Alumni Newsletter - Summer 2012

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Technology and tradition mark May commencement

"Legacy cord" makes a debut

CU-Boulder alumnus Sanford McDonnell dies

Alum modernized aerospace company

CU mechanical engineers build adaptive bikes for kids

A project with a "lasting impact"

CU mechanical engineers build adaptive bikes for kids

Child client tests out adaptive bikeCU-Boulder juniors who enroll in the mechanical engineering Component Design course usually engage in a hands-on project that reinforces their learning.

This year, Instructor Daria Kotys-Schwartz (PhD MechEngr ’07) took the project up a notch with the introduction of real clients—children with disabilities—who could benefit from the students’ work.

 “The students indicated they wanted to do a project with lasting impact,” said Kotys-Schwartz, a past winner of the Peebles Innovation in Education Award whose commitment to students seemingly knows no bounds. 

She matched up her students (130 of them, working in teams of five) with a variety of special needs clients, and just 13 weeks later, hosted a design showcase where the youngsters got to try out the specially adapted bikes.

>>See coverage, including video, in the Daily Camera

CU-Boulder alumnus Sanford McDonnell dies

Sanford McDonnellSanford McDonnell, who earned a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering at CU-Boulder in 1948 and went onto succeed his uncle as chairman of the leading aerospace company McDonnell Douglas, died in March at the age of 89.

McDonnell is a recipient of the college’s Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award and the university’s George Norlin Award for outstanding alumni.

He is survived by his wife, Priscilla, who earned a music degree at CU-Boulder in 1951.

>>Read more from the New York Times

Technology and tradition mark May commencement

May 2012 graduate Ian Milligan wearing his CU Legacy cord
May 2012 graduate Ian Milligan wearing his
Legacy cord.

Long-standing tradition and new technology both found their place in the celebration of CU’s May commencement, when a record 6,237 Boulder graduates received University of Colorado degrees, including 806 from the College of Engineering.

Several May grads sported the new “legacy cord” introduced this year to recognize graduates whose family members previously graduated from CU. Ian Milligan (ChemBio Engr ’12) was one of them.

Ian Milligan's grandfather, Robert C. Strange, began the family’s CU tradition in 1958 when he graduated with a degree in architectural engineering. The owner of an architectural firm called Strange & Associates, Robert Strange had four children who all obtained engineering degrees from CU: Catherine Strange (MechEngr ’77), Ian’s mother Lynn Strange (ChemEngr ’81), Robson Strange (MechEngr ’84), and Bradley Strange (ElecEngr ’87). Ian’s brother, Colin Milligan, also is studying mechanical engineering at CU, and plans to wear the legacy cord when he graduates, hopefully in 2015.

“Our father raised us all with ‘engineering ways,’ from building a house around us as we grew up, to spending a Thanksgiving dinner designing a better toilet,” says Lynn Strange. “He also taught us we could go anywhere and do anything, once you got the engineering degree.  And what a riot to have a son have the same professor (John Falconer) for Thermodynamics that his mother had 30 years prior.”

Also new to this year’s commencement was the unique compilation of social media posts around the event into a series of online albums on Storify. As excited students, proud parents, nostalgic alumni, and others flooded social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with graduation-related posts, our friends at the Leeds School of Business used Storify to capture the excitement of the moment in a rich composition we couldn’t resist sharing with you. You can see the albums at

Summer 2012 Classnotes

Louise Price Giersch (ChemEngr ’48), a 1989 Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award winner, is serving on the Local Agency Formation Commission of Tuolumne County, Califonia. She previously spent nine years on the Tuolumne Utilities District Board. At 86, Louise is proud to still be doing her part for the community. She her late husband, Lauron Giersch (ChemEngr ’48), retired to Sonora in 1993 and traveled the world together. These days she enjoys cheering on the Buffs as part of the Big 12 West Coast rivalry.

Morley Robinson (CivEngr ’50) and his wife Dolores Robinson celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary this year. Morley worked as an aerospace engineer for 38 years on a variety of space projects including the space shuttle.

Mohamed H. Al-Mady (ChemEngr ’73, HonDocSci ’12) was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science at the University of Colorado Boulder’s spring commencement. Vice chairman and CEO of Saudi Arabian petrochemical giant Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) and a 2010 CU Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award winner, Al-Mady also recently was named the new co-chairman of the U.S.-Saudi Arabian Business Council.

Lucy Sanders (MS CompSci ’78), CEO of the National Center for Women & Information Technology NCWIT), was selected to receive the 2012 A. Nico Habermann Award. Lucy, along with colleagues Robert Schnabel and Telle Whitney, were given the award in recognition of their joint efforts to establish and sustain NCWIT, a national resource dedicated to encouraging greater participation of women in the development of computing technology.

