Engineering professor named Southern Conference's Faculty Member of the Year

Engineering professor named Southern Conference's Faculty Member of the Year

The Southern Conference (SoCon) announced Dr. Ha Van Vo as the recipient of the Southern Conference inaugural Faculty Member of the Year, according to a news release.

Vo is “the first recipient of this conference-wide honor,” President Underwood wrote in an email to students.

The chief academic officers of the 10 institutions within the league each submitted a nomination for the award.

These universities nominated faculty members who have made “a significant impact on the lives of students at Southern Conference institutions.”  The winner was then chosen by the SoCon’s faculty athletics representatives.

Voting criteria included “demonstrated service to the institution; proven record of high scholastic achievement among students; recognition for a research project or written academic piece; and contributions to campus life and the local community,” according to a news release.

Vo’s nomination and award were based on his work in prosthetics. He is recognized as an Eminent Scholar and associate professor of biomedical engineering.

During Vo’s nine-year tenure at Mercer, he and a team of students have developed a below-the-knee prosthetic that costs only $200.

The typical prosthetic can cost more than $10,000. However, the lower price does not compromise the integrity of the item. Vo’s prosthetic is made for easy fitting in the field and extreme durability.

Beyond the development of the prosthetic, Vo has taken his prosthetic to Third World countries through Mercer on Mission trips, primarily focusing on Vietnam, his home country. He also has traveled to and Haiti, the victim of a level 7.0 earthquake in 2007.

Through the program, he has trained over 100 students across the disciplines and and fitted more than 3,000 prosthetics.

In addition to the titular award, Vo will receive complimentary tickets and hospitality passes to the SoCon basketball tournament. As the recipient of honor, he will be awarded a $4,000 stipend from the Southern Conference.