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Outstanding Graduate + Grand Challenges Scholar, Spring 2024

Jake Okun

Jake Okun, a student in Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University, is graduating as a Grand Challenges Scholar and Outstanding Graduate with a Bachelor of Science in manufacturing engineering. He chose to pursue an education in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at ASU due to its unparalleled opportunities, including engaging in research, publishing journal papers, filing patents and participating in academically focused programs and organizations.

“From a young age, I was convinced that the combination of ASU and Barrett, The Honors College was the ideal path for pursuing an engineering degree and making a difference in my community,” Okun says.

During his time as an undergraduate, he explored a comprehensive, hands-on curriculum that offered insight into the pivotal role manufacturing engineering will play in the future of the U.S. 

With a goal to immerse himself in as many experiences as possible, Okun demonstrated dedication to multiple leadership roles, clubs and organizations, including being the founder and president of the student organization Building Engineering Solutions Today at Barrett, or BEST. He served in student government as both a vice president and senator for Barrett. 

Okun was also recognized with the honor of being selected for the 2023 Christine K. Wilkinson Leadership Award in the ASU Leadership Scholarship Program. He has also been a Fulton Ambassador for the past four years and is currently a management intern in the Fulton Schools.

The research he conducted in the Human Machine Integration Lab was pivotal in providing Okun with key industry experience that he carried with him as a mentor for the Engineering Projects in Community Service program, or EPICS.

One particularly defining moment in Okun’s journey was filing his first patent with support from Thomas Sugar, associate dean of Barrett on the Polytechnic campus and a President’s Professor, noting that the experience truly fulfilled him and cemented the idea that he was destined to be an engineer.

Additionally, Okun has made significant contributions to the field of engineering through a research opportunity with The Boeing Company. His research focused on integrating collaborative robots into aerospace manufacturing plants to enhance automation.

After graduation, he plans to participate in the Accelerated Master’s program, pursuing a master’s degree in robotics and autonomous systems.

“My goal is to be a leader in the tech industry and redefine the way people think about automation, artificial intelligence and assistive technology,” Okun says. “By embracing automation and emerging technologies, I am committed to enhancing the efficiency of human workers, not replacing them.”

Read about other exceptional graduates of the Fulton Schools’ spring 2024 class here.

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