Inside Rensselaer
* Jim Ferguson ’53 and  Daniel Corda.
Jim Ferguson ’53 presented the Nussbaum Award for Outstanding Volunteerism to Daniel Corda ’11 at Reunion & Homecoming 2010.
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Daniel Corda Receives 2010 Frederick M. Nussbaum ’30 Award for Volunteerism

Daniel Corda ’11, a native of Sea Cliff, N.Y., who is a dual major in mechanical and electrical engineering, has been awarded the Frederick M. Nussbaum ’30 Memorial Award for Outstanding Volunteerism. The award is granted to an outstanding senior in recognition of his or her volunteer activities on the Rensselaer campus or his or her civic involvement in bettering the local community and its residents.

The award was created by Jim Ferguson ’53 and his family in recognition of their father’s volunteer activities on not only the Rensselaer campus but also in the broader community of Troy. For over 50 years Frederick Nussbaum gave thousands of hours of time to others, according to family members. Corda was presented with a check for $1,000 by Ferguson during Rensselaer’s Reunion & Homecoming Weekend.

“The Nussbaum Award, as developed by Jim Ferguson ’53 and his family, gives Rensselaer the opportunity to honor a student who exemplifies unselfish caring for their community as demonstrated by volunteerism and civic engagement,” said Rick Hartt ’70, director of the Rensselaer Union. “By instilling an appreciation of those values, Dan serves as a role model for other students to emulate.”

“I’m both an engineer and a musician,” said Corda, who also plays the violin. “Although engineering is a formal classification, I think exploring the beauty and sacred detail of reality is what gives me inspiration and motivation as a learner and a being.”

Several nominators noted that while at Rensselaer, Corda has been involved in a number of organizations and projects that have ties to sustainability, including: the Campus Greenhouse, RPI Farmers Market, and Face the Waste. He is one of the founding members of the Student Sustainability Task Force, an organization that has been working on variety of projects to bring sustainability initiatives to campus.

“I have worked closely with Dan during the past 18 months, in his role as a volunteer on multiple projects related to sustainability at Rensselaer,” said Laban Coblentz, chief of staff and associate vice president for policy and planning. “During this time, I have had ample opportunity to observe his work ethic, the ingenuity and dedication that he brings to community-based sustainability efforts, his stature as a role model for others, and his willingness to put his technological skills to use in the service of others. Dan’s style is a combination of IT wizardry, an engineer’s common sense, good humor, persistence, and passion for all things green.”

Additionally, in the past year, Corda has been working with members of the Administrative Division on energy conservation initiatives. “Dan’s interests have resulted in the development of computer programs that gather data from electrical meters and create displays that can help prompt building users to be more conscious about their electricity consumption,” said Steve Angle, manager of engineering in Campus Planning and Facilities Design. “He has worked closely with our engineering group and our meter manufacturer to successfully pull electric data. The development of new technologies for displaying electrical meter data has served as a baseline to improve the campus energy conservation/awareness program as we move forward.”

“The campus community is benefiting from the work that Dan has done because of his love for Rensselaer,” said graduate student Ben Cohen. “It is clear that he does this only to improve the quality of life on campus, not to lengthen his resume or to gain recognition for his work. He is one of the few, great people, who are committed to making a difference.”

Following graduation, Corda says that he has been researching and working to develop an energy monitoring technology that would inform people of their power usage, and also generate electricity via interaction with a user to reduce one’s carbon footprint. He also expressed that a later life goal is to start or work with a micro-finance organization that is focused on helping people without credit, to create it and empower their future.

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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 4, Number 19, December 10, 2010
©2010 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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