon,” is receiving the President’s Award, which has been given out four times previously.
Furse is not only the associate vice president for research, she is also a professor of computer and electrical engineering. Her specific field is that of electrical engineering where she has made some significant strides with pacemaker antennae wire, short detection and even education advancements with her flipped classroom methodology, for which she has been awarded the Harriett B. Rigas Medal for excellence in teaching.
“I went into engineering because I wanted to invent things that can really change the world,” Furse said in her acceptance speech. Changing the world and pioneering a new path is the norm for Furse. She has shown that cellular phone radiation is at safe levels, working on tattoos that act as antennas for pacemakers, and has even helped write the history of Emmigration Canyon. Furse has has been at the forefront of the flipped classroom method, where she assigns video lectures before class and then the students come into class, where they work on the homework as a team. She feels this helps make them better engineers by teaching them not only the material on a deeper level but with problem solving strategies.
“Being a professor is the best job in the world,” Furse said, “because you cannot see yourself; your eyes are in your head. You look out at each new class, it is like the fountain of youth.” More than it being something that keeps her young, she feels it is important work and that students and faculty are making history right now.
Much like the pioneers; who didn’t feel that they were making history, but simply doing their job and surviving. “We’re making history one day at a time,” Furse said, “Don’t give up, go talk to your professors and just keep going.”
For more information on this and any other Days of ’47 events please visit www.daysof47.com.