Department Head Honored by Alma Mater for Exceptional Efforts

Dr. Searcy receiving the award from Dean Elizabeth Loboa

Dr. Stephen Searcy, head of the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, was recently honored by his alma matter, University of Missouri, with the 2019 Missouri Honor Award. The award is given by the College of Engineering to alumni for “exceptional efforts by an individual to foster the professional development of young engineering college graduates; exceptional ability in the planning and direction of significant and important in technical engineering; and exceptional contribution by an individual to technical engineering knowledge.”

Dr. Searcy graduated from the University of Missouri with a Bachelor’s of Science in Agricultural Mechanization in 1974. While pursuing his Master’s degree at Missouri, Dr. Searcy enjoyed research and teaching, and realized that a career in academia was a possibility.  Recognizing that more opportunities would be available with an engineering degree, he dual-enrolled for a BS in Agricultural Engineering while completing his Master’s degree. Dr. Searcy continued his education at Oklahoma
State University and earned his Ph.D. in Agricultural Engineering in 1980.

“What I valued at the University of Missouri was the close personal relationships with faculty and students, “ Dr. Searcy said, “to be able have a relationship with someone older who values your education was nice. We have that same atmosphere here [Texas A&M].”

Dr. Searcy speaking at the awards banquet

Dr. Searcy’s MS research focused on using propionic acid to store high moisture hay. In the Midwest, wet weather often makes it difficult to harvest and safely store hay.

Following his doctoral studies, Dr. Searcy joined the Texas A&M Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering with a focus on applying microprocessors to agricultural machine systems. Over the years, applying computing technologies to agriculture has resulted in his recognition for topics such as precision agriculture, automated guidance of field machines, and biomass logistics systems.

Dr. Searcy suggesting students consider academia as a career choice

He was active in the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers as the treasurer, board of trustee and the 2017-2018 president. In 2010, Dr. Searcy was chosen as the Biological and Agricultural Engineering interim department head and was confirmed in 2012 on a permanent basis. He enjoys that the department gets to work with both the College of Engineering and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

“It was a complete surprise to be recognized by my alma mater,” Dr. Searcy said, “it is a great honor and I am proud to receive this award.” Dr. Searcy attributes his recognition in large part to the opportunities for faculty at Texas A&M University.


Article by Jessica Schaeffer

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