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December 2015

From the Dean

As winter term winds down, final exams wrap up, and students take a well-deserved break, I find myself thinking about the transitions our students face as they each become an Oregon State Engineer™.

Our first-year students arrive on campus fresh from high school and work hard to become self-sufficient adults. Likewise, our transfer students make adjustments from community colleges to a large research university. As they complete our undergraduate engineering programs, they participate in courses, labs, and clubs that help them acquire a strong technical foundation so they can solve problems, strengthen communities, and create a better future.

Our graduate students take coursework and pursue research that lead to the innovative solutions of tomorrow — breakthroughs that address some of our planet's most pressing problems. Many of these research projects will be on display at the 2016 Graduate Research Expo at the Portland Art Museum on March 1st from 1 to 4 p.m. Please plan to join me there!

I find it inspiring to think of our students — their transition from incoming freshmen to globally aware engineering leaders — and the magnitude of the impact they will have on the future.

Go Beavs!

Scott A. Ashford, Ph.D.
('83 Oregon State, Civil Engineering)
Kearney Professor and Dean
College of Engineering
Oregon State University


The power of pairing engineering with biomedicine
The latest print issue of Momentum! features the College's focus on combining engineering with biomedical science. Read about the research of Elain Fu, Stephen Ramsey, Ravi Balasubramanian, Adam Higgins, Karl Schilke, and others working in this exciting field, and meet two new school heads, James Sweeney and V John Mathews, whose research focus is in bioengineering and biomedical engineering. Read the digital edition.

Sintering breakthrough could advance solar cells, sensors
A research team that includes Rajiv Malhotra, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering, has made a fundamental breakthrough in understanding the physics of photonic "sintering" (the fusing of nanoparticles to form solid, functional thin-films) that could lead to advances in solar cells, environmental sensors, flexible electronics, wearable biomedical devices, and other products printed onto sheets of paper or plastic. Other college collaborators include Chih-hung Chang, Alan Wang, and Greg Herman. More…

New, better approach to tissue, organ preservation
Researchers led by Adam Higgins, an associate professor of bioengineering, have discovered a new approach to "vitrification," or ice-free cryopreservation, that could enable much wider use of extreme cold to preserve tissues and organs for later use. The new procedure increased healthy cell survival following vitrification from 10 percent to more than 80 percent. More…

National Geographic features snake slithering research
An article in National Geographic magazine touts research by Joe Baio, an assistant professor of bioengineering, who discovered what makes it possible for snakes to slither over a wide range of terrains. Turns out, it's a "mind-bogglingly thin coat of fatty lubricant embedded on the snakes' scales," which might lead to new kinds of industrial lubricants, coatings, and more. More…

Faculty & Staff

Ashford featured in Thought Leader Forum on resilience
Scott Ashford, dean of the college and Kearney Professor of Engineering, was featured in a Thought Leader Forum article in the Portland Business Journal about resilience and how businesses can prepare for floods, fires, and "The Big One" by identifying their vulnerabilities and developing emergency response plans. More…

Klein believes nuclear energy is key to reducing emissions
The Obama administration is proposing to set aside more than $900 million for nuclear energy programs, and Andrew Klein, a professor of nuclear engineering and president-elect of the American Nuclear Society, believes that without nuclear energy in the mix there is no way the world will reach its ambitious greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets. More…

Wave Lab, Lomónaco appear on PBS's NOVA
The O. H. Hinsdale Wave Research Facility and Pedro Lomónaco, director of the Hinsdale facility, appear in the NOVA program "Making North America: Humans" on PBS about how the first humans arrived in North America, and how the land — including the Cascadia Subduction Zone — has shaped our lives. More…

Algae as a source of biofuel, better bandages
Gregory Rorrer, a professor of bioengineering, discusses his biofuel research on algae, including marine diatoms, and how a co-product called chitin could potentially fast-track development of algae-based biofuels. Chitin are microscopic fibers that speed blood clotting and could be incorporated into bandages. More…

Olson weighs in on robots the size of bees
Michael Olsen, an associate professor of civil and construction engineering who works with lidar to study topography and terrain mapping, is featured in a Smithsonian magazine article about insect-sized drones that could help pollinate plants, search small gaps in collapsed buildings, and take measurements in places where lidar has limitations, such as coastal erosion and bridge safety studies. More…


Basketball standout delves into rocket science
Ruth Hamblin, a senior mechanical engineering student and a stand-out basketball star on the Beavers women's team, says she's glad she decided to attend OSU, where she's discovered a new passion — rocket science — and become involved in the Experimental Sounding Rocket Association. Although she's not sure how this new interest will translate into a career, it's another affirmation she made the right decision to attend Oregon State and focus on basketball and engineering. More…

A semester in Denmark: small shops, short hours, low light
Russell Barnes was a senior majoring in electrical and computer engineering when he studied abroad on an Oregon State exchange program in Copenhagen, Denmark, where he took classes at the Technical University of Denmark for a semester. He experienced low light in winter, shorter business hours, smaller grocery stores, and fellow students from all over the world. More…

Engineering enrollment hits 8,265, 2X other colleges
As enrollment at Oregon State passes 30,500, the College of Engineering has twice as many students as other program — a total of 8,265 undergraduate and graduate engineering students enrolled this fall. The next largest programs are the College of Liberal Arts, 3,905 students; the College of Science, 3,526; the College of Business, 3,487; the College of Public Health and Human Sciences, 3,200; and the College of Agricultural Sciences, 2,610. More…

Student to help rural Alaskans lower energy costs
Phylicia Cicilio, a graduate student in electrical and computer engineering, will be helping a rural Alaskan community improve the reliability and cost of its electric power microgrid, thanks to an Evans Family Graduate Fellowship in Humanitarian Engineering that will support her travel to Alaska to meet with the community. The project integrates her interests in renewables, energy storage, microgrids, and a desire to help rural communities. More…


NuScale reactors could be 'game-changer'
Speaking at the Paris climate talks, U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said modular reactors being developed by NuScale Power can be a "game-changer" by making nuclear power plants more affordable to build. Founded by José Reyes, a professor of nuclear engineering, NuScale is commercializing the technology developed at Oregon State that makes reactors cheaper, faster to build, and safer to shut down in a disaster. More…


Kathryn Merrill wins leadership award
Kathryn Merrill, a 2015 graduate who earned bachelor's degrees in both industrial engineering and finance from Oregon State, has won the Joseph F. Novek Outstanding Leader Award. More…

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