Steven Nichols, ’83, is a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Texas Cockrell School of Engineering.
Steven P. Nichols, ’83, a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Texas Cockrell School of Engineering, received the Joe J. King Professional Engineering Achievement Award for exemplary service to the profession. University of Texas President William Powers granted him the award in honor of the success of an international technology competition Nichols created.
“The fact that my faculty colleagues here at UT Austin and across the globe would place my name in nomination is certainly humbling,” said Nichols. “I consider it an honor to be considered in the company of previous recipients of the award.
Nichols’s Idea to Product (I2P) contest involves students from more than forty universities and six continents in the development and commercialization of their inventions.
“I designed the I2P program as an educational experience that would encourage cross-disciplinary teams of students—engineering, law, science, business, graduate, and undergraduate—to examine the intellectual and practical challenges of developing technology, products, and services that serve the perceived needs of society,” Nichols said.
With a PhD in mechanical engineering from the University of Texas and a JD from the Law School, Nichols remains actively involved with the University. Nichols said his time at the Law School, during which he contributed to the Texas Law Review and was a member of the Order of the Coif,gave him invaluable knowledge in how to identify, analyze, and solve problems. “The analytical and disciplined thought process developed in my engineering and legal education is a key aspect of my work as an attorney, as a professional engineer, and as a professor,” Nichols said.
Nichols served as UT’s associate vice president of research from 2002 to 2006, during which time he oversaw the activities of the Office of Technology Commercialization. By offering his expertise on how to effectively assess and commercialize research results, Nichols helped keep the University on the forefront of cutting-edge technology. He is currently director of the Clint W. Murchison Chair of Free Enterprise at the Cockrell School of Engineering, where Nichols continues to advance a culture of innovation, creativity and leadership.
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