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Be competitive.


 

U.S. News and World Report released their 2016 Best Grad Schools list last month, and we are happy to report that our college was very well represented.

The College of Engineering and Applied Science was ranked No. 34, above Colorado School of Mines and Colorado State University. Among departments and programs, aerospace engineering broke into the top 10, while several others earned spots in the national rankings:

  • Aerospace engineering (10)
  • Chemical engineering (16)
  • Environmental engineering (18)
  • Civil engineering (21)
  • Mechanical engineering (35)
  • Electrical engineering (37)
  • Computer engineering (38)
  • Computer science (40)

For a look at University of Colorado system-wide rankings, please visit www.colorado.edu/news/releases/2015/03/10/cu-boulder-graduate-programs-rate-highly

 

Be dynamic.


 

In the upcoming academic year, the college will begin offering a new minor in biomedical engineering. This six-course, 18 credit hour program can be added to any engineering major. Topics covered within the minor include biotechnology, biomaterials, drug delivery, medical imaging, therapeutic and diagnostic use of bioelectric phenomena, design and manufacture of biomedical devices, bioinformatics, and biocomputational techniques.

Select admitted students have already been invited to participate in the minor, and current students may begin applying in October of their sophomore year. The biomedical minor joins other college minors including energy engineering, computer science and electrical, computer and energy engineering. 

Be collaborative.


 

Catalyze CU-Boulder, in cooperation with the College of Engineering and Applied Science and the Leeds School of Business, sponsored the first University Accelerator Conference on March 5-6 in the Idea Forge. Catalyze U convened representatives of university accelerators from across the country, including MIT, the University of Washington, the University of Georgia, Florida State University and about a dozen others.  
 
The event kicked off with a dialogue with Brad Feld, co-founder of TechStars and the Foundry Group, who has been very active in Boulder’s start-up community. The second day featured a number of panels for university representatives, students and the Boulder start-up community.  
 
“It was great to see so many universities who have identified business accelerators as a top priority,” said Doug Smith, CEAS assistant dean for programs and engagement. “There was a lot of interest among participants in keeping in touch and making this an annual event.”

HONORS & AWARDS

FACULTY & STAFF AWARDS

Mark Borden of mechanical engineering received a grant from the National Science Foundation for his project proposal, entitled "Synthetic Alveoli for Enhanced Oxygen Delivery.”

Chris Bowman of chemical and biological engineering received a patent for a new photopolymerizable resin system for dental restorative materials such as fillings, crowns and dental implants.

Nikolaus Correll and Andy McEvoy of computer science had a paper published in the journal Science on “Materials that couple sensing, actuation, computation, and communication.”

Moncef Krarti of civil, environmental and architectural engineering has been named a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Abbie Liel of civil, environmental and architectural engineering was named to the Engineering News Record Mountain States edition “Top 20 Under 40.” She has also received the 2014 Shah Family Innovation Prize.

Robert McLeod of electrical, computer and energy engineering has been awarded a patent for a technique to create lenses with customized optical and/or mechanical properties.

Shelly Miller of mechanical engineering and her collaborators were awarded a research grant for their research project titled “Climate Change Mitigation in Low-Income Communities in Colorado: Home Weatherization Impacts on Respiratory Health and Indoor Air Quality during Wildfires.”

Roseanna Neupauer of civil, environmental and architectural engineering was selected to join the President’s Teaching Scholar Program.

Tad Pfeffer of civil, environmental and architectural engineering was selected for a Jefferson Science Fellowship at the U.S. Department of State for the upcoming academic year.

Zhiyong Jason Ren of civil, environmental and architectural engineering was named 2015 New Inventor of the Year by the University of Colorado Technology Transfer Office.

Jack Zable of mechanical engineering received the Erskine fellowship given by the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand.

STUDENT AWARDS

Alice Bradley, aerospace engineering doctoral candidate, has been selected as the first recipient of the Strauch Family Graduate Fellowship.

Xiaokun Gu, mechanical engineering doctoral candidate, received the 2015 Teets Family Endowed Fellowship. The fellowship is awarded to a student whose research focuses on microsystems and nanosystems. 

Tommy Hoffmann, junior computer science major, and his team Overly Kinetic recently received the “Ones to Watch” award at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Games Awards in London.

Ryan McGranghan, aerospace engineering graduate student, will be giving a TEDxCU talk on space weather on April 11. Learn more at www.ted.com/tedx/events/15244.

Melissa McnallyMelissa McNally, engineering plus major, has been selected as the 2015 Student Employee of the Year. Student Employment invited supervisors to nominate student employees who have demonstrated exemplary work within their departments. This year, 27 students were nominated. Employees are evaluated based on the following criteria: reliability, quality of work, initiative, professionalism, community and campus service and uniqueness of contribution. For more information visit http://www.colorado.edu/studentemployment/2015-award-winner
 

 

NEW HIRES & LEADERSHIP

NEW STAFF

Pamela Alvarez, Financial Professional, Chemical & Biological Engineering
Alisha Bennett, Director of Human Resources, Dean’s Office
Laura Baumgartner, Communications & Program Assistant, ITLL/General Engineering+
Sarah Buhr, Director of Corporate & Foundation Relations, Dean’s Office
Beth Curtis, Undergraduate Advisor, Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering
Jessica Drelles, Undergraduate Advisor, Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering
David Helmuth, Studio Operator, CAETE
George Karpoff, Administrative Assistant II, BOLD Center
Teagan Lochner, Alumni Relations & Events Coordinator, Dean’s Office
Vera Sebulsky, Graduate Program Advisor, Mechanical Engineering
Megan Smith, Marketing Manager, Engineering Management Program
Lauren Wheeler, Project & Financial Coordinator, Idea Forge
Katie Young, Human Resources & Graduate Assistant, ATLAS Institute

RALPHIE HANDLERS

STEPHANIE HERRIAGE
PALOS VERDES, CA

Choosing CU-Boulder for her engineering degree was an easy decision for Stephanie Herriage. With a father who is a mechanical engineering alumnus, plus CU-Boulder’s academics, Ralphie, beautiful campus and friendly people, Stephanie says that no other school could hold a candle to CU. She credits the many talks she had with Professors Matt Morris and Gregor Henze in helping her focus on what courses to take, her career and engineering in general.

After graduating in December 2014, Stephanie went to work as a project engineer for Southland Industries Engineering and is currently working on the Cleveland Clinic Cancer Building. With the foundation of knowledge the College of Engineering laid for her, Stephanie began her first week on the job confidently giving valuable feedback in a meeting that saved the job, the clients and the team time and money.

JAMES DE LA GARZA
SAN ANTONIO, TX

A design/build project class this semester, partnered with the YMCA of the Rockies, reaffirmed James (JJ) de la Garza’s interest in construction management. For this project, JJ worked with another construction engineering management student to communicate with a large group of architecture students in order to produce designs for cabins and a community building that will be built at YMCA’s Snow Mountain Ranch.

After he graduates this spring, JJ plans to
jump-start his career as a project engineer with Shaw Construction. The College of Engineering has taught him time management, handling heavy workloads and strict deadlines, which require strong organizational skills, a diligent work ethic and how to work in teams effectively and take on leadership roles—all skills he will apply toward his career in construction.

DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE MOMENT AS A HANDLER?

STEPHANIE:
I’ve had favorite moments when I’m interacting with fans. There’s a little boy, Sonny, who was three when he first started coming to games during my rookie season. He’s come back every year and it’s always fun seeing him again.

JJ:
For me, it was the little boy in the Make-a-Wish Foundation. He was about six and was diagnosed with a rare disease. His parents are alumni and his one wish was to hang out with the Ralphie Handlers. It made us appreciate what we do.

WHAT'S IT LIKE TO RUN WITH RALPHIE?

STEPHANIE:
She knows what to do better than we do. She’s been doing it for longer than any of us on the team. She has a great personality and every day with her is different. She’s so sweet. She definitely feeds off the energy of the crowds.

JJ:
It’s quite an experience to run with her. When you come out of the gate you go from zero to 20 mph. For most of the run we’re at top speed. When we can get her to run to the other end zone, we call it scoring a touchdown.

 

RETURNING TO CALL

DIANA LOUCKS WAS ABOUT TO SERVE A YEAR-LONG STINT as chief of Space and Special Programs for Regional Command, South, in Afghanistan when she got a call. Would she be willing to get a doctorate and then become the first female academy professor in physics and nuclear engineering at West Point?

This was not a cold call. To recruit qualified personnel, the U.S. Military Academy in West Point regularly searches through Army officer records. Loucks, a previous West Point instructor of physics and astrophysics who was commissioned into the Army in 1996, fit the profile for what the physics department was looking for — a motivated officer with a background in math, physics and engineering, and a desire to pursue an advanced degree. 

It didn’t take the Benbrook, Texas, native long to answer, or know where her next stop would be. West Point had already sent her to graduate school once — just after her first tour in Iraq in 2004–05 — so she could teach at the military academy. She graduated with a master’s in aerospace engineering from CU-Boulder in 2008.

“When I was searching online for universities with programs in aerospace engineering,” she says, “the top two universities that popped up were CU-Boulder and MIT. I chose CU thanks to the diversity of its programs and ability to absorb students with varied academic backgrounds.”

While earning her master’s degree she was on the original design team for the Drag and Atmospheric Neutral Density Explorer (DANDE) satellite, designed and built by CU-Boulder students, and she conducted the initial design work on its communications system as part of her thesis.

As a doctoral student, Loucks is working with her previous mentor, Professor Scott Palo, associate dean for research in the College of Engineering and Applied Science, to compile data sets focusing on the ionospheric impacts on communications systems and remote sensing devices.

“Having a PhD from CU-Boulder will automatically set me apart,” she says, “and it’s in an extremely hard science. Aerospace is one of the most diverse—broad and deep—disciplines.”

After she receives her doctorate in 2017, Loucks will serve a one-year operational rotation, possibly at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs where her husband, LTC Gary Loucks Jr., is section chief for United States Northern Command. She will then serve as an academy professor at West Point for the duration of her Army career.

“I believe that I possess not only the appropriate qualities to teach,” she says, “but also the drive and motivation to do so. As such, I believe this, along with my academic and service credentials, was the primary reason I was selected to return.”

For Loucks, mentoring is key to teaching and her range of interests and perspectives on life—engineering, singing, a love of space, softball, being married to a fellow service member and being a Christian—helps her connect with students.

“I personally witnessed the power of having mentors that you can identify with,” says Loucks. “My husband and I still have former students we maintain contact with and mentor.”

BRIDGING THE GLOBAL RESOURCE GAP

"The pedestrian bridge was life changing for community members living on the other side of the river..."

FOR MOST AMERICANS visiting the doctor’s office, shopping at the supermarket or going to work is a matter of hopping in a car and driving there. But the amenities of modern infrastructure in the United States—roads, bridges and sidewalks—are often absent in rural communities around the globe, separating people from food, medicine and potable water.

With this in mind, Avery Bang (MS CivEngr ’09) put her expertise to work developing modern solutions that change lives—and save lives. She started working with Bridges to Prosperity as a volunteer in 2008 and was named the organization’s CEO last year. Bridges to Prosperity, or B2P, was founded in 2001 and builds pedestrian bridges in rural, poor communities so people can reach much-needed resources.

As a student volunteer, Bang’s first experience with Bridges to Prosperity was a life-altering experience; what she refers to as her “Eureka!” moment.

“I first become involved with B2P after living in Fiji during a semester abroad, and I had the opportunity to visit the remote island of Taveuni, where the New Zealand government had recently built a bridge,” she says. “Community members living on the other side of the river were previously isolated from school nearly half of the year. Since the construction of the bridge, farmers had access to the weekly market, kids were able to go to school and the entire community now had access to the health care
facility in town.”

As CEO, Bang has overseen the building of more than 170 bridges in 18 countries. In addition, Bang founded the Bridges to Prosperity University Program, which offers technical, cross-cultural and real-world building experience to students worldwide (including the CU-Boulder chapter).

“In the next year, this program will engage more than 150 students in bridge projects in multiple countries,” she says. “We are proud to play a part in developing the next generation of engineers into global citizens.”

Bang’s work with B2P earned her recognition as one of Engineering News-Record’s Top 25 Newsmakers of 2012. She also was named one of ENR Mountain Region’s Top 20 Under 40 in 2013, and one of the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Fresh Faces in 2011. Last year the CU-Boulder Alumni Association named Bang the 2014 recipient of the Kalpana Chawla Outstanding Recent Graduate Award.

In addition to her work with B2P, Bang continues to work as a teacher and learner in the Mortenson Center in Engineering for Developing Communities. She is also a member of the College of Engineering and Applied Science’s GOLD (Graduates of the Last Decade) board. She points to her CU education as one of the primary factors in her success.

“My time at CU was incredibly formative in developing my skills as an engineer, but more so in developing my understanding of the role engineers can play to benefit communities, both here in the States and around the world,” says Bang. “Since joining the B2P team in 2008—while still finishing my thesis at CU—I realized the importance of the connections and support network that I developed while studying.”

While Bang and B2P continue to change lives in communities around the world, she hopes her work inspires other college students to follow her path and work to build bridges, figuratively and otherwise.

 

FROM INDIA TO BOULDER

SHRAWAN SINGH MAY BE TOO HUMBLE TO BRAG ABOUT IT, but he set out to live the American Dream and ended up helping a major American automobile industry build safer cars and a new document- processing company go global. Singh (MS MechEngr ’66) now has a chance to look back on his nearly 50-year career. His CU-Boulder education provided the underpinnings for each of his professional endeavors, Singh says.

“My educational background in engineering and business management was indeed very relevant,” says Singh. “Now that I am retired and have time to reflect, I must say the university has been very good to me, and our adopted country has been great to me and my family.”

Singh came to the United States in 1965 after graduating from India’s Bihar Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering as well as working in steel plants in both India and Australia. Thanks to a tuition scholarship and a teaching assistantship from CU-Boulder’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, he relocated to the Rocky Mountains to earn his master’s degree. Singh was heavily influenced by his professors in thermodynamics, vibrations and calculus. With their guidance, he was able to take the mechanical engineering knowledge he gained and apply it to a successful career path.

After graduating from CU-Boulder, Singh headed to Detroit and joined the Ford Motor Company as a product test engineer. It wasn’t long before he moved into the role of research engineer, where he designed equipment, tested products and modeled crash simulation in the company’s automobiles. In time, Ford incorporated Singh’s configurations into its automobiles, improving safety for the driver as well as other cars on the road.
After earning his MBA from Wayne State University in 1970, Singh took a job with a small, relatively unknown company with an odd, difficult-to-pronounce name that had big ideas to revolutionize business and office document processing — a company called Xerox.

For the next three decades, as Xerox became a household name, Singh worked his way up the corporate ladder to become the company’s senior vice president of integrated supply chain. In that role, Singh was responsible for everything from financial planning to the worldwide supply chain to European manufacturing plants and all points in between. During Singh’s first decade with Xerox, the company’s revenues soared from $1.6 billion in 1970 to more than $8 billion worldwide in 1980.

While Singh’s talent, business acumen and tenacity were certainly building blocks of his success, he has never forgotten the value of his CU education in giving him a rock-solid foundation that supported all his professional exploits.

“It is a great privilege to be an American and live the American Dream,” says Singh. “None of this would have been possible without the generosity of the university and its mechanical engineering department.”

Singh’s success story doesn’t end there. Not content to simply ride off into retirement, he and his wife are paying it forward. By establishing the Shrawan and Sudha Singh Graduate Fellowship in CU-Boulder’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, they are ensuring generations of students pursue and live their American Dreams.
 

AWAKENING CONSIOUSNESS

STAYING AHEAD OF HACKERS, THIEVES AND OTHER NEFARIOUS ONLINE THREATS is no small affair. Laura Mather is no stranger to this world of cybercrime, which costs American businesses billions of dollars annually. Mather (ApMath’94, MS CompSci ’96, PhD CompSci ’98) established her reputation in cybersecurity by implementing money-saving changes for major brands such as eBay and PayPal. In 2008, Mather broke out on her own and launched Silver Tail Systems, a “leading provider of predictive analytics to detect and prevent fraud and abuse on websites.”

“Security is like a chess game. It isn't sufficient to understand the next move. You have to understand the three to five moves that follow,” Mather says in a 2012 interview with Finovate.com. “If you make a change to make something more ‘secure,’ sometimes that change will move the criminals into a new behavior which is more harmful than the behavior you are preventing. Understanding how the criminals think and how they respond to impediments is key to being able to make good decisions about how to protect websites.”

"SECURITY IS LIKE A CHESS GAME. IT ISN'T SUFFICIENT TO UNDERSTAND THE NEXT MOVE. YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND THE THREE TO FIVE MOVES THAT FOLLOW."

Thinking like criminals and beating the culprits at their own game paid off for Mather. In four short years, she sold her fledgling startup in 2012 for over $22 million.

Her work with Silver Tail led Mather to being listed as No. 16 on Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business list in 2012. In that same year, she also earned the No. 6 spot on Fortune’s list of Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs and No. 9 on Business Insider’s list of Most Powerful Women Engineers. In 2013, Agenda magazine named Mather one of the top 50 Future Digital Strategists for Corporate Boards.

So what does a cybersecurity crime fighter do after she’s hung up her superhero cape? Her next goal: reshape the culture of information technology companies by reinventing its hiring practices.

Mather parlayed her success with Silver Tail into her latest venture:
Unitive Inc., a company that produces hiring and promotion software that changes the behaviors caused by unconscious bias. Her goal is to transform Silicon Valley (and all other companies) from a male-driven culture into diverse workforces that reflect modern society. Her software company is developing methodology that will strip away biases that may hinder companies from hiring the best candidates.

“What we’re finding is that HR departments are realizing that unconscious bias is a real problem and they need to address it in their hiring and promotion processes,” says Mather. “Our software is doing exactly that, and it has been great to get such an enthusiastic reception to our methodology.”

Unitive’s goal is to enhance companies’ bottom lines. Studies have shown that a higher percentage of women in leadership roles leads to greater returns on investment for shareholders, increased sales and better worker productivity.

Saving companies from cybercrimes and completely overhauling hiring practices to enhance the bottom line for businesses. All in a day’s work for an IT superhero.

NSF AWARDS

GREG RIEKER
MECHANICAL

The focus of RIEKER’S work is to establish the first frequency comb laser-based tools and techniques for practical combustion systems. The diagnostics will pave the way for rapid, multi-property measurements (temperature, pressure, mixture composition) in the harsh environments of modern combustion devices. 

JOEL KAAR
CHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL

KARR’S project will shed light on molecular interactions of ionic liquids with specific sites in enzymes, which reduce the efficiency of biofuel production by leading to enzyme inactivation. This project will pave the way to reduce the environmental impact and create economical biomass conversion processes, leading to improvements in the widespread commercialization of biofuels as a sustainable fuel alternative.

JASON MARDEN
ELECTRICAL, COMPUTER, AND ENERGY

The focus of MARDEN’S work is to develop game theoretic methods for multiagent coordination. Multiagent systems span all aspects of society with examples including the smart grid, wind farms, social networks, surveillance systems and transportation networks, among many more. This project could have significant societal implications ranging from the generation of more renewable energy to improvements in the utilization of existing infrastructure (e.g., transportation networks). 

ALIREZA DOOSTAN
AEROSPACE

Complex engineering systems often involve multiple physical phenomena at multiple scales and can be observed in the design and manufacturing of materials and energy storage systems. The dynamics of these systems are variable due to materials or manufacturing imperfections, so there is a need to quantify the impact of such uncertainties for accurate performance prediction and design optimization. DOOSTAN’S work will pave the way in advancing the current simulation technologies available through the development of a set of novel theories, algorithms and software tools for fast characterization and propagation of uncertainty.

SHIDEH DASHTI
CIVIL, ENVIRONMENTAL, AND ARCHITECTURAL

DASHTI, who specializes in geotechnical engineering and geomechanics, will use her award to create a new approach for evaluating the behavior of clusters of buildings on liquefiable ground during earthquakes. The project will pave the way toward designing mitigation measures that improve building performance in cities across the globe.

FERNANDO ROSARIO-ORTIZ
CIVIL, ENVIRONMENTAL, AND ARCHITECTURAL

A key factor affecting the world’s population is access to good quality water resources. In urban water cycles, it is essential to understand wastewater effluents and photochemical processes as effective alternatives for water treatment. ROSARIO-ORTIZ’S project will examine the role of wastewater-derived effluent organic matter on photochemical processes in surface waters.

AARON CLAUSET
COMPUTER SCIENCE

CLAUSET, whose research interests include “big data,” will work to develop practical methods for extracting new knowledge directly from large, messy real-world networks, and for quantifying the relationship between network structure and network metadata. The project will enable new progress on fundamental questions about the structure and function of gene interaction networks, online social networks and many more.

TOM YEH
COMPUTER SCIENCE

YEH, who specializes in human-centered computing, will use his award to continue his research into utilizing 3-D printing to create adaptive, tactile picture books for blind children during emergent literacy. His research could change the way tactile pictures are made available to visually impaired children—a parent or a teacher will be able to download a digital 3-D model of a tactile picture book, adapt the model for a particular child, 3-D print the model and read the resulting one-of-a-kind book with the child.

FACULTY & STAFF AWARDS

SHARON ANDERSON
Graduate Academic Advisor, Mechanical Engineering
Outstanding Staff Award

DIANE MARIE KNIGHT
Professor of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering
Faculty Research Award

DARIA KOYTS-SCHWARTZ
Mechanical Engineering
Max S. Peters Faculty Service Award

DONNA S. GERREN
Aerospace Engineering Sciences
Charles Hutchinson Memorial Teaching Award

SELECT ADDITIONAL AWARDS

KRISTINE LARSON
Aerospace Engineering Sciences
European Geosciences Union Christiaan Hygens Medal
Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Creativity Prize for Water

SRIRAM SANKARANARAYANAN
Computer Science
2014 Dean’s Faculty Performance Award (for teaching)

DAN SCHWARTZ
Chemical and Biological Engineering
2014 Dean’s Faculty Performance Award (for research)

FERNANDO ROSARIO-ORTIZ
Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering
2014 Dean’s Faculty Performance Award  (for professional progress)

ABBIE LIEL
Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering
2014 Dean’s Faculty Performance Award (for junior faculty)

BERNARD AMADEI
Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering
Outstanding Projects and Leaders Lifetime Achievement Award for Education

PAUL GOODRUM
Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering
Construction Industry Institute’s Distinguished Professor and
Outstanding Researcher

RONGGUI YANG
Mechanical Engineering
International Thermoelectric Society’s Young Investigator Award

TOM YEH
Computer Science
Faculty Mentor of the Year

IAN HALES
ATLAS
Marinus Smith Award from CU Parents Association

CHRISTINE HRENYA
Chemical and Biological Engineering
AlCHE Particle Technology Forum Lectureship Award in Fluidization

DAVEN HENZE
Mechanical Engineering
Provost’s Faculty Achievement Award

ROBERT MCLEOD
Electrical, Computer, and Energy Engineering
Provost’s Faculty Achievement Award

SRIRAM SANKARANARAYANAN
Computer Science
Provost’s Faculty Achievement Award

RECENT ALUMNI AWARD

VANESSA APONTE

Notable Achievements:

  • Serves as chairwoman of the Technology Insertion Board for Military Support Programs at Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, tasked with evaluating new technologies for use in spaceflight. 

  • Launched a 10-year career with Lockheed Martin as senior systems engineer for the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, focused on developing and testing craft for future deep space missions.

  •  As a research assistant at Boulder’s BioServe Space Technologies, developed new biosensor technology allowing fast, minimally invasive measurement of certain immune markers to monitor astronauts’ immune systems.

  • Astronaut candidate selection finalist (2012) and interviewee (2009) with NASA Johnson Space Center.

DISTINGUISHED ENGINEERING ALUMNI AWARDS

 

JOHN CHARLES MOLLENKOPF

EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT AND CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER
MARKWEST ENERGY PARTNERS, L.P.
AWARD CATEGORY: INDUSTRY & COMMERCE

 

Notable Achievements:

  • Instrumental in developing the vision and strategy that grew MarkWest from a $100 million company to one valued at more than $13 billion. Currently, MarkWest employs nearly 100 engineers and Mollenkopf is widely considered to be the preeminent engineer.
  • Key contributor to numerous industry organizations including Marcellus Shale Coalition, Texas Pipeline Association and the Gas Processors Association.
  • Dedicated volunteer to the college, serving on the Engineering Advisory Council and Mechanical Engineering Strategic Advisory Board.
     

CHERYL REYNOLDS ENGLISH

VICE PRESIDENT OF GOVERNMENT AND INDUSTRY RELATIONS
ACUITY BRANDS
AWARD CATEGORY: INDUSTRY & COMMERCE

Notable Achievements:

  • Strong advocate for CU-Boulder and was able to secure funding for the Rocky Mountain Lighting Academy, which supports the lighting program in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering.
  • In the past 15 years, she has been influential at the national level in the development of public policy regarding best practices in lighting energy conservation, sustainable building design, environmental lighting legislation and lighting engineering education.
  • Holds leadership positions in the National Electrical Manufactures Association (NEMA), the Illuminating Buildings Council and the National Institute of Building Sciences. Recipient of the NEMA Kite and Key award.
     

KATHRYN TOBEY

VICE PRESIDENT AND GENERAL MANAGER
LOCKHEED MARTIN SPACE SYSTEMS COMPANY SPECIAL PROGRAMS
AWARD CATEGORY: INDUSTRY & COMMERCE

Notable Achievements:

  • 30 years of experience in the aerospace and defense industry delivering high performance systems for critical national security space applications.
  • Dedicated volunteer for the College of Engineering and Applied Science, serving as the university executive for Lockheed Martin Space Systems with the Engineering Advisory Council and BOLD Advisory Council.
  • Strong passion for advancing opportunities for women and other students underrepresented in engineering fields.

 

DARRELL F. ZIMBELMAN, PHD

DIRECTOR ELECTRO-OPTICAL IMAGERY SATELLITE SYSTEMS
NATIONAL RECONNAISSANCE OFFICE
OFFICE OF THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR SPACE
AWARD CATEGORY: GOVERNMENT SERVICE

Notable Achievements:

  • Led initiatives for NASA, CIA and Air Force National Reconnaissance Office on scientific missions including TOPEX/Poseidon, the Transition Region and Coronal Explorer, and the Hubble Telescope, as well as the acquisition and launch of a multibillion-dollar satellite system that is critical to national security and the intelligence community’s most significant space priority. 
  • Engaged with CU-Boulder and the Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences, mentoring graduate students as well as providing guidance for external funding sources.
  • Dedicated service to the aerospace profession and community including chairing conference sessions, serving on advisory committees, reviewing papers and reports, and publishing many technical reports and papers, as well as coaching girls softball and soccer teams, judging science contests and volunteering for a cooperative satellite learning project that teaches high school students to appreciate science and technology.

 

 

 

COLLEGE AWARDS & HONORS

ASTRONAUT BRUCE MCCANDLESS
PRESENTS SCHOLARSHIP TO STUDENT

Former NASA astronaut Bruce McCandless recently presented CU-Boulder senior Jeni Sorli with a $10,000 scholarship from the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation.

Sorli, a chemical engineering major from Billings, Montana, is the recipient of a number of other prestigious awards. She is a Goldwater Scholar, an Engineering Merit Scholar, a Norlin Scholar, a Presidential Scholar and a ConocoPhillips engineering intern.

The Astronaut Scholarship is a large monetary award given in the U.S. to science and engineering undergraduates based solely on merit. There were 32 awards dispersed in 2014 through the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation to students majoring in science, technology, engineering or math.

Sorli currently is involved with the Engineering Honors Program, the CU chapter of Engineers Without Borders and CU Biodiesel. She has been studying renewable fuels, including working in the lab of Professor Alan Weimer researching biomass degasification.

McCandless, a retired U.S. Navy captain, flew on NASA’s STS-41B Challenger mission in 1984—which was commanded by CU-Boulder alumnus Vance Brand, one of 18 astronaut-affiliates from CU-Boulder—and helped to deploy two communications satellites. In 1990, when he flew on the STS-31 Discovery space shuttle mission that deployed the Hubble Space Telescope, he became the first NASA astronaut to make an untethered flight in space.

CHATTERJEE AND NAGPAL NAMED
NEW INVENTORS OF THE YEAR

Anushree Chatterjee and Prashant Nagpal, assistant professors of chemical and chemical biological engineering, have been named the CU-Boulder New Inventors of the Year by the University of Colorado Technology Transfer Office (TTO). This honor is given to researchers who best represent both the spirit of innovation at CU-Boulder and best practices in commercialization of university technologies.

“Their commitment not only to performing world-class research but also to creating real-world impact for their work deserves recognition,” says MaryBeth Vellequette, director of technology transfer for CU-Boulder.

In their joint research, Chatterjee and Nagpal have developed a platform technology for fast, reliable, high-throughput and cost-effective single-molecule sequencing of nucleic acids. This kind of sequencing is an important step in the development of new diagnostic tools for personalized medicine, as well as in rapid identification of DNA sequences that allow bacteria to develop drug resistance. The researchers are working with TTO to develop a commercial pathway for this technology.

CU HONORS TWO COLLEGE ADVOCATES

Two distinguished members of the College of Engineering and Applied Science community received top honors at CU-Boulder’s Spring Commencement Ceremony on May 9 at Folsom Field. Dubbed the ultimate “friend-raiser” and fundraiser, Lanis “Lanny” Pinchuk was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science degree, while lifelong “engineering Buff” Mike Wirth (ChemEngr ’82) received the University Medal for his influential support of CU.

FACULTY & STAFF UPDATES

JULIE STEINBRENNER is the director of the Energy Engineering Minor, a new minor for students who are interested in broadening their academic portfolio beyond their majors with an additional credential in energy engineering.

ROBERT ERICKSON has been serving as the interim chair of the Department of Electrical, Computer, and Energy Engineering. In this role, he is focused on strategic planning and development of departmental leadership. As a faculty member for 32 years and a former chair, he co-directs the Colorado Power Electronics Center and leads research in power electronics for electric vehicles.
Current department projects include development of a new graduate program in embedded systems engineering and a possible new undergraduate degree.

CLAYTON LEWIS has been serving as the interim chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering. He has been a professor in the computer science program since 1984 and is also an Institute of Cognitive Science Fellow. He was named a University of Colorado President’s Teaching Scholar, a life title signifying the university’s highest award for teaching, and served as computer science department chair from 1999 to 2003.

DAVID REED is the new director of the Interdisciplinary Telecommunications Program. In addition to teaching and conducting research with graduate students in ITP’s master’s and doctoral programs, Reed will lead the development of a new research center to investigate the future of the newly forming broadband industry. Reed comes to the university after spending almost 20 years as chief technology officer and chief strategy officer at CableLabs, a research consortium of cable television companies.

SCOTT PALO is the new associate dean for research in the College of Engineering and Applied Science. In this role, Palo and his team assist faculty in identifying potential research opportunities, cultivate strategic research partners, and develop successful multidisciplinary research proposals with a core focus on new faculty and large, complex proposals. At the campus level, Palo represents the college in strategic research planning activities. Palo and his team are working with faculty to grow the college research enterprise from $72 million to over $100 million per year.

BALAJI RAJAGOPALAN is the new chair of the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering. In this role, Rajagopalan leads the general operation and efficiency of the department, including financial and personnel management. He also works with the executive committee to develop and oversee departmental policy.

DARIA KOTYS-SCHWARTZ is the new director of the Idea Forge, co-director of Design Center Colorado and a senior instructor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. In her role as director for undergraduate programs for Design Center Colorado, Kotys-Schwartz coordinates 30 industry-sponsored student projects and more than 15 faculty advisors each academic year. Additionally, she oversees the mechanical engineering undergraduate project laboratories, machine shop and welding areas, and Design Center Colorado staff.

DANIEL MOORER has been named the director of the Lockheed Martin Engineering Management program, which provides advanced education for engineers, scientists and technical professionals who want to move into first or second level management. The program facilitates technically minded people to learn and practice data-driven management, develop leadership capabilities and apply proven principles for business performance improvement.
 

 

CHEMICAL & BIOLOGICAL ENGINEERING: LOW-STRESS MATERIALS


“With this low-stress material, the dentist can fill the entire cavity in one layer.”

GETTING STUCK IN RUSH HOUR TRAFFIC. Hammering your thumb. Paper cuts. All things that are miserable, but none may be as universally despised as going to the dentist to get a cavity filled.

A new product developed by 3M ESPE—and based on technology invented by Christopher Bowman, distinguished professor of chemical and biological engineering—may be able to ease the experience. Filtek Bulk Fill Posterior Restorative can reduce the time you have to spend in the dentist’s chair.

A team of researchers led by Bowman developed a key component of the new cavity-filler, which allows the material to be “low stress.” This helps prevent cracking and shrinkage, which can break the seal where the filling meets the tooth and allow decay to creep in. 

To moderate the stress that can build up using traditional dental polymers, dentists fill the cavity one layer at a time, curing each new coating with light before adding the next layer. Deep cavities currently require up to four layers.

“Stress causes significant problems for dental composites and can lead to premature failure,” Bowman says. “With this low-stress material, the dentist can fill the entire cavity in one layer.”

The technology was licensed to 3M, a diversified technology company based in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 2013. They rolled out the new fill material on Oct. 1, 2014, with the tagline “one and done.”

Bowman’s research team, however, is not done. The possible applications for the polymer technology invented at CU-Boulder go well beyond simply filling cavities.

“Low-stress materials are important for a lot of applications,” says Bowman. In fact, being low stress is a desirable trait in nearly any coating because it can prevent warping of the underlying material and peeling off of the coating.

The way Bowman’s high-tech polymer is applied as a coating can affect the properties of the end product as well. By choosing different patterns and methods with which the coating is applied, the coating can be made more adhesive, or conversely, to be a nonstick surface.

 

ASTEROIDS: A KEY TO UNDERSTANDING OUR SOLAR SYSTEM

“A big asteroid hitting Earth may not happen for millennia; however, we should start preparing for it now."

CHUNKS OF SPACE ROCK HURTLING TOWARD EARTH putting humanity in mortal danger makes an entertaining asteroid-inspired movie. While that scenario could actually happen someday, there are equally important reasons to study asteroids other than their potential to be threatening.

As the bits and pieces remaining from the process that formed the planets, asteroids represent both an enigma and a key to unlocking the secrets of the solar system.

In recognition of his contributions to the scientific understanding of the dynamical environment of asteroids, Professor Daniel Scheeres has been named a University of Colorado Distinguished Professor, the most prestigious honor for faculty across all four of CU’s campuses.

“Asteroids are leftovers from the early stages of the solar system when the planets were forming,” says Scheeres. “Understanding them can give us insight into the workings of the solar system and the evolutionary processes that have occurred over billions of years. They could help us understand the origin of life.”

Scheeres holds the A. Richard Seebass Endowed Chair in the Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences and is the associate chair for graduate studies. He is also a member of the Colorado Center for Astrodynamics Research.

An international leader in astrodynamics and celestial mechanics, Scheeres has published extensively in the fields of astrodynamics, dynamical astronomy and celestial mechanics. He is engaged in a number of research endeavors in both engineering and science, with a primary focus on topics where orbital mechanics and space science intersect.

Two of his biggest projects currently underway are related to the Origins-Spectral Interpretation-Resource Identification-Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) mission and the Binary Asteroid in-situ Explorer (BASiX) Discovery mission proposal.

Scheeres is the radio science lead and co-investigator on OSIRIS-REx, an unmanned NASA mission to an asteroid. For the first time ever, samples will be collected and brought back to Earth to study.

He is also the primary investigator on the BASiX mission proposal with the Jet Propulsion Lab and Ball Aerospace. Once NASA gives the green light on the proposal, an unmanned mission will be sent to a binary asteroid system to conduct geophysical experiments to understand how such two asteroid systems formed and how they evolved. The two asteroids spin around each other while whizzing through space, similar to the Earth-moon system. Pulling up to these asteroids and maintaining a stable orbit around them while trying to conduct research remotely will be a pioneering mission.

In addition to studying the evolution of asteroids and measuring their shape and spin, Scheeres is also involved in engineering-oriented research. Since multiple factors can affect a spacecraft’s trajectory, including solar radiation pressure and the attraction of other bodies in space, much of his research is focused on how to guide a craft’s approach to asteroids and maintaining a stable orbit around these unstable bodies.

“As a scientist, I can understand what a spacecraft should be doing that gives us insight into how it should be designed,” he says. “From an engineering perspective, I know what the limitations are, so I can use that knowledge to craft my scientific questions to make them more achievable.”

There are numerous additional reasons why missions to asteroids are important, according to Scheeres. Asteroids could be mined for their rich supply of raw materials and they would be useful as stepping stones for humanity’s expansion into the solar system.

An understanding of their composition will also provide information on how to deflect or destroy a potentially deadly Earth-bound asteroid. Just in case, in the future, we find one heading toward Earth.
 

COMPUTER SCIENCE SURGE

Computer Science is booming in Boulder. In the fall of 2010, there were 267 undergraduate computer science majors. Four years later, there were 909, including the new Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science degree. To keep up with the tsunami of new students, talented faculty are being recruited from across the country. Here’s a look at what three of the new faculty are working on:

ASSISTANT PROFESSOR SHAUN KANE
UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND
PHD FROM UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON

The world is full of touch screens: smartphones and tablets, of course, but also electronic voting machines and grocery store credit card readers, to name a few. Most of us take the ability to use them for granted, but for people who are blind or visually impaired touchscreen devices can be roadblocks. Shaun Kane has spent a lot of time thinking about this and other situations where using the dominant technology is not easy. “I like to look at the edge cases,” he says, “people with disabilities who have significant challenges interacting with mainstream technology but also more typical users who are in challenging environments.” Kane’s approach is to figure out how he can empower people to maximize technology that already exists, as opposed to designing separate technology for those with extreme needs. In the case of touch screens, Kane has focused on broadening the number of gestures that a device can recognize as commands, taking advantage of the fact that touch is already an important way the visually impaired explore the world.

ASSISTANT PROFESSOR JORDAN BOYD-GRABER
UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND
PHD FROM PRINCETON UNIVERSITY

Could a machine successfully square off against high school competitors in the popular academic trivia game Quiz Bowl, where clues are slowly unspooled, beginning with the most obscure information and ending in the most obvious? Jordan Boyd-Graber thinks so, and he hopes his machine—nicknamed “Jerome” for the time being—is up for the challenge. Quiz Bowl is played by students across the country. Players buzz in as soon as they know the answer: the faster the buzz, the deeper the knowledge. Programming Jerome to play Quiz Bowl isn’t just a matter of amusement. Creating a machine that is able to digest one word at a time, and then understand how that single word adds meaning to the words that came before, is a difficult challenge in the field of natural language processing. “Quiz Bowl is not just a challenging computational problem, but it’s also a fun way to get high school students thinking about the challenges of text processing and machine learning,” Boyd-Graber says.

ASSISTANT PROFESSOR GABE SIBLEY
GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY
PHD FROM UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

Gabe Sibley created robots that could build Lincoln Log castles, robots that could fix a broken communication network on the surface of a distant planet and robots that could crawl across a mesh panel in zero gravity. But something was missing: the ability to perceive. “After doing all that work, my conclusion was that we can build robots with interesting capabilities but they still can’t do much if they can’t understand the world they’re operating in,” Sibley says. “Before you can act intelligently, you need to perceive and understand the world around you.” Now, Sibley’s research focuses on building robots that can actually learn to “see”—machines that can look around them, create a 3-D model of their world as they go, and then decide how to best interact with that world. “Historically, we’ve just built models of the environment in which the robots operate,” Sibley says. “But if you have a mobile robot in a dynamic environment where there’s lots of people and lots of change, suddenly you can’t just preprogram everything.”

MECHANICAL ENGINEERING: INFRARED CAMERA CREATES SHARP FOCUS FROM TEMPERATURE CHANGES

“You would assume that objects in the room are the same temperature, but they’re not,” says Bright, a professor of mechanical engineering. “Different materials absorb and emit radiation at different rates. So at any instant in time, they are actually at different temperatures.”  

THE AIR TEMPERATURE IN VICTOR BRIGHT’S OFFICE IS MILD, maybe 70 degrees. There aren’t any obvious drafts or pockets of warm or cold air. All the books on the shelves, the papers on his desk and the pictures on the wall seem to be the same temperature.

So it’s a shock when a new ultrasensitive infrared camera, which creates images by measuring heat instead of visible light, is able to give a crisp picture of the room, delineating each piece of furniture, each wire leading into the computer and, of course, Bright himself.

“You would assume that objects in the room are the same temperature, but they’re not,” says Bright, a professor of mechanical engineering. “Different materials absorb and emit radiation at different rates. So at any instant in time, they are actually at different temperatures.”

Bright and two of his colleagues—Steven George, a professor with a joint appointment in chemistry and biochemistry as well as mechanical engineering, and Y.C. Lee, a professor of mechanical engineering—worked with George Skidmore at DRS Technologies to create the new camera, which is about 30 percent more sensitive to differences in heat and about 30 percent faster than current state-of-the-art infrared technology.

Unlike the pictures popularly associated with infrared cameras—glowing images that use oranges and reds to show heat and create blurry forms of people— the new CU-Boulder-DRS-built camera produces detailed images in black and white. The lighter the color, the warmer the object.

The improvement achieved by the new camera was made possible by a technology developed at CU-Boulder by George called atomic layer deposition, which Bright believes may allow them to create an infrared camera that’s as much as 10 times more sensitive than today’s best.

“It’s a way of depositing materials one atomic layer at a time,” Bright says. “It gives us perfect control over thickness. Using custom, in-house developed microfabrication techniques, we can use atomic layer deposition to build micro-scale pixels for the infrared camera.”

The new camera was funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency with the goal of improving the military’s surveillance abilities—infrared cameras work as well in the pitch black of night as they do in the day, unlike night-vision equipment, which relies on having at least a small amount of reflected light.

But extremely sensitive infrared cameras have potential for an almost mind-boggling array of uses. DRS Technologies, which already produces military-grade infrared cameras, has put on a contest over the last couple of years to see what kinds of uses university students across the country could come up with for infrared cameras.

Some teams used infrared cameras to take pictures of irrigated fields. Since adding water to the soil changes the temperature of the land, the camera could detect any dry patches of dirt that still needed to be watered. The same principle allowed another team to detect water buildup underground, which could help predict the location of landslides.

Other uses ranged from an alternative to fingerprinting—infrared cameras can detect the unique pattern of sweat pores on your fingertip—to the “eyes” for a firefighting robot.

Bright has used the camera himself to peer into walls in search of studs, which are a different temperature from the surface drywall, and his students have used it to watch snow as it’s melted by the friction created by a skier, only to refreeze again. The ability to watch freeze and thaw could potentially have applications for people studying avalanches.

“The applications are abundant,” Bright says. “You just have to have imagination.”
 

 

CIVIL, ENVIRONMENTAL & ARCHITECTURAL: BRIDGING COURSE WORK WITH REAL-WORLD PROJECTS

The winning team was chosen for their overall solution. Design, cost, schedule, realistic approach, minimal impact to the environment and Teamwork were deciding factors. The student's design will be used as a basis for CU-Boulder to solicit a professional Design Team.” 

When a torrent of water ripped down Boulder Creek in September 2013 during historic flooding, a pedestrian bridge connecting the Boulder Creek Path with Folsom Field was one of the casualties.

For 50 civil engineering students, the bridge’s loss became an educational opportunity. During the 2014 fall semester, they took their education out of the classroom and down to the creek, where, for their civil engineering capstone project, they worked to design a replacement.

The annual civil engineering capstone project allows students to integrate and apply the theory and skills they’ve learned in their courses by working on realistic, immersive design projects.

The challenge for the pedestrian bridge project was not only to design a bridge to serve as a formal gateway to the north side of campus that accommodates daily use, game-day and special event traffic, but also to integrate it aesthetically into the design of the new athletic complex expansion currently underway.

Students were divided into 10 teams of five students each. The teams included students from each of several civil engineering’s specialties: structural engineering, geotechnical engineering, water resources, and construction engineering and management

Julia Carroll (CivEngr ’14), from Lyons, Colorado, and Rob Sparks (CivEngr ’15), from Cañon City, Colorado, were both on the South Paw Engineering Team. Carroll’s emphasis was construction engineering and management, while Sparks brought a structural engineering emphasis.

“This project was exciting,” says Carroll, “because it gave us the opportunity to combine concepts from all of our course work, to think creatively and design a structure that has the potential to be built on our very own campus. We’re using skills learned in class to arrive at a solution for each component of the bridge.”

The students’ clients were the university and the design-build firms working on the athletic complex expansion—Populous Architects and Mortenson Construction.

Client-based projects are an integral part of the education at the College of Engineering and Applied Science, according to Matt Morris (CivEngr ’99, MS ’02), who serves as the course coordinator for the civil engineering capstone project.

“The purpose of this course is to integrate all the different civil engineering disciplines into one project,” says Morris. “The senior capstone project goes beyond just doing the engineering design, however. It gets into presentation skills and working as a team, which help prepare students for real-world projects.”

Students met with Mortenson, Populous and the campus landscape architect multiple times at the site of the proposed bridge to ensure continuity of design and function with the athletic complex expansion. All of the designs were judged at the end of the fall semester. The winning design will be used as a basis for final design and construction of the new pedestrian bridge when funding is available.

“A final design like this involves providing solutions to dozens of problems and looking at details that include every weld, every connection,” says Sparks. “There’s a chance you might make a mistake at each step, so it’s not enough to have a good design. You have to be certain it’s right, regardless of complexity.”

ELECTRICAL, COMPUTER & ENERGY: MICROWAVE TECHNOLOGY

“I can guarantee my students jobs when they graduate,” Popovic says. “There are so many applications for what we’re doing, and we need more people to do it.” 

Throughout her career, Zoya Popovic’s radio frequency (RF) and microwave engineering research has been focused on communications and defense, with projects for organizations including NASA and the Navy, and companies like Boeing.

The distinguished professor of electrical, computer and energy engineering designed a system that would use far-field beaming to take power from solar panels on the bright side of the moon to a research station on the dark side of the moon, enabling the station to extract water from rocks. Her research team has solved problems of inefficiency in amplifiers on cellphone and radar towers, allowing for huge savings in power consumption. She’s developed methods for recharging batteries wirelessly for things like mold sensors within walls.

So when she started getting requests to take on health care-related projects, Popovic was a little surprised. While she hadn’t pursued funding in that field, she said the projects caught her attention from a technical standpoint.

“They had new challenges because the body is so complex and has so many variations,” she says.

Over the past five years her research team has tackled several of these requests. For instance, a health care products company enlisted her to create the transmitter for a probe that would cauterize blood vessels and ablate tumors using radio microwaves, which have the benefit of not burning surrounding tissue.

She has experimented with a credit card-sized device—powered by low-power transmitters such as cellphones—that would be sewn into a pocket to monitor a patient’s movements in a hospital or assisted-living facility. If the patient fell or failed to get out of bed, that information would be transmitted wirelessly to nurses.

She also has a project in the works with a group at Harvard that is creating an MRI bore that would take higher resolution images than are currently available. “We’re redesigning excitation of the RF field for high magnetic field MRI and redesigning the bore to create a uniform field inside the body,” she says

Closer to home, Popovic is working with CU-Boulder sleep researchers to get funding for a Band-Aid-like device that would accurately measure internal body temperature. Changes in internal body temperature and that of organs can signal serious health issues, but there is currently no noninvasive way to measure it.

“We’re using the natural radio emissions, or black body radiation, and measuring this power at low microwave frequencies,” she says. “We’ve already shown that we can measure it to a fraction of a degree.”

Popovic says her skills are in high demand right now because the number of researchers in her field has declined, even as industry and government are exploring new applications for microwave technology. So in addition to her many communications and health care research projects, Popovic also takes on as many graduate students as she can. She currently has 15 students in her lab, compared to the five or six found in other labs.

“I can guarantee my students jobs when they graduate,” she says. “There are so many applications for what we’re doing, and we need more people to do it.” 

DEAN'S MESSAGE

Our vision of being recognized as a world leader for excellence and innovation in engineering research and education is evident in our efforts to better serve global society, design a dynamic student experience and promote a culture of innovation.

Personalized design and research experiences

Our pioneering educational courses and programs prepare students with the latest technical knowledge, a strong grounding in howto launch technology-based businesses in a competitive market, as well as skills for global leadership. For their civil engineering capstone project, students designed a pedestrian bridge over Boulder Creek. The winning design will be considered to replace the one destroyed during the 2013 flood. After getting her master’s in aerospace engineering, Diana Loucks has returned to earn a doctorate so she can become the first female academy professor in physics and nuclear engineering at West Point and continue inspiring her students. Not all hacking is bad: The ATLAS Institute is creating a dedicated “hacker space” in its BTU lab where students and faculty can gather to tinker and create to improve people’s lives through engineering innovation.

Facing global challenges

Talented alumni such as Avery Bang and Evan Thomas are inspiring the next generation of graduates to consider social enterprise and humanitarian engineering as a career choice. Both alumni are developing modern solutions that are changing lives. Avery builds pedestrian bridges in poor communities as the CEO of Bridges to Prosperity while Evan directs the SWEETLab in designing sustainable life support technologies for developing countries.

Making a difference through innovation

We strive to address the pressing need for engineers with technical proficiency and entrepreneurial expertise. Distinguished Professor Zoya Popovic is using her radio frequency and microwave engineering research in new ways, such as creating a transmitter for a probe that can cauterize blood vessels and ablate tumors. Distinguished Professor Christopher Bowman invented a key component of a new cavity-filler, licensed to 3M, which reduces the time spent in the dentist’s chair. By thinking like a criminal, alumna Laura Mather has helped businesses like eBay and PayPal stay ahead of hackers and cybercrime.

I invite you to read these inspiring stories and more in the following pages.



Robert H. Davis
Dean and Tisone Endowed Chair

GOLDSHIRT PROGRAM ENGINEERING SUCCESS

“What attracted me to the program was the good vibe from the directors and the ability to go straight into the engineering college,” Lor says. 

In college athletics, players are often redshirted. They are enrolled but not competing, and that gives them more time to prepare. Tanya Ennis, director of the Engineering GoldShirt Program, says like redshirting, the GoldShirt-ed engineering students are preparing for the rigors of school. “They are pumping iron much like football players” to sharpen their skills.

The GoldShirt Program supports motivated and talented students who need additional math, science and humanities preparation before diving into the full undergraduate engineering curriculum. It is a helping hand from mentors, faculty and staff.

The program was started in the fall of 2009, and the sixth cohort class began the fall of 2014. “We are seeing improvement with each class in academics, mentoring, engagement, research and internships,” Ennis says.

This fall, 106 students were enrolled. In total, 166 students have started since 2009. Many of them are first-generation college students, or women and minority students who are underrepresented in engineering.

A summer bridge program gets students on campus early to adjust to college life. They make lasting friendships and the academic life begins. The freshman year has a custom first-year curriculum that provides 15 credit hours toward an engineering degree.

Elizabeth Lor graduated in May 2014. She says the program was a gateway to success and gave her opportunities that never would have crossed her path, including an internship in her freshman year.

Lor is back at Boulder in the master’s program in computer science in bio and medical informatics. She works for ITS Corp., which provides information technology for the health care industry.

“What attracted me to the program was the good vibe from the directors and the ability to go straight into the engineering college,” Lor says.

Amalia Lopez graduated in May with a degree in chemical engineering. Engineering and the GoldShirt Program changed her life. She moved to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic when she was 11. English was a second language. “The thought of college seemed out of reach,” she says. “The GoldShirt program allowed me to enter engineering. Thanks to the resources and help I received from everyone in my college career, I was able to graduate college debt-free.” She is a production engineer for ConocoPhillips in Houston.

“It is a village of people who are supporting these students to succeed,” Ennis says.

CONFERENCE A LIFE-CHANGER FOR STUDENTS

“The most amazing thing was that they wanted to capture us,” she says. “They wanted to show us how beautiful their company was. When I got back, I switched from doing a PhD in physics to applying for the BS/MS program in computer science. The conference literally changed my future.” 

Life changing. Eye opening. Mind blowing.

These are just a few of the words computer science students used to describe their experience at the 2014 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, billed as the world’s largest gathering of female technologists.

Eight women from CU Engineering were able to attend the conference thanks to scholarships from Boulder-based Zayo Group. Upon returning, they invited their fellow students to a panel discussion to share their takeaways and testimonials.

For most, simply being surrounded by women—the conference attracted nearly 7,500 attendees —was a new experience.

“It was great to be in a place where people’s first reaction was not, ‘Oh, you’re a woman in computer science!’” says sophomore Paige Johnson.

 The students also shared how the event allowed them to make meaningful connections.

“I probably spent an average of 15 minutes with every company I talked to at the career fair,” says junior Jessica Lynch. “It was really great to hear everyone’s stories and hear that companies are more welcoming than I expected.”

Sophomore Camilla Lombrocco, who is majoring in computer science and physics, said that before Grace Hopper, she thought her path lay in academia. But after being exposed to the wide variety of opportunities for computer scientists and spending time with a representative from Intel, she’s changed her mind.

“The most amazing thing was that they wanted to capture us,” she says. “They wanted to show us how beautiful their company was. When I got back, I switched from doing a PhD in physics to applying for the BS/MS program in computer science. The conference literally changed my future.”

This year’s “Zayo Scholars” also included Heather Dykstra, Natalia Rodriguez, Lisa Hobbs, Dilara Madinger and Sloane O'Neill.

STUDENTS HAMMER OUT REAL-WORLD PROJECTS AT THE IDEA FORGE

Last year the former law library of the Fleming Building was transformed into a new collaborative space designated for students to imagine, design, create and test products and solutions to meet a range of needs. Billed as the Idea Forge, this 22,000-square-foot facility is an innovative engineering facility built to enhance the student experience by introducing them to multiple philosophies of design.

Students entering the Idea Forge are greeted with rapid prototyping, welding and electronics shops, as well as advanced machining facilities. The facility will host student welding workshops, some specifically focused on women, and community outreach in the form of K–12 educational programs. The goal of the workspace is to be flexible and reconfigurable to meet the ongoing needs of students and their projects.

As part of a yearlong course, the Department of Mechanical Engineering boasts 31 senior design teams, with 188 students utilizing the Chevron Mechanical Engineering Design Studio to design, iterate, test and fabricate projects meeting the specifications of their industry sponsors—Medtronic, Shell, Oracle, Micro Motion, GE and many more.

The Makerspace housed in the Idea Forge is the first space of its kind on campus. Supported by the engineering Residential Academic Programs and the Engineering Quad, this interdisciplinary space opens in spring 2015 and showcases open-ended design-build projects. 

TEACHENGINEERING DIGITAL LIBRARY EMBARKS ON ALIGNMENT OF K–12 ENGINEERING CURRICULUM

The opportunity for integration of engineering in K–12 settings has never been greater. Publication of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) in 2013 incorporated engineering design throughout all grades, providing an unprecedented opportunity for the engineering community to engage youth in the creative engineering design process beginning in kindergarten.

Fortunately, CU’s TeachEngineering digital library provides more than 1,350 consistent, high-quality standards-based engineering lessons and hands-on activities created for K–12 teachers to weave hands-on engineering design into their students’ science and math learning.

The collection is continually enriched with curriculum that builds meaningful connections between students’ lives and real-world engineering. To do so, TeachEngineering partners with faculty and teachers from dozens of National Science Foundation-funded K–12 engineering education programs in universities across the country. These partners test new curriculum in their local schools before it is published. A rigorous peer-review and editing process, coupled with continuous background collection curation, also ensures TeachEngineering is user friendly for teachers. 

In 2014, TeachEngineering hand-aligned all of its lessons and hands-on activities to NGSS and Common Core Math standards, requiring augmentation of over 25 percent of the curricula. Incorporating user feedback and teacher testing to ensure intuitive navigation of the TeachEngineering curriculum, and to support the growing demand of its 1.9 million unique users in the past year, TeachEngineering recently launched a modernized version that highlights the NGSS and Common Core Math standard alignments. Check it out at www.teachengineering.org. 

CU TEACH ENGINEERING LAUNCHED TO DRIVE THE STEM TEACHER MOVEMENT

Putting the “E” in STEM, the newly launched General Engineering + CU Teach Engineering degree is gaining traction among CU-Boulder students, faculty and the broader STEM community.

The novel STEM teacher-preparation program already includes several engineering students who are engaged in field experiences while simultaneously being immersed in hands-on engineering design and sound practices of secondary education instruction. The Teach Engineering degree fortifies STEM knowledge and skills, preparing graduates to teach math or science and engineering design in grades 7–12, as they concurrently earn an undergraduate design-focused engineering degree.

The CU Teach Engineering team is aggressively marketing the program to high school math and science teachers and STEM coordinators, as well as current and prospective CU Engineering students with a passion for teaching.

Through a partnership with the Denver Schools of Science and Technology, all CU Teach Engineering seniors will do their semester-long student teaching in highly successful public middle and high schools that predominantly serve Denver’s urban and low-income youth. Mentored by teachers, CU Teach Engineering graduates will be well-positioned to teach math or science and engineering design—providing a pipeline of qualified math and science teachers who also know how to engage students in the creativity of hands-on engineering design. 

DISTANCE EDUCATION AND BEYOND

The Center for Advanced Engineering and Technology Education (CAETE) recently expanded its platform to include hybrid and flipped classrooms to meet the college’s goal of increasing enrollment and innovation in education.

Sarah Miller, the college’s assistant dean for inclusive excellence, used CAETE’s lecture-capturing capabilities to record academic advisors speaking about what being an engineer in their discipline means and what is expected of students. These sessions were posted online for students to watch and determine if engineering is the right fit for them.

Linden McClure, adjunct professor of electrical, computer and energy engineering, and John Meyer, instructor in the Engineering Management Program, are using CAETE’s Remote Instruction Units to allow them to teach remotely to students in the classroom. This technology also gives highly sought professionals from NASA, JPL and other universities who cannot come to Boulder, but are willing to teach for us, a platform to do so.

Two professors in computer science, Thomas Hauser and Bruce Loftis, plan to use CAETE technology to offer a joint course with professor Hawwn-Wei Shen from The Ohio State University. Lectures will be recorded by Shen and made available online for students from both universities to watch. Class meeting time will be used to discuss lecture content and delve more deeply into the subject matter through discussion among students in class and those participating online.

CAETE has also extended its capabilities to the School of Education, where associate professor David Webb plans to use the technology to offer a graduate course called Assessment in Math and Science Education, which is also of interest to engineering students participating in STEM activities.

With continuing innovation in teaching and technology, there are no boundaries to where and how students learn, where and how professors teach or how students receive services.

EPA AWARDS $4 MILLION FOR NEW CENTER ON DRINKING WATER SAFETY

Continuing its commitment to improve America’s drinking water, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded a grant to CU-Boulder to create a national center for research and innovation in small- to medium-sized drinking water systems.

CU-Boulder received more than $4 million to launch the Design of Risk Reducing, Innovative Implementable Small System Knowledge (DeRISK) Center led by R. Scott Summers, professor of civil, environmental and architectural engineering. The center is housed at CU-Boulder in conjunction with the University of New Hampshire, the Rural Community Assistance Partnership, the University of Alaska at Anchorage and Arizona State University, as well as partners from state and local government agencies, private sector organizations and the Canadian small systems network, RES’EAU-WaterNET.

“The center works with state agencies to develop methods to facilitate the approval and implementation of new systems,” says Summers. “Sustainable and innovative technologies have great potential but often face regulatory hurdles simply because they’re so new.”

“Big cities have the resources to hire specialized personnel to their staffs or to turn to external experts for assistance,” he says. “Small systems often do not have that capacity to implement, operate and maintain the necessary improvements.”

The center’s research also focuses on the development and application of photon-based treatment and novel biotreatment systems that sustainably control microbial contaminants, reduce nitrates and minimize disinfection byproducts that may pose health risks. In addition, distribution system technologies are being developed with the goal of better understanding the systems to reduce risk at the most problematic locations.

“Providing cost-effective solutions to help these systems deliver safe, high-quality drinking water improves the health, economy and security of our nation’s communities,” says Lek Kadeli, acting assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Research and Development.

Ninety-seven percent of the nation’s roughly 160,000 public water systems serve fewer than 10,000 people. These drinking water systems face many obstacles including limited resources, aging infrastructure and compliance with Safe Drinking Water Act regulations.

ENGINEERING ALGAE GROWTH

 

"With my engineering background, I was able to bring a unique perspective and skill set to the project and was given quite a lot of independence in design.”

Omega-3 oils are linked with reducing the risk of heart attacks, strokes and depression. But can production of these omega-3 oils also decrease CO2 emissions?

The founders of Superior Ecotech think so. The company uses algae to capture CO2 emissions from local breweries and convert them to oils, which can be used as vegan omega-3 supplements, cosmetics and biofuels. Because their proprietary process involves growing algae with minimal water content, they enlisted the help of an engineer to design a water control system.

“Superior Ecotech was started by current and former CU graduate students in chemistry and business,” says chemical engineering junior Ben Mousseau. “With my engineering background, I was able to bring a unique perspective and skill set to the project and was given quite a lot of independence in design.”

When Mousseau joined the company, he was tasked with creating a system to control algae water exposure. He helped design a novel conveyer belt system where algae is dipped in water periodically. This feature enables Superior Ecotech to produce algae more cost effectively. A patent is now pending on this system. 

NYC SCHOOLS USE CU VIDEO GAMES TO TEACH CODING

“The idea behind the program, which uses drag-and-drop programming tools, is to combat the widely held notion that computer programming is hard and boring,” says Repenning.

A program designed at CU-Boulder to teach kids to code using video games is being introduced into New York City public schools as part of an initiative to give every student access to computer science education.

Scalable Game Design is a program developed over two decades by computer science professor Alexander Repenning to spark an interest in coding among kids by allowing them to design and build their own video games. “The idea behind the program, which uses drag-and-drop programming tools, is to combat the widely held notion that computer programming is hard and boring,” says Repenning.

“In the context of creating their own games, students are not only incredibly excited but they also learn sophisticated concepts of math and science in ways that would be very difficult with traditional teaching approaches,” Repenning says.

The Scalable Game Design curriculum, built by CU-Boulder and funded by the National Science Foundation, is also frequently used in Colorado middle schools. Its popularity has begun to spread across the country and internationally. Now, Repenning and his team are partnering with the New York City Foundation for Computer Science Education, a nonprofit launched in 2013 to ensure that all of New York City’s 1.1 million public school students in 1,700 schools have access to computer science education.

“This is an amazing opportunity to reach a large number of students,” Repenning says. “There’s a great energy right now that people really want to take computer science education seriously, and we think this initiative has great potential.” The Scalable Game Design Curriculum encourages teachers to steer away from lecturing, and instead, allow students to explore on their own until they hit a roadblock and ask to learn the skill that will help them continue to progress.

CATALYZE CU-BOULDER: THE PERFECT LAUNCH PAD

“We will be changing the way these family farmers work,” Prentiss says. “We will be helping and making farming more efficient.”

Four engineering students from CU-Boulder packed their bags and headed to Nicaragua during the semester break. But it wasn’t for the weather. It was strictly business for the founders of SolVia Solar.

The young entrepreneurs had invented a solar collector designed to replace diesel pumps for irrigation in rural areas. Their startup project was one of six chosen in the inaugural year of Catalyze CU-Boulder, a business accelerator program (see article on next page).

For SolVia, the Nicaragua trip was a crucial next step in moving the business venture forward. Taylor Robert Scott (MechEng ’15), from Fort Collins; Emily Eggers (AeroEngr ’15), from Sycamore, Illinois; Kamron Medina (AeroEngr ’16), from Gunnison; and Myranda Prentiss (ApMath and GeoPhys ’15), from St. Paul, Minnesota, spoke to nearly two dozen potential customers and key stakeholders about the benefits of solar power, the initial costs and the environmental impact.

According to Scott, the journey was well worth it. “Our assumptions were validated. We have a lot of work to get done before May” with the business model and financing, Scott says. “The biggest tweak is a possible move to a franchise model.” He adds that the team is also considering moving to monthly payments from farmers instead of harvest-time payments.

SolVia Solar will undergo further product development and beta testing on a Colorado farm in March. The final product is expected to be ready this spring.

Eggers says the trip was the perfect way to execute their plan. She had reservations beforehand, but found it was the best way to understand the market.

Travel funds came from a variety of sources including family and friends, t-shirt sales, Engineering Advisory Council members, an Elevations Credit Union competition, Venture Well and a grant from CU’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program.

The initial idea for SolVia Solar developed as part of an engineering and management class at CU-Boulder.

“Greenpeace challenged experts to submit ideas” to improve the environment, Scott says. With that challenge in mind, he began to work on the solar concept. Because he grew up on a ranch and went on mission trips, Scott says he understands social responsibility. “The real-world impact is important to all of us.”

Prentiss agrees that improving the world for others is important to the team.

“We will be changing the way these family farmers work,” she says. “We will be helping and making farming more efficient.”

Catalyze CU-Boulder came at the perfect time for these four young engineers as they prepare to launch SolVia Solar.


CATALYZE CU-BOULDER SUCCEEDS IN ITS FIRST YEAR

Nearly 40 teams applied to Catalyze CU-Boulder last spring, and six were chosen. The selected teams developed concepts that ranged from glitzy clothes online to plastic polymer orthotics. The winning student groups were given mentors, grants and space at Spark Boulder, a co-working space. The ideas were then launched into entrepreneurial enterprises designed for success. The student-entrepreneurs spent eight weeks developing and clarifying their plans. 

Doug Smith, assistant dean for programs and engagement in the College of Engineering and Applied Science, was excited with the participation in the first year.  And it will only get better in the years to come.

Dean Robert H. Davis asked Smith to look into creating a startup accelerator program in February 2014. After researching other programs and working out a budget, they launched a website. “Within a few weeks, there were 35 applications,” says Smith. “By May 9, the six were selected.”

At the end of July, the students presented their business plans to businesses and friends.

“Their pitches were crisp and clear,” Smith says. “It was great to see how they had grown through the mentoring and the seminars with business leaders. The presentations were very polished.”

Ashley Tillman, a student programs coordinator in the Deming Center for Entrepreneurship at the Leeds School of Business, says it was the right time and place for the accelerator. “There is incredible support,” she says. “The campus has a number of programs that have entrepreneurship components and capstone classes that support business development.”

“In addition to the chance to jump-start a business, Catalyze is a tool for personal growth,” Smith says. “We are in the education business. We want students to have an enriched experience that they can take with them.”

 

 

LIFE HACKS: HOW THE BTU LAB AT THE ATLAS INSTITUTE IS CREATING THE NEXT GENERATION OF INNOVATORS

I WANT TO MAKE TECHNOLOGY MORE ACCESSIBLE FOR PEOPLE TO EXPRESS THEMSELVES IN NEW WAYS.”  Harriman said.

Hackers get a bad rap. Thanks to popular culture, mention “computer hacker” and people immediately think of Matthew Broderick in War Games, or any number of recent security breaches of data. In reality, hackers are not nefarious types who lurk in the shadows, stealing your personal information. They are creative, dedicated men and women who are using their minds and powers for good, not evil. They want to change not just the way we think of the term “hacker,” but to also change people’s lives through innovation.

In support of this mission, the ATLAS Institute is creating what it calls a “hacker space” in its BTU, or British Thermal Unit, Lab. Launched in September 2014, the BTU Lab+Hacker Space is a “physical location where people get together and tinker, create or hack,” says lab director Alicia Gibb. “Hacker spaces were created by communities who wanted camaraderie and a place to work together.”

For Jeffrey “Jiffer” Harriman, the Hacker Space provides an opportunity to blend his music and engineering backgrounds into new designs and new creations. Harriman is earning his doctorate in technology, media and society from the ATLAS Institute. He also earned his undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from CU and his master’s degree in music, science and technology from Stanford University.

“What I’m doing right now is trying to create interfaces and software that are easy to work with for musicians and artists who are interested in technology but don’t necessarily have the chops,” Harriman said. “I want to make technology more accessible for people to express themselves in new ways.”

Harriman wants to bridge music and technology to educate and engage children in music and art while introducing them to technology and science.

“I’m working on a project called Modular-Muse,” Harriman said. “It’s a software library and hardware tool kit to make it easier to build instruments and engage kids who are interested in music but not in programming. It’s a way to spark their interest in this field.”

Jiffer’s Hacker Space creations are prime examples of what the BTU Lab hopes to get out of those who use it. While the innovations stem from the minds of hackers, the BTU Lab provides an array of tools that would make MacGyver excited. Students have access to 3-D printers, laser cutters, a watercolor robot, sewing machine, performance space and much more. The ATLAS Institute does not stifle imagination.

For example, take ATLAS doctoral student HyunJoo Oh, who designs paper machines that move and react to stimuli. Paper mechatronics, in their terms, is an interdisciplinary medium that combines mechanisms, electronics and papercrafts. It allows people to learn the fundamental concepts and structures of physical computing and motivates them to imagine what it could be.

Drawing on the interdisciplinary nature of study at the ATLAS Institute, Oh combines art, technology and engineering into projects that take everyday materials like paper and cardboard and transform them into something that turns adults into wide-eyed children. And it all started with Theo Jansen’s Strandbeest, a large mechanical animal built out of polyvinyl chloride that can move on its own.

“I saw a YouTube video of a paper kit of his work and I loved it,” says Oh. “I thought, ‘I can build one of these’ and spent the next three to four days at the lab and built it. I spent a ridiculous amount of time and effort to make it despite my expertise as a designer. I wanted to make it more approachable to share with more people.”

Oh earned undergraduate and master’s degrees from Ewha Womans University in Seoul, South Korea. She then received a master’s degree from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. At the suggestion of her advisor, Oh decided to make her paper mechatronics into something more than just art. She wanted to inspire others to create, so she developed a do-it-yourself method for her projects.

Oh uses familiar materials (paper and cardboard) and developed the tools that people need to cut it and build it themselves. Oh envisions it as “another concept of Lego play” that pushes people from simply viewing art to creating art.

“ATLAS allows students to use other resources around campus,” Oh says. “It helps us get access to computer science resources, art, education and more if we need it. For me, that is a very important aspect for my study.”

In keeping with innovation, creativity and technology, the College of Engineering and Applied Science is adding a new Bachelor of Science in Technology, Arts and Media degree program in fall 2015. It is a key component of the college’s 2020 strategic plan to grow and increase gender diversity. This degree will expand and intensify the existing technology, arts and media core courses of study as well as incorporate a curriculum grounded in engineering and computation disciplines.

Because when hackers, educators, artists and students collaborate, great things can happen.

THIS YEAR'S NSF CAREER AWARD WINNERS


We are thrilled to announce that our college has an unprecedented number of NSF CAREER award winners this year! We are extremely proud of these seven junior faculty members, who join the more than 50 prior CAREER winners from the college.

“This shows a very high level of accomplishment from our junior faculty, as well as excellent choices in our hiring decisions,” said Dean Robert H. Davis. “The external recognition from the NSF and the review panel further confirms the high quality of our engineering program here at CU-Boulder.”

The following faculty member received their official notifications, with one faculty members still waiting to hear on his proposal.

·  Aaron Clauset, computer science, Hierarchical Probabilistic Models for Networks with Rich Data in Scientific Domains

·  Shideh Dashti, civil, environmental and architectural engineering, Toward a New Paradigm in Evaluating and Mitigating Urban Liquefaction

·  Alireza Doostan, aerospace engineering sciences, Fast Surrogate Modeling for Design under Uncertainty of Complex Engineering Systems

·  Joel Kaar, chemical and biological engineering, Rational Engineering of an Ionic Liquid Compatible Cellulase Cocktail

·  Greg Rieker, mechanical engineering, Frequency Comb-based Diagnostics for Combustion Environments

·  Fernando Rosario-Ortiz, civil, environmental and architectural engineering, Impact of Effluent Organic Matter on Photochemical Processes in Surface Waters 

·  Tom Yeh, computer science, Adaptive Tactile Picture Books for Blind Children during Emergent Literacy

Congratulations to all of our winners! 

ALUMNI AWARD WINNERS


Thank you to everyone who nominated or wrote letters of support for our accomplished alumni this year. The winners of the Distinguished Engineering Alumni and Recent Alumni awards have been selected and invited to save the date for the awards banquet on April 24.  

DEAA Winners

·  Industry & Commerce: Cheryl R. English, Vice President of Government and Industry Relations at Acuity Brands

·  Industry and Commerce: John C. Mollenkopf, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at MarkWest Energy Partners, L.P.

·  Industry and Commerce: Kathryn G. Tobey, Vice President and General Manager for Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company Special Programs

·  Government Service: Darrell F. Zimbelman, PhD, Director, Electro-Optical Imagery Satellite Systems, National Reconnaissance Office, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Space

RAA Winner

Evan A. Thomas, PhD, Assistant Professor and Director, SWEET (Sustainable Water,Energy and Environmental Technologies) Laboratory and Faculty Fellow in the Institute for Sustainable Solutions, Portland State University

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT


Four engineering students spent their winter break in a tropical locale, but it was strictly business for the founders of SolVia Solar, part of the inaugural cohort of Catalyze CU-Boulder.

For Taylor Robert Scott, mechanical engineering; Emily Eggers, aerospace engineering; Kamron Medina, aerospace engineering; and Myranda Prentiss, applied mathematics and geophysics, the trip to Nicaragua was a crucial step in moving their solar irrigation business venture forward past graduation. The team spoke to nearly two dozen potential customers and key stakeholders about the benefit of solar power, initial costs and environmental impact.

“Our assumptions were validated,” Scott said, but added “we have a lot of work to get done before May.” The team is currently putting the final touches on their business model and financing. 

HONORS & AWARDS: FEBRUARY 2015

FACULTY & STAFF AWARDS

Dennis Akos of aerospace engineering sciences received a one year, $503K award from Space Sciences and Engineering LLC for a project titled “Pyxis Receiver Development”. 

Kristi Anseth of chemical and biological engineering has received the 2015 Bayer Distinguished Lectureship from the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering.

Jason Bara, Richard Noble and Douglas Gin of chemical and biological engineering have been issued a patent for a material used to make a “green” replacement for polar organic solvents, which are commonly used in cleaning, reactions, and processing in many industries

Christopher Bowman and Jennifer Cha of chemical and biological engineering, along with Noel Clark of physics and David Walba of chemistry, won a $12M award from NSF that funds the Soft Materials Research Center. Chemical and biological engineering has received $1.9M of their allocated $4.8M budget.

Webster Cash of aerospace engineering sciences was awarded a two-year, $528K grant from NASA for “Development of Formation Flying Systems.”

Robert Erickson, Dragan Maksimovic and Khurram Afridi of electrical, computer and energy engineering were awarded a two-year grant for $2M from DOE for “A Disruptive Approach to Electric Vehicle Power Electronics.”

Abbie Liel of civil, environmental and architectural engineering has been selected for the ENR Mountain States 20 Under 40 award. She has also received the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute’s Shah Family Innovation Prize.

Robert McLeod of electrical, computer and energy engineering has been awarded a patent for improved optical packaging and circuit fabrication systems (three-dimensional direct-write lithography).

Prashant Nagpal and Anushree Chatterjee of chemical and biological engineering received a three-year, $1M award from the W.M. Keck Foundation for “Quantum Sequencing (Q-Seq): Using Charge Tunneling for Biochemical Assay of Single Molecules.”

Steve Nerem of aerospace engineering sciences won the inaugural American Astronautical Society Earth Science and Applications Award. The award will be presented at the 53rd Robert H. Goddard Memorial Symposium on March 10-12 in Greenbelt, Md. 

Roseanna Neupauer of civil, environmental and architectural engineering has received a Fulbright U.S. scholar grant to spend summer 2015 at Escuela Superior Politécnica del Litoral in Ecuador, in the civil engineering program.  She will work help the program prepare to apply for ABET accreditation and conduct research on the Abras de Mantequilla wetland system.

Leysia Palen of computer science has received the Association for Computing Machinery SIGCHI Social Impact Award for 2015. This international award is given to individuals who promote the application of human-computer interaction research to pressing social needs.

Rishi Raj of mechanical engineering has been awarded a patent for a faster, energy-efficient technique for manufacturing the ceramic materials used in aerospace, medical implants, military defense armor and a wide variety of technical applications, in addition to traditional ceramics.

Alexander Repenning of computer science and his team from Scalable Game Design have received a Google RISE Partnership Award [link] to expand their efforts into Mexico.

Ronggui Yang of mechanical engineering was elected chair of the K-9 Committee on Nanoscale Thermal Transport for the ASME's Heat Transfer Division for the 2015-17 term. He was also elected to serve as the 2014-16 chair for ASME's Nanoengineering for Energy and Sustainability Steering Committee. In addition, he has received the 2014 ITS Young Investigator Award, which recognizes a young researcher who has exhibited a record of excellent work and significant results in the field of thermoelectrics or thermoelectric materials.

STUDENT AWARDS

Kenny Pratt, PhD student in civil, environmental and architectural engineering, won the Best Poster Award at the Workshop on Microscale Ocean Biophysics held at the Aspen Center for Physics on Jan. 11-15. He works in John Crimaldi’s research group.

Undergraduates Austin Holler and Julia Heil of computer science won the 2015 Topplers Domino Award, which includes a trip to South by Southwest Interactive in March.

Colorado Space Grant Consortium’s PolarCube team placed second in the University Nanostellite Program 8 Flight Competition Review in January. Their performance in the competition secured them one of five spots to continue development, which will lead to an eventual launch for PolarCube. 

NEW HIRES AND LEADERSHIP

NEW FACULTY

Mija Hubler, Assistant Professor, Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering

Jae-Woong Jeong, Assistant Professor, Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering

Christy Bozic, Stephen Dunn Professor of Engineering Management, Engineering Management Program

Richard Osborne, Senior Instructor, Computer Science

NEW STAFF

Amy Jarboe, Research Grant Manager, Computer Science

Andrew Kuklinski, Procurement Specialist, Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering

Kelly Payton, HR/Payroll Specialist, Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering

Josh Coyler, RAP Makerspace Engineer, Idea Forge

Erika Chen, Support Specialist, Interdisciplinary Telecom Program

Colin Mahoney, Assistant Studio Manager, CAETE

Bobbie Jones, Administrative Assistant II, CAETE

Nick Sutcliffe, Director of Marketing and Communications, ATLAS Institute

Engineering programs excel in fall undergraduate and graduate rankings

Fall 2014 was a great semester for CU Engineering rankings, and we want to thank you all for your hard work in helping advance our Engineering 2020 goal of being ranked in the top 20 of U.S. engineering programs.

U.S. News and World Report’s annual rankings put our undergraduate engineering program at 20th among public institutions whose highest degree is a doctorate (36th overall). Within engineering, recognition went to aerospace (No. 9 among public institutions, No. 14 overall); environmental (No. 10 among publics, No. 17 overall); and chemical (No. 12 among publics, No. 18 overall).

In October, GraduatePrograms.com released its rankings of the top 25 graduate programs in several engineering disciplines, based on reviews by more than 70,000 graduate students. CU-Boulder was recognized for its computer science program (No. 12) and engineering management program (No. 2). 

Dan Scheeres (AES) named University Distinguished Professor.


Congratulations to Daniel J. Scheeres, professor of aerospace engineering sciences, who was one of six University of Colorado faculty members named Distinguished Professors on Nov. 20! This is the most prestigious honor for faculty at the university. Each year, the recognition goes to faculty members who demonstrate exemplary performance in research or creative work, a record of excellence in classroom teaching and supervision of individual learning, and outstanding service to the profession, university and its affiliates.

Scheeres holds the A. Richard Seebass Endowed Chair in aerospace engineering sciences, Colorado Center for Astrodynamics Research. He is an international leader in astrodynamics and celestial mechanics; he is currently the gravity science team lead for NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission, which focuses on collecting samples from an asteroid and returning them to Earth. Scheeres has published extensively in the fields of astrodynamics, dynamical astronomy and celestial mechanics. He coordinates the Smead Fellows program, supporting outstanding junior faculty and doctoral students in aerospace engineering sciences at CU. A Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the American Astronautical Society, he has an asteroid named in his honor. > Read more

Alumni enjoy research demos, sneak peek of Idea Forge during Homecoming

More than 100 alumni and guests dropped by on Oct. 25 to see CU-Boulder engineering research in action and check out the new Idea Forge space in the old Fleming Law Library. Visitors got to help cook chili over next-generation cookstoves, race solar-powered toy cars, “read” 3D books and more during the Back to Boulder Homecoming event.

