ME Lab Manager Buddy Haun was awarded Mines 2020 Classified Employee of the Year. Haun was honored in a virtual award celebration on Wednesday, January 27th.
Often referred to as “the unsung hero of the Mines Mechanical Engineering Department”, Haun quietly and unceremoniously makes things happen for Mines ME that directly impacts their 1373 undergraduate students, 260 graduate students, and 45 faculty members. He goes out of his way to support department activities and lends a hand when the ME department is short-staffed or stretched thin – and he does it with a smile. He rarely gets the recognition that’s deserved for his efforts in supporting the largest department on campus.
In this year of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Haun has truly risen to the occasion to innovate in order to make ME’s project-based classes as engaging for remote students as it is for the students who are able to attend in person.
Here are a few ways that Haun has innovated to improve student learning in this time of physical distancing:
- In MEGN 300, Haun used his advanced LabView programming skills to create virtual sensor and control emulators for students to design, build and test without having to build a physical prototype. He made these virtual design modules interactive and fun. For instance, the “easy-bake cookie oven” the students had to build would virtually burn the cookies if the controls weren’t programmed correctly, and the oven would virtually ‘catch fire’ if not wired or controlled correctly. Haun spent countless hours writing the code to run these virtual design emulators. The MEGN 300 faculty were thrilled that he took the initiative to develop these remote modules before students left campus before Thanksgiving 2020.
- Over the summer, when Mines was working to get its feet on the ground in this new pandemic realm, Dean Moore asked Haun to work with John Bradford, Terri Hogue, Mike Kaufman and other administration to address questions on PPE and respirator testing at Mines under the auspices of the Governor’s Task Force. Out of this effort, Haun developed the Blaster Design Lab/Maker Space usage protocols for producing PPE during lockdown and managed student access requests to provide support for these efforts.
- With the pivot to remote and hybrid learning after March 2020 and in the Fall of 2020, Haun was the ‘on-the-ground’ support for all of MEGN’s project based courses (MEGN 200, 201, 300 and 301). When faculty were unable to come in to the lab, Haun was always there to support hands-on learning. Because of the physical distancing requirements in the ME Lab, the ME project based classes ran back-to-back from Monday to Friday from 8:00 AM to 5:30 PM.
- For MEGN 381, the foundry pour module for the class suddenly became a challenge with the physical distancing requirements, and special PPE requirements. Haun took the initiative to work with the Foundry lab manager to set up a specific protocol and schedule time and a calendar system to manage student access to meet the course requirements. This required weekend time in the Foundry for Haun in order to move all of the students through the module.
- With the pivot to remove learning in March 2020, Haun quickly jumped in to the Canvas pages for all of the ME project-based classes to help the faculty deliver course material remotely, and to develop Canvas quizzes and tests.
- Haun serves on the ME Department Facilities Committee and has been the lead Tech Fee proposal writer for the past three years, batting 100 for every proposal he has written. This semester, his successful Tech Fee proposal funded purchase of updated DAQ cards for the ME Lab computers.
These accomplishments merely scrape the surface of how involved Haun is in the ME department. Without him, the ME train couldn’t run.