header image
 Back Issue Archives | Subscribe to Momentum! | K-12 Resources
April 2012

From the Editor

Dear Readers,

With the short, re-energizing spring break behind us, everyone at the College of Engineering is busily moving into the home stretch for this academic year. Seniors are putting last-minute touches on their capstone projects, which will be showcased next month at Kelley Engineering Center.

As you read this month's issue, it's hard not to feel proud of what our students, faculty, and alumni are accomplishing. They continue to garner acclaim for their work and to make positive impacts nationally and internationally — even in space!

In case you missed it, our annual report recently came out, which includes in-depth stories of engineering activities here at the college.


Thuy T. Tran
Director of Marketing Communications
Oregon State University, College of Engineering

changing tides

Ashford explains liquefaction on PBS NewsHour
Powerful earthquakes can turn sandy soils into liquid, causing bridges and buildings to sink or sag. Interim Dean Scott Ashford studies this phenomenon called liquefaction to understand how it might impact the Pacific Northwest after a big earthquake and ways to mitigate infrastructure damage. More….

changing tides

Japanese disaster one year later
One year after a massive earthquake and tsunami struck their homeland, Japanese citizens face complications such as long-term health ramifications, contaminated food supplies, power shortages, and lost livelihoods. Oregon State researchers are supporting Japan's efforts to recover while adding to the body of knowledge that will help mitigate future disaster-related losses around the world. Read more at nature, OPB, CNN, PBS, and the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Solar collectors

Saving lives by addressing the yellow light dilemma
If you drive a car, chances are you've had to make a split-second decision about whether to stop or keep driving through a yellow light. For many people, the decision they made cost them their lives. Transportation engineering researcher David Hurwitz proposes a way to reduce accidents caused by the yellow light dilemma. Read more at KTVZ.com, theatlanticcities.com, and columbian.com.

Solar collectors

Improving the human experience through robotics
One day, a human-like robot using technology invented at Oregon State could support people with disabilities or enhance military capabilities. The prototype is called ATRIAS, a two-legged robot built by Jonathan Hurst and his dynamic research team. Read more at livescience.com and science360.gov. Also, meet MABEL built by Hurst's collaborators at the University of Michigan.

Solar collectors

Simulating tsunamis: Scientists help prepare for the worst
Scientists at the O.H Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory simulate tsunamis on model towns to understand how waves behave under different circumstances. The research has potential to improve building and safety regulations, as well as evacuation protocols in coastal communities. More…

Faculty & Staff
inkjet solar panels

Four engineering professors earn prestigious awards
Congratulations to Patrick Chiang, Brady Gibbons, Adam Higgins, and Arturo Leon for their NSF and EPA CAREER awards. More…

inkjet solar panels

Doolen wins IIE Lean Teaching Award
Toni Doolen, associate head and professor in industrial and manufacturing engineering, earned a 2012 Lean Teaching Award from the Institute of Industrial Engineers. The award honors the services of a person or group of people who have developed curriculum and disseminated courses in “lean” concepts. More…

inkjet solar panels

Rochefort earns Eminent Professorship
The University Honors College awarded one of its 2012 Eminent Professorships to Skip Rochefort, associate professor in chemical engineering. Eminent Professorships recognize outstanding faculty at Oregon State who participate in University Honors College programs and stimulate creative advancements in teaching. More…


Global Formula Racing documentary premieres in Portland April 18
A new documentary called “Relentless” reveals what it takes to become two-time, back-to-back national champions in formula racing. The film debuts in Portland on April 18 at the OMNIMAX Theater at OMSI. It chronicles the experience of Oregon State’s Formula SAE team and its German collaborators. More…

Robot competition teaches data collection
Data collection is important in any scientific discipline, so why not have fun while learning the skill? Students in a recent Robolab competition certainly did. More…