A big thank you to all of the faculty, students and staff who gave their time to help us spread the word about all of the exciting things happening in the college!  

Donation enables eight undergrads to attend Grace Hopper conference


Eight undergraduate women from computer science got the chance to attend the recent Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, thanks to generous support from Zayo Group. The women reported that the opportunity was life-changing, exposing them to the wide variety of career paths for computer scientists and allowing them to make invaluable industry connections.

Senior Heather Dykstra said the conference left her feeling more hopeful about her future in computer science, once she leaves the supportive environment she’s found at CU-Boulder. “I didn’t realize the support I would have after college. I know so many people now. It really changed my point of view on a lot of things.” > Read more

Honors & Awards: December 2014

The first quarter of fiscal year 2015 was the college’s best on record, with $29 million in new contracts and grants. September was a particularly good month, with almost $16 million in new awards. Congratulations to all of you!

Faculty

Kristi Anseth, professor of chemical and biological engineering, was recently elected to the 3-year president line of the Materials Research Society (MRS). Anseth will serve as vice president in 2015, president in 2016 and past president in 2017.

Victor Bright, professor of mechanical engineering, and Dragan Maksimovic, professor of electrical, computer and energy engineering, have been elevated to fellows of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

Christopher Bowman and Kristi Anseth, both of chemical and biological engineering, have received a patent for biodegradable cell scaffolds for use in next-generation tissue engineering applications.

Ryan Gill, associate professor of chemical and biological engineering, has received a patent for a genomic engineering tool to enable the production of eco-friendly high-value chemicals through microbe-based biorefining.

Matt Hallowell, professor of civil, environmental and architectural engineering, was chosen to attend the recent National Academy of Engineering Frontiers of Engineering Education symposium, which brings together young faculty members who are developing and implementing innovative educational approaches.

Christopher Koehler, director of the Colorado Space Grant Consortium, received a two-year, $499,000 award from NASA for “Colorado Space Grant Consortium Community College Extension (CCCE).”

Richard Kuchenrither, scholar in residence and director of the civil, environmental and architectural engineering department’s water engineering and management program, has received the 2014 Robert W. Hite Distinguished Leadership Award from the Water Environment Federation (WEF), on behalf of Water for People.

Kristine Larson, professor of aerospace engineering sciences, and Eric Small of geological sciences have been awarded the prestigious Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Creativity Prize for Water, awarded biannually to acknowledge innovative work that contributes to the sustainable availability of water and the alleviation of the global problem of water scarcity. Larson also was was awarded the 2015 Christian Huygens Medal from the European Geosciences Union (EGU).  

Diane McKnight, professor of civil, environmental and architectural engineering, was awarded the 2015 John Dalton award from the European Geosciences Union (EGU) for distinguished research in hydrology/earth science.

Shelly Miller, professor of mechanical engineering, and Co-PI Elisabeth Root of Geography received a three-year, $1 million grant from the EPA for “Climate Change Mitigation in Low-income Communities in Colorado: Home Weatherization Impacts on Respiratory Health and Indoor Air Quality during Wildfires.”

Charles Musgrave, professor of chemical and biological engineering, received a three-year NSF grant for $533.4K for research titled “NSF/DOE Solar Hydrogen Fuel: Accelerated Discovery of Advanced RedOx Materials for Solar Thermal Water Splitting to Produce Renewable Hydrogen.”

Richard Noble, professor of mechanical engineering, and Co-PI Douglas Gin, professor of chemical and biological engineering, received a two-year, $900,000 award from Arizona State University, with the DOE as the prime sponsor for “Energy Efficient Electrochemical Capture and Release of Carbon Dioxide.”

Victor Saouma, professor of civil, environmental and architectural engineering, was awarded a three-year, $653,000 grant from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for “Experimental and Numerical Investigation of Alkali Silica Reaction in Nuclear Reactors.”

EdTrex LLC announced an exclusive option agreement to continue to develop the E-Hub software platform created by Tamara Sumner, associate professor of computer science.

Students

Chemical engineering PhD student Balaji Sridhar recently accepted the Katherine M. Swanson Young Innovator Award for his company, Nanoly Bioscience, Inc.

Former NASA astronaut Bruce McCandless presented Jeni Sorli, a senior in chemical engineering, with a $10,000 scholarship from the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation on Oct. 30.

NEW HIRES & LEADERSHIP: DECEMBER 2014

William Doe, Coordinator for Research Opportunities, Dean’s Office

Rachel Harkness, Promotional Graphic Artist & Communications Specialist, BOLD Center

John Kelly, Business Assistant, Computer Science

Mateo Munoz, Director of BOLD Partnerships, BOLD Center

Erin Printy, Research Center & Facilities Manager, Civil, Environmental & Architectural Engineering

Melissa Wise, Director of Marketing & Communications, Dean’s Office

SUPPORT COLLEGE HOMECOMING EVENTS


Back to Boulder Homecoming Weekend is October 23-26, and the college has a lot to celebrate!

Engineering has two honorees at this year’s Alumni Association Awards Ceremony on Thursday, October 23Avery Bang (MS CivEngr’09), with the Kalpana Chawla Recent Graduate Award, and mechanical engineering student Chip Bollendonk, with the Forever Buffs Student Award. Congrats!     

On Friday, October 24, the CU-Boulder Alumni Association is proud to feature Avery Bang, who was also the 2014 Recent Alumni Award winner for the College of Engineering and Applied Science, as its Homecoming Luncheon speaker. Faculty and staff, please encourage your students to attend; this event is free for students and $15 for adults. > Learn more

On Saturday, October 25, the college is hosting a “Show and Tell” with engineering faculty and students as they exhibit their research projects while attendees get a "sneak peek" inside the new Idea Forge, housed in the former Fleming Law Building. This event is free, but registration is encouraged. > Learn more

ALUMNI AWARD NOMINATIONS DUE OCT. 31


Friday, Oct. 31, is the deadline to nominate alumni for the college’s Recent Alumni Award (RAA) and Distinguished Alumni Awards (DEAA)! A nomination (and award, if chosen) is a wonderful way to recognize the accomplishments of our alumni whose professional achievements have reflected well upon CU-Boulder and to reconnect those alumni with your department and the college.

Thank you to those of you who have already submitted nominations. If you are planning to nominate someone, please notify Alumni Relations Coordinator Melanie Sidwell as soon as possible, even if you’re still working to pull together materials. She can answer any questions you may have about the nomination and selection process.

2015 marks the 50th year of the DEAA ceremony, so your collaboration in building a strong candidate pool with your suggestions and nominations are critical to making this event even more memorable.

GOLDSHIRT PROGRAM A MODEL FOR OTHER UNIVERSITIES


The GoldShirt Program continued in its goal of becoming a model for other universities, recently hosting representatives from Texas A&M’s engineering college who were interested in developing a similar academic redshirting program.

GoldShirt, which graduated members of its first cohort in December 2013, supports motivated and talented students who need additional math, science or humanities preparation before diving into the full undergraduate engineering curriculum. Students are directly admitted into the college; attend a summer bridge session after high school; and spend their first year focusing on preparing for success in their chosen engineering major. The program has already been used as a model for the STARS Program at the University of Washington and Washington State University, which was launched in 2013.

UNDERGRAD DESIGNS STRUCTURE FOR CUBES IN SPACE


When mechanical engineering junior Yohannese Gebremedhin first participated in a Colorado Space Grant Consortium (COSGC) Arduino Workshop, the brand-new Cubes in Space program was looking for people to design and build structures to hold student experiments as they were launched into space.

Gebremedhin was hired to design the structure, working closely with COSGC Director Chris Koehler, Rubik Learning representatives and engineers from Wallops Flight Facility. He and fellow CU-Boulder studentGerardo Pulido then machined the final hardware. Gebremedhin’s structures were used to secure 112 small containers filled by teams of 11- to 14-year-olds from around the world. The experiments launched June 26. 

Honors & Awards: October 2014

Congratulations to the following individuals on their outstanding achievements: 

FACULTY 

Bernard Amadei of civil, environmental and architectural engineering was honored with an Outstanding Projects and Leaders (OPAL) Award for education from the American Society of Civil Engineers. He also received the 2015 Washington Award from the Western Society of Engineers.

Evan ChangSriram SankaranarayananTom Yeh and Ken Anderson of computer science and Pavol Cerny of electrical, computer and energy engineering received a four-year, $1.6 million award from DOD DARPA for “Mining and Understanding Bug Fixes to Address Application-Framework Protocol Defects.”

Wendy DuBow and Lucinda Sanders of ATLAS received a three-year, $600,000 grant from NSF for “STEM-CP: BPEC - Learning from Young Women Who Participate in Computing: Longitudinal Research on the NCWIT Aspirations in Computing Program.”

Paul Goodrum of civil, environmental and architectural engineering received the Outstanding Researcher of the Year Award from the Construction Industry Institute.

Andrew Goodwin of chemical and biological engineering received the New Innovator Award from the National Institutes of Health for “Rapid, Multiscale Sensing Using Acoustic Detection Mechanisms,” which includes a five-year, $2.2 million award.

Delores Knipp of aerospace engineering sciences has been named editor in chief of Space Weather: The International Journal of Research and Applications and its companion publication, Space Weather Quarterly.

Kristine Larson and Scott Palo of aerospace engineering sciences were awarded a three-year, $596,000 grant from NASA for “Real-Time Volcanic Ash Detection Using a GPS Array Concept.”

Michael Lightner of electrical, computer and energy engineering has been named Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs for the University of Colorado system.

Karl Linden of civil, environmental and architectural engineering was named 2014 WateReuse Person of the Year by the WateReuse Association.

Qin Lv of computer science, Li Shang of electrical, computer and energy engineering, and Daven Henze and Michael Hannigan of mechanical engineering were awarded a four-year, $651,000 grant from NSF for “CyberSEES: Type 2: Collaborative Research: Connecting Next-generation Air Pollution Exposure Measurements to Environmentally Sustainable Communities.”

Garret Moddel of electrical, computer and energy engineering was awarded a patent for a new type of diode that could form the basis for a high-efficiency, low-cost and easily manufacturable photovoltaic cell. The patent portfolio is being commercialized by Abengoa Solar.

Steve Nerem and Robert Leben of aerospace engineering sciences andBenjamin Hamlington of CCAR were awarded a three-year, $973,000 grant from NASA for “Observation-Driven Projections of Future Regional Sea Level Change.”

Roseanna Neupauer and John Crimaldi of civil, environmental and architectural engineering received a three-year NSF grant of $493,000 for “Collaborative Research: Coupled Numerical and Laboratory Investigations of Chaotic Advection to Enhance Spreading and Reaction in Three-Dimensional, Heterogeneous Porous Media.”

Rafael Piestun of electrical, computer and energy engineering and Amy Palmer of chemistry were awarded a three-year $669,000 grant from NSF for “MRI: Development of an Advanced Bio-Imaging Instrument: Enabling 3D quantitative multifunctional sensing at the nanoscale.”

Martha Palmer of computer science received $895,000 as part of a three-year, $1.5 million NSF grant for “C1F21 DIBBS: Porting Practical Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Machine Learning (ML) Semantics from Biomedicine to the Earth, Ice and Life Sciences." Co-PIs include Chris Jenkins of INSTAAR, Ruth Duerr of CIRES and James Martin of computer science.

Scott Palo of aerospace engineering sciences and Thomas Woods of LASP were awarded a three-year, $958,000 grant from NASA for “Miniature X-ray Solar Spectrometer (MinXSS) CubeSat Mission.”

Theodore Randolph and Daniel Schwartz of chemical and biological engineering have been awarded a patent for technology used to stabilize freeze-dried vaccines to withstand temperature extremes. Former ChBE research assistant Amber Clausi is also an inventor on the patent.

A team led by Zhiyong “Jason” Ren of civil, environmental and architectural engineering was awarded first place in the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps Program for their work on a microbial electrochemical technology (MET) for wastewater treatment.

Sriram Sankaranarayanan of computer science was honored with the Provost Achievement Award at the 2014 Fall Convocation. He and David Bortz of applied math also received a three-year, $615,000 award from NSF for “CPS: Synergy: Collaborative Research: In-Silico Functional Verification of Artificial Pancreas Control Algorithms.”

Daniel Scheeres of aerospace engineering sciences and Paul Sanchez-Lana of CCAR received a four-year, $587,000 award from NASA for “The Strength of Rubble Pile NEO and Mitigation Implications.” Scheeres andJay McMahon of aerospace engineering sciences were also awarded a $750,000 two-year grant from DOD AF AFOSR for “Modeling, Observability and Change Detection in Space Situational Awareness.”

Conrad Stoldt of mechanical engineering was part of an interdisciplinary research collaboration across two CU campuses that resulted in a patent for a technique to non-invasively detect complement-mediated inflammation using nanoparticles. This method could reduce the need for frequent biopsies to diagnose and monitor inflammatory diseases like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and many others.

A team led by Michael Stowell, affiliate in mechanical engineering, has been awarded a patent for a new peptide manufacturing process.

R. Scott Summers and Karl Linden of civil, environmental and architectural engineering have received a $4.1 million grant to launch the Design of Risk Reducing, Innovative Implementable Small System Knowledge (DeRISK) Center for research and innovation in small- to medium-sized drinking water systems.

STUDENTS

Two student teams from aerospace engineering sciences recently won prestigious international and national awards for the design of real-world space missions to Mars and the moon. Read more here.

Aerospace engineering sciences Ph.D. student Christine Fanchiang and her BioCube team won the Silicon Valley's Startup Weekend Space Competition. Read more here.

Computer science undergraduate Tommy Hoffmann and his team, Overly Kinetic, recently won the Dare to be Digital competition in Dundee, Scotland, and were one of three teams nominated for the prestigious Ones to Watch Award by the British Academy of Film and Television (BAFTA).

Environmental engineering undergraduate students Brett Blumberg, Akasha Johnson, Ashlyn Norberg and Eric Roads received first place in the Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Environmental Interactions design challenge for their submission “Twice Repurposed Crumb Rubber as a Jet Fuel Solidifier.” Eric Bodine, Collin Androus, Taylor Deems, Kelsey Garing, Dillon Jacobs and Jennifer Westbrook received third place in the competition for their submission, “Fuel Containment Channels at Eagle County Regional Airport.”

NEW HIRES & LEADERSHIP: October 2014

Sarah Braker, NCWIT Communications Coordinator, ATLAS  
Robert Clark, Accounting and Payroll Specialist, Dean’s Office
J. Maureen Craig, Academic Advisor, General Engineering Plus 
Vanessa Dunn, Director of Student Engagement & Community Building, BOLD Center 
Ashley Ecklund, Undergraduate Advisor, Mechanical Engineering
Daniel Godrick, Applications and Instrumentation Engineer, ITL
Margaret Kolicko, Accounting Technician III, Aerospace Engineering Sciences 
Laurence Lambert, Administrative Assistant III, Civil, Environmental & Architectural Engineering
Ruth Mansbach, Accounting Technician III, Mechanical Engineering
Allison Palmer, Administrative Assistant II, BOLD Center
Melissa Wise, Director of Marketing & Communications, Dean's Office

CU ENGINEERING EXPANDS ENERGY AND WATER DEGREE OPTIONS


The College of Engineering and Applied Science has launched a new energy engineering minor to give students the background and tools to be leaders in energy technology, policy and research. Starting this fall, students will be able to apply to the minor, which consists of a selection of technical energy courses, an energy policy course and an interdisciplinary projects course focused on the design and analysis of energy technologies. The new minor is being sponsored by ConocoPhillips.

In addition, a new educational partnership among the Lockheed Martin Engineering Management Program, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute and the Water Engineering and Management program expands degree options for working professionals interested in graduate education focused on energy and water. Beginning this fall, qualified students can earn both a Master of Engineering degree and a Professional Certificate in Renewable and Sustainable Energy or a Professional Certificate in Water Engineering and Management at CU-Boulder. The degree and certificates can be earned either via distance education or on campus classes and may be pursued either part- or full-time.

 

ALUMNI REUNITE AT COLLEGE PICNIC


The picnic pavilion at North Boulder Park buzzed with CU Engineering alumni, students, faculty and staff last month at the third annual college picnic, hosted by the college’s alumni relations program. More than 100 people turned out for the event, including one alumnus who earned his mechanical engineering degree in 1946. Alumni enjoyed updates on their various departments and recent developments in the college, as well as the chance to catch up with faculty and meet some of the college’s current students. Tom Cowing (MS CivEngr ’84), pictured above (center) shared a 1924 edition of the Colorado Engineer magazine with Dean Robert H. Davis (right) and fellow alumnus David Anderson (ChemEngr ’78).

DEMO DAY CAPS SUCCESSFUL CATALYZE LAUNCH


The inaugural Catalyze CU-Boulder program ended with a splash July 31 with a Demo Days event at the Roser ATLAS Building that drew a crowd of more than 150 friends, family members and potential investors. The summer business accelerator program provided mentorship, space and equity-free grants for six student startup companies, which ranged from a system to more accurately fit prosthetics to a vintage clothing retailer. The Demo Days event was a last chance for the teams to perfect their business pitch and make connections with potential investors. The second year of Catalyze CU-Boulder is already in the works, complete with a permanent on-campus home in the new Idea Forge.
 

Honors & Awards

Congratulations to the following individuals on their outstanding achievements:

FACULTY

Carol Cogswell, Bob Cormack and Mark Winey of electrical engineering have received an NSF grant for $650K for a fluorescence microscope optical insert that creates video-rate 3D imaging capabilities using an innovative “expanded point information content” design.

Paul Goodrum of civil, environmental and architectural engineering was awarded the Construction Industry Institute’s 2014 Outstanding Research Award.

Christine Hrenya has been selected to receive the 2014 AIChE Particle Technology Forum Lectureship Award in Fluidization at the Annual AIChE Meeting this November.

Eric Keller of electrical, computer and energy engineering received a four-year NSF grant for $746.5K for research on “TWC: Medium: Collaborative: Active Security.”

Keith Molenaar of civil, environmental and architectural engineering won the Jaume Blasco Award for Innovation second-place paper award from the 18th International Congress on Project Management and Engineering in Alcañiz, Spain for the paper “Critical Success Factors for Construction Projects.”

Charles Musgrave of chemical and biological engineering received a three-year NSF grant for $533.4K for research titled “NSF/DOE Solar Hydrogen Fuel: Accelerated Discovery of Advanced RedOx Materials for Solar Thermal Water Splitting to Produce Renewable Hydrogen.”

Al Weimer of chemical and biological engineering received a $2M grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop a novel solar-thermal reactor to split water with concentrated sunlight.

Mahesh Varanasi of electrical, computer and energy engineering received a three-year NSF grant for $500K “CIF: Small: Foundations of Wireless Interfering Cellular Networks With and Without Cooperation.”

Tom Yeh of computer science was selected as "Faculty Member of the Year" by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs.

Edith Zagona of CADWES received a 1.5 year award from Department of Energy for $1.01M titled “Bonneville Power CV-STR Integrated Hydro Model.”

STUDENTS

Mechanical engineering senior Chip Bollendonk was selected as the 2014 Forever Buffs Student Award winner.

Computer science PhD student Sam Blackshear won a Facebook Graduate Fellowship, which supports emerging research leaders who demonstrate potential to advance Facebook’s mission of making the world more open and connected.

NEW HIRES & LEADERSHIP

NEW HIRES

Marissa Doebert, Communications Coordinator, Dean’s Office
Emily Adams, Communications Specialist, Dean’s Office
Tiffany Brodie, Director of Human Resources, Dean’s Office
Ruth Ingraham, Administrative Assistant III, Dean’s Office

NEW LEADERSHIP

Congratulations to all faculty and staff members who have stepped into new college leadership roles.

Scott Palo, Associate Dean for Research
Clayton Lewis, Interim Chair of Mechanical Engineering
Rajagopalan Balaji, Chair of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering
Robert Erickson, Interim Chair of Electrical, Computer, and Energy Engineering
Daniel Moorer, Director of Engineering Management
David Reed, Director of Interdisciplinary Telecommunications
Daria Kotys-Schwartz, Director of the Idea Forge
Julie Steinbrenner, Director of new Energy Engineering Minor

Honors & Awards: August 2014

Congratulations to the following individuals on their outstanding achievements:

FACULTY
 

Carol Cogswell and Bob Cormack of electrical, computer and energy engineering and Mark Winey of molecular, cellular and developmental biology have received an NSF grant for $650K for a fluorescence microscope optical insert that creates video-rate 3D imaging capabilities using an innovative “expanded point information content” design.

Paul Goodrum of civil, environmental and architectural engineering was awarded the Construction Industry Institute’s 2014 Outstanding Research Award.

Christine Hrenya has been selected to receive the 2014 AIChE Particle Technology Forum Lectureship Award in Fluidization at the Annual AIChE Meeting this November.

Eric Keller of electrical, computer and energy engineering received a four-year NSF grant for $746.5K for research on “TWC: Medium: Collaborative: Active Security.”

Keith Molenaar of civil, environmental and architectural engineering won the Jaume Blasco Award for Innovation second-place paper award from the 18th International Congress on Project Management and Engineering in Alcañiz, Spain for the paper “Critical Success Factors for Construction Projects.”

Charles Musgrave of chemical and biological engineering received a three-year NSF grant for $533.4K for research titled “NSF/DOE Solar Hydrogen Fuel: Accelerated Discovery of Advanced RedOx Materials for Solar Thermal Water Splitting to Produce Renewable Hydrogen.”

Al Weimer of chemical and biological engineering received a $2M grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop a novel solar-thermal reactor to split water with concentrated sunlight.

Mahesh Varanasi of electrical, computer and energy engineering received a three-year NSF grant for $500K “CIF: Small: Foundations of Wireless Interfering Cellular Networks With and Without Cooperation.”

Tom Yeh of computer science was selected as "Faculty Member of the Year" by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs.

Edith Zagona of CADWES received a 1.5 year award from Department of Energy for $1.01M titled “Bonneville Power CV-STR Integrated Hydro Model.”

STUDENTS

Mechanical engineering senior Chip Bollendonk was selected as the 2014 Forever Buffs Student Award winner.

Computer science PhD student Sam Blackshear won a Facebook Graduate Fellowship, which supports emerging research leaders who demonstrate potential to advance Facebook’s mission of making the world more open and connected.

Catalyze CU Boosts Student Startups

Twenty-two entrepreneurial undergraduate and graduate students from across campus will turn their innovative ideas into serious startups this summer through a new CU-Boulder business accelerator developed by the College of Engineering and Applied Science in partnership with “innovation hub” Spark Boulder and the Deming Center for Entrepreneurship at the Leeds School of Business.

Catalyze CU will provide mentorship, grants and space at Spark Boulder to six teams during the course of the next eight weeks. The teams are designing technologies ranging from a mobile app for the sports industry that scores social media influence to a solar irrigation system for the developing world.

The program, which received applications from 35 interested teams and involves mentors from the Boulder business and CU alumni communities, was created to further entrepreneurship at CU-Boulder and to help students and faculty take promising ideas and technologies to market.

> Learn more

Design Expo Draws Record Participation


A record number of 109 projects were featured at the April 26 Engineering Design Expo, where 440 engineering students demonstrated designs inside and outside of the ITL Laboratory. Projects included adaptive technology devices, Rube Goldberg machines and firefighting gear were displayed to judges and the public.  Many students also participated in end-of-semester department expos showcasing their capstone design projects.

This year’s People’s Choice Award, chosen by attendees, went to students Levi Caffes,
Gabe Chapel, Pablo Gorra and Patrick Doan for their lightweight Arduino-controlled hovercraft.

Involving the Crowd in Engineering Research


Two college research teams are using crowdfunding – the practice of sourcing small contributions from a large number of people, usually via the Internet – to pioneer leading-edge technologies in energy and robotics and to engage colleagues, students and the broader community in their work. Projects led by PhD student Chern-Hooi Lim of chemical and biological engineering and Assistant Professor Nikolaus Correll of computer science are among eight projects involved in CU-Boulder’s crowdfunding pilot, a 45-day campaign that ends June 15.

Lim and his team are working to use sunlight to convert carbon dioxide into a clean-burning liquid fuel. For them, the campaign is an alternative to competitive seed funding and a chance for people to directly support research about which they feel passionate.
> Learn more: CO2 to fuel project

Correll and his students want to expand the reach of their swarm robotics research to K-12 schools and even art museums. While an NSF grant funds their research, the team is looking to the community to help them mass produce the robots for teaching applications and interactive art installations. 
> Learn more: Swarm robots

You can help! Click the links above to give $10 to support these projects in our college.

High School Space Project Partners with ITL to Win $10K Design Grant

The Integrated Teaching and Learning (ITL) Program successfully partnered with students from the Centaurus High School Pre-Engineering Academy in Lafayette, Colo., to submit a winning proposal to the Center for Advancement of Science in Space. Four Centaurus students entered the Denver-area National Design Challenge, obtaining a $10,000 grant to further their project, “The Effects of Simulated Gravity on Bacterial Lag Phase in a Micro-Gravitational Environment.”

The ITL Program will provide manufacturing and electronics expertise and supplies towards the project. Luis Zea, a CU-Boulder aerospace engineering PhD student whose research involves conducting “simulated microgravity” experiments on Earth as ground controls, will mentor the high school students. The project is slated to launch on a SpaceX rocket in spring 2015 to collect data to send back to Earth. Congratulations to these budding engineers for their ingenuity, motivation and persistence.

Honors and Awards: June 2014

Congratulations to the following individuals on their outstanding achievements:

FACULTY

Professor Jeffrey Knutsen of mechanical engineering received the John & Mercedes Peebles Innovation in Education Award from the college.

Professor Mark Rentschler of mechanical engineering received the Charles A. Hutchinson Memorial Teaching Award from the college.

Professor Michael Brandemuehl of civil, environmental and architectural engineering received the Max S. Peters Faculty Service award from the college.

Professor Balaji Rajagopalan of civil, environmental and architectural engineering received the College of Engineering and Applied Science Faculty Research Award.

Assistant Professor Amy Javernick-Will of civil, environmental and architectural engineering was chosen as the 2014 winner of the Outstanding Faculty Advisor Award. She also received the 2014 ASCE ExCEEd New Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award.

Professor Paul Goodrum of civil, environmental and architectural engineering received the Construction Industry Institute Distinguished Professor Award for 2014.

Associate Professor Ronggui Yang of mechanical engineering was selected to receive the Young Investigator Award from the International Thermoelectric Society.

Professor Kristi Anseth of chemical and biological engineering, along with former research associate Brian Polizzotti (now of Harvard Medical School) and former graduate students Cole DeForest and Benjamin Fairbanks, received a patent for a technique to create highly customizable hydrogel materials, which can be used in many biomedical applications like drug delivery, tissue and biosensors.

Ian Hales, an instructor in the ATLAS TAM program, won a CU Parents Association’s Marinus Smith Award recognizing his positive impact on CU undergraduates.

Assistant Professor Joseph Kasprzyk of civil, environmental and architectural engineering received the Universities Council on Water Resources Dissertation Award for 2014 in the category Natural Science and Engineering. He also received the receiving the 2013 Editor's Citation for Excellence in Refereeing for Water Resources Research.

A paper titled “Edge Nonlinear Optics on a MoS2 Atomic Monolayer” by Assistant Professor Xiaobo Yin of mechanical engineering recently was published in Science Magazine.

Assistant Professor Abbie Liel received an outstanding paper award from the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute for her paper titled “Using Collapse Risk Assessments to Inform Seismic Safety Policy for Older Concrete Buildings.” She also received a runner-up award for the best paper in the Journal of Performance of Constructed Facilities for her paper titled “Snow-Induced Building Failures.”

Professor Martha Palmer of computer science and linguistics was chosen as winner of the CU-Boulder Graduate School’s Outstanding Faculty Graduate Advising Award.

Professor Chris Bowman of chemical and biological engineering and Professor Bob McLeod of electrical, computer and energy engineering have been awarded a patent for an advanced photolithography technique that allows for more precise fabrication of microdevices such as microchips, microfluidics and microelectromechanical systems (MEMS).

Professor Ted Randolph of chemical and biological engineering, along with John Carpenter of the CU School of Pharmacy and CU-based company BaroFold, Inc., has been awarded a patent for improving protein-based drug formulations (used to treat cancers, infectious diseases and several other diseases).

Assistant Professors Anushree Chatterjee and Prashant Nagpal of chemical and biological engineering were named New Inventors of the Year by CU-Boulder’s Tech Transfer Office.

S. Revi Sterling, Ph.D., Director of Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICTD) at the ATLAS Institute, was named Woman of the Year in Education by Boulder Business & Professional Women.

Seth Murray, instructor in the Engineering Management Program, received the Frank Moyes Award in recognition of his impact upon students and influence on entrepreneurship at CU.

Professors John Falconer and Richard Noble of chemical and biological engineering have been awarded patents for methods to make improved gas separation membranes.

Professor Al Weimer of chemical and biological engineering has been awarded a patent for a process that uses concentrated sunlight to form syngas or hydrogen.

STAFF

Claire Yang, undergraduate advisor in aerospace engineering sciences, received the college’s 2014 Outstanding Staff Award.

Sharon Anderson of mechanical engineering was chosen as the 2014 winner of the Outstanding Staff Advisor Award.

Maria Toscano Leary of chemical and biological engineering was the recipient of the April 2014 Employee Recognition Award.

Erin Jerick of civil, environmental and architectural engineering was the recipient of the May 2014 Employee Recognition Award.

STUDENTS

Seven graduates of the Class of 2013 received special honors at the May 8 College of Engineering and Applied Science Recognition Ceremony at Coors Events Center:

  • Kayla C. Weston (ChemEngr) – CEC Silver Medal
  • Jun Liu (PhD MechEngr) – Outstanding Dissertation Award
  • Elizabeth Horneber (ChemEngr) – Outstanding Graduate for Service
  • Jack Olsen (ApMath, BS/MS EngrPhys) – Outstanding Graduate for Service
  • Kevin Dinkel (BS/MS AeroEngr) – Outstanding Graduate for Research
  • Brandon Lin (BS/MS ChemEngr) – Outstanding Graduate for Academic Achievement
  • Stephen Kissler (BS/MS ApMath) – Outstanding Graduate of the College

The following Distinguished Seniors were recognized that the April 25 Engineering Awards Banquet at the Stadium Club at Folsom Field:

  • Michael Trowbridge (AeroEngr)
  • Stephen Kissler (ApMath)
  • Natasha Funk (ArchEngr)
  • Rachel Viger (ChemEngr)
  • Saikripa Radhakrishnan (ChBioEngr)
  • Srinidhi Radhakrishnan (ChBioEngr)
  • Michael Gartman (CivEngr)
  • Devon Tivona (CompSci)
  • Elliot Hegel (ElEngr)
  • Christopher Poulton (ElCompEngr)
  • Alexander Bornstein (EngrPhys)
  • John Meyer (EnvEngr)
  • Benjamin Noe (MechEngr)

Recent graduate Fletcher Richman (ElecEngr) received the CU GOLD Lasting Legacy Award, which honors a graduating senior who has left his or her mark on CU.

Mechanical engineering PhD student Janet Tsai is one of 85 doctoral students nationwide selected in 2014 to receive a $15,000 scholar award from the P.E.O. Sisterhood, which provides merit-based awards for women pursuing doctoral degrees at accredited universities.

ALUMNI & VOLUNTEERS

The college honored four recipients this year with the Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award. Winners included former Engineering Advisory Council member Jean Becker — Special Category, Col. David Goldstein (PhD AeroEngr ’00) — Government Service, T. Scott Martin (ChemEngr ’80) — Industry & Commerce and F. Dave Zanetell, PE (MS CivEngr’93) — Government Service.

Avery Bang (MS CivEngr ’09) was recognized as this year’s winner of the CU Engineering Recent Alumni Award. She also has been selected to receive Kalpana Chawla Outstanding Recent Alumni Award from the University of Colorado Boulder Alumni Association, which will be given Oct. 23 during Back to Boulder Homecoming Weekend.

Two distinguished members of the College of Engineering and Applied Science community received top honors at CU-Boulder's Spring Commencement Ceremony May 9 at Folsom Field. Dubbed the ultimate "friend-raiser" and fundraiser, Lanis "Lanny" Pinchuk was awarded an honorary doctorate of science, while lifelong Engineering Buff Mike Wirth (ChemEngr ’82) received the University Medal for his influential support of CU.

New Hires and Retirements: June 2014

Welcome to the new faculty and staff who have recently joined the college:

  • Becky Komarek, Program Coordinator, Design Center Colorado
  • Susan Legler, Degree Audit and Graduation Coordinator, Dean’s Office
  • David Shea, Computer Systems Developer, ITL
  • Chris Anderson, Student Services Coordinator, Dean’s Office
  • Carrie Sadler, Student Services Coordinator, Computer Science
  • Lauren Miremont, Finance Manager, Chemical & Biological Engineering
  • Sage Sollie, Administrative Assistant II, ATLAS
  • Ava Cleaves, Office Administrator, Chemical & Biological Engineering
  • Rajshree Shrestha, Graduate Program Advisor, Computer Science
  • Marissa Doebert, Communications Coordinator, Dean’s office

Congratulations to the following faculty on their retirements:

  • Andrzej Ehrenfeucht, Computer Science
  • Dhinakar Kompala, Chemical and Biological Engineering
  • KC Park, Aerospace Engineering Sciences
  • Frank Barnes, Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering

Earthquake Zone: In Search of Seismic-­safe Buildings

“If we can understand seismic risks to communities, we can use the information to be smarter about retrofitting and managing older buildings,” says Liel.

Earthquakes by the numbers: Click the graphic to learn more.

During an earthquake, which buildings will stand? Which will fall? Finding the answers to these life and death questions is at the heart of Abbie Liel's work in earthquake engineering.

An assistant professor of civil, environmental and architectural engineering, Liel specializes in structural engineering and structural mechanics, studying how concrete buildings withstand seismic events. Building design that mitigates the impact of natural hazards, such as earthquakes and flooding, can prevent casualties, reduce economic losses and lessen the time it takes for communities to recover.

One component of her research looks at older buildings that were constructed according to the required seismic codes of the time, but are not necessarily considered safe by today’s standards. Another area of her research is examining the impact of earthquakes at the community level when a large number of homes and businesses are affected.

“If we can understand seismic risks to communities,” she says, “we can use the information to be smarter about retrofitting and managing older buildings. Because older buildings are expensive to upgrade and building owners are not typically under legal obligation to do so, our research looks at how to modify buildings in a more cost-effective way.”

Each year there are about 16 earthquakes bigger than magnitude 7 worldwide. In the past decade, more than 740,000 people have died in earthquakes. This figure is much higher than in previous 10-year periods due to the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami and the Haiti earthquake. The last big U.S. earthquake was in Northridge, Calif., in 1994, killing 60 people and significantly damaging buildings and transportation infrastructure. Estimates put the damage at $25 billion.

Liel’s research group at CU-Boulder focuses on using performance-based earthquake engineering methods to assess the risk of structural collapse and the threat to public safety. The resulting measures of structural performance taken from detailed analysis models can be used to improve building code provisions and develop policies for taking care of risky structures.

By taking accelerometer recordings of the ground shaking from past earthquakes, Liel inputs the recordings into computer models of buildings. And then she makes the buildings in the models fall down to see what happens.

Her analysis is based on reinforced concrete frame models that represent past and present building codes and a database of seismic motions.

“If the building code says x, y and z,” says Liel, “we evaluate how well x, y and z are achieving the objectives of building codes and standards. If we change something about a design rule, does that improve the safety or reliability of the system?”

After the powerful 2009 L’Aquila earthquake in central Italy, which damaged upwards of 11,000 buildings, Liel traveled there to study the damage. By looking at patterns of structural failure and the types of buildings—residential, business or mixed use—that suffered the most damage, she can validate her computer models.

“It’s very difficult to validate our models,” she says. “There are few buildings that we have enough instrumentation on. Fortunately, there aren’t that many earthquakes. We’re challenged by a lack of data, so we deal with a lot of statistics and uncertainties.”

Liel believes an improved assessment of seismic collapse risk is needed to develop the next generation of building codes that more accurately account for near-fault activity.

Many major urban areas worldwide are interlaced by large seismic faults. However, the risk of earthquake- caused collapse for buildings near these faults is not well understood, says Liel. In California for example, it is estimated there are 40,000 older concrete buildings built before the mid-1970s that are vulnerable in an earthquake.

Liel has recently been studying the differences between good and bad concrete buildings and what characteristics make a concrete building dangerous in a seismic event. The strength or ductility of the reinforcement inside the concrete and how the reinforcement is arranged and tied down are critical factors. She is working with a team of researchers to establish criteria to identify which of California’s 40,000 older concrete structures are a definite threat to safety.

“These buildings are not in good shape and everybody knows that,” she says. “But we don’t know if they are all really bad or whether some are in better shape than others. It’s politically infeasible to tell all of the buildings’ owners that they need to fix the deficiencies.”

“Every single building is different,” says Liel. “It takes time and energy to make a computer model of the building. We look at a lot of photos and drawings to make sure we’re being representative of the building style to be as accurate as possible.”
 

 

College sets sights on top 20 ranking, doubled enrollments by 2020

Tremendous growth in enrollments and a changing economic, technological and reputational landscape have prompted the College of Engineering and Applied Science to set two ambitious new goals for the year 2020. In a newly published revision of its strategic plan, the college reveals aims to double engineering enrollments and make the list of the top 20 engineering programs in the country at both the graduate and undergraduate levels by fall 2020.

“Our refreshed outlook for Engineering 2020: Vision for Excellence raises the bar for growth, performance and culture within the College of Engineering and Applied Science,” says Dean Robert H. Davis. “It embraces our expanding student body, faculty, staff and research programs that enrich the lives and education of our students while delivering an excellent return on investment for the people of Colorado.”

Print copies of A Fresh Look at Engineering 2020: Vision for Excellence have been distributed to all college faculty and staff. You can also read the original and revised plans at www.colorado.edu/engineering/2020.

CU Engineering Ranks Among Best Graduate Schools

Five programs in CU’s College of Engineering and Applied Science posted improvements over last year in the 2015 U.S. News & World Report graduate program rankings, with Aerospace Engineering Sciences landing a spot in the top 10 programs nationwide. Holding its place at 34th (20th among public universities) the college, as a whole, continues to be the top-ranked engineering school in the Mountain Time Zone, according to the report released in mid-March.

In the specialty rankings, the aerospace program jumped from 14th to 9th, while graduate programs in chemical engineering and civil engineering each moved up four spots to 14th and 15th, respectively. The environmental engineering program improved one place to 21st and the electrical engineering program moved two places to 34th. Programs in computer science, computer engineering, and mechanical engineering also made the list at 40th, 39th, and 34th, respectively.

> Learn more

Admitted Students Day offers a first-hand look at CU-Boulder

More than 1,500 students attended CU’s Admitted Student Day on Saturday, April 5. Prospective engineering students learned about the many opportunities in the College of Engineering and Applied Science at an information session with representatives from every department in the college. The event was supported by more than 100 current engineering student volunteers.

Applications to the College of Engineering and Applied Science were up approximately 25 percent for the 2014-15 academic year, with 1,700 more applications received this year over last year. Amanda Parker, director of access and recruiting, attributes much of this increase to CU’s acceptance this year of the Common Application, which allows students to fill out a single college admissions form and submit it to any of 517 member colleges and universities.

Honors and Awards: April 2014

Congratulations to the following individuals on their outstanding achievements:

FACULTY

A research group led by Professor Chris Bowman of chemical and biological engineering received a patent for an improved method of detecting molecular recognition events, for use in diagnostic and environmental sensing applications.

Professor Steven George of chemical and biological engineering and chemistry and biochemistry was awarded a patent for a process to create ultrathin metal films using atomic layer deposition.

Assistant Professor Matt Hallowell of civil, environmental and architectural engineering has been selected to receive Engineer News-Record’s Mountain States 2014 Top 20 under 40 Award.

Assistant Professor Jason Marden of electrical, computer, and energy engineering received an NSF CAREER Award for his project “Game Theoretic Methods for Multiagent Coordination.”

Associate Professor Melinda Piket-May of electrical, computer, and energy engineering received the BFA Faculty Recognition Award for continued support of the CU community.

Professor Zoya Popovic has been selected to receive a gift of $120,000 from National Instruments founder James Truchard to conduct research on new microwave instruments. She has also been gifted equipment from National Instruments.

Associate Dean Diane Sieber has been selected to receive the CU Parents Association’s Marinus Smith Award recognizing her positive impact on CU undergraduates.

CEAS Dean’s Faculty Fellowships have been awarded to professors Henry Tufo and Ken Anderson of computer science; John Falconer, Rich Noble and Charles Musgrave of chemical and biological engineering; Al Gasiewski and Garret Moddel of electrical, computer and energy engineering, and Mark Borden of mechanical engineering.

Several college faculty have been selected to receive 2014 Butcher Seed Grant Awards for their winning proposals in interdisciplinary bioscience, including Victor Bright of mechanical engineering, Aaron Clauset of computer science, Juliet Gopinath of electrical, computer and energy engineering, and Jennifer Leight of chemical and biological engineering.

STAFF

Sarah Melssen of aerospace engineering sciences was the recipient of the Employee Recognition Award in March 2014.

STUDENTS

Engineering physics junior Jasmine Brewer and chemical engineering and applied math junior Brennan Coffey have been awarded Goldwater scholarships for next year.

New Faculty & Staff: April 2014

Welcome to the new faculty and staff who are joining the college:

  • Jennifer Manning, AspireIT Program Manager in NCWIT
  • Ammi Ludwick, Aspirations in Computing Program Director in NCWIT
  • Jessica Minck, Program Assistant I in Sustainable by Design Program

Splitting Water: Harnessing Sunlight to Split Water for Clean Hydrogen Fuel

“We have designed something here that is very different from other methods and frankly something that nobody thought was possible before,” says Weimer.

Click the droplet to learn just what goes into clean hydrogen fuel.

Wondering how to make a clean, green hydrogen fuel? Check out what Professor Alan Weimer of chemical and biological engineering and his CU-Boulder team did - they came up with a method to harness the power of sunlight to efficiently split water into its components of oxygen and hydrogen.

Weimer and colleagues devised a solar­thermal system in which sunlight could be concentrated by a vast field of mirrors onto a single point atop a central tower as tall as an ATLAS V rocket. The tower would gather heat beamed up by the mirror system to roughly 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit, then deliver it to a solar reactor containing chemical compounds known as metal oxides.

As a metal oxide compound heats up, it releases oxygen atoms, changing its material composition and causing it to seek out new oxygen atoms, explains Weimer. The addition of steam to the system - which could be produced by boiling water in the reactor using the same concentrated sunlight collected by the tower - would cause oxygen from the water molecules to adhere to the surface of the metal oxide. The result? The freed-­up hydrogen molecules could be collected as gas fuel.

Members of Weimer's team include chemical and biological engineering professor Charles Musgrave, doctoral student Christopher Muhich, post­ doctoral researcher Janna Martinek, undergraduate Kayla Weston, and former CU researchers Paul Lichty, Xinhua Liang and Brian Evanko. The study was published in Science magazine.

"The more conventional approaches require the control of both the switching of the temperature in the reactor from a hot to a cool state and the introduction of steam into the system," says Musgrave. "One of the big innovations in our system is that there is no swing in the temperature. The whole process is driven by either turning a steam valve on or off."

Muhich, who likened the concentration of sunlight to drive the chemical reactions to using a magnifying glass to start a fire, said the team members want to heat the solar reactor to the lowest temperature possible for these chemical reactions to still occur. Hotter temperatures can cause rapid thermal expansion and contraction, potentially causing damage to both the chemical materials and to the reactors themselves, he says.

In addition, the conventional, two­-step idea for water splitting wastes both time and heat, says Weimer, executive director of the Colorado Center for Biorefining and Biofuels, noting "There are only so many hours of sunlight in a day." The research was supported by the National Science Foundation and by the U.S. Department of Energy.

With the new method, the amount of hydrogen produced for fuel cells or for storage is dependent on the amount of metal oxide - which is made  up of a combination of iron, cobalt, aluminum and oxygen - and how much steam is introduced into the system.

One of the designs proposed by the CU team is to build reactor tubes roughly a foot in diameter and 18 feet long, fill them with the metal oxide material and arrange them within a solar receiver. A working system to produce a significant amount of hydrogen gas would require a tall tower to gather concentrated sunlight from 100 acres of mirrors.

"We have designed something here that is very different from other methods and frankly something that nobody thought was possible before," explains Weimer.

 

Global Positioning System: Finding New Uses Beyond Navigation

Larson's unconventional use of GPS has taken her into unexplored territory and enabled her to make startling discoveries.

It was 6:30 a.m. on a Saturday in 2003 when Kristine Larson realized what she was seeing.

Larson, a professor in aerospace engineer­ing sciences, had been using data from global positioning system (GPS) receivers to record the slow movements of tectonic plates. But that morning she was looking at data recorded soon after the magnitude 7.8 Denali Fault earthquake.

She recalls looking at the GPS data and realizing she was seeing seismic waves that had traveled more than 500 miles from the rupture. Most people thought that GPS would never be accurate enough to see these ground motions, which are traditionally measured by seismometers.

"No one had ever seen that before," says Larson. "Ever. I remember being so excited to share the news, but I couldn't call anyone because it was too early. So I waited until 9 o'clock to call a colleague, because my mother had always told me it was not polite to call people before 9 in the morning."

This is what happens when a geophysicist, who is also an engineer, starts thinking "outside the box." Redefined uses of high­-precision GPS are lead­ ing geoscientists to a new understanding of not just plate tectonics and seismology, but soil moisture, snow depth, vegetation water content, atmospheric water vapor, sea level, ionospheric electron content and volcanic eruptions.

Since that early morning revelation a decade ago, Larson's unconventional uses of GPS have proliferated. Not only was she the first person to use a GPS receiver to measure seismic waves, she was the first to show that it could be used to measure how rapidly Greenland's ice sheets were moving.

Larson - who came to CU-Boulder in 1990 with a bachelor's degree in engineering sciences and a PhD in geophysics - has been pushing the boundaries of what people thought could be done with GPS for scientific and engineering applications for more than 20 years.

"For the general public, GPS is just a way to get from point A to point B," says Larson. "For Earth scientists, it's mostly used to measure how the ground moves. But you can extract an amazing amount of information from GPS signals. You just need to think about it."

Her pioneering GPS analysis techniques have been used to study earth­ quakes in San Simeon, Calif., and Hokkaido, Japan, as well as measuring tectonic motions in California, Alaska, Mexico, Hawaii and the Himalayas (including a GPS-­based re­measurement of Mt. Everest that determined it is seven feet taller than previously thought). More recently, Larson and her colleagues have been using data from an existing GPS network located in the western United States to measure snow depth, vegetation water content and soil moisture. The statistics Larson compiles are derived from reflected GPS signals. These data can be used to predict drought or the amount of water from snowmelt.

Since GPS signals can also reflect off water, Larson also showed that if the GPS receiver is close to the shore, it can serve as a tide gauge. The information gleaned from these sea level data can alert fishermen and boaters when it's safe to leave or enter a harbor. And tide records provide another way for scientists to monitor global ocean levels.

Larson's most recent innovation is to use GPS to detect ash in volcanic plumes. If ash is drawn into an airplane engine, it can cause the plane to stall and crash. By looking at the GPS data from a volcano near the Anchorage airport in Alaska, she was able to determine not only that there was a volcanic eruption, but how fast it erupted. The implications for this new understanding are huge for air travel, as evidenced by the 2010 erup­tion of Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland, which caused enormous disruption to air travel between the United States and Europe for almost a week. Larson has written a proposal to the National Science Foundation to make GPS plume monitoring an operational system for airports.

Larson's passion for all things GPS has led her to develop an outreach website, called GPS Spotlight, for middle and high school students.

"I think GPS is so cool and I want everybody to know how cool it is," she says. "And I want them to know how useful it is for science too."

 

Zoom! Tomorrow's Battery: Flames Not Included

“We think it has the great potential to push the U.S. electric vehicle industry forward,” says Lee.

Just what makes CU-Boulder's electric battery so different? Click the image of the car for a side-by-side comparison.

On a dreary Tuesday morning last October, the battery compartment of an electric Tesla Model S car erupted into spectacular flames on the side of a rain­-soaked highway in Kent, Washington.

Just 10 months before, a battery on board an empty Boeing Dreamliner sitting on a Boston tarmac also caught fire, filling the cockpit with smoke. During the same month, a battery fire on board a second Dreamliner forced the plane to make an emergency landing in southern Japan.

The spate of high­-profile battery fires over the lasts few years - which also includes fires sparked by crash­-testing Chevy Volts - has heightened con­cern about using lithium­-ion batteries in cars and planes, or really, in any capacity where powerful collisions are possible or where a fire could have catastrophic consequences. A pair of researchers at CU-Boulder is aiming to eliminate that concern.

Conrad Stoldt
and Sehee Lee, both associate professors of mechanical engineering, have created an experimental battery that would vastly reduce the risk of the type of thermal runaway reaction that dogs today's lithium-­ion batteries. Just as important, the same technological breakthrough would increase the battery's energy density, an improvement that has the potential to double the range of today's electric cars.

"The innovative battery we developed is safer, more energy dense and less expensive than batteries used in electric vehicles today, and we think it has the great potential to push the U.S. electric vehicle industry forward," Lee says.

The battery's innovation is in what it's missing: liquid. Standard commercial lithium­-ion batteries - the workhorse rechargeables that power everything from smart phones to laptops to cars - have a liquid, and typically flamma­ble, electrolyte that allows the lithium ions to flow through a barrier that separates the battery's two electrodes, creating a charge.

If the barrier is damaged the electrodes can short­-circuit, kicking off a chain of chemical reactions. As each chemical reaction adds heat to the system, it enables chemical reactions that require warmer temperatures to occur, which in turn add more heat to the system, enabling further reactions that require even more heat.

The CU-Boulder battery is made entirely out of solid materials, including  a ceramic electrolyte, which blocks the kind of chain reactions that cause thermal runaways from occurring. And because the battery is safer, Stoldt and Lee were able to use pure lithium metal for the battery's anode instead of the carbon-­based material typically used.

Chemists have known that a lithium metal anode would improve a recharg­eable battery's performance, but using it has always been too risky. Lithium is highly reactive and would further increase the risk of battery fires. But in a solid­-state battery, the use of lithium metal as an anode becomes practical.

Using lithium metal boosts the battery's energy density, but practically speaking, the battery's performance is also enhanced by the simple fact that it's safer. The batteries used in today's electric vehicles are wrapped in insulation, ensconced in protective casing, and cooled with vents and fans, all in an effort to prevent thermal runaway reactions.

The bulky safety systems for these batteries do work. The battery compart­ment in the Tesla shunted the flames away from the passenger compartment, keeping the driver safe. A federal investigation found that Chevy Volts were no more prone to fires than gasoline vehicles, and Boeing was able  to beef up the safety systems surrounding its on­-board batteries.

But all that extra packaging adds weight to the car and, therefore, taxes the batteries more quickly. Just by virtue of making the vehicle lighter, the solid­state battery developed at CU-­Boulder could last longer, extending the vehicle's range. Together with the use of the lithium metal, the new battery has the potential to double the range of electric vehicles.

Multiple teams from across the globe also are working feverishly on solid­ state batteries. But there is a significant innovation that sets the CU-Boulder battery apart. The advance is in the construction of the battery's cathode, which in the new design is a conglomerate of cathode particles held together with solid electrolyte material and infused with an additive that increases its electrical conductivity. The net effect is that the electrons can move more easily within the cathode.

The innovation helped Solid Power - the company spun off by Stoldt and Lee to work on the commercialization of the battery - win a highly competitive $3.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.

 

Reading in 3­D: Making Books for Visually Impaired Children

“I really enjoy reading stories with my son, and I thought I might be able to contribute to making books for visually impaired children more tactile,” says Yeh.

On most nights, Tom Yeh puts his 3­-year-­old son on his lap, opens a children's book and reads aloud. It's a much­-loved activity for both father and son as the characters are brought to life.

A year ago, while reading the children's classic Goodnight Moon, Yeh, an assistant professor in computer science, began thinking about how to make books more accessible to visually impaired preschool-­age children.

Although his son has no visual impairment, Yeh, whose research is focused on human­-centered computing - how humans and computers interact -  set his sights on printing children's picture books using a 3­D printer. Characters and objects described in the storyline would actually pop off the page when printed in 3­D, enhancing the reading experience for visually impaired children.

"I really enjoy reading stories with my son," says Yeh, "and I thought I might be able to contribute to making books for visually impaired children more tactile." Yeh leads the Sikuli Lab at CU­-Boulder, where he is training a team of talented students to conduct research to make computers see better and interact with humans more naturally. Sikuli means "God's Eye" in Huichol, the indigenous language of Mexico, and it symbolizes the ability to see and understand.

His research program spans human­computer interaction, computer vision and software engineering, with a goal of enabling people to use machine intelligence to solve practical problems.

Yeh is looking at ways to represent 2­D graphics in a 3­D, tactile way, and on a scale that's appropriate for young children's cognitive abilities and interests. By combining these factors into computational algorithms, he and his researchers are developing an interface that will allow parents to print their own customized books at home using a 3­D printer.

The idea, says Yeh, is similar to Pandora radio, which offers curated music playlists based on individual preferences.

"Three­-dimensional printing holds the key to simplifying the making of tactile picture books," says Yeh. "As 3­D printers become cheaper and more powerful, soon people will own a 3­D printer at home, just like now they own color printers at home."

The graduate students who are part of Yeh's research team bring a variety of skills, interests and expertise to the project.

Jack Sweany, a graduate student in construction management, looks at cognitive models in transcribing 2­D to 3­D as a way to deliver engineering information to construction workers.

"It's easier to look at a 3­D print and understand what it represents," says Sweany, "compared to the typical 2­D plans and specs that are given to workers in the field."

Abigale Stangl, a graduate student in ATLAS, has been volunteering at the Anchor Center for Blind Children, a preschool in Denver, which allows her to understand the target population, what their needs are, and how their parents and teachers teach them to read.

"For the visually impaired, tactile development is important," says Stangl. "I'm interested in the different ways we perceive the world and how we can help create interesting experiences through touch. We're developing an interface to support the parents in creating storybooks for their children."

Based on feedback from teachers of visually impaired students, Jeeeun Kim, a graduate student in computer science, simplified the tactile graphics and changed the design of objects on the pages to exaggerate the charac­-teristics of that object. For example, she turned a simple square clock into one with with a pendulum to make the object more dynamic in small hands.

"Every kid needs a special book that provides the experience he or she needs," says Yeh. "It is impossible for mass production printing to do that so that it's easy to make changes and customize. With the price of 3­D printers coming down, it's not out-­of-­reach for a school classroom or a parent to print books. For a child, being able to read together with a parent is very important."

Yeh's prototype book, appropriately enough, is Goodnight Moon.

> For a free copy of the book, visit tactilepicturebook.org

Editor's note: The Tactile Book Project is funded in part by a grant from the CU-Boulder Outreach Committee.

 

Beating Bladder Cancer: One Nanoparticle at a Time

“Nanomaterials will revolutionize cancer research; the impact of our work is direct, understandable and controllable,” says Park.

Want the straightforward facts about how bladder cancer impacts families and society? Click the graphic to learn more.

Won Park was hoping the result of the in vitro bladder cancer experiment using his nanoparticle technology wouldn’t just leave him seeing red.

Among the red-stained live bladder cancer cells was an area stained blue, which showed the nanoparticle therapy had killed the cancer cells. The experiment was a success.

Park, an associate professor of electrical, computer and energy engineering, together with collaborating researchers at the University of Colorado Cancer Center on the Anschutz Medical Campus, had developed a promising new type of bladder cancer therapy. Based on early-stage trials, this targeted nanotechnology-based approach to fighting cancer could be a breakthrough treatment.

“Delighted. Excited. Thrilled,” says Park, “but not surprised. We were expecting it. We demonstrated ablation of cancer cells.”

Park focuses his research on developing novel nanomaterials and nanostructures for photonic applications. In biomedical engineering, he develops complex nanomaterials that are used to detect and destroy cancer cells.

Bladder cancer is the fourth most common cancer among men in the United States, with more than 70,000 new cases annually. Researching targeted nanoparticles is a cutting-edge approach to treating bladder cancer, a disease that claims 14,000 deaths annually in the United States.

Bladder cancer therapies ranging from surgery to chemotherapy have remained basically the same since the 1970s, says Park, and include many side effects. One current therapy uses an attenuated form of a bacterium that causes tuberculosis, but despite the treatment the recurrence rate is about 40 percent.

Although Park has no formal bioengineering training, he is applying his broad engineering expertise to create new technologies and treatments.

In collaboration with Thomas Flaig, MD, a specialist in bladder cancer at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Park developed rod-shaped nanoparticles made of gold. The nanoparticles are designed to absorb light in the near infrared, a frequency that can penetrate the body up to a few centimeters.

The nanoparticles are coated with a protein that is the antibody to epidermal growth factor receptor, a protein present only on bladder cancer cell membranes. Normal urinary tract urothelium tissue does not express epidermal growth factor receptor, so the antibody coating - called Nano-aEGFR - ensures that Park’s nanorods only anchor onto the cancer cells.

An infrared laser beam is focused on the area where the nanoparticles are attached to cancer cells, causing the particles to absorb light and heat up. Cancer cells have a narrower temperature window for survival than normal cells. With this imaging-guided thermal ablation therapy, researchers heat the nanorods to a temperature that is lethal to them without harming normal cells. The nanorods are introduced into the bladder through a urinary catheter. When the treatment is finished, the nanoparticles are removed by draining the bladder. Park has also developed nanoparticles that, when added to the mix, fluoresce green under infrared light, allowing researchers to not only see the location of the cancer cells, but also to eradicate the disease in the same procedure. The fluorescent capability eliminates the need to use colored dyes.

The nanoparticles Park is working with are 20 nanometers in diameter and 40 nanometers in length and can only be seen with an electron microscope. To put that size into perspective, a sheet of paper is 100,000 nanometers thick.

The approach Park and his team of collaborators at the University of Colorado Cancer Center are using is nearly unparalleled in the arena of bladder cancer research. The collaborating researchers are one of few groups in the world conducting research using multifunctional nanoparticle therapy and the only team conducting animal studies. Results in mice have shown that the treatment works only when both nanoparticles and lasers are applied, indicating that the nanoparticle or laser alone is non-toxic and thus promising minimal side effects. A portion of the study has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Biomedical Nanotechnology. The remainder of the research will be published in the near future. “We have demonstrated the multifunctional use of nanoparticles,” says Park.

The next step will be to begin studies in larger animals and, if the technology continues to look as promising as it has so far, move onto human trials. Park and Flaig have formed a company called Aurora Oncology to develop the technology further so it can quickly move into the clinic. Once they perfect the nanoparticle technology for bladder cancer, they plan to begin work on oral and skin cancers. Since different cancers express different types of proteins, the protein antibodies added to the nanoparticles will need to change. Other than that, the technology remains the same.

“In the longer term,” says Park, “this technology can be applied to deep organ disease, like breast and prostate. Delivery into the body will be an issue that will have to be worked out. But for bladder and other accessible types of cancer, we can make an immediate impact.”

 

 

Developing Tomorrow's Engineers Through Student Scholarships


College of Engineering and Applied Science sophomore Elizabeth Whitman and Emily Howard (MechEngr '13) participate in a Women's Mastery Workshop.

Our College of Engineering and Applied Science has grown in both size and caliber, with this year's freshman class scoring in the top 10 percent nationwide in both ACT and SAT scores.

However, test scores don't always add up to affording a college degree. Join us in creating scholarships for undergraduate students - every gift, both large and small, makes an impact.

Make a difference now!

Learn more about giving opportunities on the Boulder campus today.

To make a gift, contact:
Lindsay Reeves
303-492-4199
engineering@colorado.edu

 

Dean's Club: Powerful Advocates Enabling Growth and Excellence

To learn more about the Dean's Club, contact the Engineering Development office at 303-492-5814.

The Dean's Club members below play a unique and vital role in CU-Boulder's College of Engineering and Applied Science. Their annual contributions to the Dean's Fund for Excellence of $1,000 or more give me the ability to deploy resources to faculty, stu­dents, departments and programs to encourage and reward excellence. Dean's Club members are powerful advocates whose support allows us to conquer the challenges and pursue the opportunities with which we are presented each new academic year. In many cases, these dedicated donors equip the college with the ability to set itself apart and often above our competitors.

I sincerely thank our current Dean's Club members for their support! The college's growth and success is aided in great part due to your generosity!

With gratitude,
Robert H. Davis
Dean and Tisone Endowed Chair

Dean's Club Members July 1, 2012 - December 31, 2013

Dereje and Carolyn Agonafer
Lisa and Robert Allen
Dana C. and Juliana P. Andersen
Gary R. and Linda L. Anderson
Bruce Steven Anderson
Lee and Gigi Atchison
Clyde H. and Shirley J. Babcock
Richard Dale Baily
James Richard Baldwin
Trent Allen Balke
Samuel L. and Barbara Blocksom Beeler
James M. and Lorelee Urbanek Boyd
John R. Brennand and Robin Riblet
Bradford and Anita Marian Brooks
Gary David and Wendy Rolayne Bryan
Bruce S. Buckland
Donald John and Lizebeth S. Burch
Kent Jon and Susan Marie Burkhardsmeier
Gregg Butterfield
Frank L. and Carol Ida Caldwell
Paul Edward and Megan Cameron
Joseph L. and Beverly Melone Campbell
Joseph N. Cannon
Eugene N. Catalano
J. Morse Cavender
Duane P. Chesley
Hsing-Chiang Chiang
Kelly Mason Clark
Kevin Patrick and Ann M. Cooney
Douglas G. Daniels and Sally O. Levinson
Robert H. and Shirley Davis
Michael John Denton
Sidney E. Dinner
Frank John Doerner and Betsy G. Fitz
Scott C. and Deanna Donnelly
Pamela Ann Drew and Robert D. Coggeshall
Willam Leroy and Anna Duff
Martin L. and Kelli L. Dunn
Stephen M. and Jennifer Dunn
John S. Durning
Alexandros S. and Lindsey Economou
David L. Evans
Aamir Farid
Larry David and Alison B. Fiedler
William L. Firestone
David L. and Kathryn Leyes Fischer
Joseph R. Fisher
Wayne C. Foster
William Hideo and Carol Ann Freeman
Michael Eric and Mary Popper From
James L. and Janet M. Gallogly
Bernard G. Gamache
Leonard H. and Catherine M. Gemmill
William Charles and Evelyn Campbell Gilbert
Douglas Lee Gile
Russell Blake Gimlin
Lisa and Trey Louis Glatch
Geoffrey D. Green
Fredrik Julius and Carla Gude
Paul T. and Merry Lynne Hamilton
John Wayne Hanlen, Jr.
Justin Ward Hanson
Ray L. and Connie M. Hauser
Lawrence D. and Rose Ann Hazzard
Robert Joseph and Valerie Wilk Hensle
Daniel L. and Judy M. Hernandez
Michael Jacob and Helen Marie Bartsch Herriage
Stanley Y. and Bunny Linda Ishimoto
Nan E. Joesten and Hank P. Leeper
Arthur Walter and Barbara C. John
David Joseph Kasik
Jenifer Serafin and Aaron Stuart Kennedy
Maurice H. Kent
Paul Thomas Kitze and Patricia Cole-Kitze
Carin Shirley and Bradley David Knickel
Raymond L. and Sandra J. Kolibaba
Evalyn Kragh
Arthur J. and Valera Kroese
Corwin H. Lakin
Paul Hun Lee
David William and Barbara M. Lewis
Kevin LiVigni
Leif and Mary Goodbar Lomo
Bartholomew David and Sara Lorang
Mark A. and Mary Sue Lostak
Edward Woolf and Julie Sloan Lowenbaum
Judd E. and Susan M. Lundt
Edward N. and Nancy Jones Madison
Peter A. and Ruth Krebs Mannetti
Diana Lynn Manning and Alan Skranak
H. George and Edithellen L. Marshall
Stephen Todd Marshall
T. Scott and Janet A. Martin
Steven Giles Martini
Paul Michael and Suzanne Masterson
Bruce Howard and Kimberly Elyse Mathers
William B. and Joy Mathews
William Randall and Diana Mayben
Michael Richard and Flora Betancourt McAtee
Dennis Earl McNally and Cynthia Loomis
Douglas Edward and Patricia A. Miller
Richard Nelson and Jo Anne Miller
Roland W. and Carol Miller
John Charles and Susan R. Mollenkopf
Kenneth Nels and Mary S. Monson
Gerald D. and Jane Mordhorst
J.M. and Michelle L. Oschmann
Hsiu Chunj Pan and Chia-Chuan Chow
Clifford Lee and Carol Morgan Pearson
K. Scott Perrin and Patricia Nichols-Perrin
Lanny and Carmen Pinchuk
M. Jeanne Place
Richard P. and Arleen Ann Porter
Frank Phillip and Kim Ann Prager
David Allen and Brenda M. Rageth
Gregory Scott Resnick
Ernesto Guillermo and Maria A. Rey
David Barron and Judy Jo Richmond
Fran Rominger
Alfred M. and Mildred Burford Sanders
Paul Frederick and Ellen Glee Scheele
Nathan and Alicia Seidle
Steven N. Semerak
Charles K. and Marion E. Shanks
James Walter and Rosanne D. Shaw
Ronald A. Sinton
George A. and Mary Ruth Sissel
Douglas Gene and Cynthia S. Smith
Michael C. and Tracey O. Springman
Ashok Narain Srivastava and Lynn Clare Waelde
Michael G. and Donna L. Stockman
Larry George and Beverly Ann Stolarczyk
Ted and Karen Stone
Tina Lynn Sutermeister
Gary Keith and Gretchen Louise Sutherland
Jeffrey William and Debbie Stewart Tayon
Tarn Brian Thompson
Kathryn Graese and Brett Fisher Tobey
Chantal Veevaete
Tony and Ellen M. Vento
Kenneth A. and Mary Jane Barton Vernon
Herbert Steven and Karen Young Vogel
James William Wade
Don D. Wallette, Jr.
Vanessa A. and Shea Patrick Williams
Daniel James and Kristin Willis
Michael Kenneth and Julie M. Wirth
John Charles and Beth Ann Nadeau Wojick
E. Robert and Karen Ruth Droller Yoches
George Charles and Olivia Yule
Nick Zajerko-Mckee
JoAnn Frances Zelasko
Anonymous
Anonymous

 

E-Days Returns with Annual Festivities, Contests

Engineering Days, or E­-Days, is a series of fun challenges hosted by the University of Colorado Engineering Council that celebrate the engineering profession by giving students the chance to apply their engineering skills in fun, exciting and creative ways.

In 2013, the week-long festival included some new events and old classics. Contests encouraged students to apply their engineering skills to innovative designs and projects - challenges that are intended to be fun and give the students a well-deserved break from classes before they begin studying for finals.

The Egg Drop is an all-time favorite among students, faculty, and staff. The event challenges students to create a device that will protect an egg that will be dropped from the engineering office tower's eighth story. Prizes are given for the biggest crowd pleaser, the best use of an engineering principle, the most destroyed contraption with an unbroken egg, the largest volume entry, and the dean and department faculty's top choices.

Enrollment & Degrees


 

Financials

Make a Difference

You can make an impact in the lives of engineering students and help to solve some of the world's important challenges.

A gift to the College of Engineering and Applied Science allows us to pioneer education and hands­-on learning, conduct research that solves critical problems, engage in real­-world partnerships with industry leaders, support a diverse community of inspired people, and deliver a strong return on investment to our students.

Make a Positive Impact Today

Learn more about the exciting opportunities to support a department, program or initiative that is meaningful to you. Contact the BEST (BioFrontiers, Engineering, Science and Technology) Team today at 303­-492­-7899 or email engineering@colorado.edu.

ATLAS PhD Develops PartoPen to Improve Maternal Care

“I began to see my work expanding into occupational work flow,” says Underwood. “How are things done? How can existing procedures be improved?”

According to the World Health Organ­ization (WHO), nearly 300,000 women die every year from pregnancy­-related complications, mostly in the developing world. Heather Underwood, who gradu­ated in December 2013 from the ATLAS Insti­tute PhD program, sought to change this by developing the PartoPen.

The PartoPen is an interactive digital pen­-based system that works with an existing paper-­based labor monitoring system, the partograph. Widely used around the world, the partograph was promoted by the WHO in 1994 when a study demonstrated its effectiveness in improving birth outcomes in underdevel­oped regions.

In a paper that won the first­-place graduate student award in the presti­gious Grand Finals of the 2013 Student Research Competition of the Association for Computing Machinery, Underwood wrote, "Used correctly, the partograph provides decision support that assists  in early detection of maternal and fetal complications during labor. Especially  in rural clinics, early detection allows transport decisions to be made in time for a woman to reach a regional facility capable of performing emergency obstetric procedures."

The PartoPen uses customizable software written by Underwood for the Livescribe 2GB Echo digital pen. It captures and synchronizes audio and handwritten text and digitizes handwrit­ten notes into searchable, printable documents. An infrared camera in the tip reads a pre-­printed dot pattern (placed by a laser printer) allowing the pen to detect its location on the page, interpret data, perform various functions and communicate with users.

"One of the key messages of Infor­mation and Communication Technology for Development as a field is the need  to understand and work with the existing social and cultural factors when intro­ducing a new technology," Underwood says. "While the PartoPen is a useful tool, you need a lot of things in place before realizing its full benefits."

Spending 12 to 15 hours in Kenyan labor wards on a daily basis helped her better understand the paper/data trail - and where improvements can be made. "I began to see my work expanding into occupational work flow," she says. "How are things done? How can existing procedures be improved?"

> Read the story of Underwood winning the top graduate student award in the Association for Computing Machinery Student Research Competition Grand Finals
> Learn more about her research at PartoPen.com

 

New Residential Academic Program Helps Prepare Students for Global Engineering Careers

“Our goal is to graduate globally competent engineers,” says Sabol.

The largest engineering firms today earn more than 50 percent of their income from international projects, which is why global awareness and cultural fluency are critical to future engineers.

A comprehensive global strategy is a top priority for the college's Engineering 2020 strategic plan, but work is already happening in individual departments, classrooms and dorm rooms.

The Global Engineering Residential Academic Program (RAP) is the newest living and learning option for first­-year undergraduates at CU-Boulder. Located at the new Kittredge Central residence hall, just minutes on foot or bike from the Engineering Center, the Global Engineering RAP is more than just a co­hort of students who geek out on science and math. Its mission is to provide a community for engineering students who want to practice and improve their foreign language skills while focusing on global engineering projects  and IT-­driven intercultural communication.

Launched in fall 2013, the Global Engineering RAP has enrolled 57 engineering undergraduate students, 52 of whom are freshmen.

The college's first-­year and graduating senior surveys indicate that students are very interested in global engineering as a growth field, and highly motivated to focus on it as an area of crucial personal development.

"Our goal is to graduate globally competent engineers who can work across cultures and design innovative products and processes appropriate to local communities around the world," says Karey Sabol, the college's new director of international programs.

This goal includes significantly increasing the number of international students from a wide range of countries studying at CU-Boulder; designing new and improved opportunities for students to study, research and intern abroad; developing comprehensive international partnerships; and ensuring that all students have plenty of opportunities to work in multicultural teams and to study world economies, cultures and languages.

The Global Engineering RAP gives students the opportunity to integrate their humanities and social sciences course work into their engineering stud­ies. It also enables them to bring a clearly differentiated communications skill set beyond just technical skills to their internships and job interviews.
 

 

Celebrating 30 Years of Distance Education

“CAETE has been at the forefront meeting the evolving needs of in­dividuals and companies since the very beginning,” says Fusco.

The 2013-14 academic year marks the 30th anniversary of the College of Engineering and Applied Science's Center for Advanced Engineering and Technology Education (CAETE). A pioneer in distance learning and profes­sional studies, CAETE provides convenient and flexible education for working professionals by offering graduate engineering degree programs and certifi­cates in an accessible, online format.

Thousands of companies from across the nation and around the globe have participated in CAETE programs. "Back in 1983 when the CAETE program was launched, who could have imaged how significant a role distance learning would play in helping professionals acquire the knowledge and skills to elevate their careers to new levels?" says Dave Fusco, CAETE director. "When CAETE was started, the term 'distance learning' was little more than a fresh new concept on the education landscape. Now it's a household name, and CAETE has been at the forefront meeting the evolving needs of in­dividuals and companies since the very beginning."

Consistently ranked as one of the best online graduate resources, CAETE delivers distance learning virtually anywhere around the world. It gives profes­sionals the power to reach educational goals without ever setting foot in a classroom. Affordable Colleges Online recently named CAETE as one of the top 35 colleges revolutionizing online education.

Here's to the next 30 years: May they be as successful and rewarding for our students and faculty as the first 30 years have been!

 

Racing to the Top Through STEM with Longmont K-12 Schools

The St. Vrain Valley School District's close partnership with CU-Boulder's Integrated Teaching and Learning (ITL) Program was pivotal in its receipt of the U.S. Department of Education's prestigious Race to the Top grant. The $16.5 million grant was one of only 16 awarded nationally among 356 applicants, and St. Vrain Valley was the only Colorado school district selected.

The grant supports science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education in the elementary and middle schools to better prepare students for college.

The ITL Program's GK-12 engineering education initiative, which is funded by the National Science Foundation, plays a vital role in the eight K-8 schools that feed into Skyline High School, and it has helped create and develop Skyline's STEM Acad­emy into a rigorous academic endeavor, with 341 students enrolled this year. For the past five years, CU-Boulder engineering PhD fellows have engaged more than 2,000 St. Vrain Valley School District students annually through hands­ on engineering instruction that allows them to realize that STEM futures are within their reach. The fellows demonstrate that anything is possible when K-12 youth harness their creative energy and are mo­tivated to work hard to fulfill their dreams.

“Engineering is about creating things for the good of society,” says Sullivan.

In November, Jackie Sullivan, co­ director of the ITL Program, presented  the keynote talk at St. Vrain Valley School District's inaugural community-wide STEM­ Comm Gala. "Engineering is about creating things for the good of society," Dr. Sullivan said. "It's about propelling our nation's economy to create the innovations that drive our way of life."

The St. Vrain Valley School District ex­emplifies what happens when visionary educational leaders are united in a cause and supported by meaningful partnerships with higher education, industry and the community.

CU-Boulder is making a difference in the future of Colorado's engineering pipeline, and - just as importantly - introducing the lexicon of engineering to more than 2,000 students each year as part of their everyday science curriculum.

 

Engineering Design Expo Continues to Wow Industry, Family, Community

More than 350 engineering students demonstrated their innovations and inventions to the community at the annual fall Engineering Design Expo in December 2013. The Design Expo is held twice a year, at the end of the fall and spring semesters, at the Integrated Teaching and Learning Laboratory on the CU-Boulder campus. Student groups from all engineering majors are invited to display their projects for volunteer judges, fellow students and the public. Projects are judged on factors such as design robustness, creativity and innovation.

Discovery Learning: Apprentices Tackle Critical Issues Through Undergraduate Research

“The DLA program gave me the invaluable opportunity to work as a research assistant on projects with a real impact on society, and expanded my skill set beyond what I learned in the classroom,” says Foss.

An undergraduate career is not a thing to waste. In the 2013-14 academic year, 54 undergraduate engineering students in the Discovery Learning Apprentice­ship program have decided to take full advantage of the short amount of time they will have on campus. In addition to taking full course loads, they spend 10 hours a week conducting research to solve problems locally, globally, and in outer space.

Nancy Lux, a senior studying environmental engineering, is working with Profes­sor Joe Ryan to better understand the effects of hydraulic fracturing on Colorado's eastern plains and foothills.

"Even though it has only been a few months since I started my research with Joe Ryan's team, I have already had the privilege to go out into the field to take samples, as well as learn new computer programs that will be valuable knowledge for other career opportunities," says Lux.

Aerospace engineering sophomore Anthony Lima is working with Professor Hanspeter Schaub on potential methods to clean up space debris. He says his exposure to the nature of graduate research has encouraged him to pursue graduate school in the future.

"The DLA program gave me the invalu­able opportunity to work as a research assistant on projects with a real impact on society. It expanded my skill set beyond what I learned in the classroom."

Started in 2004 with 12 students undertaking research for a single semester, the Discovery Learning Apprenticeship program has grown over the past 10 years into a yearlong program with 57 students currently participating in research projects across the college. Continued growth is anticipated at a rate of five additional students and projects per year.

A unique aspect of the program is that students are paid for their work - $10 per hour with up to 150 hours of work per semester and the opportunity for a $1 raise after a successful fall semester. Half of these wages come from faculty or department budgets, while the Dean's Office - thanks in part to the support of generous donors - covers the other half.

"This program is not just a job; it has given me new skills, experiences, and connec­tions," says environmental engineering junior Mallory Cottingham (in photo at right), who along with sophomore Courtney Foss (in photo at left) is working with Associate Professor Alan Mickelson to develop and distribute a low­-cost portable battery pack for Haitians to alleviate energy issues caused by the 2010 earthquake. "Above all else, I feel as though what I am doing will have an impact on the world and lives of so many people."

> Learn more about the Discovery Learning Apprenticeship program

 

New Pre-­Engineering Program Facilitates Transition into Engineering

Applications to the College of Engineering and Applied Science have increased dramatically in recent years, as has the quality of our incoming first-­year freshman students. Along with this trend, the number of applicants with an interest in engineer­ing who are not initially successful in being admitted to the college also has grown.

Many students who are declined immediate admission to the College of Engi­neering and Applied Science ultimately enroll in CU's College of Arts and Sciences. To help these students achieve their goal of becoming engineers, the College of Engineering and Applied Science and the College of Arts and Sciences collaborated to create the Pre­-Engineering Program, which provides a structured pathway of CU-Boulder course work combined with academic advising support from both colleges. More than 500 students are participating in the program's inaugural year, says James Murray, program coordinator.

To facilitate their successful transition into engineering, Pre-­Engineering students enroll in appropriate math and science courses during their first year of study. They also enroll in the Introduction to Engineering course for their first semester to learn about CU's 13 undergraduate engineering majors and the wide range of careers associated with those majors. Minimum grade and GPA requirements must be met to secure admission to the college. Most students can complete these requirements in three semesters, while some may do so in as few as two semesters.

Beyond academics, Pre-Engineering students are encouraged to live on campus in one of the engineering­-affiliated student communities, join engineering student organizations and societies, and participate in college events such as Engineering Days.

> Learn more about the Pre-­Engineering Program

CU, MIT breakthrough in photonics could allow for faster and faster electronics

A pair of breakthroughs in the field of silicon photonics by researchers at CU-Boulder, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Micron Technol­ogy Inc. could allow for the trajectory of exponential improvement in micro­ processors that began nearly half a century ago - known as Moore's Law - to continue well into the future, allowing for increasingly faster electronics, from supercomputers to laptops to smartphones.

The research team, led by CU-Boulder researcher Milos Popovic, an as­sistant professor of electrical, computer and energy engineering, developed a new technique that allows microprocessors to use light, instead of electrical wires, to communicate with transistors on a single chip, a system that could lead to extremely energy­-efficient computing and a continued skyrocketing  of computing speed.

First laid out in 1965, Moore's Law predicted that the size of the transis­tors used in microprocessors could be shrunk by half about every two years for the same production cost, allowing twice as many transistors to be placed on the same-­sized silicon chip. The net effect would be a doubling of computing speed every couple of years.

This exciting innovation could mean Moore's Law could be extended into the future.

The projection has held true until relatively recently. In the last half-­dozen years, microprocessor manufacturers, such as Intel, have been able to con­tinue increasing computing speed by packing more than one microprocessor into a single chip to create multiple "cores." But that technique is limited by the amount of communication that then becomes necessary between the microprocessors, which also requires hefty electricity consumption.

Using light waves instead of electrical wires for microprocessor communi­cation functions could eliminate the limitations now faced by conventional micro­processors and extend Moore's Law into the future, Popovic says.

