New Faces of ASABE are announced annually just ahead of National Engineers Week. Through the stories of these individuals, New Faces of ASABE aims to inspire their peers, the public, and future engineers who may follow in their footsteps. By their professional and personal achievements, the New Faces of ASABE are making a world of difference.

ASABE offers two categories: the Professionals Edition honors those 35 years old and younger, while College Edition honors our undergraduate student members.

2019 Honorees

New Faces of ASABE - Professionals 

Jason Schuster, EIT, was selected this year’s winner in the Professionals category. Holding bachelor's and master’s degrees from Iowa State University, he sees great value in the capacity of agricultural and biological engineering to develop smart and connected agricultural machinery. Schuster has been engaged in a variety of ASABE activities, including the Young Professionals Community and the Iowa Section. As ASABE’s top New Face for 2019, he will travel to Washington, DC, to join ASABE leadership as a judge in The Future City Competition finals, where ASABE sponsors two special awards, for food sustainability and use of renewable fuels.

Daeun Choi, PhD, has a passion for developing new technologies that can increase the efficiency of farming and the quality of the environment. Choi is an assistant professor at The Pennsylvania State University, where she conducts research on machine vision and precision agriculture. She is also a mentor to a local 4-H robotics team

Jasmeet Lamba, PhD, is an assistant professor at Auburn University and hopes to improve the sustainability of agriculture by development of innovative water-quality management practices. As an educator, Lamba hopes to prepare a new generation of scientists who can think critically and independently and will be fully equipped, when they enter the workforce, to solve real-world challenges. 

Kai Liu, PhD, is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Pennsylvania whose childhood spent on a family farm in China spurred him to study engineering. With a special focus on precision livestock faming, Liu has found his passion in applying engineering skills and knowledge to address global challenges related to the sustainable production of livestock housing and management, and to animal behavior and welfare.

Laura Merriman, PE, PhD, an assistant professor at NC State, takes great pride in the work she does: Training the next generation of agricultural and biological engineers at a crucial time in human history. Her hope, she says, is not only to impart technical theories, critical thinking, and a strong work ethic, but also to produce alumni that contribute to and become leaders in society.

Femeena Pandara Valappil is a PhD student at Purdue University who develops decision-making tools useful in the food-energy-water nexus, particularly in water-resource availability and management. She was named one of only 25 “Green Talents,’ by the German Federal Ministry, for her contributions toward sustainable development.

New Faces of ASABE - College Edition

Julianne Chechanover, University of Florida, is this year's winner in the College Edition category. Julianne looks forward to a career in water-resources engineering, having been inspired in high school by her AP environmental engineering teacher, who raised her awareness of the crucial need for global water security. Julianne says she is building a wide network of colleagues through service in her ASABE student chapter, through a fellowship at the National Soil Erosion Research Laboratory at Purdue University, and by meeting fellow ASABE members from around the world at the ASABE Annual International Meeting.

Matthew Klopfenstein is a student at The Ohio State University. Matthew served as vice-president of the ASABE Midwest Rally and is currently captain of OSU’s ¼-Scale Tractor team.

Jenna Lee is a student at Ohio State and expects to graduate in December. She has served as an officer in the ASABE student chapter, including two terms as president, and is an undergraduate research assistant in Ohio State’s precision ag program.


Justin Traenkle has enjoyed two internships with John Deere while a student at North Carolina State University. President of the ASABE Student Chapter, Justin will graduate in May of this year.