Outstanding Graduate, Fall 2021
At 16, Shawn Clonts got a job at a solar water pump manufacturing company that introduced him to a variety of mechanical and electrical systems that he says sparked “a passion for the processes used to manufacture the world around us.”
That zeal was confirmed every semester during studies in Arizona State University’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering by the excitement Clonts says he felt when registering for new classes and continuing to find that “engineering is the outlet that satisfies my curious nature.”
In addition to his studies, he nurtured his fervor for engineering as both an undergraduate and graduate research assistant in Fulton Schools Associate Professor Dhruv Bhate’s 3DX Research group, which focuses on additive manufacturing, cellular materials and bio-inspired design.
Bhate “goes above and beyond to ensure his students are gaining the knowledge and experience to help them achieve their goals,” Clonts says, “and he always inspired and pushed me to excel.”
Clonts became the keeper of the group’s structured light scanner and used the technology to aid the work of colleagues in areas ranging from biomimetics to material characterization of metal additive manufacturing specimens.
“Engineering is fun because you learn about how the world around you works and you come to appreciate all of the excellent innovations, whether big or small,” he says.
Clonts particularly remembers his “simultaneously difficult and rewarding” experiences in learning engineering, especially the lessons in thermodynamics from Fulton Schools Associate Professor Pavlos Mikellides.
Then there was his undergraduate capstone engineering design project sponsored by Honeywell, involving an investigation of the effects of reducing the weight of jet engines parts with tiny metal 3D printed lattice structures.
“It was a fun project that required a lot of effort and thinking, but really got me excited about the engineering world,” Clonts recalls.
The efforts and strong performance he exhibited in his academic endeavors earned Clonts the ASU President’s Scholarship on the way to graduating with the high distinction of summa cum laude honors. He also earned both undergraduate and graduate degrees through the Fulton Schools 4+1 accelerated degree program.
His aspirations now include supporting his family through his work in engineering, he says, and to continue on-the-job learning that will advance his engineering expertise and career.
“I would love to be involved in the more widespread adoption of additive manufacturing technology,” he says.