Recent Alumni Award

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2015 Recipient

Evan A. Thomas (AeroEngr '06, MS '06, PhD '09)

Evan A Thomas, PhD, PE, MPH is an Assistant Professor and Director of the Sweet (Sustainable Water, Energy and Environmental Technologies) Laboratory, and a Faculty Fellow in the Institute for Sustainable Solutions at Portland State University. He holds a PhD in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Colorado Boulder, is a registered Professional Engineer (PE) in Environmental Engineering in the State of Texas, and holds a Masters in Public Health from the Oregon Health and Science University.

At Portland State, the SweetLab designs and tests sustainable life support technologies for spacecraft and developing countries. SweetLab develops and implements remotely accessible monitoring technologies, which improve the collection of effectiveness evidence in global health, programs, including high efficiency cookstoves, water pumps, household water filters, sanitation systems, and pedestrian footbridges.

Thomas was a founding volunteer with Engineers Without Borders-USA in 2002, which led to co-founding Manna Energy Limited in 2007. DelAgua Health acquired Manna in 2013. In 2012, Evan co-founded SWEETSense Inc., a technology company co-owned by Portland State University and Manna. As the Chief Operating Officer for DelAgua Health, Thomas works with the Government of Rwanda Ministry of Health to develop a water treatment and cookstove program for 600,000 households. This program evolved from the first-ever United Nations registered carbon credit for water treatment program, established in Rwanda by Manna Energy.

Prior to joining PSU, Thomas worked as a civil servant at the NASA-Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas for six years. At NASA, he was a principal investigator and project manager in the Life Support and Habitability Systems Branch working on concepts for sustainable Moon and Mars spacecraft. These included microgravity fluid management technologies and water recovery systems spanning the range of technology readiness from research and concept development through operational spacecraft hardware flying on the Space Shuttle and International Space Station.


Established in 2013, the CU Engineering Recent Alumni Award recognizes outstanding recent alumni for professional achievements, continued service to the college and/or university, and outstanding personal characteristics within 10 years of graduation from the College of Engineering and Applied Science. The award is given to one deserving recipient each year, who is recognized alongside the college's Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award winners at the Engineering Awards Banquet, traditionally held in April.

Nominations will remain active for 3 years, meaning a nominee not selected for the award the year the nomination is submitted will have two additional years of consideration.

The Recent Alumni Award program is managed and administered by the Engineering Graduates of the Last Decade (GOLD) Board.

Who is Eligible?

Alumni who have graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder College of Engineering and Applied Science with a bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree within the last 10 years, as counted from the year of graduation for the most recent degree. (example: A May 2006 BS and May 2006 MS graduate would have eligibility through December 2016.)

Nomination Requirements

  • Completed nomination form submitted by January 15th, 2016
  • Letter of nomination (written by nominator – self or other)
  • Minimum of 1 and maximum of 3 additional letters of support
  • Nominee’s Resume or CV
  • No more than 2 pages of additional attachments (ie. articles, list of patents, supplemental biography, etc.) - optional

Nominations for candidates who do not meet the eligibility requirements will not be considered. Nominations that are received after the January 15th, 2016 deadline or are not complete by the deadline will be deferred until the following year. Nominations that do not conform to the stated guidelines (including the stated minimum/maximum number of supporting letters) will be returened to the nominator.

A complete package of the nomination materials listed above via email, sent to (combined PDF is preferred) OR sent by postal mail by January 15th to:

Recent Alumni Award Selection Committee
c/o Teagan Lochner
Alumni Relations and Events Coordinator
College of Engineering and Applied Science
422 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309

Award Criteria

The award selection process will be judged on the following weighted criteria:

(50%) – Career accomplishments and professional development: Has made significant or distinct contribution to organization, business, or cause since graduation from the college. This may include: Demonstrated experience or knowledge of field. Examples: formal recognition/awards, patents, innovations, key projects. Active membership and involvement in professional organizations. Leadership roles in professional groups or boards, or in the company /industry in which they are employed. Training and certifications, advanced education, and licenses.

(25%) – Continued involvement with CU and CEAS: Actively participates in University or CEAS sanctioned/organized events or activities and/or gives back to the college/university in the form of time or money. Examples: student mentorship, senior design involvement, departmental engineering boards, engineering societies, freshman projects, alumni events, financial contributions, speaker, industry recruiter, etc.

(25%) – Character, growth, and service: Exhibits exemplary personal qualities and development, as seen through some or all of the following – proven  leadership skills or qualities, passion for interests, demonstrated integrity and ethical decision making, and commitment of time, experience and/or recurring involvement with volunteer, non-profit, or outreach work.

Winners must be present to accept the award in person at the Engineering Awards Banquet (April 22, 2016). A nominee who is chosen for the award but unable to attend the banquet will be returned to the pool for consideration the following year so long as the nomination is still within its three year "active" status.

Winner Selection

A Recent Alumni Award Selection Committee comprised of (5) voting members drawn from the following groups:

  • Engineering Advisory Council (current members)
  • Industry
  • GOLD Board (current and past members)
  • CEAS Faculty
  • Past winners

and (2) non-voting ex officio members from:

  • College of Engineering and Applied Science Dean’s Office
  • Engineering Development

This selection committee will meet after the nomination deadline each year to review the nominations and recommend a winner for dean approval. Winners and nominators will be notified of the outcome of each year's selection process following the selection meeting and well in advance of the Engineering Awards Banquet.

Important Announcements

CUEngineering A publication for alumni and friends. Read the 2015 edition of CUEngineering magazine here.


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