Alumni Newsletter - Fall 2011

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Teenagers invited to design their own space experiments

Worldwide contest for aspiring engineers

CU-Boulder aims to boost technology workforce with more women in computer science

Enrollees more than double

Teenagers invited to design their own space experiments

A CU-Boulder engineering lab is joining with YouTube and other sponsors to bring aspiring engineers’ ideas to life through a contest aimed at launching the best space experiments designed by teenagers.

Any teenager around the world can enter the YouTube Space Lab contest (note the deadline for entries is Dec. 14) by creating a video describing their proposed experiments and submitting it to YouTube.

BioServe Space Technologies, a NASA-funded center at CU-Boulder that has provided educational opportunities for hundreds of thousands of K-12 students over the last few decades, will turn the winning proposals into flight-ready experiments that can be launched safely and conducted on board the International Space Station.

Two global winners will be selected from the entries by a panel of judges that includes Stephen Hawking, two NASA administrators, astronauts from the European and Japanese space agencies, and Cirque de Soleil founder Guy Laliberte. For more information, go to

CU-Boulder aims to boost technology workforce with more women in computer science

Several new programs designed to make computer science more female-friendly are starting to pay off, with the number of women enrolled in CU-Boulder's Bachelor of Science in computer science degree more than doubling from 18 students in 2007 to 47 students in 2011.

In partnership with National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT), led by director Lucy Sanders (MS CompSci ‘78), the Department of Computer Science at CU-Boulder is working to increase its female student enrollment through enhanced outreach to high schools, new content in its introductory computing courses, better community support for female computer science majors and work on a new computer science degree program for students in the College of Arts and Sciences.

"We're excited to see a growing number of women take interest in our computer science degree programs," Jim Martin, chair of the Department of Computer Science, said. "We also see room for growth. Women currently make up 17 percent of our undergraduate program; we would like to see that percentage increase to support the national goal of NCWIT to achieve gender parity in information technology over the next 20 years."

The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that more than 1.4 million computing-related jobs will be available in the U.S. workforce by 2018, yet by current trends American colleges and universities will produce less than one-third of the trained graduates needed to fill these jobs. Increasing the participation of women, who currently represent half the professional workforce but hold only 25 percent of technology jobs, holds the potential to increase both the quantity and quality of U.S. technical talent.

Engineering scholarships make big impact

At a time when many families are struggling to pay for students’ college education, CU’s College of Engineering and Applied Science awarded more than $2.2 million in scholarships 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 to underrepresented female and minority students (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.

Fall 2011 Classnotes

Nathan H. (Nate) Hurt (MechEngr ’47) received honorary membership in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers this month in recognition of his significant contributions to the nuclear industry, particularly the field of uranium enrichment, and to the broader mechanical engineering profession. Hurt has devoted his 64-year career to managing the design, construction and operation of chemical and nuclear facilities. Forty-seven of those years have been dedicated to the nuclear field.

William Nicholas Marks (MechEngr ’49) participated in the Arizona-sponsored Honor Flight for WW2 Vets to Washington D.C. in September. Marks flew multi-engine aircraft in the European Theater. He is pictured here with his wife, Peggy Marks.

Carl Challgren (MechEngr/Bus ’64) is planning to retire as President of Power Generation Service, Inc. on Jan. 1 but will stay on as the CEO for a while. Carl and his wife Kathie (Home Econ’62) are awaiting the arrival of their eleventh grandchild.

John A. Pierog (CivEngr ’69) recently traveled to Alaska where he previously worked for 22 years as a civil engineer. John enjoyed visiting old friends and did a little bear hunting.

Jim Kasic (EngPhys ’89, MS ChemEngr ’93) is CEO of Sophono, Inc., a Boulder-based medical device company that recently received federal approval for its new Otomag Alpha 1 Bone Conduction Hearing System, designed to help patients with conductive hearing loss. The hearing aid removes the need for a titanium abutment in favor of magnetic discs to hold the device in place. Read more in a recent news story in the Boulder Daily Camera.

Jim Hansen (AeroEngr ’92, MS ’93), a former Buffs football captain, All Big-Eight tackle and Rhodes scholar who now works at the Naval Research Laboratory in Monterey, California, visited CU last month to speak to students in the Herbst Humanities and Engineering Honors programs and present "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. In this photo, Hansen and Clancy Herbst (ChemEngr '50) greet each other as faculty members Diane Sieber and Scot Douglass look on at Andrews Hall.

Former USAF test pilot Keith Colmer (MS AeroEngr ’96, MS Telecom ’01) recently was chosen from among 500 applicants as the first astronaut pilot to join Virgin Galactic’s commercial spaceline flight team. Colmer will begin flight training and testing, leading to operational missions to space with Virgin Galactic's revolutionary vehicles, WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo. Colmer brings 12 years of operational, developmental and experimental aircraft test flight experience plus more than 10 years of combined military experience in USAF spacecraft operations and flying to the position.

Sara Hadden (MechEngr ’03) and her husband Benjamin Hadden are enjoying their new role as parents of Finn Hadden, born April 15, 2011. Sara recently quit her engineering job at Northrop Grumman to become a stay-at-home mom.

Brianna Wallace (MS CivEngr ’06) joined Kestrel Horizons LLC in Charleston, South Carolina as an engineering specializing in groundwater and soil remediation and water resource design and planning. Brianna previously worked with Tetra Tech in Colorado.

Jason Bara (PhD ChemEngr ’07) is now the Reicchold-Shumaker Assistant Professor of Chemical & Biological Engineering at the University of Alabama. In his first year in this new position, he has been awarded grants from the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation.

Milan Ilic (PhD ElecEngr ’07) was named vice president of systems design for ArrayPower, where he will drive the company’s development and system solution efforts.

Karen Mozes (MS CivEngr ’07) is working as a business partner at a sustainability consulting firm in Venice Beach, CA (

U.S. Army Captain Alex Warren (MechEngr ’07) recently returned from Iraq, where he was serving as a field artillery officer. Alex is currently stationed in Fort Sill, OK, and will begin the Captain’s Career Course in January.

Melissa Rougeaux (MechEngr ’08) completed her master’s degree in biomedical engineering from USC in 2009. After two years working as a mechanical design engineer in the R&D department, Melissa is now a Product Planner in the marketing department at Medtronic Minimed.

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