A 2023 TCE graduate and the student organization he led as president for two years both earned awards this spring for their contributions to the Big Orange community.
Benjamin Pham (BS/AeroE, ’23) earned the title of 2023 Collegiate Star for the South Region of the Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers (SASE). Along with his award, UT’s SASE was recognized nationally as the organization’s Most Philanthropic Chapter.
This is SASE’s highest recognition for collegiate members, with only one individual chosen from each region. Pham’s citation noted his dedication as a role model, leader, and friend to colleagues as well as his contribution toward SASE’s mission.
“I’m grateful for this award and am honored to be recognized for my work,” said Pham. “I really have to give most of the credit to all the members of SASE though. Without them, our chapter would not be where it is now in size, involvement, and impact.”
He took a lead role in building membership for the still relatively new UT SASE chapter.
“Being only our second president after Cody Ramangkoun and having been a chapter for only five years, I had the difficult task of building a student organization from scratch, starting in 2021,” said Pham. “Since that time, we’ve more than doubled our annual student membership and tripled our attendance to conferences. We’ve made connections to multiple companies that seemed out of reach just a couple years ago.”
The national-level Most Philanthropic Chapter award goes to the chapter that demonstrates and embodies the greatest spirit of service within their community.
“We took as many opportunities to give back to our community as we could this year,” said Pham. “We participated in the Knoxville Asian Festival back in August 2022, where we demonstrated how fireworks get their color (hint: it’s chemicals) and their Chinese heritage.
SASE also worked with the MUSE Children’s Museum and the TCE Office of Student Success to showcase the world of STEM to young children and students and worked with other student organizations to realize shared goals.
“We partnered with the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) as well this year on the BIPOC garden, an initiative that NSBE started a couple years ago and one that we hope to continue to be a part of,” said Pham. “All of these combined are what helped us win this award, and we plan to expand these even further in the future.”
The awards will be presented at the Collegiate Opening Reception at the 2023 SASE National Convention on Thursday, October 12, 2023, in Atlanta. Pham will also be featured in the 2023 SASE Magazine.