June 2014 eNotes

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Involving the Crowd in Engineering Research

Support two engineering projects

Design Expo Draws Record Participation

Student projects on display

Catalyze CU Boosts Student Startups

Twenty-two entrepreneurial undergraduate and graduate students from across campus will turn their innovative ideas into serious startups this summer through a new CU-Boulder business accelerator developed by the College of Engineering and Applied Science in partnership with “innovation hub” Spark Boulder and the Deming Center for Entrepreneurship at the Leeds School of Business.

Catalyze CU will provide mentorship, grants and space at Spark Boulder to six teams during the course of the next eight weeks. The teams are designing technologies ranging from a mobile app for the sports industry that scores social media influence to a solar irrigation system for the developing world.

The program, which received applications from 35 interested teams and involves mentors from the Boulder business and CU alumni communities, was created to further entrepreneurship at CU-Boulder and to help students and faculty take promising ideas and technologies to market.

> Learn more

Design Expo Draws Record Participation

A record number of 109 projects were featured at the April 26 Engineering Design Expo, where 440 engineering students demonstrated designs inside and outside of the ITL Laboratory. Projects included adaptive technology devices, Rube Goldberg machines and firefighting gear were displayed to judges and the public.  Many students also participated in end-of-semester department expos showcasing their capstone design projects.

This year’s People’s Choice Award, chosen by attendees, went to students Levi Caffes,
Gabe Chapel, Pablo Gorra and Patrick Doan for their lightweight Arduino-controlled hovercraft.

Involving the Crowd in Engineering Research

Two college research teams are using crowdfunding – the practice of sourcing small contributions from a large number of people, usually via the Internet – to pioneer leading-edge technologies in energy and robotics and to engage colleagues, students and the broader community in their work. Projects led by PhD student Chern-Hooi Lim of chemical and biological engineering and Assistant Professor Nikolaus Correll of computer science are among eight projects involved in CU-Boulder’s crowdfunding pilot, a 45-day campaign that ends June 15.

Lim and his team are working to use sunlight to convert carbon dioxide into a clean-burning liquid fuel. For them, the campaign is an alternative to competitive seed funding and a chance for people to directly support research about which they feel passionate.
> Learn more: CO2 to fuel project

Correll and his students want to expand the reach of their swarm robotics research to K-12 schools and even art museums. While an NSF grant funds their research, the team is looking to the community to help them mass produce the robots for teaching applications and interactive art installations. 
> Learn more: Swarm robots

You can help! Click the links above to give $10 to support these projects in our college.

High School Space Project Partners with ITL to Win $10K Design Grant

The Integrated Teaching and Learning (ITL) Program successfully partnered with students from the Centaurus High School Pre-Engineering Academy in Lafayette, Colo., to submit a winning proposal to the Center for Advancement of Science in Space. Four Centaurus students entered the Denver-area National Design Challenge, obtaining a $10,000 grant to further their project, “The Effects of Simulated Gravity on Bacterial Lag Phase in a Micro-Gravitational Environment.”

The ITL Program will provide manufacturing and electronics expertise and supplies towards the project. Luis Zea, a CU-Boulder aerospace engineering PhD student whose research involves conducting “simulated microgravity” experiments on Earth as ground controls, will mentor the high school students. The project is slated to launch on a SpaceX rocket in spring 2015 to collect data to send back to Earth. Congratulations to these budding engineers for their ingenuity, motivation and persistence.

Honors and Awards: June 2014

Congratulations to the following individuals on their outstanding achievements:


Professor Jeffrey Knutsen of mechanical engineering received the John & Mercedes Peebles Innovation in Education Award from the college.

Professor Mark Rentschler of mechanical engineering received the Charles A. Hutchinson Memorial Teaching Award from the college.

Professor Michael Brandemuehl of civil, environmental and architectural engineering received the Max S. Peters Faculty Service award from the college.