Optical communication is already the foundation of the Internet and the majority of phone lines. But to make optical communication an economically viable option for microprocessors, the photonics technology has to be fabri­ cated in the same foundries that are being used to create the microprocessors. Photonics have to be integrated side by side with the electronics in order to get buy­-in from the microprocessor industry, Popovic says.

In two papers published in Optics Letters with CU-Boulder postdoctoral researcher Jeffrey Shainline as lead author, the research team refined their original photonic­electronic chip further, detailing how the crucial optical mod­ulator, which encodes data on streams of light, could be improved to become more energy efficient. That optical modulator is compatible with a manufac­turing process used to create state­-of­-the-­art multicore microprocessors  such as the IBM Power7 and Cell, which is used in the Sony PlayStation 3.

The CU-­led effort is a part of a larger project on building a complete photonic processor­-memory system, which includes research teams from MIT, Micron Technology and the University of California, Berkeley. The re­ search was funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the National Science Foundation.

 

Seven CU students among Twenty20s award winners

Seven CU-Boulder aerospace engineering students are among 20 top students who were recognized in November 2013 with a new national award honoring tomorrow’s engineering leaders sponsored by Penton’s Aviation Week in partnership with Raytheon.

The “Twenty20s” awards honor the academic achievements and leadership of top engineering, math, science and technology students.

The awards were presented during Aviation Week’s annual Aerospace & Defense Programs Conference in Phoenix.

“I am delighted with the national recognition our outstanding aerospace undergraduate and graduate students are receiving from Aviation Week,” says Penina Axelrad, chair of CU-Boulder’s Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences.

“All of them bring incredible passion and impressive technical skills to their classwork and to an extensive portfolio of professional and extracurricular activities. Each is on a fast track to making remarkable contributions in fields like space exploration and satellite-based Earth observations.”

The high-profile projects and research portfolios of the seven students cover a wide range of critical issues facing the field of aerospace engineering today.

In addition to their outstanding academic achievements, the students were selected for their leadership and civic involvement outside of the classroom. All are active in professional and student societies and volunteer their time to help others, from encouraging K–12 outreach to volunteering with Habitat for Humanity to mentoring and tutoring fellow classmates.

Award Winners

Doctoral Candidates

  • Paul Anderson: Working to model geostationary space debris
  • Jake Gamsky: Helping to design the Dream Chaser commercial spacecraft as an intern at Sierra Nevada Corp. and conducting research on human spaceflight life-support technology
  • Brad Cheetham: Working closely with the Federal Aviation Administration, developing and co-teaching graduate-level courses on commercial spaceflight
  • Erin Griggs: Developing a next-generation Global Positioning System receiver for spacecraft
  • Dan Lubey: Studying space situational awareness to detect and model satellite maneuvers

Undergraduates

  • Kirstyn Johnson and Mike Lotto (both in their senior year of the undergraduate portion of their concurrent bachelor’s and master’s degrees): Working together as part of a capstone senior project design team that is developing a dust impact monitor capable of measuring the size of tiny cosmic dust particles near the surface of the sun

New General Engineering Plus degree sparks passion for STEM teaching

The program intends to become a model for engineering colleges across the nation that believe the best should teach.

General Engineering Plus (GE+), a new design-­focused degree launched in fall 2013, provides flexibility for students to design their education through a discipline-­based engineering focus area, coupled with a concentration such as CU Teach Engineering, Entrepreneurship or Pre-­medicine. It is co­-directed by Derek Reamon and Jackie Sullivan.

The GE+ degree grew out of the College of Engineering and Applied Science's desire to produce, at scale, secondary math or science teachers to raise the bar for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) literacy in middle and high schools. CU Teach Engineering is the inaugural concentration of GE+ and presents a novel, streamlined approach to STEM teacher licensure.

The creative, integrative nature of engineering provides a motivating environment for improved learning of fundamental science and math princi­ ples and is shown to be an effective way to introduce youth to relevant  and innovative STEM content through exploration of the designed world.

For Andi Vicksman, a GE+ CU Teach Engineering sophomore, this means teaching high school math. Vicksman has always loved math but recognizes that many students don't understand how it is applicable to the world around them. Vicksman intends to integrate concepts from applied mathematics and engineering for high school math through project­-based learning, believing that "doing different projects that involve math and engineering will get students more involved."

Launched through a grant from the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation - whose goal is to develop, support and retain 100,000 high­-quality STEM teachers over the next 10 years - CU Teach Engineering intends to become a model for engineering colleges across the nation that believe the best should teach.

> Learn more about the General Engineering Plus program

 

Luftig Named Vice Chancellor in New Office for Performance Improvement

“The goal is to create a permanent culture of improvement to provide sustained growth, innovation and personnel satisfaction,” says Luftig.

Engineering Management Program Professor Jeffrey T. Luftig has been appointed vice chancellor for process innovation for CU-Boulder's newly created Office for Performance Improvement. In his new role, Luftig will apply his Business Performance Excellence (BPE) manage­ment model to develop process innovations that will improve quality and performance in academic and nonacademic units across campus. The Office of Information Technol­ogy engaged in this process over the past year as a pilot and has found significant, positive improvements in how it serves the campus.

"I'm very excited about the new Office of Performance Improvement and honored to have been selected to help lead this endeavor," says Luftig. "The BPE manage­ment model is a major focus of my curriculum in the Engineering Management Program. Having the chance to implement it for the university is quite a thrill. The  goal is to create a permanent culture of improvement to provide sustained growth, innovation and personnel satisfaction.

Plus, implementing the BPE model on campus provides us with a valuable teaching tool - a real­-life application for students and faculty to witness and study. It enables me to 'practice what we preach' based on experience and instruction from the EMP."

Luftig will continue teaching in the EMP, where he served as the Lockheed Martin Professor of Management and director from May 2012 to July 2013. Before working at CU, Luftig was founder and president of a consulting firm that specialized in the quality sciences, applied research and business performance improvement and served a number of Fortune 100 and 500 firms in North America, South America, Asia, Europe and Australia.

EMP Professor Barb Lawton is serving as interim director of the Engineering Management Program through June, when Professor Dan Moorer will take over as director of the program.

 

College Faculty and Staff Updates

Doug Smith (MS CivEngr '75) has stepped into the role of assistant dean for programs and engagement. Smith will focus on student and faculty programs to support college growth and excellence, engagement of alumni and industry partners, and college marketing and communications. He has served as an adjunct professor in sanitary engineering and as a member of the Engineering Advisory Council in addition to other volunteer and fundraising roles at the college. Smith has served in executive roles in the engineering and construction industries since 1989. His professional and educational history includes organizational leadership in the U.S. and abroad, law school at the University of Denver, and the Senior Executive Program at the London Business School.

Sarah Miller has been appointed assistant dean for inclusive excellence, providing vision and leadership for the recruitment, retention and success of outstanding and diverse students, faculty and staff. She leads the Broadening Opportunity through Leadership and Diversity (BOLD) Center. Miller comes to CU-Boulder from the National Science Foundation, where she worked in STEM education as an American Association for the Advancement of Science fellow. She holds a doctorate in chemical and environmental engineering from Yale University and a bachelor's in chemistry from Amherst College.

Mark D. Gross has been named director of the campus Alliance for Technology, Learning and Society, or ATLAS Institute. Gross taught at CU-Boulder from 1990 to 1999 as an assistant and associate professor of architecture, planning and design. He returns to CU-Boulder for the ATLAS post from Carnegie Mellon University. Gross' research interests include design methods, modular robotics, computationally enhanced construction kits and crafts, sketch tools and applications, and human interaction with computers as an increasingly common experience in many aspects of the physical world.

Jana Milford is the new chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Her research addresses technical, legal and policy aspects of air pollution. Milford's primary technical focus is modeling the chemistry and transport of ozone, secondary organic aerosols and other photochemical air pollutants. Her research includes application of formal sensitivity and uncertainty analysis and optimization techniques to chemistry and transport models, and use of these models in making decisions.

R. Scott Summers was named the new director of the Environmental Engineering Program. He has been a professor of environmental engineering at CU-Boulder since 1998 and has more than 30 years of drinking water research experience. His areas of expertise are adsorption and biological treatment technologies as applied organic compounds. For the last 10 years he has researched water treatment technologies for developing communities. He was the director of the Center for Drinking Water Optimization, funded by the USEPA, from 1998 to 2004. In 2013 he received the international A.P. Black Award for drinking water research.

Jackie Sullivan and Derek Reamon are the new co­-directors of the General Engineering Plus Program, a new undergraduate degree program launched in fall 2013 that provides design-­focused engineering students the flexibility to simultaneously complete the requirements for a pre­-approved concentration such as CU Teach Engineering, Engineering Management, Entrepreneurship, Business, Pre-­med, etc.

CU-Boulder Engineers Win NSF's Prestigious CAREER Awards

Prashant Nagpal

Franck Vernerey

Two faculty members have been honored with the National Science Foundation’s prestigious CAREER awards.

The NSF Faculty Early Career Development, or CAREER, award supports junior faculty members who demonstrate excellence in research and who effectively integrate their research with education.

CU-Boulder’s recent recipients are Prashant Nagpal, an assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering, and Franck Vernerey, an assistant professor of civil, environmental and architectural engineering. They join 52 other CU engineering faculty who have received CAREER awards.

Nagpal is being awarded $499,077 over five years to work on improving the amount of energy from the sun that photovoltaic panels can convert into electricity. Nagpal’s work focuses on using “hot carriers” in quantum-confined semiconductor nanostructures to capture the waste energy that cannot be captured by the bulk semiconductors used in today’s solar panels.

Nagpal also will investigate if semiconductor nanostructures can be used as photocatalysts to split water, creating clean hydrogen fuel, or to generate other hydrocarbon solar fuels using carbon dioxide, water and sunlight in an artificial photosynthetic process.

Vernerey is being awarded $400,000 over five years to develop mathematical models that can predict and control the regeneration of damaged tissues from a patient’s own cells in a hydrogel scaffolding.

Vernerey’s work could eventually enable personalized medicine by introducing a new generation of algorithms that can learn from the behavior of specific cell populations and predict the type of scaffolding that will lead to successful tissue regeneration. In the long term, this strategy could provide an alternative to tissue or organ transplants.

> Learn more about Nagpal and Vernerey's awards

College Awards and Honors

The College of Engineering and Applied Science recognizes outstanding faculty and staff through a variety of honors and awards. The most prestigious of these are the annual College Faculty and Staff Awards. Each award is valued at $1,500 and will be pre­sented at the Engineering Awards Banquet on April 25 at the Stadium Club at Folsom Field on the CU-Boulder campus. Congratulations to the 2013 award winners:

  • Claire Yang, Undergraduate Academic Advisor, Aerospace Engineering Sciences, Outstanding Staff Award
  • Balaji Rajagopalan, Professor of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering, Faculty Research Award
  • Michael Brandemuehl, Professor of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering, Max S. Peters Faculty Service Award
  • Mark Rentschler, Mechanical Engineering, Charles Hutchinson Memorial Teaching Award

Additional faculty and staff awards include:

  • The 2013 Dean's Faculty Performance Awards were awarded to Kurt Maute of aerospace engineering sciences (for teaching), Rich Noble of chemical and biological engineering (for research), Nikolaus Correll of computer science (for professional progress), and Daven Henze of mechanical engineering (for junior faculty).
  • Matt Hallowell of civil, environmental and architectural engineering was selected as the college's Outstanding Faculty Advisor. Lesley McDowell of computer science was selected as the college's Outstanding Staff Advisor. Derek Reamon of mechanical engineering was selected to receive the John & Mercedes Peebles Innovation in Education Award from the college.
  • Jessica Wright, Ann Scott, Melinda Seevers and Noel Brendefur of the BioFrontiers, Engineering, Science and Technology (BEST) Development Team received recognition in the Million Dollar Club for FY13, awarded to CU development staff members who raised $1 million or more in the past fiscal year.
  • Scot Douglass of the Herbst Humanities and Engineering Honors programs was selected as a CU President’s Teaching Scholar.
  • Xinzhao Chu of aerospace engineering sciences and Arthi Jayaraman and Will Medlin of chemical and biological engineering received the Provost’s Faculty Achievement Award.
  • Paul Chinowsky of civil, environmental and architectural engineering was elected chair of the Boulder Faculty Assembly for 2013–14.
  • Kristi Anseth of chemical and biological engineering was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, a top honor recognizing scientists and engineers for their distinguished and continuing achievements in research. She was also honored with the Society for Biological Engineering’s 2013 James E. Bailey Award.

The Boulder Faculty Assembly selected the following engineering faculty for its 2012–13 Excellence Awards.

  • BFA Excellence in Teaching: Christine Hrenya of chemical and biological engineering and Dragan Maksimovic of electrical, computer and energy engineering
  • BFA Excellence in Research: Kristine Larson of aerospace engineering sciences and Karl Linden of civil, environmental and architectural engineering
  • BFA Excellence in Service: Janet deGrazia of chemical and biological engineering

Associate Dean Honored With Excellence in Leadership Award

Diane Sieber (in photo at left), associate dean for education at the college, was honored with the annual Excellence in Leadership Award given by CU's systemwide Excellence in Leadership Program.

JoAnn Zelasko (right), assistant dean for administration at the college, intro­duced Sieber as "truly a 21st-century leader." Sieber's CU career includes serving as co-director of the ATLAS Institute from 2000 to 2007, then directing the Herbst Program of Humanities in Engineering for five years. Before joining the engineering faculty, Sieber, who grew up in Spain, was an associate professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese.

Alumni Abroad

The College of Engineering and Applied Science at CU-Boulder educates globally minded engineers who are committed to making a difference in Colorado and the world by solving the world's biggest problems through practical solutions.

Our Engineering Alumni network is nearly 40,000 strong, spanning industries across the globe and representing more than 90 countries.

Jens Schiefele
MS CompSci '94
Jeppesen
Germany

"Studying at CU-Boulder changed me forever - learned to understand cultural diversity, different technical approaches, teamwork, and how to be managed over large distances. It truly prepared me to become an international research leader managing teams in seven different countries and two continents."

Ibrahim Almadhi
ChemEngr '12
Sadara Chemical Co.
Saudia Arabia

"Whenever I tell anyone that I'm a CU alumnus, I get many compliments about the robust engineering program that CU offers. The College of Engineering and Applied Science is well-­known in the Middle East, and that is because of the outstanding reputation its graduates have. The program provides the tools needed to fulfill a spectacular professional career."

Danielle Griego
ArchEngr, MS CivEngr '11
Nanyang Technological University
Singapore

"Now that I've lived abroad for the last two years I have really come to appreciate the unique perspective that I gained through my experiences at CU and in Boulder. The faculty, students and larger community have a certain excitement and optimism for addressing the challenges that we face as a global society today and I'm happy to have been a part of that community so early on in my career."

 

Tell us where you've made your mark!

Visit our alumni website today to add your story to our interactive alumni map, or send us an update for the next edition of our electronic newsletter.

Alumni Awards

Recent Alumni Award

Established in 2013, the CU Engineering Recent Alumni Award recognizes outstanding recent alumni for professional achievements, continued service to the college and/or university, and outstanding personal characteristics within 10 years of graduation from the College of Engineering and Applied Science.


Avery Bang
CEO of Bridges to Prosperity

Notable Achievements:

  • Leads Bridges to Prosperity (B2P), a nonprofit that builds pedestrian bridges in rural poor communities to provide access to essential services such as health care, schools and markets. Initiated B2P student chapters to partner with universities, inspiring young engineers to be humanitarians and citizens of the world.
  • Named one of Engineering News Record’s Top 25 Newsmakers of 2012.
  • Prolific public speaker, including TEDxBoulder and Engineers Without Borders International Conference.

Favorite CU Memory: When I arrived for my visit and a group of existing students were bouldering across the stonework on the outside of the Engineering Center. It was a moment of clarity - that I wanted to attend an institution that was not only held in high regard academically, but which also attracted like-minded students and faculty who believed in work-life balance. I fell in love with the program and campus on day one and have never looked back.

The Distinguished Engineering Alumni Awards (DEAA) were established in 1966 to honor outstanding graduates and friends of the College of Engineering and Applied Science at CU-Boulder. Each year these awards are given to individuals who have dis­tinguished themselves through their outstanding personal qualities, knowledge and significant contributions to their fields.

Awards are presented at the Engineering Awards Banquet held each spring. Want to nominate someone for a DEAA award or a Young Alumni Award? Learn more.

Jean Becker

Managing Director at Accenture
Award Category: Special

Notable Achievements:

  • First-generation college graduate with 23 years of experience as a business professional in the storage, telecommunications, energy management and health care industries.
  • Dedicated volunteer for the College of Engineering and Applied Science, serving on the Engineering Advisory Council and BOLD Advisory Council.
  • Strong passion for advancing opportunities for women and other students underrepresented in engineering fields.

Favorite CU Memory: Attending EAC meetings, meeting with students, and working with peers to advance the goals of the college. Also working on the BOLD Advisory Council and serving as a judge at the FIRST Robotics competition.

Col. David Goldstein

Director of Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles
Award Category: Government Service

Notable Achievements:

  • More than 24 years of Air Force experience leading large, complex, technically oriented organizations and teams conducting satellite, launch vehicle, ground control system and user terminal/receiver acquisition.
  • Deputy director for the Military Satellite Communications program, a $46 billion Department of Defense enterprise leading 14 different programs, including some of the U.S. military’s most advanced and critical satellites.
  • Engaging with CU-Boulder and the Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences, advising graduate students, giving lectures to classes, and encouraging top Air Force students to consider graduate school at CU.

Favorite CU Memory: Working with other graduate students who were attending class with me during my time at CU. I made lasting friendships that I still have today and I’m amazed at the accomplishments of those I graduated with.

T. Scott Martin

Chairman and CEO of EEC, LLC
Award Category: Industry and Commerce

Notable Achievements:

  • Entrepreneur in oil and gas exploration and production with developing expertise in horizontal directional drilling.
  • Member of the External Advisory Board for CU-Boulder’s Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, focused on improving the department’s fundraising strategy and student employment opportunities.
  • Founding board member of the Boulder Country Day School, a highly regarded independent school, and the Common Sense Policy Roundtable, a nonprofit think tank devoted to economic competitiveness for the state of Colorado.

Favorite CU Memory: The time I spent with Dr. David E. Clough (professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering).

Dave Zanetell

Senior Vice President of Edward Kraemer and Sons Inc.
Award Category: Government Service

Notable Achievements:

  • 25-year career with the Federal Highway Administration–Central Federal Lands, most recently as director of engineering (chief engineer).
  • Under his leadership, Central Federal Lands Highway Division was named a Top 25 project management organization worldwide.
  • Project manager for the $240 million Hoover Dam Bypass. The project, which was completed under budget, included the Mike O’Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge.

Favorite CU Memory: I enjoyed the many strategic debates and being challenged to think systematically by Professor Jim Diekman, lasting friendships, and building a professional network that remains active still today.

 

Inspiring Legacies Left by Two Distinguished Alumni

This fall, the College of Engineering and Applied Science lost two of its notable alumni - individuals who by way of their CU engineering degrees brought inspiration to many. They will be remembered not solely for their career achievements and professional accolades - one a pioneer of space exploration, the other a tireless advocate for the engineering profession - but for their commitment to lifelong learning and discovery.

Richard Weingardt (CivEngr '60, MS '64)

Engineering consultant, author and speaker Richard G. Weingardt will be remembered as a lifelong champion of generations of bright engineering students, encouraging them to "step forward and be heard" and reminding them that "the world is run by those who show up." Weingardt died in September at the age of 75.

A Colorado native, Weingardt was inspired to study engineering after visiting the famous Royal Gorge Suspension Bridge during a family vacation. Upon graduation from CU, he worked at the Bureau of Reclamation and Ketchum, Konkel, Ryan and Fleming before starting his own firm at the age of 27.

Richard Weingardt Consultants, Inc., completed more than 4,000 major projects worldwide and received over 100 engineering excellence awards. Projects included three airside terminals at the Denver International Airport, the Integrated Teaching and Learning Laboratory at CU-Boulder, the Jefferson County Government Center in Golden, Colo., and the Cowboy Hall of Fame Museum in Oklahoma City.

Weingardt was active on engineering boards at CU and the University of Texas among other national, state and local boards, and he was a past president of the American Consulting Engineers Council.

Weingardt received many honors from CU through the years, including the Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award, the George Norlin Lifetime Achievement Award, the Distinguished Service Award and an honorary doctorate degree from the Board of Regents.

Additionally, he was a worldwide traveler, public speaker and author of several books, including Forks in the Road, Reflections and Practical Advice on Societal Leadership; Circles in the Sky: The Life and Times of George Ferris, a biography about the triumphs and trials of the famed amusement ride inventor; and RAUT: Teacher, Leader, Engineer, about the contributions of CU's 12th president.

"Richard Weingardt's contributions to the students, faculty and alumni in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering cannot be overstated," says Keith Molenaar, department chair and K. Stanton Lewis Professor of Construction Engineering and Management.

"He provided sage advice to our faculty and shaped our strategic direction through his service on our board. His leadership in the American Consult­ ing Engineers Council and through service to other industry design associa­tions supported our alumni in their professional career long after graduation. His publications and other lasting contributions will continue to inspire us for years to come."

Scott Carpenter (Aero '49, HonDocSci '00)

A Naval aviator, astronaut and aquanaut, Scott Carpenter became an icon of American frontier exploration, bringing honor and distinction to the University of Colorado. The famed NASA Mercury astronaut, who became only the second American to orbit Earth and the fourth American to fly in space, died in October at the age of 88.

A Boulder High School graduate, Carpenter returned to his hometown after flight school training to study aeronautical engineering at CU-Boulder in 1945. Following a decade of service in the U.S. Navy, in April of 1959 he was selected by NASA to be an astronaut.

Carpenter orbited Earth three times on May 24, 1962, in NASA's Aurora 7 capsule before splashing down in the Atlantic Ocean. Although he was one course requirement short of graduating with a bachelor's degree in aeronautical engineering when he left CU in 1949, the university awarded him his degree in 1962 following the successful Aurora 7 flight.

Carpenter was the first of 18 CU-Boulder astronaut affiliates to have flown in space.

In 1967 he became the Navy's director of aquanaut operations during the SEALAB III experiment. After retiring from the Navy in 1969, Carpenter founded and became CEO of Sea Sciences Inc., a venture capital corporation that developed programs aimed at enhanced use of ocean resources and improved health of the planet. He later became a consultant, lecturer and author.

Carpenter and the other Mercury 7 astronauts created the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation in 1984, which now involves more than 80 astronauts and has dispersed more than $3 million to promising students in science and engineering since 1986.

"We are proud that Scott was an alumnus of our college. He was a trailblazer and pioneer whose achievements had a profound impact on our university, the nation, and world," said Dean Robert Davis.

"Scott was at the forefront of a long CU tradition of aerospace excellence. He embodied a spirit of exploration and discovery that exemplifies our college and our CU engineering community. He was always generous of his time, and I especially appreciated the times he came back to Boulder to talk with students. Scott will be missed but his legacy will no doubt continue to inspire us for years to come."

Engineering Magic: Keeping the Rides Running

“Coming to Disneyland when I was a kid was magical,” says Morrison, who is a program planning manager for integrated systems planning. “It still is.”

What's it like to work at the happiest place on earth? For Mike Morrison (MechEngr '96), it has sometimes been dark, wet and claustrophobic, but always magical.

Since 2004, Morrison has worked at Disneyland where he ensures the rides and attractions are safe while providing the exhilarating experience expected by the 50,000 daily visitors to the amusement park in Anaheim, California.

Little did Morrison know when he was studying to be a mechanical engineer that he would get to work in the exciting - and rarely seen - underbelly of the amusement park.

"I wanted to be a part of putting on the magic using my engineering knowledge and my lighting and sound production skills. I always felt like I belonged here."

In 2007, when Disney was designing World of Color, a nighttime extravaganza of water fountains, lights and laser projections, Morrison volunteered to lead a special team of engineers and electricians to work on the struc­ture - rather, underneath it and underwater. World of Color was mounted on a platform the size of a football field that was submerged in a lagoon during the day, to rise into the air after dark. Morrison and his team had to learn how to scuba dive in order to work on the structure's electrical and mechanical components.

Working below the huge structure in 15 feet of water with extremely poor visibility is equivalent to diving inside a shipwreck. So not only did he have to learn to scuba dive, Morrison also had to earn special diving certifica­tions. The dive team actually practiced diving into shipwrecks off the California coast to prepare for working on World of Color.

"Aside from skydiving," says Morrison, "it was one of the most enjoyable experiences I've ever had."

Morrison has the principal role in long­-range maintenance and sustainment proposals for the attractions and infrastructure. He recently compiled a list of 200 job proposals for multimillion dollar capital expense funding for FY2015.

"Disneyland is coming up on its 60th anniversary in 2015," he says. "Safety of course is our number one concern, but we also ensure that everything is refreshed and refurbished and rehabilitated when it needs to be."

After graduating in 1996, Morrison applied to Disneyland, but was turned down due to a lack of engineering experience. He worked as an engineer at Ball Corporation's metal container division and then as an engineering manager for a manufacturing plant in Los Angeles. A second attempt landed him a coveted position with Disney California Adventure as a third­-shift engineering manager overseeing a maintenance crew of electricians, engineers and technicians.

Late at night after all park guests are gone, crews come out to work on the rides and the special attractions. Every day, for instance, 96 man­-hours are spent inspecting and maintaining all the roller coaster vehicles and the track of the California Screamin' roller coaster.

After he had certified that required maintenance had been completed and the attractions were safe, Morrison would hop on the roller coaster and ride by himself in the quiet, darkened park. He listened to how the wheels sounded and how the tracks felt, and made sure the lighting and sound were operating in readiness for the next day.

"That was one of the most fun parts of working third shift," says Morrison. "I rode the roller-coasters at night when no one else was around, even in the rain."

In 2007, Morrison was promoted to second shift engineering services manager. His responsibilities shifted to emergency maintenance and support for operations during the day. As a management member of an incident team, Morrison helped coordinate the response to emergent situations that could range from earthquakes and fires in trash cans to a guest having a medical emergency.

He was promoted to his current position in the design and engineering division in 2011.

Morrison may have started his career in manufacturing, but the same basic engineering skills and knowledge apply to his work today, whether it's for roller coasters or complex water features.

"One of the best things CU did to prepare me for this job," says Morrison, "was the mechanical capstone project. I was better at hands-­on, practical skills than academics. I had to take calculus three times before I passed the class, but I really wanted to be a mechanical engineer so I kept at it."

During college, he was a Buff Bus driver. His capstone project was to retrofit an automatic door opener on one of the old buses that had a manual door opener. The resulting door opener became a production model for all campus buses, but just as importantly, the project was a breakthrough for Morrison.

"The capstone project showed me how to take knowledge and apply it," he says. "I went from being really poor academically to being on the dean's list. That's what I do every day at Disney - take the skill, knowledge and academics I learned at CU and apply it toward a practical result."

Maintaining the magic is a family affair for Morrison, whose six­-year-­old son likes to imitate his dad by doing his own inspections at the park, such as checking to see that light poles are lit and the rides are running.

"When I was a kid, it was about having that magical experience with my family," says Morrison. "Now it's about watching my son experience that magic and passing it along to our guests. Work doesn't get much better than that."

 

Senior Executive Thrives in Global Engineering Career

“My vision of myself has always been to be a highly accomplished person in my work, and to share my success with those around me,” says Glatch.

There is probably not an area in which Lisa Glatch (ChemEngr '84) hasn't worked - her résumé reads like a checklist across the career spectrum.

A chemical engineer by training, Glatch spent 24 years in a variety of roles with Fluor Corp., a global engineering construction company that takes in $27 billion revenue annually. Her roles included process engineer, project manager, senior vice president of human resources, special advisor to the U.S. Department of Transportation during the wake of the 2001 terrorist attacks, president of telecomm, and senior executive.

Highly versatile and unusually adaptable - you get the idea. "I have a tendency to say 'I've never done that before, but I'll go for it!'" says Glatch. "Being willing to take those risks is an adventure for me." And go for it she has - she's a Fortune 150 executive with an impressive track record working across large global organizations.

Until recently, Glatch was one of three senior vice presidents driving global sales for Jacobs, an international engineering, architecture and construction firm with nearly $12 billion in annual revenue. She left the company in March to accept a position as executive vice president and chief strategic development officer at CH2M Hill. In this new role, she will focus on ensuring key strategic growth for the firm across markets, regions and services for the company, whose annual revenue is $7 billion.

"My vision of myself has always been to be a highly accomplished person in my work, and to share my success with those around me," she says.

Q: How did your CU engineering education impact your career and your life?

A: I'm so appreciative of the education I received at CU - it's one of the reasons I'm still involved to this day. So many of the teachers I had didn't just teach me 'stuff'; they really stimulated my intellectual curiosity. The nature and mindset there is very much applied engineering and that has served me really well. The systems thinking approach I learned can be applied to so many different areas of life.

I think our people skills matter and have a big influence on our ability to take on leadership roles and make things happen. The open and social environment of Boulder is a big part of us developing as people and going on to become good leaders. At the end of the day you have to do things
with people, and through people.

Q: You've worked in almost every area of the energy industry. What do you see as the greatest opportunities in energy today?

A: Energy is such a fabulous area - the world in so many ways revolves around energy. It will always be an underpinning of the world economy and communities and it's never boring because there are so many phases and cycles.

Right now what I find particularly exciting is the shale oil and gas revolution in America. I work around the world, but to see the United States have a means to be more energy independent and to help fuel our economy is encouraging. And to be more competitive in chemicals and manufacturing as a means of having a relatively newfound source of energy is a real opportunity.

Of course we have to do things safely and thought­ fully, but I believe necessity is the mother of inven­tion. There was this need, and technology rose to fill the need.

It's a huge phenomenon with significant national and world impact, and it's pretty amazing. It's inspiring for me to know that I play a small part in that - I like having a greater purpose to what I'm doing day to day.

Q: What have been the highlights of your career?

A: The most memorable moments in my career are those when I have been able to make a national or global impact. Following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, I spent time in Washington, D.C., as an executive on loan to the Transportation Security Administration, where I helped develop policies to improve airport security.

So much of my life had been focused on my family, career and company. This was an opportunity to do something for my country. Working to make
airports safer for everyone was a once in a lifetime kind of experience that expanded my horizons and made me more keenly aware  of the sense of responsibility we have to our country and communities, taking care of one another as citizens.

Q: What has it been like being a female executive in an industry that is still very male dominated?

A: I'm probably a little guilty of having blind­ers on when it comes to that. I was always the last person in the room to notice I was the only woman or to be offended when someone said 'you guys.' Early on, it served me well that I was so focused on my own goals and vision; I just didn't let it be an issue.
Over time I've become more aware of the challenges women face in business, and I realize that not everyone is necessarily as thick skinned as I am. I strive to become a role model, mentor and advocate in trying to help other women achieve their goals and navigate the challenges they face.

 

Old­-fashioned Farming Using High Tech Equipment

“Every farm, every home, every human, everything we do affects the global climate,” says Lopez. “What we're doing here is establishing a sustainable model that anyone can follow.”

On a 120­-acre farm tucked away in the rolling plains 10 miles north of Boulder, Tom Lopez (AeroEngr '62) is farming the old­-fashioned way, while at the same time applying his skills and knowledge as an aerospace engi­neer. In this synergistic way, he is cultivating a sustainably run farm using no chemicals, pesticides or insecticides, and aims to generate all the farm's power using solar energy and wind­-generated power.

The model for Lone Hawk Farm, owned by Lopez and his wife, Kristin, is to reach not just a zero carbon footprint, but a positive carbon input. With one foot in the past and one in the present, Lopez looks to the future of farming as he hopes it will become.

Visitors to Lone Hawk Farm drive down a tree-­lined lane wending past the farmhouse and barns he designed using reclaimed lumber. Peacocks strut through the yard or stand sentinel on the wood fence. A clutch of chickens peck at insects in the bushes while beyond the barns, horses graze in grassy fields.

In the years since Lopez bought the land on an impulse in 1975, he and Kristin, a research assistant and lecturer in CU­Boulder's Department of Integrative Physiology, have developed what was a nearly treeless prairie into a productive, diversified farm that provides the community with organi­cally grown produce, as well as a venue for celebrating special events.
"There's a collective memory of farm living," says Kristin, "a yearning to experience that and share it with one's children. We want to give people the opportunity to dig a carrot, feel a warm egg, take a bird walk and share what we've learned about farming. People come out for different reasons; we hope to be a resource for the community."

Freshly harvested vegetables, such as lettuce, kale, beans, tomatoes and squash are available to buy or people can pick the produce themselves. There also are organic chicken eggs for sale. Monthly farm-­to-­table dinners are held at the farm and feature produce from the fields. The spacious event barn can be rented for weddings and other special events. Pasture boarding is available for horses with ample space to run and trails for riding.

"We don't register as organic because we're not that big," says Lopez, "but our gardens and hay are chemical­-free. Manure for the gardens comes from the horses."

Lopez, who used to race motorcycles when he was single, built a large dirt motorcycle track when he first bought the land. Kristin's reaction, he says, was less than enthusiastic when she saw the motorcycle track.

"She ground her teeth, narrowed her eyes and began ordering trees to plant," says Lopez, chuckling.

Nearly 40 years and 10,000 trees later, the motorcycle track has given way to a lush landscape with ponds, gardens, a vineyard and an orchard.

While most farmers tend their fields on tractors that emit petrochemical exhaust, Lopez uses an exhaust-free electric riding tractor he designed and fitted with a solar panel, along with a hydraulic lift and hydraulic steering. Energy stored in deep-cell golf cart batteries on the tractor runs a variety of farm equipment, from chain saws to air compressors. In December 2013, Lopez received a patent on his tractor. He has also retrofitted lawn mowers and walking plows to charge with solar panels.

His entrepreneurial spirit fosters ideas so that he’s constantly tinkering, inventing and innovating. A background in engineering provides the knowhow to put his designs into motion.

After graduating in 1962 with a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering, Lopez pursued a varied career that included working for a meteorological company in Boulder and designing a wing-shaped weather balloon that was used by the National Center for Atmospheric Research to study the planet’s boundary layer. He launched a company designing robotic systems for industrial automation. A second company sprang from the first and was later acquired by a Wall Street firm. Along the way Lopez was issued nine patents.

“Aerospace is a broad format of engineering,” he says. “It incorporates electrical, electronic, hydraulic, computer and mechanical systems. If you’re going to build a rocket to send into space, you have to know a lot of different things. My tractor could operate on the moon.”

On the couple’s farm can be found machinery and implements a typical farm would have, with one exception - a plasma cutter. Lopez uses a CAD computer system to design customized machine parts. The plasma cutter enables him to cut efficiently and quickly the individual shapes in steel.

Lopez is designing a sophisticated visual system to use with a mechanical cutter that will be able to identify and cut weeds between the rows of vegetables. He is also building a power station with solar panels and a wind turbine, which will take Lone Hawk Farm another step closer to energy self-sufficiency.

Another of his goals is to develop a company to make electric tools and customized implements and attachments for farming and gardening. He would like to be remembered as a leader in sustainable farming and, along with Kristin, aspires to leave the land better than they found it. It is the attitude of a pioneer coupled with the knowledge of a 21st century technological innovator. Lopez’s diverse accomplishments and lofty yet down-to-earth goals have brought him much satisfaction.

“What’s not to love,” says Lopez, gazing out over his land. “I love my wife. I love my farm. I love my life. It doesn’t get better than that.”

Idea Forge Will Foster a Hands­-On Learning Culture for Students

This spring, CU­-Boulder will re­ purpose approximately 22,000 square feet of the former law library in the Fleming Building to create the Idea Forge, a flexible, cross-discipli­nary collaborative space where stu­dents can create and test products and solutions to meet a range of societal and customer needs.

The Idea Forge, which will house a series of reconfigurable, intercon­nected "makerspaces," is slated to open in fall 2014. The space in­cludes Design Center Colorado and will support student teams working on invention and innovation as part of their course work, as well as design and development driven by entrepreneurial-­minded individuals and service-­oriented groups such as Engineers Without Borders.

The College of Engineering and Applied Science, with its rich history of design­-build and discovery-­based learning, is creating the Idea Forge to be an inspiring space for the engineering student population, which is expected to grow to more than 6,000 students in the next two to three years.

"One of the fundamentals for culti­vating a successful design program is an area that provides tools for ingenious design and fabrication. The Idea Forge will be that and more," says mechanical engineering senior Jeffrey Erhard.

The "Forge" will be designed to support interactions among a variety of students. The space and equip­ment will be open to students in all departments and programs in the College of Engineering and Applied Science, including the college’s resi­dential academic programs and the ATLAS Institute, as well as those enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences, the new Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science program, and the new Pre­-Engineering Program. "The Boulder community does a great job with fostering new ideas, and a space like the Idea Forge will help students build, change, collab­orate and ultimately grow their ideas by providing the resources to further build upon a class or personal proj­ect," says mechanical engineering graduate student Eric Fauble.

Rapid prototyping, welding, and electronics shops plus advanced machining facilities will be included within a space that is open and to handle the needs of different projects over time.

"We are transferring innovative activi­ties from the formal classroom to an informal space, creating a hand-s­on student culture," says Scot Douglass, associate professor in the college’s Herbst Program of Humanities. This innovative learning space will pre­pare CU students to start new com­panies that will fuel the economy and workforce. The Idea Forge has opportunities for alumni and industry partners to get involved with senior projects and mentor students in design and development.

"We expect that our interactions with industrial and corporate part­ners will help us to develop critical expertise for innovation and employ­ment," says Daria Kotys-Schwartz, Design Center Colorado co-­director. "The programming will support unique workshops, guest lecturers and community events focused on providing skills and knowledge that are practical and valuable to employers."

The first phase of the project is ex­pected to cost approximately $2 million, and funding will come from the College of Engineering and Applied Science, as well as corporate and individual donors.

New Buildings Facilitate innovation and Learning

With the creation and development of new spaces for learning, research and innovation, the College of Engineering and Applied Science continues to educate global-minded engineers who shape society and deliver groundbreaking technologies.

Integrated Teaching and Learning Laboratory
The Integrated Teaching and Learning Laboratory (ITLL) is a state-of-the-art undergraduate design facility that was added to the Engineering Center in 1997. The ITLL provides 34,400 square feet where students can engage in hands-on design activities, including an open, airy plaza that facilitates interdisciplinary, team-based projects, along with manufacturing and electronics centers where students can create what they dream. Hewlett-Packard Company, one of the college's key industry sponsors, has called the ITLL "one of the finer teaching environments on the planet."
Discovery Learning Center
The Discovery Learning Center (DLC), which opened in 2002, offers 45,000 square feet of space to be used for research activities involving collaborative teams of students, faculty and industry partners. This technologically advanced center is home to 12 engineering research centers and is a focal point for a college-wide initiative promoting undergraduate involvement in research. The DLC is linked with pedestrian bridges to the ITLL and the rest of the Engineering Center.
Jennie Smoly Caruthers Biotechnology Building
The Jennie Smoly Caruthers Biotechnology Building on east campus is an interdisciplinary research and teaching facility that has put CU’s top talent in the fields of engineering, science and medicine under one roof. Opened in 2012, the building is the new home of the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, which has seen explosive enrollment growth and is benefiting greatly from expanded, modern facilities and collaborations across disciplines. Featuring configurable lab spaces and state-of-the-art equipment, the 336,800 square-foot LEED Platinum certified building also houses the BioFrontiers Institute and the Division of Biochemistry.
The Sustainability, Energy, and Environment Complex
The Sustainability, Energy, and Environment Complex (SEEC), to be situated on East Campus, is designed to bring under one roof more than a dozen diverse programs and partners, drawing on top talent from CU-Boulder and neighboring federal laboratories. Slated for completion in 2015, SEEC will house 430,000 square feet of research labs, offices and teaching space. Nearly one-third of this space will be newly built wet labs, featuring a new generation of analytical instruments and synthesis capabilities not currently available elsewhere on CU’s campus. The remaining space, refurbished from an existing building, will be used for teaching, programs, conferences and community connections, as well as additional research labs.

 

CU-Boulder students, alum launch innovation incubator space on University Hill

While Boulder is already an undisputed hub of tech entrepreneurship - Entrepreneur Magazine ranked the city at the top of its "25 Best U.S. Cities for Tech Startups" - a group of CU students and alumni have brought the mission even closer to home with the opening in February of a unique, student-focused innovation incubator space on University Hill.

Fletcher Richman, managing director of the new Spark Boulder and a ECEE senior participating in the Engineering Leadership Program, says the coworking space is designed to build "a bridge between CU-Boulder and the amazing startup ecosystem that's all over Colorado. We're giving businesses a way to tap into the talent that's on campus while also bringing more visibility and introducing students to the businesses that want to talk with them." Richman, along with environmental design senior Bill Shrum and 2013 MBA graduate Ben Buie, conceived the 5,400-square-foot facility as a nonprofit organization with the help of some $140,000 in donations from corporate partners as well as coordination with the Deming Center for Entrepreneurship and the cross-campus New Venture Challenge.

Photo courtesy Paul Talbot/23rd Studios Boulder.

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CEAE's Lupita Montoya receives Fulbright Specialist grant for work in Colombia


Lupita Montoya, assistant professor in CEAE and affiliated faculty in the Mortenson Center in Engineering for Developing Communities, has been awarded a Fulbright Specialist grant for spring 2014 in Public/Global Health at La Salle University in Bogota, Colombia. Montoya - who worked with Chile's Pontifical Catholic University in 2012 under a similar grant leading to research on indoor air quality and health, with results recently submitted for publication - will work with La Salle faculty on air quality challenges in Colombia while also lecturing on air quality and public health. This work, in disciplines currently unavailable at La Salle University, will include needs assessment with government and schools on improving local air quality issues. As a result, Colombian faculty can develop tools and knowledge to help them win funding to study the effects of air pollution - currently the third major environmental concern in Colombia after natural disasters and water sanitation. The exchange is also hoped to help formalize a cooperation agreement between CU-Boulder and La Salle University to strengthen academic capabilities at both institutions.

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President Obama announces CU-Boulder will partner in digital manufacturing institute

President Barack Obama's announcement Feb. 25 of two new Pentagon-led manufacturing institutes to includes a light-metal manufacturing center near Detroit and a hub for digital manufacturing and design in Chicago - two locations that, at first glance, seem far removed from Colorado. But the news directly affects state research partnerships and funding: CU-Boulder will have ties to research at the Chicago institute (Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute, or DMDI), and Colorado School of Mines with the facility near Detroit.

The exact figures for funding to reach CU-Boulder are yet unknown and will depend on CU faculty winning DMDI internal grants. These grants will be matched by the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade that has promised matching up to $1 million per year for efforts enhancing manufacturing in Colorado. Additionally, CU has a matching commitment from the Colorado Higher Education Competitive Research Authority of $300,000 per year for five years. CEAS Associate Dean for Research Kurt Maute noted in a recent interview with the Denver Post that while it's impossible now to pin down dollar amounts, there's still cause for celebration, particularly in long-range potential for innovation: "Quite frankly, at this point, everyone can claim success, but nobody knows how much money they will receive from the federal government ... The longer-term effect, that researchers suddenly realize there is something really interesting in the area of manufacturing, that is what is important."

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Honors & Awards: March 2014

Congratulations to the following individuals on their outstanding achievements:

FACULTY

Professor Karl Linden of CEAE was selected as a 2013-14 fellow of the Australian Water Recycling Center of Excellence (AWRCoE). Under the award, which is designed to foster industry-academic partnerships, he will work with Melbourne Water on enhanced implementation of water reuse projects, specifically in advanced treatment technologies, to sustainably meet their most significant water reuse challenges.

Assistant Professor Lupita Montoya of CEAE received a Fulbright Specialist grant in Public/Global Health at La Salle University in Bogota, Colombia for spring 2014.

Associate Professor John Zhai of CEAE was named a Distinguished Lecturer by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), effective July 1.

STAFF

Sharon Anderson, Graduate Program Advisor in Mechanical Engineering, is the recipient of the Employee Recognition Award for February 2014.

STUDENTS

Applied math BS/MS student Stephen Kissler received the Gates Cambridge Scholarship, funded by Microsoft founder Bill Gates, for doctoral study in the United Kingdom.

Computer science PhD student Sam Blackshear received the Facebook Graduate Fellowship for 2014-15.

ECEE PhD student Eric Simley received third place in the 2014 IEEE New Faces of Engineering competition, which "highlights the vitality, diversity and rich contributions of engineers 30 or younger."

Two CU teams of aerospace grad students were selected to participate in the 2014 NIA/NASA RASC-AL Competition to be held in Cocoa Beach, Fla., in June: "Enabling the space frontier by implementation of a low mass cis-lunar outpost" (Asa Darnell, Tobias Niederwieser, Elliot Russell, Chris Christensen, Christine Fanchiang, Jonathan Anthony, Chris Nie, and Matthew Milanese) and "ECLIPSE: The Explorartory Cis-Lunar Laboratory for Interplanetary Sample Extraction" (Jake Adams, Adam Brown, Adam Carahalios, Zachary Cuseo, Elyssa Kaszynski, Josh Smith, and Ryder Whitmire).

The CU Physics Team of Tyler Reichanadter, Jordan Stern, and Kaitlyn Parsons - all engineering physics majors - received a silver medal in the University Physics Competition, an international contest for undergraduates.

New Faculty and Staff: March 2014

Welcome to the new faculty and staff who are joining the college:

  • James Miremont, Systems Administrator, Integrated Teaching and Learning Program
  • Emily Komendera, Administrative Assistant II, Computer Science

Two CU-Boulder Engineers Win NSF’s Prestigious CAREER Award

Two CEAS faculty members have been honored with the National Science Foundation’s prestigious Early Career Development, or CAREER, award. This accolade - awarded to Assistant Professor Prashant Nagpal of ChBE and Assistant Professor Franck Vernerey of CEAE - supports junior faculty members who demonstrate excellence in research and who effectively integrate their research with education.

Nagpal will be awarded $499,077 over five years to work on improving the amount of energy from the sun that photovoltaic panels can convert into electricity. His work focuses on using “hot carriers” in quantum-confined semiconductor nanostructures to capture the waste energy that cannot be captured by the bulk semiconductors used in today’s solar panels. Nagpal also will investigate if semiconductor nanostructures can be used as photocatalysts to split water, creating clean hydrogen fuel, or to generate other hydrocarbon solar fuels using carbon dioxide, water and sunlight in an artificial photosynthetic process.

Vernerey is being awarded $400,000 over five years to develop mathematical models to predict and control the regeneration of damaged tissues from a patient’s own cells in a hydrogel scaffolding.This work could eventually enable personalized medicine by introducing a new generation of algorithms that can learn from the behavior of specific cell populations and predict the type of scaffolding that will lead to successful tissue regeneration. In the long term, this strategy could provide an alternative to tissue or organ transplants.

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Scalable Game Design Team Takes Spotlight for 'Hour of Code'

enotes-feb14-gameexamples.jpg

From Mark Zuckerberg to actress Monique Coleman, anyone can write code - that's the message behind the Hour of Code project, which took place in conjunction with Computer Science Education Week Dec. 9-15. And of the nearly one in four American K-12 students that code.org organizers say participated in the global campaign to get kids to devote an hour to computer science, many built a simple Frogger-style video game (http://hourofcode.com/ac) using tools developed by CS Prof. Alexander Repenning and his Scalable Game Design team.

Repenning's research, which has pioneered drag-and-drop programming tools for kids called AgentSheets and AgentCubes, has led to the Scalable Game Design curriculum that teachers can implement to help their students learn computer science through building their own video games. Successfully piloted in the Boulder Valley School District and now the subject of three NSF grants to expand the program to a larger audience, Scalable Game Design is designed to reach a wide demographic of budding programmers via inquiry-based approaches and concepts that can be taken from the gamer's world to the real world.

“Programming should be easy and exciting,” Repenning says. “But that’s not where we are. The perception of the public is that it’s hard and boring. Our goal is to expose a much larger as well as broader audience to programming by reinventing computer science education in public schools.”

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Herbst Lunchtime Seminars

The Herbst Lunchtime Seminars for engineering faculty and staff will continue this semester with the following offerings. Bring your lunch and enjoy a stimulating discussion led by Herbst faculty members. All seminars are in ECOT 831, from noon to 12:50 p.m.

February 26, 2014 (note location change to Clark Conference Room): The Machine Stops by E.M. Forster (presented by Diane Sieber)
March 2014: Readings on Rome (presented by Wayne Ambler)
April 2014: 200 Years of Brothers Grimm: Fairy Tales not for the Faint-Hearted! (presented by Anja Lange)

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Honors & Awards: February 2014

Congratulations to the following individuals on their outstanding achievements:

FACULTY

Michael Brandemuehl of CEAE received the 2013 Max S. Peters Faculty Service Award.

Eric Frew of AES was named an American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Associate Fellow.

Leland Giovanelli of Herbst received the 2013 Sullivan-Carlson Innovation in Teaching Award.

Balaji Rajagopalan of CEAE received the 2013 College of Engineering Faculty Research Award.

Mark Rentschler of ME received the 2013 Charles A. Hutchinson Memorial Teaching Award.

Associate Dean for Education Diane Sieber received the 2013 CU systemwide Excellence in Leadership Award.

Hanspeter Schaub of AES was elected an American Astronautical Society Fellow for 2013. He will be recognized by the AAS at the Goddard Symposium Honors and Awards Luncheon March 5.

STAFF

Dave Kalahar of ATLAS was named one of the Chancellor’s Employees of the Year.

Joanie Wiesman received the CEAS Commitment to Excellence award in December 2013.

Claire Yang of AES received the CEAS Outstanding Staff Award for 2013.

STUDENTS

AES PhD student Xianjing Liu (Jeff Thayer, advisor) won the Outstanding Student Paper Award (OSPA) for her presentation "Composition change and its effect on mass density response during a geomagnetic storm" at the Fall 2013 American Geophysical Union meeting.

AES PhD student Michael Lotto (D. Klaus, advisor) was selected as the 2014 winner of the Dr. Robert H. Goddard Memorial Scholarship “to support his continued study in bioastronautics aimed at the development of future EVA suites and hardware to support future human work in space and exploration of the planets.”

Chemical engineering undergraduate Thomas Lynn was named to the Theta Tau Educational Foundation's inaugural All-Academic Team.

AES MS student Gauravdev Soin (J. Koster, advisor) received the 2014 Best Paper Award from the AIAA Design Engineering Committee - making three years in a row that Project Hyperion won best paper.

New Faculty and Staff: February 2014

Welcome to the new faculty and staff who have joined the college:

Melanie Sidwell, Alumni Relations and Events Coordinator, Dean’s Office
Julia Carlson, Professional Assistant, NCWIT
Wil Srubar, Assistant Professor, CEAE
Khurram Afridi, Assistant Professor, ECEE
Nisar Ahmed, Assistant Professor, AES
Christopher Corwin, Instructor, Environmental Engineering
Madeline Boatwright, BDW Intern, ATLAS Institute
Mark Gross, Professor (Computer Science) and Director of ATLAS Institute
Sarah Miller, Assistant Dean for Inclusive Excellence
Emmy Soyka, Professional Assistant, NCWIT
Elizabeth Boese, Instructor, Computer Science
Hilary Maybee, Assistant to the Associate Dean for Research, Dean’s Office

Congratulations to the following for changes in their appointments:

Mindy Zarske, Instructor, General Engineering
Joanne Uleau, Undergraduate Academic Advisor, Environmental Engineering

Dean's Message

“It is an honor to serve as the engineering dean at CU-Boulder and to work with our innovative faculty, staff, students and supporters.”

In August 2013, Time magazine published an article expressing optimism that the U.S. economy was poised for growth. Part of the reasoning is based on increased consumer spending and bank lending, but a significant factor is American technology and innovation - including the lead role of our research­-focused universities.

The past year has seen a high level of innovation in the College of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Colorado Boulder, arguably more than in any other of the 12 years I have served as dean. A few examples of innovation are cited below and described more fully in this issue of CUEngineering.

Research: One area of research innovation relates to understanding and improving the natural and built environments. In the Department of Aero­space Engineering Sciences, Professor Kristine Larson and her colleagues are using a Global Positioning System (GPS) to measure volcanic plumes, snow depth and soil moisture, producing new data that will ultimately help us understand climate change and weather patterns. In the Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering, Professor Abbie Liel and her team are developing computer models of building damage due to earthquakes, to determine cost­-effective means to implement safety improvements.

Another area of global importance is energy. Professor Alan Weimer and his students in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering are developing a novel solar technology to form hydrogen by splitting water at high temperature, while professors Sehee Lee and Conrad Stoldt in the Department of Mechanical Engineering are creating solid­-state batteries for more effective electric cars.

Education: Our college has a long history of innovation in hands­-on engi­neering education, as exemplified in our award-­winning Integrated Teaching and Learning Program and Discovery Learning Center. Our faculty is also making innovative advances in health and wellness, including 3­D printing for visually impaired students and the use of nanophotonics to diagnose and treat cancer. Our faculty has also developed several new degree programs in the past few years, with the most recent being the General Engineering Plus program launched this past fall. Students in “GE+” earn an undergraduate engineering degree with a disciplinary emphasis  and a “plus” concentration that prepares them to teach math or science in secondary schools or pursue business, medicine or other careers beyond traditional engineering.

Facilities: Furthering our core value of hands­-on learning is the Idea Forge. Currently under construction in the former law library, it will provide 22,000 square feet of open, flexible “makerspace” for student design projects. Its location is adjacent to our newest Residential Academic Program (RAP), the Spanish-­speaking Global Engineering RAP, in the newly renovated Kittredge Central residence hall.

It is an honor to serve as the engineering dean at CU­-Boulder and to work with our innovative faculty, staff, students and supporters as we advance at the forefront of modern engineering research and education. I hope that you will enjoy reading more in this issue and supporting our efforts.

Robert H. Davis
Dean and Tisone Endowed Chair

 

CU Aerospace Students Dominate National Award

Seven University of Colorado Boulder aerospace engineering students are among 20 top students recognized by a new national award honoring tomorrow’s engineering leaders sponsored by Penton’s Aviation Week in partnership with Raytheon. The “Twenty20s” awards honor the academic achievements and leadership of top engineering, math, science, and technology students.

CU-Boulder doctoral candidates Paul Anderson, Brad Cheetham, Jake Gamsky, Erin Griggs, and Dan Lubey, and BS/MS students Kirstyn Johnson and Mike Lotto were honored during Aviation Week’s annual Aerospace & Defense Programs Conference in November. “All of them bring incredible passion and impressive technical skills to their classwork and to an extensive portfolio of professional and extracurricular activities,” said Penina Axelrad, chair of CU-Boulder’s Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences. “Each is on a fast track to making remarkable contributions in fields like space exploration and satellite-based Earth observations.”

From commercial spaceflight to spacecraft design and human spaceflight life-support technology, the high-profile projects and research portfolios of the seven students cover a wide range of critical issues facing the field of aerospace engineering today.

> More info
 

High School Students Have Smashing Time at CU

One hundred and forty-five freshmen in Centaurus High School’s introduction to engineering class visited the CU-Boulder campus in late November to test how much pressure the 22-inch acrylic towers they designed could withstand before being smashed to pieces by a hydraulic press machine. CU engineering graduate students who volunteer with the TEAMS Program (Tomorrow's Engineers... creAte. iMagine. Succeed.) and staff from the Integrated Teaching and Learning Program hosted the outreach event as part of a partnership program designed to excite kids at local schools about engineering, math, and science and to familiarize them with CU and the College of Engineering and Applied Science.

In addition to the smash tests, the visiting students made circuits in a project led by SparkFun Electronics, a Boulder company owned by CU alumnus Nathan Seidle (ElecEngr ‘04), and joined current engineering students on a tour of campus.
 

Engineering Alumni Come 'Back to Boulder'

Several engineering faculty and graduate students played host to college alumni, parents, prospective students, and other guests who came “Back to Boulder” for CU’s 2013 homecoming weekend. The College of Engineering and Applied Science hosted more than 30 guests for the sold-out CU Engineering Lab Sampler, a tour featuring seven different research labs in the Engineering Center and Jennie Smoly Caruthers Biotechnology Building. Guests enjoyed brief demonstrations and an introduction to cutting-edge research related to health, energy, robotics, drones, and more.

College faculty also made seats available to alumni visitors in more than a dozen engineering classes for the second year of "Classes Without Quizzes." A large crowd of students, faculty, and community members turned out to hear featured alumni speaker David Lewis (CivEngr ’78) give a talk hosted by the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering. Lewis and two other engineering alumni were honored at the Alumni Association’s annual awards banquet: Marco Campos (CivEngr ’98) - Kalpana Chawla Award, Scott Donnelly (CompSci, ElEngr ’84) - Alumni Recognition Award, and David Lewis - George Norlin Award.
 

Honors & Awards: December 2013

Congratulations to the following individuals on their outstanding achievements:

FACULTY

Kristi Anseth of chemical and biological engineering was honored with the Society for Biological Engineering’s 2013 James E. Bailey Award.

Clarence “Skip” Ellis, professor emeritus of computer science, received a Fulbright grant to teach a semester course at Ashesi University in Accra, Ghana, starting in January 2014. His course - World Simulation: Culture, Technology and Ethics - will examine how various governments around the world work, teasing out ethical, economic, social and political factors.

Professor Eric Frew of aerospace engineering sciences was named to the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Associate Fellows class of 2014.

Professor Karl Linden of environmental engineering was named president of the International Ultraviolet Association.

Professor Rich Noble received the Institute of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) 2013 Innovator of the Year Award this month at the IChemE Awards and Annual Dinner in the United Kingdom.

Dan Scheeres and Jim Voss of aerospace engineering sciences were elected fellows of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).

Chemical and Biological Engineering Department Chair and Alfred T. and Betty E. Look Professor Dan Schwartz has been elected to the Chair line of the American Chemical Society's Division of Colloid and Surface Chemistry. He will serve as vice chair in 2014, chair elect in 2015, division chair in 2016, and past chair in 2017.

Associate Dean of Education Diane Sieber received the 2013 CU Excellence in Leadership Award.

STUDENTS

Graduate student Alan Aguirre was the AIChE Featured Young Professional (YP) for the month of November. Aguirre works on photopolymerization reaction characterization under the advisement of Professor Jeff Stansbury.

Mechanical engineering PhD student Jacob Dove was named the 2013-14 Thomas & Brenda Geers Graduate Fellowship recipient.

Graduate student Robert Elder received a 2013 AIChE Computational Molecular Science and Engineering Forum (CoMSEF) annual Graduate Student Award.

Chemical engineering graduate student Chern-Hooi Lim was one of five students nationwide to win a fall 2013 American Chemical Society Chemical Computing Group Excellence Award for Graduate Students.

Civil, environmental, and architectural engineering student Anthony Pualani received the Jonas Bellovin Scholar Achievement Award from the Nuckolls Fund.

Chemical and biological engineering undergraduates Kayla Weston and Rachel Viger and graduate student Staci Van Norman won poster contest awards at the AIChE 2013 Annual Meeting in San Francisco. Weston took first place in the Materials Engineering and Sciences Division for her poster “A Method for Clean H2 Generation from Solar Heat and Water.” Viger took third place in the Computing, Simulation and Process Control Division for her poster “Theoretical Model of a Thermochemical Metal Oxide Cycle for Hydrogen Production.” Van Norman took second place in the Particle Technology Forum Graduate Competition for her poster “Radically New Deposition of Co Particles.”
 

New Faculty and Staff: December 2013

Welcome to the new faculty and staff who have joined the college:

Sean Quinlan, Grants Manager, Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering
Melissa Dozier, Research Support Assistant, Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering
Molly Riddell, Manager of Large Proposals, Dean’s Office

Renovation Will Create Cross-Disciplinary "Makerspace" for Student Design

Plans are underway to repurpose approximately 22,000 square feet of the former law library in the Fleming building to create a unique space dedicated to student invention and design. The Idea Forge is envisioned as a flexible, cross-disciplinary collaborative space where students can imagine, design, create, and test products and solutions to meet a range of societal and customer needs.

The space will house Design Center Colorado and support course-related student teams, entrepreneurial-minded individuals, and service-oriented groups from across the College of Engineering and Applied Science and other disciplines. Plans include the creation of a series of reconfigurable, interconnected "makerspaces" with opportunities for formal and informal learning. Rapid prototyping, welding, and electronics shops, plus advanced machining facilities, will be included within a space that is open and reconfigurable to handle the needs of different projects over time.

The Idea Forge is currently in the design phase, with construction slated to begin in February and be completed for the start of the Fall 2014 semester.

> More info

Student-built Satellite Now in Orbit

DANDE has left the planet. Six years after students at CU-Boulder began work to design and build the beachball-sized Drag and Atmospheric Neutral Density Explorer satellite, or DANDE, the small satellite successfully launched into orbit Sept. 29 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Its mission is to help researchers better understand how atmospheric drag can affect satellite orbits.

Twelve of the roughly 150 students who have worked on the project through the Colorado Space Grant Consortium attended the launch, while others celebrated the success here in Boulder. The team photo at right was taken in California following the launch: These students had a remote ground station set up in California near Vandenberg Air Force Base, which was the launch site. The team photo here was taken in California following the launch, just after the team saw received and processed beacon data that confirmed DANDE's health. The students had a remote ground station set up a few miles from the launch site. Data was downlinked with a ground station on top of the DLC, and the student teams in Boulder and California were able to see the beacons at the same time.

“For me the launch of DANDE was the culmination of countless hours, innovation and dedication by our team,” said Brenden Hogan, one of two project manager co-leaders for DANDE and a junior in aerospace engineering.  “I was prepared for the worst outcome at every turn but at every turn there was nothing but success.”

> More info

CEAS Ranked in Top US Undergrad Programs

The College of Engineering and Applied Science was again recognized for its educational excellence by U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges (undergraduate rankings), published Sept. 10. The college moved ahead two spots this year, coming in 17th among public institutions whose highest degree is a doctorate.

The report shows CU-Boulder Engineering at No. 32 among the nation’s top undergraduate engineering programs (both public and private), which is well above other Colorado engineering schools and the highest ranking in the Rocky Mountain Region.

Within engineering, recognition went to CU’s aerospace engineering sciences program, ranked 16th in the nation and 11th among public institutions, and to the civil engineering program, ranked 20th in the nation and 13th among public institutions. This is civil engineering’s first appearance on the undergraduate rankings list since 2006.

> More info

Honors & Awards: October 2013

Congratulations to the following individuals on their outstanding achievements:

FACULTY

Scott Summers of environmental engineering received the the American Water Works Association’s 2013 A.P. Black Research Award, which honors long-term outstanding research contributions in water science and supply.

STAFF

Bobbie Atkinson of Computer Science received the Employee Recognition Award for September

STUDENTS

Mechanical engineering PhD student Jacob Dove has been named the 2013/2014 Thomas & Brenda Geers Graduate Fellowship recipient.

Chemical engineering graduate student Chern-Hooi Lim was one of five students nationwide to win a fall 2013 American Chemical Society (ACS) Chemical Computing Group Excellence Award for Graduate Students.

New Faculty and Staff: October 2013

Welcome to the new faculty and staff who are joining the college:

Doug Smith, Assistant Dean for Programs and Engagement, Dean’s Office
Karey Sabol, Director of International Programs, Dean’s Office (starts Oct. 14)
Nancy Tway, Finance Manager, Mechanical Engineering (starts Oct. 15)

And best wishes to the following retiring faculty and staff:

Laurels Sessler, Environmental Engineering Program

Global Engineering RAP Opens

Fifty-three CU-Boulder engineering students will be immersed in Spanish and global development as residents of Kittredge Central, the campus's newest residence hall.

The students make up the first cohort in the new Global Engineering Residential Academic Program, headed by Associate Dean for Education Diane Sieber. The Global Engineering RAP is designed for students with interest in worldwide engineering systems, foreign languages, international collaborative design, and international development.

"The curriculum prepares students to study or work abroad and to volunteer for international and domestic aid projects," says Sieber. "It also prepares them for sophisticated leveraging of emerging international communication and collaboration tools such as teleconferencing and document- and image-sharing via social network platforms."

The RAP links to a new undergraduate global engineering certificate, managed by the Mortenson Center in Engineering for Developing Communities, which also can be earned outside of the RAP. Recognizing the growing need for engineers to be competent in developing systemic solutions with global impact, the certificate is designed to expand students' understanding of how to operate in an international context and to work effectively as members of international teams.

> More info

CU-CMU Partnership Receives Accreditation

The University of Colorado-Colorado Mesa University Partnership Program has been accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET.

The program allows students to earn a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from CU-Boulder by taking classes delivered at CMU. The program offers the first-ever baccalaureate engineering degree on Colorado's Western Slope.

The program was launched in 2008 and awarded degrees to its first graduates in May 2012. ABET, the accrediting agency for engineering, requires graduates from a program before it can apply for accreditation. The awarding of ABET accreditation now is retroactive to include the degrees granted to the 2012 and 2013 graduating classes.

Twenty-two students have graduated from the partnership program in the last two years, and most of them found positions in the engineering field immediately upon graduation, according to Program Director Timothy Brower.

"We started the partnership five years ago with the support of President Tim Foster of CMU and then-President Hank Brown of CU, and we are delighted that it has achieved great success in not only graduating outstanding students but also now receiving full accreditation at its first opportunity," said Dean Rob Davis.

Student-Built Satellite Approaches Launch

A student-built small satellite called the Drag and Atmospheric Neutral Density Explorer (DANDE) is scheduled for launch Sept. 15 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. DANDE is a low-cost density, wind, and composition-measuring satellite that will provide data for the calibration and validation of operational models and improve our understanding of the thermosphere.

"The DANDE project represents the efforts of over 150 interdisciplinary students who will have launched their student led and built satellite to space," says Brian Sanders, deputy director of the Colorado Space Grant Consortium. "Now a group of students will have the chance to operate the satellite from CU-Boulder. This is a unique experience that few students can claim when starting their careers after graduation."

The spacecraft was designed and built at the Colorado Space Grant Consortium in collaboration with CU's Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences, Air Force Space Command - Space Analysis/A9A, and research faculty at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The effort was sponsored by the University Nanosat Program at the Air Force Research Laboratories.

"To see the expertise passed down by students through the seven-year lifetime of DANDE is awesome," says aerospace engineering sophomore Brenden Hogan, DANDE project manager co-leader. "I think the undergraduate experience available designing and building of satellites and instruments ... is one of the things that makes CU-Boulder a great university."

Honors & Awards: September 2013

Congratulations to the following individuals on their outstanding achievements:

FACULTY

The 2013 Dean's Faculty Performance Awards were awarded to Kurt Maute of aerospace engineering sciences (for teaching); Rich Noble of chemical and biological engineering (for research), Nikolaus Correll of computer science (for professional progress), and Daven Henze of mechanical engineering (for junior faculty).

Steve George of mechanical engineering was given the ALD Innovation Award for 2013 at the International Conference on Atomic Layer Deposition in July in recognition of his original work and leadership in atomic layer deposition.

STAFF

Jessica Wright, Ann Scott, Melinda Seevers, and Noel Brendefur of the BioFrontiers, Engineering, Science, and Technology (BEST) Development Team received recognition in the Million Dollar Club for FY13, awarded to CU development staff members who raised $1 million or more in the last fiscal year.

STUDENTS

Chelsea Welch and Christopher Nie of aerospace engineering sciences were awarded scholarships from the Iridium NEXT Mission Team Scholarship program.

New Faculty and Staff: September 2013

Welcome to the new faculty and staff who are joining the college:

FACULTY

  • John Evans, Assistant Professor, AES
  • James Nabity, Associate Professor, AES
  • Jeffrey Parker, Assistant Professor, AES
  • Tom Belval, Senior Instructor, ChBE
  • Mark Kastantin, Assistant Research Professor, ChBE
  • Rhonda Hoenigman, Instructor, CS
  • Joseph Kasprzyk, Assistant Professor, CEAE
  • Zhiyong (Jason) Ren, Associate Professor, CEAE
  • Petros Sideris, Assistant Professor, CEAE
  • Sean Shaheen, Associate Professor, ECEE
  • Daniel Moorer Jr., Scholar in Residence, EMP
  • Marcelo Berquist, Senior Instructor, ME
  • Greg Rieker, Assistant Professor, ME
  • Julie Steinbrenner, Instructor, ME
  • Xiaobo Yin, Assistant Professor, ME/MSE

STAFF

  • Christine Ralston, Office Administrator, ECEE
  • Tim Faiella, Social Science Program Manager, NCWIT
  • Audrey Fisher, Center Administrator, C2B2
  • Erika Guzman, Finance and HR Coordinator, Dean's Office
  • Lindsay Reeves, Development Assistant
  • Ashly Overturf, Assistant Director of Development for Corporate and Foundation Relations
  • Maura Ridge, Director of Development
     

Ambassador Meets with Brazilian Students at CU

As one of the inaugural schools selected to participate in Brazil’s Scientific Mobility Program, CU-Boulder was pleased to host Brazilian Ambassador to the United States Mauro Vieira, and his accompanying Secretary Cho Russo, on July 17. Ambassador Vieira and Secretary Russo visited with 15 Brazilian students who receive undergraduate scholarships in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) for one year of study and internships.

 “The Scientific Mobility students were eager to convey their enthusiasm for the program and their hope that funding for the initiative will continue so that other Brazilian students will have the opportunity to study abroad,” said Anne K. Heinz, dean of Continuing Education, which administers the program in partnership with the College of Engineering and Applied Science and the College of Arts and Sciences. “These are wonderfully talented students and we have been delighted to host them.”

Brazilian students taking engineering courses at CU-Boulder through the program include Maira Sabadin Batista, Guilherme Bispo, Manuela Brandao, Lucas De Brito, Joao Guilherme Cavalcanti, Christopher Goncalves, Tiago Lucas Gouveia, Bruno Prada, Pedro Henrique Cheruti Thome, Fabio Cabral de Oliveira, and Gean Paulo Superati.

Haiti Graduates First Class from Sustainable Energy Institute

The first class of students has graduated from the Sustainable Energy Institute in Leogane, Haiti, a program supported with a curriculum developed by CU Engineering faculty and students.

The course was a great success, and the curriculum is likely to be adopted as the standard for all solar energy educational programs in Haiti, according to B.J. Ward, a CU graduate student in environmental engineering with the Mortenson Center in Engineering for Developing Communities.

CU professors Alan Mickelson and Michael Hannigan, and students Michael Taylor, Matt Hulse, Joanna Gordon, Nathan Canney, and others were involved in developing the vocational training program for the country.

The new grads are going onto internships with Enersa, the only the only Haitian manufacturer and installer of solar panels, where they will be able to apply their classroom knowledge to real solar installation projects throughout Haiti.

RMLA Hosts Summer Lighting Course for Professionals

The Rocky Mountain Lighting Academy (RMLA), a provider of continuing education for lighting professionals, hosted its first summer lighting course in June. Sixteen participants from around the country and Malaysia spent four days at CU-Boulder learning in depth the technical aspects of lighting.

"Few technical lighting courses are available to professionals, so there was a clear need for a comprehensive continuing education program in lighting,” senior instructor Sandra Vásconez said about the formulation of the RMLA by the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering.

The course featured CU-Boulder professor emeritus David DiLaura as the master teacher. DiLaura has more than 40 years of experience in the industry and now serves as principal illuminating engineer for Acuity Brands, Inc. Other instructors included Mark Jongewaard, Jeff Quinlan, Teal Brogden and Jill Mulholland, all of whom are also industry experts.

Participants received a certificate of completion and 35 CEU credits from the Illuminating Engineering Society.  “It’s a good course for anyone who wants a fast track in lighting education,” one participant said.

The RMLA plans to host another course next summer.

>> More info

Honors & Awards: August 2013

Congratulations to the following individuals on their outstanding achievements:

Faculty

Bernard Amadei of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering has been elected to the National Academy for Construction, an honorary and service organization formed in 1999.

Xinzhao Chu of aerospace engineering sciences and Arthi Jayaraman and Will Medlin of chemical and biological engineering have been selected to receive the Provost’s Faculty Achievement Award. The presentations will be made at Fall Convocation on Oct. 4 at Old Main Chapel.

Lucy Pao of electrical, computer, and energy engineering has been named a Fellow of the International Federation of Automatic Control for important contributions to multi-sensor fusion, control of flexible structures, and the control of complex energy systems. The honor will be conferred at the next IFAC World Congress in August 2014 in Cape Town.

Jeffrey Luftig of engineering management has been named associate vice chancellor for process innovation and will head the Office for Performance Improvement at CU-Boulder.

Staff

Ruthe Farmer of the National Center for Women & Information Technology was among 11 individuals honored at the White House as “Champions of Change for Tech Inclusion” on July 31. Farmer spearheads the NCWIT Aspirations in Computing talent development initiative, a program designed to increase women’s participation in technology careers by providing awards, encouragement, visibility, community, leadership opportunities, scholarships, and internships to aspiring technical women.

Faculty & Staff: August 2013

Welcome to the new faculty and staff who are joining the college:

  • Kaitlyn O’Toole, Promotional Graphic Artist and Event Planning Specialist, BOLD Center
  • Susan Rundell, Administrative Assistant, Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering
  • Erika Guzman, Finance and HR Coordinator, Dean’s Office (starts Aug. 12)

Retirements

  • Pam Aguila, Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Tom Brown, Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Carol Rowe, Dean’s Office

Summer Means Engineering for St. Vrain Elementary Teachers

Through the partnership between the Integrated Teaching and Learning Program’s TEAMS Program and the Skyline High School STEM Academy feeder schools in the St. Vrain Valley School District, about 70 elementary teachers and STEM coordinators engaged in hands-on engineering design at a CU-assisted teacher training in June.

The elementary teachers were preparing to focus on STEM as part of an extensive summer school program through their new “Race to The Top” grant. The engineering workshop was led by Mindy Zarske, director of K-12 Engineering, and Janet Yowell, associate director of K-12 Engineering, and assisted by nine PhD engineering TEAMS Fellows.

Teachers designed prototype wind turbine blades during the training and will teach that design activity — and other hands-on engineering design activities focused on energy,  geotechnical, agricultural, and electrical engineering — to about 1,000 elementary students in Longmont during June and July. The TEAMS Fellows will also provide classroom support throughout the summer session.

Regents Approve General Engineering Plus Degree

A new design-focused, General Engineering degree was approved by CU's Board of Regents in June. GE degree students will share a common core of four years of team-based, interdisciplinary design experiences and common engineering science courses, coupled with an emphasis in either environmental, aerospace, mechanical, civil, or architectural engineering.

Multiple tracks are envisioned within the General Engineering degree; the first to be implemented will be CU TeachEngineering—a streamlined pathway to secondary school (grades 7-12) science or math teacher licensure through an accredited engineering degree.

This nationally-novel program demonstrates CU's commitment to putting the “E” in STEM and giving every K-12 student the opportunity to experience the wonder of engineering and learn how engineers contribute to shaping our world.

The S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation has provided a generous grant to help implement CU TeachEngineering. The General Engineering degree and CU TeachEngineering are being led by Jacquelyn Sullivan and Derek Reamon.

Aerospace Students Win Top Prizes at CEDAR Workshop

Aerospace engineering students from CU-Boulder have taken First Place at the Coupling, Energetics and Dynamics of Atmospheric Regions (CEDAR) Workshop student poster competition for the fourth consecutive year and several other students have won Second Place and Honorable Mentions.

CEDAR is a focused global change program sponsored by the National Science Foundation. The 2013 Workshop was held in Boulder in June.

This year’s winner in the Mesosphere and Lower Thermosphere (MLT) category was Zhibin Yu for his poster, “Lidar Observations and Numerical Modeling Studies of Thermospheric Fe/Fe+ Layers.” Xinzhao Chu was his faculty advisor. A second student, Vu Nguyen, advised by Scott Palo, received an Honorable Mention in the competition, which attracted 112 student posters.

First Place winners at past competitions include:

  • Cao Chen (2012, MLT category) for “Inertia-gravity waves in Antarctica: A case study with simultaneous lidar and radar measurements at McMurdo (77.8S, 166.7E).” Advisor: Xinzhao Chu.
  • Chihoko Yamashita (2011, MLT category) for “Physical mechanisms of gravity wave variations and their impacts on the MLT during the 2009 Stratospheric Sudden Warming.” Advisor: Xinzhao Chu.
  • Xianjing Liu (2011, Ionosphere-Thermosphere category) for “Altitude Response of the Thermosphere Mass Density to Geomagnetic Activity in Solar Minimum." Advisor: Jeff Thayer.
  • Loren Chang (2010, MLT category) for “Comparative study of migrating diurnal tidal variability induced by nonlinear interaction with propagating planetary waves.” Advisor: Scott Palo.
     

Honors & Awards: July 2013

Congratulations to the following individuals on their outstanding achievements:

Faculty

Mark Borden of mechanical engineering has been selected to participate in the 2013 U.S. Frontiers of Engineering Symposium sponsored by the National Academy of Engineering.

Arthi Jayaraman of chemical and biological engineering was selected to receive the Computational Molecular Science and Engineering Forum Young Investigator Award, which will be presented at the AIChE meeting in San Francisco.

Staff

Lucy Sanders, chief executive of the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT), was one of five leaders honored with the U.S. News STEM Leadership Hall of Fame Award in June.

Students

CU aerospace and computer science students Rohit Dewani, Christine Fanchiang, Heather Hava, Keira Havens, Jordan Holquist, Emily Howard, Pileun Kim, Huy Le, Elizabeth Lombardi, Scott Mishra, Karuna Raja Reddy, Tim Villabona, and Daniel Zukowski won First Place and “Best Advanced Concepts” at NASA’s June 18-20 RASC-AL Program competition in Cocoa Beach, Florida for their robotic-integrated bio-regenerative life support system concept.

Jia Chew, who received a her PhD in chemical engineering as a member of Christine Hrenya’s research group, was awarded the AIChE Best PhD Thesis in Particle Technology for her experimental research on the impact of polydispersity on multiphase flows.  Dr. Chew has accepted a tenure-track faculty position at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

Two teams of environmental engineering students tied for second place in the National FAA Design Competition for Universities, Airport Environmental Interactions category, in June. Students Holly Atkinson, Marie Bernardo, Adrienne Davis, Carteret Lawrence, and Nolan Wilkins won for their Fuel Spill Containment project for the Bozeman International Airport, and John Crawford, Corey Hrutkay, Beau Radovich, John Usery, and Ben Wachter won for their LED Runway and Taxiway Lighting Powered with On-Site Solar Panels for the Grand Junction Regional Airport. Congratulations also go to faculty advisors Angela Bielefeldt and Karl Linden.

Luis Zea of aerospace engineering sciences was selected to receive one of two Orville and Wilbur Wright Graduate Awards given by the AIAA Foundation. The $5,000 awards are given in memory of the Wright brothers’ contributions to the evolution of flight, and are presented to students pursuing masters or PhDs.

Jesse Zhang, a high school student mentored by Jeff Forbes in aerospace engineering last year, has won first-place in the national Thacher Environmental Research Contest organized by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) for our project "Lunar tidal winds from the HRDI instrument onboard the UARS Satellite".  The paper has also been accepted for publication in the Journal of Geophysical Research. He received a $2,000 cash prize.

New Faculty & Staff: July 2013

Welcome to the new faculty and staff who are joining the college:

  • Nodin Desaillan-Olsen, Administrative Assistant, Dean’s Office
  • Kathryn Baack, Financial Coordinator, CADSWES (starting July 8)
  • Rory Korpela, Manager of Budget and Finance, Dean’s Office (starting July 15)

And congratulations to the following faculty and staff who have assumed new roles:

  • Jana Milford, Department Chair, Mechanical Engineering
  • Laura Vidal, Coordinator, Office of the Associate Dean for Education
  • Lori Walker, Program Coordinator, Herbst Humanities Program

CU Students Complete Robotic Garden Prototype

The robotic garden was developed by an interidisciplinary team of aerospace and computer science students to support astronauts in deep space, as part of the 2013 Exploration Habitat Academic Innovation Challenge. Team members pictured, from left to right, are Jordan Holquist, Daniel Zukowski, Huy Le, Scott Mishra, and Emily Howard.

