November 2012 eNotes

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Engineering Student Athletes Work Hard to Reach Their Goals

Students say time management is crucial

EWB-CU Selected as One of Premier Chapters Nationwide

CU students host the EWB regional conference...

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


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.


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

Important Announcements

CUEngineering:  A publication for alumni and friends. Read the 2016 edition of CUEngineering magazine here.

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