July 2013 eNotes

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Summer Means Engineering for St. Vrain Elementary Teachers

70 teachers take hands-on training

Summer Means Engineering for St. Vrain Elementary Teachers

Through the partnership between the Integrated Teaching and Learning Program’s TEAMS Program and the Skyline High School STEM Academy feeder schools in the St. Vrain Valley School District, about 70 elementary teachers and STEM coordinators engaged in hands-on engineering design at a CU-assisted teacher training in June.

The elementary teachers were preparing to focus on STEM as part of an extensive summer school program through their new “Race to The Top” grant. The engineering workshop was led by Mindy Zarske, director of K-12 Engineering, and Janet Yowell, associate director of K-12 Engineering, and assisted by nine PhD engineering TEAMS Fellows.

Teachers designed prototype wind turbine blades during the training and will teach that design activity — and other hands-on engineering design activities focused on energy,  geotechnical, agricultural, and electrical engineering — to about 1,000 elementary students in Longmont during June and July. The TEAMS Fellows will also provide classroom support throughout the summer session.

Regents Approve General Engineering Plus Degree

A new design-focused, General Engineering degree was approved by CU's Board of Regents in June. GE degree students will share a common core of four years of team-based, interdisciplinary design experiences and common engineering science courses, coupled with an emphasis in either environmental, aerospace, mechanical, civil, or architectural engineering.

Multiple tracks are envisioned within the General Engineering degree; the first to be implemented will be CU TeachEngineering—a streamlined pathway to secondary school (grades 7-12) science or math teacher licensure through an accredited engineering degree.

This nationally-novel program demonstrates CU's commitment to putting the “E” in STEM and giving every K-12 student the opportunity to experience the wonder of engineering and learn how engineers contribute to shaping our world.

The S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation has provided a generous grant to help implement CU TeachEngineering. The General Engineering degree and CU TeachEngineering are being led by Jacquelyn Sullivan and Derek Reamon.

Aerospace Students Win Top Prizes at CEDAR Workshop

Aerospace engineering students from CU-Boulder have taken First Place at the Coupling, Energetics and Dynamics of Atmospheric Regions (CEDAR) Workshop student poster competition for the fourth consecutive year and several other students have won Second Place and Honorable Mentions.

CEDAR is a focused global change program sponsored by the National Science Foundation. The 2013 Workshop was held in Boulder in June.

This year’s winner in the Mesosphere and Lower Thermosphere (MLT) category was Zhibin Yu for his poster, “Lidar Observations and Numerical Modeling Studies of Thermospheric Fe/Fe+ Layers.” Xinzhao Chu was his faculty advisor. A second student, Vu Nguyen, advised by Scott Palo, received an Honorable Mention in the competition, which attracted 112 student posters.

First Place winners at past competitions include:

  • Cao Chen (2012, MLT category) for “Inertia-gravity waves in Antarctica: A case study with simultaneous lidar and radar measurements at McMurdo (77.8S, 166.7E).” Advisor: Xinzhao Chu.
  • Chihoko Yamashita (2011, MLT category) for “Physical mechanisms of gravity wave variations and their impacts on the MLT during the 2009 Stratospheric Sudden Warming.” Advisor: Xinzhao Chu.
  • Xianjing Liu (2011, Ionosphere-Thermosphere category) for “Altitude Response of the Thermosphere Mass Density to Geomagnetic Activity in Solar Minimum." Advisor: Jeff Thayer.
  • Loren Chang (2010, MLT category) for “Comparative study of migrating diurnal tidal variability induced by nonlinear interaction with propagating planetary waves.” Advisor: Scott Palo.

Honors & Awards: July 2013

Congratulations to the following individuals on their outstanding achievements:


Mark Borden of mechanical engineering has been selected to participate in the 2013 U.S. Frontiers of Engineering Symposium sponsored by the National Academy of Engineering.

Arthi Jayaraman of chemical and biological engineering was selected to receive the Computational Molecular Science and Engineering Forum Young Investigator Award, which will be presented at the AIChE meeting in San Francisco.


Lucy Sanders, chief executive of the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT), was one of five leaders honored with the U.S. News STEM Leadership Hall of Fame Award in June.


CU aerospace and computer science students Rohit Dewani, Christine Fanchiang, Heather Hava, Keira Havens, Jordan Holquist, Emily Howard, Pileun Kim, Huy Le, Elizabeth Lombardi, Scott Mishra, Karuna Raja Reddy, Tim Villabona, and Daniel Zukowski won First Place and “Best Advanced Concepts” at NASA’s June 18-20 RASC-AL Program competition in Cocoa Beach, Florida for their robotic-integrated bio-regenerative life support system concept.

Jia Chew, who received a her PhD in chemical engineering as a member of Christine Hrenya’s research group, was awarded the AIChE Best PhD Thesis in Particle Technology for her experimental research on the impact of polydispersity on multiphase flows.  Dr. Chew has accepted a tenure-track faculty position at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

Two teams of environmental engineering students tied for second place in the National FAA Design Competition for Universities, Airport Environmental Interactions category, in June. Students Holly Atkinson, Marie Bernardo, Adrienne Davis, Carteret Lawrence, and Nolan Wilkins won for their Fuel Spill Containment project for the Bozeman International Airport, and John Crawford, Corey Hrutkay, Beau Radovich, John Usery, and Ben Wachter won for their LED Runway and Taxiway Lighting Powered with On-Site Solar Panels for the Grand Junction Regional Airport. Congratulations also go to faculty advisors Angela Bielefeldt and Karl Linden.

Luis Zea of aerospace engineering sciences was selected to receive one of two Orville and Wilbur Wright Graduate Awards given by the AIAA Foundation. The $5,000 awards are given in memory of the Wright brothers’ contributions to the evolution of flight, and are presented to students pursuing masters or PhDs.

Jesse Zhang, a high school student mentored by Jeff Forbes in aerospace engineering last year, has won first-place in the national Thacher Environmental Research Contest organized by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) for our project "Lunar tidal winds from the HRDI instrument onboard the UARS Satellite".  The paper has also been accepted for publication in the Journal of Geophysical Research. He received a $2,000 cash prize.

New Faculty & Staff: July 2013

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

  • Nodin Desaillan-Olsen, Administrative Assistant, Dean’s Office
  • Kathryn Baack, Financial Coordinator, CADSWES (starting July 8)
  • Rory Korpela, Manager of Budget and Finance, Dean’s Office (starting July 15)

And congratulations to the following faculty and staff who have assumed new roles:

  • Jana Milford, Department Chair, Mechanical Engineering
  • Laura Vidal, Coordinator, Office of the Associate Dean for Education
  • Lori Walker, Program Coordinator, Herbst Humanities Program

Important Announcements

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

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