GoldShirt Program Replicated in Washington State

As the fifth class of CU Engineering’s GoldShirt students prepares to come to campus for a two-week bridge program in July, college leaders are pleased to report that two other universities, with National Science Foundation support, are adopting the GoldShirt model.

Started by Associate Dean Jacquelyn Sullivan in 2009 with support from NSF, the campus and generous alumni, the GoldShirt Program expands access to engineering through a performance-enhancing year for talented and motivated students whose academic preparation falls a bit short of standard admission requirements. The GoldShirt moniker comes from the practice of redshirting athletes to give them an additional year of preparation, with gold denoting the high value of one day achieving a more diverse engineering workforce.

The University of Washington and Washington State University recently announced new academic redshirting programs in engineering, with a nod to CU-Boulder for launching the approach.

The GoldShirt Program welcomed 107 students in its first four years, and the program has brought diversity to the student body while achieving retention rates comparable to those of other CU engineering students. This fall, 34 new first-year GoldShirt students will join the CU engineering family.

The first GoldShirt graduate is expected to complete her degree in December, a semester early, while achieving summa cum laude honors, according to program director Tanya Ennis. Faculty and staff throughout the college actively support the GoldShirt initiative—proving that it does take a village.

CU Leads Colorado Proposal for Unmanned Aircraft Test Site

With one of the most comprehensive Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) scientific programs in the nation, CU-Boulder’s College of Engineering and Applied Science is the lead player in a statewide proposal to establish an unmanned aircraft system test site in Colorado.

While military use of drones has sparked controversy, CU Professors Brian Argrow and Eric Frew of the Research and Education Center for Unmanned Vehicles, or RECUV, point out that UAS can be used for tasks ranging from forest fire support and search and rescue missions to oil and gas exploration. A growing number of science efforts also are being undertaken involving UAS.

CU-Boulder’s UAS projects have included monitoring seal populations in the Arctic, charting sea ice changes near Greenland, intercepting storm cells associated with tornadoes in Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska, and measuring gaping holes in Antarctic sea ice associated with offshore winds. “We may have more experience flying science missions around the world with UAS than any other research group in the world,” Frew says.

Thirty-seven states are vying for the six sites slated to be established by the FAA across the United States. The Colorado proposal involves 10 regional economic development agencies, seven universities, five industry associations, two state agencies and dozens of private companies. The final site selections are expected to be announced in December.

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Undergrads Prepare for HPC Cluster Competition

Six engineering undergraduates are in the final throes of preparation for an international competition in high-performance computing held in Leipzig, Germany, June 16-20.

The CU-Boulder team, advised by Doug Smith of LASP, is one of only two U.S. teams to be invited to compete in the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC) 2013 Student Cluster Challenge. CU’s traveling team includes computer science students Joseph Burns, Erik Kahn, Matt Moskowitz, Sean Rivera, and Dane Larsen, and electrical and computer engineering major David Johnson.

A total of nine student teams will demonstrate the capabilities of their pre-built HPC systems and applications at the Leipzig conference, and also participate in a real-time challenge to build a small cluster of their own design and race to demonstrate the greatest performance across a series of benchmarks and applications.

CU students said they are looking forward to the fun, hands-on learning experience and to meeting the large variety of potential employers who will be in attendance. Smith said CU graduates in high performance computing are in high demand—two members of the team have already landed jobs at Intel.

While the ISC is only in its second year, CU has sent teams to the Supercomputing Conference (SC) in the U.S. regularly since 2007, and will be the host school for the November 2013 SC student competition in Denver.

Honors & Awards: June 2013

Congratulations to the following individuals on their outstanding achievements:

Faculty

Penina Axelrad of aerospace engineering sciences was appointed to a two-year term on the National Space-Based Positioning, Navigation and Timing Advisory Board, a presidential advisory committee sponsored by NASA.

Staff

Sharon Anderson of mechanical engineering, Nick Stites of ITL, Adriane Bradberry of NCWIT, and JoAnn Zelasko of the Dean’s Office were selected to receive the Commitment to Excellence Award for Spring 2013.

Vickie Stubbs of ATLAS was selected to receive the annual ATLAS Award.

Kim Kalahar of the National Center for Women and Information Technology was selected to receive ATLAS’ “Titan of the Quarter” Award.

Students

Heather Underwood, a PhD student at ATLAS who developed an application of digital pen technology to support maternal health in developing countries, was the first place graduate winner in Association for Computing Machinery’s Student Research Competition Grand Finals. She will be recognized at an awards banquet in San Francisco in June.

Ifeyinwa Okoye, a PhD student in computer science, was named one of 30 North American winners of the Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship, valued at $10,000, and Allison Brown and Neeti Wagle of computer science were among 30 finalists who will receive $1,000 scholarships.

Environmental engineering and applied mathematics students Keith Bowhan, Kyle Gustafson, Alec Thomas and Corey Miller won first-place in the fifth annual Rocky Mountain Student Design Competition sponsored by the Rocky Mountain Water Environment Association/Rocky Mountain Section of the American Water Works Association. The team will go on to compete in the national competition at the Water Environment Federation Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC) held in Chicago in October. A second CU team comprised of students Ryan Riopelle, Camilla Restrepo, Jay Blackburn, and Molly Bray took second place in the Rocky Mountain competition.

Aerospace engineering students Samantha Archambault, Gautham Gopakumar, Jarred Langhals, Liz Notary, Alex Smith, Chelsea Welch, KatieRae Williamson, and Jonathan Wu won first place at the AIAA Region V student paper conference in April for their Low Earth Orbit Project for the Acquisition and Recovery of Debris (LEOPARD). A second aerospace engineering team comprised of students James Bader, Andy Broucek, Zachary Cuseo, Alex Kim, Mike Opland, Sarah Smith, Mike Trowbridge, and Ryder Whitmire took second place at AIAA Region V for their Target Recognition and Acquisition Cube Sat (TRACSat).

New Faculty & Staff: June 2013

Welcome to the new faculty and staff who are joining the college:

  • James Murray, Pre-Engineering Program Coordinator, Dean’s Office

and congratulations to the following staff on their retirements, effective June 30:

  • Sherry Snyder, Dean's Office
  • Jana Murphy, Dean’s Office
  • Lee Ann Stevens, Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering

 

Design Expo Highlights Student Creativity

The April 27 Engineering Design Expo showcased 80 hands-on team projects by engineering undergraduates and local high school students. Students demonstrated their projects both inside and outside the ITL Laboratory, and the community was invited to attend. The People’s Choice Award, chosen by attendees, went to students Amanda Kuker, Matt Gosche, Nicholas Mati, Scott Leipprandt, David Reid, Adam Clarke, and Mike Choi for their Low Cost Exploration Landing System, shown below left.

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Students Excel in Math Modeling Contest

Whether they are developing a mathematical model to help a country meet its projected water needs or developing the perfect dessert pan, CU-Boulder students are hard to beat.

Two undergraduate teams from CU-Boulder were named among the 11 "Outstanding Winners" from a field of 5,636 teams that entered the international Mathematical Contest in Modeling, sponsored by the Consortium for Mathematics and its Applications.

One of the two teams was comprised of students Gregory Mcquie and David Thomas of aerospace engineering sciences, and Yueh-Ya Hsu of applied mathematics. The other included students Christopher Aicher and Tracy Babb of applied mathematics, and Fiona Pigott, who is double-majoring in mechanical engineering and applied mathematics. Anne Dougherty of applied mathematics served as faculty advisor to both teams.

According to the contest rules, the students had 96 hours to decide which of two problems to complete, research their problem, come up with a mathematical model, program a numerical model, and write a report.  One of this year’s problems focused on developing an effective, feasible and cost-efficient strategy to meet projected water needs in a given country, while the other challenged students to develop the “ultimate brownie pan” to maximize heat distribution and cooking potential in an oven.

CU-Boulder had two teams designated as Outstanding Winners in 2012 as well, and has had a total of 13 Outstanding Winner designations since 2000.

CU Student/Alumni Startups Garner Attention

A new startup company launched by computer science doctoral student Aaron Schram and recent grads Ben Jacobson and William Butler is the latest in a string of successes in the entrepreneurial and startup space involving CU engineering students and alumni.

The company, Collective IP, debuted its new technology transfer information aggregator at a major biotechnology conference and business forum held April 22-25 in Chicago. The team developed a web-based search engine that offers access to technologies and inventors from around the world, with technology listings from more than 1,000 sources of innovation – including universities, research institutes, hospitals, government labs, foundations, associations, agencies and patent offices. It also features a comprehensive index of research grants awarded to public and private universities so that companies can understand what is currently being studied across the world and what that might mean for licensable technologies in the future.

Other recent entrepreneurial successes by CU students and alumni include:
- LineRate Systems, started by computer science doctoral student John Giacomoni and former electrical and computer engineering professor Manish Vachharajani, was acquired by F5 Networks in February; and
- Rally Software, founded by civil engineering graduate Ryan Martens along with compuer science alumnus Zach Nies and other CU grads, recently filed for a $70 million IPO.

“We’ve long produced students who have gone on to successful careers as employees, and some who have started their own businesses, but now we’re seeing an increasing entrepreneurial spirit in our students,” says associate chair of computer science Ken Anderson. “This is building on a new dynamic of collaboration between engineering, business and law to work on growing students’ potential in the entrepreneurial sphere.”

Honors & Awards: May 2013

Congratulations to the following individuals on their outstanding achievements:

Faculty

Matt Hallowell of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering was selected as the college’s Outstanding Faculty Advisor.

Paul Chinowsky of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering has been elected chair of the Boulder Faculty Assembly for 2013-14.

Gregor Henze, Balaji Rajagopalan, and their research group in civil, environmental, and architectural engineering won the Best Conference Paper Award for 2013 from the Architectural Engineering Institute for their paper, “Probabilistic Identification of Inverse Building Model Parameters.”

Angela Bielefeldt of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering won the Best Paper Award at the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Rocky Mountain Section Conference for her paper titled “Student Perceptions of the Importance and Achievement of Sustainable Engineering Outcomes.”

Jeffrey Knutsen of mechanical engineering, and Matthew Morris and Sandra Vásconez of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering were among 16 CU-Boulder faculty and staff to receive the Marinus Smith Recognition Award from the CU Parents Association this year.  The award recognizes CU-Boulder faculty and staff who have had a significant impact on CU-Boulder’s undergraduate student population.

Kristi Anseth of chemical and biological engineering was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, a top honor recognizing scientists and engineers for their distinguished and continuing achievements in research.

Staff

Lesley McDowell of computer science was selected as the college’s Outstanding Staff Advisor.

Jen Gifford of chemical and biological engineering received the Employee Recognition Award for April.

Pamela Williamson of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering was selected to receive the Employee Recognition Award for May.

Students

Ilana Trumble of applied mathematics, Taylor Kennedy, Anna McLeland, and Kayla Weston of chemical and biological engineering, Erik Bergal of civil, environmental and architectural engineering, Christopher Poulton of electrical, computer, and energy engineering, and Christopher Miller of mechanical engineering won awards at the annual Discovery Learning Research Symposium on April 19.

Nikki Look of applied mathematics, Rachel Viger and Claire Wise of chemical and biological engineering, and Alex Dohm of mechanical engineering were among the CU 4.0 Club students honored at the Student-Athlete Academic Recognition Banquet in April.

Levin Sliker, a graduate student mechanical engineering working with Mark Rentschler, has been awarded a Whitaker International Fellowship to study biorobotics at Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna in Pisa, Italy. 

Eric Simley, a graduate student in electrical engineering advised by Lucy Pao, won a Fulbright Fellowship to pursue research at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) next year.  His research is on Measuring Wind Evolution for Wind Turbine Control using Light Detection and Ranging.

New Faculty & Staff: May 2013

Welcome to the new faculty and staff who are joining the college:

Jared Wampler, Applications Engineer – Integrated Teaching & Learning Program

Lauren Cole, Undergraduate Advisor – Aerospace Engineering Sciences

Lindsay Powers, Research Support Assistant – Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering

Malia Frederickson, NCWIT Aspirations Project Manager – ATLAS Institute

The Power of Scholarships

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Students Travel Far on Little Fuel in Eco-Marathon

CU Engineering students placed 6th in the gasoline division at the Shell Eco-Marathon of the Americas in Houston, April 5-7, edging out Cal Poly, Colorado School of Mines, University of Michigan, and numerous other top-ranked schools. It was the CU team’s second best finish in the six years it has competed in the event.

The competition challenges students to design, build, and drive the most energy-efficient car. The CU team achieved a best mileage score of 1,287 mpg in the race.

"The first day of competition (Saturday) was pretty successful as we got four runs in achieving our highest mileage on the third. But Sunday was the type of day where anything that could go wrong did," said mechanical engineering senior Austin Schipper. "We have achieved higher mileages at our test track in Colorado and we know the vehicle is capable of much higher mileages than we achieved."

Students Kelsey Spurr, Kyle Jacques, Richard Viehdorfer, and Ben Fuoss were also part of this year’s Eco-Marathon team. Paul Sweazey from last year’s team returned as driver, while Greg Potts and Marcelo Bergquist continued their service as faculty advisors.

“They have done a ton of great things to the car this year and have been an awesome team to work with,” Potts said. Modifications included reducing the weight of the vehicle with a carbon fiber sub-frame, improving the driver controls, and modifying the motor to achieve 1.5 times its factory power output.

"It will be very exciting to see what future teams can do with the incredible toolbox we developed for this vehicle during the 2012-13 year," Schipper said.

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Concrete Canoe Team Joins in ASCE Conference

steelbridge_2013_sm_0.jpgThe CU student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers is getting back in the swing with the revival of its concrete canoe team, and the return of its steel bridge team for its second year at the ASCE Rocky Mountain Student Conference. The conference was held April 4-6 at Utah State University.

“We received some wonderful compliments from the judges who said we had one of the best canoes they have ever seen constructed by a team entering the event for their first year. We have an exceptional team, and nearly all of us are still going to be here next year to improve our design,” said team captain Travis Marcilla, a BS/MS student in structural engineering.

While the canoe teams raced around the lake, the steel bridge teams erected model bridges in the fieldhouse. The CU bridge team performed spectacularly with its fastest build yet at 29 minutes, 20 seconds.

“We passed the safety tests which disqualified last year's bridge, and were allowed to load,” said team captain Erik Bergal, who is majoring in applied math. “The 17-foot span deflected only 1.2 inches under an initial load of 1,500 pounds and held up to a final loading of nearly 2,400 pounds before stopping for safety concerns.”

The students hope to continue growing CU-Boulder's ASCE chapter leading up to their scheduled hosting of the Rocky Mountain Student Conference in 2016.

Pictured above with the canoe are students (back row) Christina Jones, Jonny Ernster, Sean O'Grady, Travis Marcilla, Taylor Winkel, and Sage Springer, and (front row) Kelli Bradley, Julia Carroll, and Matthew Kincaid.

At right, on their steel bridge, are Evan Chan, Bruce Hall, Henry Hamamji, Erik Bergal, Tyler Hunt, Brian Dickinson, Julia Traylor (sitting), Natasha Funk, Carl Dewey, Will Beckman, and Daryn Hobbs.

Team Investigates Fire Impact on Water Quality

A research team in civil, environmental, and architectural engineering is investigating the long-term impacts that forest fires, such as last summer’s High Park Fire west of Fort Collins, may have on water quality in Colorado.

The team, led by assistant professor Fernando Rosario-Ortiz, working with professor Scott Summers, graduate student Amanda Hohner, and Jeffrey Writer from the U.S. Geological Survey, is sampling water this spring and summer from various locations along the Cache La Poudre River, including sites upstream of the burned area.

Primary sampling was conducted after the fire was extinguished and is being expanded this spring and summer to capture the flush of debris from the wildfire. Source water quality, nutrients, and dissolved organic matter will all be evaluated. In addition, bench scale tests will be conducted to better understand the impacts of the fire on treatment processes. 

The Cache La Poudre watershed provides drinking water for three water districts in Northern Colorado, including the city of Fort Collins. The ultimate goal of the research is to provide information to environmental agencies that will assist local communities in sustaining their drinking water sources. 

Honors & Awards: April 2013

Congratulations to the following individuals on their outstanding achievements:

Faculty

Kristi Anseth of chemical and biological engineering was selected to receive CU-Boulder’s Hazel Barnes Prize for her outstanding record as both a teacher and researcher. The award comes with a monetary prize of $20,000, and will be presented at spring commencement.

Scot Douglass of the Herbst Humanities and Engineering Honors programs was selected as a CU President’s Teaching Scholar.

Derek Reamon of mechanical engineering was selected to receive the John & Mercedes Peebles Innovation in Education Award from the college.

Raphael Piestun of electrical, computer, and energy engineering, and Al Weimer of chemical and biological engineering received Dean’s Faculty Fellowships for next year (in addition to those listed in last month’s edition).

Moncef Krarti of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering was named New Inventor of the Year by CU’s Technology Transfer Office.

The Boulder Faculty Assembly selected the following engineering faculty for its 2012-13 Excellence Awards.

  • BFA Excellence in Teaching: Christine Hrenya of chemical and biological engineering and Dragan Maksimovic of electrical, computer, and energy engineering
  • BFA Excellence in Research: Kristine Larson of aerospace engineering sciences and Karl Linden of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering
  • BFA Excellence in Service: Janet deGrazia of chemical and biological engineering

CU’s Technology Transfer Office selected the following engineering faculty among its annual awards:

  • Moncef Krarti of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering was named New Inventor of the Year.
  • LineRate Systems, a company founded by computer science doctoral students John Giacomoni and Manish Vachharajani, was Company of the Year.
  • Tom Cathey of electrical, computer, and energy engineering was inducted into the “Pinnacles of Inventorship,” an all-star group showing continuous commitment to best practices in technology transfer.

Tom Cathey also was selected to receive the 2013 Joseph Fraunhofer Award/Robert M. Burley Prize of the Optical Society of America “for seminal contributions to the field of computational optical imaging and its commercial application.”

John McCartney of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering was selected to receive the President’s Leadership Award from the American Society for Testing & Materials (ASTM) International.

Christine Hrenya of chemical and biological engineering was appointed an editor for the journal Aerosol Science and Technology.

Michael Lightner of electrical, computer, and energy engineering was elected to the ABET Executive Committee as Secretary of the Board.

Staff

Deb Mellblom from aerospace engineering sciences was selected to receive the Employee Recognition Award for March.

Students

Brittany Earle and Jeni Sorli of chemical and biological engineering, and Mike Lotto of aerospace engineering sciences, have been selected to receive the prestigious national Goldwater Scholarship. The scholarships are worth up to $7,500 for educational expenses each year.

Distinguished Seniors chosen by the departments for recognition at the April 26 Engineering Awards Banquet are:

  • Kyle Kemble, aerospace engineering
  • Nicole Look, applied mathematics
  • Jordan Hornback, architectural engineering
  • Brandon Lin, chemical engineering
  • Benjamin Mead, chemical and biological engineering
  • Analee Collins, civil engineering
  • Samuel Pottinger, compuer science
  • Armeen Taeb, electrical engineering
  • Christopher Corey, electrical and computer engineering
  • Matthew Storm Bull, engineering physics
  • Holly Atkinson, environmental engineering
  • Derek Lattimore, mechanical engineering

The ME Design Center Colorado NREL Senior Design team comprised of Faith Batrack, Eli Kuhlmann, Adam Lokar, Coulter Polhman, and Charlie Wheeler won the Best Undergraduate and Best Overall poster awards for their senior design project at the CU Energy Club Energy Frontiers Poster Session April 4. The students are developing a piece of test equipment to help solve a problem in wind turbine technology for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory with advisor Paul Ibanez.

Hidden Paintings Revealed

Paintings that have lain hidden for hundreds of years underneath some of Europe’s most treasured artwork are being revealed with remarkable new clarity with the aid of 21st-century technology and signal processing experts at CU-Boulder.

Assistant professor of electrical engineering Shannon Hughes has been collaborating with the University of Antwerp, Belgium; Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands; and colleagues at several other U.S. schools on the virtual recovery and restoration of long-concealed paintings.

Famous works by the likes of Van Gogh, Rembrandt, and Runge were often painted on top of other paintings that are just now being detected with the advent of X-ray fluorescence imaging technology.

As many as 20 paintings, or about 15 percent of those recently X-rayed at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, were found to have hidden paintings beneath them, according to Hughes, who interfaces regularly with art conservators, historians, and others in the fine arts world.

The discovered works represent a new area for art historians that could shed light on issues of authorship and detection of forgery, as well as provide a new set of paintings by renowned artists to be studied and enjoyed.

X-ray Fluorescence Imaging

X-ray fluorescence imaging is a noninvasive technique that involves measuring the concentrations of chemical elements at different spatial locations across a canvas as an indicator of paint pigment.

When combined with advanced signal processing tools being developed by Hughes and her colleagues, it allows for hidden images to be revealed in all their glory without any damage to the surface painting.

Hughes became involved in the field a few years ago when she was working on her PhD in electrical engineering at Princeton University. Chemistry professor Koen Janssens of Antwerp, along with materials expert and art historian Joris Dik of Delft, were looking for a collaborator to help clean up and restore data they were obtaining through X-ray fluorescence.

“They are the best in the world at creating high-quality chemical imaging of fine art, but they needed help to clean up the chemical images and integrate them together into a single color image. So we have applied some of our signal processing tools and developed some new ones as well,” says Hughes.

Signal Analysis and Repair

Hughes’ team has developed several new methods to repair artifacts introduced through the imaging process, remove unwanted features that sometimes result from heavy use of paint on the surface paintings, and identify and repair small areas of information loss.

One of the images that she and her students have worked on—and improved the quality of considerably—is a portrait of a peasant woman that lies under Van Gogh’s 1887 painting Patch of Grass. The portrait was painted in shades of brown and red, whereas the surface painting is dominated by hues of green and blue, allowing for a relatively clean separation of chemical elements.

While previous research had discovered a vague outline of a head behind the painting, it was not revealed in great detail until 2008. A paper published this spring in the journal Signal Processing, with recent CU master’s graduate Anila Anitha as lead author, reveals an improved image and details the novel processing techniques used by the research team.

Another reconstructed image the CU team has studied is a partially obscured painting beneath a Philipp Runge portrait of the German Romantic period called Pauline in a White Dress against a Summer Landscape. The hidden painting is believed to be a more intimate portrait of the painter’s wife that was painted over to give her a more conservative appearance.

Forgery Detection

Hughes says that the team can use similar techniques for distinguishing the brushwork of one artist from others for the detection of forgery. This is a daunting task, as even art experts disagree on the attribution of some paintings, but quantitative analysis could provide additional evidence to help settle these disagreements.

Her team has attempted to address the task by using a combination of filtering, statistical modeling, and machine learning. “In recent experiments, we have found that we can distinguish the brushwork of Vincent van Gogh from that of other artists with 92 percent accuracy on a test set of over 100 paintings,” Hughes says.

Undergraduate Research

Ilana Trumble, a junior majoring in applied mathematics, is working on reconstructing the hidden Runge portrait with support from the college’s Discovery Learning Apprenticeship Program. Her research builds on previous color estimation work that has been done on the painting, using data analysis and programming tools.

“It’s a really cool way of linking math and computing with history,” says Trumble, who selected the project from a long list of research opportunities offered by faculty last spring.

She and nearly four dozen other students in the Discovery Learning program will present their posters at a research symposium on April 19.
 

Looking for Currents in a Sea of Data

Computers are generating massive amounts of information in the modern era, but how do we make sense of it all? Uncovering the scientific knowledge hidden in the sea of data requires careful sifting, powerful tools, and an eye for patterns.

“My work emphasizes a data-driven approach to developing new scientific ideas about how complex social and biological systems work,” says Aaron Clauset, an assistant professor of computer science who analyzes terabytes of information to understand topics ranging from biological evolution to human behavior.

Some would call this work mere statistics, but he doesn’t see it that way. To him, a computer is a virtual laboratory where he uses mathematical models to develop and test theories about the patterns hidden in complex and massive data sets. The approach has led to some surprising results.

Modeling Complex Networks

Clauset, who is a member of CU’s BioFrontiers Institute, has applied novel statistical tools and algorithms to fossil and ecological data, and developed a theory that explains with remarkable accuracy exactly why most mammals are small and only a few grow to be giants like elephants or whales. The theory is based on a trade-off between the short-term benefits and the long-term risks of species evolving to larger sizes over millions of years.

He also is a leader in the new field of computational social science, which combines theories and mathematical models of human social dynamics with big data sets and clever algorithms to uncover hidden patterns. If government or for-profit companies extract such information, it raises privacy concerns, but Clauset is interested in the data for what it says about social behavior within groups or entire populations.

Dynamics of Terrorism

Records showing the frequency and severity of terrorist attacks is another area of interest for Clauset. He began looking at the data after the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, and has been studying it ever since. “While conflict studies often focus on the psychology that leads to wars and terrorism, I aim to understand the global patterns in what can be directly measured, like the number of casualties and how often these events occur,” he says.

In a paper published last November, Clauset and political scientist Kristian Skrede Gleditsch of the University of Essex, England, studied the attacks of nearly 1,000 terrorist organizations worldwide over a 40-year period, 1968 to 2008. They found that terrorist organizations behave a lot like factories, increasing their "production rate" of attacks in a mathematically predictable way, even as the deadliness of their attacks did not increase with more experience.

In a new paper to be published this year, Clauset and Ryan Woodard at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich develop a new method for robustly estimating the historical and future probabilities of large terrorist events on the scale of 9/11. Their research will be the subject of a dedicated session at the American Statistical Association’s flagship conference in August.

Although this approach to understanding social systems is somewhat unconventional, Clauset says, identifying and understanding human social processes on a global scale offers a complementary perspective to the traditional work of social scientists, and a new way to understand what regularities may exist.

Student Research

Graduate students Abigail Jacobs and Sears Merritt are also working on a variety of computational projects, including studies of ecological data and trying to ferret out the social relationships from video game player behavior.

“We’re an interdisciplinary group with broad research interests,” says Merritt, adding that he enjoys the challenge of applying computer science to understand social systems versus the technological ones. “There’s a lot more we don’t know about social systems because we can’t engineer them like software. It’s the emergent properties that are interesting.”

“There are some nice carry-overs between the projects,” Jacobs adds, “and the cross-fertilization is useful in bringing new ideas to other fields.”

CU to Create Big Data Center

Harnessing the power of big data is a 21st-century challenge that requires multidisciplinary collaboration and advancements in the technology to handle large amounts of data. Associate chair Ken Anderson is thus creating a multi-departmental Center for Big Data and Applied Science.

“I aim to unify the big data work and research expertise here at CU and make it more visible here in Colorado, and at the national and international levels,” Anderson says. “Besides Aaron’s excellent analytical work, there is work at CU on the software engineering of big data systems, the use of cloud computing for scientific workflows, the design of operating systems for cluster computing, and the like.”

The center’s mission will be the democratization of big data-producing frameworks and tools that allow more organizations to make sense of large data sets, Anderson says. The center will pursue federal research funding, partner with local industry to help them tackle their big data problems, and develop educational programs that produce graduates with knowledge and skills relevant to big data domains.
 

Fracking Fracas

A CU-led research team is taking on one of the most contentious issues in the Rocky Mountain West—the impacts of natural gas development.

The National Science Foundation awarded the team a $12 million grant to explore ways to maximize the benefits of development, while minimizing negative impacts on ecosystems and communities. The team’s proposal is one of only two selected last fall from more than 200 that were submitted to NSF’s Sustainability Research Network program.

The battle over oil and gas development has been particularly fierce in Colorado, where 90 percent of the acreage offered for drilling in the past five years has been protested, according to the Denver Post.

In Boulder County, homeowners are seeking local-government protection from the increased drilling that is encroaching on their east-county communities. The public’s biggest concern is possible groundwater contamination from the use of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Others see natural gas as a “bridge fuel” that leads away from dirty coal combustion toward cleaner sustainability methods.

Large, Multidisciplinary Team

Professor Joseph Ryan in civil, environmental, and architectural engineering is leading a multidisciplinary research team that will examine social, ecological, and economic aspects of the development of natural gas resources, and the protection of air and water resources. Graduate student Jessica Dehart collects sediment from the Arapahoe Aquifer for her experiments on the fate of organic compounds in fracking fluid. Below, she talks to her advisor, Joe Ryan, in the laboratory.

The team includes air and water quality experts, social scientists, human health experts, and information technology experts; and there also is a substantial outreach and education effort led by the Center of the American West. Faculty and students from mechanical engineering also are involved, along with partners at the Colorado School of Mines and several other institutions.

Hydraulic Fracturing

Team members will review industry practices for hydraulic fracturing, which involves pumping pressurized water, sand, and chemicals deep into the ground through well bores to crack rocks and free petroleum and natural gas for easier extraction. The team will evaluate the current state of drilling technology, the integrity of well bore casings, and natural gas collection mechanisms and processes.

Hydraulic fracturing requires large volumes of chemically treated water—most wells require between 3 million and 5 million gallons of water each. The fracturing fluid left in the ground, as well as the fluid that returns to the surface, known as flowback, present potential ecological and health risks if not handled properly.

Other CEAE faculty involved are Professor Harihar Rajaram, who will assist in investigating the hydrologic processes tied to potential risks, including groundwater and aquifer systems; and Professor Karl Linden, who also will be involved on the water quality side of the project, evaluating treatment technologies such as ozone and advanced oxidation processes for the sustainable reuse and safe discharge of generated wastewater.

Student Involvement

CU engineering graduate student Jessica Dehart is among the students who will work on the project. She is getting started on laboratory experiments related to the fate and transport of organic compounds contained in fracking fluid.

“It’s a really exciting area to be investigating because there are a lot of questions to answer and not a large body of research already out there,” says Dehart, who recently collected sediment from the Arapahoe Aquifer, one of four principal aquifers within the Denver Basin, for her tests.

The recipient of a competitive EPA STAR Fellowship, Dehart began her involvement in engineering research after working with CU’s Engineers Without Borders chapter on a project in Nepal. “I got very excited that I could have a career that could immediately impact people’s lives,” she recalls.

A Balanced Perspective

After completing an environmental internship with an oil and gas company to get hands-on experience, Dehart says she can understand the different perspectives on oil and gas development and how important it is to keep a balanced view while conducting the research.

Another student, Adrianne Kroepsch in environmental studies, is working on outreach efforts with the Center of the American West by synthesizing the literature on key topics and clarifying “what we know, what we don’t know, and what we can learn about these issues.”

Ryan says the research team has no preconceived notions and will strive for transparency in its evaluation methods. “We all create demand for natural gas so we have to accept some of the outcomes of its extraction,” he says. “Our goal is to provide a framework for society to evaluate the trade-offs associated with the benefits and the costs.”

Revisualizing Vaccines

As a chemical engineering student in the 1980s, Ted Randolph volunteered on a vaccine campaign against diphtheria, measles, pertussis, and tetanus in Guatemala, and came away with a focus for his career.

“There was typically no electricity where we were in Guatemala, and so we would buy up all the popsicles from a street vendor with a kerosene-powered cooler when we arrived so that we’d be able to keep the vaccines fresh,” recalls Randolph, the Gillespie Professor of Bioengineering and co-director of CU-Boulder’s Center for Pharmaceutical Biotechnology.

Vaccines offer a tremendous benefit to human health, but creating vaccines that provoke a reliable, protective immune response in a formulation with adequate shelf life is a serious challenge, Randolph says.

Over the last 20 years he has created a vibrant laboratory program at CU that focuses on the formulation and stabilization of protein-based therapeutics and vaccines.

His work has resulted in numerous professional awards, 19 patents, and two spinoff companies—BaroFold, which applies Pressure Enabled Protein Manufacturing technology developed in Randolph’s lab to improve the safety and reduce the manufacturing cost of a variety of protein-based drugs; and RxKinetix, a pharmaceutical company specializing in cancer treatments.

Bioterrorism Vaccines

Around a decade ago Randolph started to work on a new type of vaccine—one that he hopes he’ll never have to give to anyone. The National Institutes of Health is funding his research to develop vaccines against bioterrorism agents such as anthrax, botulinum, and ricin—a naturally occurring protein that is one of the most toxic substances in the world.

While the chance of anyone needing to be vaccinated against such substances may be small, the need for an effective vaccine could be massive and immediate if such a threat were to arise. And those are two challenges the pharmaceutical industry would be hard pressed to handle.

“If we were attacked,” Randolph hypothesizes, “then we’d need to get a vaccine to a whole lot of people right away. And then there’s the milk-in-the-refrigerator problem, because the natural shelf life of most proteins is only a few weeks. Like milk, vaccines and other protein drugs quickly go bad, especially if left too long at room temperature, and often must be stored at ultra-low temperatures that make them impractical for rapid deployment.

“We have to figure out how to stabilize the vaccines so we can stockpile them,” he concludes.

Immobilization in Sugar Glass

Borrowing a technique that plants use to protect the proteins in their seeds, Randolph’s group discovered they could stabilize vaccine proteins by encasing them in glass made of naturally occurring sugars, which protects the proteins against degradation.

“We’re three for three so far,” Randolph says, referring to successes with anthrax, botulinum, and ricin vaccines. “We can keep the vaccines for four months at over 100 degrees Fahrenheit and they’re still 100 percent potent.”

The bioterrorism vaccines are in the form of a dry powder, which makes them even easier to distribute in the event of a widespread attack, he adds.

Helping the Third World

There’s a chance the new technology also could be applied to the vaccines needed to immunize people in developing countries.

“We’re hoping we could apply similar processes to other vaccines,” said Kim Hassett, a doctoral student who is doing her research in Randolph’s lab. “If we could have unrefrigerated vaccines, they’d be able to get more places.”

Hassett is supervising chemical and biological engineering undergraduates Megan Cousins and Lilia Rabia, who are engaging in the research with funds from the college’s Discovery Learning Apprenticeship Program and other campus programs for undergraduate researchers. Both students are pursuing careers in the medical field and were drawn to the research because of its potential applications.

Career Opportunities

Randolph often recruits undergraduates to work in his laboratory, and those who are really interested in the research can turn it into a senior thesis—or even a paper published in a sponsored journal, he says.

Most of his graduate students go to work with pharmaceutical companies after graduation, where they manage other researchers in much the same way that they have done with the undergraduates at CU-Boulder.

“Our graduates are now iin leadership positions at biopharmaceutical companies around the world, and the research management skills that they develop at CU are a big part of their success,” says Randolph.

College Grows in Enrollment and Academic Quality

cue13-davis_0.jpgDear Alumni and Friends,

This has been an outstanding year of growth and advancement in the college. We are seeing continued increases in our student enrollment, with the total up another 5 percent last year to nearly 5,000 degree-seeking students in the college in fall 2012. This growth is highly encouraging as an indicator of the quality that students see in our departments and programs.

We had about 4,000 students in fall 2006 and expect to reach 6,000 students by 2020. The case for growth is simple: (1) increased engineering enrollments will help meet student interest and employer needs, and (2) a larger engineering college will help enhance our reputation and that of CU-Boulder as a whole.

Along with this student growth, we have introduced a number of new programs, including a new Global Engineering Residential Academic Program (RAP) for undergraduate students, and new graduate degrees in architectural engineering and in materials science and engineering. The ATLAS Institute, which offers various interdisciplinary degree programs, minors, and certificates in technology, learning and society, has also become part of our college. These programs are all detailed on the following pages.

This year is the first year of our full-time occupancy in the new Jennie Smoly Caruthers Biotechnology Building on East Campus. The Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering moved to the new building last spring, along with some of our faculty and students participating in the multi-departmental BioFrontiers Institute.

We also have seen large-scale growth in research awards, which were up 7.6 percent to $73 million in fiscal year 2012—an impressive 83 percent growth during the last five years. Despite the downturn in the economy and its resulting effect on the budgets of federal government agencies that fund the majority of this research, our faculty has been quite competitive in winning grants.

You can read about our cutting-edge work in areas such as biotechnology, energy, and “big data” on the following pages—and see how students are benefitting through their involvement. From undergraduates in our Discovery Learning Apprenticeship Program to graduate students funded by some of the most prestigious national grants, it is clear that research impacts the quality of the education we provide.

We are indebted to the alumni whose support has helped to make our college the international leader we strive to be in both research and education. With 7.1 percent of our FY 2012 budget coming from private gifts—more than twice that appropriated by the state of Colorado (3.2 percent)—we couldn’t do it without you!

Private donors have made it possible to enhance our merit scholarship program for Colorado’s top high school students. The scholarships will reach an estimated 55 percent of our in-state freshmen next fall and help convince them to study engineering at CU-Boulder. Please take a look at the scholarship “infographic” for more details on this program, and let us know if you’d like to help us grow it—or help us build the resources we need to achieve excellence in other areas.

In closing, I thank you for all you do on behalf of CU Engineering. And, if you haven’t reconnected with us in a while, we hope to see you at a future event.

Sincerely,

Robert H. Davis, Dean

Menu for Mars

Imagine you are part of an astronaut crew traveling for years to establish a remote base on a distant planet. What will you eat when you get there—rations stored for years in your spacecraft’s cargo or fresh fruits and vegetables ready to harvest when you arrive?

The second scenario is better from both a nutritional and psychological perspective, and CU-Boulder students are advancing the technologies needed to make it a reality.

“Psychology is a major driver of how well people can survive in isolated, confined environments,” says Christine Fanchiang, a graduate student in aerospace engineering who is part of the student team participating in the 2013 Exploration Habitat (X-Hab) Academic Innovation Challenge.

NASA Challenge

The X-Hab team was given a time frame of one year to develop a remotely operable robotic garden that will support astronauts in deep space. CU-Boulder is one of five universities selected to participate in the challenge, which is led by NASA and the National Space Grant Foundation. Each school has received about $40,000 to design a different habitat system, concept, and technology, and they all must deliver their finished systems to NASA in May 2013.

“This is a really good project—not just to get a taste of, but to dive head first into, the world of robotics,” says Scott Mishra, a master’s student in aerospace engineering who serves as software lead on the project. Robotics challenges include environmental mapping, path planning, computer vision, and artificial intelligence or decision making.

The students’ system will perform four major tasks: seeding, monitoring plant growth, harvesting, and processing crop residue to recycle nutrients back into the system. The completed system will be a “bioregenerative” food system that supports life by simultaneously revitalizing the atmosphere, purifying water, and producing food for consumption.

Because of its wide-ranging goals, the project involves students from aerospace, electrical, and mechanical engineering; computer science; and molecular, cellular, and developmental biology.

Design Considerations

Daniel Zukowski, a master’s student in computer science, became interested in robotic gardening as a way to advance agricultural technology. He started working on the project during the proposal stage and is thrilled to be part of a NASA-funded CU team advancing systems development for the aerospace industry. “It’s the integration of state-of-the-art robotics with science and agriculture,” he says.

While the initial garden prototype resembled a tiered indoor gardening rack with a robotic arm that moved along each row of plants to perform gardening tasks, the students ultimately created a design that decreases the mechanical complexity of robotic movement required to reach each plant.

The final system will involve a robotic arm and gantry system, a plant module with a system of rotating trays that move each plant into position, and a handling unit for all the fluids and electrical elements. The system ultimately could be replicated and multiple units stacked in rows for higher volume production, the students say.

Spaceflight Expertise

Professor Dave Klaus, who leads the bioastronautics program at CU-Boulder, says the project is a natural extension of some of the work done at BioServe Space Technologies over the last 25 years. BioServe was established as a space life sciences research center at CU-Boulder in 1988, and its researchers have studied the effects of microgravity on plant growth and related topics on over 40 spaceflight missions.

Former astronaut and aerospace engineering senior instructor Joe Tanner is the X-Hab team’s principal faculty advisor, while assistant professor Nikolaus Correll of computer science is advising students on the robotic components. Correll’s advanced robotics class also has been tapped for assistance, while a Colorado State University expert on soil and crop sciences provides advice in that area.

Plant Health

Heather Hava, a doctoral student in bioastronautics, is specifically interested in bioregenerative food systems and optimization of human-plant and human-computer interaction that can help to inform the system design.

She enrolled in a master-gardening certificate program on the side so that she can more easily identify specific plant needs, whether they have to do with water, nutrients, or light, and use that information in the development of the system hardware, software, and automation strategies.

Strawberries, tomatoes, basil, and peas are among the plants she is test-growing under lights in the lab this spring, as she evaluates various semiautomated, self-contained growing systems that are available commercially.

But those entering the lab are advised to take note of the “Do Not Eat” signs adorning plants bearing juicy red strawberries: The future health of astronauts is at stake!

Inspired by Design

At Design Center Colorado, you can hear ideas percolate. On any given day, dozens of engineering students gather in the Durning Student Projects Lab, testing, straining, conferring, explaining—and machining parts for products never built before.

Design Center Colorado is the new name for the mechanical engineering department’s industry-education partnership, which immerses teams of undergraduate and graduate students in yearlong design projects sponsored by industry.

This year, 119 seniors are working on 24 projects in the center’s senior design course sequence, including a jettisonable star-tracker cover for Lockheed Martin’s Orion Crew Module and new test equipment to help solve a problem in wind turbine technology for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

The center also has launched a new graduate design program, enrolling 40 master’s students working on even more advanced projects.

Design Center programs put a focus on concept generation, user-centered design, and hands-on engineering, which faculty say is unique to CU-Boulder. The innovative approach is attracting students and industry sponsors in unprecedented numbers, and student involvement is expected to grow from 159 to over 300 within two years.

“The design program is based on a lot of what’s fun in engineering—identifying a need and developing a solution for that need,” says graduate student Morgan Hill.

The center’s tagline “Design. Build. Play.” reflects the fact that students love what they do.

“Students see mechanical engineering as a flexible career choice that is applicable to a variety of fields,” says Daria Kotys-Schwartz, who directs the undergraduate design program. “And they want to
design things—they are willing to put in a lot of hours in their design courses because it really taps into why they’re here and why they want to be an engineer.”

Senior Design

The two-semester senior design course provides the culminating undergraduate experience offered by the department. Students integrate what they have learned in their fundamental mechanical engineering courses, and gain valuable real-world experience through regular interaction with fabricators, suppliers, and engaged industry sponsors.

“I came to CU because I want to get into renewable energy,” says student Eli Kuhlmann, whose team is developing a test apparatus for the determination of wind-turbine rolling element bearing stiffness. NREL is sponsoring the project to try to address the cause of premature gearbox failures, and ANCO, a local company that specializes in vibration testing, is providing a project mentor to work with the students.

Kuhlman says his team came up with an “ingenious” solution to the challenge, and he hopes the experience will help to win him a job in the renewable energy field.

Graduate Design

While undergraduate projects tend to result in “one-off” test products or pieces of equipment, the graduate design program leans toward consumer products and devices that are more technically complex, says Mark Rentschler, graduate design program director.

Hill, for example, is working with a small team to further develop an advanced laparoscopic device manufactured by the biomedical company Covidien.

“The project has a lot more constraints, and the margin for success is a lot narrower,” compared with senior design projects, she says.

Sponsor Benefits

Industry sponsors pay a fee to the Design Center to take on their project and also provide a mentor and materials budget to their student team. In return, the sponsor gains exposure to students’ new ideas and acquires intellectual property and a functional product at the end of the year.

The opportunity has attracted a wide variety of companies in the biomedical, aerospace, energy, computer, recreation, and other industries. Feedback has been extremely positive, and some company representatives have noted that the enthusiasm of the student teams is contagious.

The CU Difference

In addition to Kotys-Schwartz and Rentschler, the design faculty includes Jack Zable, who founded the center in 2000 as the Industry/University Cooperative Projects Center, and Derek Reamon, who co-directs the college’s Integrated Teaching and Learning Laboratory. Greg Potts also plays an integral role as lab coordinator, supporting student teams through each stage of design, fabrication, and assembly.

All bring industry experience to the program, which enriches their teaching and helps ensure the projects students work on are relevant— something few engineering programs in the country are doing.

“We have meaningful relationships with industry and we do real-world projects that matter,” Rentschler says.

Students from the senior and graduate-level design classes will showcase their projects at a public expo on April 26. See designcenter.colorado.edu for more information.

Chasing a Dream in Spaceflight

With a passion for space travel that began in childhood, it’s no surprise that Todd Mosher (MS AeroEngr ’95, PhD ’00) chose a career building spacecraft.

Mosher’s father worked for Martin Marietta at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, so he grew up hearing stories about the robotic spacecraft being built there and the planets to which the vehicles would travel. In his bedroom, with walls bedecked with astronaut wallpaper, Mosher dreamed about going into space.

Now, as director of design and development for Dream Chaser, Mosher is helping build a human spacecraft. At Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC), Mosher helps lead a team of more than 150 engineers and technicians who are developing the commercial spacecraft that will ferry astronauts to and from the International Space Station.

“It may sound clichéd, but working on Dream Chaser is a dream come true,” says Mosher. “It was disappointing that the Space Shuttle program ended, but now we have an exciting opportunity to do something innovative that will have commercial sustainability. As a world leader, the U.S. needs to fly its own astronauts.”

Since the retirement of the Space Shuttle fleet in 2011, American astronauts have had to hitch rides to the space station on the Russian Soyuz. It is hoped that Dream Chaser, which is based on NASA’s HL-20 design from two decades ago, will be the vehicle that enables U.S. astronauts to once again travel into space on their own timetable. Colorado-based SNC is partnering with NASA to develop this commercial crew space transportation system as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Development program.

Looking a bit like a mini space shuttle, Dream Chaser is winged for a pilot-controlled landing on conventional runways. It launches vertically on an Atlas V rocket and is designed to carry up to seven people, plus cargo.

In the early 1990s, Mosher also worked on a launch vehicle project using a similar design to the current Dream Chaser crew transportation system, which eventually became the Atlas and Delta rockets in use today, so his career has come full circle.

Mosher’s trajectory to the Dream Chaser project began after earning both a master’s degree and a doctorate in aerospace engineering from CU-Boulder. He also has a master’s in systems engineering from the University of Alabama in Huntsville and a bachelor’s in aerospace engineering from San Diego State University.

Prior to becoming director of design and development, Mosher was director of spacecraft business development at SNC where he helped win the Orbcomm Second Generation program to build 18 satellites. And he managed a program for designing rapid response space vehicles that the U.S. Department of Defense could use in wartime.

Before joining SNC in 2006, Mosher worked at Lockheed Martin on NASA’s plans to return to the moon. He has also worked for The Aerospace Corporation and General Dynamics.

In 2009, Mosher was a finalist for the NASA Astronaut Corps. In 2012, the CU-Boulder Alumni Association presented the Kalpana Chawla Outstanding Graduate Award to Mosher for his extraordinary achievements in the sciences and for his continued and thoughtful support of CU-Boulder. The award is named in honor of Chawla (MS AeroEngr ’86, PhD ’88), who died in 2003 aboard the space shuttle Columbia when it broke apart during re-entry.

“It’s an honor to receive the award for what it represents,” says Mosher. “Going into space is challenging and we’re trying to design the safest human spaceflight vehicle possible.”

Mosher draws inspiration from many areas. Robert Heinlein’s book, The Man Who Sold the Moon, resonates with him because of its story line about spaceflight being a commercial venture. Not surprisingly, individuals he admires include astronauts, such as Neil Armstrong, Jim Voss, and Steve Lindsey.

“To have astronauts fly on something I’ve designed is an engineer’s dream,” says Mosher. “There are times in your career that you look back on and treasure. This is one of them. If they have an extra seat in the back, maybe I can catch a ride.”

He credits the College of Engineering and the aerospace department for helping prepare him for an out-of-this-world career. “In my opinion,” says Mosher, “CU has one of the top-tier aerospace schools. Its greater emphasis on space helped me be a better engineer to work in the space program.”

When not focused on getting humans into space, Mosher finds balance in his life through outdoor activities such as hiking, stand-up paddle boarding, and camping with his wife and three children. He’s training for a triathlon this spring to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Like his father, Mosher tells stories about his work on Dream Chaser to his children, ages 12, 14, and 16, although they don’t have space-themed bedrooms.

“I wasn’t good enough to be a major-league baseball pitcher,” he jokes, “but fortunately I was able to fall back on this career.”

Engineering Surgical Instruments Just the Right Size

A new wave of medical technologies is transforming surgery and Jenifer Kennedy (ChemEngr ’85) is at the forefront of these innovative surgical devices.

Kennedy is one of the co-founders and director of research at Boulder- based JustRight Surgical, a startup surgical products company developing precision surgical technologies for general surgery.
Kennedy is responsible for designing these new approaches.

The company’s first device, which launched in April 2013, seals vessels using radio frequency energy directed between two tiny pincers the size of tweezers.

Rather than tying off blood vessels with sutures or titanium clips, Kennedy’s device heats the tissue, effectively sealing blood flow without leaving foreign material behind in the body. She likens the process to that shown in TV commercials for sealing plastic food bags with heat.

The vessel-sealing device Kennedy developed at JustRight Surgical uses smaller instruments that allow access to surgical sites where conventionally sized devices have been limiting. Developed with input from surgeons, the sealing device is four times smaller than any sealer now available, is more maneuverable, and uses radio-frequency energy to seal blood vessels in microsurgical procedures and difficultto- access anatomy. The device can seal the passageway of a blood vessel with a diameter smaller than 5 millimeters.

“Making things smaller is always a challenge,” she says, “because you get to the point where the variances on the parts of this device can be plus or minus the thickness of a human hair.”

Other surgical devices will be launched by JustRight Surgical this summer. Kennedy can’t say much more than that about the new devices yet because of the proprietary nature of the products under development—but it’s clear she enjoys the work and collaboration with her colleagues.

“It’s hard work getting a product like this to market,” says Kennedy, who holds 10 patents. “After you get through the cumbersome regulatory process, overcoming hundreds of tiny technical hurdles, and understand the marketing challenges and strategy, then you’re finally ready to go out and sell it. That’s very exciting.”

After graduating from CU in 1985 with a degree in chemical engineering, Kennedy took a job as a chemical engineer in research and development at the aerospace company Morton-Thiokol, where she worked on developing rocket propellant. While she enjoyed the work, Kennedy realized that the defense industry was not where she wanted to focus her efforts.

Biomedical engineering was an emerging field at that time. The idea of combining engineering principles and design with medicine and biology to make healthcare products appealed to her, so Kennedy headed back to school. “I liked the idea of developing products to help people and improve their quality of life.”

Kennedy received a master’s degree in 1989 and a doctorate in 1991, both in biomedical engineering from Northwestern University. Following a postdoctoral fellowship in cardiology at Yale University School of Medicine, she jump-started her career in biomedical research and development at SciMed Life Systems, where she worked on developing angioplasty balloon catheters.

She then went to Valleylab (now Covidien) in Boulder, which is where the idea of a vessel-sealing system actually originated. At Valleylab, Kennedy developed and managed the applied research group from 1993 to 1997. Her research resulted in the discovery that using controlled radio frequencies could seal blood vessels. This discovery led to the first vessel-sealing technology.

By observing a variety of surgeries—neurosurgery, general surgery, and gynecological surgery—Kennedy could see how surgical procedures could be improved with new or enhanced products.

“After observing surgeries for several weeks, we would go back to the lab and think up product concepts, do the research, and get technologies into development,” says Kennedy. “I try to bridge the gap between understanding surgical technique and technological capabilities.”

While at Valleylab, Kennedy was traveling 100,000 miles a year teaching surgeons how to use the company’s products. Her husband, Aaron, founder of Noodles & Company, was also on the road opening 20 to 30 restaurants a year. Their schedules became difficult to coordinate and, with two young children, Kennedy decided to stay at home while trying to fit in a little independent biomedical research consulting.

Ten years later Kennedy got a call from some former co-workers who wanted her to research new product concepts. JustRight Surgical was launched in 2009 with $6.5 million in capital.

“I had to develop a new and unique approach to existing technologies,” she says. “Surgeons had been asking for smaller, more precise little instruments since the mid-’90s, so we decided to be the people who make the instruments for them. We anticipate that our devices will have a lot of applications for a variety of surgeries.”

Believing in the importance of giving back to the engineering school, she serves on the Engineering Advisory Council as well as the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering Advisory Board.

“The chemical engineering degree at CU was the hardest thing I ever had to do in my life—really,” says Kennedy. “I’m very thankful for the quality and the rigor of the education I received there because it led to a career I absolutely love.”

ITP First Graduate Returns as Scholar in Residence

Sharon Black (IntlAf ’71, MS TeleCom ’72) has the rare distinction of being the first graduate of the Interdisciplinary Telecommunications Program (ITP), which was the first academic program of its kind in the world. In fact, she was the only student in the very first class.

After a career as an international telecommunications analyst, consultant, and attorney with more than 40 years of industry experience, she has taught in the ITP as an adjunct professor for 17 years and has been a scholar in residence since spring 2012.

“In the telecommunications and information technology industries, CU’s telecommunications program is well recognized as the nation’s oldest and one of the most prestigious graduate telecommunications programs in the world,” says Black. “This is mainly because of our hands-on laboratory, technical courses, and interdisciplinary focus.”

Black’s extensive experience in telecommunications, law, and national and international policy adds a deeper dimension to understanding the challenges that technology businesses face. She has consulted on telecommunications issues worldwide, working in the public and private sectors of the telecommunications field spanning a wide range of technology, from satellite and cellular to microwave and optic fiber.

Highly experienced in telecommunications business development, Black has written compliance rules and implemented regulations for state and international governments. Her book Telecommunications Law in the Internet Age is used by law schools and engineering programs in universities around the world.

But she didn’t set out to become an expert in telecommunications policy and regulations.

A yearlong study abroad trip to Costa Rica ignited a passion for international work that led Black to an undergraduate degree from CU in international affairs in 1971. That same year, CU-Boulder professors George Codding and Frank Barnes were developing the ITP. When she was recruited to the ITP master’s program by Codding, who was head of the International Affairs Department, “telecommunications” was a relatively new term in a budding field. Her initial response was, “tele-what?”

Housed in the electrical engineering department, the ITP was designed as an interdisciplinary program and included courses in economics, law, social sciences, and policy/regulation. The objective was to prepare students to function successfully in all of the disciplines or areas of study that relate to telecommunications.

When Black arrived in the fall of 1971 to start graduate school in the pioneering program at CU, she discovered she was in an exclusive class of one—herself!

While in graduate school, Black worked as a research assistant at the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Institute of Telecommunications Studies (now the National Telecommunications and Information Administration in Boulder), a technical think tank for federal agencies, including the U.S. Congress, Federal Communications Commission, and the Department of Justice. After getting her master’s degree in 1972, she continued working there as a telecommunications analyst for four more years.

“I had fully planned to make my career at the Commerce Department,” she says. “I got to do early research on lasers, satellites, and optic fibers—very cool stuff. It was the most magical place to work.”

After making an agonizing decision, her husband’s job took them to Minnesota. During the next 14 years, Black worked as a telecom engineer designing, operating, and managing telecom networks for a bank and then for an insurance company that maintained a nationwide financial services network. She helped design and install the country’s first ATM networks.

In 1989, Black and her husband and three children returned to Boulder where she set up shop as an independent telecom consultant, later enrolling in law school at the University of Denver.

In 1995, the year she graduated and passed the bar, the Colorado legislature passed a law to open the local telecom industry to competition and mandated a yearlong process to rewrite the state’s telecom law. Black was hired by the state of Colorado to facilitate that process.

She started her own law firm in 1998, specializing in local, national, and international telecommunications and Internet law. She combines her knowledge of engineering, economics, and technology law in her consulting work and is currently working on two more books: one that documents new advances in health information technology and another on international approaches to emergency communications.

At CU, Black is working with engineering students on a variety of innovative projects. One involves students working on the use of telecommunications networks and devices to make health care more available in Rwanda. Another involves communications options used by counties to recover from natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis.

Last year, the ITP accepted its first class of PhD students and is starting a research center in the program.

“Working with students inspires me,” says Black. “To accomplish projects such as these, the interdisciplinary approach of the ITP really serves the students well. Codding and Barnes were visionaries when they established the ITP. They knew that universities needed to prepare students in the ‘Information Age’ to be able to think in broad terms, to appreciate the input of other disciplines, to ask focused questions of others working with them on projects, and to borrow insights and solutions from other disciplines.”

Alumni Awards

Congratulations to the following winners of the 2013 Engineering Alumni Awards!

The Distinguished Engineering Alumni Awards (DEAA) and the Recent Alumni Award recognize alumni at different points in their careers for their outstanding personal qualities and contributions to their fields.

www.colorado.edu/engineering/alumni/awards

George Born—DEAA, Special

cue-headshot-born_0.jpgAs a CU-Boulder professor of aerospace engineering sciences since 1985 and founding director of the Colorado Center for Astrodynamics Research, George Born has made a large impact on the University of Colorado, the field of satellite dynamics and applications, and countless students.

He earned his BS, MS, and PhD at the University of Texas at Austin, and was a senior engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory on several pioneering satellite missions from 1970 to 1983. His contributions in furthering the precision of orbit determination for remote-sensing satellites, and contributions to the field of satellite oceanography, have made lasting impacts.

He also has been instrumental in building a world-class faculty and program in aerospace engineering sciences at CU-Boulder. He recruited many top faculty and students, and is responsible for introducing the remote-sensing focus to the department. His book, Statistical Orbit Determination, has become the leading textbook for graduate courses at major universities.

Born was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2004, and is a fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the American Astronautical Society. He received the AIAA Mechanics and Control of Flight Award, the AAS Brouwer Award, and 10 NASA awards.

Elliot Goldman (BS/MS MechEngr ’04)— Recent Alumni Award

cue-headshot-goldman_0.jpgElliot Goldman was selected to receive the inaugural Recent Alumni Award for his achievements in the aerospace industry and his continuing service to Engineers Without Borders and the college.

Since graduation, he has been employed at Lockheed Martin Space Systems, where he has focused on structures and mechanism design for several of the company’s flagship projects. He was responsible for designing the avionics enclosure for the Jupiter-bound JUNO spacecraft and the solar array panels for MAVEN, which will be headed to Mars this year. He currently leads the design
of the OSIRIS-REx sample return capsule, which will return to Earth from Asteroid RQ36 in 2023.

In addition to the company awards he received for his work NASA recognized his achievements on the Phoenix Mars Lander and JUNO. He also holds a U.S. patent.

Goldman has been an active volunteer with Engineers Without Borders as well. He founded and serves as president of the South Denver EWB Professional Chapter, and he has continued his
association with EWB-CU, serving as a professional mentor an irrigation system for an orphanage in Rwanda. He also is mentoring CU students on a senior design project in aerospace engineering.

Herb Morreale (CompSci ’91)—DEAA, Industry & Commerce

cue-headshot-morreale_0.jpgAs the founder of several successful companies, a nonprofit organization, and the Domino Award given annually to CU-Boulder students, Herb Morreale is an outstanding alumnus, valued friend,
and long-standing advisor to the computer science department.

Morreale and classmate Trent Hein launched XOR, Inc., and nurtured the startup into a company with more than 500 employees and $50 million in revenue. After leaving XOR in 2000, Morreale founded Loon Lake Investments, an angel investing syndicate; Kalos Strategy Group, a management consulting firm that merged performance management and leadership development; and Adeptive Software, which is now the fastest growing company in the title and escrow software market. In 2004, he became chief technology officer at Gold Systems, where he led an expansion into VoIP unified communications through a partnership with Microsoft, and he subsequently served as chief technology officer for Me.dium (later OneRiot), which developed groundbreaking technology in social media.

Since 2010, he has been CEO of 6kites, Inc., a company providing expertise in social business, mobile, Web, and enterprise application development. He also founded the charitable organization Topplers, which seeks to impact the world by inspiring, educating, and motivating people to “set big things in motion,” and oversees the Domino Award, which he created in 2002.

John W. Lund (CivEngr ’58, PhD ’67)—DEAA, Education and Research & Invention

cue-headshot-lund_0.jpgAfter earning his PhD in civil engineering at CU-Boulder, John W. Lund went on to become a professor, department chair, and dean at the Oregon Institute of Technology, and co-founder and director of the Geo-Heat Center, the world’s premier institution in the direct use of geothermal energy. He was named OIT professor emeritus in 1999, but continued to direct the Geo-Heat Center until 2010.

His leadership in the development of geothermal energy continues today as a private consultant, working on direct-use projects in East Africa and around the world. He has published more than 300 professional papers and provided training for geothermal engineers and scientists in 36 countries. He also taught courses in transportation engineering and worked on transportation design criteria and publications for the U.S. Forest Service.

Lund was awarded the Geothermal Pioneer Award and Joseph Aidlin Award by the Geothermal Resources Council, an organization for which he was a multi-term director and president, and he received geothermal recognition awards from professional organizations in Macedonia, Italy, and Germany. He also is a past president of the International Geothermal Association. OIT awarded him its Faculty Excellence Award and Exemplary Faculty Award.

Show Your CU Engineering Pride with College-Branded Merchandise!

cue13-mug.jpgThe CU Book Store is now offering a special selection of items for purchase that feature the College of Engineering and Applied Science logo.

Visit the CU Book Store online to order college-branded mugs, t-shirts, sweatshirts, and car decals. A portion of the profits from every purchase will be returned to benefit the college.

Stay Connected with CU Engineering through Local and Regional Events

GOLD Board focuses on events and recognition for recent alumni

By Courtney Staufer

From local and regional events, to efforts underway to better connect with recent alumni and engage our many willing volunteers, the College of Engineering and Applied Science alumni relations program continues to grow and gain momentum.

The Graduates of the Last Decade (GOLD) Board, which formed about three years ago, really hit its stride this year. This dynamic group of recent graduates has defined its mission as keeping recent graduates connected to the college and university through recognition opportunities and social, service, and career-oriented events; as well as helping to support the strategic goals of the college. We will be recruiting new members to the board over the course of the next year, let us know if you graduated in the last 10 years and would like to be considered for membership.

The GOLD Board created a Recent Alumni Award this year to recognize early career achievements, service, and growth by alumni of the last decade. Elliot Goldman, who is featured in a profile on the facing page, was chosen from stiff competition to receive the inaugural award. The GOLD Board also has plans underway for a recent alumni event in Boulder on Saturday, April 27, as well as a multi-city happy hour early this summer, adding a few generation-specific offerings to our year-round event lineup for both Colorado and regional alumni.

Meanwhile, the college introduced several new events last year that we hope will become traditions. In May we will hold our second annual Graduating Students Breakfast. Hundreds of soon-to-be alumni, unable to resist free food and the delicious smell of bacon permeating the Engineering Center Lobby, will enjoy the chance to celebrate, bid farewell to college faculty and staff, and learn how they can stay involved after graduation. Later this summer we will have an alumni picnic here in Boulder, which we hope will again draw a large number of alumni, faculty, staff, and their families for a chance to socialize and reconnect with CU Engineering.

The CU Engineering Alumni Breakfast Series featured seven Boulder and Denver area events where faculty and alumni from each of our departments presented on a range of engineering topics from health and energy issues to next-generation spacecraft. With interesting topics and a new format, we saw participation more than double over the previous year. As we make plans to pick up the series again this fall, we’ll be looking for opportunities to involve out-of-town alumni in some of these events through teleconferences or webinars. If your company is interested in hosting or sponsoring one of these events, please let us know!

In addition to our local programming, the college also has continued to host regional gatherings for alumni across the country, with events in San Francisco, Houston, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. We hope to visit more cities in the coming year, and always love to hear ideas for attractive venues and activities alumni would enjoy in your city.

As mentioned in our February 2013 alumni e-newsletter, planning also is underway for a Volunteer Day, which we hope will involve coordinated and individual participation from alumni nationwide.

Whether you have stayed close to the Flatirons of Boulder or find yourself thousands of miles away, we hope you’ll keep an eye out for upcoming events and activities for engineering alumni!

Visit www.colorado.edu/engineering/alumni/events to see what’s happening next. Share your ideas or learn about hosting or sponsoring an event by contacting Melanie Sidwell, Alumni Relations Coordinator, at 303-492-7426 or engalumni@colorado.edu.
 

New Grad Programs in Architectural Engineering, Materials Science

The Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering has offered a BS degree in architectural engineering since 1925, but only civil engineering degrees have been offered at the graduate level—until now. Starting in fall 2013, students can enroll in new MS and PhD degree programs in architectural engineering offered by the highly regarded Building Systems Program.

Growing interest in sustainable building design and operation, and renewable energy systems, led to the creation of the new degrees, which were approved by the Colorado Commission on Higher Education last year. Prospective students can find the latest information at civil.colorado.edu.

Meanwhile, a new graduate program offering an MS and PhD in materials science and engineering (MSE) also has been approved. The interdisciplinary academic program will prepare graduates to advance new technologies such as biomaterials to replace damaged tissues or deliver drugs to treat cancer, and lighter materials for aircraft and space shuttles.

Professor Chris Bowman of chemical and biological engineering is directing the MSE program. For more information, visit mse.colorado.edu.

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Living and Learning Globally

cue13-sieber_0.jpgAssociate Dean for Education Diane Sieber will become the second engineering faculty member to take up residence on the Boulder campus when she moves into the newly remodeled Kittredge Central residence hall this fall.

Sieber will direct the new Global Engineering Residential Academic Program, or RAP, which will allow students to improve their language skills while focusing on global engineering projects and IT-driven intercultural communication to match their life and career goals.

Sieber, who directed the Herbst Program of Humanities in Engineering before she was named associate dean last year, has a diverse set of academic and research interests, ranging from 17th-century Spanish literature to information technology. She was one of the leaders in launching the ATLAS Institute at CU-Boulder and is fluent in Spanish, although the Global Engineering RAP will not be focused solely on Spanish language and culture.

The new RAP comes two years after the Sustainable by Design RAP opened in Williams Village North with architecture faculty member Matt Jelacic in residence, and four years after the Engineering Honors Program and its faculty director Scot Douglass moved into Andrews Hall.

The College of Engineering and Applied Science hosts three of the 14 RAPs now available on campus. For more information, visit www.colorado.edu/engineering/globalrap.

ATLAS Joins the College of Engineering

The Alliance for Technology, Learning and Society (ATLAS) is an innovative campus institute in which information and communication technologies are used to benefit and enrich society.

Former CU Professor Bobby Schnabel of computer science served as its founding director from 1997 to 2007, with Diane Sieber of the Herbst Program of Humanities in Engineering serving as codirector. Computer science professor John Bennett took over the helm in 2007.

The alignment in missions and leadership led to engineering becoming the academic home for most of the ATLAS programs, faculty, and staff this year. Programs coming under the engineering umbrella include:
• PhD degree in Technology, Media, and Society
• MS degree in Information and Communication Technology for Development
• Undergraduate minor and certificate in Technology, Arts and Media
• BDW graduate certificate program
• National Center for Women and Information Technology
• Outreach partnerships such as Digital Currents for underrepresented K–12 students

The ATLAS Institute and its faculty and staff will continue to be housed in the Roser ATLAS building, located on 18th Street next to the Visual Arts Complex. The Graduate School will provide administrative oversight for the building and its Center for Media, Arts and Performance, as campus-wide assets.

For more information, visit atlas.colorado.edu

BA in Computer Science Approved

CU-Boulder now offers a bachelor of arts degree in computer science. The BA degree allows students in the College of Arts and Sciences to major in computer science and, if interested, to combine that major with skills in another A&S discipline, either as a double major or through a minor or certificate program.

All computer science courses still will be taught by computer science faculty in the College of Engineering.

The new degree was proposed because the demand for computer-science skills in the U.S. labor market far outstrips the supply, according to Ken Anderson,  associate chair of the computer science department.

“These graduates will be attractive to technology companies because the task of software-product development requires more than just workers skilled at programming, but also workers skilled in psychology, communication, business, quality assurance, and so forth,” Anderson says.

The BA program is available for new students starting in fall 2013; for information visit www.colorado.edu/cs.

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Turning Bacteria into Biofuels

CU professor Ryan Gill thinks he can turn common bacteria into biofuels. And he recently got a big step closer, thanks to a $9.2 million, five-year grant from the Department of Energy.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to take what we have worked on for the past decade to the next level,” says Gill, an associate professor of chemical and biological engineering and a fellow of CU’s Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute.

Gill will collaborate with Rob Knight of chemistry and biochemistry, and NREL and DOE researchers, to rewire a non-pathogenic strain of E. coli bacteria using genome engineering technologies to make ethylene and isobutanol. The two compounds are widely used commodities that can be converted into gasoline and other chemicals.

The task will not be easy. Among the microbe’s more than 4,000 genes, the team is searching for a small set and how it can be manipulated in a combination of on and off states to change the bacteria’s behavior.

“E. coli is not going to want to make your biofuel at all. It doesn’t do that naturally,” Gill says. “We’re figuring out what control structure we need to rewire in the bug to make it do what we want, not what it wants.”

Reinventing the Toilet

Students in CU’s Engineering for Developing Communities program are developing a waterless, solar-biochar toilet to help address a sanitation challenge affecting nearly 40 percent of the world’s population.

Environmental engineering professors Karl Linden and Scott Summers are working with the students, along with Alan Weimer of chemical and biological engineering. The team received a 16-month grant of nearly $780,000 from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation last fall as part of the “Reinvent the Toilet Challenge.”

The team’s design involves using concentrated sunlight delivered through a bundle of fiber optic cables to heat and decompose toilet waste for reuse as biochar to improve agricultural soils.

“This project integrates areas of expertise at CU in solar-thermal processes, disinfection, and biochar that would not typically work together and creates a great team to tackle such a complex and important problem as sustainable sanitation solutions in developing countries,” says Linden, who is the principal investigator on the project.

Liquid That Thinks

Swarm_Robots_0.jpgAssistant Professor Nikolaus Correll likes to think in multiples. If one robot can accomplish a singular task, think how much more could be accomplished if you had hundreds of them.

He and his computer science research team, which includes research associate Dustin Reishus and professional research assistant Nick Farrow, have developed a basic robotic building block, which they hope to reproduce in large quantities to develop increasingly complex systems.

Recently the team created a swarm of 20 robots, each the size of a ping-pong ball, which they call “droplets.” When the droplets swarm together, they form a “liquid that thinks.”

Correll says there is virtually no limit to what might be created through distributed intelligence systems.

Similar to the fictional “nanomorphs” depicted in the Terminator films, large swarms of intelligent robotic devices could be used for a range of tasks. They could be unleashed to contain an oil spill or to self-assemble into a piece of hardware after being launched separately into space.

 

College Recognizes Outstanding Faculty and Staff

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The College of Engineering and Applied Science recognizes outstanding faculty and staff through a variety of awards and honors. The most prestigious of these are the annual College Faculty and Staff Awards. Each award is valued at $1,000 and will be presented at the Engineering Awards Banquet on April 26. Congratulations to the following award winners for 2012:

• Dragan Maksimovic, Professor of Electrical, Computer, and Energy Engineering, Charles Hutchinson Memorial Teaching Award

• JoAnn Silverstein, Professor of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering, Max S. Peters Faculty Service Award

• Karl Linden, Professor of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering, Faculty Research Award

• Timothy May, Manager of the Electronics Center, Integrated Teaching and Learning Laboratory, Outstanding Staff Award

Timothy May was further recognized, along with Brian Sanders, deputy director of the Colorado Space Grant Consortium, with the Chancellor’s Employee of the Year Award.

Students Unveil Grand Orrery at Andrews Hall

"This community did so much for me, and it feels great to leave something behind," says Eitan Cher, a CU engineering graduate who returned to Andrews Hall for the February 11 dedication of the Grand Orrery, a mechanical planetary system he and several other students designed and built last year as an extracurricular project.

Three Faculty Win NSF CAREER Awards

cue-headshot-liel_0.jpgThree CU engineering faculty received Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) awards from the National Science Foundation so far this spring. Assistant professors Abbie Liel and Matthew Hallowell of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering, along with Mahmoud Hussein of aerospace engineering sciences, were selected for the prestigious award.

The award comes with a grant of approximately $400,000 over five years to launch the faculty member’s research program and support associated teaching and outreach.

Liel, wcue-headshot-hallowell_0.jpgho specializes in structural engineering and structural mechanics, plans to develop a multi-scale methodology for assessing the reductions in seismic risk possible through building retrofit design and policy. Her emphasis on retrofit is motivated by the large number of older buildings that predate major changes to seismic code provisions and, as a result, are vulnerable to earthquake-induced damage.

Hallowell, who is part of the department’s construction engineering and management group, will focus on predictive modeling of construction injuries in complex environments and test the hypothesis that over half of the variability in construction injury statistics can be explained by a few basic and inherent attributescue-headshot-hussein_0.jpg of construction environments.

Hussein, who specializes in structural and material systems, will investigate the nonlinear, dissipative mechanics of phononic materials, providing formulations and analytical tools to investigate their application to acoustic/vibration control, blast protection, radio frequency sensing, acoustic imaging, digital signal processing, energy conversion, and other areas.

Milos Popovic Receives Packard Fellowship

cue-headshot-milos_0.jpgMilos Popovic, assistant professor of electrical, computer, and energy engineering, has been awarded the prestigious Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering.

He is one of 16 scientific researchers from universities across the country to receive the 2012 fellowship, announced by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. Each of the fellows will receive an unrestricted research grant of $875,000 over five years.

Popovic plans to investigate light-based devices for future microchip technology where light particles—photons—squeezed into nanometer-scale dimensions in silicon nanowires on chips give rise to unique physics. His research may enable ultra-low energy, “smart” self-adaptive circuits, and technology for communication and computation using quantum mechanics.

He joined the CU-Boulder faculty in 2010 after holding a postdoctoral position in the optics and quantum electronics group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and holds the GE/Donnelly Faculty Fellowship in the Department of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering.

Christopher Bowman Named Distinguished Professor

cue-headshot-bowman_0.jpgChris Bowman, professor and Patten Chair of Chemical and Biological Engineering, joined the ranks of CU’s distinguished professors last fall.

Each year, the recognition goes to faculty who demonstrate exemplary performance in research or creative work, a record of excellence in classroom teaching and supervision of individual learning, and outstanding service to the profession, university, and its affiliates.

Bowman is the world’s leading expert in photo-induced polymerization reactions (think of dental work using polymer paste cured by ultraviolet light).

A CU-Boulder faculty member since 1992, he is the founding director of the Materials Science and Engineering Program, a past department chair, and former associate dean for research in the college. He also is a clinical professor of dentistry at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.

Other CU distinguished professors in engineering are Kristi Anseth, Frank Barnes, Andrzej Ehrenfeucht, and Zoya Popovic.

Carin Knickel Appointed Assistant Dean

cue-headshot-knickel_0.jpgCarin Knickel joined the Dean’s Cabinet as assistant dean for programs and talent last fall following a 32-year career in the energy industry and three years of service on the Engineering Advisory Council.

Her primary goal as assistant dean is to help develop the highly effective programs and processes that are needed as the college grows in size and reputation.

Knickel’s industry experience includes operations leadership in refining, marketing, transportation, exploration, and production for ConocoPhillips. She also held roles in business development, strategic planning, and commodity trading, and led the company’s specialty products business from 2001 to 2003. She became vice president of global human resources in 2003 and served on the company’s management committee from that time until she retired in mid-2012.

She has a bachelor’s degree in marketing from CU-Boulder and a master’s degree in management science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Bernard Amadei Named Science Envoy

cue-headshot-amadei_0.jpgProfessor Bernard Amadei was appointed by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in November to be one of three new science envoys who will help strengthen U.S. ties with other countries to address global challenges.

Amadei holds the Mortenson Endowed Chair in Global Engineering at CU-Boulder, and is widely known as the founder of the nonprofit organization Engineers Without Borders-USA, which celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2012 with more than 12,000 students, faculty, and professional members across the country.

Amadei, along with professors Susan Hockfield of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Barbara Schaal of Washington University in St. Louis, will seek to deepen existing ties, foster new relationships with foreign counterparts, and discuss potential areas of collaboration that will help address global challenges and realize shared goals.

The science envoys travel in their capacity as private citizens and advise the White House, the U.S. Department of State, and the U.S. scientific community about the insights they gain from their travels and interactions.

Kristi Anseth Awarded Hazel Barnes Prize

cue-headshot-anseth_0.jpgKristi Anseth, a CU distinguished professor and the Tisone Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering, has been selected to receive the 2013 Hazel Barnes Prize, the highest faculty award for teaching and research at CU-Boulder.

The prize, which comes with a monetary award of $20,000, recognizes her extensive record of scholarship in biomaterials and tissue engineering, and her enthusiasm in bringing new knowledge into the classroom and teaching laboratory.

Anseth pioneered the use of ultraviolet light to make repeating structures of complex molecules, called polymers, which can be implanted into tissues to create three-dimensional scaffolds to facilitate healing. The polymers dissolve after tissue regeneration, and Anseth has designed materials to accelerate bone healing, grow cartilage tissue, and even help regenerate defective heart valves.

She was named a distinguished professor in 2008, and elected to both the National Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine in 2009. She also is an investigator for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and holds a joint appointment as an associate professor of surgery at the University of Colorado Denver.

Anseth received her PhD in chemical engineering at CU-Boulder in 1994.

Afterschool Engineering Clubs Make 2x Impact

cue13-models.jpgAfterschool K–12 enrichment programs increase students’ interest in, and knowledge of, an engineering future, highlighting the importance of targeting young students, particularly girls, before they develop a bias against technical subjects.

At the same time, leading afterschool engineering clubs strengthens the communication skills of CU engineering students and provides enriching experiences that are different from their own engineering pursuits.

During the past six years, the Integrated Teaching and Learning Program’s TEAMS clubs have exposed about 700 elementary-aged girls and boys to engineering in their own learning environment. TEAMS is an acronym for the program’s philosophy: “Tomorrow’s Engineers…creAte. iMagine. Succeed.”

Approximately 25 undergraduates co-lead the clubs one afternoon a week throughout the spring and fall semesters, leading hands-on engineering activities for students traditionally underrepresented in the field of engineering—low-income youth, children of color, and girls.

“The greatest benefit for me in leading a club was the chance to interact with excited and enthusiastic kids. Seeing them was the best part of my week,” says Kyla Maletsky, a past CU engineering student volunteer.

Many of the TEAMS leaders are active in the Engineering Honors and GoldShirt programs and have given back to their community since their early teens. Others are members of engineering student societies or scholarship recipients who give back while they satisfy a community participation requirement for renewing their scholarship.

Through the hands-on engineering experiences afforded by these clubs, K–12 youth are inspired to pursue futures in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, and begin to imagine themselves creating things for the benefit of society. And, our college students become even more committed to their own futures in engineering as well.

TeachEngineering Collection Has Global Reach

The TeachEngineering digital library collection developed under the leadership of Associate Dean Jackie Sullivan has surpassed 120,000 unique visitors in a single month, hinting at its wide impact around the world.

TeachEngineering was created as a free resource to help teachers make engineering come alive in their science and math classrooms and to infuse engineering concepts, hands-on experiences, and language into the everyday experiences of K–12 youth. Led by CU-Boulder, the nine-person TeachEngineering team is distributed among several institutions, including Oregon State and Duke.

Data suggest that most users of the collection are K–12 teachers, and while 58 percent of visits to TeachEngineering in 2012 originated in the United States, users came from more than 100 countries, including tens of thousands from the United Kingdom, India, Canada, Philippines, and Australia. In the United States, the states topping the list were California, Texas, New York, Pennsylvania, and Florida.

The collection includes more than 1,200 K–12 engineering lessons and activities, with National Science Foundation-grantee authors from 34 different institutions. New lessons and activities are being submitted, reviewed, and published continually.

Space Grant to Develop PolarCube Satellite

Students at the Colorado Space Grant Consortium (COSGC) will design and build another small satellite over the next two years with funding
from the University Nanosat Program.

Brian Sanders, COSGC deputy director, is the principal investigator for the new grant, which was awarded for “PolarCube: A Passive Microwave
CubeSat.” The team will collaborate with Al Gasiewski in the Center for Environmental Technology and Dave Gallaher in the National Snow and Ice Data Center.

The Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the Space Vehicles Directorate of the Air Force Research Laboratory is sponsoring the CU project through a two-year design phase, as one of 10 universities selected for the program. The winner of the competition, to be announced in January 2015, will be awarded additional funding for the completion of its satellite, which will be scheduled for a future space launch.

CU-Boulder’s DANDE satellite was the winner of the 2009 University Nanosat competition and is now progressing toward a launch in 2013.

