SOCORRO, N.M., October 30, 2000 -- Thompson Sarkodie-Gyan recently was appointed to the full-time, tenure-track position of associate professor of mechanical engineering at New Mexico Tech, becoming the first person to fill a faculty position that is directly linked to the university's proposed mechanical engineering degree program.
Immediately before assuming his new position at New Mexico Tech, Sarkodie-Gyan worked as a faculty member at the University of Teesside in the United Kingdom, and, prior to that, as an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of New Mexico.
Sarkodie-Gyan earned his doctoral degree in process measurement and control at the Technical University's Institute of Measurement and Control in Berlin, Germany, where he also attained his graduate degree in industrial metrology. In addition, he also earned a graduate-school degree in cybernetics and automation technology at the Otto Von-Guericke Technical University in Magdeburg, Germany.
This fall semester at New Mexico Tech, Sarkodie-Gyan is teaching two engineering design courses--"Dynamic Systems and Control" and "Fluid and Thermal Systems Design."
"My teaching philosophy is that the students were already here before I arrived, so it's my duty to adapt to them and not vice versa," Sarkodie-Gyan points out. "However, it is imperative that I provide them with a learning process which will unleash their potentials for excellence."
He also is serving as a member of both the university's Library and Academic Standards committees and as faculty advisor to Tech's student chapter of the American Society of Mechanical
"Most of my recent research is in machine vision and pattern recognition--projects which will be continued here at New Mexico Tech," Sarkodie-Gyan relates. "But, I'm also into robotics and automation, and I plan on collaborating with faculty researchers in the electrical engineering department on those projects."
One of Sarkodie-Gyan's many inventions, for example, is a sensor that detects and hones in on specific chemical odors--a device which will soon be retrofitted for use in a land-mine-detecting robot which researchers in the electrical engineering department have developed and are currently testing.
Some of his other patented inventions include an automated training machine which helps stroke patients walk, a vision-based measurement system, and a foot sensor for diabetic patients.
"If possible, I'd like to work toward establishing a good research team or laboratory in my areas of interest," Sarkodie-Gyan says, "so that I can be very pleased not just with my own successes, but with our collective successes."
Sarkodie-Gyan relates that when he came to New Mexico Tech for a job interview last spring, he had all but made up his mind that he would be taking another job offer from a university in Germany, but after the interview, his mind was changed.
"After meeting the people here, after experiencing the atmosphere, and after the warm reception I was given, I really didn't have the option left to make a decision to not come here," he says.
Now that he is here, Sarkodie-Gyan says he also wants to do his best to become a contributing member of the community.
"I want to be able to share the common goals and core values of both Tech and Socorro," he says, "and to help with their development."