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July 2015

From the Dean

Last month, we graduated more than 1,000 engineers who will now begin to tackle some of the planet's most pressing problems in a quest to come up with solutions that make life better, reduce resource use, improve healthcare, save energy, and much more.

Shortly after graduation, I saw the family of one of our new graduates celebrating at a restaurant in Corvallis. I was wearing a suit when I went over to say hello and extend my congratulations. An uncle of the graduate looked at me and asked, "What are you selling, insurance?" I replied, "Yes, I guess you could say that. I sell job insurance. I graduate engineers!"

I'm proud to be part of a community that graduates The Oregon State Engineer™, a unique class of people who are well prepared to help create a better future for all of us. Engineering is a great career choice, and, I'm excited to watch our new graduates land jobs and launch their careers. It's an honor to be in the business of job insurance, in service to our new graduates, to our alumni and industry partners, and to our incoming students

Go Beavs!

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


Silver fabrication breakthrough to improve printed electronics
Researchers led by Chih-hung Chang, a professor of chemical engineering, have developed an energy-efficient way to fabricate silver using a microreactor to create silver nanoparticles at room temperature and then immediately print them on almost any substrate and opening broad applications in microelectronics, sensors, energy devices, low emissivity coatings and transparent displays. More…

Square seahorse tails might influence robotic design
Unlike most other animals, seahorses have square tails (not cylindrical), and Ross Hatten, an assistant professor of robotics, and colleagues are studying these unique, articulated appendages to see if they might hold clues to designing flexible but strong grasping devices for robotic applications in search-and-rescue missions, industry, medicine, and more. More…

Faculty & Staff

Oregon State engineers called to Nepal to study quake
When the massive earthquake hit Nepal, killing thousands and causing destruction to buildings and infrastructure, Oregon State researchers Ben Mason, an assistant professor in the School of Civil and Construction Engineering, and Deepak Rayamajhi, a native of Nepal who was doing postdoctoral research at Oregon State at the time, were called to travel to the country to study the earthquake's damage. More…

Earthquake preparedness needs to start now, with tsar
A key suggestion from the Oregon Resilience Task Force, chaired by Dean Scott Ashford, is the appointment of a seismic policy adviser — a subduction-zone tsar who would report directly to the governor and ensure that preparation is considered whenever infrastructure investments and other matters arise that should take earthquakes into consideration. "It's going to take 50 years to become resilient, but we need that 50 years to start now," Ashford said. More…

$4M grant will bring nuclear facility to Oregon State
A three-year, $4 million Integrated Research Project Award from the U.S. Dept. of Energy is helping Wade Marcum, an assistant professor in the Department of Nuclear Engineering and Radiation Health Physics, head a multidisciplinary team of researchers working to restart the Transient Reactor Test Facility (TREAT) at the Idaho National Laboratory. The effort will include a new experimental facility at Oregon State. More…

$2M to retool undergraduate education in CBEE
The National Science Foundation has awarded $12 million to six engineering and computer science departments across the U.S. to enact groundbreaking, scalable, and sustainable changes in undergraduate education. Oregon State investigators, led by James Sweeney, head of the School of Chemical, Biological, and Environmental Engineering, will receive $2 million to focus on "Shifting Departmental Culture to Re-Situate Learning and Instruction" in the School of Chemical, Biological, and Environmental Engineering. More…

Haapala selected for NAE Frontiers of Engineering Symposium
Karl Haapala, an assistant professor in the School of Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering, has been selected to participate in the National Academy of Engineering 2015 U.S. Frontiers of Engineering Symposium that will cover cutting-edge developments in cybersecurity, forecasting natural disasters, optical and mechanical materials, and engineering the search for earth-like exoplanets. More…

Helping high school drivers understand distracted driving
A research project led by David Hurwitz, an assistant professor in the School of Civil and Construction Engineering, featured students from five universities in the Pacific Northwest giving presentations about distracted driving to high school students across the region. After the presentations, students' perceptions were much more attuned to what counted as a distraction, a huge step in reducing the things that distract drivers, Hurwitz said. More…


GFR wins Formula SAE Michigan race for 5th time in six years
Every year, the Oregon State's Global Formula Racing team is considered one of the top contenders at the Formula SAE Michigan competition, and this year was no different. But the Oregon State team won by just 3.3 points out of 1,000 possible, the thinnest margin of victory in more than a decade of the competition. "What kept us alive throughout the competition was our preparation and perseverance as a team," said team member Ryan Thomas. More…

Aerne awarded Pac-12 postgraduate scholarship
Nicholas Aerne, a four-year letterman for the Oregon State men's rowing team and a recent mechanical engineering graduate, is one of four Oregon State student-athletes to be awarded a Pac-12 Conference Postgraduate Scholarship. The Glencoe High School graduate will continue his engineering education as a master's student at Oregon State. More…


Oregon State spinoff Co. Onboard Dynamics motoring along
Nine months after OSU-Cascades spinoff company Onboard Dynamics received $3.6 million in grant funding, the Bend company is moving closer to powering vehicles using natural gas supplied by an onboard compressor system. Company co-founder and Assistant Professor Chris Hagen said the chief benefit is cost savings, because natural gas can cost about $1.50 less per gallon than gasoline. More…

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