Engineers Without Borders seeks support for Kenya trip
Engineering students learn best by doing, and if they can lend a helping hand in the process, it makes the experience much more valuable. Engineers Without Borders wants to travel to Kenya this year to help bring clean water to an isolated farming community. here and here

Oregon State hosts conference for under-represented minorities
The Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) sponsored its third annual conference on the Oregon State campus in February to support minority participation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics degree programs. More…

Ireland earns scholarship from Homeland Security
Sabrina Ireland was one of three undergraduate students in nuclear engineering selected for the Nuclear Forensics Undergraduate Scholarship Program sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security. To qualify, Ireland completed a nuclear forensic research project at the Idaho National Laboratory last summer. The resulting invention was submitted for a patent. More…

Ansell becomes chair of student advisory council
Members of the American Ceramic Society elected Troy Ansell as chair of its President's Council of Student Advisors. Ansell is a graduate student in the materials science program and is focusing his research on piezoelectric materials and devices.More…

Two departments qualify for ARCS scholarships
Only U.S. universities whose departments are ranked in the top 100 nationally are eligible, through a rigorous approval process, to receive Advancing Science in America Foundation scholar awards. Two units within the College of Engineering at Oregon State University have been approved for funding by ARCS National: the School of Civil and Construction Engineering and School of Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering. U.S. News & World Report ranks the schools No. 41 and No. 47, respectively.


New online degree in computer science amplifies career opportunities in numerous Fields
Demand for skilled computing graduates is on the rise, and the College of Engineering has taken note. Beginning summer term, students can enroll in the nation's first online post-baccalaureate program in computer science, a degree that provides essential knowledge in programming, software engineering, web development, and more. More…


Engineering alumnus uses solar power to address drought in Iraq
As a U.S. Marine, Cory Cunningham ('93 ChE) saw the devastation of Iraq's water shortage firsthand and wanted to help. The College of Engineering alumnus started Sustainable Industries to help provide clean water to millions of Iraqis using solar energy. More…

Astronaut teaches science from space
Astronaut Don Pettit (’78 ChE) is using his travels on the International Space Station as a series of teaching moments. For example, a physics lesson for children used a stuffed bird based on the popular video puzzle game, “Angry Birds.” His blog touches on everything from astronomy and physics to the arts. Watch a video here and read Don's blog…

Solar collectors

Nagel honored by IEEE and USA Today
Jacquelyn K. Nagel (‘10 PhD ME) was selected to represent IEEE/IEEE-USA as one of the National Engineers Week Foundation’s 2012 New Faces of Engineering. In addition, she was among 12 awardees selected for an Engineers Week feature in USA Today. More here and here…

Solar collectors

Holmes breaks new ground as woman construction engineer
The Daily Journal of Commerce highlights four young women in the Portland, Ore., area who are finding success in the construction industry, and Lauren Holmes ('05 B.S. Construction Engineering Management) is among them. More…


Engineering Expo coming up in May
The 13th annual OSU Engineering Expo will be held on Friday, May 18, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Kelley Engineering Center and is open to the public. More…

OSU Portland Showcase to highlight technology
On April 20, several Oregon State professors will join Oregon Public Broadcasting's Rob Manning to talk about the university's contributions to technology. Tom Dietterich, professor and director of intelligent systems, will represent the College of Engineering in the panel discussion. More…

MECOP continues steady growth
Since its inception in 1978, the Multiple Engineering Cooperative Program has expanded in both scope and quality of students admitted into the program. This past year, the signature internship experience set a record number of placements — exceeding 400 students. Interested companies and students can visit https://mecop.ous.edu/ to learn more about the program.

In Memoriam

Peterson remembered for entrepreneurial success
Richard Peterson, mechanical engineering professor and associate director of the Microproducts Breakthrough Institute, died on Feb. 24 at age 56 after a long illness. His entrepreneurial spirit contributed to the spin-out Home Dialysis Plus and he logged a record number of inventions. More…

Questions or comments about Momentum? E-mail Editor@engr.oregonstate.edu

Important links: