ME student receives ASME's Charles T. Main Student Leadership Award

Sajon Seaberg is the second consecutive Purdue mechanical engineering student to be given the award.

For the second consecutive year, a Purdue University student has been named the recipient of the Charles T. Main Student Leadership Award by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).

Sajon Seaberg head shot
Sajon Seaberg

Sajon Seaberg, an undergraduate student in the School of Mechanical Engineering, was selected for “outstanding contributions to the development and expansion of Purdue’s ASME student section through the creation of five design teams … and impactful leadership throughout the Purdue community.”  

Seaberg will receive $3,000, a vermeil medal, certificate and a $750 travel allowance to attend the award presentation in late 2023. He is the fourth Purdue student to receive the award, initially given in 1925. He joins Marcus Lannie (2022), Carol J. Bates (1993) and Scott Elliot Baker (1976) as Purdue recipients.

“This award is a testament that Purdue’s chapter of ASME has made a significant impact on hundreds of engineers. It is a true honor to be validated of my goal to make a meaningful difference in my community,” Seaberg said.

Seaberg served as Purdue’s ASME chapter president for one semester, in Spring 2022. He intended to serve the full term, but a “dream position” at NASA’s Ames Research Center opened up. Seaberg spent Fall 2022 and the following summer as an aeromechanics intern on the ROAMX (Rotor Optimization for the Advancement of Mars eXploration) team, developing the next generation of rotors for future Martian rotorcraft.

“I’d love to be able to continue working for NASA in the long term,” said Seaberg, who will graduate in December 2024. “They’ve been a personal inspiration for me since my childhood.”

He’ll return to the West Lafayette campus this fall to finish and continue to serve on the board of directors, working to improve the depth of the Purdue chapter’s technical and professional opportunities. 

He's eager to see how Purdue’s ASME chapter continues to grow.

During Seaberg’s semester as president, the chapter reached more than 750 members and increased participation in design teams from 300 active members to 500 active members. Seaberg led the charge to grow the number of design teams from three to seven, including creating the first Purdue ASME design team for course credit, in association with EPICS, producing hydroponic structures. He helped Purdue ASME develop CAD and FEA training credit through Purdue MILESTONES, which trains more than 150 people each semester, and revived the Grand Prix team. Seaberg also helped establish a team to evaluate and assess levels of inclusivity across the organization and created the chapter’s first diversity, equity and inclusion scholarship.

“None of these accomplishments would have been possible without the members and leaders of this organization. I inherited a rapidly growing organization and the name of the game immediately became sustainability,” he said. “In the last year, we not only expanded in numbers and opportunities, but grew in retention. I wholeheartedly believe this can be attributed to the plethora of opportunities for growth that we provide for our members.

“There’s something so deeply gratifying in watching an organization you’ve helped build prosper once you leave. To witness the team evolve in ways I never could have imagined has been inspiring. A leader is nothing without their team, and I have been endlessly grateful to be surrounded by the most dedicated and talented individuals on campus.”