Gavin Garner

Biosketch

Gavin Garner grew up in Richmond, Virginia. He attended Collegiate and St. Christopher’s Schools and graduated from St. Mark’s School just outside of Boston. Afterward, he ventured even futher north to Colby College in Maine where he majored in Physics and minored in Music. He then returned to Richmond and spent over a year working as a mechanical engineer for AMF Bowling at their worldwide headquarters in Mechanicsville. While designing improvements to AMF pinspotters (the machines that automatically reset pins at the ends of bowling alleys), he fell in love with mechanism design and manufacturing techniques, and realized the importance of a formal engineering education. He left AMF and entered the School of Engineering and Applied Science’s graduate program at the University of Virginia. At UVA, he worked as a teaching assistant for various undergraduate courses every semester of his graduate career and found that he thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of developing new instructional techniques to help teach the next generation of scientists, engineers, and inventors. He has won numerous awards for his teaching abilities. Upon completing Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in both Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, he was invited to join the faculty at UVA. Dr. Garner’s primary research interests lie in the burgeoning field of Mechatronics (aka robotics) and especially in how mechatronic systems can be applied to the design of new products. He specializes in adding sensors, microcontrollers, and smart actuators to mechanisms in order to enhance their functionality without significantly increasing the cost of their production. Prof. Garner has single-handedly created UVA’s Mechatronics program: developing the curriculum from scratch, teaching several courses, and overseeing the Mechatronics Laboratory. He has also recently helped to establish the new Advanced Manufacturing Laboratory at UVA, which houses state-of-the-art 3D printers, laser cutters, and CNC milling machines.

Selected Awards and Honors

  • Presented with the Mechanical Engineering Faculty Teacher of the Year Award by the University of Virginia’s chapter of Pi Tau Sigma for the 2015-2016 academic year (voted on by all U.Va. undergraduate Mechanical Engineering students).
  • Invited to present one of two lectures for the 22nd Annual University of Virginia’s Last Lecture Series event held in Old Cabell Hall. (April 2014)
  • Presented with the Henry Kinnier Award, which allows an Engineering School faculty member to participate in the University of Virginia’s Mead Endowment program. (April 2014)
  • Presented with the Thomas E. Hutchinson Award “For outreach to students, enthusiastic lectures, obvious love of teaching, and contribution to the Engineering School” a school-wide, student-nominated award organized by the Trigon Engineering Society. (January 2014)
  • Presented with an honorary carved pumpkin (one of ten awarded annually across the University) and letter of commendation by the University of Virginia’s secret P.U.M.P.K.I.N. Society “For enriching the University through silent and selfless achievement.” (October 2012)
  • Presented with a Hartfield-Jefferson Scholars Teaching Prize in recognition of excellent undergraduate teaching in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at the University of Virginia. (May 2012)
  • Presented with the Mechanical Engineering Faculty Teacher of the Year Award by the University of Virginia’s chapter of Pi Tau Sigma for the 2011-2012 academic year.
  • Honored by the University of Virginia’s Trigon Engineering Society as a finalist for the Thomas E. Hutchinson Award “For contributions to students of the engineering school.” (January 2012)
  • Presented with the University of Virginia’s School of Engineering and Applied Science Mac Wade Award “For outstanding service to the school and its students.” (May 2011)
  • Presented with the School of Engineering and Applied Science’s Professor of the Year Award by the University of Virginia’s Rodman Scholars for the 2010-2011 academic year.
  • Presented with the Mechanical Engineering Faculty Teacher of the Year Award by the University of Virginia’s chapter of Pi Tau Sigma for the 2010-2011 academic year.
  • Presented with the Mechanical Engineering Faculty Teacher of the Year Award by the University of Virginia’s chapter of Pi Tau Sigma for the 2009-2010 academic year.
  • Named a Graduate Teaching Fellow (one of two in the nation) by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers for the 2008-2009 academic year.
  • Presented with the Mechanical Engineering Faculty Teacher of the Year Award by the University of Virginia’s chapter of Pi Tau Sigma for the 2007-2008 academic year (while technically still only a graduate student).
  • Named a Graduate Teaching Fellow (one of two in the nation) by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers for the 2007-2008 academic year.
  • Awarded the University of Virginia’s Class of 1985 Graduate Fellowship for Creative Teaching “in recognition of superb teaching and excellent skills in creatively motivating and engaging students.” (April 2005)
  • Honoree for the University of Virginia’s Seven Society Graduate Fellowship for Superb Teaching “in recognition of excellent teaching and exceptional skill in motivating and inspiring students.” (April 2005)