Professor Balaji Rajagopalan of civil, environmental and architectural engineering received the College of Engineering and Applied Science Faculty Research Award.

Assistant Professor Amy Javernick-Will of civil, environmental and architectural engineering was chosen as the 2014 winner of the Outstanding Faculty Advisor Award. She also received the 2014 ASCE ExCEEd New Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award.

Professor Paul Goodrum of civil, environmental and architectural engineering received the Construction Industry Institute Distinguished Professor Award for 2014.

Associate Professor Ronggui Yang of mechanical engineering was selected to receive the Young Investigator Award from the International Thermoelectric Society.

Professor Kristi Anseth of chemical and biological engineering, along with former research associate Brian Polizzotti (now of Harvard Medical School) and former graduate students Cole DeForest and Benjamin Fairbanks, received a patent for a technique to create highly customizable hydrogel materials, which can be used in many biomedical applications like drug delivery, tissue and biosensors.

Ian Hales, an instructor in the ATLAS TAM program, won a CU Parents Association’s Marinus Smith Award recognizing his positive impact on CU undergraduates.

Assistant Professor Joseph Kasprzyk of civil, environmental and architectural engineering received the Universities Council on Water Resources Dissertation Award for 2014 in the category Natural Science and Engineering. He also received the receiving the 2013 Editor's Citation for Excellence in Refereeing for Water Resources Research.

A paper titled “Edge Nonlinear Optics on a MoS2 Atomic Monolayer” by Assistant Professor Xiaobo Yin of mechanical engineering recently was published in Science Magazine.

Assistant Professor Abbie Liel received an outstanding paper award from the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute for her paper titled “Using Collapse Risk Assessments to Inform Seismic Safety Policy for Older Concrete Buildings.” She also received a runner-up award for the best paper in the Journal of Performance of Constructed Facilities for her paper titled “Snow-Induced Building Failures.”

Professor Martha Palmer of computer science and linguistics was chosen as winner of the CU-Boulder Graduate School’s Outstanding Faculty Graduate Advising Award.

Professor Chris Bowman of chemical and biological engineering and Professor Bob McLeod of electrical, computer and energy engineering have been awarded a patent for an advanced photolithography technique that allows for more precise fabrication of microdevices such as microchips, microfluidics and microelectromechanical systems (MEMS).

Professor Ted Randolph of chemical and biological engineering, along with John Carpenter of the CU School of Pharmacy and CU-based company BaroFold, Inc., has been awarded a patent for improving protein-based drug formulations (used to treat cancers, infectious diseases and several other diseases).

Assistant Professors Anushree Chatterjee and Prashant Nagpal of chemical and biological engineering were named New Inventors of the Year by CU-Boulder’s Tech Transfer Office.

S. Revi Sterling, Ph.D., Director of Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICTD) at the ATLAS Institute, was named Woman of the Year in Education by Boulder Business & Professional Women.

Seth Murray, instructor in the Engineering Management Program, received the Frank Moyes Award in recognition of his impact upon students and influence on entrepreneurship at CU.

Professors John Falconer and Richard Noble of chemical and biological engineering have been awarded patents for methods to make improved gas separation membranes.

Professor Al Weimer of chemical and biological engineering has been awarded a patent for a process that uses concentrated sunlight to form syngas or hydrogen.


Claire Yang, undergraduate advisor in aerospace engineering sciences, received the college’s 2014 Outstanding Staff Award.

Sharon Anderson of mechanical engineering was chosen as the 2014 winner of the Outstanding Staff Advisor Award.

Maria Toscano Leary of chemical and biological engineering was the recipient of the April 2014 Employee Recognition Award.

Erin Jerick of civil, environmental and architectural engineering was the recipient of the May 2014 Employee Recognition Award.


