Alumni Newsletter - Summer 2010

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CU Engineering Team Flies First Unmanned Aircraft into Severe Storm

CU project flies into "supercell" storm

Six CU Engineering Women Receive Amelia Earhart Scholarships

Honoring a pioneering legacy

CU Engineering Team Flies First Unmanned Aircraft into Severe Storm

Professor of aerospace engineering sciences Brian Argrow (who also serves as associate dean of education) led a team of faculty and students this summer in flying the first unmanned aircraft system into a severe storm--known as a supercell thunderstorm—to collect scientific data.

The CU aircraft, called the Tempest, weighs 12 pounds and has a 10-foot wingspan. It can fly autonomously and is equipped to measure air pressure, temperature, relative humidity, and wind velocities.

The first–ever supercell intercept took place in early May in northwestern Kansas, during the VORTEX2 field campaign, which was designed to collect data to improve the forecasting of tornadoes. The CU Engineering team subsequently intercepted a second storm in early June near Deer Trail, Colorado, that spawned two tornadoes.

“We flew into the targeted ‘rear flank downdraft’ and also rode on part of the updraft,” Argrow said after the second storm intercept. “There was some unexpected data, so there is a good chance our team will discover things about supercells.”

VORTEX2 was the largest tornado field project in history, taking place from May 1 through June 15, and involving more than 100 scientists and 40 support vehicles from across the country. The CU Engineering team was unique in deploying an unmanned aircraft system as part of the experiment.

>>More information and video of the Tempest in flight

Six CU Engineering Women Receive Amelia Earhart Scholarships

Zonta International, an organization dedicating to advancing the status of women worldwide, awarded Amelia Earhart Fellowships to 35 outstanding women pursuing doctoral degrees in aerospace-related sciences and engineering this year—including six who are studying at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

CU-Boulder students Christine Hartzell, Jennifer Mindock, Aurore Sibois, Laura Stiles, Jill Tombasco, and Neeti Wagle (not shown) each received $10,000 in support for the 2010-2011 academic year.

Wagle is pursuing her PhD in computer science, while the other five CU-Boulder recipients are working toward PhDs in aerospace engineering sciences. Hartzell and Stiles also received a fellowship last year.

The fellowships honor the legacy of Amelia Earhart, a famous aviation pioneer in the 1920s and 1930s, and a member of Zonta International. Earhart, who was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, encouraged women to expand their horizons by exploring occupations and holding positions beyond those traditionally held by women.

>>More information on Amelia Earhart Fellowship

CU Launches New Graduate Program in Smart-Grid Technologies

CU-Boulder is launching a new graduate program in digital energy this fall, thanks to a $2.4 million workforce training grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.  The new program is designed for students seeking either a full  MS degree or a shorter certificate, and may be completed on campus or online.

The Digital Energy Program will give students the tools to participate in the new energy economy, which combines current and new energy sources with information and communication technologies to develop a “smart” energy grid.  

>> More information on Digital Energy Program

Engineering Prof Helps Durango with Mercury Problem

Professor of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering Joseph Ryan wants to find out exactly what is happening to the mercury around Durango and other communities in southwestern Colorado.  Believed to be deposited largely by coal-burning power plants in the Four Corners area, the mercury has been making its way into area reservoirs, which are increasingly being tagged with advisories limiting fish consumption.

Ryan’s hunch, based on preliminary findings from 1½ years of research funded by CU sources, is that forest fires, like the large Missionary Ridge Fire in 2002, are speeding up the release of methyl mercury into area reservoirs popular for recreational fishing, where it accumulates in the fatty tissues of organisms. This spring, Ryan got a $690,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to do more detailed work on the issue.

Ryan will be collaborating with researchers at the Mountain Studies Institute as part of the San Juan Collaboratory, along with the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Illinois at Chicago.

>>More information on the San Juan Collaboratory

Summer 2010 Classnotes

Chuck Wardman (AeroEngr ’46) is retired from 40 years in the oil and construction business and living in Bixby, Oklahoma. He founded the Immortality Club and is an active author writing about healthy living.

Robert McBrayer (ChemEngr ’55) has been appointed to a two-year term as a member of the Archidocesan Pastoral Council, the primary consultative body for pastoral to the Archbishop of Detroit. He is retired from BASF Corp. and living in Lincoln Park, Michigan.

Ronald Yabroff (ChemEngr ’59) is an instructor at the Academy of Lifelong Learning at the University of Delaware in Wilmington. He earned his PhD at Cornell University and worked at DuPont for 36 years in research and development, patents, marketing, and manufacturing technical support.

