July 2012 eNotes

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Engineering Students Introduce Green Energy Curriculum in Haiti

CU-Boulder students train the trainers

Engineering Students Introduce Green Energy Curriculum in Haiti

Several University of Colorado Boulder engineering students traveled to Haiti in June to introduce a green energy vocational training program that paves the way for a new era of distributed power in the poverty-stricken, earthquake-damaged nation.

After project leader Matt Hulse and professors Alan Mickelson and Mike Hannigan made an initial visit in January to assess specific energy needs and employment opportunities for those who are trained in the field, students Joanna Gordon, Nathan Canney, Mark Hasemeyer, Steven Kluck, Kelli Fischer, and Alex Demarais joined them to design a 250-hour curriculum to be taught at the Mon P’tit Village school in Leogane.

Five of the students then returned to Leogane for three weeks in June to train six local instructors on the essential knowledge and skills they need to pass on to their students. To provide the instructors with hands-on experience, the CU team led them in a reinstallation of the school’s solar electric system, including fixing the angle of the solar panels mounted on the roof so they achieve maximum performance.

“I am short of words to describe the admiration, respect and high esteem that I felt toward the visiting team of students from Boulder, Colorado, for the dedication, passion and professionalism that they were able to demonstrate toward the Haitian teachers during the green energy training,” said Yoleine Gateau, founder and vice president of the Mon P’tit Village school.

Undergraduate Steven Kluck said the program has been one of his greatest learning experiences so far. “I have learned so much about teamwork, cooperation, curriculum and materials preparation, energy, technical skills, teaching, cross-cultural interaction, language barriers, international development and more. I have grown as a person and a global citizen and have set myself up to do more sustainable development work in the future," Kluck said.

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Aerospace Students Excel with Revolutionary Concepts

CU aerospace engineering students, along with some international collaborators, took first and second place in the graduate student division at the 2012 NASA/NIA Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts-Academic Linkage (RASC-AL) design competition held in Florida in June.  

The first place award went to CU-Boulder students Stuart Tozer, Christine Fanchiang, Nicholas Zinner, Zachary Grunder, Joshua Imobersteg, Felix Bidner and Lee Jasper for their “Extraterrestrial Outpost (ExO): Design and Implementation of a Long-Term Sustainable Lunar Habitat.” Joe Tanner is the team’s faculty advisor.

Second place went to a global team from CU-Boulder, Delft University of Technology and the University of Stuttgart for “Human Exploration of Near Earth Asteroids -- A Revolutionary Mission Architecture.” Professor Daniel Scheeres advised the team , which included CU students Simon Tardivel and Yu Takahashi and incoming PhD student Jon Herman who interned at CU last year.

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Environmental Engineers Win Awards for Airport Solutions

Three teams of CU environmental engineering students brought home awards from the Federal Aviation Administration’s sixth annual Design Competition for Universities.

Students Jeff Sogge, Natalie Bixler, Evan Coffey, Dan Jones, Jon Mandel, and Emily Merchant (pictured at right) won second place in the Airport Environmental Interactions Challenge for their LED runway lighting designed for Denver International Airport. The team received a $1,500 prize in the competition.

Two other CU teams tied for third place in the Airport Environmental Interactions Challenge. Students Doug Winter, Nick Dummer, Angela Molli, Kelley Hestmark, and Ethan Boor, who designed improvements to the de-icing environmental management system at DIA, and Damien Allen, Andrew DuComb, Tyler Stevens, Brad Eades, and Patrick Nilan, who designed aerated gravel beds for de-icing waste treatment, shared the $1,000 third prize.

Professor Angela Bielefeldt was the faculty advisor for all three teams.

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Google Sponsors CS4HS Workshop at CU-Boulder

Thanks to a $10,000 grant from Google, the computer science department and ATLAS hosted a three-day workshop for teachers June 15-17, focused on integrating computing concepts and activities into the high school classroom.

The CS4HS workshop, called “Computational Thinking and Computational Doing,” was similar to those hosted at universities such as MIT and Stanford. Activities included informational talks by industry leaders, a tour of Google’s Boulder offices, and discussions on new and emerging computer science curricula, including work done at CU-Boulder on video game programming as a learning tool.

Honors & Awards: July 2012

Congratulations to the following individuals on their outstanding achievements:


  • Chris Bowman of chemical and biological engineering received a tech commercialization grant through Colorado’s Bioscience Discovery Evaluation Grant Program for his work on inexpensive, highly efficient synthetic nucleic acids for use in nanoassembly, biodetection, and other biofunctional applications.
  • Keith Molenaar of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering has been elected to the Pan American Academy of Engineering.  He will be inducted in October at a ceremony in Mexico City.
  • Michael Brandemuehl of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering was awarded the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers the Exceptional Service Award at ASHRAE’s national conference in June.
  • Gerhard Fischer of computer science has been chosen to receive the 2012 Rigo Award from the Association for Computing Machinery Special Interest Group o the Design of Communication. The award, which will be presented in October, recognizes an individual who has made an outstanding lifetime contribution to the field of design.


  • Mindy Zarske, who was recently named director of K-12 Engineering Education in the BOLD Center, and her Skyline High (and other) colleagues won the ASEE annual conference’s Best Paper Award for the K-12 Division out of 98 final papers submitted for their work  "K-12 Engineering for Service: Do project-based service-learning design experiences impact attitudes in high school engineering students?"
  • Rhonda Maldonado and Judy Myers of the Dean’s Office shared the Employee Recognition Award for June. Judy Myers subsequently retired from CU.
  • Gretchen Lee of the Dean’s Office and Laurels Sessler of environmental engineering received the Commitment to Excellence Award, which recognizes staff members that are celebrating a five-year anniversary and have earned the highest performance rating each of the last three years.


  • Sri Radha of chemical and biological engineering has been selected by the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation for a $10,000 scholarship.  The award will be presented by a former astronaut in a special ceremony on campus this fall.
  • Paul Anderson of  aerospace engineering sciences has been awarded the AIAA Foundation Orville and Wilbur Wright Graduate Award.
  • Mack Jones of aerospace engineering sciences has been awarded a three-year Ford Foundation Pre-doctoral Fellowship. The award is administered by the National Research Council.
  • Anastasiya Smurygina of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering received the Jules Horton International Student Achievement Award from the Nuckolls Fund for Lighting Education.

New Faculty & Staff: July 2012

Welcome to the new faculty and staff who are joining the college this month:

  • Jessica Howard, Administrative Assistant II (ECEE)
  • Malinda Zarske, Director of K-12 Engineering Outreach (BOLD Center)
  • Amanda Parker, Director of Access and Recruiting (BOLD Center) – starting July 16
  • John Franklin, Systems Administrator (ITLL) – starting July 16
  • Carin Knickel, Assistant Dean for Programs and Talent (Dean’s Office) – starting July 16

Important Announcements

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

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