Bo Halamandaris (ElecEngr ‘81) was named senior director of operations at Encorp LLC, a Fort Collins energy distribution company. >> Learn more

Michelle Eshow (AeroEngr ’82) celebrates her 30th anniversary as an aerospace engineer with NASA Ames this month.

Nan Joesten (ChemEngr ’82) recently launched a new consulting firm, Rapid Evolution, LLC, which provides leadership training, professional development, and executive coaching. A 2012 Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award winner, Nan lives in the Bay Area and hosted a CU Engineering alumni event at her home early this month.

Herbert S. Vogel (MechEngr ’82) recently retired from BP Energy Co. and was appointed senior vice president of portfolio development and technical services at SM Energy Company.

Steven T. Wiesner (MS CivEngr ’88) is Director of the Airport Expansion Program for Broward County Aviation Department. He recently held a ground-breaking ceremony that kicked off construction to extend a runway over railroad tracks and a highway, and received final funding to construct a 14-gate international concourse for the $1.4-billion airport expansion program at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Steven plays the drums in his spare time to unwind.

Jeremy Akel (AeroEngr ’90) was named senior vice president of global operations for Bristow Group Inc., one of the world's largest providers of helicopter services.

Ashok SrivastavaThe American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) selected Ashok N. Srivastava (ElecEngr ’91, MS ’93, PhD ’96) as the editor-in-chief of its Journal of Aerospace Computing, Information, and Communication. Ashok also was recognized this spring with the College of Engineering and Applied Science’s Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award.

See-Woong Jeong (PhD ElecEngr ’92) was named executive vice president of the Sales and Marketing team for the Systems LSI Division of Samsung Electronics Co. in April.

Jeff Osterkamp (MS EngMgmt ’97) was appointed vice president for Engineering by Ball Aerospace & Technology Corp. In his new role, Jeff provides overall strategic and operational leadership for all disciplines of engineering at all, including manufacturing, test, supply chain management IR&D and intellectual property.

Attorney Jeffrey Connor (ChemEngr ’99) was hired as an associate to Kilpatrick Townsend’s Denver-based Patent Litigation Team.

Stephan Biber (MS ElecEngr ’00) will be speaking at IEEE International Symposium on Antennas and Propagation July 8-14.

Rob Dahl (ChemEngr ’04) finished his PhD at University of California Berkeley and got a job as a fermentation scientist at Amyris.  He is engaged to be married in September and busy planning his wedding.

Stephen Russel (AeroEngr ’04) is finishing his PhD at Stanford this month. He is engaged to be married in August.

Alex Shye (MS ElecEngr ’05) finished his PhD at Northwestern in 2010. After working at Qualcomm Research in the Silicon Valley for 18 months, he is now working for himself and giving entrepreneurship a try.

Jiawen (Terry) Song (AeroEngr ’06) works on the testing effort for the latest generation of the atomic reactor, the Westinghouse AP1000. The power plant in Sanmen, China will be the world's first home for the AP1000. Jiawen works on the Protection and Safety Monitoring System, a critical system responsible for protecting the power plant and the public in an adverse situation.

Jason CokerJason Coker (MS CivEngr ’07), a Turner project manager/engineer, was elected to the board of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). Jason joined Turner in 2007 following five years of U.S. Air Force construction management experience. He also serves as Turner’s Denver area sustainability manager, overseeing Turner’s local sustainable construction pursuits, resources and LEED training program.

Nicholas Braunagel (left) is pictured with his manager on the floor of the New York Stock ExchangeNicholas Braunagel (MechEngr ’08) moved to New York City at the beginning of 2009 and has been working as a business and strategy consultant for client companies with large IT requirements to support mission critical operations. In the photo, Nicholas (left) is pictured with his manager on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Avery BangAvery Bang (MS CivEngr ’09) was promoted to executive cirector of Bridges to Prosperity, a non-profit organization that builds footbridges in developing countries. With staff currently in eight countries on four continents, B2P has built over 100 bridges in coordination with industry supporters including Flatiron Construction, Parsons Brinckerhoff, McNary Bergeron, CH2M Hill and ARUP.

Paul Kasemir (BS/MS ElecComp '09) is holding his own in G4/NBC's obstacle course competition series, "American Ninja Warrior." Let's cheer on our fellow Buff as he heads to the finals!

Shanon Reckinger (MS MechEngr ’10, PhD ’11) was named the Clare Boothe Luce Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Fairfield University’s School of Engineering in Fairfield, Connecticut.

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