February 2014 eNotes

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Two CU-Boulder Engineers Win NSF’s Prestigious CAREER Award

Nagpal, Vernerey honored

Herbst Lunchtime Seminars

Reading groups for faculty & staff

Scalable Game Design Team Takes Spotlight for 'Hour of Code'

Build-a-game tool lets kids explore CS

Two CU-Boulder Engineers Win NSF’s Prestigious CAREER Award

Two CEAS faculty members have been honored with the National Science Foundation’s prestigious Early Career Development, or CAREER, award. This accolade - awarded to Assistant Professor Prashant Nagpal of ChBE and Assistant Professor Franck Vernerey of CEAE - supports junior faculty members who demonstrate excellence in research and who effectively integrate their research with education.

Nagpal will be awarded $499,077 over five years to work on improving the amount of energy from the sun that photovoltaic panels can convert into electricity. His work focuses on using “hot carriers” in quantum-confined semiconductor nanostructures to capture the waste energy that cannot be captured by the bulk semiconductors used in today’s solar panels. Nagpal also will investigate if semiconductor nanostructures can be used as photocatalysts to split water, creating clean hydrogen fuel, or to generate other hydrocarbon solar fuels using carbon dioxide, water and sunlight in an artificial photosynthetic process.

Vernerey is being awarded $400,000 over five years to develop mathematical models to predict and control the regeneration of damaged tissues from a patient’s own cells in a hydrogel scaffolding.This work could eventually enable personalized medicine by introducing a new generation of algorithms that can learn from the behavior of specific cell populations and predict the type of scaffolding that will lead to successful tissue regeneration. In the long term, this strategy could provide an alternative to tissue or organ transplants.

> More info

Scalable Game Design Team Takes Spotlight for 'Hour of Code'


From Mark Zuckerberg to actress Monique Coleman, anyone can write code - that's the message behind the Hour of Code project, which took place in conjunction with Computer Science Education Week Dec. 9-15. And of the nearly one in four American K-12 students that code.org organizers say participated in the global campaign to get kids to devote an hour to computer science, many built a simple Frogger-style video game (http://hourofcode.com/ac) using tools developed by CS Prof. Alexander Repenning and his Scalable Game Design team.

Repenning's research, which has pioneered drag-and-drop programming tools for kids called AgentSheets and AgentCubes, has led to the Scalable Game Design curriculum that teachers can implement to help their students learn computer science through building their own video games. Successfully piloted in the Boulder Valley School District and now the subject of three NSF grants to expand the program to a larger audience, Scalable Game Design is designed to reach a wide demographic of budding programmers via inquiry-based approaches and concepts that can be taken from the gamer's world to the real world.

“Programming should be easy and exciting,” Repenning says. “But that’s not where we are. The perception of the public is that it’s hard and boring. Our goal is to expose a much larger as well as broader audience to programming by reinventing computer science education in public schools.”

> More info

Herbst Lunchtime Seminars

The Herbst Lunchtime Seminars for engineering faculty and staff will continue this semester with the following offerings. Bring your lunch and enjoy a stimulating discussion led by Herbst faculty members. All seminars are in ECOT 831, from noon to 12:50 p.m.

February 26, 2014 (note location change to Clark Conference Room): The Machine Stops by E.M. Forster (presented by Diane Sieber)
March 2014: Readings on Rome (presented by Wayne Ambler)
April 2014: 200 Years of Brothers Grimm: Fairy Tales not for the Faint-Hearted! (presented by Anja Lange)

> More info

Honors & Awards: February 2014

Congratulations to the following individuals on their outstanding achievements:


Michael Brandemuehl of CEAE received the 2013 Max S. Peters Faculty Service Award.

Eric Frew of AES was named an American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Associate Fellow.

Leland Giovanelli of Herbst received the 2013 Sullivan-Carlson Innovation in Teaching Award.

Balaji Rajagopalan of CEAE received the 2013 College of Engineering Faculty Research Award.

Mark Rentschler of ME received the 2013 Charles A. Hutchinson Memorial Teaching Award.

Associate Dean for Education Diane Sieber received the 2013 CU systemwide Excellence in Leadership Award.

Hanspeter Schaub of AES was elected an American Astronautical Society Fellow for 2013. He will be recognized by the AAS at the Goddard Symposium Honors and Awards Luncheon March 5.


Dave Kalahar of ATLAS was named one of the Chancellor’s Employees of the Year.

Joanie Wiesman received the CEAS Commitment to Excellence award in December 2013.

Claire Yang of AES received the CEAS Outstanding Staff Award for 2013.


AES PhD student Xianjing Liu (Jeff Thayer, advisor) won the Outstanding Student Paper Award (OSPA) for her presentation "Composition change and its effect on mass density response during a geomagnetic storm" at the Fall 2013 American Geophysical Union meeting.

AES PhD student Michael Lotto (D. Klaus, advisor) was selected as the 2014 winner of the Dr. Robert H. Goddard Memorial Scholarship “to support his continued study in bioastronautics aimed at the development of future EVA suites and hardware to support future human work in space and exploration of the planets.”

Chemical engineering undergraduate Thomas Lynn was named to the Theta Tau Educational Foundation's inaugural All-Academic Team.

AES MS student Gauravdev Soin (J. Koster, advisor) received the 2014 Best Paper Award from the AIAA Design Engineering Committee - making three years in a row that Project Hyperion won best paper.

New Faculty and Staff: February 2014

Welcome to the new faculty and staff who have joined the college:

Melanie Sidwell, Alumni Relations and Events Coordinator, Dean’s Office
Julia Carlson, Professional Assistant, NCWIT
Wil Srubar, Assistant Professor, CEAE
Khurram Afridi, Assistant Professor, ECEE
Nisar Ahmed, Assistant Professor, AES
Christopher Corwin, Instructor, Environmental Engineering
Madeline Boatwright, BDW Intern, ATLAS Institute
Mark Gross, Professor (Computer Science) and Director of ATLAS Institute
Sarah Miller, Assistant Dean for Inclusive Excellence
Emmy Soyka, Professional Assistant, NCWIT
Elizabeth Boese, Instructor, Computer Science
Hilary Maybee, Assistant to the Associate Dean for Research, Dean’s Office

Congratulations to the following for changes in their appointments:

Mindy Zarske, Instructor, General Engineering
Joanne Uleau, Undergraduate Academic Advisor, Environmental Engineering

Important Announcements

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

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