New Graduate Certificate in Management Consulting

cue13-empsignage.jpgMany engineers today are being tapped by their employers to serve as internal consultants, or decide to become independent consultants as their chosen career.

According to manta.com, there are more than two million consulting firms in management consulting in the United States, and each week on average almost 400 are created. No data is available showing how many engineers are actually acting as internal consultants, but professors in CU’s Lockheed Martin Engineering Management Program (EMP) report that many master’s degree students perform that function on a daily basis as part of their job duties or
because they are the expert in a particular area.

If more of the technical workforce is going to be consulting, it is vital to answer the question, “What makes a successful internal or external consultant?” Certainly part of the equation is the technical knowledge that the consultant brings, but true success is also related to how the individual practices the art of consulting itself.

The Institute of Management Consulting, a professional association for management consultants and firms, provides a framework for this “how” of consulting as part of its Certified Management Consultant certification.

The EMP is offering a new class based on the IMC’s body of knowledge to help students become better internal and external consultants. The class prepares students to take the CMC written and oral exams and can be applied toward the management consulting certificate (12 credits) or the master of engineering (ME) in engineering management degree

Engineering Leadership Program Hosts Speaker Series

cue13-slider-polak.jpgListening to the customer and delivering a low-cost, high-volume, high-margin product to the world’s 2.6 billion people who live on less than $2 a day were among the “provocative” business ideas presented to CU students by social entrepreneur Paul Polak this spring.

Polak, who was named one of the world’s “Brave Thinkers” by Atlantic Monthly (along with Barack Obama and Steve Jobs), is the CEO of the for-profit social venture Windhorse International and author of the book Out of Poverty: What Works When Traditional Approaches Fail.

He is one of four high-profile speakers hosted by the Engineering Leadership Program this nyear. Others invited to campus were Norm Augustine, retired chairman and chief executive officer of Lockheed Martin Corp.; Federico Peña, former U.S. Secretary of Energy, U.S. Secretary of Transportation, and 40th mayor of Denver; and Travis McCoy, product manager for Google Chrome.

The speaker series aims to provide students with a variety of insights and perspectives on leadership as they work toward earning a leadership certificate as part of their engineering degree.

CU’s Leeds School of Business co-sponsored a portion of the series as part of a growing collaboration with the College of Engineering and Applied Science. The two schools are working together to integrate and enhance offerings for students interested in pursuing business careers in engineering and technology fields.

(A video of Dr. Polak's presentation is available on our YouTube channel)

 

 

Math Performance Is Cool

Math Workgroups--one-credit companion courses designed to boost performance in Calculus I, II, and III—are helping CU engineering students achieve remarkable outcomes. In small weekly sessions, students tackle problem sets together, nurturing
their understanding and comfort with calculus.

To strengthen the success of students underrepresented in engineering, the Broadening Opportunity through Leadership and Diversity (BOLD) Center partnered with the college and Department of Applied Mathematics to offer 17 sections of Calculus Workgroups during the fall 2012 and spring 2013 semesters.

Graduate and undergraduate learning assistants in applied math support each section, but the students challenge each other on course material as they come to “own” their level of participation. By teaching each other how to work through problem sets, students begin to fully understand the math concepts, and their grades show how valuable that understanding becomes. In fall 2012, students who enrolled in the Calculus I Workgroup
finished calculus with a 5 percent higher grade than non-takers. And, 30 percent of female students who took the Calculus II
Workgroup earned top-tier grades in the course.

These results are encouraging, and the BOLD Center is excited to continue expanding such successful programs. As one student comments, “Calculus Workgroups are a great way to verbalize in a safe environment what you know and don’t know, and then get group thought and effort to help get everyone on the same page.”

Calculus Workgroups foster inclusiveness throughout the engineering community, and the college expects these results will make a notable impact on the retention of first-year students.

Estimating Climate Variability

cue13-niwotridge.jpgThe “gauchos” of the Argentinian Pampas are among the world’s peoples concerned whether their region can remain viable as the Earth’s climate changes.

The South American grasslands saw an increase in precipitation during the 20th century that led to an expansion of agriculture, but now drought threatens to take a heavy toll on production.

CU applied mathematician Will Kleiber is helping to solve such problems of climate prediction in the Pampas, and in areas of the United States such as Colorado and Iowa. Working with hydrologist Balaji Rajagopalan in civil engineering, Kleiber applies his expertise in spatial statistics to improve climate model accuracy by detailing the probable variability of temperatures and precipitation at different locations over time.

Kleiber also can tell you the probability of the temperature hitting a certain mark where you live two days from now, but the statistical methods applied to the massive datasets on which climate models are built are more complex.

Kleiber, who joined the applied mathematics department last fall, previously worked at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, where he helped to calibrate computer models for geomagnetic storms—models with more than 1 million points of data. Now he works with the Global Historical Climatology Network, an integrated database of daily climate summaries based on 75,000 land stations around the world.

Sicker Returns to CU, Named Director of Telecom Program

cue-headshot-sicker_0.jpgAfter two years of federal government service at the Federal Communications Commission and National Telecommunications and Information Administration, Professor Doug Sicker has returned to CU-Boulder as director of the Interdisciplinary Telecommunications Program. He served as chief technologist at the FCC from 2010 to 2011, and as chief technology officer and senior advisor for NTIA’s Office of Spectrum Management the following year.

Sicker’s depth of understanding in telecommunications policy and technology—along with that of other ITP faculty—are keeping the program at the leading edge in research and education. The ITP’s current research thrusts are in the technical and economic implications of broadband, changing wireless architectures, and wireless broadband for public safety.

Sicker expects to see a continuing trend of more networked devices, leading to the concept of an “Internet of things,” along with orders-of-magnitude growth in wireless devices used by individuals and organizations. “All of these collective and interdependent networks and devices will require security to ensure that services are authenticated, authorized, and legitimate, providing privacy that’s needed and demanded by the users,” he says.

“As the network evolves and we see computational devices becoming richer and more capable, we’ll also see the concept of software-defined networks emerge, whereby the network will adapt and consider customer needs continually and in real time,” he adds.

This will require a change not only in how to design and deploy these networks, but how we educate telecom specialists and leaders, according to Sicker. “This is an area that is keenly on our radar and reflected in updated and new courses we are incorporating into our curriculum.”

Join the Dean's Club

The Dean’s Club is a dedicated, loyal group of donors who make a gift of $1,000 or more annually to support the Dean’s Fund for Excellence.

These donors take pride in knowing that their support provides a superior academic environment by giving college leadership the flexibility to deploy resources where they are needed most. Because of their generosity, the College of Engineering and Applied Science is able to offer more competitive financial aid packages to students, give more support for faculty teaching and research, and provide advanced technology in classrooms and laboratories.

In fiscal year 2012, 137 individuals and couples contributed $281,944 to the Dean’s Fund for Excellence as members of the Dean’s Club—a 24 percent increase in membership and a 12 percent increase in giving over fiscal year 2011.

In addition to impacting our students and programs, Dean’s Club members exhibit confidence in the college’s vision. We proudly list the following individuals for the leadership they demonstrate in the CU engineering community as members of the Dean’s Club in 2012.

If you would like to join these members in becoming part of the Dean’s Club, please contact Development Associate Amanda Grogan at amanda.grogan@colorado.edu or 303-492-5814.

Dereje and Carolyn Agonafer
Lisa Allen
Dana C. and Juliana Andersen
Gary R. and Linda L. Anderson
Bruce Steven Anderson
Lee and Gigi Atchison
Clyde H. and Shirley J. Babcock
Richard Dale and Mary Teola Baily
James Richard Baldwin
Jean Becker
Bryon Daniel and Mary B. Beilman
Donald C. Boomhower
James M. and Lorelee Urbanek Boyd
John R. Brennand and Robin Riblet
Bradford O Brooks, PhD
Thomas Mitchell and Donna Joan Broyles
Gary and Wendy Bryan
Bruce S. Buckland
Donald John and Lizabeth S. Burch
Gregg Butterfield
Paul Edward Cameron
Joseph N. Cannon
Eugene N. Catalano
Peter D. Gillespie and Cheryl Ann Cathey
J. Morse Cavender
Duane P. Chesley, PE
Hsing-Chiang Chiang
Kelly Mason Clark
Joseph M. and Karen L. Colonell
Kevin Patrick and Ann M. Cooney
Daniel G. and Charlene R. Culver
Robert and Shirley Davis
William and Sidney E. Dinner
Bret Lewis and Susan G. Dodd
Frank John Doerner
Scott C. Donnelly
Robert Coggeshall and Pam Drew
William Leroy and Anna Duff
Martin L. Dunn
Stephen M. and Jennifer Dunn
David L. Evans
Larry D. and Alison Fiedler
Francisco A. and Sharon M. Figueroa
David L. and Kathryn Leyes Fischer
Michael James and Christine Fry
Jim and Janet Gallogly
J.D. and Sharon Geist
Douglas Lee Gile
Trey Louis and Lisa Glatch
Gary Lee and Pamela A. Granger
Geoffrey D. Green
Paul T. and Merry Lynne Hamilton
John Wayne Hanlen, Jr.
William J. Harte
Ray and Consuelo Hauser
Lawrence D. and Rose Ann Hazzard
Daniel and Judy Hernandez
Michael Jacob and Helen Marie Bartsch Herriage
Stanley Y. and Bunny Ishimoto
Nan Joesten
Arthur W. and Barbara C. John
David Joseph Kasik
Kevin S. and Sandra R. Kayse
Hugh Kelly
Aaron and Jenifer Serafin Kennedy
Maurice H. Kent
Paul Thomas Kitze
Bradley David and Carin Shirley Knickel
Raymond L. and Sandra J. Kolibaba
Evalyn Boehm Kragh
Charles Gerald Kristenson
Arthur J. and Valera Kroese
Karl and Madeleine Larson
James F. Ledbetter
Paul Hun Lee
Douglas G. Daniels and Sally O. Levinson
David William and Barbara M. Lewis
Leif and Mary Goodbar Lomo
Edward Woolf and Julie Sloan Lowenbaum
Judd E. and Susan M. Lundt
Edward N. Madison
Peter Mannetti
Alan and Diana Lynn Manning
H. George and Edithellen L. Marshall
Stephen Todd Marshall
T. Scott Martin and Janet A. Martin
Steven Giles Martini
Paul and Suzanne Masterson
Bruce Howard Mathers
William B. Mathews
William Randall and Diana Mayben
J. Neil McLagan and Evelyn P. McLagan
W. Scott and Judith D. McNary
R.C. and Nancy Seebass Mercure
Douglas Edward and Patricia A. Miller
Roland W. and Carol Miller
John Charles and Susan R. Mollenkopf
Gerald and Jane Mordhorst
Anthony Joseph Nagy
J.M. and Michelle L. Oschmann
Chia-Chuan Chow and Hsiu Chunj Pan
Clifford Lee and Carol Morgan Pearson
K. Scott Perrin and Patricia Nichols-Perrin
Lanny and Carmen Pinchuk
M. Jeanne Place
Richard P. and Arleen Porter
David Allen and Brenda M. Rageth
David Barron and Judy Schmidt Richmond
Fran Rominger
Alfred M. Sanders, Jr. and Mildred Burford Sanders
Kristy Schloss
Steven N. Semerak
Charles K. and Marion E. Shanks
James Walter and Rosanne D. Shaw
Patrick J. and Nancy B. Shuler
Ronald A. Sinton
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Lee Milton and Diana L. Speicher
Larry George Stolarczyk
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Tarn Brian Thompson
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Michael Leon and Marjoy A. Ulm
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Kenneth A. and Mary Jane Vernon
Herbert Steven and Karen Young Vogel
Robert Haskell and Anne Marie Weber
Scott Robert and Christine Bennett Williams
Daniel James and Kristin Willis
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John Charles and Beth Ann Nadeau Wojick
George Charles and Olivia G. Yule
Roger Max Zimmerman
One Anonymous Donor

Students Consider Ethics of Genetic Engineering

Genetic modifications to food crops and fish made possible by advancing technology have led to frequent charges of “Frankenfoods” and “Frankenfish,” and genetically modified algae as a source of biofuel has been criticized as “Frankenfuel.”

A new Herbst Humanities in Engineering course, The Ethics of Genetic Engineering, includes a close look at Mary Shelley’s classic novel Frankenstein to consider how current critiques of biotechnology draw from her images and metaphors. But that’s only the beginning.

Taught by Donald Wilkerson, a senior instructor with the Program for Writing and Rhetoric, the course goes on to consider a variety of essays by modern ethicists, futurists, and practicing scientists on the ethics and feasibility of human genetic engineering, along with genetically modifying plants and animals from algae to mosquitos.

“Many of the most radical arguments for and against genetic engineering are based on basic misunderstandings of the relevant biology,” Wilkerson says. “I do not intend the class to argue for or against the development of genetic engineering. However, I do hope that students will come to an understanding of which ethical arguments are informed by science and which are based on little or no evidence.”

Later in the semester, the class will focus on engineered crops as a response to global warming. “We will discuss the debate about fast-growing, freeze-resistant eucalyptus that some hope will be a carbon-neutral fuel source, and genetically modified trees that would sequester carbon in the soil,” Wilkerson says.

MOOCs Spur Countertrend of More Personalized Education

By Nalini Indorf Kaplan, Center for Advanced Engineering and Technology Education

Advanced learning opportunities abound for professionals, particularly in technical areas, as a result of the introduction of massive open online courses, or MOOCs, in early 2012. CU-Boulder is among the top universities around the world who are offering such noncredit courses online for anyone to take for free.

Cyberspace is filled with opinions about MOOCs, either heralding them as the greatest thing since sliced bread, or arguing that their impact on “traditional brick and mortar” universities is not as big as proponents claim.

Regardless of whether you see the advent of MOOCs as positive or not, it would be hard to ignore the unprecedented array of choices available in distance education today. Some of these choices have actually been available for decades and are being reinvented to better meet individual learning needs in response to the advent of MOOCs.

The College of Engineering offers graduate-level distance courses on a continuum of options ranging from real-time, interactive courses with both on- and off-campus students enrolled (see CUEngineeringOnline.colorado.edu) to noncredit MOOCs such as Introduction to Power Electronics, and Linear and Integer Programming, offered via the Coursera online platform (see www.coursera.org/boulder).

While we wait for the various online-education business models to shake out in the next few years, a promising development for individuals is the shift from lecture-style “canned learning” (the model followed by the majority of distance education programs, including most MOOCs) to a concept of “precision education” or personalized learning, which offers the greatest benefit to individual learners and is increasingly favored by businesses and educational institutions.

At the same time that MOOCs have focused on creating broad access to education, enabling anyone to study for free or minimal cost as long as they have a reliable Internet connection, we are seeing an accelerated philosophical shift away from “seat time” to demonstrable, competency-based learning.

Individuals will increasingly demand this since the purpose of education from their point of view relies on relevant skills for job acquisition and career advancement. Businesses also will demand credentials that reach beyond the conferred degree to help mitigate the risk of taking on employees who are unproven and to attract “just in time” specialty talent for specific areas targeted for market growth.

Another key development is the advancement of educational technology to be able to assess, respond to, and alter content and delivery methods based on the learner’s actions throughout a course. Given the increase in devices that our students want to use in their courses, we’ve recently built the capability to automatically make our lecture recordings available with full rich media (video and audio) that will work on just about any platform including mobile devices.

The philosophical shift to competency-based learning and the advancement of educational technologies combine to offer individuals an education tailored to their unique learning styles and abilities, along with the convenience of location or time shifting.

These trends, as well as the mass appearance of MOOCs, are encouraging educational institutions to create and configure learning options that meet market demand for flexibility, broader access and greater choice, while enabling them to respond to the increased need for customized and optimized learning that benefits individuals and institutions alike.

For more information about distance education from the College of Engineering and Applied Science, visit hub.am/XU5DMI

Go to hub.am/14oXfYl to download a copy of our eBrief, “Make the Most of Distance Education.”

cue13-erickson_0.jpgcue13-siriamlab_0.jpg

 

CU engineering professors Bob Erickson, at left, and Sriram Sankaranarayanan, at right, will be teaching massive open online courses, or MOOCs, in addition to on-campus classes next year.

 

Private Support Delivers Tremendous Impact

Development team reorganizes to support collaborative opportunities

Hello again, I'm glad to be back!

I have seen tremendous impact delivered through private support and volunteer involvement during my five-plus years with the College of Engineering and Applied Science and BioFrontiers Institute. Individuals, corporations, and foundations give us life and opportunity, and it’s rewarding to see this so wonderfully demonstrated, year after year!

These past three years, my development work has been focused on the BioFrontiers Institute, the burgeoning, university-wide biotechnology initiative led by Nobel Laureate Tom Cech and Leslie Leinwand. These efforts have centered on raising funds for the Jennie Smoly Caruthers Biotechnology Building—in which the College of Engineering and Applied Science has a significant presence. I’m glad to be back with the college now, leading a team of 14 development professionals, and helping sustain momentum for CU’s $1.5 billion Creating Futures campaign.

I’m even more excited about our role in this larger effort because our development team has now organized, under one umbrella, the development activities of the BioFrontiers Institute, the College of Engineering and Applied Science, the Alliance for Technology, Learning, and Society (ATLAS), and the departments of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology (MCDB) and Chemistry/Biochemistry in the College of Arts and Sciences.

This team has mobilized under the acronym BEST, which is short for Biotechnology, Engineering, Science, and Technology, and this reorganization reflects the reality that the passions of our donors don’t always align according to traditional academic-discipline boundaries. Our donors’ interest in helping CU tackle major societal challenges—in energy, medicine, transportation, the environment, and other areas—requires them, and us, to think in an interdisciplinary way.

With this new development structure, we feel we can now fully leverage the collaborative opportunities within the areas we represent, which weren’t previously getting quite the alignment, attention, and prioritization that they deserved.

College of Engineering and Applied Science donors have made substantial contributions since the 2006 start of the University of Colorado’s Creating Futures campaign, which so far has generated more than $1.3 billion in private support for people, places, and programs throughout CU’s four campuses. Within the college, donors have enabled the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering to move into state-of-the-art research and education facilities, and provided nearly $2 million annually in scholarship funding for undergraduate students. Overall, CEAS donors have contributed $43.9 million over the course of this campaign—well over halfway to our college campaign goal of $75 million.

As we look ahead, we continue to see amazing opportunities for innovation in biotechnology, engineering, science, and technology. Our development team is dedicated to providing first-rate support and outreach to our donors and friends in these areas, with the goal of advancing the college’s private philanthropic goals so it can achieve its promise for the future.

Please reach out to any of us on the development staff if you have a new idea of how you’d like to become involved or give back. You can reach me at 303-492-3883 or jessica.a.wright@colorado.edu. Additional team contacts are listed at www.colorado.edu/engineering/giving/contact-us.

We look forward to meeting more of you, and want to close simply by thanking you all for your commitment to CU and to the College of Engineering and Applied Science.

Jessica Wright
Assistant Vice President and Principal Gifts Officer

CS Student Creates Instrument Controlled by Hand Gestures

Computer science doctoral student Charles Dietrich has created a new musical instrument incorporating a laptop and a 3D camera, which he controls through hand gestures. The instrument debuted March 2 in a concert by the Boulder Laptop Orchestra, or BLOrk, at the ATLAS Black Box theater. (Performance photo by Ira Liss/ATLAS Institute)

"One exciting aspect of the instrument is that it lets the audience see what the musician is doing," says Dietrich, who works in Nikolaus Correll's lab in computer science.

>Read a Q&A with Charles Dietrich on the CS website

New Materials Science Graduate Program Approved

A new graduate program offering an MS and PhD in materials science and engineering has been approved by the CU Board of Regents and the Colorado Department of Higher Education. A kickoff celebration is being planned for May 2.

The interdisciplinary academic program will prepare graduates to advance new technologies such as biomaterials to replace damaged tissues or deliver drugs to treat cancer, and lighter materials for aircraft and space shuttles.  Professor Chris Bowman of chemical and biological engineering is the program's director. For more information, visit http://mse.colorado.edu.

CU Engineering Ranks Among Best Graduate Schools

CU Engineering is ranked 34th overall and 20th among the nation’s best graduate engineering programs at public institutions, according to the latest rankings by U.S. News & World Report. The college is tied with Yale in the rankings for 2014, released March 12.

Specialty rankings include (overall ranking followed by ranking among public institutions): aerospace engineering 14/9, chemical engineering 18/10, civil engineering 19/13, environmental engineering 22/13, mechanical engineering 30/19, computer engineering 31/18, and electrical engineering 36/21. Computer science was not newly ranked this year.

> Learn More

NASA Selects CU-Boulder CubeSat for Launch

NASA has selected a CU-Boulder CubeSat, called the High Latitude Ionospheric Thermospheric Experiment, or HiLITE, as one of 24 satellites to be funded in the fourth round of its CubeSat Launch Initiative. The CubeSats, will fly as auxiliary payloads aboard rocket missions scheduled for 2014, 2015, and 2016.

HiLITE will be a collaboration between the aerospace department and two small Boulder-based companies, Blue Canyon Technologies and ASTRA, which are supported by the Air Force to help develop CubeSat hardware. 

Associate Professor Scott Palo says the HiLITE bus will build upon the CubeSat for Atmospheric Studies in Orbit and Re-entry (CASTOR), which was developed as a senior project by students Shane Ahrens, Jacob Cook, Maxwell Knarr, Denver Powell, Mark Coffman, Melissa Honaker, Jack Mills, and Jonathon Stark. A new student team will be selected later this semester to continue the project.

HiLITE’s mission will be to measure atmospheric density, which impacts satellite positioning, and other space weather conditions.

Honors & Awards: March 2013

Congratulations to the following individuals on their outstanding achievements:

Faculty

Karl Linden of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering won the prestigious Disinfection and Public Health Pioneer Award from the Water Environment Federation at the 2013 Disinfection and Public Health Conference.

Robert McLeod of electrical, computer, and energy engineering received the 2013 Intel Outstanding Researcher Award in Optoelectronics.

Zoya Popovic of electrical, computer, and energy engineering received the IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques Society 2013 Distinguished Educator Award.

The following faculty were selected to receive Dean’s Faculty Fellowships for next year:

  • Ginger Ferguson of mechanical engineering
  • Joel Kaar of chemical and biological engineering
  • Jason Marden of electrical, computer, and energy engineering
  • Jana Milford of mechanical engineering/ environmental engineering
  • Franck Vernerey of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering

Ted Randolph of chemical and biological engineering received a $4.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to fund a Biotechnology Research Partnership to study aggregation of therapeutic protein molecules. He leads a team that includes Dan Schwartz of chemical and biological engineering, John Carpenter of pharmaceutical science at the University of Colorado Denver, and additional collaborators.

New Faculty & Staff: March 2013

Welcome to the new faculty and staff who are joining the college:

Christopher Anderson, Undergraduate Advisor, Mechanical Engineering

Sabria Kushad, Program Coordinator, Materials Science and Engineering

Liz Eckstein, Office Administrator, Chemical and Biological Engineering

Student-Built Star-Tracker Wins SpaceX Prize

DayStar, a prototype star tracker developed by a team of CU students for launch on a high-altitude balloon, was awarded the $1,000 SpaceX Grand Prize at the American Astronomical Society’s Guidance Navigation and Control Conference on Feb. 2 in Breckenridge.

The star tracker is designed to work during daytime hours from the stratosphere, while providing sub-arcsecond pointing knowledge.

Aerospace engineering students Jed Diller, Kevin Dinkel, Zach Dischner, and Nick Truesdale developed DayStar as a 2011-12 senior capstone project with support from the Southwest Research Institute. They subsequently launched the star-tracker from NASA’s Columbia Scientific Ballooning Facility in Fort Sumner, NM, on Sept. 22, and are now presenting their data at conferences as graduate students. Hanspeter Schaub is their faculty advisor.

>More info

Space Grant Team Awarded 2013 Launch

A Colorado Space Grant team has been awarded a launch on the High Altitude Student Platform, a flight program supported by the NASA Balloon Program Office and Louisiana Space Grant Consortium. The Colorado student team (primarily composed of first-year CU-Boulder students from the Gateway to Space class) wrote and submitted a proposal to continue the work done in 2012 on the Hydrogen-alpha Exploration with Long Infrared Observation Systems (HELIOS) payload.  

The HELIOS payload launched in September from Ft. Sumner, NM, and HELIOS II will continue the effort -- exploring the feasibility of quality stratospheric observation of space - specifically focusing on observation of the sun.  The Colorado Space Grant student team was one of 12 from across the country selected for flight on HASP 2013.

Herbst Lunchtime Seminars

The Herbst Lunchtime Seminars for engineering faculty and staff will continue this semester with the following offerings. Bring your lunch and enjoy a stimulating discussion led by Herbst faculty members. All seminars are in ECOT 831, from noon to 12:50 p.m.

February 20 and 27
A Discussion of Miguel de Cervantes, Exemplary Stories
Presented by Associate Dean Diane Sieber

March 13, 20 and 27
The New Atheists on Science and Religion
Presented by Wayne Ambler

April 3, 10 and 17
Voltaire’s Candide
Presented by Anja Lange

>More info

Honors & Awards: February 2013

Congratulations to the following individuals on their outstanding achievements:

Faculty

Mahmoud Hussein of aerospace engineering sciences has been selected to receive an NSF CAREER Award for research and education in nonlinear, dissipative mechanics of phononic materials.

Scott Summers of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering has been selected to receive the 2013 A.P. Black Research Award from the American Water Works Association.

Paul Chinowsky of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering won the 2012 Best Peer Reviewed Paper Award from the ASCE Journal of Management in Engineering for his paper titled “Project Network Interdependency Alignment: New Approach to Assessing Project Effectiveness.” 

Jeffrey Thayer of aerospace engineering sciences served on a panel in Washington, D.C. about “Space Technology Policy: Exploring Options.” The panel was co-hosted by the American Chemical Society’s Science & Congress Project and the American Geophysical Union.

John McCartney of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering has been selected to receive the 2013 Shamsher Prakash Annual Prize for Excellence in Teaching of Geotechnical Engineering.

Staff

Nora Van Leuvan of electrical, computer, and energy engineering received the Employee Recognition Award for January.

Sharon Anderson of mechanical engineering received the Employee Recognition Award for February.

Students

Jim Bader, Andrew Broucek, Zach Cuseo, Alex Kim, Mike Opland, Sarah Smith, Mike Trowbridge, and Bill Whitmire of aerospace engineering sciences will present a paper on “Testbed for CubeSat Propulsion System Control Algorithms” at the second IAA Conference on University Satellite Missions and Cubesat Workshop in Rome, Italy in February. The senior design project is sponsored by Surrey Satellite Technologies.

Julia Traylor of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering won first place in the ASCE EWRI Student Technical Paper Competition.  She will present her paper, “Optimal Initial Configuration of Treatment Solution for In Situ Remediation of Contaminated Groundwater using Engineered Injection and Extraction,” at the World Environmental and Water Resources Congress in Cincinnati in May.

Torrie Aston of chemical and biological engineering won first place in the AIChE Chemical Reaction Engineering Division Graduate Student Poster Competition in Pittsburgh in November with her poster, “Novel Ferrite Materials for Efficient H2Production and CO2 Separation Using Chemical Looping Hydrogen Production.” Her advisor is Alan Weimer.

New Faculty & Staff: February 2013

Welcome to the new faculty and staff who are joining the college:

Pavol Cerny - Assistant Professor, ECEE

Anushree Chatterjee - Assistant Professor, ChBE

Kat McConnell – Undergraduate Advisor, ME

Jason Pfeifer – Finance Manager, ME

Engineering Design Expo a 'Smash' Hit

More than 350 engineering students demonstrated their innovations and inventions at the Engineering Design Expo on Dec. 8. Ranging from an educational science exhibit that illustrates physics concepts to elementary school children to various devices designed to assist individuals with disabilities, the student projects were presented to the public at the Integrated Teaching and Learning Laboratory.

Seventy-four team projects were demonstrated, including those created by students in the First-Year Engineering Projects course and various senior projects.

The People’s Choice Award went to Team Apple Smashers for its pedal-powered apple grinder.

COSGC Awarded Grant for PolarCube

CU-Boulder students from the Colorado Space Grant Consortium (COSGC) will design and build another small satellite over the next two years as one of 10 universities selected to be part of the University Nanosat Program.

Brian Sanders, COSGC deputy director, is the principal investigator for the new grant, which was awarded for “PolarCube: A Passive Microwave CubeSat.”   The PolarCube mission is a collaboration with Al Gasiewski in the Center for Environmental Technology and Dave Gallaher in the National Snow and Ice Data Center.

The Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the Space Vehicles Directorate of the Air Force Research Laboratory sponsor 10 universities through a two-year design phase including comprehensive design reviews. The winner of the competition, to be announced in January 2015, will then be awarded additional funding for the completion of its satellite, which will be scheduled for a future space launch.

CU-Boulder’s DANDE satellite was the winner of the 2009 University Nanosat competition and is now progressing toward a launch in 2013.

CompSci Students Collaborate on Swiss Project

Increasingly, as engineering and science challenges are growing in scope, complexity and sophistication, there is a need for students to learn to work efficiently within large multicultural environments.

Four CU-Boulder students got to practice these skills over the last several months as part of the Project-Oriented Learning Environment (POLE) project, led by the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland. CU-Boulder is partnering with the Swiss school on POLE, with Professor Alexander Repenning serving as a disciplinary coach.

Each year, POLE focuses on a single problem, with this year’s project challenging students to develop innovative, new ticket vending ideas for the Swiss railway and transportation company A-Welle, based in Aargau, Switzerland.

Four CU graduate students -- Sadie Zukowski, Rosalind O’Brien, Jeeeun Kim, and Abigale Stangl —were selected to participate and flew to Switzerland in September to meet up with more than 30 other students and multi-disciplinary industry partners in Switzerland and Germany.  

The students split into five teams, with each CU student on a different team, and after the initial five-day kickoff meeting, the teams continued to work on solutions to the challenge from their home universities, meeting weekly over a virtual platform throughout the semester. Final team presentations are set for Jan. 9, and Jeeeun Kim will travel to Switzerland again while the rest of the CU students participate from the U.S.

“While at times the project has been difficult, each challenge presented a great learning opportunity--learning that only comes from hands-on experience and taking risks. Through immersive and intensive exposure we have each found ways to work with language barriers, time barriers, cultural misunderstandings, and ambiguity, all the while experiencing the intrinsic joys of working collaboratively within a unique context,” the CU students wrote in a report.

Engineering Awards Announced

Congratulations to the following faculty, staff and alumni, who have been selected to receive this year's college awards and will be recognized at the Engineering Awards Banquet on Aprili 26:

Faculty & Staff Awards

Faculty and staff awardees also will be recognized at the faculty/staff meeting on Feb. 1:

  • Tim May (ITL) - College of Engineering and Applied Science Outstanding Staff Award
  • Karl Linden (CEAE) - College of Engineering Faculty Research Award
  • Joann Silverstein (CEAE) - Max S. Peters Faculty Service Award
  • Dragan Maksimovic (ECEE) - Charles A. Hutchinson Memorial Teaching Award

Distinguished Engineering Alumni Awards

DEAA awardees include the following individuals in the categories noted:

  • George Born (Special category for non-alumni) - Director of the Colorado Center for Astrodynamics Research, University of Colorado Boulder
  • John Lund (CivEngr ’58, PhD ’67), Education and Research & Invention - Director of the Geo-Heat Center, Oregon Institute of Technology
  • Herb Morreale (CompSci ’91), Industry & Commerce - Chief Executive Officer of 6kites and Founder of Topplers, a nonprofit organization

Recent Alumni Award

A new award for alumni who have graduated in the past 10 years also will be presented this year. The college created the award to recognize alumni for early career achievements, continued involvement with the university and college, and outstanding personal qualities and developments. Nominations for this award will be accepted through Feb. 1. For more information, go to http://www.colorado.edu/engineering/recent-alumni-award.

Honors & Awards: January 2013

Congratulations also to the following individuals on their outstanding achievements:

Faculty

Abbie Liel of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering was selected to receive an NSF CAREER Award for her work in the area of multi-scale modeling to evaluate the impacts of retrofit design and policy on a community for earthquake risk reduction.  The $400,000, five-year grant starts in June.

Bernard Amadei of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering was awarded an honorary doctorate by Drexel University in Philadelphia, in recognition of his powerful impact on the engineering profession through his founding of Engineers Without Borders.

Dan Scheeres of aerospace engineering sciences has won the prestigious American Astronomical Society's Dirk Brouwer Award for 2012.  The award was established to honor significant technical contributions to space flight mechanics and astrodynamics. 

Angela Bielefeldt of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering received the 2012 Best Reviewer Award for the Journal of Professional Issues in Engineering Education and Practice.

John McCartney of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering received the 2012 Associate Editor of the Year Award from the ASCE Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering.

Matt Hallowell of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering was selected as a 2012 Outstanding Reviewer for the ASCE Journal of Construction Engineering and Management.

Staff

Linda Rose (Dean’s Office), Sarah Melssen (AES), Stephanie Morris (CS), and Pam Aguila (ECEE) received the college’s Commitment to Excellence Award, which is given in the spring and fall to staff who are celebrating a 5-year milestone of employment and have earned the highest performance rating in each of the last three years.

Sharon Powers of the Dean’s Office was selected to receive the Employee Recognition Award for November.

Ruth Rindin of the ITL Program was selected to receive the Employee Recognition Award for December.

Students

Waqas Qazi, a PhD candidate in aerospace engineering sciences (Bill Emery, advisor), won best poster in oceanography at an annual poster session hosted by CU-Boulder’s Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences. Qazi also was recognized as the Muneeb Kamal International Student of the Year at CU-Boulder.

New Faculty & Staff: January 2013

Welcome to the new faculty and staff joining the college:

  • David Reed – Scholar in Residence, ITP
  • Amanda McGrory-Dixon – Communications Specialist, CEAE
  • Dick Kuchenrither – Scholar in Residence, CEAE

...and congratulations to the following faculty and staff upon their retirement!

  • Vicki Bain – Mechanical Engineering
  • Bob Sani – Chemical and Biological Engineering
  • Richard Byrd – Computer Science

Bernard Amadei Named U.S. Science Envoy

Pakistan and Tunisia are among the countries Professor Bernard Amadei expects to visit in 2013 as one of three U.S. Science Envoys appointed by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Amadei holds the Mortenson Endowed Chair in Global Engineering at CU-Boulder and is the founder of Engineers Without Borders-USA. He joins professors Susan Hockfield of MIT and Barbara Schaal of Washington University in St. Louis, to make up the third cohort of Science Envoys since the program’s inception in 2009.

The scientists will seek to deepen existing ties, foster new relationships with foreign counterparts and discuss potential areas of collaboration that will help address global challenges and realize shared goals, according to the State Department announcement.

The Science Envoys travel in their capacity as private citizens and advise the White House, the U.S. Department of State, and the U.S. scientific community about the insights they gain from their travels and interactions.

Amadei said he hopes to help “create a new mindset of collaboration” through a blend of diplomacy, science and engineering. >>Listen to Colorado Public Radio interview by Ryan Warner

TeachEngineering Collection Hits 100,000 Mark

The TeachEngineering digital library collection developed under the leadership of CU Engineering Associate Dean Jackie Sullivan has hit the 100,000 mark in unique visitors in a single month, hinting at its wide impact around the world.

TeachEngineering was created as a free resource to help teachers make engineering come alive in their science and math classrooms and to infuse engineering concepts, hands-on experiences, and language into the everyday experiences of K-12 youth. Led by CU, the nine-person TeachEngineering team is distributed among several institutions, including Oregon State and Duke universities.

Usage patterns suggest that most users of the collection are K-12 teachers, and while 58 percent of visits to TeachEngineering over the last year originated in the United States, users came from more than 100 countries, including tens of thousands from the United Kingdom, India, Canada, Philippines, and Australia. In the U.S., California, Texas, New York, Pennsylvania and Florida topped the list by state.

"I just came across this great website, TeachEngineering.org,” a K-4 technology facilitator in New Jersey wrote in her blog. “It offers a massive collection of outstanding lesson plans devoted to the science of engineering -- of all kinds -- specifically for kids. You can search by keyword, national or state standards, subject, or curriculum topic... ...VERY cool stuff. The lessons are probably the most sophisticated and well-designed I've seen. And, it's all free."

The collection includes more than 1,130 K-12 engineering lessons and activities, with NSF-grantee authors from 30 different institutions. New lessons and activities are being submitted, reviewed, and published continually, a process managed by research assistant Carleigh Samson, while Denise Carlson works behind the scenes to respond to the many user and author requests received daily.

ArchE Students Volunteer on Habitat Project

Sixteen members of the Architectural Engineering Institute student chapter made a difference in a family’s life by helping to build their new home in Lafayette. During the Habitat for Humanity work day on Oct. 6, the students worked on a drainage system outside the edge of the foundation and removed concrete forms from the foundation walls. Students worked with dedication and enthusiasm in spite of a cold and snowy weather, according to faculty advisor Sandra Vásconez.

With generous financial support from the dean of engineering, the CEAE department chair, and industry organizations such as JVA Consulting Engineers and RMH Group, AEI also was able to help with the purchase of some construction materials necessary to build the house that the students worked on. Thanks to the chapter’s officers ― Mio Stanley, Ellen Becker, and Jon Schneck ― who organized the effort.

Haiti Green Energy Program Launches in November

The Green Energy vocational training program developed for Haiti by CU engineering students and faculty this year was kicked off by the NEGES Foundation in November.

Thirteen Haitian students enrolled in the first month-long training program, which is being taught by NEGES instructors, and scholarships were in place for nearly all of the students.

CU engineering faculty Alan Mickelson and Mike Hannigan along with students Matt Hulse, Joanna Gordon, Nathan Canney, and others conducted a needs assessment last year and then developed a curriculum, including hands-on exercises, that covers the installation, operations and maintenance of solar, wind and hydropower renewable energy systems.

Honors & Awards: December 2012

Congratulations to the following individuals on their outstanding achievements:

Faculty

Matthew Hallowell of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering has received an NSF CAREER Award for Predictive Modeling of Construction Injuries in Complex Environments.

Lucy Pao of electrical, computer, and energy engineering has been chosen to receive the 2012 Control Systems Magazine Outstanding Paper Award with co-author Kathryn Johnson (PhD ElecEngr ’04) for their paper on “Control of Wind Turbines: Approaches, Challenges, and Recent Developments.” The award will be presented at the IEEE conference in December.

Michael Lightner of electrical, computer, and energy engineering was elected to serve another term as IEEE vice president for educational activities.

Staff

Sharon Anderson of mechanical engineering and Jessica Feld of computer science were selected to participate in this year’s University Perspective Program. Participants for the staff development opportunity were selected based on their experience, expertise, and commitment to the institution.

Timothy May of the ITLL and Brian Sanders of Space Grant were among five CU-Boulder staff selected to receive the 2012 Chancellor’s Employee of the Year Award. The award, which includes a $1,500 prize, recognizes exceptional job performance and distinguished contributions to the campus community.

Students

Jun Liu and Xiaokun Gu of mechanical engineering received travel awards to attend the ASME 2012 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Expositio in Houston, Nov. 9-15, and won the first and second prizes at the IMECE poster competition.

Joel Jones of environmental engineering was selected as the December 2012 Outstanding Graduate of the College.

Douglas Winter of environmental engineering was selected as Outstanding Graduate for Research.

Mason Lacy of civil engineering was selected to receive the Outstanding Graduate for Academic Achievement

New Faculty & Staff: December 2012

Welcome to the new faculty and staff who are joining the college:

Dan Watson, academic programs coordinator, Dean’s Office

EWB-CU Selected as One of Premier Chapters Nationwide

The CU chapter of Engineers Without Borders has been selected by the national organization, EWB-USA, as one of seven premier chapters among 250 student and professional chapters across the country.  CU students recently hosted the EWB-USA Mountain Region Conference, Oct. 5-7, while continuing design work for its projects in Nepal, Rwanda, and Peru.

The conference brought together more than 130 students and engineers from seven states to learn sustainable engineering practices from experts in the field, hone their technical skills in hands-on workshops, and network with other student and professional chapters. A few of the highlights were a workshop about project management in developing communities by Professor Bernard Amadei, founder of EWB-USA; a concrete quality control workshop by Thomas Bang; and a workshop about compressed earth block construction by James Hallock from Earth Block, Inc.

EWB-CU students also have taught high school students about EWB and the importance of globally minded engineers, and attended a Colorado Water Rotary Symposium in Denver to form new partnerships with water development groups in the area.  All three teams are currently preparing for winter travel trips, which involves finalizing designs and lesson plans, submitting final documents to EWB-USA, organizing logistics, training the travel team, and much more.

>For more information, attend the EWB Networking Event on Nov. 9 or visit the chapter website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Engineering Student Athletes Work Hard to Reach Their Goals

Sixteen CU engineering students are balancing the demands of athletics along with their academic requirements this year.  The students are participating in track, football, soccer, tennis, and skiing.

“Time management is crucial if you want to succeed in engineering while playing a Divisioin 1 sport,” says freshman soccer player Nikola Machalek (pictured at top), who selected to major in chemical and biological engineering because she wants to become a doctor someday. “I always like to get my homework done as soon as I am assigned it; that way I do not forget about it or leave it to the last minute.”

Athletes may spend up to 20 hours a week in organized activities related to athletics, but faculty athletics representative Dave Clough of chemical and biological engineering says the actual time involved is almost always greater.

“I often have little time during the week for activities aside of school or practice,” says Hugh Dowdy, a mechanical engineering major (pictured at right). “It is not abnormal for me to leave the house at 7:30 or 8 a.m. and not return until 9:30 p.m. My best suggestion to a student athlete -- or to any other student -- would be to save spending your free time for after you've completed your work.” 

Carla Manzi, a junior in chemical engineering (pictured below) , says she finds it helpful to take small breaks, and she takes advantage of time spent in trains, cars, and hotel rooms to study.

“The teams do a good job in providing for study time during travel, says Clough. “They often provide a separate study hall room in the hotel where they stay. And, on longer trips, an academic coordinator will travel with the team.”

Clough proctored a midterm exam for a CU volleyball player in LA a couple of weeks ago, while Kris Livingston, director of academic support services, proctored tests for three soccer players on the same trip.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CU Environmental Engineers Win National Competition

Students from the University of Colorado Boulder and the University of South Florida were proclaimed winners of the 2012 Student Design Competition organized by the Water Environment Federation (WEF). Both teams received a $2,500 award. The 11th annual competition took place in New Orleans as part of WEF's 85th Annual Technical Exhibition and Conference.

The CU-Boulder team, which is co-sponsored by WEF and the Rocky Mountain Water Environment Association, won first in the wastewater design category for its project, “Broadmoor Park Properties Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrade.” The University of South Florida team's project “Ragan Park” won in the environmental design category. This was the second win for both schools in 11years. 

The Student Design Competition tasks students to prepare a design to help solve a local water quality issue. Teams evaluate alternatives, perform calculations and recommend the most feasible solution based on experience, economics and feasibility.

Members of the CU team included Kristin Johansen, Maria Cabeza, Matthew Huntze, Bailey Leppek, Alexandra Murray and faculty advisor Angela Bielefeldt.

Sieber Class Models Use of Google Apps for Education

The Meaning of Information Technology, a fall humanities in engineering course taught by Associate Dean for Education Diane Sieber, is the first on campus to integrate Google Apps for Education into its course delivery technologies, and one of the first in the country to use the social network Google+ for some of its assignments. A recent course discussion using Google+ was also the first educational use of the tool to break into Google’s top trending topics worldwide.

One important subject of study in the course is the privacy, security and social-behavioral aspects of online social networks, from Facebook to Google+, from Foursquare to Instagram, Sieber explains.  During the week of Sept. 16, the class project was to discuss the ethics, politics, and social impacts of altered images—both historically and in the present time of Photoshop and Image Forensics. The class posted to Google+ altered images that they found on the Internet or that they photographed themselves around Boulder. They provided their analysis of the impacts of and messages implied by these images, and commented on each other’s posts. 

In class, they called up the Google+ stream to discuss how and why each image was altered (both the technology and the sociology of the changes), and because class members created and used a public hashtag, #MeaningofIT, the subject rose to #10 worldwide in Google’s list of trending topics. 

Then the rest of the world took over!  Strangers from all over the world saw the topic trending and joined in the conversation—thousands posted images and comments, contributing to the class discussion.  The wave of international interest boosted #MeaningofIT to fifth place worldwide--above posts on topics like international scandal, PlayStation 3, and "Gangnam Style."

“This was a great way to crowd source a learning opportunity and to study the ebb and flow of social networks at the same time,” Sieber says.  “The students continue to use Google+ to post real-time images, observations and comments on news articles to the entire group while they are out of the classroom.”

Honors & Awards: November 2012

Faculty

Christopher Bowman of chemical and biological engineering was selected to be named a Distinguished Professor by the CU President’s Office, the most prestigious honor for faculty at the university.

Milos Popovic of electrical, computer, and energy engineering was awarded a Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering, which comes with an unrestricted research grant of $875,000 over five years. The prestigious award was one of 16 nationwide this year.

John McCartney of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering has been selected to receive the 2013 Arthur Casagrande Professional Development Award from the Geo Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Students

Alexander Pray of civil environmental and architectural engineering received the Henry Adams Scholarship from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-conditioning Engineers.

Three students in chemical and biological engineering won prizes at the 2012 AIChE meeting in Pittsburgh:

  • Kayla Weston won first place in the Fuels, Petrochemicals and Energy competition for her poster on “A Comparison of Two-step Concentrated Solar-thermal Water Splitting Materials.”
  • Aaron Palumbo won second place in the Sustainability and Sustainble Biorefineries session for his poster on "Co-utilization of Methane in Steam-biomass Gasification using Concentrated Solar Energy."
  • Staci VanNorman won third prize in the Particle Technology Forum for her poster on “Thin Film, Big Difference—Atomic Layer Deposition Functionalized Oxide and Polymer Particles.”

New Faculty & Staff: November 2012

Welcome to the new faculty and staff who are joining the college:

Victoria Lanaghan, program assistant, Integrated Teaching & Learning Laboratory

Astronaut-Alumnus Vance Brand Returns to Campus

NASA astronaut and CU-Boulder alumnus Vance Brand returned to campus last week and presented engineering student Sri Radha with a $10,000 scholarship from the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation. Radha (pictured above with Brand and CU astronaut-faculty Jim Voss and Joe Tanner) is a junior majoring in chemical and biological engineering and a participant in the Engineering Honors Program.

More than 150 students, staff and faculty packed the Andrews Hall common room for the presentation, including environmental engineering professor Angela Bielefeldt, who is a prior ASF scholarship winner, and a local elementary school student who had studied Brand's acheivements (the youngster is pictured at top right with Brand and CU top scholarship coordinator Deborah Viles).

Brand, who earned bachelor’s degrees in business and in aeronautical engineering at CU-Boulder in 1953 and 1960 respectively, was selected as a NASA astronaut in 1966. He flew on the 1975 Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, which has historical significance as the first international docking mission, and on three space shuttle missions.

He was the second astronaut to visit Boulder in a two-week period. Scott Carpenter (pictured at bottom right), who also earned a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering from CU-Boulder and was the second American to orbit the Earth, in May 1962, returned to Boulder Sept. 20 for the 50th-anniversary rededication of the park that bears his name.

 

Ivanoff Gift Integrates Business, Engineering Education

A gift from CU-Boulder alumnus Dan Ivanoff and his wife, Laurie, is creating a new partnership between the engineering and business schools to benefit students. The gift will support a new construction management track within the MBA program in the Leeds School of Business starting in fall 2013, and open the door for graduate construction engineering and management students to take associated business classes. 

Ivanoff  (MBA ’86, MS CivEngr ’87) leads a large real estate investment, development, and management company based in Seattle with properties throughout the western United States. As such, he is aware of the special skills involved in construction management and is keenly interested in better integrating business and engineering education.

“The Ivanoff gift creates a powerful collaboration and cross-campus partnership between Leeds and CU’s College of Engineering and Applied Science, providing MBA students a great way to specialize and engineering students a means for developing business know-how,” said Dean David Ikenberry of the Leeds School.  “Bringing students together across disciplines creates a richer learning environment while meeting market demands.”

The gift provides support to the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering and to the CU Real Estate Center to help bring the programs together.  Part of the funding to CEAE includes a faculty fellowship that was awarded to assistant professor Amy Javernick-Will, whose career path included education and industry experience in civil engineering and real estate development, similar to Dan.

Screencasts Provide Alternative Learning Technology

Screencasts--short video captures of writing on a tablet PC screen with narration by an instructor--are among the latest tools being used to improve undergraduate education at CU-Boulder. Viewed outside of class, these videos present detailed explanations of concepts, problem solutions, mini-lectures, software tutorials, and exam reviews, giving students alternatives to lecture notes and textbooks.

With funding from NASA and EEF, CU-Boulder chemical and biological engineering and mechanical engineering faculty have developed 660 screencasts that are available on YouTube, iTunesU, and other locations on the Web. In August, the screencasts were downloaded more than 99,000 times by students studying chemical and mechanical engineering around the world.

ChBE senior Anna Blakney said that screencasts “are a useful way to gain more guided practice in addition to what we learn in class. The major benefit for me is that they are available 24/7, cover a range of topics in all of our classes, and present problems that we haven’t seen before.”

>More info

Student Space Weather Experiment Launches Successfully

A tiny satellite known as the Colorado Students Space Weather Experiment, or CSSWE, was successfully launched Sept. 14 from Vandenberg Air Force Base and is now returning data back to a ground station operated at the Laboratory of Atmospheric and Space Physics at CU-Boulder.

The CubeSat, which is about the size of a toaster,  was designed, built and tested over the last four years by graduate students under the direction of aerospace engineering sciences professors Xinlin Li and Scott Palo.

The goal of the mission, funded by the National Science Foundation, is to study solar flares -- violent processes emanating from the sun that are associated with large energy releases -- and the dynamics of Earth’s radiation belt electrons.

>More info

Honors & Awards: October 2012

Faculty

Chris Koehler of the Colorado Space Grant Consortium was honored with a NASA Group Achievement Award for exceptional achievement in implementing suborbital student flight opportunities to recruit the next generation of scientists and engineers through the annual RockOn! Workshop at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility.

Oleg Vasilyev of mechanical engineering was elected a fellow of the American Physical Society.

Ken Krechmer of the telecommunications program won first prize and $20,000 for his paper on Cloud Computing Standardization in a global challenge sponsored by the International Electrotechnical Commission and IEEE.

Staff`

Jackie DeBoard of computer science was selected to receive the Employee Recognition Award for September.

Students

Kirstyn Johnson of aerospace engineering sciences was selected to receive a $1,000 scholarship from the Women in Aerospace Foundation.

New Faculty & Staff: October 2012

Sally Gillett, program manager, International Programs and Summer Session, Dean’s Office

Civil Engineering Student Gets Experience at Panama Canal

CU-Boulder undergraduate Christina Jones decided to major in civil engineering because she likes construction projects. Little did she know when she made that decision that she would be selected as an intern to work on one of the largest and most significant projects underway in the whole world—the expansion of the nearly 100-year-old Panama Canal.

The Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering developed the IMPACT Scholar Internship with CH2M HILL to inspire civil engineering students through a premier internship opportunity.

“It’s such a high-profile project, I can’t believe I got to go down there as a student,” says Jones, who returned in August after working for three months in Panama. “It was such an amazing experience.”

The expansion project began in 2007 and involves building a larger set of locks on each end of the canal, as well as deepening and widening the navigational channels so that larger ships can pass through. Professor and CEAE department chair Keith Molenaar, who worked on the risk analysis for the canal expansion project from 2006 to 2010, was instrumental in setting up the internship opportunity.

Jones really enjoyed the work and the people she met on the construction management team, who she said inspired her with what she can do with her engineering degree:  “I can reach for something and go after it.”

>Read more

Third Set of Locks Pacific Team

College Ranks Among Nation's Best

The College of Engineering and Applied Science maintained its ranking of 19 among public engineering schools whose highest degree awarded is a doctorate in the latest Best Colleges (undergraduate rankings) edition published Sept. 12 by U.S. News & World Report.

The report shows CU-Boulder Engineering at No. 34 among the nation’s top undergraduate engineering programs (both public and private), which is well above other Colorado engineering schools and the highest ranking in the Rocky Mountain Region.

CU's aerospace engineering sciences program was ranked 12th in the nation, and 8 among public engineering schools offering aerospace engineering.

>>More info

Herbst Offers Lunchtime Seminars for Faculty & Staff

The Herbst Lunchtime Seminars for faculty and staff are back! Bring your lunch and join the Herbst Program of Humanities for a directed reading group on a series of great books. Seminars will be held on Wednesdays from 12 noon to 12:50 p.m. in ECOT 831.

First up is Plato’s Symposium, presented by Scot Douglass on Sept. 12, 19, 26 and Oct. 3. For more information about readings and a complete schedule of the lunchtime seminars, go to the Herbst website. Books are available free of charge at the front desk of the Dean's Office while supplies last.

 

DEAA Nominations Due Oct. 31

Recognize a deserving alumnus and help raise the profile of your department and the college by submitting a nomination for the Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award. The DEAA is given annually to individuals with outstanding personal qualities and contributions to their fields. Winners are selected based on criteria including career achievement, community and professional service, and continued involvement with the college.

Nominations are due Oct. 31 for awards to be given in spring 2013. The DEAA is a great way to recognize stellar alumni and promote continued affinity with CU. Details and nomination forms are available at http://www.colorado.edu/engineering/alumni/awards

Honors & Awards: September 2012

Congratulations to the following individuals on their outstanding achievements:

Faculty

Nikolaus Correll of computer science received a NASA early career award for space technology research on tele-operated autonomous greenhouses. The award will provide $600,000 over three years to investigate the key perception and manipulation challenges that will enable robots to grow food in space.

John McCartney of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering won the Deep Foundations Institute’s 2012 Young Professor Paper Competition for his paper on Strain Distributions in Full-Scale Energy Foundations. The award will be presented in Houston in October.

Students

Alexander Pray of architectural engineering received the Henry Adams Scholarship from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers.

 

New Faculty & Staff: September 2012

Welcome to the new faculty and staff who are joining the college:

Jelliffe Jackson - Instructor (AES)

Jennifer Cha - Associate Professor (ChBE)

Andrew Goodwin - Assistant Professor (ChBE)

Prashant Nagpal - Assistant Professor (ChBE)

Matthew Morris – Instructor (CEAE)

Paul Goodrum - Professor (CEAE)

Tom Yeh - Assistant Professor (CS)

Judy Stafford - Senior Instructor (CS)

Eric Keller - Assistant Professor (ECEE)

Ray Littlejohn - Scholar in Residence (EMP)

Sharon Black – Scholar in Residence (ITP)

Conwell Dickey – Scholar in Residence (ITP)

Jeffrey Knutsen - Instructor (ME)

Nathan McNeill – Instructor (ME)

Shalom Ruben – Instructor (ME)

Peter Hamlington - Assistant Professor (ME)

DANDE Shipped to Air Force, CubeSat Awaiting Launch

The DANDE spacecraft designed and built by students at the Colorado Space Grant Consortium was shipped in July to the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory, where it will undergo final testing before launch as a secondary payload on a SpaceX flight in 2013.

After loading DANDE onto an 18-wheeler, research coordinator Brian Sanders and five CU-Boulder students also took off for Albuquerque and have spent the last two weeks going through major testing in the AFRL clean room.

Dozens of students have worked on the nanosatellite since CU-Boulder was awarded an initial $110,000 contract from the AFOSR in 2007 to develop it according to proposal. The Drag and Atmospheric Neutral Density Explorer, dubbed DANDE, which won the University Nanosatellite Flight Competition in 2009, is designed to measure variations in the thermosphere that create drag on orbiting satellites.

Meanwhile, another satellite developed by CU students under the direction of Xinlin Li and Scott Palo of the aerospace engineering sciences department and LASP, is awaiting launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base this month. The CubeSat carries the Colorado Student Space Weather Experiment, which was developed to study solar flares. For the latest information about the launch, go to http://lasp.colorado.edu/home/csswe/.

CU Undergrads Experience Weightlessness

CU undergraduates Mike Lotto, Andrew Broucek, Kirstyn Johnson, Chris Nie, Kyle Shannon, and Jared Yenzer got to experience the feeling of weightlessness for the first time July 19-20 when their team flew an experiment on NASA’s reduced gravity aircraft. The CU team , which included students from aerospace and electrical engineering, was one of 18 teams selected to go to Houston for this year’s Reduced Gravity Student Flight Opportunities Program.

“It was crazy—my mind didn’t know what to do at first,” said Johnson, adding that after the aircraft completed its first couple of parabolas—the flight pattern that produces microgravity—the students were able to adjust and conduct their experiment.

Developed with the help of faculty advisor Dave Klaus, the project was developed to study convective heat transfer in space using two copper plates suspended in a pressure cooker. Johnson, an aerospace engineering student who is also doing a co-op internship at Johnson Space Center, said the opportunity to develop a complete experiment, conduct it and get the results was really rewarding.

Chris Nie agreed: "This project was an amazing way to pursue our interests outside of the classroom and get some hands-on experience. The Microgravity University is good about requiring the students to participate in the entire engineering process, from initial concepts, to project requirements, to actual building and testing the experiment. We're now in the process of writing a final science report to share our results. The past year has been an unforgettable experience and the flight was unbelievable. It's something that everyone should try and do."

Space Grant Partners with Pre-Collegiate Program

Thirteen high school seniors participated in an “Earth to Space” class taught by the Colorado Space Grant Consortium for the CU Pre-Collegiate Development Program’s summer session.  

Students worked in pairs to design and build seven balloon payloads, which were launched on June 7 from the Crow Valley Recreation Area.  Each payload flew required components in addition to a student-designed experiment.  Payloads reached 99,000 feet during the flight.  The collaboration with the Pre-Collegiate Development Program is aimed at attracting students to the College of Engineering and Applied Science, and the Space Grant program, when and if they decide to attend CU.

CU Pre-Collegiate students assemble after the recovery of the payloads in rural, northeastern Colorado.

Xcel Energy to Fund BOLD Math Workgroups

The BOLD Center received a $15,000 grant from Xcel Energy to fund the teaching by graduate students of Math Workgroups, supplemental math courses where students delve deep to solve calculus problems through collaborative learning practices.

Math Workgroups supplement classroom learning by allowing students to work collaboratively on concept-clarifying problems, essentially teaching themselves as they further the learning of their peers.

Xcel Energy invests in its local communities through its focus area grants to support nonprofit organizations like the BOLD Center that improve science, technology, engineering, economics, and math education.

Honors & Awards: August 2012

Congratulations to the following individuals on their outstanding achievements:

Faculty

Katie Siek of computer science was selected to receive the Borg Early Career Award from the Computer Research Association’s Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research.

Vijay Gupta of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering was recognized with an award from the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science for his outstanding vision and leadership in the development of interdisciplinary research in hydrologic science. The award was presented in July at the consortium’s third biennial symposium in Boulder.

Mark Hernandez of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering has been selected to receive the 2012 HENAAC Education award recognizing the best and brightest engineers and scientists within the Hispanic community. The award will be presented in October at the 24th annual HENAAC Conference in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

The following awards will be presented at the Sept. 4 faculty/staff meeting:

  • Jeff Thayer of aerospace engineering sciences, Dean’s Award for Outstanding Research
  • HP Schaub of aerospace engineering sciences, Dean’s Award for Outstanding Teaching
  • Dave Meyer of electrical, computer, and energy engineering, Dean’s Award for Professional Progress
  • Sriram Sankaranarayanan of computer science, Dean’s Award for Outstanding Junior Faculty Member

The Provost’s Faculty Achievement Award will be presented on Sept. 28 to:

  • Leysia Palen of computer science
  • Won Park of electrical computer, and energy engineering
  • Se-Hee Lee and Ronggui Yang of mechanical engineering
     

New Faculty & Staff: August 2012

Welcome to the following new faculty and staff who are joining the college this month:

  • Jeff Parker, Research Professor, Aerospace Engineering Sciences
  • Karen Stiner, Accounting Tech, CADSWES
  • Yasko Endo, Research Support Assistant, Computer Science
  • Victoria (Tori) Masaki, Program Coordinator, Materials Science and Engineering
  • Carrie Olson, Administrative Assistant, CEAE, the Mortenson Center, and the Environmental Sustainability faculty cluster

We’d also like to congratulate the following staff members on their retirements at the end of August, and thank them for their service to the college:

  • Colleen Haddock, Accounting Tech, CADSWES
  • Myrna Raitz, Program Assistant, ITLL

Engineering Students Introduce Green Energy Curriculum in Haiti

Several University of Colorado Boulder engineering students traveled to Haiti in June to introduce a green energy vocational training program that paves the way for a new era of distributed power in the poverty-stricken, earthquake-damaged nation.

After project leader Matt Hulse and professors Alan Mickelson and Mike Hannigan made an initial visit in January to assess specific energy needs and employment opportunities for those who are trained in the field, students Joanna Gordon, Nathan Canney, Mark Hasemeyer, Steven Kluck, Kelli Fischer, and Alex Demarais joined them to design a 250-hour curriculum to be taught at the Mon P’tit Village school in Leogane.

Five of the students then returned to Leogane for three weeks in June to train six local instructors on the essential knowledge and skills they need to pass on to their students. To provide the instructors with hands-on experience, the CU team led them in a reinstallation of the school’s solar electric system, including fixing the angle of the solar panels mounted on the roof so they achieve maximum performance.

“I am short of words to describe the admiration, respect and high esteem that I felt toward the visiting team of students from Boulder, Colorado, for the dedication, passion and professionalism that they were able to demonstrate toward the Haitian teachers during the green energy training,” said Yoleine Gateau, founder and vice president of the Mon P’tit Village school.

Undergraduate Steven Kluck said the program has been one of his greatest learning experiences so far. “I have learned so much about teamwork, cooperation, curriculum and materials preparation, energy, technical skills, teaching, cross-cultural interaction, language barriers, international development and more. I have grown as a person and a global citizen and have set myself up to do more sustainable development work in the future," Kluck said.

>>Read more

Aerospace Students Excel with Revolutionary Concepts

CU aerospace engineering students, along with some international collaborators, took first and second place in the graduate student division at the 2012 NASA/NIA Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts-Academic Linkage (RASC-AL) design competition held in Florida in June.  

The first place award went to CU-Boulder students Stuart Tozer, Christine Fanchiang, Nicholas Zinner, Zachary Grunder, Joshua Imobersteg, Felix Bidner and Lee Jasper for their “Extraterrestrial Outpost (ExO): Design and Implementation of a Long-Term Sustainable Lunar Habitat.” Joe Tanner is the team’s faculty advisor.

Second place went to a global team from CU-Boulder, Delft University of Technology and the University of Stuttgart for “Human Exploration of Near Earth Asteroids -- A Revolutionary Mission Architecture.” Professor Daniel Scheeres advised the team , which included CU students Simon Tardivel and Yu Takahashi and incoming PhD student Jon Herman who interned at CU last year.

>See complete results

Environmental Engineers Win Awards for Airport Solutions

Three teams of CU environmental engineering students brought home awards from the Federal Aviation Administration’s sixth annual Design Competition for Universities.

Students Jeff Sogge, Natalie Bixler, Evan Coffey, Dan Jones, Jon Mandel, and Emily Merchant (pictured at right) won second place in the Airport Environmental Interactions Challenge for their LED runway lighting designed for Denver International Airport. The team received a $1,500 prize in the competition.

Two other CU teams tied for third place in the Airport Environmental Interactions Challenge. Students Doug Winter, Nick Dummer, Angela Molli, Kelley Hestmark, and Ethan Boor, who designed improvements to the de-icing environmental management system at DIA, and Damien Allen, Andrew DuComb, Tyler Stevens, Brad Eades, and Patrick Nilan, who designed aerated gravel beds for de-icing waste treatment, shared the $1,000 third prize.

Professor Angela Bielefeldt was the faculty advisor for all three teams.

>>See complete results

Google Sponsors CS4HS Workshop at CU-Boulder

Thanks to a $10,000 grant from Google, the computer science department and ATLAS hosted a three-day workshop for teachers June 15-17, focused on integrating computing concepts and activities into the high school classroom.

The CS4HS workshop, called “Computational Thinking and Computational Doing,” was similar to those hosted at universities such as MIT and Stanford. Activities included informational talks by industry leaders, a tour of Google’s Boulder offices, and discussions on new and emerging computer science curricula, including work done at CU-Boulder on video game programming as a learning tool.

Honors & Awards: July 2012

Congratulations to the following individuals on their outstanding achievements:

Faculty

  • Chris Bowman of chemical and biological engineering received a tech commercialization grant through Colorado’s Bioscience Discovery Evaluation Grant Program for his work on inexpensive, highly efficient synthetic nucleic acids for use in nanoassembly, biodetection, and other biofunctional applications.
  • Keith Molenaar of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering has been elected to the Pan American Academy of Engineering.  He will be inducted in October at a ceremony in Mexico City.
  • Michael Brandemuehl of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering was awarded the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers the Exceptional Service Award at ASHRAE’s national conference in June.
  • Gerhard Fischer of computer science has been chosen to receive the 2012 Rigo Award from the Association for Computing Machinery Special Interest Group o the Design of Communication. The award, which will be presented in October, recognizes an individual who has made an outstanding lifetime contribution to the field of design.

Staff

  • Mindy Zarske, who was recently named director of K-12 Engineering Education in the BOLD Center, and her Skyline High (and other) colleagues won the ASEE annual conference’s Best Paper Award for the K-12 Division out of 98 final papers submitted for their work  "K-12 Engineering for Service: Do project-based service-learning design experiences impact attitudes in high school engineering students?"
  • Rhonda Maldonado and Judy Myers of the Dean’s Office shared the Employee Recognition Award for June. Judy Myers subsequently retired from CU.
  • Gretchen Lee of the Dean’s Office and Laurels Sessler of environmental engineering received the Commitment to Excellence Award, which recognizes staff members that are celebrating a five-year anniversary and have earned the highest performance rating each of the last three years.

Students

  • Sri Radha of chemical and biological engineering has been selected by the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation for a $10,000 scholarship.  The award will be presented by a former astronaut in a special ceremony on campus this fall.
  • Paul Anderson of  aerospace engineering sciences has been awarded the AIAA Foundation Orville and Wilbur Wright Graduate Award.
  • Mack Jones of aerospace engineering sciences has been awarded a three-year Ford Foundation Pre-doctoral Fellowship. The award is administered by the National Research Council.
  • Anastasiya Smurygina of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering received the Jules Horton International Student Achievement Award from the Nuckolls Fund for Lighting Education.

New Faculty & Staff: July 2012

Welcome to the new faculty and staff who are joining the college this month:

  • Jessica Howard, Administrative Assistant II (ECEE)
  • Malinda Zarske, Director of K-12 Engineering Outreach (BOLD Center)
  • Amanda Parker, Director of Access and Recruiting (BOLD Center) – starting July 16
  • John Franklin, Systems Administrator (ITLL) – starting July 16
  • Carin Knickel, Assistant Dean for Programs and Talent (Dean’s Office) – starting July 16

Environmental Engineers Win Regional Competition

Associate Professor Angela Bielefeldt (pictured above, at center) joins CU environmental students at the May 4 regional student design competition sponsored by the Rocky Mountain Water Environment Association and American Water Works Association, where they won first-place for their design and recommendations for the Broadmoor Park Properties Wastewater Treatment Plant. 

CU students (from left to right) Bailey Leppek, Kristin Johansen, Alexandra Murray, Matthew Huntze (grad student, civil engineering), and Maria Cabeza-Tedesco will now advance to the national competition in New Orleans Sept. 29-Oct. 3.

Undergraduates to Take Microgravity Flight

A team of six undergraduate students—Mike Lotto, Andrew Broucek, Kirstyn Johnson, Chris Nie, and Kyle Shannon of aerospace engineering, and Jared Yenzer of electrical and computer engineering—has been selected to participate in NASA’s 2012 Reduced Gravity Student Flight Opportunities Program. 

The CU team, which is one of 18 university teams selected for this year’s program, will be in Houston for its reduced-gravity flight July 13 to July 21. The team’s project focuses on “Validating the Gravity Dependence of the Churchill-Chu Correlation for Free Convective Heat Transfer from a Finite, Flat Plate.” Faculty advisor Dave Klaus says the project will provide data for the design of a space station, or lunar or Mars habitat, where gravity affects convective cooling. 

According to NASA’s Microgravity University website, the reduced gravity aircraft generally flies 30 parabolic maneuvers over the Gulf of Mexico. This parabolic pattern provides about 30 seconds of hypergravity (about 1.8G-2G) as the plane climbs to the top of the parabola, and once the plane starts to “nose over” the top of the parabola to descend toward Earth, the plane experiences about 18 seconds of microgravity (0G).

> Learn more

Satellite Team Passes Major Review

The DANDE student team held its Pre-Ship Review (PSR) for representatives from the Air Force Research Labs (University NanoSat Program), the Space Test Program, and SpaceX (providing the launch vehicle) on May 15.  The review lasted 11 hours and took place in the Onizuka Conference Room in the Engineering Center, where students presented and answered questions from AFRL, STP, and SpaceX representatives.

The review was a major milestone for the team and the project, representing DANDE's hardware and mission readiness.  The team passed PSR with a few expected actions to complete through the end of May, clearing the way for the team to ship the DANDE spacecraft to Albuquerque, where it will begin environmental testing at AFRL and start the journey to the Falcon 9 launch scheduled for December 2012.

Participating in the review were students Miranda Link of astronomy, Bill Irelan of computer science, Jeremy Reed, Mike Mozingo, and Vignesh Muralidharan of electrical and computer engineering; and Kyle Kemble, Caitlyn Cooke, Rees McNally, Ian Barry, Tanya Hardon, Nicole Ela, Ben Leeds, Michael Trowbridge, Ian Andrzejczak, Quinn McGehan, Mark Sakaguchi, and Ahna Isaak or aerospace engineering sciences.

Students Give Back through Volunteer Hours

Through participation in the Peace Corps, Engineers Without Borders, and dozens of societies, CU engineering students give back to their community in droves.

The ITL TEAMS Program offers another altruistic outlet for CU students to volunteer their time. During the 2011-2012 academic year, 46 undergraduate engineering students volunteered 261 hours to help with K-12 campus visits. Their time was spent engaging K-12 students in hands-on engineering activities, giving campus tours using GPS receivers, serving on student panels, and dining in small groups with future engineers. Another 33 undergraduates committed their time weekly during the fall and spring semesters to lead afterschool engineering clubs for 150 elementary students at nine different elementary schools in Longmont and Lafayette.

These hundreds of hours of volunteer time helped make the ITL Program’s K-12 engineering education initiative a tremendous success. Thank you, CU engineering students, for your generosity!

Honors & Awards: June 2012

Faculty

  • Butcher Seed Grants were recently awarded to 10 interdisciplinary CU teams for biomedical research projects. Among the winners were Jean Hertzberg of mechanical engineering, who will be a co-PI on a project to study 4-dimensional flow cardiac MRI for diagnosis of pulmonary hypertension; and Kristi Anseth of chemical and biological engineering, who will be a co-PI on a project on cardiac cell mechanobiology.
  • Diane Dimeff, executive director of the Center for Space Entrepreneurship (eSpace), was selected to receive one of five “Women Who Light the Community” awards from the Boulder Chamber of Commerce. The award honors women who have made significant contributions through innovations and a committed effort to address a meaningful business or community need, locally, regionally, nationally, or globally.  She will be honored at a luncheon on June 13.
  • Shape Ophthalmics, a company developing shape memory polymer-based devices for the treatment of eye diseases based on work by Robin Shandas of mechanical engineering and CU School of Medicine faculty members, has received a technology commercialization grant from the state of Colorado’s Bioscience Discovery Evaluation Grant Program.

Staff

  • Pam Wheeler of electrical, computer, and energy engineering was selected to receive the Employee Recognition Award for May.

Students

  • Lauren Blum, a graduate student in aerospace engineering sciences, has been selected for a NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship.
  • Sibylle Walter, a graduate student in aerospace engineering sciences, has been awarded a NASA Aeronautics Scholarship--one of only five nationally from a field of more than 100 applicants.

New Faculty & Staff: June 2012

Welcome to the new faculty and staff who are joining the college:

  • Julia Bright, External Relations Director, Mechanical Engineering
  • Philip Bradley, Project and Financial Coordinator, Mechanical Engineering
  • Joanne Uleau, Administrative Assistant, Dean’s Office
     

Component Design Class Showcases Adaptive Bikes

Students in the junior-level mechanical engineering Component Design course showcased an array of bicycles they modified for use by children with disabilities. Instructor Daria Kotys-Schwartz directed the effort after students indicated they wanted to do a project with lasting impact.

BOLD Center Wins CACMA Award

The Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Minority Affairs (CACMA) will recognize the BOLD Center with its 2012 CACMA Diversity Service Recognition Award. The award will be presented at the 27th annual Equity & Excellence Banquet.

This annual award is given to campus units to recognize their continuing efforts to create a diverse and supporting, learning, working, and living environment, as well as their commitment to promoting an understanding of multicultural issues. 

Specifically, BOLD team will be recognized for its efforts toward “achieving parity in diversity between CU engineering students and the greater Colorado population” through programming such as the GoldShirt Program, Residential Living and Learning Communities, BOLD Participation Scholarships, Summer Bridge, and industry mentoring and networking.

CU Takes Third in Design/Build/Fly

CU Engineering team H2BuffalO won the $1,000 third-place prize in the annual Student Design/Build/Fly Competition in Wichita, Kansas, April 13-15. Severe weather extended through two of the three competition days, shortening the competition so that final results were based only on the students’ written reports and scores of each team’s first two flight opportunities.

The DBF Competition, which encourages and recognizes excellence in aerospace engineering skills at the undergraduate and graduate level, drew 55 teams from 28 states and 12 foreign countries. Cessna Aircraft, Raytheon Missile Systems, and the AIAA Foundation sponsor the event each year.

The CU student team, advised by James Mack, Donna Gerren, and Brian Argrow, included students Garrett Hennig, Carl Marvin, Matthew Slavik, Andrew Moorman , John Marcantonio, Christopher Coviello, Jacob Varhus, Cameron Trussell, Grant Boerhave, Dominique Gaudyn, Matthew Zeigler, Joshua Smith, and Jake Adams.

CMU-CU Partnership Program Celebrates First Graduates

The first nine graduates of the Colorado Mesa University-University of Colorado Partnership Program in mechanical engineering will be among the approximately 500 students receiving CU engineering degrees this month.

The CMU-CU students have attended classes full-time in Grand Junction, but they will get their degrees from CU-Boulder under the program directed by CU faculty member Tim Brower.

The partnership was established four years ago with the help of CU alumnus Arch Archuleta, and currently has 116 students at different stages of completion, along with 122 pre-engineering students who have expressed interest in the program.

Graduating this spring are Jeff Allen, Pace Bates, Zach Black, Aaron Clymer, Will Lustombo, Thomas Martens, Jeremy Styers, Greg Wall, and Derek West.

Clymer said he chose to attend the CMU-CU engineering program because it enabled him to earn a degree from CU while enjoying the smaller, more personal environment offered at Colorado Mesa.  “The name really carries a lot of weight,” he said, adding that he also enjoyed small class sizes and “a lot of face time with instructors.”

Six of the nine graduates had already secured jobs a week before graduation.

Honors & Awards: May 2012

Congratulations to the following individuals on their outstanding achievements:

Faculty

  • Matt Hallowell of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering was selected to receive the John and Mercedes Peebles Innovation in Education Award from the college.
  • Ryan Starkey of aerospace engineering sciences was selected to receive the outstanding faculty advisor award from the college.
  • Jason Marden of electrical, computer, and energy engineering received the Donald P. Eckman Award from the American Automatic Control Council, recognizing an outstanding young engineer in the field of automatic control. His citation is for “outstanding contributions to game theoretic methods for distributed and networked control systems.”
  • Frank Kreith, professor emeritus of mechanical engineering, delivered a plenary talk on sustainable energy at the 2011 ASME Congress that will appear as the lead article in the May issue of ASME’s Mechanical Engineering Magazine.  He also was selected to receive the Hoyt Clarke Hottel Award from the American Solar Energy Society, an award that will be presented at the World Renewable Energy Forum in Denver in May.
  • Melinda Piket-May of electrical, computer, and energy engineering will receive the Distinguished Service Award from CU’s Faculty Council.
  • Lakshmi Kantha of aerospace engineering sciences has published a new book, Migration on Wings – Aerodynamics and Energetics, published by Springer.
  • Daven Henze of mechanical engineering was selected to receive the Sullivan-Carlson Innovation in Teaching Award.
  • John McCartney received the James R. Croes Medal from the American Society of Civil Engineers for his paper on “Centrifuge Permeameter for Unsaturated Soils: Theoretical Basis and Experimental Developments.”

Staff

  • Dominique de Vangel of chemical and biological engineering was selected to receive the college’s Outstanding Staff Advisor Award.
  • Lelei Finau-Starkey of the BOLD Center was selected to receive the Outstanding Advising Award for Academic Advising-Primary Role from the National Academic Advising Association. She will be recognized at the group’s annual conference in October.
  • Ann Greco of chemical and biological engineering was selected to receive the Employee Recognition Award for April.

Students

The following “Outstanding Graduate” awards will be presented at the May 10 Engineering Recognition Ceremony:

  • Outstanding Graduate of the College: Bailey Leppek, BS in environmental engineering
  • Outstanding Graduate for Research: Alexander Turner, BS in mechanical engineering, minor in applied mathematics
  • Outstanding Graduate for Service: Aaron Young, BS/MS in aerospace engineering sciences
  • Outstanding Graduate for International Service: Tamara Relph, BS/MS in environmental engineering/civil engineering
  • Outstanding Graduate for Academic Achievement: Steven Vogel, BS in mechanical engineering
  • Outstanding Dissertation Award: Dan Knights, PhD in computer science

Other student awards include:

  • Holly Borowski, a graduate student in aerospace engineering sciences, was just awarded one of five 2012 NASA Aeronautics Scholarship Graduate Awards.
  • Dan Lubey, a PhD candidate in aerospace engineering sciences, has been awarded an NDSEG fellowship from the Department of Defense. Lubey and fellow graduate student David Suovik also received NSTRF fellowships from NASA.
  • Felipe Nievinski of aerospace engineering sciences has been awarded an outstanding student paper award by the Cryosphere Focus Group of the American Geophysical Union for his presentation at the 2011 fall meeting.
  • Weichao Tu and Xianjing Liu of aerospace engineering sciences received outstanding student paper awards from the Space Physics & Aeronomy Section of the American Geophysical Union.
  • John Lanz of computer science was received the department’s Domino Award presented by alumnus Herb Morreale.
  • Bryan Barnhart, Brian Ibeling, Chris Nie, and Sushia Rahmizadeh won a paper session prize at the annual Colorado Space Grant Undergraduate Space Research Symposium in April for their paper , “Selective Pointing Apparatus for Research of Turbulence and Atmospheric Noise Variation” (SPARTAN-V).
  • Quinn McGehan, Mike Mozingo, Michael Trowbridge, and Megan O’Sullivan won a poster prize at the annual Colorado Space Grant Undergraduate Space Research Symposium in April for their poster, “A Distributed Common Ground Segment for Educational Nanosatellites.”

Antenna design spirals to new heights

Nearly 20 years ago, as a young engineering student in his native Serbia, Dejan Filipovic won the Nikola Tesla Foundation award for young inventors for his undergraduate thesis on spiral antenna design. The award honors the Serbian-American inventor and engineer, an inspiring figure for Filipovic and many other youngsters from that part of the world.

Like Tesla, Filipovic left his homeland in search of greener pastures. He is now taking the subject of his award-winning thesis to new heights as a CU-Boulder associate professor of electrical, computer, and energy engineering.

Filipovic and his students are developing a new generation of spiral and other frequency independent antennas to achieve previously unattainable performance, including efficiency, power handling, and range, and meet a variety of other specialized needs put forward by the U.S. Department of Defense.