Seven graduates of the Class of 2013 received special honors at the May 8 College of Engineering and Applied Science Recognition Ceremony at Coors Events Center:

  • Kayla C. Weston (ChemEngr) – CEC Silver Medal
  • Jun Liu (PhD MechEngr) – Outstanding Dissertation Award
  • Elizabeth Horneber (ChemEngr) – Outstanding Graduate for Service
  • Jack Olsen (ApMath, BS/MS EngrPhys) – Outstanding Graduate for Service
  • Kevin Dinkel (BS/MS AeroEngr) – Outstanding Graduate for Research
  • Brandon Lin (BS/MS ChemEngr) – Outstanding Graduate for Academic Achievement
  • Stephen Kissler (BS/MS ApMath) – Outstanding Graduate of the College

The following Distinguished Seniors were recognized that the April 25 Engineering Awards Banquet at the Stadium Club at Folsom Field:

  • Michael Trowbridge (AeroEngr)
  • Stephen Kissler (ApMath)
  • Natasha Funk (ArchEngr)
  • Rachel Viger (ChemEngr)
  • Saikripa Radhakrishnan (ChBioEngr)
  • Srinidhi Radhakrishnan (ChBioEngr)
  • Michael Gartman (CivEngr)
  • Devon Tivona (CompSci)
  • Elliot Hegel (ElEngr)
  • Christopher Poulton (ElCompEngr)
  • Alexander Bornstein (EngrPhys)
  • John Meyer (EnvEngr)
  • Benjamin Noe (MechEngr)

Recent graduate Fletcher Richman (ElecEngr) received the CU GOLD Lasting Legacy Award, which honors a graduating senior who has left his or her mark on CU.

Mechanical engineering PhD student Janet Tsai is one of 85 doctoral students nationwide selected in 2014 to receive a $15,000 scholar award from the P.E.O. Sisterhood, which provides merit-based awards for women pursuing doctoral degrees at accredited universities.


The college honored four recipients this year with the Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award. Winners included former Engineering Advisory Council member Jean Becker — Special Category, Col. David Goldstein (PhD AeroEngr ’00) — Government Service, T. Scott Martin (ChemEngr ’80) — Industry & Commerce and F. Dave Zanetell, PE (MS CivEngr’93) — Government Service.

Avery Bang (MS CivEngr ’09) was recognized as this year’s winner of the CU Engineering Recent Alumni Award. She also has been selected to receive Kalpana Chawla Outstanding Recent Alumni Award from the University of Colorado Boulder Alumni Association, which will be given Oct. 23 during Back to Boulder Homecoming Weekend.

Two distinguished members of the College of Engineering and Applied Science community received top honors at CU-Boulder's Spring Commencement Ceremony May 9 at Folsom Field. Dubbed the ultimate "friend-raiser" and fundraiser, Lanis "Lanny" Pinchuk was awarded an honorary doctorate of science, while lifelong Engineering Buff Mike Wirth (ChemEngr ’82) received the University Medal for his influential support of CU.

New Hires and Retirements: June 2014

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

  • Becky Komarek, Program Coordinator, Design Center Colorado
  • Susan Legler, Degree Audit and Graduation Coordinator, Dean’s Office
  • David Shea, Computer Systems Developer, ITL
  • Chris Anderson, Student Services Coordinator, Dean’s Office
  • Carrie Sadler, Student Services Coordinator, Computer Science
  • Lauren Miremont, Finance Manager, Chemical & Biological Engineering
  • Sage Sollie, Administrative Assistant II, ATLAS
  • Ava Cleaves, Office Administrator, Chemical & Biological Engineering
  • Rajshree Shrestha, Graduate Program Advisor, Computer Science
  • Marissa Doebert, Communications Coordinator, Dean’s office

Congratulations to the following faculty on their retirements:

  • Andrzej Ehrenfeucht, Computer Science
  • Dhinakar Kompala, Chemical and Biological Engineering
  • KC Park, Aerospace Engineering Sciences
  • Frank Barnes, Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering

Important Announcements

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

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