CWU News

Team of CWU engineering professors, students awarded $10,000 grant

Central Washington University associate professor Sathy Rajendran and his team have been selected as the 2019-20 recipients of the $10,000 Don B. Daily Safety Grant to Promote Steel Industry Safety and Health. 

The fund, sponsored by the Association for Iron & Steel Technology (AIST) Foundation and the Steel Manufacturers Association (SMA), was created to commemorate the life and industry service of the late Don B. Daily, who is remembered for prioritizing the safety of all steel industry workers. 

CWU’s proposal, "Safety Management: Development of Steel Manufacturing Plant Specific Safety Plan Case Study," promotes the initiation of practical worker training based on real-world scenarios, regarded as one of the most effective methods of increasing worker safety.

With the award, a team of CWU students and faculty will develop a training program to help industry professionals learn to evaluate complex steel manufacturing and fabrication practices and develop control methods through a facility-specific safety plan.

"CWU is excited to receive this grant from AIST and have the opportunity to improve safety for workers in the steel manufacturing industry worldwide," said Rajendran, the program director for CWU's safety and health management program.

"The grant team includes students in the CWU safety and health management program. This will allow our students to apply the knowledge and skills they have acquired in their previous coursework in a real-world setting."

The Don B. Daily Safety Grant challenges North American university students and professors to submit proposals for grant funding in the area of safety and health awareness within the steel manufacturing industry. 

The dual objective of the fund is to promote a safe workplace for the steel manufacturing industry and to increase the number of students studying health and safety awareness as it relates to the manufacturing environment.

Daily left an enduring mark on the steel industry as president of Gallatin Steel and chairman of the Steel Manufacturers Association. He worked to establish numerous safety and health initiatives that led to significant workplace improvements.

"Worker safety and health continues to be one of the largest concerns for the steel manufacturing industry, said Jennifer Serne, an assistant professor at CWU and a member of the grant team. “Therefore, devising new ways to improve safety is vital. We thank the AIST Foundation for this opportunity. This kind of collaboration and support is exactly what we need to improve safety and health performance in the industry."

The AIST Foundation is a Pennsylvania-based nonprofit corporation that seeks to attract technology-oriented professionals to the steel industry by educating the public about the high-tech, diverse and rewarding nature of steel manufacturing careers.

Through a variety of programs, the foundation awards more than $750,000 annually in programs and grants to students, instructors and schools to ensure the iron and steel industry of tomorrow will have enough qualified professionals. 

The AIST Foundation is part of AIST, an international technical association of more than 17,500 professional and student members from 70 countries. For more information, visit


Media contact: David Leder, Department of Public Affairs, 509-963-1518,