While reducing the size of an antenna typically results in reduced performance, it’s just one of several fundamental challenges in antenna design that Filipovic’s students can—and regularly do—overcome. In one project, they have shown that multi-arm spiral, log-periodic, and sinuous antennas with fully beamformed patterns can be designed and fabricated to operate in excess of 100 GHz, exceeding the range of stateof- the-art devices three to five times. This research can lead to the new wideband, highly sensitive and accurate direction-finding and polarimetric receivers that are so important for future Department of Defense platforms.

Spiral antennas operate over a wide range of frequencies with a consistent impedance and radiation pattern characterized by high-quality circular polarization. They have been traditionally used as RF sensors for electronic support systems including radar warning, direction finding, and spectrum monitoring and surveillance; as well as for wideband terrestrial and satellite communications, ground penetrating radar, and other applications.

The spiral antenna design also may be the answer for another application in which Filipovic has been tasked to design small wideband antennas that can be hidden on military vehicles such as trucks and Humvees so as not to attract attention. While significantly down-scaling the size of the antennas on such vehicles, Filipovic notes that his group must ensure they continue to perform at the same high level, and in a variety of environmental conditions, so that soldiers in the field can communicate back to command, or perform various jamming or diagnostic missions. The research challenge also must take into account the possible health effects of locating higher power electromagnetic devices in close proximity to military personnel as well as coupling with other on-board RF systems.

In addition to improving the performance of the spiral antenna as a receiving device, Filipovic and his students also are researching the ways to make them high-power capable without sacrificing their superior low-power electrical performance.

This decades-long dream of antenna engineers is now close to fruition. Recent experiments have shown that hundreds of watts can be radiated over decade-wide bandwidths with CU-designed frequency independent antennas without any degradation of their physical or electrical features. These findings will pave the way to completely uncharted areas where these antennas can become enabling devices around which new RF systems can be developed.

High-frequency towed-decoy systems, which are the last line of defense for military aircraft, are another area where Filipovic’s research group expertise is being tapped. High-performance transmitting and receiving antennas and microwave components are crucial in seducing an incoming missile and protecting the pilot and aircraft. Wide bandwidth, well controlled impedance, pattern, dispersion, and high power, when coupled with extreme decoy’s deployment conditions, makes this research extremely challenging. Though this three-year grant is in its third quarter, a transmission line designed by Matthew Radway, a post-doctoral fellow in Filipovic’s group, already has been adopted as a baseline medium around which the new decoy will be developed.

Filipovic describes the work as “classical research” that starts with the set of basic equations of the 19th century physicist James Clerk Maxwell, and ends with the enabling concept, device, or subsystem design taken to a new level.

The research is so much in need that he currently has more than $2.5 million in funding, which supports six PhD students along with two undergraduates and three post-doctoral researchers. Four PhD dissertations came out of this research in the past six months, and his students regularly place in the finals, and often win, student competitions.

In part, the research is made possible with a new anechoic chamber, a unique, state-of-the-art facility in the Engineering Center that allows full characterization of antennas, electromagnetic emissions, and RF devices from 1 to 110 GHz. This fully automated and computercontrolled chamber was funded by the Defense University Research Instrumentation Program with the University of Colorado providing necessary space and modification.

Filipovic, who is one of four faculty members in his department born in Serbia, says he enjoys defense-driven work over various commercial applications. First and foremost, it comes down to saving lives rather than saving dollars, he says.

“Growing up in the rural part of (the former) Yugoslavia, being financially rich was never important for my family. Being educated was.”

>Learn more at ecee.colorado.edu/~dejan

Simulations open window on microscopic world

Unlike most chemical and biological engineers, Arthi Jayaraman never gets her hands wet…at least, not in her lab. But as a highly successful teacher and researcher in CU-Boulder’s chemical and biological engineering department, she’s as passionate about chemistry and engineering as if she spent all her time handling test tubes.

Instead, she and her students create computer simulations of molecular behavior that are based on computational chemistry and thermodynamics. The results enhance information obtained experimentally by other researchers, sometimes providing crucial information needed to optimally engineer a new drug or material.

Bio-compatible polymers that could be used one day as carrier molecules to deliver gene therapy are one application where Jayaraman’s team has shown that the way the polymer’s molecules are structured can have a large impact.

Running a short movie on her desktop computer that is almost as colorful as it is informative, she easily demonstrates through simulation how the polymer’s branched structure, as it binds and wraps around a therapeutic gene (a segment of DNA), affects its ability to deliver the treatment efficiently to its targeted cells.

“If the polymer binds the DNA too tightly, then it won’t let go of it upon reaching the target site in the cell,” Jayaraman says, clenching her fist enthusiastically to demonstrate. “If the polymer binds the DNA too loosely, then the DNA is not protected from the harmful proteins in the cell. We find the features that the polymer should have so it optimally binds the DNA and effectively delivers the DNA to the target.”

Using computer simulation to show how these polymers function dynamically at the molecular level, she is able to guide her synthetic chemist collaborator, Todd Emrick at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, on the structure and architectural features he should keep in his polymers to have the desired outcome in in-vitro and in-vivo gene delivery experiments.

Each simulation focuses on a small window in a larger system, so as to capture all the molecular details of an event that occurs on the timescale of just a few hundred nanoseconds. Based on sophisticated mathematical algorithms, these molecular simulations show the time evolution of all the molecules in that small window.

The calculations for each simulation can take as much as one or two days or even a week to run on large supercomputers, but the result is a high-impact movie stretching the real timeframe of nanoseconds into a few seconds of visualization.

Jayaraman, who received the Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award in her department last year and was recently named the Patten Faculty Fellow, is working on four different types of simulation projects funded by the National Science Foundation and Department of Energy. Simulations open window on microscopic world Departments – Chemical and Biological Engineering

In addition to simulating how polymers bind to DNA, she and a few of her graduate students are working to improve the design of solar cells containing organic polymer-based materials. Funded by a prestigious Early Career Award from the Department of Energy, she is zooming into the nanometer length scale to show how the organization of the polymers at the molecular level could be impacting the macroscopic power efficiency of the device.

“There can be huge changes in efficiency with the optimal organization of these polymers,” says Jayaraman, who is funded to work on the project for the next five years. She also works closely with the experimentalists at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to connect her nanoscale understanding to the macroscale properties.

In a third project, funded by NSF with Associate Professor Wounjhang Park of electrical, computer, and energy engineering, she is using her computer simulations to study assembly of functionalized nanoparticles for metamaterial design.

Possibly the most exciting project, although not yet funded she says, is aimed at improving the efficacy of platinum-based cancer drugs by shedding light on how proteins process them in our body.

“These cancer drugs bind themselves to DNA in a way that allows the proteins in our body to recognize and process them to stop the growth of bad cancerous cells,” she explains. “How well the repair proteins in our body bind to these drug-DNA sites is directly connected to how well the drug performs. Molecular simulations in our group show that specifically one of these repair proteins, HMGB1a, more easily binds to the drug-DNA site when it has to spend less energy while bending the drug-DNA molecule.”

Chemical engineering students can look forward to a new graduate-level course on molecular simulation, which Jayaraman will offer next year.

> Learn more

 

Oceanography with altitude

Rocky Mountain oceanography…sounds like a contradiction in terms, you say? There’s something about Colorado’s Front Range that has attracted a number of scientists interested in the world’s oceans.

Take for example, the Colorado Center for Astrodynamics Research (CCAR) in the Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences, which has been mapping the world’s oceans using data from altimetric satellites for more than 25 years. The center was founded by Professor George Born, an aerospace engineer and member of the National Academy of Engineering, who launched his career designing lunar orbits for the Apollo missions in the late 1960s.

Born spent 13 years at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, working on a host of satellite missions including Mariner 9, Viking 1 and 2, Seasat, TOPEX/Poseidon, and the Jason series, joint missions with the French space agency CNES. His group was responsible for navigating the two Viking Mars orbiters along with Seasat, the first satellite to carry a suite of microwave sensors to study the world’s oceans. He was also the Seasat geophysical evaluation manager responsible for demonstrating that all five sensors met specifications.

Born came to Boulder in 1985 and founded CCAR. The center involves 15 faculty and dozens of students dedicated to the study of astrodynamics and the application of satellites to science, navigation, and remote sensing of the Earth.

Four other faculty members—Robert Leben, William Emery, Lakshmi Kantha, and Steve Nerem—round out the oceanography group. Leben is a Colorado native who joined CCAR after earning his PhD in aerospace engineering at CU-Boulder in 1986. Leben, Kantha, and Nerem are aerospace engineers, while Emery has a PhD in physical oceanography from the University of Hawaii.

Leben, Emery, and Nerem bring satellite experience, working on different aspects of the TOPEX/Poseidon mission and other NASA projects over the last two decades.

Kantha came to CCAR from the Navy Oceanographic and Atmospheric Research Laboratory. There, he assisted the U.S. Navy in modeling of the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm and helped to develop and apply ocean forecast models to other regions of U.S. strategic interest. In addition to his modeling work, Kantha is an expert on turbulence and turbulent mixing in the oceans, and he collaborates with oceanographers at the Institute for Marine Research in Venice, Italy.

Nerem was recruited to CCAR in 2000, after he worked at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and then taught at the University of Texas for several years. Now associate director of CCAR and a fellow of the American Geophysical Union, Nerem is an internationally recognized expert on sea level rise. He is participating in writing the Fifth Assessment Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, due to be published in 2013.

Through their combined knowledge and experience, the CCAR oceanography group has developed a wide variety of tools to assist weather and climate forecasters, as well as to supply crucial information to off-shore oil rigs, cruise ships, the U.S. military, and various other navigators.

“A lot of people have used our products in the Gulf of Mexico,” says Leben, whose primary expertise is in satellite altimetry and its application to ocean circulation monitoring. “The products show people how to avoid the eddy fields and make use of the Loop Current to achieve their purpose.”

Altimeter satellites, such as Jason 1 and 2, and the European Space Agency satellite ENVISAT, provide real-time information about ocean height that can save ship operators time and money, and possibly avert disaster as well. Geostationary satellite radiometer data provides further information about sea surface temperatures that is useful in predicting storms.

In 2005, Born and Leben led efforts to chart Hurricane Katrina and show how its wind speeds increased dramatically as it passed over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico’s Loop Current. Later, they mapped the ocean circulation affecting the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in near real-time during the disaster, and provided information to forecasters showing the low probability that the spill would exit the Gulf.

El Niño events, which cause extensive ocean warming, and the impacts of climate change are also of great interest. CCAR researchers derive data from satellite measurements and historical observations that can help to improve climate models.

Nerem has participated in numerous studies taking stock of the Earth’s melting land ice. These studies show that global sea level is rising and the shape of the Earth is actually changing as the mass moves toward the equator.

Emery, who serves on two German and two Italian teams studying ocean conditions with synthetic aperture radar imagery, is involved in research areas aimed at making climate models more accurate for coastal zones. He was elected an AGU fellow this year for advances in the remote sensing of ocean surface phenomena, including sea surface temperature variations and ocean surface currents.

He also has helped to develop processing hardware for weather satellites and studies high-resolution satellite imagery for detecting urban change and mapping disaster effects. And he has applied highand moderate-resolution satellite imagery to the study of terrestrial vegetation.

With all that going on, oceanography is alive and well in the Rocky Mountains.

>Learn more at ccar.colorado.edu

Puzzling out a software solution

Problem: There are 40 two-sided tiles lying on a table, including 30 on their white side and 10 on their black side. With the lights off so that you can’t see the colors, divide the tiles into two piles with the same number of black tiles in each pile.

While many people would swear it can’t be done, computer scientists thrive on such puzzles.

“There’s usually a little grain of something in the puzzle, and if you get the trick you can solve it,” says CU-Boulder Assistant Professor Sriram Sankaranarayanan.

“It’s the kind of hunting we do,” he adds, alluding to the search for problems and their fixes in thousands of lines of code.

Sankaranarayanan is a specialist in cyber-physical systems, which are responsible for numerous control tasks in safety-critical systems such as automobiles, avionics, medical devices, and power distribution systems. From automobile braking systems to hospital ventilators and other life-saving devices, computer software is increasingly becoming the link between the operator and the physical system they seek to control.

Guaranteeing the correctness of these systems is naturally of the utmost importance. Sometimes a problem requires forensic, or afterthe- fact, analysis to determine why a particular system failed, but Sankaranarayanan prefers to work on program testing and verification at the front end of software development. “We want to be able to certify software in a car to be safe because the driver’s life depends on it,” he says.

He notes that NASA and the aerospace industry take verification of software systems very seriously due to the danger of flight and the millions of dollars that go into building aircraft and spacecraft. “Lots of people pore over the code, but they can’t automate verification fully.”

A lot of progress has been made over the last decade, and many common bugs can be found and fixed by automated program verification tools, he says. But there is still much more to do as software has become increasingly complex.

Sankaranarayanan compares it to following a race car with another race car. “We are always playing catch-up with what other people can do,” he says, explaining that viruses and computer hacking create additional threats to control systems.

“We want to bring an ethical hacking mentality to mathematics where we try to break systems in order to build them back up better.” Sankaranarayanan’s ultimate goal is to develop a software program that can verify another piece of software will do what it is supposed to do.

Although fully achieving that end may be inherently impossible, Sankaranarayanan says, he is making great enough strides for the National Science Foundation to award him its Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award. The $460,000 grant will fund his innovative work on automatic analysis of cyber-physical systems for the next five years, with the goal of bridging the gap between research and industrial practice.

“I’m trying to push the boundary of what can be done today,” says the Stanford PhD graduate who went on to win the NEC Technology Commercialization Award at NEC Laboratories America in 2007. The award recognized his achievement in developing a framework for finding bugs in programs by combining abstract interpretation and model checking.

Sankaranarayanan has completed several other verification projects in the last few years, including one geared to drug infusion pumps in hospitals and another focusing on automotive control software.

Typically, he and his students try to integrate optimization tools and other techniques used by applied mathematicians in an ongoing attempt to isolate and develop innovative solutions.

“The lab is a real hotbed of activity,” he says, referring to about 15 faculty and students from both computer science and electrical and computer engineering who are working in related areas of study. “Our currency is in ideas.”

Other than the usual array of personal computers that would be expected for such an endeavor, several whiteboards, including one floorto- ceiling model, are installed around the group’s laboratory space. Equations scrawled as part of the day’s discourse at least partially cover these boards. One also posts a “riddle of the day.”

Sankaranarayanan speaks quietly with one student to offer a solution, and the student who posted the riddle nods appreciatively in reply.

Solution: Take 10 of the tiles aside and flip each one over to reveal the other color. Regardless of what color these tiles were originally, they now form a group with precisely the same number of black tiles as the remaining 30.

> Learn more at www.colorado.edu/cs/users/srirams

Building a better (micro) bubble

Champagne bubbles, bubble baths, Bubble Wrap, bubblegum . . . From food and drink to soap and packaging materials, bubbles offer us a variety of benefits from enjoyment to mind-bending functionality.

One kind of bubble you may not have heard of—unless you’ve been into the doctor’s office for an echocardiogram recently—is a microbubble, a gas bubble with an ultrathin shell made of fat molecules, no bigger than 10 micrometers in diameter, or about the size of a red blood cell.

Microbubbles are excellent contrast agents for ultrasound imaging, according to Mark Borden, a CU-Boulder assistant professor in mechanical engineering. Microbubbles can circulate easily within the vascular system, deforming as necessary to pass through the finest capillaries, and they create a unique echo that sounds significantly different to an ultrasound scanner than the adjacent body tissue.

“It’s like ringing a big bell that makes a lower note than the surrounding tissue,” says Borden. “Fortuitously, the resonance frequency of a microbubble is matched to the ultrasound scanner so the echo is very strong, so much so that you can image a single bubble traversing the microvessels.”

Ultrasound images resulting from the use of microbubbles clearly depict the internal structure of a given tissue as well as the abundance and direction of the blood flow, which is a great improvement over regular ultrasound. Microbubbles can remain in circulation up to about 10 minutes, which is enough time to perform the scan, and the gas— nitrogen or a perfluorocarbon—ultimately is filtered through the lungs and exhaled, while the fat lipid is absorbed into the body.

While a relatively small volume of microbubbles are injected into a patient’s blood stream for the procedure, it still amounts to billions of microbubbles, so bubble size, uniformity, and encapsulation are extremely important, Borden says. More than 2 million patients have received microbubble injections in the United States since the FDA approved bubble echocardiograms about a decade ago.

The role of Borden’s research is to optimize the mechanical process and surface chemistry, ensuring both safety and efficacy—and ultimately, to build a better bubble for use in various biomedical applications. With a dual background in colloidal science (the study of substances microscopically dispersed throughout another substance) and biomedical engineering, he is perfectly positioned to advance both disciplines simultaneously.

One factor that will be important to the expanded use of microbubbles in clinical procedures is the creation of a coating or shell that allows the microbubbles to bind to a specific part of the body, such as an organ or tumor where therapy needs to be delivered.

Borden is working to put targeting molecules on the bubble surface so that they bind to diseased blood vessels, such as in a tumor or atherosclerotic plaque. The accumulated microbubbles can then be imaged to identify the extent of disease, not just for diagnosis, but also for following the response to therapy.

Microbubbles are already being used routinely in ultrasonic imaging of cancer, heart disease, and stroke in Canada, Europe, and Asia, and their use in more advanced medical treatments in the United States is only a matter of time.

Borden says that the United States has relied heavily on more expensive scanning methods, such as MRI, but as the nation seeks to reduce healthcare costs and provide more personalized medicine, hospitals will increasingly look to ultrasound as the imaging modality of choice. Already, medical school students are learning to carry laptopsized ultrasound scanners instead of the traditional stethoscopes.

Microbubbles are being designed for targeted drug and gene delivery, where they act as micro-syringes that can inject their cargo into tissue through the application of focused ultrasound.

There is strong interest in the medical community to develop microbubbles as a “theranostic” agent, an agent that is capable of providing both diagnostic information and therapy. The ultimate goal is to close the feedback loop for image-guided drug and gene therapy, where the microbubbles are imaged as they enter the treatment zone in the tissue and are simultaneously disrupted to release their pharmaceutical cargo. This allows the physician to observe and control delivery of the therapy.

The main challenge is to build a microbubble that can both efficiently deliver the pharmaceutical and simultaneously provide a strong signal for imaging. This requires a cross-disciplinary approach employing physics, chemistry, and biology.

Ultimately, Borden hopes to enable noninvasive microscopic surgery through the use of microbubbles that oscillate and fragment under the pressure of ultrasound waves, allowing a drug to be dispersed at the proper time and place. Toward this end, he was awarded several grants from the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation, the James D. Watson Investigator Award, and the NSF CAREER Award to investigate lipid-coated microbubbles as theranostic agents.

He works with several collaborators at CU and across the world to develop microbubbles and theranostic methods for the treatment of cancer, heart disease, and neurological disorders, and this work has been highlighted in Wired magazine, The Economist, CNN, and the Discovery Channel.

< Learn more at spot.colorado.edu/~mabo4929

Geotechnical group puts a spin on soils

You could call it Disaster Central. On any given day in the Engineering Center’s geotechnical labs, you’re likely to find students and faculty simulating an earthquake, an offshore tidal wave, an exploding land mine, or thermal and hydrological forces on soils powerful enough to crack a dam or tilt a foundation.

These activities attest to a thriving geotechnical engineering and geomechanics (GEGM) group, a faculty enclave in the civil, environmental, and architectural engineering department with a wide range of capabilities and accomplishments.

The most recent example of the group’s success is the Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) on soil blast modeling and simulation, funded with a $7.2 million grant from the Department of Defense. After a final competition between 17 leading U.S. university groups, the grant was awarded last fall to Assistant Professor Richard Regueiro and team members Ronald Pak, John McCartney, and Stein Sture in the GEGM group.

The MURI is aimed at creating a more accurate representation of the impact of buried land mines and improvised explosive devices on light-armored military vehicles so they can be better designed to withstand blasts. The team will integrate advanced theoretical mechanics with fundamental experimental investigations using a 400 g-ton centrifuge to develop robust computer simulations of explosive blasts under challenging field conditions.

The 400 g-ton centrifuge is the geotechnical group’s major experimental workhorse. Developed in the late 1980s by Hon-Yim Ko, who is now professor emeritus, it remains one of the most powerful in the world with the capability of accelerating a 2-ton payload to a maximum of 200 g in about 14 minutes. In the centrifuge environment, scaled models can be used effectively to study how soil affects the earthquake response of a bridge or a tidal wave crashing on an ocean pier.

Assistant Professor Shideh Dashti, who joined the faculty last year, is planning a series of centrifuge experiments and numerical simulations to explore the impact of skyscrapers on underground transportation tunnels during earthquakes.

The initiative, funded by the National Science Foundation, will study the seismic response of temporary and permanent cut-and-cover box structures near mid- to high-rise buildings with the goal of producing well-calibrated predictive tools that more reliably characterize interactions between soil, foundations, and shallow underground structures during earthquakes.

A better understanding of these interactions will advance research and practice for a range of underground facilities and critical lifelines including tunnels, pipelines, and utilities, Dashti says. She also is collaborating with Assistant Professor John McCartney to study the impact of earthquakes on underground structures such as enclosed water reservoirs, with funding from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

A long-standing theme of CU’s GEGM program is to incorporate the use of fundamental mechanics principles and computing power with experimental methods, according to Professor Ronald Pak, who has been active in research in dynamic soil-structure interaction, geotechnical earthquake engineering, and applied geomechanics at CU-Boulder for more than 27 years.

Pak also is director of the Engineering Science track in civil engineering at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Sharing a similar vision with GEGM, the track has attracted applicants with superb analytical and computational backgrounds from both within and beyond civil engineering.

McCartney, a BS/MS graduate of the program who came back to join the faculty four years ago, particularly enjoys the breadth of activities. He specializes in the behavior of partially saturated soils and their interaction with civil infrastructure ranging from building foundations to pavements to landfills, and he is currently finalizing an NSF-supported project on the interaction of geothermal energy foundations with surrounding soils. Energy foundations are used to improve the efficiency of heat pumps for heating and cooling of buildings.

While drilling a deep geothermal well can be prohibitively expensive for some building applications, McCartney and his students have been testing the effectiveness of using holes already drilled for the building foundation to install heat exchangers, enabling the foundation to be used for multiple purposes. In addition to using centrifuge models to demonstrate the feasibility of this approach, they have incorporated geothermal energy foundations into a building recently constructed for the Denver Housing Authority.

McCartney also is collaborating with a colleague at the U.S. Air Force Academy to construct an entire building that can be used as a test facility for the long-term behavior of energy foundations, and he is incorporating the lessons learned from energy foundations into his NSF CAREER Award, which will investigate the application of heat exchangers in other geotechnical engineering systems.

Research efforts by professors Tad Pfeffer on glacier mechanics and climate change, Dobroslav Znidarcic on the consolidation of mine tailings, Bernard Amadei on rock mechanics and sustainability engineering, and Stein Sture on constitutive modeling round out one of the most diverse, yet disciplinary-strong, geotechnical engineering and geomechanics groups in the nation.

> Learn more at ceae.colorado.edu/geotech

Private support helps CU excel in biotechnology

Faculty, staff, and students in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering are thrilled to be moving into state-of-the-art lab and office space in the Jennie Smoly Caruthers Biotechnology Building this spring.

“This collaborative environment will allow us to continue supporting cutting-edge research and teaching that will help us recruit the best students and faculty, and maintain our status as a top chemical and biological engineering program,” says department chair Chris Bowman.

CU’s Biofrontiers Institute and the Division of Biochemistry will share the 336,000-square-foot building, which was recently completed on CU-Boulder’s East Campus.

Designed to promote collaboration among researchers from a variety of disciplines, the building has been made possible by private support Private support helps CU excel in biotechnology —roughly $52 million to date—combined with university and public funds.

The college is especially grateful to support provided by the Bradley, Broida, and Prager families, along with Phillips 66 (formerly ConocoPhillips) and Chevron, and the Engineering Advisory Council, all of which have provided significant gifts for the building.

Fundraising will continue as long as needed to complete the project. For more information on supporting biotechnology at CU-Boulder, contact the Engineering Development Office at 303-492-7899.

To view videos and a photo gallery of the new building, click the thumbnails below.

Student support makes big impact

More than 1,000 students received scholarships from the College of Engineering and Applied Science this year, thanks to $2.2 million in private support from individuals and corporations.

“I’m trying to pay my own way so as not to be a burden on my parents,” says a grateful Kathryn Warshaw, noting that her mother lost her job right before she was to start college a few years ago. Warshaw worked 20 hours per week as a gymnastics coach while she was in school, was able to study abroad, and in December she completed a double degree in environmental engineering and Spanish, thanks to various scholarship awards.

Besides helping so many deserving students pursue an education that will significantly change their lives, these scholarship awards have impacted the college as a whole by supporting the enrollment of the most diverse and well-qualified first-year class in history.

The fall 2011 entering class included 26.2 percent women and 15.1 percent underrepresented students, the highest percentages ever in both categories. The entering class also included 8 Boettcher scholars, 22 Boettcher semifinalists, and had an average combined SAT of 1291 and an average composite ACT of 29.1, which are also the highest ever.

Among the new scholarships this year is an endowment established by Lexmark International in the name of CU-Boulder alumnus Paul Curlander (ElecEngr ’74).

“Lexmark is proud to provide scholarships to University of Colorado engineering students in honor of our former chairman and CEO, Paul Curlander,” says Jeri Isbell, vice president of human resources for Lexmark. “As a leading global technology company that supports science, technology, engineering and math education, we recognize the importance of providing educational opportunities to students in diverse and underrepresented areas. We hope to encourage more students to pursue careers in engineering and help fuel growth and innovation for the future.”

Tiana Miller Jackson, who graduated in December with a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering, calls her scholarship, funded by individual alumnus Peter Teets (ApMath ’63, MS ’65), “a blessing.” As a first-generation college student, Jackson says, “I was able to attend school and, on top of that, volunteer in the summer without it being a hardship for my parents.” Someday, she says, she hopes to be able to fund a scholarship for another struggling student.

Also new this year is a graduate fellowship award created by retired IBM executive and entrepreneur Joseph Negler. The award will provide $5,000 per year for a graduate student in aerospace engineering sciences, along with a match of $2,500 from IBM.

“CU-Boulder’s aerospace department is arguably one of the best in the country, if not the best,” Negler says. “To make contributions to that science and the world, we need to attract, grow, and retain the best. If this helps the dean and chair to accomplish that, then we’ve helped the university toward its goal of continued excellence.”

In addition to scholarship and fellowship support, the college also funds part-time jobs for more than 100 students every semester through the Earn-Learn Apprenticeship Program. The program places engineering students in positions throughout the college, which contributes to their education while helping the departments meet their operational needs at the same time. Private support of the Earn-Learn program extends the college’s ability to offer these jobs.

Sierra Flynn, an Earn-Learn apprentice who is assisting with the introductory course in computer science, says: “I am so grateful for this experience, not only because it has allowed me to connect with fellow computer scientists and professors, but also because it is helping me grow as a person.”

For more information on supporting students in the College of Engineering and Applied Science, contact the Engineering Development Office at 303-492-7899.

Mortenson endowment focuses on building globally responsible engineers

A CU engineering team traveled to Haiti on the second anniversary of the country’s devastating earthquake in January to build a foundation for the growth of green energy. Faculty and students are collaborating with a school in Leogane, where the earthquake was centered, to create a vocational training program on the installation, operation, and maintenance of renewable energy systems.

Meanwhile, another CU team continued its work with the Crow Tribe in Montana to meet the community’s housing needs through the construction of new affordable and energy-efficient homes using locally sourced materials and labor.

Both projects were developed by the Mortenson Center in Engineering for Developing Communities, a CU-Boulder program endowed in 2009 with a landmark gift from 1958 civil engineering alumnus Mort Mortenson, his wife, Alice, and M. A. Mortenson Company. The Minneapolis construction firm has built numerous CU buildings, including the Visual Arts Complex and the University Memorial Center on the Boulder campus.

“When I first heard Professor Bernard Amadei talk about the importance of addressing global humanitarian needs, I was inspired by his passion,” says Mortenson, who joined his father’s construction firm in 1960 and now serves as its chairman. “The numbers he presented (at the time) were very compelling―1.2 billion people in the world lack clean water, 1.2 billion people lack adequate housing, and 2.4 billion people lack adequate sanitation.” (See www.unicef.org/wash for updated statistics.)

Equally compelling, Mortenson says, was Amadei’s deep commitment and enthusiasm for helping millions of people through engineering solutions. “I too, am energized by engineering,” he says. “I love to build, and Bernard believes in building the way that I do—working together and utilizing everyone's perspectives to find innovative solutions.”

Amadei, who now holds the Mortenson Endowed Chair in Global Engineering, recognizes that comprehensive strategies and a new mindset in engineering education and practice are needed to make a substantial and systemic change in addressing the basic needs of billions of people throughout the world. Thus, the Mortenson Center uses an integrated approach that includes educating globally responsible engineers, conducting interdisciplinary research and development to create innovative solutions, and putting that learning and research into action through direct service to developing communities worldwide.

“After witnessing Bernard’s passion and understanding his unique approach to implementing engineering solutions, our family was inspired to get involved,” says Mortenson. “We not only wanted to be associated with building the Engineering for Developing Communities program, but also wanted to ensure its future success by creating an endowment to
sustain the work.”

Mort and Alice Mortenson’s daughter-in-law, Dana, is directly involved in the center through its advisory board, where she brings her experience as co-founder of World Savvy, a nonprofit that supports K–12 students in becoming responsible global citizens.

Some Mortenson employees also are connected to the center’s work, as responsibility, service, and stewardship are interrelated values at the core of both the company and family. For example, one employee who has been volunteering on an individual basis to help re-develop Haiti partnered with the Mortenson Center on an initial audit of engineering needs there.

“We believe that we are accountable to the common good of individuals and communities,” Mortenson says. “We are here today―as a company, as engineers, as communities―because generations before us handed down their legacy of hard work. We are committed to preserving this legacy to serve and benefit others.”

Three years after establishing the endowment, Mortenson says he is enthusiastic about several specific outcomes of the center. The first is the number of women engineers the center is educating. Of the 54 students currently enrolled in the graduate certificate program, impressively, 46 percent are women.

Second is the number of students from around the country who are drawn to what the Mortenson Center offers. “Many students have shared with us that they chose the University of Colorado because of the Mortenson Center,” he says.

Third is the application of the center’s work in the United States, such as through the center’s partnership with the Crow Tribe, which is using locally produced earthen blocks to build energy efficient homes that withstand the Montana climate, are safe and affordable, and increase employment of tribal members. “It's amazing that a bit of locally sourced clay and sand mixed with Mortenson Center engineering can create such a positive impact,” Mortenson says.

Lastly, Mortenson says he is inspired by the number of dedicated engineers who want to serve others with their tangible skills. Mort states, “During their time at the Mortenson Center, the students solve problems, provide real service and make many lives better. Many students have shared with me how pleased they are to find a way to match their passion with their future careers in a socially relevant way.” Alice adds, “These students are bright, energetic, caring, and enthusiastic. They are going to do great things.”

“Upon graduation, this army of engineers will exponentially grow the number of solutions to problems in partnership with communities around the world,” Mort concludes.•

>Learn more at mcedc.colorado.edu

It's all about impact

The biggest question donors have when considering a gift is what their support will achieve. How will it assist students, help advance knowledge, create solutions for issues facing the United States and the world?

In this issue of CUEngineering, you will read about the impact gifts—large and small—have in creating positive change. From alumni who make small annual contributions to our corporate partners who provide funding for the new biotech building, all donors help in Creating Futures at CU-Boulder’s College of Engineering and Applied Science.

Last fall, the University of Colorado publicly announced a $1.5 billion campaign, Creating Futures, to enhance CU’s four campuses on all fronts, and advance the economy, culture, and health of Colorado and the nation. Our donors invest in the people, places, and programs that compose CU’s areas of excellence and impact. Learning and Teaching initiatives that educate tomorrow’s leaders. Discovery and Innovation that expands what is possible. Community and Culture connections that make our towns and cities vibrant. Health and Wellness breakthroughs that lengthen and strengthen our lives.

Donors provide a crucial margin of excellence that equips the University of Colorado to turn ideas into action. They have made a positive impact on the College of Engineering and Applied Science in many different ways, just a few of which are highlighted below.

Rex (ElecEngr ’51, MS A&S ’70) and Bonnie (MBA ’84) Sheppard are frequently seen on the CU-Boulder campus as they cheer on the CU women’s basketball team and attend a football game or two each fall. Rex was a varsity wrestler while he was a student, and he and Bonnie enjoy showing their support of student-athletes. However, a recent gift they gave to the engineering Dean’s Fund for Excellence highlights another passion of theirs, supporting a first-class engineering education.

The couple gave a gift through a Charitable Gift Annuity, which gives them income while also providing funding for the college. Instead of directing their gift to a specific area, they are allowing the dean discretion in how to use it. “We trust the dean to decide how our gift can make the most impact, especially since flexible funding is in short supply,” Rex says.

United Launch Alliance in Centennial, Colorado, has supported senior and graduate student design projects in the aerospace engineering department for the last three years. One of the projects, dubbed HySOR, was aimed at designing and building a hybrid rocket motor, while another involves developing a payload separation and deployment system.

“United Launch Alliance is pleased to offer CU students these opportunities to bring together their course work, insights, creativity, and ideas to real-world aerospace applications,” says George Sowers, ULA’s vice president of business development. “Ever since we began operations, ULA has been focused on serving as a good corporate citizen and inspiring our next generation of engineers and rocket scientists.”

A strong belief in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering and a desire to give back to their alma mater prompted Sami Miro (CivEngr ’70), Dave Lewis (ArchEngr ’78), and Brad Buhler (ArchEngr ’88) to get behind a generous gift from S.A. Miro Inc.

The gift to the department Chair’s Excellence Fund is a “big vote of confidence in the work of our students, faculty, and staff,” says Chair Keith Molenaar. The support will be used for two main initiatives. Faculty will match the donation with personal gifts to renovate a collaborative graduate research space in the civil engineering wing of the Engineering Center. The gift also will be used to support a new IMPACT Scholar Internship program, which will send students to work on highprofile engineering projects, the first of which will be a Panama Canal expansion project this summer.

“This gift from S.A. Miro will allow us to recruit and retain the top engineering students from high school through graduate school,” Molenaar said.

For more information on supporting the College of Engineering and Applied Science, visit www.colorado.edu/engineering/giving or contact Julie Karbula at 303-492-7899.

From the Dean

Dear alumni and friends,

One of the most enjoyable things about my job is the opportunity to meet and work with so many interesting and accomplished alumni of the college. Many of these talented individuals also embody a shared ideal of commitment and service to the community in which we live.

We are fortunate to have many alumni who are actively involved with the college, for it is through our combined efforts that we are able to reach the highest levels of excellence in engineering education and research. Some of the stories we feature in this issue of CUEngineering show the variety of ways alumni can contribute to our mission:

  • Talking to students about their professional engineering experince, as aerospace alumnus Jim Hansen did last fall when he presented “Cloudy with a Chance of Pirates”;
  • Advising college leadership on how to best manage and guide the institution into the future, as Distinguished Engineering Alumna Nan Joesten has done as a member of the Engineering Advisory Council;
  • Supporting the college and its students, such as the creation by computer science alumnus Herb Morreale of the Domino Award to inspire and support students in “setting big things in motion” and the endowed support from Mort and Alice Mortenson for the Mortenson Center in Engineering for Developing Communities to help it to flourish in perpetuity; and
  • Being proud alumni who bring positive attention to the university and all it does, such as the “legacy alumni” who have made CU a family tradition, generation after generation.

The University of Colorado is in the midst of an ambitious fundraising campaign, Creating Futures, which you also can read about in this issue. I hope you will consider supporting the college in an area that matches your passion. Perhaps one of the department or program features in this issue of CUEngineering will spark your interest in getting involved.

Meanwhile, in recognition and thanks for all you do on behalf of CU, we are working to provide you with these benefits through our alumni relations office:

  • Events and publications that keep you engaged with the CU engineering community
  • Networking opportunities and career services to support your professional success
  • Alumni awards that provide recognition for your career achievements
  • A revamped website where you can find alumni relations and other information about the college (www.colorado.edu/engineering)

Please feel free to contact us with your questions and ideas, and I hope to see you at a future event.

Sincerely,

Robert H. Davis, Dean
 

Honors students engineer system to be work of art

Engineering honors students don’t take their extracurricular time lightly.

This year, a team of seven engineering students are designing and building a “Grand Orrery,” or mechanical representation of the solar system, to be suspended from the ceiling of the common room at Andrews Hall.

“Our goal is to produce a working system that is also a work of art,” says Eitan Cher, a senior in mechanical engineering who is managing the project.

Completed entirely on their own time and without any academic credit, the 10-foot custom orrery will be driven by 24 gears cut out of quarter-inch brass.

The orbiting speeds of each planet are accurate in relation to one another, but they are scaled up so that the motion of the planets can be enjoyed by a casual observer. Mercury will orbit the Sun in exactly one hour; the Moon will orbit the Earth in just 18.6 minutes. Pluto’s trip around the orrery, however, will take 43 days.

“After much debate, we decided to include Pluto, if only for sentimental reasons,” Cher says.

BOLD Center advisor sees value in vision and community

For Dan Hernandez, it started when he was a young boy with a dream—the dream for a better life. This dream became a quest to someday be an engineer. Although he stumbled over various obstacles during high school and college, he learned to keep at it. And, his perseverance paid off.

Today, Hernandez (ElecCompEngr ‘90) is a successful business executive with Sykes Enterprises. He also co-chairs the college’s Broadening Opportunity through Leadership and Diversity (BOLD) Center Advisory Council. His passion for helping other young dreamers to reach their goals drives his own desire to work with BOLD Center students.

Formed in 2009 as part of a new approach toward inclusive community engagement, the BOLD Center encompasses both the former Women in Engineering and Multicultural Engineering Programs, six student societies to support the different needs of diverse engineering students, and the college’s access and recruiting initiatives—making broadening participation a core value. Combined with a dedicated leadership and support team, and academic and professional services, the BOLD Center fosters students’ success in engineering.

Hernandez, who began his career in management at U.S. West one year after earning his engineering degree, credits his personal success to his involvement with student groups such as MEP, SHPE, MAES, and UMAS—programs now under the leadership of the BOLD Center. Hernandez still values the many friendships he made through these programs.

“This is a community with a purpose. Its real value is in the sense of accomplishment that results from succeeding in common goals,” he says.

He adds that Jacquelyn Sullivan, the associate dean for inclusive excellence, and her BOLD Center team are doing a great job of focusing people on their common goals through resources offered to all students, such as free tutoring, leadership workshops, and industry networking.

Broad BOLD recruiting contributed significantly to the college’s fall 2011 record-breaking enrollment of 15.1 percent underrepresented minority students and 26.2 percent women. BOLD is also credited with the increase in average GPA of underrepresented students from 2.90 in 2009 to 3.10 in 2011, through initiatives such as the Student Success Center—a free drop-in tutoring service—paired with individual mentoring and academic advising of at-risk students. More than 70 students a day use the BOLD Center resources, including the many quiet study spaces.

Thinking back on his own life’s path, Hernandez says, “I think the key is building a compelling vision of the future, that you believe in. Then everything else becomes a building block toward that end. If you know where you’re going and you hit a stumbling block, you just keep on going.”

With such visionary advisors, the BOLD Center quickly gained traction in the college with a more diverse population of students and greater numbers of students throughout the college becoming involved each academic year.

>Learn more at bold.colorado.edu

Professor David Clough builds programs, friendships in Iraqi Kurdistan

Professor David Clough calls it a “unique” opportunity, but it’s not one he’s utterly unfamiliar with.

Those who know something of Clough’s career would probably see it as a natural extension of the transformative impact he already has had at CU-Boulder.

Having taught chemical engineering at CU since 1975 and served as associate dean for academic affairs under Richard Seebass from 1986 to 1993, Clough was at the heart of some major improvements in the College of Engineering and Applied Science—the Integrated Teaching and Learning Laboratory and the Herbst Program of Humanities for Engineers, to name just two.

Now he has put his signature on a new program in engineering education at the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS), designing the general engineering curriculum and the science and engineering labs literally “from the ground up.”

The relatively young school, started about six years ago, is located in the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq, near the border with Iran. It has a culturally diverse student body, with about 500 students enrolled in international studies, business, and information systems—along with the new engineering program.

For the last two years, AUIS has been headed by Athanasios Moulakis, who served as founding director of the Herbst Program at CU-Boulder from 1989 to 2000. Moulakis left CU for positions at Virginia Tech and then the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul before he was appointed provost and president of AUIS.

With his connections to CU engineering, Moulakis quickly approached his former colleagues for assistance in setting up an engineering degree program at AUIS, Clough says. Moulakis contacted Clough along with Vice Chancellor for Research Stein Sture, who subsequently made a commitment to support the effort at the campus level.

Clough has taken a more hands-on role as an active consultant, making two trips to Sulaimani in 2011 including one accompanied by Boulder architect Peter Heinz, whom he recruited to help design the engineering laboratories.

The reasons for CU’s involvement are altruistic, Clough says. “Our military pulled out and left a vacuum. Do we just forget about these people—or fill the vacuum with non-military efforts that benefit them?”

Having served as the faculty athletics representative at CU-Boulder for the last seven years, Clough has also reached out to the students on the women’s basketball team at AUIS. Moulakis had sent him the link to a documentary film trailer about the team, titled “Salaam Dunk.”

Inspired by the stories of the players, most of whom had never handled a ball or done anything athletic as girls growing up in Iraq, Clough recalls, “I wanted to meet that team.”

Clough showed the film trailer to the members of the CU women’s team, who then decided to reach out with a video greeting back to the AUIS students. Clough delivered the greeting plus some highlights of the CU Buffs’ season when he went to AUIS last May, which led to further exchanges between the two teams.

“They started from nothing, but they are fierce,” Clough says about the AUIS women, noting that they are playing at a much higher level now than at the time the documentary film was made.

Someday, he expects there will also be engineering student exchanges between the two schools.•

>Learn more at www.auis.edu.iq
 

Administrative appointments

Sieber appointed associate dean for education

Diane Sieber, a President’s Teaching Scholar and the director of the Herbst Program of Humanities for Engineers, has been appointed to serve as the next associate dean for education in the college.

She will take on her new responsibilities July 1, filling the gap left when Brian Argrow returned to his full-time teaching and research activities in the aerospace department in March. Argrow served nearly five years as associate dean.

Sieber has a diverse set of academic and research interests, ranging from 17th century Spanish drama, poetry, and fiction (Don Quixote is a favorite) to IT, cognition, and learning in higher education. Her recent work includes studies of learning through online social networks, the gamification of the educational experience, and addressing learner digital distraction―by laptops, tablets, and mobile phones―in classroom settings.

Although those areas may seem far afield, Sieber shares with her students her conviction that knowledge native to one field of study can lead to greater understanding in another. She sees the blending of technology, the arts, and humanities as “the key to a fulfilling life.”

Sieber was one of the leaders in launching the ATLAS (Alliance for Technology, Learning, and Society) Institute at CU-Boulder, and she created its Technology, Arts, and Media interdisciplinary program. She has been a Carnegie Teaching Scholar and has won teaching awards from the College of Engineering and Applied Science, the Boulder Faculty Assembly, the CU Alumni Association, and multiple honor societies.

She is leading a transformation of the engineering curriculum as she creates new applications for cutting-edge information technologies that enhance student learning and that engage a diverse and globalized student population.

She joined the College of Engineering and Applied Science in 2004, transferring her tenure from the Department of Spanish and Portuguese in the College of Arts and Sciences. She is currently an associate professor and director of the Herbst Program of Humanities in engineering.

Maute steps in as associate dean for research

Associate professor of aerospace engineering Kurt Maute was selected last fall to serve as associate dean for research for two years, while former associate dean Marty Dunn is on leave serving as a program director at the National Science Foundation.

Maute holds the Joseph T. Negler Professorship and directs the Center of Aerospace Structures (CAS). He also is the CU-Boulder site director for the Center for Research and Education in Wind.

He received his bachelor’s and master’s in aerospace engineering, followed by his PhD in civil engineering, from the University of Stuttgart, Germany. He joined the college as a post-doctoral research associate at CAS before starting his faculty position in January 2000.

His research is concerned with computational mechanics and design optimization methods, focusing on fundamental problems in solid and fluid mechanics and heat transfer as well as civil, mechanical, and aerospace engineering applications.

Sczechowski promoted to assistant dean

Jeff Sczechowski has been promoted to the new position of assistant dean for research opportunities, where he will continue to help advance the college’s research enterprise. He was hired as coordinator for research opportunities in the Dean’s Office in 2008.

Sczechowski earned his PhD in chemical engineering at CU-Boulder in 1994, after receiving his master’s from North Carolina State University. Before joining the Dean’s Office, he was a program manager for STMicroelectronics, assigned to the Engineering Research Center at the University of Arizona, and appointed as a visiting research scholar.

From 1999 to 2002 he worked for STMicroelectronics in the design and start-up of its 300 mm fabrication facility in Crolles, France. Before joining ST, he was an associate professor of environmental engineering at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo.

The Office of the Associate Dean for Research has been expanded in recent years as the college’s research activity has grown. Other staff members are Linda Rose, coordinator for research facilitation, and Marissa Cannady, assistant to the associate dean for research. The college brought in a record amount of new grants—nearly $68 million—in fiscal year 2011.

McKnight elected to National Academy of Engineering

Diane McKnight, professor of civil, environmental and architectural engineering and a fellow of the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, was elected to the National Academy of Engineering on Feb. 9. She joins 16 other faculty from CU-Boulder who have been elected since the academy’s formation in 1962.

Election to the National Academy of Engineering is among the highest professional distinctions accorded an engineer. McKnight’s research expertise is in the interactions between freshwater biota, trace metals, and natural organic material in diverse freshwater environments, including lakes and streams in the Colorado Rocky Mountains and in the McMurdo Dry Valleys in Antarctica.

In the Rocky Mountains, she has focused on the impact of metal contamination in acid mine drainage streams and the influence of climate change and nitrogen deposition on alpine lakes and wetlands. McKnight has interacted with many state and local groups involved in mine drainage and watershed issues in the region.

McKnight has been working in Antarctica since 1987, and is a leading investigator studying extreme life at the McMurdo Dry Valleys Long Term Ecological Research site funded by the National Science Foundation. In the harsh polar environment, stream channels flow only a few weeks out of the year and the only life forms inhabiting the area are microorganisms, mosses, lichens and a few groups of invertebrates.

She wrote and published a children’s book, “The Lost Seal,” in 2006, that tells the true story of a wayward seal discovered near the research camp in 1990 and its eventual rescue. The story gives children an understanding of Antarctica’s extreme environment and the work of scientists there.

She earned three degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and was a research hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Research Program for 17 years before she came to CU-Boulder.

What happened at Deepwater Horizon?

CU engineering students got a grim look at what can happen in the absence of adequate safety procedures when two experts on the massive 2010 Gulf oil spill visited CU-Boulder in January.

The Deepwater Horizon accident killed 11 workers, injured 17 others, and resulted in the leakage of 200 million gallons of oil, damaging hundreds of miles of coastal habitat and wreaking havoc on wildlife and livelihoods throughout the region.

Donald Winter, former secretary of the Navy, professor of engineering practice at the University of Michigan, and chair of the National Academies committee that investigated the accident, provided an in-depth look at what happened and what needs to change to prevent such a disaster from happening in the future.

“What we found was not one major bad decision, but a whole series of them, all of which reflect the lack of a safety culture,” Winter told an overflow audience of more than 400 people in the Math 100 Auditorium.

CU Professor Jana Milford, who serves as director of the Environmental Engineering Program, said she was pleased by the turnout of students to the special lecture. “I was really jarred by this event because it was so preventable. By learning more about what happened, I think we can encourage a stronger culture around safety.”

Among the critical mistakes that Winter highlighted in his presentation was the decision to displace the drilling mud with sea water despite insufficient testing of the cement intended to secure the Macondo well between the drilling and production phases. The cement’s failure led directly to the release of combustible gas, which enveloped the drill rig in low wind conditions, and combined with a questionable venting method, made ignition “all but inevitable.”

“There are ways to remediate a bad cement job if you do sufficient testing to find out about it,” Winter said. Instead, after multiple negative pressure tests were deemed inconclusive, “they effectively redesigned success to be consistent with the results they observed.”

The geology of the reservoir formation, which encompassed multiple zones of varying pore pressure and fracture gradients, posed significant challenges to the drilling team, he noted, and the drilling approach that was selected failed to provide adequate margins of safety.

The companies involved were surprised by some of the risks and the inability of safety devices such as the blowout preventer to avoid ultimate disaster. The blowout preventer was neither designed nor tested for the dynamic conditions that existed, and the companies involved shouldn’t have counted on it working, he said. “They are good devices, but not fail-safe.”

Winter and the committee also faulted regulators for ineffectively addressing the risks of the well.

According to their final report, “Neither the companies involved nor the regulatory community has made effective use of real-time data analysis, information on precursor incidents or near misses, or lessons learned in the Gulf of Mexico and worldwide to adjust practices and standards appropriately.”

Capping the flow

“Sometimes when you’re in the right place at the right time, you get to do something interesting. That’s what happened to me in the summer of 2010.”

>Read Hsieh’s gripping tale of the government science team’s efforts to cap the largest oil spill in U.S. history.

Capping the flow

“Sometimes when you’re in the right place at the right time, you get to do something interesting. That’s what happened to me in the summer of 2010.”

That could be one of the biggest understatements of Paul Hsieh’s career, but that’s what the United States Geological Survey groundwater hydrologist says about the crucial contribution he made to ending the largest oil leak in the nation’s history.

Hsieh, who was named U.S. Federal Employee of the Year for his accomplishment, recounted the dramatic events to a CU-Boulder audience.

In mid-July, nearly three months after the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, a 75-ton containment cap was successfully placed on the well, stopping the flow of oil for the first time.

But the government science team convened to respond to the disaster was concerned that the cap might cause the well to rupture from beneath the seabed, resulting in an even greater release of oil. A six-hour test of the well’s integrity on July 15 indicated that the pressure reading was “smack in the middle” of the uncertainty zone.

Hsieh recalled the tight deadline he had to recommend a course of action. “A decision had to be made in 24 hours as to whether to open the well,” he said. “The default position was to open it and avoid a bigger blowout.”

Working from a screen shot of the pressure data that was sent to him by cell phone, Hsieh labored through the night in his California office to compare the data with a no-leak scenario he developed with MODFLOW, a complex USGS visualization tool used to simulate groundwater flows.

After several hours of intensive work in which he went over and over his calculations to ensure their accuracy, he concluded that the cap did not need to be removed.

Secretary of Energy Steven Chu made the final decision to go with Hsieh’s analysis, while continuing to monitor the well and update the model “as you would with any investment plan,” Hsieh said.

In fact, no evidence of leakage was observed over the next 18 days, and Hsieh’s continued modeling work ultimately gave the science team confidence that the cap was working.

Hsieh pointed to four things he said were necessary to do effective science in a crisis: knowledge of the fundamentals, mastery of skills, accuracy, and transparency.

Without those elements, he never would have been able to meet the deadline or give credible information to the ultimate decision-maker.

“Some students think that they don’t have to remember everything because they can look it up when they need it, but that’s what’s required if your timeframe is only 5 hours.”

Close-up look at four legacy families

Hauser family

With multiple CU engineering alumni spanning three generations, the Hauser family’s dedication to the engineering college has been robust and enduring.

The family’s legacy began with Ray Hauser (PhD ChemEngr ’57) and Connie Hauser,  a PhD candidate in civil engineering (Ray and Connie are pictured at left). It also includes Ray’s three brothers, chemical engineers Karl, Rex, and Don; and her father, also a civil engineer. Two of the Hausers’ four children, Beth Kelsic and Dewi Feaver, and two grandchildren, Kristen Feaver and Nathan Feaver, have engineering degrees.

The heritage and commitment to CU runs even deeper when you include daughter Cindy (MA Theatre), her husband Tom (MA Counseling) and grandchildren Eric (math classes as a high school student), Mark (chemical engineering student), and Christine (BS Integrated Physiology)

Hauser co-founded Hauser Laboratories in 1961, which grew into a multi-million dollar research and engineering company. He was director of the Boulder-based successor company, Hauser Chemical Research, Inc. In 2000, he began operating Ray Hauser Expertise and consults in materials engineering and product development and provides expert testimony in court cases. He holds nine patents that have been instrumental in providing clients with unique products covering a broad spectrum of applications, from artificial insemination capsules to dissolving golf tees. He served on the CU Engineering Advisory Council and received a CU Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award.

Hauser’s wife, Consuelo, was a PhD candidate in civil engineering at CU. She earned a master’s degree in civil engineering from Yale University and was the first woman to get an engineering degree from Yale. That was such an anomaly at the time that her degree certificate from Yale has “Mr.” by her name.  She designed some of the Platte River flood prevention area in Denver, worked on missile systems for Martin Marietta, designed sewage and drainage systems in Longmont, and was a partner with her husband at Hauser Laboratories.

In addition to her engineering degree, Beth Kelsic (EngrDes&EconEval, ’78) also has a French literature degree from CU and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue.  She worked at Procter and Gamble in product development. For 27 years she has been in materials engineering at Ball Aerospace where she worked on the Hubble Space Telescope. Beth married a classmate, Gary Kelsic (also EDEE ’78), who also received a master’s in mechanical engineering from Purdue. He manages disk drive programs at Seagate Corp.

Beth has served on two engineering advisory councils—mechanical engineering corporate advisory board and for the BOLD Center.

“The college’s leadership has such great vision,” says Beth, “and is spot-on in getting kids interested in science and to stick with math and science at an early age.”

Dewi Feaver (MechEngr ’93) also works at Ball Aerospace and sometimes collaborates on projects with her sister Beth. Her husband, Tim Feaver is an alumnus of the Leeds School of Business at CU-Boulder and is the founder of Porous  Power technologies, a lithium-ion battery company.

Kristen Feaver (ChemBio ’11) has applied to graduate schools, including CU. Her brother, Nathan Feaver, earned a master’s in chemical engineering (2011).

The Hausers’ children established two engineering scholarships to honor their parents. “They are inspiring people,” says Beth, “professionally and personally for us all. We get together often for dinners and games, not to mention all the technical talk!”

Prager family

The Prager family has celebrated three generations of CU-Boulder graduates, starting with Frank C. Prager (ChemEngr ’49); sons Nelson Prager, MD (ChemEngr/BioChem ‘80) and Frank P. Prager (ChemEngr /Engl ’84) pictured at left; and two grandsons, James Prager (ChemEngr ’10, MS ‘11) and Benjamin Miller (EnvEngr ’11).

Frank C. Prager’s daughter, Kristi Prager Miller, graduated from CU with a music and an elementary education degree. Today, six of Frank’s grandchildren are enrolled at the university, although not all are pursuing an engineering degree. All family members have strong ties to the university, whether serving on advisory boards or attending football games.

Frank C. Prager worked for Stearns-Roger Inc. for 37 years helping build much of the energy infrastructure of the west. He looks back with pride on his participation in the development of the oil and gas industry, including a billion-dollar facility in Wyoming. Because their two sons went on to graduate from law school and medical school, Frank and his wife, Virginia, established the Prager Family Scholarship, which benefits graduating engineering students who intend to pursue graduate studies in a professional field other than engineering. Strong advocates for higher education, the Pragers believe that engineering provides an ideal springboard for any career path.

“Dad said we could major in anything we wanted in college as long as it was engineering,” jokes Frank P. Prager, who went on to receive a law degree from Stanford University and is now vice president of environmental policy and services at Xcel Energy in Denver.

Nelson received his medical degree from the University of Colorado School of Medicine and post-graduate education at Washington University in St. Louis. He is a cardiologist and a cardiac electrophysiologist in Denver. James works for Goldman Sachs in the oil and gas industry in Salt Lake City and Benjamin is working on a master’s degree in environmental engineering at CU.

“When my brother and I were at CU, we had to use punch cards to get a computer program to compile data,” says Frank P. Prager. “Now, the kids have more computer capability in their cell phones than we had in the college’s old mainframes. It was a different time, but engineering is engineering. It’s still a great career path.”

Sinton family

There is no single path to becoming an engineer, which is exemplified by the diverse approaches of the Sinton family.

For Will Sinton (ElecEngr ’49), that path started as a youngster growing up on a farm south of Colorado Springs when he became interested in crystal sets and ham radios.  His interest developed when he got a part time job with the telephone company cleaning telephones and working in the storeroom.

Will received a scholarship to attend CU-Boulder where he says he spent “many late nights working on homework with his trusty slide rule.”

After graduating in 1949, Will returned to the telephone company, first as a lineman in the mining towns of southwest Colorado and then as an engineer in Denver. In 1951, he was transferred to Bell Telephone Laboratories in New York City where he worked on a telephone signaling system for the U.S. military. In 1953, he returned to Denver to work in the transmission engineering department and in 1960, he attended a communication engineering school at the engineering college, “benefitting from the teaching of many of the same good professors” he had in the 1940s.

In late 1960, Will again moved to New York to work in the transmission engineering division for AT&T. Returning to Denver in late 1963, he spent the next 24 years of his career heading up several types of engineering groups before retiring as division manager in 1984.

“I wouldn’t have been able to have gone as far as I did in my career if I hadn’t had the engineering degree from CU,” he says.

One of Will’s three sons, Ron Sinton, graduated from CU-Boulder. Ron (EngrPhys ’81) received a PhD from Stanford and was a founding member of a solar cell company in California. In 1992, he started his Boulder-based business, Sinton Instruments, making and testing measurement instruments used by universities and institutes worldwide for researching solar cells. The instruments measure the electronic quality of the silicon used to make solar cells.

Ron is proud that in the past four years, Sinton Instruments has hired four CU-Boulder engineering students for summer internships. One student is now in a permanent position there. Ron has been active with the engineering college, serving on the Solar Decathlon advising board and participating with advisory council.

“Engineering physics was the option that left all options open,” says Sinton. “CU had incredible accessibility to professors. You could walk up to them outside class and discuss anything. Their door was always open.”

Schloss family

Three generations of the Schloss family have established a legacy of involvement with the engineering college, helping to shape the future of the school beginning with Charles Schloss (ElecEngr ’18), his son Charles (Chuck) Schloss Jr. (EngrPhys ’52), and his granddaughter Kristy Schloss (CivEngr ’86). 

Kristy’s mother, JoAnn B. Schloss, and sister, Sindi Schloss, have bachelor’s degrees from the College of Arts and Sciences in 1972 and 1977, respectively.

“Having a grandfather and a father who were engineers was critical” to her career choice, says Kristy, “because they exposed me to science and engineering concepts at an early age and encouraged me to pursue an engineering career.”

Their dedication to the college began while they were engineering students and has continued into their careers. Chuck and his father were editors of the engineering college’s magazine. Kristy is the chair of the college’s Engineering Advisory Council. Both Kristy and Chuck are Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award recipients – the first father/daughter pair to receive the honor. (Chuck was present at the 2000 banquet to present his daughter's award; photo at left.)

In addition to his degree in engineering physics, Chuck conducted post-graduate work in astrophysics at CU-Boulder and in orbital mechanics at MIT. He also gained an international reputation as an authority on technologies for the primary treatment of water/wastewater and holds multiple patents.

The family business began in 1918 when Charles started working for the company that would become Schloss & Shubart Inc. In 1984, under Chuck’s leadership, the company became Schloss Engineered Equipment, a company that designs and manufactures environmental treatment equipment, including water, wastewater, hazardous waste, and bulk material handling equipment.

In 1989, Kristy succeeded her father as president of the company, making her the first and still the only woman engineer owned manufacturer in the country in the environmental treatment industry.

She serves on the U.S. Secretary of Commerce’s Environmental Technologies Trade Advisory Committee and Rocky Mountain District Export Council, as well as other corporate and non-profit boards.  She previously chaired the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Denver Branch.

“As an engineer, I see the difference I can make for people all over the world,” says Kristy.  “I am passionate about making a difference in the future of the school and in future generations of engineers.”

Engineering Design Expo

The Fall 2011 Engineering Design Expo hosted by the Integrated Teaching and Learning Program on Dec. 3 featured 75 undergraduate student team inventions. Projects included environmental innovations, client-serving solutions, and products that provide everyday-living enhancements for users.

Held twice each year in the ITL Laboratory, the Design Expo provides students the opportunity to engage with the public on their innovations, test their creativity and imagination, and improve their presentation skills. At left, Bev Louie of the BOLD Center and professional engineer Jim Zarske judge a Rube Goldberg shirt-folding project.

Click the thumbnails below to view a gallery from the expo.

 

Engineering Management capstone project generates business impact

Engineering management graduate students are reporting that “capstone” projects are helping them both learn and advance their careers in ways that are tangible and immediately applicable to their organizations. Unlike a thesis or exam that may not apply to real-world situations or use data from an actual company, a capstone project is a mentor-led initiative such as the development of a strategic plan or sustainability plan designed to benefit an organization of the student’s choice.

Tara Rickerson turned her engineering management capstone project into real value for her company. “I had been working at the company about five years, and we had seen some reduced profits from previous years, and I wanted to turn that around. That was the goal of my capstone,” she recalls. Rickerson works for IONEX, a technically oriented design and manufacturing firm specializing in equipment that protects people and nature from hazardous airborne chemicals and contaminants.

She sat down with Professor Jeffrey Luftig, the W. Edwards Deming Professor of Management, and told him the company was having issues with profitability. “He said to look at their accounting system and overhead and discover true versus apparent profitability,” Rickerson says. “I talked through with him how you find those things out. We had discussed the generic aspect of it in class, but this is not something you can do in a theoretical space, you need to apply it.”

Rickerson emphasizes the real-world and immediate applicability that capstone projects can offer to students. She cites an example of a student applying a business performance excellence model to a homeless shelter as a capstone project. “What a great way to take something from an academic program and apply it for people who really need the outcome,” she says.

In her case, she first worked with the president of her company and got him on board. Then she outlined the data she needed, determined sources, interviewed people, and researched documents. With data in hand, she moved to analysis and produced a 60-page report with about 150 pages of charts and data in appendices. “Analyzing the data was the most fulfilling because you could see results coming,” she says.

When you go from a degree like this to the business world, Rickerson says it’s great to be able to say, “Here’s what I did for this company and here are the results, and the results are concrete.” When you do a capstone, she adds, “You dig into something that’s really going on right there—I felt like it was good for my confidence level and what I know I’m capable of doing.”

“It was some of the hardest work I ever put into anything in my life, but it was worth it,” she says. “I got to dig into something and multiply what I’d been learning for two and a half years. And it was a great way to tie everything together.”•

> Learn more about the Engineering Management Program

Distance students attend class via mobile devices

Bill Page remembers when he used to receive a videotape in the mail each week, watch it, and send it back—to work on his master’s degree in the Interdisciplinary Telecom Program. Then came a time when he attended class using streaming video.

Times have changed. Today, he’s still a distance student, but his options for accessing the lectures have exploded. He prefers to watch his classes on the laptop, “but many times I’ve been in situations where I can’t get to my laptop and I discovered I could watch the class on my iPhone,” he says.

Page balances his full-time career, his family, and his graduate studies. “I can pause the class and interact with my family,” he says, and when time is scarce he can even just listen to lectures while traveling.

For many students, earning a master’s degree wouldn’t be possible without the flexibility of a distance education option—and students now have both flexibility of when they watch a class and versatility of what device they use.

With the adoption rate for mobile devices continuing to rise quickly, distance education programs face the challenge of offering new types of remote access. Page sometimes uses an iPad, especially while traveling back and forth from Washington, D.C., where he goes for work.

Using these devices, CU engineering students can select from a flexible set of graduate engineering programs that offer full master’s degrees, graduate specialty certificates, and classes that they can take in person, from a distance, or both. Unlike the graduate programs of other universities, this select set offers the same courses on campus and from a distance. Students don’t lose anything by studying from afar, and can come to class anytime.

Robert Loomas Jr. is a distance student pursuing a master’s degree in computer science. “I love the flexibility of watching classes online,” he says. “It frees me up to be able to respond to clients at class time and still see the whole class.”

Loomas talks about how he can have class from 9:30 to 11:00, but as an IT consultant he has to be available to take calls from his clients or respond to emergencies. Many times, “a customer calls, and I can take time to put out the fire.” When that happens, he stops the class that he has downloaded and starts it up again when he can focus on it.

“I have no doubt that this degree will change my career,” says Loomas. He has some advice for distance graduate students: “Be diligent: sit down and watch the lectures, and ask questions using email and the phone.” Loomas corresponds with professors frequently.

Another benefit is that distance students can stop a lecture, rewind it, and play an important part over again to make sure they understand complicated or challenging material. Students can keep replaying lectures until they’re confident that they grasp the concepts.

The emergence and swift adoption of mobile devices is adding new dimensions to distance education.•

>Learn more at cuengineeringonline.colorado.edu

Telecom student takes wireless communication to remote areas of Peru

David Espinoza started collaborating with CU-Boulder remotely in 2007, long before he first enrolled. He had a job at a communications research group in Peru designing wireless networks, when CU-Boulder student Marco Kuhlmann contacted his company about a project to extend wireless coverage into the rain forest.

At first they worked together over the Internet, then they traveled together in remote areas of Peru. Kuhlmann was studying for his master’s degree in the Interdisciplinary Telecom Program (ITP), and Espinoza recalls, “It was interesting that he was taking classes in economics, finance, law—I was surprised—why would he want to do that?” Kuhlmann explained how interconnected technology is with public policy and business and how critical it is in the workplace to understand all three.

“So I looked at CU-Boulder’s telecom program and I found a different point of view from what I had ever thought before,” Espinoza says. “I kept asking questions, and I realized that I really wanted to join ITP.”

Espinoza traveled to Boulder for the master’s program and graduated in May 2011 with dual degrees in telecom and engineering management. ITP had just launched its PhD program, and he applied.

“I want to conduct research in wireless technologies that can work for people in the rain forest, and which could also be used in other isolated rural areas around the world,” he says. This requires an understanding of the design and integration of business, regulatory, and economic models that local governments and private organizations use to bring development to remote areas.

The main project that Espinoza studies began in 2007 when the United Nations funded development of a communications network to try to prevent malaria, HIV, and tuberculosis from spreading around the border region between Peru, Columbia, and Ecuador. The UN funds paid for communications towers connecting villages to health posts and hospitals using wireless signals.

With improved ability to communicate with one another, the remote communities could coordinate to prevent outbreaks of malaria and other diseases, set quarantines in some villages, coordinate evacuations of patients to hospitals, and call for physicians with medication.

To get to the villages, Espinoza flies from Denver to Lima, then from Lima to the region, “then we take a boat one hour on the Amazon, then cross overland to another river, then one more boat five hours up the river, then reach the main town, then from there travel to the other villages, seven hours more.” There are no roads. In all, it takes two days—and Espinoza and his colleagues can travel only during the day because floating hazards are too hard to see at night.

Espinoza is one of the first three students in ITP’s PhD program, and the program is helping him fulfill his passion. He talks with pride about the communication towers, which stretch from 60 to 90 meters high along 450 kilometers of river basin. With this project as one of the first PhD research areas, the ITP doctoral program is poised to achieve many important communication network breakthroughs as it grows."

>Learn more at itp.colorado.edu

Robotics teams race to the dunes

CU engineering students were hustling to build a robot from scratch this spring to compete in the sixth annual Colorado Robot Challenge on April 7.

The course isn’t easy, either. With the tallest dunes in North America, Great Sand Dunes National Park in Alamosa presents numerous obstacles from steep hills and blowing sand
to rocks and holes of various sizes. The park was also used as the test site for NASA’s Viking Landers.

Eighteen student teams competed in the challenge, which is organized and supported by the Colorado Space Grant Consortium. The consortium’s goal is to give undergraduate students progressively
more difficult challenges that will prepare them to work on NASA space missions later in their careers.

The Colorado Space Grant Program hosted workshops in Boulder and Pueblo last fall to provide teams with a foundation and ideas for robot design.

>See a video of the competition below.

 

>Learn more at spacegrant.colorado.edu/robotics

LAs enhance teaching and learning in STEM disciplines

Learning calculus is a full-scale community activity in the Department of Applied Mathematics at CU-Boulder. Students learn from their teachers, but also from other students.

The same is true for various other courses in applied math, such as Matrix Methods, Applied Probability, and Complex Variables. Students serving as learning assistants, or LAs, reinforce what they’ve already learned by helping other students who are taking a class for the first time.

“Often, the students can get the concepts more easily from a peer since that student has just gone through the same learning experience,” says instructor Sujeet Bhat.

“As a teacher, it’s hard to have face time with every student,” he adds. “The LAs help to make the class more hands-on.”

In the Learning Assistant Model, which was developed at CU-Boulder in 2003, undergraduate students who have done well in a course are employed by the department to assist faculty members or their teaching assistants by working with students in small groups. Typically, two LAs are assigned to each section of a course so that they can engage students repeatedly in discussion of mathematical concepts.

“The LAs try to encourage discourse among the students because research shows that helps them understand the material better,” says Anne Dougherty, associate chair of the department.

They often assist the faculty with course grading as well, which in turn helps them to see how they might improve their teaching.

LAs attend an orientation at the start of each semester and co-enroll in a School of Education course on math and science education that introduces them to learning theory and teaching practices.

By employing undergraduate students as learning assistants, the campus-wide program aims to both improve introductory math and science classes and recruit and train future K–12 science and math teachers. The applied math department was an early adopter of the LA model and now uses 25 or more LAs each semester for various classes.

Applied math major Chris Aicher says it’s the “ideal job” for him since he really likes math. “It’s kind of like studying too even though I’ve already taken the class,” he adds.

While Aicher doesn’t know yet if he’ll pursue a teaching career, he does plan to attend graduate school. Whatever he does, being an LA is likely to give him a leg up.•

>Learn more at: amath.colorado.edu or LAprogram.colorado.edu

High school students team up to design surgical devices

To some, it may seem like an odd combination of high-tech equipment—remote-control servo-motors, transmitters, computers, and cameras—and basic household items like rubber bands, string, and popsicle sticks.

But teenagers in Lafayette and Longmont are taking the first steps toward testing their design concepts for an innovative surgical tool that could one day be an alternative to laproscopic surgery.

Such a robotic device, known as a surgical crawler, would ultimately be small enough that it could be inserted into a patient’s abdomen to find and biopsy diseased tissue, such as to diagnose the condition known as endometriosis, according to Brandi Briggs, a PhD student in mechanical engineering.

Challenges include designing the crawler so that it can be inserted through a relatively small incision and be maneuvered around the abdomen to accomplish the task in a short amount of time.

Briggs joined with fellow graduate student Benjamin Terry, who works on similar biomedical device research in the laboratory of CU Professor Mark Rentschler, to develop the pre-engineering curriculum as part of their National Science Foundation-funded graduate teaching fellowships through the college’s Integrated Teaching and Learning Program.

They started with a two-month module on biomedical engineering at the Denver School of Science and Technology in fall 2010, and then expanded it into a full-semester course for about a dozen students at Skyline High School in Longmont last spring. Briggs is continuing to teach the course this year, enrolling 25 juniors in the fall at Centaurus High School in Lafayette, and 47 juniors in two additional classes at Skyline this semester. Both schools have handson STEM curriculums with direct involvement from CU engineering GK12 fellows, aimed at increasing the number of students who choose engineering as their career path.

“Engineering impacts our daily lives in so many ways,” a Centaurus student commented after completing the course. “Engineering takes knowledge of science and uses it to create solutions for problems that people are having.”

Briggs says the bioengineering elective has attracted a high ratio of women and underrepresented minority students in particular, “which was really exciting to see in an engineering elective.”

The course’s focus on a women’s health challenge, endometriosis, along with the fact that the surgical devices being developed are closely related to current R&D at the university, may be helping to attract student interest in the course. Overall, Briggs says, “Our hypothesis is that what gets them so excited is they’re doing something relevant to society and that gives them a lot of interest and motivation.”

The outcome for many is that they see themselves being capable of more than they previously thought. “I’ve had a lot of girls tell me they’re a lot more interested in robotics now because it doesn’t seem like such a big hurdle to them anymore,” Briggs says.

Briggs and Terry have presented the surgical device curriculum to two different national conferences, and also have published it on TeachEngineering.org, the NSF-funded digital library collection of K–12 engineering curricula developed by a consortium of engineering schools under the leadership of CU–Boulder Associate Dean Jacquelyn Sullivan.•

>Learn more at itll.colorado.edu/

Families take pride in CU engineering legacy

CU pride runs deep in some families—three or more generations deep. At certain family reunions, black and gold rule the field.

Engineering is no different, except perhaps in the passion CU engineers have for their chosen degree.

“Dad said we could major in anything we wanted in college as long as it was engineering,” jokes Frank P. Prager, vice president of environmental policy and services at Xcel Energy and a member of the college’s Engineering Advisory Council.

The Prager family has celebrated three generations of CU-Boulder engineering graduates, including Frank C. Prager (ChemEngr ’49), sons Nelson Prager (ChemEngr/BioChem ’80) and Frank P. Prager (ChemEngr/ Engl ’84), and grandsons James Prager (ChemEngr ’10, MS ‘11) and Benjamin Miller (EnvEngr ’11).

“When my brother and I were at CU, we had to use punch cards to get a computer program to compile data,” says son Frank. “Now, the kids have more computer capability in their cell phones than we had in the college’s old mainframes. It was a different time, but engineering is engineering. It’s still a great career path.”

Frank went on to law school, Nelson became an MD, and the elder Prager, who worked for the engineering firm Stearns-Roger for 37 years, established the Prager Family Scholarship with his wife, Virginia, to support future CU engineering students who go into a variety of fields.

The Hauser family’s legacy with CU engineering also has been an enduring source of pride—and one that leads to many family events peppered with technical talk.

Ray Hauser (PhD ChemEngr ’57) and his wife, Connie, a PhD candidate in civil engineering, co-founded Hauser Laboratories in 1961, a successful research and engineering company succeeded by Hauser Chemical Research.

Two of the Hausers’ four children, Beth Kelsic (French ’76, EngrDes& EconEval ’78) and Dewi Feaver (MechEngr ’93), and two grandchildren, Kristen Feaver (ChemBio ’11) and Nathan Feaver (MS ChemEngr ’11), graduated from the college as well.

The Hauser children established engineering scholarships in their parents’ names to honor their legacy. “They are inspiring people, professionally and personally for us all,” says Kelsic, a materials engineer at Ball Aerospace for the last 27 years.

Three generations of the Schloss family also have established a legacy with the engineering college, including the first father-daughter pair to receive the Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award.

Their legacy begins with Charles Schloss (ElecEngr ’18) and continues with son Charles (Chuck) Schloss Jr. (EngrPhys ’52) and granddaughter Kristy Schloss (CivEngr ’86).

“Having a grandfather and a father who were engineers was critical because they exposed me to science and engineering concepts at an early age and encouraged me to pursue an engineering career,” says Kristy, who took over from her father as president of Schloss Engineered Equipment, the family business started by her grandfather in 1918.

Kristy and her father are both recipients of the DEAA, and Kristy currently chairs the college’s Engineering Advisory Council. “As an engineer, I see the difference I can make for people all over the world,” Kristy says.

Will Sinton (ElecEngr ’49), whose path to becoming an engineer started when he became interested in crystal sets and ham radios as a youngster growing up on a farm south of Colorado Springs, also feels strongly about the value of his degree.

“I wouldn’t have been able to have gone as far as I did in my career if I hadn’t had the engineering degree from CU,” he says. Sinton retired as a division manager with AT&T in 1984 after crisscrossing the country a few times with Bell Telephone.

He passed his legacy on to one of his three sons, Ron Sinton (EngrPhys ’81), who went as far as earning a PhD at Stanford and starting a Boulder-based business, Sinton Instruments.

The company, which makes and tests measurement instruments for researching solar cells, has hired four CU engineering students for summer internships in the last four years. One of those students is now in a permanent position there, Ron says—a legacy of which the college is just as proud.

>Learn more

Distinguished Engineering Alumni Awards 2012

The College of Engineering and Applied Science congratulations these five outstanding alumni who were selected to receive the 2012 Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award. Dean Robert Davis will present the awards on April 27, 2012.

Chris Finnoff (AeroEngr ’67)—Industry & Commerce

During his more than 40 years in the aviation industry, entrepreneur Chris Finnoff has achieved noteworthy success in bringing new and innovative aircraft to market. He started his career as a top salesman with Beech Aircraft and Learjet, and now runs Finnoff International, a company specializing in previously owned Pilatus PC-12 aircraft.

Before launching his current venture, Finnoff led a number of startups in the emerging very light jet market, including Turbo West Aviation, which was the Piper Cheyenne and Beech Aircraft distributor for the Rocky Mountain Region and grew into a full-ser vice organization for the sale and ser vice of helicopters and turboprop aircraft.

From 1995 to 2000, he was president and CEO of Pilatus Business Aircraft, where he was responsible for marketing the Swiss company’s Pilatus PC-12 program in North and South America. After that, he led the commercial group at Adam Aircraft, where he directed the launch of the A-700 jet and the marketing of the A-500 twin-engine piston.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering at CUBoulder in 1967, and has served as a member of the Aerospace Engineering Sciences External Advisory Board.

Nan Joesten (ChemEngr ’82)—Private Practice

Nan Joesten is a highly respected leader in the legal and business communities, having been a successful trial lawyer with the firm, Farella Braun & Martel in San Francisco since 1997. She has represented a wide array of companies in resolving commercial and intellectual property disputes, including issues of patent infringement, copyright, and trademark, and was made a partner in the firm in 2005.

As an attorney, she has been a trusted advisor to clients ranging from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, with a track record of superb writing, oral advocacy, negotiation, judgment, and leadership in effectively resolving commercial disputes.

She also has been an advocate for the advancement of women in the legal profession as well as in her firm. She served as national co-chair of the American Bar Association’s Woman Advocate Committee, the women trial lawyers’ group within the 65,000-member Litigation Section. She was also chosen to co-chair the Litigation Section’s 2012 annual meeting.

She recently founded a business consulting firm, Rapid Evolution, which helps clients achieve better results through stronger professional development and leadership training. She remains “of counsel” to Farella Braun & Martel, while shifting her focus to business consulting.

>Read a longer profile of Nan Joesten.

Michael Masterson (MS ChemEngr ’77)—Industry & Commerce

Michael Masterson’s career has been focused on creating sustainable companies in the alternative energy, advanced materials, and biopharmaceutical industries. He is currently the managing director of Oxford Innovations, as well as the chairman and chief executive officer of ALD NanoSolutions, a spinoff company from CU-Boulder.

As a co-founder, CEO, and investor in multiple technology companies over the past 30 years, Masterson has strived to build compelling companies in collaboration with thought leaders from world-class industrial and academic institutions. He has raised over $100 million in investment capital from the leading venture firms in the United States and has created over $500 million in commercial value from these investments.

He also has a joint appointment as an “entrepreneur in residence” at the Isenberg School of Business and the School of Engineering at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and is vice chairman of the Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering at the University of Massachusetts in 1975, and his master’s in chemical engineering at CU-Boulder in 1977. He also is a graduate of the Owner/President Management Program at the Harvard Business School.

Dimos Poulikakos (MS MechEngr ’80, PhD ’83)—Research & Invention

Dimos Poulikakos is the founder and director of the Laboratory of Thermodynamics in Emerging Technologies and head of the Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.

Professor Poulikakos conducts research in the area of interfacial and transport phenomena, in particular heat transfer, thermodynamics, and related fluid dynamics in emerging technologies focusing on the physics at micro- and nano-scales, energy conversion, and transport phenomena in medical applications.

His research has had profound impacts and often bridges the gap between nano-scale and continuum phenomena, enabling a rejuvenation of engineering thinking and giving impetus to the development of novel technologies.

He has been recognized with many awards for his career contributions, including the ASME Heat Transfer Memorial Award for Science, the Nusselt-Reynolds Prize sponsored by the Assembly of World Conferences on Experimental Heat Transfer, Fluid Mechanics, and Thermodynamics; and the ASME-AIChE Max Jacob Memorial Award.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at the National Technical University of Athens, Greece, in 1978, and his master’s and PhD in mechanical engineering at CU-Boulder in 1980 and 1983, respectively.

