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John McCormick Educational Outreach Award

The South Central PA chapter of ASM is proud to announce that our own Dan Elliott has been selected to be the Winner of the 2016 Central Pennsylvania Engineering Week Council's John McCormick Educational Outreach Award
Dan Elliott
Dan Elliott

John McCormick Educational Outreach Award Winner
for his lifetime support of student science activities and encouragement of education and STEM careers for young people.

CPEWC held a banquet on February 24 during Engineers Week at the West Shore Country Club in Camp Hill, PA, at which a large contingent of our active membership attened the banquet to congratulate Dan on this well deserved honor.

List activities that the nominee has coordinated, attended, or contributed to in the area of science, technology, engineering, and math education for K-12 students in the Central Pennsylvania area. Describe the service, the number of students involved, and the length of time the nominee has been involved. Examples include participation in local science fairs, shadow programs, local school visits, mentoring, and competitions.
Dan Elliott has had a profoundly positive impact on STEM education in our community. He is a strong supporter of our chapter’s educational outreach programs. It is the opinion of our chapter leadership that Dan is most deserving of this achievement award, based on his contributions to education spanning over three decades. Dan has an engineering degree from Drexel University and owned Distributed Systems, Inc., a York, PA supplier of industrial equipment supporting manufacturing businesses. Throughout his working career and in retirement, Dan has been active in industry supporting societies, including the Instrument Society of America (ISA) and ASM International, the materials society.

When Dan was active with ISA’s Central Keystone Chapter, he strongly pushed educational outreach. He provided education programs and created an outstanding student recognition award to encourage students to the sciences. Although the ISA chapter is no longer active, the award is still going strong, due to an endowment Dan conceptualized and created with the chapter’s remaining funds when the chapter dissolved. Though there is only one award per year, many others are attracted due to the award and its ceremonies. This has been ongoing for over 30 years. Dan has been extremely active in ASM International’s South Central Pennsylvania chapter. Dan has been instrumental in pushing the chapter’s dedication to STEM education for decades, from science fairs to materials camps.

Our ASM chapter is very active in Science Fairs; we currently present awards for a Jr. and Sr. high school student in each of three (3) county science fairs – Capital Area, Lancaster, and York. Dan successfully persuaded the ASM International Foundation to award an additional award at each of the fairs, leading to a total of nine (9) awardees per year. He is very active, sometimes attending all three of the fairs, providing judging support as needed and handing out awards. To further increase the educational value of the awards, not only the awardee, but also their parents, siblings, and teacher are invited, free of charge, to our annual Student Night meeting, where they are encouraged to present their projects to the engineering society’s members. After the dinner, they are given tours of the hosting college. The students interact with college students and faculty, and are given private exhibitions of some very interesting projects. Dan’s concept of including siblings and teachers, along with the award winners, increases the number of students encouraged by this program to about 20/year, not including those affected by the respective teachers. Over 200 students are directly affected every decade. Dan was directly responsible for most of this STEM outreach. Student Materials Camps are offered, free of charge, by the ASM Foundation and hosted at colleges and universities throughout the world. Dan has been instrumental in getting out the word to local students, and convincing our local chapter to fund transportation and other costs to make it absolutely free for the students involved. Dan also personally invites the student(s) afterward to present their experiences to our chapter, reinforcing their newly gained knowledge and interacting with engineering professionals. Most of the students we have sponsored have gone onto successful engineering and science careers.

Dan also took the bull by the horns to create our chapter’s annual Summer Materials Camp for Teachers. The program, developed by the ASM Foundation, is a 1 week no-charge program with the mission of teaching teachers methods of encouraging STEM to their students with hands-on demonstrations and experiments designed to encourage interest in the sciences. This summer, we held our 2nd annual camp, enrolling a about 18 teachers each year, yielding an expected result of over 500 students per year being encouraged with STEM related experiments their teachers learned in the camp. Activities Dan handled for these camps include advertising, fund raising, contact with the professional teachers who flew in to teach the camps, coordinating with the hosting university, organizing the chapter members in setup, operation and take-down of the camp, and handling paperwork needed for ACT 48 and continuing education credits. Our chapter was interested in running these camps, but without Dan’s commitment to press forward, our camps would never have occurred, and its potential value to science education not realized. More than anyone, Dan has been the glue that held the chapter together. Without his dedication to education and his drive, the chapter’s impact to STEM education would be substantially lower. Recognizing that this award is for K-12, it should be noted that he also helped many students at the university level by offering his service at no charge in troubleshooting difficult laboratory equipment problems, donating equipment, and working with all interested students to teach them good engineering practices. One year, he even hosted a Russian foreign exchange student (Alex) and subsidized him through his BS at PSU – York. Alex now has a doctorate in chemical engineering and is an expert in waste-water treatment. Having known Dan for over ten years, I continue to learn of his contributions to STEM education. I am convinced of his merits for this esteemed honor. Our chapter leadership agrees that it would be a fine thank you to Daniel Elliott for his contributions to our collective future.