Each year, graduates of the College of Engineering leave with countless academic and research experiences that help propel them into the next chapter of their lives. Carl Kirpes, senior in mechanical engineering and industrial and manufacturing systems engineering, will have just that when he graduates in August−leaving with not only a diploma, but with the honor of being selected as a Tau Beta Pi Laureate.
Kirpes is one of five students in the nation to be named a 2012 Tau Beta Pi Laureate, an honor bestowed on only 83 students since 1982.
Tau Beta Pi looks among its members each year for outstanding students with talents outside the field of engineering – including the arts, athletics, diverse achievements, and service − to apply for the Laureate Award. Kirpes received the award for diverse achievements.
Kirpes plans to complete his coursework in August of 2012, earning degrees in both mechanical engineering and industrial and manufacturing systems engineering, while also graduating in the top two percent of his engineering class.
Entering the College of Engineering in fall 2008 while enrolled in the University Honors Program, Kirpes immediately took advantage of the many opportunities the university had to offer. As a member of the Iowa State football team, Kirpes says he enjoyed his time playing under coach Paul Rhodes for two seasons before a surgery prevented him from continuing.
“It was a great experience for me,” says Kirpes. “I learned a lot about being all-in and achieving goals both on and off the field.”
In addition to his involvement in athletics, Kirpes participated in many organizations, and was often honored for his hard work and success.
He participated in the Engineering Leadership Program, served as vice-president of Order of the Rose and Chessman, was president of both the Cardinal Key and Alpha Lambda Delta/Phi Eta Sigma honor societies, and was a member of the Motor Board, Golden Key International, and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies.
Kirpes has also been recognized as an All-Cyclone Team Captain, as well as with the High Scholar Athlete Award, University Honors Program Outstanding Student Award, and Wallace E. Barron All-University Senior Award, just to name a few.
While earning his degrees, Kirpes was a part of several undergraduate research opportunities. As a freshman, he worked with mechanical engineering professor and new Senior Vice President and Provost, Jonathan Wickert, assisting with research on the lateral vibration in magnetic tape transport.
Kirpes later began working with assistant professor of industrial and manufacturing systems engineering (IMSE), Lizhi Wang, studying the future impact hybrid vehicles will have on the electricity market.
Kirpes spent his junior year working with Joseph and Elizabeth Anderlik Professor of Engineering, Judy Vance in the Virtual Reality Applications Center. There, he performed an analysis of a single-wall versus multi-wall immersive environment on shopping experiences for consumers. The study led to a published research paper that was presented by Vance at the ASME 2011 World Conference on Innovative Virtual Reality.
He then put his experience to work at a company called Proplanner. With help from Dave Sly, IMSE senior lecturer and president of Proplanner, Kirpes began a part-time position with the company at the end of his junior year. He has assisted with implementing industrial engineering systems-based software in manufacturing companies and helped install and teach the software at colleges and universities.
Upon graduation, Kirpes plans to move to Kansas City, Missouri, where he will begin work for GENESYS Systems Integrator.
“I’m fortunate to be able to take the knowledge and experience I gained during my time at Proplanner and apply it at GENESYS Systems Integrator,” Kirpes explains. “I’ll be working with the company to see if we can apply the Proplanner software there.”
Kirpes will rotate through the different departments at GENESYS, learning more about the company and eventually moving into an engineering sales position. He will have the opportunity to work in management and explore the potential of building of a new department centered on Proplanner software.
Pursuing a master’s degree in systems engineering is also on his agenda. He plans to take about six credits a semester at Iowa State, beginning this fall, to help him stay connected with the institution he feels has given much to him over the past four years.
“All the people here in the Iowa State community who have mentored me and helped me along the way have contributed significantly to my success,” say Kirpes. “From the professors I have done research with, to my current boss, to the advisers of the organizations I have been a part of−working with and learning from each one of them has been a stepping-stone toward the next opportunity. Everyone here is striving to help students achieve, and I am very appreciative of that.”
Kirpes will be attending the 107th annual Tau Beta Pi Association Convention this September in Lexington, Kentucky to be recognized for this achievement with a plaque and $2,500.