Ashok Srivastava (ElecEngr ’91, MS ’93, PhD ’96)—Research & Invention

Ashok Srivastava is NASA’s principal scientist for data mining and systems health management, providing technical and programmatic leadership for two large research programs, and making substantial contributions in the field of aviation safety.

Since 2002, he has led the Intelligent Data Understanding group at NASA Ames Research Center and set the strategic direction of data mining within the agency. The group performs research and development of advanced machine learning and data mining algorithms in support of NASA missions.

From 2007 to 2010, he served as principal investigator of the Integrated Vehicle Health Management (IVHM) Project, an advanced technology project concerned with detection, diagnosis, prognosis, and mitigation of adverse events during aircraft flight.

He was recognized with the NASA Associate Administrator’s Award for the IVHM Data Mining Team, as well as the IEEE Computer Society Technical Achievement Award for pioneering contributions to intelligent information systems.

He earned his bachelor’s in electrical engineering at CU-Boulder in 1991, his master’s in 1993, and his PhD in 1996.

Law practice by way of chemical engineering

Searching for the right college can be like searching for the right relationship. Ultimately, you hope to find that elusive quality known as chemistry—especially when your plan is to become a chemical engineer.

Nan Joesten (ChemEngr ’82) grew up in a small town in Indiana, the daughter of an engineer who encouraged her to pursue an engineering career. When it came time to pick a college, Joesten wanted a university where she could study chemical engineering, play in the marching band, and perhaps join a sorority, all within a five-hour drive of home. After looking at a friend’s CU-Boulder brochure though, Joesten was first struck by the beauty of the Flatirons and then became interested in what the engineering college had to offer.

Thus began an academic relationship that would lead to an engineering degree from CU, a law degree from the University of California, Berkley in 1997, and a multidisciplinary approach to engineering and law in her practice. Joesten is an attorney and management consultant in San Francisco, and a winner of the 2012 Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award in Private Practice.

The Saturday evening Joesten and her dad were to fly into Denver, her basketball team was playing in a tournament and the championship game went into double overtime. Joesten remembers standing at the free throw line thinking she’d better hurry and win the game so she wouldn’t miss her flight.

They arrived in Colorado late Saturday, skied at Eldora on Sunday, and toured the campus on Monday.

“At the end of the tour and my day on campus, I was sold,” she says. “I thought, ‘This place rocks! It has everything I want.’ My life is better today for having gone to CU and I’m grateful for Lanny (Pinchuk) showing us around and helping me see that I wanted to come here.”

After graduation, Joesten worked as a manufacturing engineer at Procter & Gamble leading a manufacturing team in Kansas City where she oversaw production of dish detergent for the western United States. She learned paper engineering on the fly when she was promoted to managing a department where high-speed paper lines made disposable diapers.

“I worked with guys who were a lot older, hadn’t gone to college, and didn’t have much time for a wet-behind-the-ears 21-year-old,” says Joesten.

After five years Joesten took a break from manufacturing—on what she calls her skiing sabbatical—and worked at Copper Mountain for a season. When the snow melted she returned to Procter & Gamble as an advertising brand manager to conduct brand strategy, market positioning, and product advertising.

“P&G is a fabulous company to work for, and I enjoyed the bigger strategic picture I had in brand management,” says Joesten. “I felt like in manufacturing I was a bit like a cog in a wheel, and I wanted the view from the center of the wheel rather than out at the end of one of the spokes.”

After moving to California, she left Procter & Gamble and became director of sales and marketing for a floral wire service. She then realized that wasn’t quite what she wanted and briefly worked for Habitat for Humanity, setting up the organization’s earthquake recovery program after the 1994 Northridge earthquake in Los Angeles.

And that led her to law school and to the Farella Braun and Martel law firm where she became a partner.She specialized in intellectual property and business litigation. Her complex litigation practice focused on commercial disputes; including patent and trademark infringement, trade secret misappropriation, and technology- related litigation in the United States and abroad.

“Engineering was excellent preparation for becoming a lawyer,” she said. “People believe in you when you’re an engineer. They believe that you can figure out their problem, that you are someone with discipline and determination. To a client that’s incredibly valuable.”

In January of this year she formally became of counsel to her law firm and launched Rapid Evolution, a San Francisco Bay Area management consulting firm that helps organizations and individuals improve their effectiveness and results. She draws on her extensive knowledge of how organizations operate and what it takes to create systems that help people achieve their goals.

“I can help you evolve and adapt to changes in the marketplace more quickly,” says Joesten. “In the current business climate, you don’t have time to figure things out. You have to be able to solve problems quicker, faster, and better and I bring the tools and skills to help people do a better job at that.”

A long-time member of the dean’s Engineering Advisory Council, she served on the resource development committee to help raise funds for the college. She also chaired a fundraising committee for the chemical and biological engineering department to support its move to the new biotechnology building at CU-Boulder.•

Domino Theory: Small steps can lead to big results

What if you could make a world-changing impact with one small act? Would you be more inclined to take that first step if you knew your action would gain momentum when aligned with the actions of others?

It might seem daunting for an individual to make big changes in society, but taking that first step can set into motion a series of events culminating in a big result. Entrepreneur Herb Morreale (CompSci ’91) has distilled all his thoughts and ideas about how individuals can make an impact for the greater good into what he calls his “domino theory.”

As dominos placed on end knock each other over in succession, all of the dominos fall due to the energy transferred by each impact. Like tipping over that first domino, one small act can set into motion a series of events that expands out into the world. Examples can be found throughout history. Rosa Parks struck a blow for civil rights when she refused to give up her seat on the bus. A Chinese student stood alone in Tiananmen Square to block military tanks in support of democratic reform. With a swing of a hammer, the Berlin Wall came down.

“I had been thinking about this for quite awhile and trying to understand the patterns of setting things into motion,” says Morreale. “One of the patterns starts with something inspirational. You have to inspire people. It’s in that inspiration that they will feel it here, in their chest. That gives them the motivation to do whatever the next step is.”

To illustrate the power of this process, he says it is possible in a topple of only a few dominoes to knock down a final domino that is many times greater than the mass of the first domino. Morreale carries a domino in his pocket as a tangible reminder of his theory and his passion.

“Domino theory is a framework that helps people understand that no matter how large or small their hopes and dreams are, they can accomplish them by seeing the world as a set of dominos,” he says. “All it takes is one small strategic action to set big things in motion and align with the actions of others.”

After graduating from CU-Boulder in 1991, Morreale and Trent Hein (CompSci ’91) started XOR Inc., a Boulder-based company providing systems management services and a variety of Internet and e-commerce solutions. The company grew from two employees to more than 600. Morreale left XOR in 2000 to work on a variety of projects that eventually led to him founding five other businesses.

In 2002, while attending the Telluride Tech Festival, he began thinking about how small actions could set big results into motion. Those ideas developed into the domino theory, and the notion of “setting big things in motion.” In 2007, his theory inspired a blog and a nonprofit organization called Topplers (topplers.org)—so named as a reference to dominos toppling over.

The mission of the organization is to inspire and motivate people to set big things in motion using the domino theory as its driving philosophy. Topplers gives people the opportunity to participate in or start a movement and to connect with others, giving their ideas the momentum to grow.

There are multiple branches on the Topplers site for taking action, such as collecting stories from people who have performed random acts of kindness, helping 100,000 students go to college, and creating an emergency response force to mobilize Boy Scouts and adult leaders.

An example of how this works is a woman who was inspired by the Topplers concept to write a book about adopting two children from Africa. She described her experience writing and publishing the book on the Topplers website. Her accomplishment set into motion another adoption of a child from Africa by an individual who read the book.

Another program supported by Topplers is the Domino Award. Morreale introduced his theory to computer science students by founding the Domino Awards, working with Professor Clayton Lewis.The Domino Awards are designed to inspire and support CU-Boulder students while honoring the impact that other computer scientists have made on society. Winners are selected based on their essays describing the impact computer scientists have made on society. Since creating the program, 10 students have received the Domino Award.

“Herb is a very thoughtful and reflective guy,” says Professor Lewis. “One of the things he thinks deeply about is how people can support one another and how they can work together performing acts of kindness and interacting in a positive way that enriches lives. The Domino Awards is a blending of the philosophical and the activist—how people can contribute and how people can benefit from that. The work started that way and has been growing in strength. We’re really lucky to have Herb in our university community.”

Since leaving XOR, Morreale has been chief technology officer at Me.dium Inc. (eventually renamed One- Riot and recently acquired by Walmart Labs) and Gold Systems Inc. Currently he is CEO of 6kites providing expertise in social business, and mobile and web application development. For more than 10 years he has been a member of the Industry Advisory Board for the Department of Computer Science at CU-Boulder.

Morreale became interested in software development when he got his first computer in seventh grade. He credits the computer science department for improving his skills and for providing student leadership opportunities— two factors that have served him well as an entrepreneur and industry leader in social media.

“It all comes back to the genesis of trying something and seeing where will it go,” he said. “Ideas spur other ideas. You can think big and if you have the courage and ignore self-doubt, you can accomplish some pretty big things and inspire people to accomplish their own big things.”

 

Cloudy with a chance of pirates

Imagine being tasked with finding a nondescript gray car being driven somewhere in the United States. And imagine that your primary tools for finding that car are a few aircraft and a handful of vehicles of your own.

That’s the challenge the U.S. Navy faces when trying to find a pirate skiff trolling the seas off the coast of Somalia, the western Indian Ocean, and the Arabian Sea—an area the size of the United States. How can the search be optimized?

A new weapon in the war against high-seas piracy is helping improve the odds. A team overseen by Jim Hansen (AeroEngr ’92, MS ’93) has created a computer model that combines data on weather, ocean currents, commercial shipping information, available intelligence information, and known pirate behavior to identify the most probable areas for pirate attacks. By running many hundreds of thousands of scenarios, researchers can develop a picture of pirate behavior to give navy commanders an advantage on escalating piracy.

“We’re able to demonstrate that the environment has an impact on pirate activity,” says Hansen, lead scientist at the probabilistic prediction research office at the Naval Research Laboratory’s (NRL) Marine Meteorology Division in Monterey, California. He is also head of one of the branches of the Marine Meteorology Division at NRL.

Using predictive modeling techniques, the program can be updated numerous times a day as new forecasts of winds, wave heights, and undersea currents—which can affect the pirates’ ability to operate small boats in attacks on commercial ships—become available. But it isn’t enough to simply overlay this environmental data with behavioral and intelligence information. The program couples environmental, intelligence, and behavioral information in a dynamically consistent way.

Also armed with information about where pirates have their bases, where they like to hunt, and what kinds of boats they use, the model accounts for how environmental factors could impact their ability to maneuver. By running the model hundreds of thousands of times using slightly different attributes each time, multiple pirate tracks are interpreted probabilistically and disseminated to decision makers.

The result of the predictive modeling program is a color-coded map of the Indian Ocean showing areas of probability for a pirate attack, similar to the weather forecast maps compiled by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“There is a lot of richness in the information,” says Hansen, “and you can break it down in a lot of ways. The basic idea of simulating behaviors is not new, but what’s unique is the coupling with environmental information and the application to piracy. This product is consistent with how we think the pirates work. It gives us information about where they’re likely to be.”

The model can be used for additional applications. Hansen is applying similar ideas to the illicit trafficking problem and the anti-submarine warfare problem. In addition, Hansen uses environmental forecasts to plot optimal routes for navy ships to follow that minimize fuel consumption. He also is developing software that predicts likely distributions of hurricane winds and waves to provide guidance about whether ships should move away from naval bases that might be impacted by a storm and the optimum routes to take into open water.

Anyone planning a picnic or an outdoor wedding knows about the uncertainty of long-range weather predictions. Sometimes three-day and five-day weather forecasts are spot on and sometimes they miss the mark completely. Another of Hansen’s research interests is estimating uncertainty in a weather forecast and predicting how accurate their three- and five-day weather forecasts will be.

“I’m trying to find ways to give operational forecasters uncertainty guidance,” he says. “We run weather prediction models from around the world with small perturbations to the initial conditions to get 20 to 40 forecasts instead of just one forecast. That takes a lot of computer power.”

Thanks to chaos, when they make those small initial perturbations, what they end up with by day five is a collection of completely different weather forecasts, each one an equally likely representation of what the actual weather will be.

“Whether you’re talking about weather forecasting, ship routing, or pirate interdiction, perhaps just as important as estimating uncertainty is communicating all that information to a decision maker in a useful way,” he says. “That’s an important piece that’s often overlooked and it’s something I work on and worry about all the time.”

The son of an aeronautical engineer, Hansen grew up under the flight path of Sea-Tac Airport in Seattle, Washington. He remembers being four years old sitting on his front porch watching planes take off and land, and thinking that it would be fun to design airplanes some day.

While at CU-Boulder, Hansen was an All Big Eight tackle and the 1992–93 captain of the Buffs football team. He graduated from CU-Boulder with undergraduate and graduate degrees in aerospace engineering sciences. In 1998 he received a PhD in atmospheric, oceanic, and planetary physics as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, and then he taught physics at Oxford’s Exeter College.

Prior to joining NRL, Hansen was an assistant professor of earth, atmospheric, and planetary sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“I greatly enjoyed doing basic research, but having a background as an engineer, I wanted to try my ideas out in a more practical setting,” says Hansen. “Unfortunately,I couldn’t do that in the academic environment. In my field, it is difficult to take a basic science idea and transition it from academia into an operational center to see if it actually works. I decided to leave academia and I’m very fortunate to be at NRL.”

Last fall, Hansen returned to CU-Boulder to give a talk about his work using predictive modeling techniques to combat pirate activity.

“I like to tell students that regardless of what you end up doing in life, engineering is a great background to have,” says Hansen.

Even for hunting pirates.

Mechanical Engineering Students Place Second in Shell Eco-Marathon

Mechanical engineering seniors from CU-Boulder placed second overall in this year's Shell Eco-Marathon, an annual competition challenging student teams from around the world to design, build, and test energy-efficient vehicles. The CU-Boulder team scored an impressive mileage record of 1,767 miles per gallon in the event.

Team members Jared Wampler, Joseph Gratcofsky, Jeff Vankeulen, Paul Sweazey, and Matthew Feddersen worked with faculty advisor Marcelo Bergquist and lab coordinator Greg Potts on the project.

The annual Shell Eco-Marathon of the Americas was held March 29-April 1 in Houston, Texas. A total of 122 teams from the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and South America competed in the gas prototype class in this year's event.

Potts said the CU engineering team implemented an electronic fuel injection system this year, which uses a National Instruments board for control: "Pretty impressive that a group of our students developed what takes major auto manufacturers years to do," he said.

CU has competed in the Eco-Marathon of the Americas for the last five years, and placed seventh in the 2011 event. >See full results

Aerospace Senior Projects Sweep AIAA Regional Awards

For the third year in a row, CU aerospace engineering sciences senior projects swept first, second, and third place in the team category of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Region V Student Conference. The conference was held at CU-Boulder April 4-6. The following awards went to CU engineering students:

•    First Place, Team: "DayStar-Modeling the Daytime Performance of a Star Tracker for High Altitude Balloons," presented by Nick Truesdale, Kevin Dinkel, and Michael Skeen (Team will go onto compete in the AIAA National Competition)
•    Second Place, Team: "FENIX-Fluid Extraction for Nozzle Injection eXperiment", presented by Michael Bonnici, Naveen Penmetsa, and Wenceslao Shaw-Cortez
•    Third Place, Team: "SPEAR-Sounding Payload Ejection And Recovery," presented by Carol Helfenbein and Nicholas Schlatter

CU engineering student Brandon Seifert also took second place in the Outreach category for his presentation on "We Want Our Future; Inspiring Youth Internationally."

These and other aerospace senior design teams will present their projects at the Aerospace Senior Design Symposium on April 20 from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. in the Discovery Learning Center. >More information

ASCE Student Group Competes in Steel Bridge Competition

After a two-year hiatus, a dozen students in civil, environmental, and architectural engineering entered the Steel Bridge Competition sponsored by the American Society of Civil Engineers. The students, who worked all year to fundraise, design, acquire material, and fabricate their entry, placed seventh overall and first in display in the Rocky Mountain regional competition held at the University of Wyoming during Spring Break.

The students built a bridge that is 22.5 feet long with a five-foot cantilever at one end, designed to sustain a load of 2,500 pounds with less than a half-inch deflection. Daryn Hobbs, president of the ASCE Student Chapter, said the results were promising for a first-year team and the chapter hopes to come back even stronger next year.

New Faculty & Staff: April 2012

Welcome to the following new faculty and staff in the college:

  • Deb Renshaw, undergraduate advisor, chemical and biological engineering
  • Aimee Hartecramer, program assistant, Andrews Hall Residential College

Giant Orrery in the Works for Andrews Hall

Eitan Cher (center) and other students in the Engineering Honors Program are designing and building a working model of the Solar System to be suspended from the ceiling at Andrews Hall later this spring. The 10-foot custom "orrery" will be driven by 24 gears cut out of 1/4-inch brass.

CompSci Students Take Second at Cyber Defense Competition

A team of CU-Boulder computer science students earned second place in the Rocky Mountain Regional Cyber Defense Competition held March 2-3 at Regis University. It was CU's first time entering the event, which represents the first round of the National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition launched in 2005. The CU team included six undergraduates—Brian Carlsen, Mike Kaoudis, Richard Green, Jiran Dowlati, Anthony Cantor, and Skylar Sokol,--along with graduate students Brent Smith and Landon Spear.

The competition involves teams securing, maintaining, and defending computing infrastructure similar to that of a small corporation over the course of two or three days while undergoing attacks from a volunteer "red" team and responding to requests from competition administrators. Teams are scored on their abilities to maintain corporate computing infrastructure, to defend against cyber attacks, and to respond to all of the requests from their fictional "boss."

The students' performance at the event can be traced back to the "Ethical Hacking" class taught last spring by associate computer science professor John Black with support from graduate student Ali Alzabarah. The popular class led to the creation of an ethical hacking student group led by Alzabarah, from which the members of the team were drawn. Black is scheduled to teach the course again this fall, and students plan to enter the competition again next year.

> Learn more at Cyber Defense

Aerospace Graduate Teams Selected for RASC-AL Competition

Three graduate student aerospace engineering teams from CU-Boulder are among the five graduate finalists for the 2012 RASC-AL competition to be held in Cocoa Beach, Florida, June 11-13. The annual Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts Academic Linkage competition is co-sponsored by NASA and NIA. The CU-Boulder finalists are:

HI-LIFE: Human Intervention for a Low-Earth-Orbit Interference Free Environment, Advisor: Dave Klaus

Extraterrestrial Outpost (ExO): Design and Implementation of a Long Term Sustainable Lunar Habitat, Advisor: Joe Tanner

Human Exploration of Near Earth Asteroids: A Revolutionary Mission Architecture, Advisor: Dan Scheeres
(CU with Delft University of Technology and University of Stuttgart)

> Learn more at RASCAL.

Family Campaign Starts in April

Message from Amy Metz,
Engineering Development

As CU faculty and staff, our work is the heart and soul of the university. We inspire students through learning, teaching, advising, and helping them develop into successful members of society. We support the efforts of the university and want it to be the best possible institution it can be.

The College of Engineering family, including faculty, staff, and graduating seniors, will be encouraged to make a gift to the university to support the Creating Futures Campaign – the largest campaign in CU's history. With one gift of any size, you can make a difference. Remember, all gifts matter and we hope for significant participation.

Each department or program will identify one priority for funding. Once these departmental and program enrichment areas are selected and approved, Dean Davis will match gifts for these particular purposes 1:1. That means gifts of $10, $25, $100, $500 on up to a maximum of $3,000 per individual can be matched! Dean Davis is also offering a special match for major and bequest gifts.

The Engineering Development Team will be officially launching the campaign in early April. Stay tuned for email messages and information packets to be distributed soon.

Honors & Awards: March 2012

Congratulations to the following individuals on their outstanding achievements:

Faculty

  • Joel Kaar of chemical and biological engineering has been selected to receive the Army Research Office Young Investigator Award.
  • Al Gasiewski and his team from electrical, computer and energy engineering, the Colorado Space Grant Consortium, and the National Snow and Ice Data Center were chosen for a launch slot for a CubeSat. This will likely be the first CubeSat-based passive microwave radiometer in space. The breadboard version of the radiometer was developed last fall in a capstone design project.
  • Lucy Pao of electrical, computer, and energy engineering has been elevated to Fellow of IEEE for contributions to feed-forward and feedback control systems.
  • Kristi Anseth of chemical and biological engineering was selected as the recipient of the Materials Research Society's inaugural Mid-Career Research Award. She was recognized "for exceptional achievement at the interface of materials and biology enabling new, functional biomaterials that answer fundamental questions in biology and yield advances in regenerative medicine, stem-cell differentiation, and cancer treatment."
  • Shashank Sirsi of mechanical engineering recently scored a 1.0 percentile on his National Institutes of Health R21 grant application, the top score possible and an extremely rare accomplishment.
  • Nikolaus Correll of computer science was selected to receive a National Science Foundation CAREER Award for "modeling and design of composite swarming behaviors."
  • Hari Rajaram of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering was named a CU President's Teaching Scholar.
    John Crimaldi of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering has his work featured on the cover of the current issue of the Journal of Experimental Biology, with an article published in the same issue. JEB is the leading journal in comparative animal physiology.
  • Amy Javernick-Will of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering was recognized by Engineering News Record with a 2012 Mountain States "Top 20 under 40" award.
  • Mahmoud Hussein and Ryan Starkey of aerospace engineering sciences were awarded Innovative Seed Grants from the Vice Chancellor for Research.

Students

  • Laura Stiles, a graduate student in aerospace engineering sciences, was invited to be a master moderator at the National Space Symposium.

Staff

  • Molly Conroy of mechanical engineering was selected to receive the Employee Recognition Award for February.

CU's STEM Education Efforts Recognized

CU-Boulder is one of 34 new members nationwide selected to join the innovative organization, 100Kin10, which is committed to recruiting, preparing and retaining 100,000 science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) teachers over the next 10 years. CU was added to the partner membership of 100Kin10 following a rigorous vetting process.

The College of Engineering and Applied Science and the School of Education will work together to establish and disseminate a replicable national model whereby engineering students can complete both an ABET-accredited, design-focused engineering degree and a teacher licensure program in secondary mathematics or science.

"We are thrilled to have CU recognized for its STEM leadership, and we look forward to enhancing our CU Teach program to include a streamlined engineering degree designed to support simultaneous secondary school teacher licensure in science or mathematics," said Associate Dean Jackie Sullivan.

The 100Kin10 movement was launched in June 2011 with an initial pledge by partners to raise $20 million to support the creative and strategic efforts of partner organizations to expand the nation’s STEM teaching force. The group’s 115 partners will meet Feb. 21 in Washington, D.C., for the first partner summit.

Space Grant Team Wins Payload on HASP Balloon

A CU Space Grant team comprised of 13 freshmen and sophomores won a seat for its payload on the 2012 High-Altitude Student Platform balloon flight.

HASP is designed to carry up to 12 student payloads to an altitude of 36 kilometers with flight durations of 15 to 36 hours. The CU Space Grant team won one of the four coveted large payloads, more typically won by graduate student projects.

The HASP program is facilitated by Louisiana Space Consortium and supported by the NASA Balloon Program Office. CU students submitted their proposal for the competition in December as a follow-on from the fall ASEN 2500 Gateway to Space class.  

The new CU HASP team includes aerospace students Gabrielle Massone (project manager), Glenda Alvarenga (systems engineer), Jacob Broadway, Greg McQuie, Dalton Smith, Janelle Montoya, Gloria Chen, Corey Wilson, Calder Lane, and Jannine Vela, along with Vincent Staverosky of mechanical, open option student Nicole Ela, and James Busse in astronomy.

Project Helios will image the sun in Hydrogen-Alpha and Infrared wavelengths utilizing customized optics and an active pointing system.  Mentors for the project include Dr. James Green of the Center for Astrophysics and Space Astronomy.

CU-Boulder Hosts Brazil Students through Science Without Borders Program

Nineteen students from Brazil are studying engineering at CU-Boulder this semester as part of the Brazilian government’s Science Without Borders Program, which is aimed at enhancing the education of top students in STEM fields.

About 650 Brazilian undergraduates are participating in the program administered by the Institute of International Education in New York, at more than 100 host colleges across the United States. The students receive scholarships to study for three semesters, or two semesters plus an internship, before completing their degrees in Brazil, according to Sherry Snyder, college director of student programs and international affairs.

The Brazilian students at CU are enrolled through the Division of Continuing Education and taking courses in engineering, business, and arts and sciences. Additional students will come in next fall and spring.

Honors & Awards: February 2012

Congratulations to the following individuals on their outstanding achievements:

Faculty

  • Diane McKnight of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering was elected to the National Academy of Engineering. She was recognized for “elucidating the interrelationship between natural organic matter and heavy metals in streams and lakes.”
  • Jason Marden of electrical, computer, and energy engineering has been awarded an Air Force Office of Scientific Research Young Investigator Award. The grant is one of 48 awarded to scientists and engineers from a field of 200 proposals.
  • Bernard Amadei of civil, environmental, and archtiectural engineering, who was recently appointed a science envoy by the U.S. State Department, has been awarded a Dean's Faculty Fellowship for the spring semester.
  • Amy Javernick-Will of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering received an Outstanding Presentation award at the 2011 Engineering Project Organizations Conference. 
  • Jean Koster of aerospace engineering sciences and graduate student Lydia McDowell received the Best Paper Award from the AIAA Design Engineering Technical Committee for their presentation on the Hyperion Green Aircraft Project.
  • John Daily of mechanical engineering was elected Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
  • William Emery of aerospace engineering sciences was elected a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union.
  • Jeffrey Forbes of aerospace engineering sciences was elected a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
  • Mark Borden of mechanical engineering was invited to give talks on his research in microbubbles at the 17th European Ultrasound Contrast Symposium in Rotterdam sponsored by Erasmus Medical Center, and at the Institute of Biomedical Imaging at Oxford University, in January.
  • Penny Axelrad of aerospace engineering sciences has received the Institute of Navigation Burka Award for the best technical article having appeared in the journal Navigation in the last year. Her paper was titled Collective Detection and Direct Positioning Using Multiple GNSS Satellites.

Students

  • Jessica Kaminsky, a PhD student in civil engineering, was awarded the EPA Star Fellowship.
  • Elizabeth Jordan in civil engineering received the Outstanding PhD Student award at the 2011 Engineering Project Organizations Conference.

Staff

  • Araceli Warren of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering was selected to receive the Employee Recognition Award for January.

New Faculty & Staff: February 2012

Welcome to the following new faculty and staff in the college:

  • Victoria Masaki, Administrative Assistant, Chemical and Biological Engineering
  • Carrie Olson, Administrative Assistant, Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering
  • Walter Beamer, Instructor, Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering 

Engineering Design Expo Showcases Student Projects

The Fall 2011 Engineering Design Expo hosted by the Integrated Teaching and Learning Program on Dec. 3 featured 75 undergraduate student team inventions. Projects included environmental innovations, client-serving solutions, and products that provide everyday-living enhancements for users.

Held twice each year in the ITL Laboratory, the Design Expo provides students the opportunity to engage with the public on their innovations, test their creativity and imagination, and improve their presentation skills.

Congratulations to the Fall 2011 People's Choice Award winner, a team called "BOLD Thinkers," for their interactive, life-sized "Simon" game board that players jump on and follow a pattern. The People's Choice Award is awarded based on votes cast by the public for their favorite invention.

Among the other projects showcased were a safer climbing helmet developed at the suggestion of a local doctor, an array of assistive technology devices for people with disabilities, and a model footbridge to be used by the nonprofit organization Bridges to Prosperity.

Lessons Learned from the Deepwater Horizon Accident

The college will host a free public lecture this month illuminating the lessons learned from the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion that killed 11 workers and resulted in the largest accidental oil spill in U.S. history. Called "What Happened at Deepwater Horizon?" the event will be presented Jan. 26 from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Math 100 Auditorium.

Donald Winter, former secretary of the Navy, professor of engineering practice at the University of Michigan, and chair of the National Academies committee that wrote a report on the Deepwater Horizon accident, will be the first of two guest speakers. The National Academies report, issued Dec. 14, points to multiple flawed decisions leading to the blowout and explosion, and calls for a new "system safety" approach to anticipating and managing possible dangers at every level of operation.

A second guest speaker will be Paul Hsieh, a research hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey who was named 2011 Federal Employee of the Year. Hsieh performed the crucial calculations on pressure that deemed it safe to cap the oil well in mid-July without causing it to rupture from beneath the seabed and result in a bigger disaster.

CU-Boulder environmental engineering faculty Fernando Rosario-Ortiz and Alina Handorean also will present their research into the aftermath of the spill.

Distinguished Engineering Alumni Awards Selected

Congratulations to the following alumni of CU Engineering, who have been selected to receive the 2012 Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award. The awards will be presented at the Engineering Awards Banquet on April 27.

Chris Finnoff – AeroEngr '67 – nominated by Jeff Forbes
Nan Joesten - ChemEngr '82 – nominated by Dave Clough
Mike Masterson - MS ChemEngr '77 – nominated by Al Weimer
Dimos Poulikakos - MA A&S '80, PhD MechEngr '83 – nominated by David Kassoy
Ashok Srivastava - ElecEngr '91, PhD '96 – nominated by Xingdong Wu

Fellowship Established in Telecom Program

A graduate fellowship supporting students in the Interdisciplinary Telecom Program has been established in memory of Amy Barnes Frey who died in December. Frey is a 1985 Telecom grad and the daughter of Distinguished Professor Frank Barnes, who co-founded the ITP in 1971.

>> More information

Honors & Awards: January 2012

Congratulations to the following individuals on their outstanding achievements:

Faculty

  • Janet deGrazia of chemical and biological engineering was selected to receive the 2011 Max S. Peters Faculty Service Award from the college.
  • Dan Scheeres of aerospace engineering sciences was selected to receive the 2011 Faculty Research Award from the college.
  • David Klaus of aerospace engineering sciences was selected to receive the 2011 Charles Hutchinson Memorial Teaching Award from the college.
  • Melinda Piket-May of electrical, computer, and energy engineering was selected to receive an award from the Women’s Resource Center recognizing “Women Who Make a Difference.” She also was named director of the Academic Management Institute, a professional development institute that is part of the Colorado Network of Women Leaders and the American Council on Education-Office of Women in Higher Education.

Staff

  • Deborah Mellblom of aerospace engineering sciences was selected to receive the 2011 Outstanding Staff Award from the college.

Colorado Space Grant Teaches Robotics Skills to Student Teams

The Colorado Space Grant Consortium at CU-Boulder hosted an all-day Robotics Workshop in the Discovery Learning Center Nov. 19, which was attended by students and faculty across the Front Range. Participants came from CU, UNC, CSU, CSU-Pueblo, Community College of Aurora, Community College of Denver, and Metro State College, along with a few K-12 schools.

The Robotics Workshop was designed to train Colorado faculty and students in the basics of building an autonomous robot, with the ultimate goal being to provide the skills and experience needed for student teams to build more robust and complex robots to compete in the Colorado Robot Challenge in April 2012 at Great Sand Dunes National Park.

Participants left the DLC with fully functioning, autonomous robots they built and programmed during the workshop. CU Space Grant staff and students will facilitate two more robotics workshops in southern Colorado and on the Western Slope.

ITP Hosts 'Fall Challenge'

Congratulations to the winners of the Interdisciplinary Telecommunications Program (ITP) Fall Challenge, an annual event in which telecommunications and law students debate both sides of a question after an intense period of research and the writing of a paper. This year's Challenge focused on the question of whether the FCC should mandate that every telecommunications carrier is obligated to accept interconnected voice traffic from other providers in an IP/SIP format.

First Place ($1,800) Award: Invincibles: Marissa Johnson from Law School, Akshay Kulkarni, and Vishwas Nandeeshappa from ITP

Second Place ($1,000) Award: Pikes Peak: Aparna Bhuktar and Nitin Khanna from ITP, Juan Hoyos and Matthew Oetting from the ITP Digital Energy Program

Third Place ($600) Award: Last Men Standing: Shyam Chandrasekar, Abhijit Kaul, and Ramakrishnan Mahadevan from ITP

Challenge judges represented the following companies: OneRain, Inc., Perficient, CableLabs, Steese & Evans, Intrado, Google, Level3, and Cisco.

Outstanding Graduate Awards

The college will present the following awards at the Dec. 15 Engineering Recognition Ceremony:

  • Riley Pack, BS/MS electrical and computer engineering/electrical engineering and BS applied math, Outstanding Graduate of the College and Academic Achievement Award
  • Derek Houtz, BS aerospace engineering, Outstanding Graduate for Research
  • Robert Millspaugh, BS environmental engineering, Outstanding Graduate for Service
  • Danielle Griego, BS/MS in architectural engineering/civil engineering, Outstanding Graduate for International Service

Honors & Awards: December 2011

Congratulations to the following individuals on their outstanding achievements:

Faculty

  • Michael Lightner of electrical, computer, and energy engineering has been elected IEEE vice president of educational activities.
  • Tim Brown of interdisciplinary telecommunications received the Champion of International Education Award for 2011.
  • Dan Schwartz of chemical and biological engineering was named a Fellow of the American Physical Society.

Students

  • Tushar Thorve of interdisciplinary telecommunications was a winner in the Office of International Education photo contest.
  • Julie Stiver of chemical and biological engineering was selected to receive a National Science Foundation Fellowship.

Staff

  • Claire Yang of aerospace engineering sciences was selected to receive an award from the Women's Resource Center recognizing Women Who Make a Difference. She was nominated by an aerospace student.
  • Linda Rose, research coordinator in the Dean's Office, was selected to receive the Employee Recognition Award for November.
  • Nick Stites, module engineer in the ITL Laboratory, was selected to receive the Employee Recognition Award for December.

The following staff members received the college's Commitment to Excellence Award, recognizing outstanding staff who have reached a five-year anniversary of continuous service and received the highest performance rating for the most recent three years:

  • Morgan Bayes (5) and Adam Sadoff (15) of Electrical, Computer, and Energy Engineering
  • Gwendolyn Miller (5) of CADSWES
  • Lesley McDowell (5) of Computer Science
  • Dragan Mejic (10) and Frannie Ray-Earle (5) of Chemical and Biological Engineering
  • Courtney Staufer (5) and Mary Steiner (5) of the Dean's Office
  • LaMark Taylor (5) of the ITL Laboratory

New Faculty & Staff: December 2011

Welcome to the following new faculty and staff in the college:

  • Kassie Ferraro, Administrative Assistant, Mechanical Engineering
  • Pamela Williamson, Graduate Advisor, Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering
  • Teresa Cobleigh, Assistant Director, Corporate and Foundation Relations

 

Pre-Engineering Biomedical Curriculum Highlights Value of Engineering

This fall at Centaurus High School in Lafayette, mechanical engineering PhD student and GK-12 TEAMS Fellow Brandi Jackson Briggs is teaching a semester-long biomedical engineering course for the school's Pre-Engineering Academy.

The course focuses on how engineering contributes to society through the design of a remote-controlled, motorized device that explores the abdominal cavity in search of endometriosis. The unique design of the abdominal cavity itself simulates the real look and feel of a human abdomen. The 30 Centaurus High School students have found the project to be an exciting application of engineering and now think of biomedical engineering as a possible career interest.

The biomedical project, created by Briggs and former GK-12 Fellow Ben Terry, also a mechanical engineering PhD student, has been developed into a multi-lesson curriculum, "Next Generation Surgical Tools," that will soon be available on TeachEngineeering.org, the NSF-funded digital library collection developed under the leadership of Associate Dean Jacquelyn Sullivan.

Engineering Alumni Relations Hosts Talk by Former Rhodes Scholar

CU aerospace alumnus Jim Hansen, a former All Big-Eight tackle and Rhodes scholar who now works at the Naval Research Laboratory in Monterey, California, spoke to students in the Herbst Humanities and Engineering Honors programs, and then presented "Cloudy with a Chance of Pirates," a public talk about his work using predictive modeling techniques to combat pirate activity off the coast of Somalia. The Oct. 20 events were hosted by CU Engineering Alumni Relations and Engineering Development.

At left, Hansen visits with CU alumnus Clancy Herbst while college faculty Diane Sieber and Scot Douglass look on.

Undergrads Launch High-Altitude Balloons as Gateway to Space

Students participating in ASEN 2500 Gateway to Space launched the small payloads they designed and built this semester on a high-altitude balloon near Windsor, Colorado on Nov. 6.

One balloon carried the 10 Gateway payloads, while a second balloon carried payloads from five Colorado Space Grant institutions – including a payload designed by a CU Space Grant team. The CU team's payload is testing the feasibility of using an Arduino board in sounding rocket payloads such as those that are part of the nationwide sounding rocket program facilitated by COSGC staff, students, and NASA's Wallops Flight Facility.

All the payloads flew to an altitude of 100,000 feet before returning to Earth, and one went all the way to Nebraska before students recovered it.

Honors & Awards: November 2011

Congratulations to the following individuals on their outstanding achievements:

Faculty

  • Kristi Anseth of chemical and biological engineering is among the 10 individuals from different fields selected to be inducted into the Colorado Women's Hall of Fame on March 8.
  • Arthi Jayaraman of chemical and biological engineering was appointed Patten Faculty Fellow recognizing her many achievements as an assistant professor in the areas of grants and publications, a DOE Early Career Award and the department's undergraduate teaching award.
  • Kenneth Jansen of aerospace engineering sciences was named an associate fellow in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
  • Zoya Popovic and Dragan Maksimovic of electrical, computer and energy engineering are directing three projects under the DARPA Microscale Power Conversion program. The goals of this program are to develop high-efficiency, high-linearity microwave (RF) transmitters that can handle high bandwidth signals for radar and communication applications using integrated supply modulated RF amplifiers based on wide-bandgap GaN devices. The grants total $4.4 million over three years.
  • Karl Linden of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering is participating in a new research consortium funded by the Gulf of Mexico Research Institute. The $12 million consortia on the science and technology of dispersants as relevant to deep sea oil releases is led by Tulane University.

Students

  • Janna Martinek of chemical and biological engineering took first place nationally in the Computing and Systems Technology Division poster contest at the American Institute of Chemical Engineers meeting in Minneapolis. Janna's talk on "Modeling and optimization of a multiple tube solar receiver for high temperature solar-thermal processes" was co-authored by Carl Bingham of NREL and Alan Weimer, her CU engineering advisor. 
  • Christopher Muhich of chemical and biological engineering, advised by Charles Musgrave and Al Weimer, took second place in the AIChE Environmental Division poster contest, and post-doc Diana Leung took second place in the AIChE Materials Engineering and Science Division.
  • Josh McCall of chemical and biological engineering, who is advised by Kristi Anseth, was selected to receive the best poster award at the Surfaces in Biomaterials conference.
  • Mark Tibbitt of chemical and biological engineering, who is advised by Kristi Anseth, was selected to receive the 2012 Award for Outstanding PhD Research, and undergraduate Anna Blakney, who is supervised by Stephanie Bryant, will receive the 2012 Undergraduate Student Award from the Society for Biomaterials.

Construction Continues on Jennie Smoly Caruthers Biotechnology Building

Construction of the new Jennie Smoly Caruthers Biotechnology Building continues on the East Campus this fall. CU-Boulder expects to take possession of the building Feb. 8, after which faculty from the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Biofrontiers Institute, and Division of BIochemistry can start to move in. Private fundraising is continuing as the structure is built out.

 

 

Scholarships Make Big Impact

The college will honor engineering scholarship recipients and the many donors whose gifts make these scholarships possible at the annual Engineering Scholarship Banquet on Oct. 14. The college awarded scholarships to 985 students for 2011-12; about 100 students and 78 donors are expected to attend the banquet.

More than $2.2 million in scholarships will be awarded this year, up from $1.6 million last year. The college doubled the number of scholarship offers to students admitted for Fall 2011, and included $543,000 in freshmen merit awards (up from $236,000 last year) and $213,000 in BOLD freshmen awards (up from $68,000 last year).

In addition to helping individual students to continue their education, this year's scholarship awards have resulted in the most highly qualified and most diverse first-year class in history. The college's Fall 2011 entering class includes 26.2 percent women and 15.1 percent underrepresented students, the highest percentages ever in both categories. Twenty-two Boettcher semi-finalists also enrolled as CU engineering freshmen this year, compared with 8 last year. The entering class had an average combined SAT of 1291 and an average composite ACT of 29.1, which also are the highest ever. The college plans to continue the increased level of scholarship awards if funding is available.

ARCS Luncheon to be Hosted at CU-Boulder

Thirty-five recipients of the Achievement Rewards for College Students (ARCS) scholarship from Colorado schools will be honored at the annual ARCS luncheon, hosted this year at CU-Boulder on Nov. 9. Among the recipients are CU engineering students Jennifer Mindock of aerospace engineering sciences, Brandi Briggs of mechanical engineering, Daniel Knights of computer science, and Dane Taylor of applied mathematics.

Civil engineering Professor Bernard Amadei also will be honored at this year's banquet as the ARCS Foundation Honoree of the Year for 2011-12 in recognition of his contributions to the scientific community.

DANDE Passes Launch Milestone

Colorado Space Grant students participated in a launch manifest review of the DANDE satellite on Oct. 5 with representatives from the Department of Defense Space Test Program and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. CU-Boulder students designed and built DANDE, a spherical, low Earth orbiting satellite designed to measure drag in the upper atmosphere.

Twenty undergraduate students who currently comprise the DANDE satellite team represented the project for its Oct. 5 review, which marks the first milestone. The DANDE satellite is currently manifested to launch in March 2012 on a SpaceX Falcon 9.

Honors & Awards: October 2011

Congratulations to the following individuals on their outstanding achievements:

Faculty

  • Will Medlin of chemical and biological engineering was selected to take part in the National Academy of Engineering's third Frontiers of Engineering Education symposium. The event will be held Nov. 13-16 in Irvine, California.
  • Mark Hernandez of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering was invited to be a Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturer for a two-year period, 2012 -2014.
  • Jeffrey Forbes of aerospace engineering sciences received a $4.5 million research award from the National Science Foundation's Frontiers in Earth-System Dynamics program to investigate electrical connections and consequences within the Earth System. He also won a $2 million award from NASA to participate in the European Space Agency Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) Mission, with his focus being to measure and understand the atmospheric wind and density variability associated with the "space weather" of the satellite orbit environment.
  • John McCartney of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering was selected by the International Geosynthetics Society for publishing the best paper in 2010 in the Geosynthetics International Journal.
  • Dean's Awards were presented in September to the following faculty:
    Jeff Thayer, aerospace engineering sciences, Outstanding Teaching Award
    Dan Scheeres, aerospace engineering sciences, Outstanding Research Award
    Matt Hallowell, civil, environmental, and architectural engineering, Outstanding Junior Faculty Award
    Penina Axelrad, aerospace engineering sciences, Professional Progress Award
  • Scott Summers of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering was awarded a Dean's Faculty Fellowship for the spring 2012 semester.

Staff

  • Stephanie Morris of computer science received the Employee Recognition Award for September.

New Faculty & Staff: October 2011

Welcome to the following new instructors and scholars in the college:

  • Andrew Crain, Scholar-in Residence, ITP
  • Margaret MacMillan, Scholar-in Residence, Engineering Management
  • Steven Ouellette, Instructor, Engineering Management
  • Carmen Pacheco-Borden, Instructor, Mechanical Engineering
  • Elizabeth White, Instructor, Computer Science

New Orleans Bioaerosols Research Moves Indoors

A new National Science Foundation grant led by civil and environmental engineering Professor Mark Hernandez will focus on the biological composition and toxicology of indoor aerosols in Colorado and the greater New Orleans area, including Dillard University where buildings sustained tremendous water damage from Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

The three-year $230,000 study is aimed at a comprehensive characterization of bioaerosol loads and their long-term toxicological effects. The study will include an assessment of the efficacy of applying a new generation of electrically enhanced air-filter technology to reduce indoor bioaerosol exposure.

Dillard buildings that have been previously identified as having elevated or dangerous indoor bioaerosol levels of pathogenic microbes will be retrofitted with electrostatically enhanced filters as part of the study. Dillard students also will be trained in modern bioaerosol assessment techniques.
 

RECUV Exhibits Unmanned Aircraft in Washington, D.C.

Aerospace engineering faculty Brian Argrow and Eric Frew were invited to Washington, D.C. on Sept. 6 and 7 to exhibit the Tempest, an unmanned aircraft system developed at CU-Boulder to collect scientific data on severe storms. The events at the National Science Foundation and on Capitol Hill were designed to showcase NSF-funded hazards research in recognition of National Preparedness Month, and in light of the recent East Coast earthquake and hurricane.

Students and faculty at the college's Research and Engineering Center for Unmanned Vehicles, or RECUV, teamed with researchers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to achieve the first interception of a supercell thunderstorm with an unmanned vehicle, the Tempest, as part of the VOTEX2 field campaign last year.

DEAA Nominations Accepted Through October

Do you know of an outstanding alumnus or friend of the college who deserves to be recognized for his or her outstanding personal qualities, knowledge and significant contributions to the engineering field and/or the college? Nominate him or her for the college’s Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award, the college’s top alumni honor.

Nominations are open and being accepted through October 31 for awards to be given in spring 2012. Visit the DEAA website for award details and nomination form.   

 

Honors & Awards: September 2011

Congratulations to the following individuals on their outstanding achievements:

Faculty

  • Lucy Pao of electrical, computer, and energy engineering has been elected member of the IEEE Control Systems Society Board of Governors for 2011-2013. The society has approximately 10,000 members.
  • Mahmoud Hussein and Sedat Biringen of aerospace engineering sciences were awarded a three-year $520,000 grant from the National Science Foundation's Interdisciplinary Research program for their proposal on Phononic Surfaces for Flow Control. The IR program funds transformative, interdisciplinary proposals with a domain of research that is beyond the scope of a single division of the engineering directorate.
  • William Emery of aerospace engineering sciences has been elected a fellow of the American Astronautical Society. The award will be presented in Houston on Nov. 16.

Students

  • Brian Ibeling, Chris Nie and Sushia Rahimizadeh of the Colorado Space
  • Grant Consortium went to Ft. Sumner, New Mexico in September to assist with the launch of the High-Altitude Student Platform (HASP), a NASA-supported program involving a high-altitude balloon and a dozen compact student payloads.
  • Robert Elder, a graduate student in chemical and biological engineering working with Arthi Jayaraman, received the American Chemical Society’s Peter Kollman Graduate Award in Supercomputing.
  • Nathan Nelson, a graduate student in chemical and biological engineering working with Dan Schwartz, won the Best Poster Award in the Colloids Division from the American Chemical Society.

New Faculty & Staff: September 2011

Welcome to the following new faculty and staff in the college:

  • Lynn Melms, Human Resources Coordinator, Dean's Office
  • Courtney Staufer, Director of Alumni Relations, Dean's Office
  • Melinda Seevers, Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations, Engineering Development

 

 

BOLD Summer Bridge

More than 70 incoming BOLD Center students got a jumpstart on the fall semester by participating in the two-week Aspire and GoldShirt Summer Bridge programs in July. The unique Summer Bridge programs give students the chance to meet each other and get to know the campus in a collaborative, fun setting.

Chemical & Biological Engineers Fuel Economy With 10 Startups

Chemical and biological engineering students and faculty at the University of Colorado Boulder have launched several innovative technologies that are fueling Colorado’s economy by creating jobs and drawing significant venture-capital and other funding to the state.

Ten active companies have been created since 1997 based on technologies invented wholly or in part by chemical and biological engineering students and their faculty supervisors. These spin-off companies have raised nearly $410 million in follow-on funding, including grants, seed and venture-capital financings, U.S. Small Business Administration funding, and acquisitions, according to the CU Technology Transfer Office.

Among the greatest success stories is Copernican Energy, an ultra-clean bio-based fuels company cofounded in 2006 by CU Professor Al Weimer, PhD student Chris Perkins, and alumnus Mike Masterson. Copernican was acquired by Sundrop Fuels in 2008, and this summer received a $155 million investment from Chesapeake Ventures.

Grad Students Apply Their Skills to Community Development

Fourteen graduate students from the Engineering for Developing Communities program traveled abroad this summer to gain field experience in community development. 

The students partnered with nonprofit organizations, private companies and universities for four- to 12-week “practicum” experiences in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Peru, Bolivia, Uganda, Nepal and China.

The Mortenson Center in Engineering for Developing Communities in civil, environmental, and architectural engineering arranged the practicum experiences, which included monitoring and evaluation of drinking water and sanitation systems, low-carbon approaches to affordable housing, cook stove optimization and emission testing, and other community development projects.

“The experience in Nicaragua was a great opportunity for me,” said Chalie Nevárez, who trained local staff and supervised the roll-out of a smartphone monitoring and evaluation system developed by the Denver nonprofit El Porvenir to assess the sustainability of drinking water and sanitation projects in 44 rural communities. “I would love to go back and keep working in the field as a development engineering consultant.”

Nevárez earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering at Marquette University, and is now pursuing a graduate certificate in engineering for developing communities through the Mortenson Center at CU-Boulder.

Fourteen graduate students from the Engineering for Developing Communities program traveled abroad this summer to gain field experience in community development. 

The students partnered with nonprofit organizations, private companies and universities for four- to 12-week “practicum” experiences in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Peru, Bolivia, Uganda, Nepal and China.

The Mortenson Center in Engineering for Developing Communities in civil, environmental, and architectural engineering arranged the practicum experiences, which included monitoring and evaluation of drinking water and sanitation systems, low-carbon approaches to affordable housing, cook stove optimization and emission testing, and other community development projects.

“The experience in Nicaragua was a great opportunity for me,” said Chalie Nevárez, who trained local staff and supervised the roll-out of a smartphone monitoring and evaluation system developed by the Denver nonprofit El Porvenir to assess the sustainability of drinking water and sanitation projects in 44 rural communities. “I would love to go back and keep working in the field as a development engineering consultant.”

Nevárez earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering at Marquette University, and is now pursuing a graduate certificate in engineering for developing communities through the Mortenson Center at CU-Boulder.

Fourteen graduate students from the Engineering for Developing Communities program traveled abroad this summer to gain field experience in community development. 

The students partnered with nonprofit organizations, private companies and universities for four- to 12-week “practicum” experiences in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Peru, Bolivia, Uganda, Nepal and China.

The Mortenson Center in Engineering for Developing Communities in civil, environmental, and architectural engineering arranged the practicum experiences, which included monitoring and evaluation of drinking water and sanitation systems, low-carbon approaches to affordable housing, cook stove optimization and emission testing, and other community development projects.

“The experience in Nicaragua was a great opportunity for me,” said Chalie Nevárez, who trained local staff and supervised the roll-out of a smartphone monitoring and evaluation system developed by the Denver nonprofit El Porvenir to assess the sustainability of drinking water and sanitation projects in 44 rural communities. “I would love to go back and keep working in the field as a development engineering consultant.”

Nevárez earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering at Marquette University, and is now pursuing a graduate certificate in engineering for developing communities through the Mortenson Center at CU-Boulder.

Honors & Awards: August 2011

Congratulations to the following individuals on their outstanding achievements:

Faculty

  • Richard Regueiro of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering will lead a new multi-university research initiative (MURI) on soil blast modeling and simulation, aimed at creating a more accurate representation of the impact of buried landmines and IEDs on military vehicles. The initiative is funded by the Department of Defense at $7.2 million over five years.
  • Ryan Gill of chemical and biological engineering was named an associate editor of Biotechnology and Bioengineering.

Students

  • Jessica Kaminsky, a graduate student in civil engineering working with Amy Javernick-Will, received the EPA Star Fellowship.
  • Dylan Boone, a graduate student in astrodynamics working with Dan Scheeres in aerospace engineering, was awarded an NESSF Fellowship from NASA to study the design and control of a Europa orbiter mission.
  • Julia Feldhacker, who will enter the graduate program in aerospace engineering sciences this fall, has been awarded a four-year DOD SMART fellowship to fund her PhD program. Her advisor is George Born.

New Faculty & Staff: August 2011

Welcome to the following new faculty and staff in the college:

  • Jianliang Xiao, Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering
  • Sai Reddy, Assistant Professor, Chemical & Biological Engineering
  • Ann Greco, Lab Coordinator, Chemical & Biological Engineering
  • Megan Jorgensen, Program Assistant, Sustainable by Design Residential Academic Program
  • Lynne Salinkas, Administrative Assistant, Aerospace Engineering Science

CU-Boulder Shares Rich History with Space Shuttle Program

With the final launch of Atlantis marking the end of the space shuttle program in July, CU-Boulder will look back at a rich, 30-year relationship that involved numerous alumni, faculty, and students from the College of Engineering and Applied Science.

Of the 19 astronaut-affiliates from CU ― 18 from CU-Boulder and one from CU-Colorado Springs ― 16 flew on a total of 40 NASA space shuttle missions. The two who flew the most shuttle missions were Jim Voss (MS AeroEngr'74), a current scholar in residence, and Marsha Ivins (AeroEngr'73), who both flew five times.

CU-Boulder also has flown dozens of science payloads on NASA's 135 space shuttle missions. BioServe Space Technologies, a NASA-funded center in the aerospace engineering sciences department, has launched experiments on board space shuttles 39 times since 1991, using the low gravity of Earth orbit as a testing ground for a variety of agricultural, biomedical, and educational payloads.

CU also flew experiments targeting the mechanics of granular material three times on space shuttles -- in 1996, 1997 and 2003 -- led by Stein Sture of civil, environmental and architectural engineering, now CU-Boulder's vice chancellor for research. The tests allowed scientists to observe the behavior and cohesiveness of granular materials in microgravity and have led to a better understanding of how Earth's surface responds during earthquakes and landslides.

Three shuttle payloads also were designed, built, and flown by students from the Colorado Space Grant Consortium headquartered in the college. The payloads were flown in 1993, 1994 and 1997, and were dubbed ESCAPE, ESCAPE-1, and DATA-CHASER. >>Read more

Faculty, Students Monitor Mercury in Southwest Colorado

Students from Fort Lewis College in Durango joined CU-Boulder environmental engineering students in field work this summer aimed at understanding the behavior of toxic mercury in Southwest Colorado. The project is being led by CU Professor Joe Ryan in collaboration with Chris Peltz of the Mountain Studies Institute.

Coal-fired power plants are the likely source of the mercury, but it is believed that high-intensity wildfires can release the mercury that is otherwise bound in the soil and further contribute to its polluting of reservoirs in the region.

The team is taking both lake and soil samples to combine with monitoring of airborne mercury. The work started with a small grant from the CU Outreach Program in 2008, which was followed by a major grant from the National Science Foundation.

>Read more

Aerospace Students Take First in RASC-AL Competition

An aerospace engineering senior project team took first place at the Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts-Academic Linkage (RASC-AL) conference in Cocoa Beach, Florida, June 6-8, with its entry, "Junk Hunter: Autonomous Rendezvous, Capture, and De-Orbit of Orbital Debris."

Eighteen competing teams presented their concepts to a panel of NASA and industry leaders at the forum, including 14 undergraduate and four graduate teams. The CU undergraduate team was advised by Donna Gerren.

RASC-AL was formed to provide university-level engineering students the opportunity to design projects based on NASA engineering challenges as well as offer NASA access to new research and design projects by students. Both industry and NASA representatives attended and judged the entries. >> Read more

Honors & Awards: July 2011

Congratulations to the following individuals on their outstanding achievements:

Faculty

  • Chris Bowman of chemical and biological engineering has been selected to receive the Professional Progress Award from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.
  • Rich Noble of chemical and biological engineering has been selected to receive the 2011 Clarence G. Gerhold Award from the Separations Division of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.
  • Ryan Gill of chemical and biological engineering and Dejan Filipovic of electrical, computer, and energy engineering were selected for Provost's Faculty Achievement Awards.
  • Bob Erickson of electrical, computer, and energy engineering, Gregor Henzeof civil, environmental, and architectural engineering; and Al Weimer of chemical and biological engineering were recently recognized as "Research Rock Stars" by the Colorado Cleantech Industry Association, and featured in ColoradoBiz magazine along with researchers from the Colorado School of Mines and Colorado State University. Tigon EnerTec, founded last year based on work by a CU-Boulder team led by Jean Koster of aerospace engineering sciences, was also featured as Tech Startup of the month. 

Students

  • Fiona Dunne, a graduate student in electrical, computer, and energy engineering working with Lucy Pao, received the Rudd Mayer Memorial Fellowship and was recognized at the American Wind Energy Association WINDPOWER 2011 Conference in Anaheim, California, in May.
  • Bruce Davis and Andrew Tomcheck, graduate students in aerospace engineering sciences, won awards at the first International Conference on Phononic Crystals, Metamaterials and Optomechanics, in Santa Fe, NM, in June. Both students are advised by Mahmoud Hussein. Davis won first place for best oral presentation, and Tomchek won second place for best poster presentation.
  • Jill Tombasco of aerospace engineering sciences won the Orville and Wilbur Wright Graduate Award, and Matthew Cannella and Bruce Davis won AIAA Graduate Awards.
  • Kyle Berger, a graduate student in chemical and biological engineering working with Christine Hrenya, has been awarded a NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship for his research on "Prediction of Regolith Ejection during Extraterrestrial Landings."
  • Daan Stevenson, a graduate student in aerospace engineering sciences working with Hanspeter Schaub, was awarded NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship for his proposal entitled "Reduced Order Electrostatic Force Field Modeling of 3D Spacecraft Shapes."
  • Dan Guerrant, a graduate student in aerospace engineering sciences working with Dale Lawrence, has received a NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship for his research on "Performance Quantification of Solar Sail Heliogyros for Planetary and Interplanetary Missions Using Multi-Scale Dynamics and Control Analysis."

New Faculty & Staff: July 2011

Welcome to the following new faculty and staff in the college:

  • Kendra Locker, Administrative Assistant, Engineering Management
  • Ann Greco, Laboratory Coordinator, Chemical and Biological Engineering
  • Lia Matthews, Academic Coordinator, Colorado Space Grant Consortium

EWB-CU to Complete Reed Bed System in Nepal

Four CU engineering students are travelling to eastern Nepal this summer to complete a reed bed wastewater filtration system for a municipal hospital in the Ilam District. The project, which was made possible through private fundraising, is one of the largest and most complicated projects undertaken to date by the CU chapter of Engineers Without Borders.

CU engineering students Arista Hickman, Marika Meertens, Taylor Pearce, and Michael Fend, along with the team's technical mentor and professional engineer, Mike Gill, will install a septic tank for a new wing of the hospital scheduled to open in September. The septic tank is the final component of the reed bed system, which is desperately needed as the hospital has been dumping wastewater into a gully that runs to the Mai Khola River, affecting thousands of people downstream who use the river as a water source.

EWB-CU Team Nepal spent the winter/spring semester at CU designing the septic tank system, planning its construction, and working with EWB-USA to certify the design for safety and engineering accuracy. This work was made possible in part by CU students who traveled to Nepal in December and worked on finalizing the reed bed structures and surveying the hospital property for the best location for the septic tank.

In addition to the construction work on the septic tank this summer, the student team plans to provide final training to hospital workers, the reed bed maintenance team, and employees of the Namsaling Community Development Center who will provide year-round oversight of the system.

 

Environmental Engineering Students Win National Competition

Environmental engineering seniors Eric Millinger, Lauren Schmeisser, Daniela Castanada, and Bryn Bel won first place in a national student design competition with the water softening process they developed to upgrade a Midwestern drinking water treatment plant. It was the second time that CU students have taken first place in the competition, which is sponsored by AECOM.

During the semester, the team completed an alternatives assessment and preliminary design as part of the EVEN senior design course taught by Angela Bielefeldt. The CU team was then chosen from a field of 15 teams working on two different design problems. As one of five semi-finalists, the students participated in a video interview with AECOM's New York office, and then traveled to New York City to face one other team in the final round.

Global Engineering Team Demonstrates Hybrid Aircraft

CU-Boulder graduate students in aerospace engineering sciences successfully developed a platform for an innovative hybrid aircraft engine with the help of students at two other universities and a round-the-clock design and development schedule.

The 10-foot-wide composite, blended-wing aircraft know as Hyperion was designed to demonstrate a hybrid combustion/electric engine developed by CU-Boulder undergraduates. Professor Jean Koster served as the students' advisor.

Graduate students at the University of Stuttgart, Germany, the University of Sydney, Australia, and CU-Boulder worked around the clock for nine months to design and develop Hyperion. A successful test flight was conducted at the Arvada Modelers Airpark south of Boulder on April 23.

 

Honors & Awards: June 2011

Congratulations to the following individuals on their outstanding achievements:

Faculty

  • Alireza Doostan of aerospace engineering sciences has been selected to receive an Early Career Research Award from the Department of Energy Office of Science. His proposal, "An Enabling Computational Framework for Uncertainty Assimilation and Propagation in Complex PDE Systems: Sparse and Low-Rank Techniques," will be funded for the next five years at around $150,000 per year.
  • Mahmoud Hussein of aerospace engineering sciences has been selected to receive a DARPA Young Faculty Award. His proposal, titled "Vibration Isolation via Directional Subwavelength Dissipation," will be funded for two years at about $150,000 per year.
  • Louis Stodieck of aerospace engineering sciences is the recipient of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics 2011 Jeffries Aerospace Medicine and Life Sciences Research Award. The award recognizes him "for exceptional research achievements in furthering the understanding of physiological effects of microgravity, life support systems for space, and applications of microgravity to biotechnology through academic, industry, and government partnerships."
  • Angie Bielefeldt of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering received the Max S. Peters Faculty Service Award from the college.
  • Christine Hrenya of chemical and biological engineering received the Charles A. Hutchinson Memorial Teaching Award from the college.
  • Marty Dunn of mechanical engineering (and associate dean) received the College of Engineering Faculty Research Award.
  • Sandra Vasconez of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering was recognized as the college's Outstanding Faculty Advisor for undergraduates.
  • Hanspeter Schaub of aerospace engineering sciences was recognized as the college's Outstanding Faculty Advisor for graduate students.
  • Zoltan Sternovsky of aerospace engineering sciences received the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics' Young Scientist Prize in Dusty Plasma Physics "for his pioneering contribution to the study of charged dust particle dynamics in laboratory and space plasmas."
  • Jean Koster of aerospace engineering sciences received the AIAA Rocky Mountain Section's Educator of the Year award.
  • Bernard Amadei of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering has been selected to be the Distinguished Israel Pollak Lecturer for 2011-12 at Technion, Israel Institute of Technology.
  • Bill Emery of aerospace engineering sciences was elected vice-chair of the Boulder Faculty Assembly for 2011-12.
  • The Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering recognized the following faculty members:
    Karl Linden received the CEAE Distinguished Achievement Award
    Hari Rajaram received the CEAE Teaching Award
    Scott Summers received the CEAE Service Award
    Gregor Henze received the CEAE Research Development Award
    Abbie Liel received the CEAE Young Researcher Award

Students

  • Matthew Cannella, a graduate student in aerospace engineering sciences. was selected for a one-year term as a student liaison to the board of directors of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He is pursuing PhD with a focus in fluid dynamics and propulsion, advised by Ryan Starkey.
  • Jackson Webster, a PhD student in civil, environmental, and architectural engineering, has been awarded a George Melendez Wright Climate Change Fellowship in the amount of $20,000 from the National Park Service to study the distribution of mercury in Mesa Verde National Park in southwestern Colorado. His research with Professor Joseph Ryan and the U.S. Geological Survey focuses on mercury transport from forest soils following wild fire. 
  • Carl Seubert, a PhD student in aerospace engineering sciences working with Hanspeter Schaub, was selected for the AAS John Breakwell travel award to attend the Astrodynamics Specialist Conference in Girdwood, Alaska in early August.
  • Felipe Nievinski, a graduate student in aerospace engineering sciences advised by Kristine Larson, has been selected to receive a NASA Earth and Space Science graduate student fellowship for his dissertation project on GPS Interferometric Reflectometry: Developing A Ground-Based Method To Measure Snow Water Equivalent.

Staff

  • Jana Murphy of the dean's office received the college's Outstanding Staff Award.
  • Laurels Sessler of environmental engineering received the college's Outstanding Staff Advisor Award.
  • Christina Vallejos of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering received the Employee Recognition Award for May.
  • Matt Rhode and Deborah Mellblom of aerospace engineering sciences, andEvan Cantor of computer science received the college's Commitment to Excellence Award.

 

New Faculty & Staff: June 2011

Welcome to the following new faculty and staff in the college:

  • Bobbie Atkinson, accounting technician, computer science
  • Louise Koulermos, administrative assistant, computer science

 

Design Showcase

Engineering students donned their best clothes and put their work on display to sponsors and the general public at various college and department design expos in April. Dozens of industry representatives attended the events, which included the college-wide Engineering Design Expo at the ITL Laboratory, and senior design expos hosted by the aerospace, electrical, and mechanical engineering departments.

AES Senior Projects Sweep AIAA Regional Awards

For the second year in a row, CU aerospace engineering sciences senior projects swept first, second and third place in the team category at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Region V Student Conference. The conference was held April 6-8, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, one of 10 states in the region from Missouri to Montana:

First place and going to Nationals: SOLSTICE  (Standalone-electric Optimized Lifting System,  Transitional Internal Combustion Engine, advisor:  Donna Gerren)

Second place: HALO (HySoR Apparatus for Launch Operations, advisor:  David Klaus)

Third place: EPICSat (Express Payload Integration CubeSat, advisor:  Hank Scott)

Mechanical Engineering 'Eco-Marathon' Team Surpasses 1,000 MPG

The CU mechanical engineering senior design Eco-Marathon team was one of only seven teams to break the 1,000 mile per gallon barrier at the Shell Eco-Marathon Americas race, with a run of 1,008 miles per gallon. The team placed 7th out of 61 teams competing in this year’s event, held April 14-17 in Houston, Texas. The event, which CU has entered for the last four years, challenges high school and college student teams to design, build, and test energy-efficient vehicles.

Congratulations to undergraduate team members Chris Doudna, Travis Ochsner, Wayne Russell, Brittany Fedderson (pictured at left), graduate student volunteer Kane Chinnel, and advisors Marcelo Bergquist and Greg Potts for their fine performance.

FAA Dedicates Center for Commercial Space Transportation

A strong turnout of government officials, aerospace industry leaders, faculty, and students joined in dedicating the new FAA Center of Excellence for Commercial Space Transportation April 29.

The new center, led by Professor David Klaus with involvement from several other aerospace engineering faculty, is focused on research to assist in the safe development of the commercial space transportation industry.

Graduate student Brad Cheetham (pictured above) said the center already has begun work to improve the safety of space transportation by investigating vehicle design, orbital debris, and the space environment.

Honors & Awards: May 2011

Congratulations to the following individuals on their outstanding achievements:

Faculty

  • Juan Rodriguez of electrical, computer, and energy engineering has been selected to receive an honorary degree at University Commencement.
  • Daria Kotys-Schwartz of mechanical engineering has been selected to receive the John and Mercedes Peebles Award at the May 5 Engineering Recognition Ceremony.
  • Bernard Amadei of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering, will be awarded an honorary degree at Clarkson University this month.
  • Jacquelyn Sullivan, associate dean, has been elected Fellow of the American Society for Engineering Education. The honor will be conferred at the annual ASEE conference in June in Vancouver. She joins former CU engineering faculty Klaus Timmerhaus and William Krantz in receiving the distinction.
  • Ryan Starkey of aerospace engineering sciences received the Sullivan-Carlson Innovation in Teaching Award, presented at the Engineering Design Expo on April 23.
  • Gregor Henze of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering will be recognized by the Colorado Cleantech Industry Association May 26 as a leading researcher who is moving new technologies into the marketplace.
  • Karl Linden of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering, was appointed to a three-year term as a trustee for the Water Science and Research Division of the American Water Works Association.

Students

The following students received the college’s outstanding student awards for spring 2011:

  • Samantha Johnson (ChBE), Outstanding Graduate Overall
  • Anil Damle (ApMath/ECEE), Outstanding Graduate for Research
  • Ben Limmer (CS), Outstanding Graduate for Service
  • John Wanberg (CEAE), Outstanding Graduate for International Service
  • Cody Cichowitz (ApMath), Kevin Fiedler (EPhys), and Shelley Collins (CEAE), Academic Achievement Award
  • Nicholas Pedatella (AES), Outstanding Dissertation Award
  • Rudy Kahsar of chemical and biological engineering won the 2011 USA Triathlon Collegiate National Championship in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, in April.
  • CU engineering students David Appelhans, Liza Boyle, Matthew Cannella, Anil Damle, David Eason, Michael Frazier, Vicki Hsu, Samantha Jo Johnson, Julie Ann Korak, Austa Marie Parker, Aaron Rosengren, Stacey Skaalure, Melissa Stewart, and Janet Tsai, along with incoming student Antonella Albuja, have been awarded National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships.
  • Mitch Clement, a master’s student in civil, environmental, and architectural engineering, has been awarded a Hydro Research Fellowship from the Hydro Research Foundation, under a grant from the Department of Energy. His research with Professor Edie Zagona at the Center for Advanced Decision Support for Water and Environmental Systems will focus on developing and demonstrating a methodology to assess the potential value of integrating conventional and pumped-storage hydropower with wind generation.

Staff

  • Christina Vallejos of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering was selected to receive the Employee Recognition Award for May.

Distinguished Engineering Alumni Awards 2011

The College of Engineering and Applied Science has selected four outstanding alumni to receive the 2011 Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award. Dean Robert Davis will present the awards at the annual Engineering Awards Banquet on April 29.

Mitat Birkan—Government Service
Mitat Birkan has been manager of the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research program on space propulsion and power since 1987. In this position, he is responsible for an $8 million basic research program of significant interest to our nation, assuring the excellence and relevance of a broad research portfolio. Birkan has assembled an eminent group of scientists to participate in the study of electric propulsion, chemical rocket propulsion, and plume signature characteristics, and numerous U.S. governmental agencies and organizations rely on his technical expertise in these areas. He has been an active contributor to Air Force space missions by transitioning research results to the development of space hardware, and he has established significant collaborations with related research agencies in France, Germany, Russia, and Brazil. He also is actively involved in teaching, having lectured at George Washington University throughout the 1990s, and at the University of California, Davis from 1984 to 1987. He earned his PhD in mechanical engineering at CU-Boulder in 1984, after receiving his bachelor's and master's degrees at the Technical University of
Istanbul.

Dan Hernandez—Industry & Commerce
Dan Hernandez has served as an executive leader in the fields of telecommunications, customer service, and business process outsourcing. He is a dynamic, highly sought speaker who has inspired countless underrepresented and disadvantaged youth to pursue their dreams. Since 2003, he has been executive vice president for global strategy at Sykes Enterprises, Inc., a worldwide business process outsourcer that specializes in the operation of customer contact centers. He oversees corporate development, including mergers, acquisitions, and strategic partnerships and alliances, in addition to product development, marketing, public relations, and community service for the Tampa, Florida-based company. Before joining Sykes in 2003, Hernandez held engineering leadership positions at U S West, Ameritech, and SBC Communications—positions that also involved leading-edge technology and business processes in a highly competitive environment. Throughout his career, he also has provided exemplary leadership for the College of Engineering and Applied Science, serving on the Engineering Advisory Council and playing a leading role in planning the college's diversity strategy. He earned his bachelor's degree in electrical and computer engineering at CU-Boulder in 1990.

Larry Stolarczyk—Research & Invention
As the founder and president of Stolar Research Corporation, Larry Stolarczyk has made extensive and pioneering contributions to the field of electromagnetic remote sensing, including the development of radio imaging method (RIM) technology for underground mining and detection of anti-personnel
landmines. Stolarczyk has been awarded more than 40 patents related to electromagnetic sensing to bring about safer, more environmentally friendly coal mining, and technologies related to military applications. He received NASA's Space Act Award for his method of locating concealed objects, and the National Award for Energy Innovation presented by the secretary of energy. Since 1994, he has served as president of Stolar, a multimillion-dollar research and development company in Raton, New Mexico, specializing in mine communication. Stolar has won numerous technical and business awards, including six R&D 100 awards, 11 New Mexico Technology Flying 40 Awards, and two New Mexico Business Weekly Fast Trackers Awards. Stolarczyk earned his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering at CU-Boulder in 1960, and went onto earn master's and doctor of science degrees at New Mexico State University.

Xiaodong Zhang—Education, Research & Invention
Xiaodong Zhang is an outstanding scientist who serves as chair of the Computer Science and Engineering Department at Ohio State University and holds the Robert M. Critchfield Professorship in Engineering. He is best known for his research in memory systems, which is both fundamental to system design and applicable to production implementation, directly impacting and contributing to the advancement of computer systems. He has co-authored several influential algorithms and their system implementations, which have been widely adopted in mainstream operating and database systems and in commercial processors. Before joining Ohio State in 2006, Zhang was the chair of computer science at the College of William and Mary, where he taught from 1997 to 2005. From 2001 to 2004, he was on leave to serve as a program director at the National Science Foundation, where he started several research initiatives. He earned his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering at Beijing University of Technology in 1982, and then came to CU-Boulder, where he received his master's and PhD degrees in computer science in 1985 and 1989.

ITL Design Expo Showcases Student Ingenuity

CU engineering students work in teams to develop innovative solutions to technical and social challenges through the Integrated Teaching and Learning Program's First Year Engineering Projects (GEEN 1400) and Invention and Innovation (GEEN 3400) courses. Students then present their projects to the community at the Engineering Design Expo.

View this video slideshow of the Fall 2010 Expo.

 

Telecom Program Expands to Include Digital Energy and New PhD

The electric power utility industry is currently facing two major challenges. First, it expects to see half of its engineering and management workforce retire in the next 10 years. Second, the industry is being rocked by a dramatic shift in the technologies and policies that define its business.

The electric power grid that has served the nation for the last century is finally moving to the 21st century with the transformation to smart grids—where megabytes will be used to move megawatts of power. These new technologies for distributed generation, communications and control, facilities automation, renewable energy sources, and operational management are all changing workforce requirements.

To meet these challenges and workforce opportunities, CU-Boulder's Interdisciplinary Telecommunications Program has developed a Digital Energy Program that will help to create a new generation of leaders who understand networking, wireless communication, and security in the context of the energy industry. The Digital Energy Program includes the option to complete a four-course certificate in energy communication networks or an in-depth master of science degree.

"The Digital Energy Program gives students the tools to participate in the new energy economy, which combines current and new energy sources with information and communication technologies to make a smart energy grid," says Professor Tim Brown, director of the program. "To make a successful transition, the industry workforce needs new skills in internet protocol networks, wireless communication, and network security—all components of the DEP curriculum."

Adam Cahn will be one of the first students to receive an Energy Communication Networks Certificate from the Digital Energy Program. He came to the program with 20 years of telecom and business experience. "This is an opportunity to make a critical career shift, one that integrates my previous telecommunications degree with a hot new emerging field—smart grids," says Cahn.

David Bacca, who plans to finish his master's with a focus on digital energy by 2013, says, "This degree will finally put me ahead of the curve in the telecommunications industry."

The exciting resurgence in the telecommunications industry also has helped to fuel a new doctoral program. The CU Board of Regents has approved the college's proposal for a PhD program in telecommunications. Beginning this fall, doctoral students will take advanced courses in Internet protocol networking, network security, wireless networks, and smart grids; and research new concepts in telecommunications at the intersection of technology, policy, and business.

New capabilities continue to emerge from the rapid technology developments in data networks, wireless, and optical communications—capabilities that bring new challenges and new business opportunities.

"These challenges and opportunities are not isolated technical, economic, or political concerns," Brown says. "Regulatory policy may be dictated by what technology can be used, and technology must adapt to economic and regulatory challenges to allow a business to succeed."

Whereas many of these issues are only touched upon by existing disciplinary research, the new program will foster academic scholarship that freely crosses the boundaries of engineering, law, and business to increase our understanding and advance the state of the art of telecommunications.

Space Grant Students Discover Ups and Downs of Spacecraft Operations

Fourteen students and recent graduates from the Colorado Space Grant Consortium had the opportunity to visit California's Vandenberg Air Force Base in February to witness the launch of their CubeSat, Hermes.

Unfortunately, last-minute technical problems caused the Feb. 23 launch to be delayed; then on March 4 the rocket was launched but failed to achieve orbit. The students were disappointed to say the least, but they didn't come home completely empty-handed.

Hermes was selected for launch as a secondary payload as part of NASA's Educational Launch of Nanosatellites, or ELaNa project, which also included CubeSats built by Montana State University and Kentucky Space, a consortium of Kentucky state institutions. A $28 million instrument designed and built by a team from CU-Boulder's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics was one of two primary payloads.

The tiny CubeSat satellite, which measures just four inches on a side, provided a unique hands-on learning opportunity for nearly 100 undergraduates and was the first CubeSat designed and built by CU students. Its mission was to improve communications systems for small satellites through orbital testing, which could pave the way for other university missions to downlink large quantities of information.

Brian Sanders, research coordinator for the Colorado Space Grant Consortium, says the trip to Vandenberg offered a fantastic learning experience, beyond the development of the CubeSat.

"The students were able to see a different side of spacecraft development—the operations and launch side—which is a huge experience," he says. "Even though we didn't see the launch, we had 95 percent of the overall experience."

Aerospace engineering senior Nicole Doyle, the project manager for Hermes, says she and the rest of her team were able to be part of the launch readiness review and to visit the pad where the Taurus XL rocket was awaiting countdown.

For four hours leading up to the launch—in February and again in March—Doyle also joined NASA Goddard engineers and the ELaNa Mission management team in one of the mission control rooms at Vandenberg.

"I never would have thought during my freshman year that I would get to see a satellite, that myself and many, many others worked on, actually launch with a NASA satellite," she says. "This is one of the greatest opportunities I can imagine university students getting to be a part of."

It was confirmed after launch in a press briefing that the Taurus XL payload fairing had not separated, resulting in the loss of the Glory satellite as well as the three ELaNa CubeSats.

"Unfortunately, tonight just three minutes into launch, we lost four great satellites: Glory, E1-P, Ky-Sat, and, our own, Hermes," Doyle wrote in an e-mail to the Colorado Space Grant Consortium community. "We may have lost the Hermes hardware tonight, but we won't ever lose the experience we've gained or the times we've shared on Hermes."

Hybrid Aircraft Set for Takeoff with Launch of CU Company

Hybrid vehicles, which optimize the use of an electric motor and an internal combustion engine for power needs and energy conservation, may soon take flight with the leadership of a new company, Tigon EnerTec, spun off from CU-Boulder's aerospace engineering sciences department.

An engineering innovation that was initially dismissed by the aerospace community due to weight constraints and a long design cycle, the hybrid engine aircraft system is now gaining momentum thanks to the persistence of CU Professor Jean Koster and some enthusiastic students.

Koster's interest in alternative energy led him to propose the idea as a senior design project for CU students in the fall of 2009: "I realized that we have the (Toyota) Prius on the road, so why can't we have a flying Prius?" he says.

The project, which was partially funded by a NASA workforce development grant, attracted student interest because of the opportunity to be involved in an innovative technology, recalls Cody Humbarger, a BS/MS student in aerospace engineering sciences. Humbarger and three of his classmates were enrolled in the Engineering Entrepreneurship Program and hoping to get involved in a start-up company.

In spring 2010, the seven-student CU team successfully flew a small, remote-controlled hybrid aircraft, which was developed in collaboration with students at Daniel Webster College in New Hampshire. The CU students designed the hybrid propulsion system, while the DWC students, assisted by the University of Massachusetts Lowell, built the airframe according to specifications given by the Colorado team.

"It was exciting," Humbarger says, "and we got a lot of good data from it that we used to make modifications in the design."

General aviation airplanes use an internal combustion engine that is sized for the high-power requirements of takeoff and climbing. But the large engine burns inefficiently much of the time because most of a typical flight is conducted at lower-power cruising speeds. The fuel commonly used in these aircraft also contains high amounts of lead, which has become environmentally unacceptable.

Electric motors, on the other hand, are clean and able to operate at high efficiency over a broader range of power output, although they have a limited range due to the additional weight imposed by battery technology.

