Virginia Tech has bestowed its 2004-05 Outstanding Alumnus Award for Engineering upon Steven M. Belz, senior human factors engineer for Eastman Kodak Company.

Belz studied and worked for nine years at Virginia Tech, earning his bachelor's degree, master's degree and Ph.D. in industrial and systems engineering in 1995, 1997, and 2000, respectively. His area of concentration was human factors and ergonomics, and he conducted research on auditory displays and truck safety with John Casali, the John Grado Professor of the Grado Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech.

Belz earned the Safety Engineering Certificate from Virginia Tech in 1998, and he held an Eisenhower Fellowship during his dissertation period.

Since 2000, Belz has worked for Eastman Kodak Company in Rochester, N.Y. in the areas of corporate design and usability and for Belz is a lead engineer for human factors and interface architecture for digital imaging services. He has coordinated human factors related intellectual property for software and digital imaging device consumer product development. Belz established an evaluation laboratory for evaluating competitive consumer products for Eastman Kodak Company.

Belz became an adjunct faculty member of the Department of Industrial Engineering at the Rochester Institute of Technology in 2001. From 1995 to 2000, he served as a research assistant in the Grado Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Virginia Tech. He worked as a member of the technical staff for Lucent Technologies in New Jersey during 1997.

"I have come to realize the value of an engineering education depends more on an individual's ability to apply, rather than his/her ability to acquire, knowledge. Virginia Tech's College of Engineering correctly casts engineering as an applied science. The result is graduates capable of developing creative solutions and who are not wary of wading in and 'getting the job done'," said Belz.

Belz has an impressive five patents pending. He has published four refereed journal articles with three others pending. He has published eight proceedings publications and one book chapter.

In addition to his formal education, Belz became an Associate Ergonomics Professional (AEP) in 1999 and was certified as an Engineer-in-Training (EIT) in 1995.

Belz is a member of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society and also serves as a reviewer for the organization, the Institute of Industrial Engineers, and Alpha Pi Mu, the industrial engineering honor society.

"Living outside of Virginia offers a different perspective on what it means to be a Virginia Tech alum. I have a jacket from the industrial engineering department with the Virginia Tech logo and wear it frequently when I travel. Rarely does a trip — either domestic or international - end without having another alum introduce himself and strike up a conversation about the university or Blacksburg," said Belz.

The College of Engineering at Virginia Tech is internationally recognized for its excellence in 14 engineering disciplines and computer science. The college's 5,600 undergraduates benefit from an innovative curriculum that provides a "hands-on, minds-on" approach to engineering education, complementing classroom instruction with two unique design-and-build facilities and a strong Cooperative Education Program. With more than 50 research centers and numerous laboratories, the college offers its 2,000 graduate students opportunities in advanced fields of study such as biomedical engineering, state-of-the-art microelectronics, and nanotechnology.