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 February 14, 2014

Koji Muto earns Kelly Future Engineers Scholarship with essay on hydrokinetic energy

Koji MutoThe sun can be hidden behind clouds. Winds are erratic and unpredictable.

Tides, however, can be accurately predicted years into the future, meaning they could offer a much more reliable source of alternative energy than solar or wind power.

That's why Koji Muto believes hydrokinetic energy will be "the next great revolution in the energy world." Indeed, so persuasive was his essay on this topic that it earned the junior in Mechanical Engineering the 2014 Kelly Future Engineers Scholarship, offered by Kelly Services, the international workplace solutions company.

Muto was selected from nearly 100 applicants because of his "scholastic performance, passion for the field of engineering, and outstanding essay," said Tim McAward, Kelly Vice President and Americas Engineering Product Leader. He is shown presenting the award to Muto in the photo above.

The award, worth $5,000, is open to second and third year college engineering students throughout the United States and Canada; a panel of judges evaluated finalists based on their essays.

"It truly is an honor to receive this award and I have to thank the University for sparking my interest in innovative energy technologies," Muto said. "Kelly Services has been simply amazing and even flew out their Vice President of Engineering Services for a dinner and award presentation, which was attended by two additional senior Kelly Service representatives, as well as Professors (John) Lambropoulos and (Stephen) Burns."

"This has all been a humbling experience and I am grateful for this opportunity I was provided."

Muto said he came upon his topic while taking a course in Fluid Dynamics. "I really enjoyed the material I was learning," he said. "Additionally, I have always been fascinated with energy and recognized that it would only become a more pressing concern as civilization develops and expands. Combining those two fields, I looked into possible forms of novel energy generation through the dynamic motion of fluids. It was then I found out about the promising field of hydrokinetic energy."

In his essay, Muto writes that hydrokinetic energy "has the ability to provide clean, cost-effective, reliable, non-intrusive, and renewable energy" that would be "more economical than current hydroelectric dams. The massive structures require large capital investments, the permanent remodeling of ecological systems, and carry the risk of catastrophic failure. Hydrokinetic energy systems can easily be scaled down to accommodate small communities for an affordable price and begin energy generation immediately. " (Click here to read Muto's essay in its entirety.)

Muto, who is also pursuing a double major with business, ranks first in his class for both mechanical engineering and business; is president-elect of the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society NY Kappa Chapter; is co-founder and business manager of the Japanese Students' Association; serves as a Mechanical Engineering volunteer tutor and a teaching assistant for Solid Mechanics, and is active in STEM Initiative, UR Biodiesel, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Golden Key, and Men's Frisbee.

Kelly announced the award in conjunction with the celebration of Engineers Week, sponsored by DiscoverE, a coalition of more than 70 engineering, education, and cultural societies, and more than 50 corporations and government agencies. The coalition raises public awareness of engineers' positive contributions to the quality of life.

"With the talent shortage continuing to grow, Kelly is committed to supplying future engineers who can help companies achieve their engineering initiatives," McAward said.

Click here to learn more about the Future Engineering Scholarship Program.