People posing with awardsOn March 4th 2020, the Mortenson Center hosted the second annual Global Engineering Awards, recognizing two professionals and one student whose work aligns with the Mortenson Center’s mission and vision. These awards seek to highlight the work of individuals who contribute to the field of global engineering. This encompasses not only those students and professionals in traditional engineering disciplines, with a focus on positive impact in low- and middle-income countries, but also those who are in related disciplines that take a solutions-oriented approach to the same challenges - water, sanitation, energy, food, shelter, and infrastructure. These related disciplines include global health, environmental science, atmospheric science, agricultural science, geography, governance, policy and community advocacy. The winners of the second Global Engineering Awards are listed below:

Suman Kumar

Global Engineering Outstanding Student Award

Suman KumarSuman will be starting his Masters in Global Affairs at Tsinghua University in Beijing this fall. He received his Bachelor's of Science in Mechanical Engineering, Cum Laude with High Distinction from the University of Rochester in 2019. After graduating, he has served as the CEO and Chief of Engineering at the Diyalo Foundation, which promotes free, high-quality education in rural Nepal. Suman has been recognized for this work and his leadership by the United Nations, the Fulbright Commission and the Resolution Project, among others.


Valerie Labi

Global Engineering Outstanding Professional Award

Valerie Labi is the Country Director of iDE Ghana. In this role, Val founded the social enterprise Sama Sama, which has provided improved sanitation services to more than 14,000 people in the Northern Regions of Ghana. Prior to iDE, Val was the CEO of Clean Team Toilets, Ghana, a container-based sanitation service provider in Kumasi. While in this role, Val was recognized by President Obama with the award of the 2014 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders.



Cathy Leslie

Global Engineering Humanitarian Award

Cathy Leslie has served as Engineers Without Borders USA's (EWB-USA) Executive Director since 2004. She has overseen the growth of the organization from one university chapter to 288 student and professional chapters. The 16,800+ passionate, highly skilled volunteers that comprise these chapters work in more than 40 countries around the world and impact the lives of millions.

Cathy began her career working in water and sanitation engineering in Nepal as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Following her service, she spent more than 30 years working as a consultant on the design and management of civil engineering projects, including providing master planning expertise to developing communities. Cathy is the recipient of the 2008 William H. Wiley Civil Engineer Award for her contributions to the engineering profession and the 2014 ASCE Presidents' Award for her leadership of EWB-USA and her dedication to building sustainable engineering projects in underserved communities. Under her leadership, EWB-USA received the 2010 Henry C. Turner Prize for Innovation in Construction Technology for its notable work connecting engineering students with development projects around the globe.