"We developed a gearing system that is highly efficient and pretty lightweight," says Koster, who was named CU-Boulder's New Inventor of the Year for 2010. "The pilot can selectively choose between an engine that is powered by conventional fuel, diesel, or even biofuel, in combination with an electric motor that is powered by batteries, photovoltaic cells, or other alternative power sources such as hydrogen."

There are two primary markets for the new, patent-pending Hybrid Electric Integrated Optimized System, known as HELIOS. The first is in small, radio-controlled or autonomous military aircraft used for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. The electric motor would allow the aircraft to fly quietly when needed, while the internal combustion engine would increase its range of flight.

A second application in general aviation, where engine failure poses a significant danger in single-engine aircraft, also is in the works. Having the ability to continue operating one of the two engines greatly increases safety, while a takeoff and landing mode using the electric engine could help address the FAA's goal of making airports quieter, Koster says.

"The future probably lies in electric aircraft," Koster says, "but battery technology is not yet at the point to make electric aircraft a viable option. The hybrid propulsion system can fulfill a need now and adjustments can be made as battery and solar cell technologies are further developed."

The development of the hybrid propulsion system is moving quickly. Support has been provided by the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute, Boulder Innovation Center, eSpace: The Center for Space Entrepreneurship (a joint venture launched by CU and Sierra Nevada Corporation), and the CU Office of Technology Transfer.

"With establishment of eSpace just a few years ago, we envisioned creation of an atmosphere of commercial innovation to complement our basic research activities," says Jeff Forbes, chair of the aerospace department. "It is amazing to me how rapidly this has taken hold. We are really producing a different genre of aerospace engineering graduates."

"It's definitely been working out," says Humbarger, who at 23 years old is chief operating engineer for Tigon EnerTec. "We have a lot of support, so this is a really good opportunity for us."

Koster serves as president of the newly incorporated company, and experienced entrepreneur Les Makepeace came on as its chief executive officer. Humbarger and fellow graduate students Derek Hillery, Eric Serani, and Alec Velazco fill the lead engineering positions.

"There was a lot of synergy going on, and I knew how to link the knots together," Koster says. "I see the students totally excited about this—you can see their hearts are in it. Supporting that passion and excitement to pioneer a new technology and take it to the next level of commercialization is very rewarding to see as an educator."

TeachEngineering Digital Library Collection Makes Coast-to-Coast Impact

The middle school teachers in Mobile, Alabama, were nervous. The lesson plan called for students to work in teams to design and build "biodomes" to support life on the moon. The students were to plant vegetable seeds and collect data over a few-week period to measure their success. With 32 students per class, each room would swell with as many as eight biodomes, requiring that the habitats be stored and data collected by students out in the hallway.

"The teachers thought the students might not come back—but they did," recalls Susan Pruet, director of Engaging Youth in Engineering, an initiative aimed at preparing Mobile's graduates for changing workforce needs.

"We started using TeachEngineering in the fall of 2007," says Pruet, who holds a doctorate in math education. "The first teachers were the guinea pigs, but we have seen the students totally get engaged. Now our teachers are enthused because they see their students are enthused."

TeachEngineering (teachengineering.org) is a digital collection of classroom-tested K–12 engineering lessons and activities—including a design project on biodomes—that were created by 18 engineering colleges, primarily through grants from the National Science Foundation.

Jacquelyn Sullivan, associate dean of engineering at CU-Boulder, led the development of TeachEngineering, collaborating on the project with colleagues at Duke University, Oregon State University, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and the Colorado School of Mines.

The collection brings together engineering content created by the different colleges using a common "look and feel" and a system architecture developed by René Reitsma at Oregon State University's College of Business that allows teachers to search the material by subject matter, grade level, and educational content standard.

Pruet praises the TeachEngineering collection not only for the "wealth of curriculum materials, but the way they are organized. I could quickly look for ideas, and it helped me to look at the components and guidelines for writers because we were getting ready to start on this same path [of writing engineering curriculum]."

Deena Logan, a middle school specialist and magnet school coordinator at Grantham Academy in Houston, Texas, also is an enthusiastic user. "The lessons are so well written and match many of our benchmark targets in our district and our standards for math and science in Texas," she says.

Grantham's math and science teachers have been using the collection for at least two years, and have been able to lead activities on the building of bionic arms and making robots out of discarded appliances.

"The TeachEngineering curriculum helps our students with their critical thinking and problem-solving skills," Logan says. "It also provides students with an avenue to go a different direction with their knowledge. They actually apply what they've learned to the world and create something new."

Nearly a decade of work has gone into creating the TeachEngineering digital library, which now includes more than 900 hands-on engineering lessons and activities, most of them aggregated into 54 curricular units, which are fully aligned to all state and national standards for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

Sullivan's team at CU-Boulder, which includes dozens of graduate engineering students who have taught in local schools over the years, as well as professional staff and engineering undergraduates, has generated about two-thirds of the collection's content to date. CU-Boulder and Duke serve as the primary publishers of new materials, which are increasingly being created by other engineering colleges.

The TeachEngineering collection was recognized for excellence at the National Science Digital Library's 2010 annual meeting in Washington, D.C. Meeting chair Susan Jesuroga singled out TeachEngineering as the most "learning application-ready" collection in NSDL, a recognition based on quality criteria defined by NSDL as part of an assessment of the extent to which their 121 collections make their content accessible to teachers.

Sullivan calls it a "labor of love" for the team members at each participating college: "This was started through a grass-roots effort of engineering faculty. We were spending too much time reinventing the wheel and we wanted to do something that would move engineering in the K–12 setting farther along. Fortunately, the National Science Foundation saw value in our proposition and has been a funding partner for several years."
Launched in 2005, the TeachEngineering collection is now being used from coast to coast, and even internationally, to improve K–12 STEM education. In one month last fall, 85,000 unique visitors accessed the collection from the United States to Australia, and Jamaica to Pakistan.

While learning through engineering in K–12 classrooms is still in its infancy, business and educational leaders are honing in on engineering education as a way to bring relevancy to math and science, and to integrate STEM disciplines through engineering design.

"TeachEngineering has helped us in our STEM transformation to an integrated model that uses engineering to connect the silos of math and science for the district," says Pruet, adding that the Mobile County Public Schools recently embraced middle school standards for math and science that involve a design challenge or activity in engineering.

"One hundred years ago the great debate was about whether to study science in K–12 because it diverted time away from the classics," says Sullivan, who served on the National Academy of Engineering's Committee on K–12 Engineering Education and led the formation of the K–12 Division within the American Society for Engineering Education. "The motivator for engineering in K–12 is it contributes to STEM learning through design and innovation. It fits in as the great integrator and brings creativity into the mix."

The TeachEngineering collection focuses primarily on lessons and activities for grades 3–9, although it offers some activities targeted at each grade from K through 12. All of the activities were designed to be done "on a shoestring," Sullivan says, using materials that can usually be purchased at a grocery or hardware store with an average budget of about $8 per class of 25 students.

"We are a nation whose economy is driven by innovation, creating what has never existed before," Sullivan says. "Engineering opens up that world of creativity and design for youngsters—inspiring tomorrow's innovators, while providing context to their science and math learning. Engineering makes the world around us come alive for youth."

Engineering Management Takes Business Performance Concepts to Europe

Graduate student Michael Turner differs from many of his classmates in the Engineering Management Program (EMP) because he isn't an engineer and he doesn't currently have a job. But two years in the master's program and a rigorous capstone project are preparing him not only for a job, but a new business opportunity.

Turner, who worked on quality improvement projects for a credit card company before taking a year off to travel, is now developing a customer quality assurance program for the Seminarhotel Sempachersee—one of the largest business hotels in Switzerland.

He became interested in the project, and the possibility of establishing his own consulting business working with similar hotels, after accompanying EMP Professor Jeffrey Luftig on a visit to Lucerne, Switzerland, last year. Luftig is a visiting professor at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, and Turner attended his classes there.

During the trip, Luftig was asked to consult with the Seminarhotel on its business strategy and systems by manager Remo Fehlmann, who had previously attended Luftig's seminar on business performance improvement at CU-Boulder. Fehlmann was one of about 45 students who participated from Lucerne University and Danube University Krems in Austria.

The international exchange was initiated by Walter Mayrhofer, a 1998 alumnus of the EMP who is now on the faculty at Krems, and by Professor Urs Bucher of Lucerne University.

Luftig and EMP Director Barbara Lawton, who are both internationally recognized business consultants and co-founders of the Center for Business Performance Improvement at CU-Boulder, gave presentations on authentic leadership, ethical decision making, and business performance excellence during the weeklong seminar.

The European students received credit toward the MBA degrees they are pursuing at their home universities, and Fehlmann was so impressed by what he learned that he asked Luftig to implement his model for business performance excellence model at his conference hotel.

As part of the consulting project, Turner has been leading a long-term study and analysis of the factors that lead booking customers to re-book or not with the hotel. Luftig estimates that Turner's project could result in as much as a 25 percent increase in re-bookings for the hotel.

"A lot of people work on improving things they ‘think' will help their businesses, but they don't have any relationship to their bottom line," Turner says. That's why it's important to identify the trends and prioritize the factors that correlate directly with re-booking.

Luftig describes Turner's capstone project as "beyond an internship" because of its complexity and the cultural differences involved in working internationally.

"We hope to give even more students the opportunity to do real-world work in an international setting," Luftig says. "My hope is that we can build the EMP's Center for Business Performance Improvement into an internationally recognized resource for business and industry striving to grow their revenues through the application of the quality sciences."
With the faculty's record of individual consulting success at numerous Fortune 100 and 500 firms in North America, South America, Asia, Europe, and Australia, the center is off to a grand start.

Discovery Learning Apprentices to Show Work

About three dozen undergraduates from across the college will present the results of their research this year at the annual Discovery Learning Research Symposium on April 15. Projects ranging from experimental bio-mechanics of tissues in pregnancy to fabrication and testing of an integrated micro cryogenic cooler will be presented by the Discovery Learning apprentices (DLAs) from 2 to 5 p.m. in the Engineering Lobby. Projects have been grouped into seven clusters, and the best research presentation in each cluster will be awarded a $100 prize.

The college will offer 45 DLA positions for the 2011-2012 academic year.  Nearly 50 faculty have submitted 65 different research projects, which are now being offered to students through the Discovery Learning website. Interested students with a minimum GPA of 3.0 are encouraged to apply online by May 2; placements will be announced in June.

 

ConocoPhillips to Donate $3.5 Million to Biotech Building

The Houston-based energy firm ConocoPhillips has pledged to donate $3.5 million toward a wing of the new Jennie Smoly Caruthers Biotechnology Building that will house the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering.

The department will be one of three CU-Boulder units to occupy the 330,000-square-foot building on the East Campus, along with the Division of Biochemistry and the Colorado Initiative in Molecular Biotechnology, or CIMB. The biotech building will bring together world-class scientists and engineers working toward solutions in fields such as medicine and energy.

ConocoPhillips announced that it intends to follow up a $1 million January cash gift with future gifts of $2.5 million over the next two years. The gifts will name the ConocoPhillips Center for Energy Innovation, and bring under one roof select researchers from two CU-Boulder research programs it supports, the Colorado Center for Biorefining and Biofuels, or C2B2, and the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute, or RASEI.

CEAE Students Take First in GeoPrediction Challenge

Graduate student Erik Jensen and undergraduate William McCloy of civil engineering placed first in this year’s GeoPrediction competition sponsored by the Geo-Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers. The competition was was held at the annual Geo-Frontiers conference, held in Dallas in March.

The event challenged students to predict the axial capacity of a driven pipe pile installed off the coast of New Orleans. Jensen and McCloy placed first out of 21 entries from universities across the country. CU-Boulder students Kenneth Gillis and Devon McLay also placed in the top 10.

Honors & Awards: April 2011

Congratulations to the following individuals on their outstanding achievements:

Faculty

  • Matt Hallowell of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering has been selected to receive the American Society of Civil Engineers 2011 ExCEEd New Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award. He also was recognized with the ASCE 2010 Outstanding Reviewer Award for the Journal of Construction Engineering and Management.
  • Beverly Louie of the BOLD Center has been selected to receive a Marinus Smith Award from the CU Parents Association. The award honors faculty, staff, coaches and administrators who have made a significant impact on the lives of undergraduate students.
  • Kristine Larson of aerospace engineering sciences has been elected fellow of the American Geophysical Union.
  • Mark Ablowitz of applied math has been elected fellow of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics.

The following faculty have been selected to receive Boulder Faculty Assembly Excellence Awards for this year:

  • Roseanna Neupauer (CEAE) – Excellence in Teaching
  • Victor Bright (ME), John Falconer (ChBE), and Melinda Piket-May (ECEE) – Excellence in Service
  • Gregory Beylkin (ApMath) – Excellence in Research, Scholarly, and Creative Work

The following faculty were awarded Dean’s Faculty Fellowships for 2011-12. The fellowships provide teaching relief for a single semester, allowing the recipient to devote time to a major project:

  • Xiao-Chuan Cai (CS)
  • William Emery and Steve Nerem  (AES)
  • Arthi Jayaraman, Ted Randolph, and Mark Stoykovich (ChBE)
  • Juliet Gopinath, Won Park, and Mahesh Varanasi (ECEE)

Students

  • Julia Ratcliff of applied mathematics has been selected to receive the Knowles Teaching Fellowship as a member of the 2011 Mathematics Cohort. The fellowship, which is renewable annually for five years, provides for tuition, summer professional development, and a monthly stipend. 
  • Brad Cheetham of aerospace engineering sciences has been invited by the Space Foundation to serve as the master moderator for the first day of the National Space Symposium in Colorado Springs. The event is scheduled for April 12.
  • The SOLSTICE senior projects team in aerospace engineering sciences advised by Donna Gerren will have a student paper included in this year’s CU Honors Journal. Team members will be recognized at a reception in the Norlin Library Center for British and Irish Studies on April 17.
  • Felipe Nievinski, a PhD student in aerospace engineering sciences advised by Kristine Larson, has been awarded a Geodesy Section Outstanding Student Paper Award for his presentation at the fall meeting in San Francisco.

Staff

  • Patti Gassaway of aerospace engineering sciences received the Employee Recognition Award for March.
  • Dominique De Vangel of chemical and biological engineering was selected to receive the Employee Recognition Award for April.
  • Frannie Ray-Earle of the Colorado Center for Biorefining and Biofuels was selected to receive the 2011 University Staff Council Service Excellence Award for the Boulder campus.

New Faculty & Staff: April 2011

Welcome to the following new faculty and staff in the college:

  • Sarah Pittenger, general professional, chemical and biological engineering

 

Mechanically Conditioned Tissues Offer Hope for Better Healing

Anyone who has ever experienced a broken bone, torn muscle, or inflamed tendon can testify to the importance of exercise in proper healing.

From a science and engineering standpoint, however, there is much that isn't known about the physiological process known as "mechanotransduction."

"I'm really intrigued by how cells sense and respond to mechanical loading," says Assistant Professor Stephanie Bryant, who specializes in biomaterials and tissue engineering.

"There's so much we don't know about the physiology—for example, why cartilage degenerates when joints aren't used."

Bryant is focusing her attention in the laboratory on the engineering of cartilage, tendon, and bone, all of which sense and respond to mechanical forces. She and her students are designing synthetic biomaterials called hydrogels, which act as scaffolds to support and promote healing while compression and tensile forces necessary to the growth of tissue cells are applied. The hydrogels, created through a process called photopolymerization, contain living cells that when given the right cue direct natural tissue growth.

Using a patent-pending, high throughput bioreactor that her team designed and built in the chemical and biological engineering department, the researchers can mimic the effects of walking, running, and even various cycles of rest and exercise like those in everyday life.

Bryant's group also submitted a patent on a newly engineered biomaterial scaffold that has been shown successful in retaining the new matrix that tissue cells are producing while undergoing mechanical forces. These forces typically initiate the flow of fluid, which can flush some of the newly synthesized tissue away.

The next step is to optimize the mechanical stimulation provided in the bioreactor with the newly engineered scaffold, and thereby set the stage for the growth of mechanically robust cartilage tissue, Bryant says.

The National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation (through its CAREER Award program) have been funding the research. This year, the university and state of Colorado also provided a $200,000 grant to develop the mechanically engineered tissue for craniofacial reconstruction. The funding came through the Bioscience Discovery and Evaluation Grant Program, which is aimed at filling the funding gap that exists between universities and the private sector, and thereby accelerating the commercialization of promising inventions.

Four students graduated with PhDs from Bryant's group last year, while six more doctoral students continue working on related projects.

Other areas of research in Bryant's lab include developing methods that will keep implanted hydrogels from being "walled off" by the physiological environment of the body. In laboratory tests, the researchers have shown that the human body produces the same foreign-body reaction to the hydrogel as it would to the implantation of a pacemaker or other non-biological implant.

"There's an early inflammatory response, followed by a walling off, or encapsulation, of the foreign substance," Bryant says. "This has been looked at in the medical field, but we're looking at it with regard to tissue engineering, where we are not getting good integration of the biomaterial with the surrounding native tissue."

Certain proteins are being tested to inhibit localized inflammation, allowing for better integration and healing, she says.

Bryant earned her PhD in chemical engineering at CU-Boulder in 2002, working with Distinguished Professor Kristi Anseth, who is one of the leaders of CU's biotechnology initiative. Bryant then spent two and a half years as a postdoc at the University of Washington before joining the CU faculty, where she is now the Patten Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering at CU-Boulder as well as an assistant professor of craniofacial biology at the Anschutz Medical Campus.

Bryant was named CU-Boulder's New Inventor of the Year in 2007, and she is excitedly anticipating her department's move into state-of-the-art facilities at the Jennie Smoly Caruthers Biotechnology Building in 2012. The new building is currently under construction on Boulder's East Campus.

"What's most exciting (about the move to the new building) is the integration of people from the Colorado Initiative in Molecular Biotechnology, the biochemistry division, and chemical and biological engineering," Bryant says. "If my students have more interactions with people from these other fields, then who knows where our research program will be in another five years? There are lots of different avenues we could go."

CU-Boulder's new PhD program in interdisciplinary quantitative biology will help to facilitate a truly interdisciplinary environment. The program will offer course work outside of traditional academic boundaries; students can earn a certificate in interdisciplinary quantitative biology plus a PhD in any of eight different fields of science, mathematics, engineering, and technology.

Read more about CU's new biotechnology building.

Next-Generation Spacecraft Undergoes Testing at CU

The civil engineering Structures and Materials Laboratory, whose Fast Hybrid Test system has enjoyed a national reputation in the field of earth-quake engineering, played host to an unusual visitor over the winter holidays.

Just about the time that most students headed home for Thanksgiving, Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) in Louisville hauled its next-generation spacecraft, known as the Dream Chaser, up Regent Drive to the Engineering Center.

The vehicle, which is designed to carry up to seven people and vital cargo to the International Space Station after the retirement of the space shuttle this year, is being developed by SNC Space Systems as part of NASA's Commercial Crew Development initiative and competition.

The company received $20 million from NASA in 2010 to support the Dream Chaser's development as part of an innovative effort by NASA to foster entrepreneurial activity leading to high-tech growth in engineering, analysis, design, and research, and to promote economic growth.

About the size of a business jet, the 30-foot-long Dream Chaser is based on NASA's earlier HL-20 lifting body design. The vehicle is slated to launch vertically on an Atlas V rocket and land horizontally on conventional runways.

After carefully easing the spacecraft's structural core through the lab entrance, the CU-Boulder team commenced assembling the test set-up it designed with SNC to help ensure the spacecraft is ready for flight in two to three more years.

CU's structures lab houses high-performance hydraulic actuators with state-of-the-art controls and data acquisition systems. Of particular note is the capability for Fast Hybrid Testing, which combines real-time physical testing with computer simulation to achieve a complete structural analysis at a greatly reduced cost.

Led by civil engineering assistant professor Siva Mettupalayam, the CU-Boulder team used two high-speed actuators braced by concrete reaction walls to simulate thrust and landing loads of up to 35,000 pounds on each side of the spacecraft. Loads were applied to the rear of the spacecraft to simulate the thrust of its engines, and to the bottom of the spacecraft to simulate loads on its landing gear.

Siva Mettupalayam, at far right, led the structural test team. Other members of the team (clockwise) are Jason Hinkle, Eric Stauffer, Kent Polkinghorne, and Nate Bailey.Mettupalayam, who also is working on an earthquake engineering simulation involving a partial building structure set upon a shake-table, noted that the forces applied in the Dream Chaser testing were relatively small as compared to those encountered in testing civil engineering structures.

"In principle, the testing is the same, but there are some differences in the types of fixtures we had to design," Mettupalayam notes. "For example, there are a lot of moving parts to these fixtures, which provide a mechanical advantage, but are also required due to the limitations of ceiling height."

Having developed experience with testing civil engineering structures, this project afforded the CU team a firsthand opportunity to understand test procedures and protocols in the aerospace industry.

About 200 strain gauges were placed on the vehicle structure to detect stretching of the carbon fiber composite—information that was fed into the lab's data acquisition software, and ultimately used to validate SNC's computer model.

Team members included engineer Eric Stauffer, whose association with the civil engineering department dates back to the engineering of its 400 g-ton centrifuge in the late 1980s through the development of the Fast Hybrid Test System, along with Nate Bailey and Kent Polkinghorne. All three are CU graduates. Students Graham Allen and Ryon Pax also helped out with the test setup.

"You can only afford to test so many of the load conditions, but you can run your model against all the other scenarios or situations and make sure you're going to be safe," says Jason Hinkle, a CU graduate (AeroEngr '89, MS '95, PhD '98) who now works for SNC as the structures lead on the Dream Chaser.

Hinkle noted that the structural tests on the multimillion-dollar aircraft required months of preparation, but only about 20 minutes each to run: "We all nervously placed our faith in Kent, Nate, and Eric, and they did a great job."

The next steps will be to build out the Dream Chaser with flight control instruments and "drop test" an unpowered glider version sometime in 2012, Hinkle says.

A five-foot-long, 15-percent scale model of the Dream Chaser that was designed, built, and operated by CU's Research and Engineering Center for Unmanned Vehicles in collaboration with SNC, was successfully drop-tested in December over NASA Dryden Flight Research Center.

Amounting to the very first flight test of the vehicle's design, the drop test of the scaled model helped to validate various aspects of the vehicle's configuration and performance, such as flight stability and aerodynamic data for flight control surface deflections.

"The success of the relationship between the University of Colorado Boulder and Sierra Nevada Corporation demonstrates how industry and academia can work together on a common project to achieve their own diverse goals," says Jim Voss, who is both a CU professor and vice president of Sierra Nevada Corporation.

"Working on the Dream Chaser human spacecraft provides students with an opportunity to apply classroom learning to a real-world project, and it allows professors to extend their research to assist with solving industry problems.

"For companies like SNC, it allows them to benefit from the energy and enthusiasm of students and the cutting-edge knowledge of the faculty. All benefit from working together, and in this case, our nation's space program benefits by gaining a way to transport humans into space."

This video was filmed in the Structures and Materials Laboratory by a Daily Camera photographer on the occasion of NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver’s visit to see the Dream Chaser spacecraft.

Robots Create Multiple Paths for Student Learning

With his longtime interest in computer science, Sam Edwards naturally headed toward the department's robotics demonstration on his first visit to the college as a prospective student. What no one in the room expected was that the high school student actually fixed the demo when it wasn't working properly.

"My hobbies in computer science radically change from month to month, but this is one of my pet projects, like game programming," says Edwards, now a freshman at CU-Boulder.

Edwards is just the kind of student Assistant Professor Nikolaus Correll is looking for to join his advanced robotics class, an honors course offered for the first time last fall. An introductory robotics course is also available, allowing students to learn basic concepts before moving into the advanced class.

"The advanced course is a hands-on class with the long-term goal of designing a multi-robot team that can assemble intelligent structures from modular building blocks," says Correll, who joined the CU engineering faculty in fall 2009 after two years as a postdoc at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Each semester, the class will take on a piece of the robotics challenge; future classes will work on different "grand challenges" that reflect the state of the art at the time. In fall 2010, an interdisciplinary group of six students at various levels in their engineering education tackled two projects—autonomous navigation and development of an advanced robotic arm.

Edwards solved the autonomous navigation piece by creating an electronic map of Andrews Hall (a newly remodeled residence hall that is home to Engineering Honors Program and BOLD Center students) and outfitting a simple Roomba-type robot with an infrared sensor that can "read" its location using tags mounted on walls through-out the complex.

Edwards worked together with Correll's graduate student Michael Otte, who is writing his PhD thesis on multi-robot path planning, to accomplish the task. The resulting robot employs a laser scanner to help it avoid obstacles, such as furniture—or potentially other robots—in its path.

In a similar class taught at MIT with Professor Daniela Rus, Correll co-developed the Distributed Robotic Garden, a project whose long-term goal is to implement an autonomous greenhouse based on autonomous robots and sensors. The project received worldwide news coverage and Correll plans to continue work on it at CU-Boulder as another application of mobile manipulation.

Using open-source software (ROS, OpenRAVE, and SwisTrack), a robotic platform known as iRobot Create, and off-the-shelf plastic servos, the CU students already have turned the device that Correll worked with at MIT into a significantly more capable machine. The robotic arm of the new "PrairieDog" robot has seven degrees of mechanical freedom—compared to four in the robotic garden project—and can achieve every possible position and orientation within its range, explains mechanical engineering undergraduate Eitan Cher.

Teammate D. J. Sutton, a computer science senior, conducted "kinematics planning" for the robotic arm, which computes the role of each motor in achieving a desired position, while also planning collision-free paths around obstacles.

The robot's "vision" was handled by master's student Michelle Bourgeois, who developed a face detection-like algorithm that allows the robot to recognize a certain kind of object—in this case, multicolored building blocks.

Other students in the fall 2010 class were undergraduate Kody Mallory, who focused on power electronics, and doctoral student Erik Komendera, who mastered the system architecture. An independent study master's student, Patrick Cromer, meanwhile, is working on the problem of multi-robot coordination.

On the last day of the fall semester, the team was proud of its progress: the robotic arm was able to "see" and scoop up building blocks in its path. The next class of students will take the project further.

"This course gave me the opportunity to be a part of a truly interdisciplinary engineering team," says Cher. "Each student brought his or her unique skill set to the table, like expertise in a particular programming environment, or experience with circuit design, or in my case, advanced skills in mechanical design and CAD.

"While I designed the robotic arm, I had to consider the effects my design choices would have on the other team members. Did the arm ever get in the way of the navigation systems? Where should the camera be mounted to optimize the search for objects in the room? We had to learn to communicate well with people outside our own disciplines to make all the robot's systems function harmoniously."

Correll attributes the success of the course to a teaching style he calls peer-to-peer learning, which assigns the students to read current research, figure out on their own how to apply the information to the project, and share their findings with the rest of the class.

"The most learning occurs when they are doing it themselves, and the second best learning comes by looking at someone else who is doing something complementary," he says.

"Technology developed by robotics researchers has already made its way into our cars, farm equipment, medical devices, and toys, and will be a key technology of the 21st century. Teaching robotics—engineering at the system level—will help CU-Boulder grads to keep the big picture and make them leaders in this emerging field."

Innovations in Laser Technology Offer Life-Changing Impact

A little over 50 years ago, CU graduate Theodore Maiman (EngrPhys '49) demonstrated the world's first working laser—the ruby laser—at Hughes Research Laboratories in Malibu, California.

Since then, lasers have become an integral part of our lives with applications in consumer electronics, communications, sensors, and medicine. Every compact disc player contains a semiconductor laser, and airplanes rely on laser gyroscopes for navigation, to name a few examples.

"The world just celebrated the 50th birthday of the laser, but there are still many more research opportunities in laser technology," says CU Assistant Professor Juliet Gopinath, who leads a research group focused on lasers and their applications.

Gopinath, who holds joint appointments in electrical, computer, and energy engineering and physics, is pursuing research on short-pulse and high-power lasers, mid-infrared sources, spectroscopy, and microfluidics.

The research is interdisciplinary, spanning several core areas of optics and photonics, solid-state devices, and nanotechnology.

This year, Gopinath received a Young Investigator Award from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) to study phase and frequency control of laser arrays for pulse synthesis. The prestigious awards program fosters creative basic research and enhances the early career development of outstanding young investigators. The focus of the AFOSR grant is on generating a train of short optical pulses by controlling the optical phase and frequency (color) of different lasers.

Beam combining, in which multiple beams are combined into a single beam with optical elements, will be used to generate the short optical pulses, according to Gopinath. Combining allows increased power from a laser system with the use of multiple lasers, avoiding fundamental physical power limits imposed by nonlinearities from a single device.

"The price you pay for combining is beam quality," she says. "This means that you can't focus the laser array down to as small a spot compared with a single laser, unless you control the frequency and/or the phase of the lasers in the array."

While frequency can be controlled easily through use of an optical prism or grating, which disperses the frequencies as in a wavelength-division multiplexed communication system, controlling the phase is a "multimillion-dollar question."

Gopinath's research group, which includes PhD students Jonathan Pfeiffer in electrical engineering and Robert Niederriter in physics, is conducting experiments to achieve this goal. The result will be an ultrashort optical pulse train, with pulse widths on the order of a femtosecond (10-15 second) to a picosecond (10-12 second), Gopinath says.

Femtosecond lasers locked to optical atomic transitions have been used to generate the world's most accurate clock and resulted in the 2005 Nobel Prize in Physics awarded to CU Professor John Hall.

Short optical pulses are of particular interest for communications, sensing, imaging, and the study of materials. The high peak associated with short optical pulses can be used to study and exploit nonlinearities in materials for optical switching and the generation of new frequencies. A pulse train can be used as an "ultrafast strobe" to study the dynamics of electrons and holes in materials, similar to the high-speed photography pioneered by Harold Edgerton in the first half of the 20th century.

In addition to short optical pulse generation, Gopinath is interested in mid-infrared light sources. The mid-infrared region, ranging from 2 to 50 microns, is well beyond the visible region (0.4 – 0.7 microns) and often referred to as the "chemical fingerprint" region of the spectrum.

Mid-infrared lasers have the potential for a large impact on the world's quality of life with potential applications including sensing, security, and medicine. Mid-infrared lasers can be used in gas sensors to predict volcanic eruptions and monitor greenhouse gases, and in chemical and biological threat detection. Gopinath is working on developing several new materials for mid-infrared lasers and high-resolution sources for sensing and spectroscopy.

She also is interested in developing reconfigurable optical elements, enabling devices that can be modified in the field. The Office of Naval Research is funding a project in this area centering on liquid lenses with variable focal lengths. The technology has the potential to make a large impact in free space communication links, imaging, and medicine, as reconfigurable optical devices can react to atmospheric variations or changes in live cells. Gopinath is leading the research team, which also includes Professor Victor Bright in mechanical engineering and research faculty Carol Cogswell and Robert Cormack of electrical, computer, and energy engineering.

Sustainability projects have attracted Gopinath's attention as well. She is interested in applying ultraviolet lasers and other optical devices to water purification, a large problem for much of the world.

Last year, she advised an undergraduate senior project team that designed and demonstrated a water purification system that could be monitored and operated remotely. The project was sponsored by Manna Energy, which will install the student-designed system in Rwanda.

"While research will have impacts on the quality of life in 10 to 100 years, water purification is a topic with the potential for immediate impact," she says.

It seems clear that we haven't seen the end of what laser technology can do for us—and that CU engineers will continue to be there at the forefront of new developments.

Engineers Combine Modeling, Satellites to Track Greenhouse Gases

When NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory, or OCO-2, launches in 2013, there will be plenty of eyes anxiously watching it from Boulder. Among its array of followers is Daven Henze, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering in the department's air quality group.

Henze, who joined the CU faculty two years ago, uses scientific data from orbiting satellites to maintain and improve an "adjoint" model of the Earth's atmosphere. An adjoint model is one that traces atmospheric chemicals, like ozone and other greenhouse gases, backward to their source.

OCO-2 is one more Earth science satellite that Henze hopes to use in his research.

A large portion of his research has followed the launches of other satellites in the NASA constellation, such as Aura and Aqua. He and his students integrate observational data from instruments aboard satellites with various atmospheric models to closely examine the role that greenhouse gases and particulate matter, known as aerosols, play in air quality and climate change. Using numerical models and inverse modeling techniques, they try to estimate the sources and the fates of various chemical species.

OCO-2 will be NASA's second attempt to launch a satellite specifically for the purpose of monitoring carbon dioxide, or CO2. The first attempted OCO launch tragically failed to reach orbit in 2009. More recently, a satellite built to measure aerosol properties suffered a similar fate. Thus, the importance of maximizing data from existing climate-related satellites has become a pressing need, and the inherent risk in this field of research an increasing reality.

Henze's current studies of CO2 have used data from a recently launched Japanese satellite called GOSAT. Henze is interested in data from GOSAT and OCO-2 to help improve our knowledge of sources and sinks of CO2. It is hoped that the global coverage provided by these orbiting instruments will help scientists map the man-made and natural processes that govern carbon cycling, leading to better estimates of how future climate may respond to changes in emissions and our environment.

While CO2 is a widely recognized driver of climate change, other more fleeting species, such as tropospheric ozone and aerosols, can also play important roles. Aerosols are solid particles in the atmosphere typically ranging in size from 1 to 10 microns that stay aloft for a period of several days. Although temporary in nature, some aerosols can create a cooling effect, which means they have to be considered in any strategy aimed at addressing climate change, Henze says.

Recently, Henze was awarded a NASA New Investigator grant to improve our understanding of the link between radiative forcing of aerosols and tropospheric ozone, and precursor emissions. Radiative forcing is the alteration of the energy balance that leads to global climate change.

The launch of several new Earth science satellites in the last decade has revolutionized our approach to atmospheric chemistry, Henze says: "They are giving us an unprecedented amount of data, and we now have much greater coverage of the planet."

For example, satellite data is showing that formation of ozone, amassing some five to seven kilometers above the Earth, far exceeds estimates from current models—a situation that can only be explained by unaccounted- for generation of nitrogen oxides from lightning, according to Henze.

Ammonia, another gas that is critical to constrain for understanding air quality and climate, also shows up in satellite data. A space-based spectrometer picked up its presence because it was interfering with the infrared-light energy (radiance) coming from the Earth, Henze says. Ammonia is emitted largely from agricultural feedlots and farming operations.

By incorporating these and other new data, researchers are able to improve on earlier atmospheric models, some of which were found to be off-kilter in certain parts of the world where observational data was not previously available.

Models are continuously being improved with the launch of additional instruments and integration of new data, but the question of where pollutants come from is still a challenging one requiring complex mathematical formulas and knowledge of the ways that chemicals change form.

The research being conducted by Henze's group is based on techniques borrowed from control and optimization theory, in which the sensitivity of a model's response is calculated with respect to numerous parameters.

Henze, who completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Columbia University's Earth Institute before coming to CU-Boulder, uses a high-performance computing system called Prospero to crunch the numbers and help answer the question of where pollutants originate. The system consists of a bank of 32 computers with 384 core processors, and calculations can sometimes take as much as a day or more.

Besides satellite data and a large amount of processing power for calculations, the models also require information taken on the Earth's surface.

"A lot of times, we don't even know what we are emitting," says Henze. There are only a few dozen sensors that regularly monitor ammonia concentrations in the entire country, for example.

Henze participated in a study with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in North Carolina in which researchers correlated satellite data on ammonia in the atmosphere with in-situ or surface measurements to show that the algorithm they wrote to retrieve satellite data is accurate.

"We hope to come up with a strategy for managing aerosols and greenhouse gases that takes more of these factors into account—and has a positive impact on human health, ecosystems, and climate."

BOLD Center Sponsors Second Annual Industry Night

About 60 engineering students attended Industry Night at the Discovery Learning Center on Feb. 23, an event sponsored by the BOLD Center to give students more insight into the daily activities of professional engineers. The event was the second such event sponsored for students this academic year. A third Industry Night is being planned for April 5.

Brief talks were given on a variety of topics, ranging from a day in the life of an aerospace engineer to applying a chemical engineering degree at a brewery. With seven different presentations at three different times, students could mix and match, selecting the talks that interested them the most. At the end of the evening, students enjoyed talking one-on-one with the engineers about their careers while enjoying complimentary hors d’oeuvres.

Thank you  to industry speakers Lisa Hardaway of Ball Aerospace, Celeste Cizik of EMC Engineers/Eaton Corp., Chris Chastain of Lockheed Martin, Josh Engel of InfoPrint Solutions Co., Jeff Jenkins of Anheuser-Busch, John Mollenkopf of MarkWest Energy Partners, and Candace Vaughn of Shell for volunteering their time.

College Launches Engineering Leadership Program

The college is introducing a new program this fall enabling undergraduate students to earn an Engineering Leadership Certificate at graduation. The program is already seeing interest from top students and is expected to become a good recruiting tool.

To obtain the certificate, a student must demonstrate leadership through academics as well as practical experience as a leader in team-based projects.  Students also must demonstrate strong written and verbal communication skills through interaction with a mentor and production of a portfolio of leadership experiences.

Applications for the program will be accepted starting this fall.  For more information, go to the Engineering Leadership site.

Building Optimization Software Makes Impact on Energy Use

Building energy optimization software jointly created by architectural engineering Professor Gregor Henze and the Chicago-based company Clean Urban Energy is creating large-scale energy and cost savings while introducing demand flexibility into the urban electric grid.

The technology is part of a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform that manipulates the performance and electric demand of a building’s heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system by harnessing thermal mass-- the mass in and of the building, such as structure, furniture, and books.

Once the optimization system has determined how energy is stored and released by the building’s thermal mass, it implements strategies that optimize the building’s HVAC operations as a function of electricity prices, hourly temperatures, humidity, solar radiation, and carbon emissions.  

Clean Urban Energy demonstrated the technology in several  large commercial buildings in the Chicago area in 2009, and in 2010, used the software to optimize two office buildings in the Chicago Loop totaling 1.94 million square feet. The company recently completed a licensing agreement with CU granting it the exclusive right to commercialize the software algorithm.

Honors & Awards: March 2011

Congratulations to the following individuals on their outstanding achievements:

Faculty

  • Scott Bunch and Virginia Ferguson of mechanical engineering have been selected to receive NSF CAREER Awards. Bunch’s award is for Atomic Scale Defect Engineering in Graphene Membranes.  Ferguson’s award is titled, Reverse-Engineering the Bone-Cartilage Interface for Successful Joint Repair – Coupled with a New Program to Promote Diversity in Rehabilitative Bioengineering.
  • Evan Chang of computer science has been selected to receive an NSF CAREER Award for Cooperative Program Analysis: Bridging the Gap Between User and Tool Reasoning.
  • Bernard Amadei of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering was selected to receive the Robert L. Stearns Award from the CU Alumni Association. The award will be presented May 4.
  • David Klaus of aerospace engineering sciences has been designated a University of Colorado President’s Teaching Scholar.
  • Rich Noble of chemical and biological engineering has been selected to receive the Chemical Engineering Lectureship Award at the 2011 meeting of the American Society for Engineering Education, and to have his lecture published in Chemical Engineering Education.

Staff

  • Sharon Anderson of mechanical engineering was selected to receive the Employee Recognition Award for February.

Chevron Names Chemical Engineering Teaching Lab

The new Jennie Smoly Caruthers Biotechnology Building is taking shape on CU-Boulder’s East Campus, and fundraising to complete the state-of-the-art research and teaching facility is in full swing. Occupants of the new biotechnology building will include the Chemical and Biological Engineering Department, the Division of Biochemistry, and the Colorado Initiative in Molecular Biotechnology. 

The first three wings of the 330,000-square-foot building are expected to be finished in November 2011, and the fourth wing in March 2012. A fifth wing is planned for the future, when capital funding from the state of Colorado becomes available.  The $170 million facility is being paid for by private fundraising, university funds, and a grant from the National Institutes of Health.

Chevron is the first corporate sponsor of space devoted to the Chemical and Biological Engineering Department in the new building, thanks in large part to the efforts of Mike Wirth (ChemEngr’82), Chevron’s Executive VP for Downstream and Chemicals. The ChE unit-ops lab in the new building will be named the Chevron Chemical Engineering Teaching Laboratory, based on generous support from Chevron.  Since the lab will not be completed until a later phase, the college has renamed the current unit-ops lab in recognition of Chevron’s support. Thad Sauvain, Cynthia Murphy, and Steve Leichty of Chevron dedicated the lab during their visit to the college last fall.

Additional naming opportunities are available, including shared research facilities, modern laboratories and classrooms, shops, study areas, a café, and other amenities that will promote excellence in research, education, and interdisciplinary collaboration. Contact Engineering Development for more information.

Hermes CubeSat to Launch Feb. 23

The Colorado Space Grant Consortium’s first student CubeSat mission, Hermes, is scheduled to be launched aboard a Taurux XL rocket Feb. 23 as an auxiliary payload on NASA's Glory launch.

Brian Sanders, student research coordinator, and approximately 10 CU students, including student lead Nicole Doyle, will  travel to Vandenberg Air Force Base in California for the event. Part of the Hermes team will stay here in Boulder to monitor the first "fly-bys" over Colorado from the Discovery Learning Center's Mission Operations Control Center.

CubeSats are in a class of small research spacecraft called picosatellites. Hermes’ mission is to improve CubeSat communications through the on-orbit testing of a high data-rate communication system that will allow the downlink of large quantities of data. 

Honors & Awards: February 2011

Congratulations to the following individuals on their outstanding achievements:

Faculty

  • Kristi Anseth of chemical and biological engineering has been selected as CU-Boulder’s 2011 Distinguished Research Lecturer. The lectureship is among the highest honors bestowed by the faculty on a fellow faculty member.
  • John McCartney of civil, environmental and architectural engineering has been selected to receive an NSF CAREER Award. The $400,000 grant is entitled Thermo-Active Geotechnical Systems with Reinforced, Unsaturated Soils.
  • Penny Axelrad of aerospace engineering sciences developed a K-12 engineering curricular unit called Navigating by the Numbers, which included the #1 most-accessed lesson in the TeachEngineering.com digital library collection during 2010. The lesson drew 24,877 hits on the website, with the entire unit receiving a total of 50,949 hits.
  • Ute Herzfeld of electrical, computer, and energy engineering received two NASA awards, the Ames Honor Award for Team Excellence and a Group Achievement Award, for outstanding accomplishments in the Characterization of Arctic Sea Ice Experiments (CASIE) project.

Students

  • Seyitriza Tigrek, a graduate student in electrical engineering, was selected to receive a Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in STEM Education for his proposed work on “Developing an Adaptive Method for Teaching Mobile (Phones) Programming to Freshmen Engineering Students.” Tigrek is working with professors Frank Barnes and Melinda Piket-May.

Staff

  • Matt Lessem of electrical, computer, and energy engineering was selected to receive the Employee Recognition Award for January.

 

New Faculty & Staff: February 2011

Welcome to the following faculty and staff joining the college:

  • Shideh Dashti, Assistant Professor, CEAE

 

Fall 2010 Engineering Design Expo

The Fall 2010 Engineering Design Expo, held Dec. 4 at the Integrated Teaching Learning Laboratory, featured 80 inventions created by CU engineering undergraduate students. 

More than 400 students exhibited their creations at the design expo, presenting innovations such as a recycling jukebox that rewards users for discarding recyclable waste with playing of the CU anthem and a rotating shelving unit that enables wheelchair-bound people to access clothing and other items.

Exhibiting their engineering creations in public at the semiannual design expo challenges students to build a functioning project that is creative, impacts the everyday lives of people, capitalizes on students’ imagination through teamwork and hones their presentation skills — all essential to today’s budding engineers.

Congratulations to the People’s Choice Award winner, Team “Lock It Up,” for creation of a retractable bike lock. The students were Matt Feddersen, Alex Fout, Nicholas Reynolds, and Benjamin Sherman. The People’s Choice Award is awarded based on votes cast by the public for their favorite invention.

RECUV Conducts Dream Chaser Test Flight

CU Engineering’s Research and Engineering Center for Unmanned Vehicles (RECUV) and Sierra Nevada Corp. (SNC) conducted a successful helicopter air-drop flight test of a dynamically scaled model of the Dream Chaser spacecraft at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center in December. 

SNC’s full-size Dream Chaser is derived from the HL-20, which NASA began researching almost 30 years ago but had never flown until last week. The vehicle is designed to carry up to seven people to the International Space Station and back, launching vertically on an Atlas V rocket and landing horizontally on conventional runways.

The development of the scaled model was led by Ryan Starkey and Brian Argrow of RECUV. Special kudos go to research assistants Josh Fromm and Eric Hall, who worked exceptionally hard designing and building the 5-foot-long, 15-percent scale model in conjunction with our SNC partners and six students working on software.

Honors & Awards: January 2011

Congratulations to the following individuals on their outstanding achievements:

Faculty

The following faculty members were selected for honors as part of the college’s 2010 awards program:

  • Angela Bielefeldt of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering has been selected to receive the Max Peters Faculty Service Award.
  • Martin Dunn of mechanical engineering has been selected to receive the College of Engineering Faculty Research Award.
  • Christine Hrenya of chemical and biological engineering has been selected to receive the Charles Hutchinson Memorial Teaching Award .

Other faculty awards include:

  • Fred Glover of electrical, computer, and energy engineering was awarded the 2010 INFORMS Impact Prize by the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences. The award recognizes his lifetime achievement in pioneering the field of metaheuristics (which he himself named including his introduction of scatter search in 1977. 
  • Jean Koster of aerospace engineering sciences was selected as the CU-Boulder New Inventor of the Year for his efforts working with the HELIOS and Tigon student teams to develop a new hybrid engine technology. A new startup company, Tigon EnerTec, has been formed based on this work.
  • Ryan Gill of chemical and biological engineering was selected as the University of Colorado Inventor of the Year. In addition, the spinoff company that he co-founded, OPX Biotechnologies, was awarded the “Renewable Chemical Product of the Year” by Biofuels Digest.
  • John Falconer and Garret Nicodemus of chemical and biological engineering were selected to receive a Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in STEM Education. They will receive $10,000 for their proposed work on “Biologically Focused Screencasts and ConcepTests for Chemical and Biological Engineering Courses.”
  • Lakshmi Kantha of aerospace engineering sciences has been appointed an associate scientist at the Istituto di Scienze Marine in Venice, Italy, an institute of the Italian National Research Council. He may be the only U.S. scientists ever selected and is one of only two non-Italian scientists to hold this position in the institute’s history.

Students

  • Erik Hogan, a graduate student in aerospace engineering sciences, has won the competitive John V. Breakwell Travel Award for the Winter 2011 Space Flight Mechanics Conference sponsored by the American Astronautical Society. His advisor is Hanspeter Schaub.
  • Daniel Costinett, a graduate student in electrical engineering, was selected to receive the first-ever Dwight and Jessie Ryland Graduate Fellowship from the college. The fellowship funds first-year PhD students working in alternative energy or improved energy utilization and efficiency.

Staff

  • Jana Murphy of the Dean’s Office was awarded the 2010 College of Engineering Outstanding Staff Award.
  • Janet Yowell of the ITL Laboratory received the Employee Recognition Award for December.

The following employees, reaching a five-year anniversary of continuous service to the college with an appointment of at least 50 percent time and having received the highest performance rating for the most current three years of service, received the Commitment to Excellence Award for fall 2010:

  • Ann Brookover, AES (5 years)
  • Valerie Matthews, ECEE (5 years)
  • Brian Sanders, Space Grant (5 years)
  • Chris Sarris, Dean's Office (5 years)
  • Rebecca Scala, AES (5 years)
  • Tim May, ITLL (10 years)
  • Bernadette Garcia, Space Grant (10 years)
  • Christina Vallejos, CEAE (10 years)
  • Araceli Warren, CEAE (10 years)
  • Jana Murphy, Dean's Office (10 years)
  • Vicki Bain, ME (15 years)
  • Ruth Rindin, ITLL (20 years)

New Faculty & Staff: January 2011

Welcome to the following new faculty and staff in the college:

  • Stephanie Preo, manager of budget and finance, Dean’s Office
  • Nora Van Leuvan, administrative assistant, ECEE
  • Nick Lobejko, associate director, Engineering Development
  • Marcie Gorman Smith, director of business development and marketing, CAETE and ITP

Much of our success is based on our global vision for excellence

While the rest of the country recently experienced a recession, the College of Engineering and Applied Science at CU-Boulder has been in a procession.

Over the past four years, our undergraduate enrollments have increased 11 percent, and our graduate enrollments have increased 34 percent. During this time, our undergraduate and graduate applications have increased 38 percent and 72 percent, respectively, allowing us to be more selective in our admissions decisions.

We also are growing in stature. This past fall, the National Research Council published its comprehensive, data-driven study of graduate programs. Our programs in aerospace, chemical, civil, and mechanical engineering ranked as high as the top 10 of all national programs in their respective disciplines.

Much of our success is based on our global vision for excellence. As you know, Engineers Without Borders-USA was founded within our college and now boasts about 300 chapters nationwide. Its vision for serving the developing world through engineering has recently been expanded with the formation of the Mortenson Center in Engineering for Developing Communities.

As another example of our global reach, I attended the first meeting of the new CU alumni chapter in Saudi Arabia, in January 2011. CU has over 400 alumni in Saudi Arabia, including many with degrees in engineering. Though the economy in Saudi Arabia is currently "fueled" by petroleum, the country's leaders are looking ahead to build new economic sectors, for which engineers will play key roles.

Our global vision for excellence includes becoming a college of choice for top international students, whether from Saudi Arabia, China, Mexico, Spain, or other countries where we are building partnerships. These students will enrich the experiences of our domestic students and help prepare them for careers that undoubtedly will include international components. At the same time, we are expanding international programs for our students, providing opportunities for them to study abroad or undertake internships in foreign countries.

I opened this message with mention of recession and procession. We have not been untouched by the recession. State funding of CU-Boulder has declined by 25 percent in the past two years, necessitating a modest reduction in our faculty and staff, as well as an increased tuition burden on our students and their families. And yet, we are proceeding with great hope and expectation, as we know that education—especially engineering education—is a great legacy for our future.

I am especially proud that our campus is proceeding with construction of a state-of-the-art biotechnology building for interdisciplinary research and education, using a combination of university, federal, and private funds. I am most grateful to our corporate and individual partners who have supported this and other projects in our college.

Biotech Building Takes Shape; ChBE Prepares for 2012 Move

Walking through the front door of the new Jennie Smoly Caruthers Biotechnology Building, one is immediately struck by the vast scale and utility of the public meeting areas.

Beneath a grand, five-story staircase, the Charlie Butcher Gallery ties together future classroom space with a 200-seat auditorium, pre-function area, and adjacent café that will allow CU-Boulder to host national and international conferences showcasing the latest advances in biotechnology.

A "main street" corridor heads off to the north, linking the wings of the 330,000-square-foot building (half the size of the current Engineering Center) and further fostering interdisciplinary research and collaboration. More than 60 tenure-line faculty and 1,000 students and research and support staff will occupy the facility.

Four of the building's five wings are currently under construction and slated for completion by the spring of 2012. Classrooms and teaching laboratories are being shelled, and will be completed when capital funding from the state of Colorado becomes available.

Corporate, foundation, and individual support is being combined with university, state, and federal funds to continue Colorado's strong legacy in biotechnology.

The building project, on CU-Boulder's east campus near 30th and Colorado, was undertaken to "tear down the walls" between the biological sciences and such disciplines as physics, chemistry, computer science, and engineering, thus paving the way for a new era of interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation.

In addition to the shared spaces at the building's entrance, and several other conference and seminar rooms, collaboration spaces at the center of each academic "neighborhood" will facilitate what Distinguished Professor Tom Cech calls "productive collisions" between researchers.

Cech, who shared the 1989 Nobel Prize in chemistry, is directing the Colorado Initiative in Molecular Biotechnology, which is aimed at maintaining CU's scientific competitiveness while supporting biotechnology development along the Front Range. This initiative, along with the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering and the division of biochemistry, will occupy the building.

The new building will offer state-of-the-art research and teaching space, including the Chevron Chemical Engineering Teaching Laboratory—a space where some 150 undergraduates each semester conduct lab experiments and gain hands-on experience with instrumentation and process control.

The teaching lab is being named through a gift from Chevron, the first corporate sponsor of building space devoted to faculty and students in chemical and biological engineering.

"The things I learned in the CU unit operations lab during the 1980s prepared me well for my early years as an engineer at Chevron," says Mike Wirth, Chevron executive vice president of Downstream and Chemicals. "As a CU alum, I'm proud that Chevron is helping to build a new lab where students can experiment and master technologies for the 21st century."

ConocoPhillips also has made a commitment to name the ConocoPhillips Center for Energy Innovation, thus continuing its support of research under the umbrella of the Colorado Center for Biorefining and Biofuels (C2B2) and the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute (RASEI).

"We are extremely proud to make this gift to establish a world-class center for innovative energy solutions, providing a home for the C2B2 project as well as much-needed space for substantial growth in ChBE research," says Carin Knickel, vice president of ConocoPhillips. "We are excited about the opportunity for increased collaboration and research, and we also view the center as providing an excellent facility for developing talented students with an interest in energy."

The family of Dan Broida and his St. Louis chemical company, Sigma-Aldrich Corp., are among the others making significant private gifts to support the building and initiative.

"Without the generous support of private donors, we would not be able to complete this state-of-the-art building," says Robert H. Davis, dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science. "The gifts of our individual and corporate partners will facilitate excellence in research and education for generations to come."

The Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering expects to move into its new space over the course of the spring 2012 semester. Some courses will be offered in the new building starting in fall 2012, while other courses, including the junior and senior labs, will not move to the new building until somewhat later.

Doctoral Programs Ranked Highly by National Research Council

The National Research Council released its long-awaited assessment of the nation's doctoral programs in September, ranking four CU engineering doctoral programs—aerospace, chemical, mechanical, and civil engineering—as high as the top 10 in their field.

The NRC conducted a more comprehensive assessment than offered by popular ranking systems such as U.S. News and World Report, although it is not without controversy. The NRC rankings are based on 20 indicators ranging from number of students in 2005, to faculty publications from 2001 to 2006, to graduation rates, to faculty honors and awards, which were all combined using a lengthy and complex statistical analysis process.

The NRC reported what it calls "illustrative" ranges of rankings on overall program quality and on three dimensions of doctoral education—research activity, student support and outcomes, and gender and ethnic diversity of the academic environment.

Addendum: The NRC published recalculated rankings in April 2011 to correct errors in the data initially released in September 2010. The revised NRC rankings listed three CU engineering doctoral programs—aerospace, mechanical and civil engineering—as high as the top 10 or top 10 percent in their field.

In Memory of Klaus Timmerhaus, 1925-2011

The college lost a highly esteemed faculty member when Dr. Klaus Timmerhaus passed away in Boulder on Feb. 11. He was 86.

"Dr. T" joined the CU faculty in 1953, and over 42 years served as associate dean of engineering, director of the Engineering Research Center, acting chair of aerospace engineering, and chair of chemical engineering.

He was a prominent national figure in the field of cryogenics, and was named one of the Top 100 Chemical Engineers of the Modern Era by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers in 2008. He is one of only 15 faculty from CU-Boulder to be elected to the National Academy of Engineering.

The university itself awarded him numerous honors for teaching, research, and service, including the President's Teaching Scholar award, Hazel Barnes Prize, Robert L. Stearns Award, and Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award.

He left a generous bequest to the university, which will add to the Klaus D. and Jean L. Timmerhaus Scholarship in Engineering set up in 1992, and establish a new Timmerhaus Teaching Ambassador Award. The new award will honor a faculty member at any one of CU's campuses, and showcase the high caliber of CU's faculty through statewide outreach to be undertaken by the honoree—fulfilling his wish that CU's talents be recognized throughout Colorado.

Planned Gifts to College Take Off in 2011

Among the many ways alumni and friends of the College of Engineering and Applied Science provide important support for students and the college is through ongoing annual gifts and planned gifts. We highlight donors who make annual gifts to the Dean's Club in an accompanying article on page 35. While annual gifts provide a very important source of ongoing support, the single biggest gift many donors are able to make is through a planned gift through a bequest, charitable gift annuity, or other means.

The college has had an astounding year so far in academic year 2011, with $9.675 million in new planned gifts identified. To put this into context, in the last five years the college averaged $762,500 per year in newly identified planned gifts. Why the huge increase? It's probably due to a number of factors, including demographics of our alumni and an increased focus on gift planning by Engineering Development.

We are truly honored to be included in our alumni and friends' gift planning. Such gifts are often the single largest gift a donor will ever make. Designating the college as the recipient of part or all of the fruits of your life's work is an act of trust and respect, and we thank those of you who have made or considered a planned gift to CU and the college.

A few important things to keep in mind if you are considering including CU in your planned giving:

  • Please let us know of your intentions so we can work with you to ensure your gift is utilized as you wish. All of your information will remain confidential and may remain anonymous if you so choose.
  • Our Engineering Development staff will work with you—and your family and financial advisors if you'd like—to make sure we understand and document your intentions. For example, if you want to start a new scholarship, professorship, or chair, we will work with you to find out what criteria should be used in selecting recipients of your generosity.
  • We can provide sample bequest language for your attorney to use in drafting your will.

If you would like more information or would like to have a confidential conversation about gift planning, please contact our Senior Director of Development at engineering@colorado.edu.

Study Abroad Serves as Stepping Stone for Student's International Career

CU engineering student Nick Bertrand spent two of his first four years of college studying in China—and then he went back again for a summer research internship.

"I love living in China—I love the food and the different style of entertainment there. And I was interested in the research from an academic perspective," he says.

Now a fifth-year senior double majoring in electrical and computer engineering and applied math, Bertrand has been selected as the 2010 Study Abroad Student of the Year.

"I believe he is an excellent CU study abroad ambassador who will use his engineering and Chinese language and cultural skills to make the world a better place," says Sherry Snyder, director of international engineering programs, who helped to set up his international placement.

A native of Colorado Springs, Bertrand first enrolled at CU-Boulder in the fall of 2006. After his freshman year, he was awarded the prestigious Boren Scholarship to study at Peking University (PKU) in Beijing. He lived with a host family there and focused on intensive language study as part of a Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) program.

The following year, Bertrand open-enrolled in the engineering curriculum at PKU to get a deeper understanding of Chinese language and culture within a technical environment. Essentially, he took the same science and math courses he had already taken at CU-Boulder, but this time in Chinese. He also participated in a research team comprised of graduate students, which held weekly meetings in Mandarin, and co-authored a paper on Web Services Description Language.

"I want to use Chinese as an international engineer," Bertrand explains, adding that his ultimate goal is to work for an American engineering company in China. "A lot of setbacks can come from language and cultural barriers. I think I can help bridge that gap and still have a technically oriented job."

Bertrand already has Chinese work experience. While at PKU, he was recommended to work in CIEE's international student office, helping other foreign students attending the university. "I got experience with how the Chinese student employees did things, and I did a lot of English translation for them."

In the summer of 2010, after completing his junior year at CU-Boulder, he had the opportunity to return to China as a participant in the International Research and Education in Engineering (IREE) program administered by Purdue University.

With a referral from Michael Lightner, chair of the CU-Boulder Department of Electrical, Computer, and Energy Engineering, Bertrand was selected for an internship at the Research Center for Green Buil

ding and New Energy at Tonji University in Shanghai, where he helped to design and implement software for the school's energy management system. "I really saw how software development is done in China," Bertrand says, explaining that he had weekly meetings with industry representatives who were contracted to do the work under the direction of Professor Hon Wei Tan.

Tan was so impressed with Bertrand that he asked him to come and live with his family. Bertrand keeps in touch with the Tans as well as a professor at PKU and his host family in Beijing. Among his fondest memories of China are going out for meals with family and friends, and playing "KTV" or Chinese karaoke.

Although he expects it will take him two more years to graduate, in part due to his acceptance into CU-Boulder's concurrent BS/MS program in applied math, he'll have two bachelor's degrees, a master's degree, and an International Engineering Certificate when he's finished.

He'll also stand out as having perhaps the most in-depth study abroad experience of any CU engineering student to date.

He already has translated his résumé into Chinese.

CAETE Enhances Online Learning Experience through New Technologies

Are you thinking about enrolling in an online class? If so, you'll be in good company. According to the 2010 Sloan Survey of Online Learning, yearly enrollment in distance learning rose by nearly one million students from 2008 to 2009. The survey of more than 2,500 colleges and universities nationwide finds approximately 5.6 million students were enrolled in at least one online course in fall 2009.

Employers are demanding even more education from their employees because of the current economic climate and the rapidly changing job market. This has resulted in increased enrollment in professional master's degree programs that yield significant job opportunities at graduation. If you are a typical working professional, you may not have the ability to drop everything and go back to college for one to two years.

Launched in 1983, CU-Boulder's Center for Advanced Engineering and Technology Education (CAETE) is the distance-learning arm for graduate studies in the College of Engineering and Applied Science. Offering numerous master's degree and graduate certificate options, the center delivers courses via the Internet using digital capture that incorporates audio, video, and other media such as slides, movies, and photos. One of the advantages of CAETE's current technology is that you see the actual class lecture. These are not canned courses—you attend the same class as on-campus students.

Mark Dehus, application and research manager for CAETE, is gearing up the center's technology for the next wave of worldwide students. "Two major projects are underway to enhance the student's online learning experience," says Dehus. "The first, synchronous collaboration, will enable real-time interaction within the classroom."
Students from a distance will be able to join in on class discussion, ask questions, and provide comments in real time. "There are other institutions using forms of video conferencing in the classroom, but it requires students to go to a particular location to be part of the conference," says Mario Vidalon, director of CAETE. "Our technology will bring the institution to each student's doorstep."

In the next few months the center also will roll out a new social-media-based portal that will facilitate student-to-student collaboration through text and video chat. "Imagine a student from the Far East connecting live with students in Denver, Ann Arbor, and Austin to prepare for midterms, or even a group project," says Dehus, who is designing the portal for CAETE. Live chat, live texting, and virtual study groups … move over, Zuckerberg!

Drop-In Tutoring in High Demand at BOLD's Student Success Center

Sophomore Dua Chaker makes it a habit to drop by the BOLD Center's Student Success Center (SSC) about once a week.

The SSC offers free, drop-in tutoring every day for the first-year and sophomore engineering "foundation" courses. Tutors are available to work with students taking Calculus 1, 2, and 3, Chemistry, Physics, and Differential Equations … and more.

"When I want help, this is my first resource," says Chaker, a civil engineering major.

On a cold, snowy Tuesday in February, Chaker sought help from tutor Ignacio Castellanos on some problems in thermodynamics. "Thermo" isn't on the SSC's tutoring list of courses, "but I know that he knows it," Chaker says. "He's a really good teacher."

Bev Louie, director of teaching and learning initiatives for the BOLD Center, carefully hires tutors who are skilled in explaining complex subjects to others. Many of those who apply, like Castellanos and lead tutor Jon Tebbe, are graduate students working toward becoming college professors someday.

All SSC tutors enjoy seeing students "get it" after working hard on a concept. "It's the fruit of their labor and why our tutors love working with students," says Louie.

Drop-in tutoring has been offered by the BOLD Center for over two years now, and there's rarely an open seat during scheduled sessions. Two tutors are available to work with students almost all the time, and when the SSC fills up, the overflow is handled in the "gold room" down the hall in the BOLD Center.

With support from Chevron and the college—including the Engineering Excellence Fund—the tutoring program is open to students throughout the college, whether or not they participate in other BOLD Center activities.

So far, the outcomes are very positive. "We are finding that students who use the SSC have a higher rate of retention in engineering than students college-wide," Louie says.

Under Louie's direction, the SSC is also working to build "academic excellence" study groups focused around particular courses. Such groups could help to raise the academic performance of a larger number of students, while helping them to feel successful and part of a close-knit community.

It's techniques like that, within the BOLD Center's model of inclusion, that are benefitting students from a wide range of backgrounds and helping them to succeed in engineering.

Herbst Program Teaches Digital Humanities for the Networked Engineer

As a program of applied humanities, the Herbst Program of Humanities in engineering asks future engineers to interrogate their world consciously and intentionally. In Herbst's Great Books classes, students wrestle with how a more skillful lifelong engagement of literature, philosophy, and the arts can enrich and inform who they become and how they engage with their world.

One class in particular—HUEN 2020, The Meaning of Information Technology—asks CU engineering students to consider what it means to be active citizens in a networked digital age. Each fall, the popular course examines online privacy and the legal and personal implications of being public on the Web.

Students learn how emerging forms of communication, such as texting, tweeting, and geolocational mapping, modify our social behavior as well as our means of gathering, interacting with, displaying, and using information.

Students consider who we are and who we become in social networks, online games, and virtual worlds. A particularly profound aspect of the course is students' opportunity to investigate and reflect on their public online identity: They learn how to make wise choices about their privacy, and to shape an online presence that is both intentional and meaningful. In lab sessions, students "clean up" their virtual identities, creating strategic public representations of themselves and their work.

Digital literacy is a fundamental skill set for our networked information age: At minimum, it is the ability to read and interpret media, to reproduce data and images through digital manipulation, and to evaluate and apply new knowledge gained from digital environments. It is also about developing the qualities of mind to reflect on the ethical and social implications of what we do with IT, including the ethics and legal implications of downloading music and other digital content, the unintended consequences of IT adoption, and the challenges of searching for and producing authentic information.

Students "look under the hood" to understand how IT works: from telegraph, radio, and satellite technologies through social networks, mobile networks, torrents, and digital books. Finally, they examine the consequences and challenges of their own hyper-connectedness, including the cognitive challenges of "multitasking," their own digital distraction, and the ways in which they learn most effectively.

The Herbst Program of Humanities engages students with ideas that profoundly affect us all, both individually and as members of a technology-infused and seemingly technology-driven society.

Student Leaders Emerge and Help Engineering Honors Program to Thrive

In creating an educational experience to challenge and match the ambitions of the college's best students, the Engineering Honors Program (EHP) has become a place where student leaders step forward, develop, and flourish.

Beginning five years ago with 22 first-year students, EHP now numbers more than 240 undergraduates at all levels. Members of the first class are now in PhD programs at CalTech, Stanford, and UC Davis; in master's programs at Columbia, Harvard, and Cambridge; and in jobs at Shell, Lockheed Martin, and J.D. Power and Associates.

They were selected to be Goldwater, NASA, and Marshall Scholars; two-time winners of the international Mathematical Contest in Modeling, the 2010 College's Outstanding Graduate, and the 2010 Silver Medal Award winner.

The foundation for their success has been a commitment to creating a certain type of community, centered around Andrews Hall—CU's first residential college with a faculty member in residence, EHP Director Scot Douglass and his family, and approximately 45 percent non-first-year students.

What makes this community work, Douglass says, is student leadership—students who choose to stay on campus and invest in their peers, students who fight for what is good and authentic, students who craft a space that is deeply ambitious without being competitive.

This year's graduating class has four such leaders whose incredible contributions to the larger EHP community flow from the very attractive community they have forged among themselves. Here are a few words from each of them.

 

Environmental Engineers 'Tweet' about Water Issues to Reach Public After Gulf Oil Spill

In the virtual world of Twitter, Karl Linden is known simply as "WaterProf."

The CU professor of environmental engineering is a regular user of the social networking service, which he employs to help educate the general public about water quality issues and findings.

A recent entry: "Value water much? The US wastes 1.7 trillion gallons of water/yr due to water line breaks. Hows your infrastructure? http://sbne.ws/r/6Drb"

It's not idle chatter—using Twitter is actually helping to fulfill the "broader impacts" requirement of his National Science Foundation grant.

Linden and Assistant Professor Fernando Rosario-Ortiz were funded last summer by an NSF Rapid Response Grant to study the environmental fate of dispersants used in the Gulf oil spill cleanup.

Their team, which includes graduate students Austa Parker and Caitlin Glover, sends "tweets"—text messages with a maximum of 140 characters including hashtags (#) that allow users to follow certain subjects—to promote greater awareness of water quality chemistry, while also reaching underrepresented groups in science and engineering.

When a group of high school girls visited their laboratory for a demonstration, both Linden and Parker tweeted it out to their followers: "What do you get when you mix #oil and #dispersant? About 30 HS female students learning about CU Environmental Engineering in our lab today!"

"Using social media outlets like Twitter allows the public to be with us during every step of the research process, providing insight into what we as researchers and academics do," explains Parker. "Instead of only directing the public to read technical publications and presentations put out by researchers as a finished product, Twitter allows for a more relational way to present our research."

The students also used Twitter when they traveled to Louisiana in October to collect water samples from the oil-soaked shore.

Since then, the team has been working in the laboratory to develop analytical methods to detect the different chemical compounds contained in Corexit, the dispersant used by BP to break down oil spewing from the wellhead and keep it from reaching sensitive shore environments.

With analytical methods developed for three to four of the different chemicals, the researchers started looking at how the chemicals decay in ocean water, with and without the presence of ultraviolet light.

UV light is an important factor in the study because some of the dispersant was sprayed onto the surface of the ocean, while some of it was injected deep underwater at the source of the oil leak—a practice with unknown consequences.

The team also is studying the decay products that result from the breakdown of each chemical compound. "We want to get that out in the published literature, so that other researchers can be aware of them," Linden says. Colleagues in Linden's Center for Environmental Mass Spectrometry, Mike Thurman and Imma Ferrer, are assisting the group with the advanced chemical analyses.

As for the chemical Corexit, "We hope to make some recommendations on the best way to use it, so it doesn't persist in the environment," he says. You can bet the team will tweet about that when their work is complete.

Mortenson Center Introduces Sustainable Housing Solution on Crow Reservation

Approximately half of the world's population lives in earthen structures, but the construction method is frequently overlooked by builders within the United States—except in the dry, warm climate of the desert Southwest. Earthen walls provide thermal mass qualities that regulate temperature and humidity passively, which keeps the indoor environment cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

Compressed earth blocks (CEBs) are an eco-friendly construction material, similar in composition to adobe bricks but without the need for sun-drying, that is becoming more common in semi-arid climates such as Colorado's. Made from a mix of sand, minimally expansive clay, and a small amount of cement that makes them more resistant to moisture and therefore more stable than adobe, CEBs offer a low-cost, mold- and insect-resistant building alternative that can be made using locally available resources.

But would CEBs work in Montana, where the winter weather is even more extreme?

A team of CU researchers from the Mortenson Center in Engineering for Developing Communities was asked to answer that question for the Department of Energy and Mineral Development in the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and, in the process, has helped create a sustainable housing solution for the Crow Nation in southeastern Montana.

The pilot project caught the attention of President Obama as the BIA's best example of a successful stimulus project last year. The project also has received funds from U.S. Housing and Urban Development and the BIA's Housing Improvement Program since the Crow Nation has a shortage of about 1,900 homes and an unemployment rate of more than 40 percent.

Crow Chairman Cedric Black Eagle and project manager Larry Lee Falls Down traveled to Washington, D.C., this winter to meet with President Obama, who has shown a keen interest in the Crow and was even adopted into the tribe during his 2008 election bid.

Four homes have been completed using the compressed earth blocks as of March, and as many as 12 more are expected to be completed in the next year.

Using two "wythes," or a double-row of blocks with insulating material in between to comprise each wall, along with passive solar design elements and a ground-source heat pump, the homes' heating costs are expected to be only about one-tenth as much as those associated with frame construction, according to Tom Bowen, director of sustainable housing projects for the Mortenson Center at CU-Boulder.

"We're seeing strong positive evidence that this is the most likely to succeed approach to alleviating the tribe's housing shortage because it allows the tribal members to learn a new technical skill that is based on locally available materials and it will save the families who buy these homes significant money on energy costs," says Bowen, who has been consulting with the Crow for the past two and a half years to get to this point.

Bowen has led a team of students in the civil engineering department in analyzing the quality of the sand and clay available in the area and determining the right mix of materials and pressure to make the CEBs structurally sound. The final recipe includes four parts clay from the Big Horn Mountains, one part sand from Crow Agency, 5 percent Portland cement to make the blocks moisture resistant, and 8 percent water.

The CU researchers expect to continue working on the project for several more years with their focus being on teaching Crow project leaders the steps to produce high-quality blocks and helping to develop their enterprise so that it can be self-sustaining.

Bowen says the Mortenson Center team also hopes to be able to introduce the new materials into commercial development on the Crow Reservation, and to expand into similar projects with other Indian nations.

Steve Chappell Dives Deep for NASA Space Missions

Ever since he was a kid growing up in Lake Orion, Michigan, Steve Chappell (MS AeroEngr '03, PhD '06) has dreamed of being an astronaut or a scientist studying spaceflight. Through the years he has gone to great lengths pursuing that dream, from climbing some of the world's highest mountains to walking on the ocean floor—activities that have helped prepare him for a space-oriented career.

"I've been interested in spaceflight since I was a kid," says Chappell. "This is my dream job. It combines all my interests—scuba diving, mountaineering, and exploration—with my passion for human spaceflight and helping humans perform well in space."

Chappell's passion for space, combined with a love of adventure sports and two graduate degrees in aerospace engineering from CU-Boulder, earned him a coveted spot on the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) 14 crew. NEEMO is a NASA test program conducted in the Aquarius Undersea Laboratory in preparation for future space exploration.

As a research scientist on the NEEMO 14 crew, Chappell studied how human performance can be optimized in next-generation spacesuits while living in the underwater lab off the coast of Key Largo, Florida.

Chappell works for Wyle Integrated Science and Engineering Group of Houston, Texas, which conducts bioastronautics research for NASA. Bioastronautics is the study of the biological and behavioral effects of spaceflight on humans and includes equipment design for use in space or for planetary habitation.
Chappell works out of his Louisville, Colorado, home most of the time, traveling to the Johnson Space Center in Houston as needed. He has led and participated in studies to evaluate next-generation spacesuit and operations concepts in analog locations.

"I like to explore the different ways humans can live," says Chappell. "It's about getting away from what we're used to and figuring out how to survive, thrive, and perform in extreme environments."

NASA conducts tests of equipment in field locations that present challenges similar to those that astronauts will face during space missions. Test sites in such locales as oceans, deserts, the Antarctic, and volcanic environments provide astronauts with a realistic approximation of situations they may encounter in space or on other planets. NASA's test site for NEEMO is in the Aquarius lab owned by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

An expert scuba diver with multiple diving certifications, Chappell was one of six team members who lived aboard the underwater laboratory for NEEMO 14 in May 2010. He ventured outside the habitat to test different simulated spacesuit configurations during numerous undersea "moon walks" conducted 60 feet below the surface. Results of the tests will be used to refine new spacesuit designs.

Adding different weights to his suit while under water allowed Chappell to experience what gravity is like in space, on Mars, and on the moon. He evaluated how the suits performed while conducting tasks similar to those that astronauts will perform in space, such as testing equipment, unloading cargo, and taking samples.

"The challenge is to look at the different types of tasks we think we'll be doing with the future spacesuits and find the optimal balance of stability and mobility that will let astronauts perform all those tasks well," he says.

A favorite pastime for Chappell during his two-week stay in the 43 x 9 foot space, when not performing science experiements, was watching sea life stare back at him through the window of the undersea lab.

"Fish would come up to the window and hang out and look in at us," he says. "It was like we were in a fishbowl."

After graduating from the University of Michigan with a bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering sciences, Chappell designed aircraft and weapon simulations for use by combat pilots. He later developed an interest in becoming a physician specializing in aerospace medicine. This led him to CU-Boulder to take prerequisite classes in preparation for medical school and to be near the mountains.

An avid mountaineer, Chappell got involved with the Boulder-based Rocky Mountain Rescue—one of the busiest rescue organizations in the country—and participated in rock, snow, and ice rescue missions. He soon realized that being a member of the volunteer rescue team fueled his desire to help people while pursuing his mountaineering hobby. He decided to stay in engineering and get graduate degrees in bioastronautics through CU-Boulder's aerospace engineering sciences department to study human performance in simulated moon and Mars gravities.

"I wanted to be in the physiological side of engineering—studying how humans work in space or other extreme environments," he says. "I would not have been nearly as well prepared and maybe not even have been offered this job if I had not been involved in CU's bioastronautics program. At the time, in the late 1990s, only CU, MIT, and Stanford had bioastronautics programs. The education I received here directly correlates with my ability to do this type of work for NASA."

When asked if he would like to go into space and wear the spacesuits he's helping design, Chappell doesn't skip a beat as he emphatically answers, "I want to be an astronaut. I want to go to the moon or to Mars or to an asteroid.

"It's exciting to think about how we'll change the way we think about life and our place in the universe if we were to find evidence of fossilized life on Mars," he says.

Chappell remains active with Rocky Mountain Rescue and serves as president of the organization. He is working on climbing all the top 100 highest peaks in Colorado and he has been on international climbing expeditions up to 19,000 feet. And he's looking forward to taking part in the NEEMO 15 mission. Chappell will be part of the team that defines the objectives and procedures that the crew will perform and will help lead the execution of the next mission.

"As a species we need to push out and explore and learn as much as we can," says Chappell. "If humans stop exploring and expanding, that's when we will stop growing as a species. A hundred years from now, who knows what will be possible or where we'll be?"

With Chappell's desire to contribute to human spaceflight as strong as ever, he will have aided in those new possibilities.

Janet Reiser Takes Technical Expertise to Alaska

The term "maverick" has been tossed around to the point where it's lost almost all significance, but chemical engineer Janet Reiser (ChemEngr '77) is a true specimen of the breed. She's a Democrat who lives in Alaska and ran for public office; she's a former corporate executive who became an entrepreneur, and she's a chemical engineer trained to work with physical formulae and compounds who now creates products based on light.

Since 2006, Reiser has been owner and managing member of Jet Environmental De-Icing, LLC (JEDI). JEDI uses a patented infrared technique to de-ice airplanes as a replacement for glycol. Glycol pollution is a well-known problem at cold-climate airports across the country. At the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, glycol drains into the municipal storm water system and then flows into Cook Inlet, where it robs the water of oxygen, killing plant and animal life. Plans are under way to install a JEDI de-icing facility at the airport by 2013.

The JEDI venture is just the latest in a series of initiatives and projects to which Reiser has brought her varied background and innovative thinking. After graduating from CU-Boulder, Reiser worked as a plant engineer for DuPont in Houston, Texas. During that time Reiser married and the couple moved to the San Francisco Bay area. There she worked for Clorox as the project engineer reformulating the popular Hidden Valley Ranch salad dressing from a dry mix to a bottled dressing—a chemical engineering challenge that took two years to complete. Her husband, who worked for Standard Oil, was transferred to Alaska in 1985, and Janet, a Colorado Springs native who swore she'd never live in a snowy place again, moved with him.

"I said, ‘What the heck, let's go have an adventure,' so we moved to Alaska," says Reiser.

From 2001 to 2007, Reiser was president of NANA Pacific, a subsidiary of NANA Development Corp. She grew the company into a multimillion-dollar engineering and construction contracting enterprise. A few of the company‘s significant achievements under her leadership included dredging the Port of Umm Qasr in Iraq, and repairing the port's electrical system. Her team rehabilitated the mechanical and electrical systems at the Basra International Airport, and designed and implemented a wireless broadband system to connect several Iraqi ministries in Baghdad. After Hurricane Katrina, Reiser served as the executive-in-charge of a mobile communications team working for Northern Command and the state of Louisiana Emergency Operations Center in the impact area.

Reiser credits her education at the College of Engineering and Applied Science with enabling her to solve problems by applying basic principles.

"Engineering school gave me a well-grounded, fundamental understanding of engineering principles," she says. "The professors and engineers gave me a wonderful background in electrical and mechanical science to be able to ask, ‘Does it make sense to do it that way?' I'm all about the fundamentals."

Reiser served as chief operating officer for Sea Lion International from 2009 to 2010. She put together a technology team that competed for and won a grant for $25 million through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that will benefit 53 villages in southwest Alaska. More than 29,000 residents will receive 4G high-speed Internet service.

"The people in those villages are using satphones, which is extremely expensive and provides spotty coverage," says Reiser. "This will give them the capability for economic development, telemedicine, and distance education."

Her interest in applying the latest electronic technology to problem solving does not end there. She is vice-chair (an elected position) of the Chugach Electric Association board of directors, which is the largest electric utility in Alaska. "We're not connected to any grid up here, so we're doing a lot of interesting energy initiative projects," Reiser s