Professor David Fisher, Student Tim Balz Nominated for TechPoint's Mira Technology Award

Wednesday, February 24, 2016
David Fisher

Tech Educator Nominee: David Fisher, associate professor of mechanical engineering, likes technology, learning, and telling people about "really neat things."

Mechanical engineering professor David Fisher and junior mechanical engineering student Tim Balz have been nominated for TechPoint's 17th annual Mira Awards, the premier event honoring Indiana's technology sector. Winners will be announced on April 23 during a gala celebration at The Westin Hotel in downtown Indianapolis.

Nominees were selected from 168 applicants in 14 award categories and reviewed by 40 independent subject-matter experts. All nominees are currently in the process of delivering presentations and answering questions in-person with one of the independent judging panels. These judges will select the winners following deliberations.

Fisher is among nominees in the Tech Educator of the Year category. The associate professor and 2000 Rose-Hulman mechanical engineering graduate likes technology, learning new things, and telling people about "really neat things." That made him ideal to return to his alma mater to teach, explore, and expand the curriculum to meet future technological challenges.

Mira Award Tim Balz

Rising Star Nominee: Tim Balz, a junior mechanical engineering student, founded the non-profit Freedom Chairs organization, was an award-winning intern with Intel, and has been an intern at Rose-Hulman Ventures.

Following a sabbatical at Google and multiple summers as a consultant at Apple Inc., Fisher has brought smartphone application technology to the classroom, teaching courses in iPhone and Android technology development. He also co-directs Rose-Hulman's growing robotics minor academic program and is striving to make programming course materials, developed by the institute's faculty, available online through the project.

Meanwhile, Balz is nominated in the Mira Award's Rising Star category. He founded the non-profit Freedom Chairs organization while a student at Plainfield (Indiana) High School, and used his expertise in wheelchair construction to develop The Connected Wheelchair during a summer internship with Intel. As a student intern at Rose-Hulman Ventures, Balz helped assemble a high-tech motorized wheelchair for wounded U.S. soldiers and other clients. He was recognized at the 2014 Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco, and received the 2012 Hall of Fame Award from the American Red Cross of Greater Indianapolis, the 2012 Power of Children Award from the Children's Museum of Indianapolis, and the Indiana Pacers' Indiana Heroes Award.