SOCORRO, March 7, 2003 -- Ryan Michael Kruse, a senior majoring in electrical engineering at New Mexico Tech, recently was named the research university's "Engineering Student of the Year." Kruse was selected for the distinguished award by the university's engineering faculty on the basis of his exhibited academic excellence at New Mexico Tech.

Kruse is the son of Roger and Sandi Kruse of Jemez Springs. A member of the Tau Beta Pi National Engineering Honor Society, Kruse has maintained a 3.97 grade-point-average (out of a possible 4.0) while at New Mexico Tech, having made the university's honor roll for seven straight semesters. Last year, he was honored for his outstanding academic record by being named a New Mexico Tech Scholar, and was also named to The National Dean's List.

Kruse currently is working as a team member on a senior design project that entails a complete redesign of the New Mexico Tech Mobile Robot Kit, including a custom micro-controller circuit board and a new graphical user interface.

"The kit is targeted at the high-school level for outreach programs and competitions, such as the New Mexico RoboRAVE, which is held at Tech every year," Kruse explains.


"The goal of the senior design project is to provide the students with increased capabilities and performance over the previous design, while at the same time providing an easier interface to the robot," he adds.

Kruse also is currently working as an undergraduate research assistant with the New Mexico Tech Department of Electrical Engineering's Intelligent Systems and Robotics Group, where his primary research duties include designing and testing an electronics platform for a collaborative research project between the university and Sandia National Laboratories.

"This particular project aims to develop a coordinated group of more than 100 robots for sensor detection, mapping, and similar tasks with wireless communications capabilities," Kruse says.

"Later this semester, I will be designing a derivation of the new micro-controller board from my senior design project, which will be specific to the Tech-Sandia project requirements and platform," he says. "This will give the robot more capabilities and better performance than the current board."

In addition, Kruse has also assisted in other recent research group projects at New Mexico Tech, including a Landmine Remediation program to develop a robot capable of detecting and removing landmines.

Kruse also serves as club secretary of the Ultimate Frisbee Club at New Mexico Tech and is a student member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE).

"The professors here at New Mexico Tech really seem to enjoy working with students," Kruse relates, "and it shows in the time and effort they give to help students with questions and projects. . . . I've enjoyed my years here at Tech, and in a real way will be sad to leave it all behind when I leave for graduate school in the fall."