March 2012 eNotes

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Giant Orrery in the Works for Andrews Hall

Honors students craft a model solar system

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:


  • 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.


  • Laura Stiles, a graduate student in aerospace engineering sciences, was invited to be a master moderator at the National Space Symposium.


  • Molly Conroy of mechanical engineering was selected to receive the Employee Recognition Award for February.

Important Announcements

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

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