Jerry Chapman (MechEngr/Bus ’60) is retired from Dupont and active in volunteer activities in Seaford, Delaware. He volunteers to assist disabled veterans, the Seaford Historical Society, Meals on Wheels, and the Nanticoke River Yacht Club.

Adel Al-Taweel (previously El-Tawil) (MS ChemEngr ’66, PhD CivEngr ‘69) is professor and director of the Natural Gas Research Institute of the Americas at the University of Trinidad and Tobago.

David Hunter (ChemEngr/Bus ’72) is chief clerk at the Montana House of Representatives in Helena, Montana.

Richard Zollars (MS ChemEngr ’72, PhD ’74) is a professor of chemical engineering and bioengineering at Washington State University in Pullman, Washington.

Gary Allen (MS Telecom ’78) is a project manager with the Department of the Army in Orlando, Florida, and was recently selected for a professional development position as an associate director with the DOD Modeling and Simulation Coordination Office in Washington, D.C.

Steve Dowis (ChemEngr ’78) is retired from Intel and living in Beaverton, Oregon.

Dale Cantwell (ChemEngr ’78) is a self-employed consulting engineer in Denver.

Doug Dickmann (AeroEngr ’79) is a pilot with U.S. Airways, living in Exton, Pennsylvania.

John Blakney (ChemEngr ’81) is vice president for midstream at CH2M HILL and lives in Centennial, Colorado.

Richard Nelson (CivEngr ’81) was elected a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers. He is assistant director of the Nevada Department of Transportation and lives in Minden, Nevada.

Fred Kitson (PhD ElecCompEngr ‘81) was appointed executive vice president and chief technology officer at DTS, Inc., a leading audio technology company headquartered in Calabasas, California. Kitson was corporate vice president and head of R&D for Motorola from 2005 to 2008.

Dan Reed (ChemEngr ’83) is an account manager at Baker Hughes in Benicia, California.

Ben Nelson (CivEngr ’84, MS ’88) is a principal at Martin/Martin, Inc. in Arvada, Colorado.

David Gupta (ArchEngr ’85) is the president/CEO of System Development.Integration, LLC, a Chicago-based IT systems integration firm offering specialized products and services to state and local government, utilities, and real estate owners.

George Alameddin (ChemEngr ’87) is a programmer and analyst with Xcel Energy in Golden, Colorado.

Nancy Thonen (ChemEngr ’88) is director of product supply and refinery sales at Suncor Energy in Thornton, Colorado.

Youssef Fakhreddine (MS MechEngr ’87, PhD ‘91) is a business development specialist at Saudi Aramco in Saudi Arabia.

Victor Gurule (CompSci ’90) is a controls project manager at Petrobras in Caracas, Venezuela.

Daniel Sanchez-Bustamante (ArchEngr ’93) is a mission deputy director for the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Michael Woods (MechEngr ’94) is a husband and father of two children living in Allen, Texas, where he works as intellectual property counsel to the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group.

Christopher Champagne (MS AeroEngr ’99) is an aerospace engineer with Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems in Redondo Beach, California.

Michael Detamore (ChemEngr ’00) is an associate professor of chemical and petroleum engineering at the University of Kansas in Lawrence. He earned his PhD in bioengineering at Rice University.

David Bryson Gaboury (ArchEngr ’03) and a small group of engineers have launched a new engineering and construction consulting firm focused on infrastructure projects throughout the developing world. Called Advancing Engineering Consultants, the firm uses a social business model developed after years of volunteer work with Engineers Without Borders, he says. The team has been working in Cambodia for the last year finalizing the business plan while working on temple restoration and slowly building the business.

Michelle Zeles-Hahn (ChemEngr ’04) and her husband Andrew Hahn (EngrPhys ’05) are proud to introduce their daughter, Audrey Elaiane Hahn, born May 27.

Bryon Hartzog (MS Telecomm ’06) was recently promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and will be reporting to Ft. Meade, Maryland, in July to work with the U.S. Cyber Command.

Jason Bara (PhD ChemEngr ’07) started a position as assistant professor in the Chemical and Biological Engineering Department at the University of Alabama in June.

Max Colice (PhD ElecEngr ’07) has been promoted to patent agent at the intellectual property law firm of Hamilton Brook Smith Reynolds in Concord, Massachusetts. He assists the firm in patent preparation and prosecution in the area of lasers, optics, electronics, software, and telecommunications.

Jesse Lyman (CivEngr ’09) is a civil engineer with the Federal Aviation Administration in Aurora, Colorado.

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