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July 2016

From the Dean

First, congratulations to all of our engineering graduates who received their diplomas during commencement on June 11 and will now embark on career adventures that might take many to places and positions never imagined (as an example of this, see the story below about the career of 1965 alumnus Keith Miller). I'm proud of our many graduates and wish each of you the very best as new Oregon State Engineers.

We also bid a fond farewell to Chris Bell, who is retiring from the college after 35 years of service, which included being the chief marshal during commencement, serving as a former associate dean of the college, and as professor and associate head of the School of Civil and Construction Engineering. Here's a photo of Chris leading this year's graduates to the commencement ceremony at Reser Stadium.

See more commencement photos

Happy summer to our graduates, and also to all our alumni, faculty, staff, and supporters.

Go Beavs!

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


New online tool helps Oregonians assess quake risks
A new online tool developed by Oregon State researchers Oregon Hazard Explorer for Lifelines Program, or O-HELP, helps homeowners and other users identify potential earthquake and tsunami risks based on damage projections in the Cascadia subduction zone. O-HELP, which is part of a larger program called Cascadia Lifelines Program, is free to use, and takes just a second to launch at the link above. More…

Earthquake simulation using T-Rex machine
Researchers led by Armin Stuedlein, an associate professor of geotechnical engineering, are using a massive earth-shaking machine nicknamed "T-Rex" near Longview, Washington, to simulate a small-scale earthquake in order to better understand the potential impacts of "the Big One," a quake in the Cascadian subduction zone that runs along the west coast of North America. More…

Researchers begin building the next human-like robot
The college's robotics program got some unexpected national attention last fall when comedian Stephen Colbert mocked the robot ATRIAS in his late-night sketch "Nerds vs. Robots." Now the college is building its next-generation robot, named Cassie, which will have ankles and feet and be more robust than ATRIAS in many ways.More…

Faculty & Staff

Engineering faculty granted promotion and tenure
Congratulations to the following College of Engineering promotion and tenure recipients:
Sourabh Apte promoted to professor
Danny Dig promoted to associate professor and granted indefinite tenure
T. Matthew Evans granted indefinite tenure
Don Heer promoted to senior faculty research assistant I
David Hill promoted to professor
Burkan Isgor promoted to professor
Wade Marcum promoted to associate professor and granted indefinite tenure
Kenny Martin promoted to senior instructor I
Thinh Nguyen promoted to professor

Improving gender balance in computer science
Margaret Burnett, a distinguished professor of computer science, is working to improve the gender balance in computer science. “From a machine-learning perspective, if you don’t think about gender inclusiveness, then oftentimes the inferences that get made are biased towards the majority group — in this case, affluent white males,” Burnett said in an article that features Bill and Melinda Gates.

Bringing Hispanic engineers to Oregon State
Eduardo Cotilla-Sanchez, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering and president of the Oregon chapter of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), hosted a conference that brought Hispanic engineers to campus for leadership training, networking, and fun. Watch video…

Why don't we build bridges to last longer?
Christopher Higgins, a professor of structural engineering, says that when it comes to durability of bridges, we aren’t good decision makers regarding long-term costs and risks. Years ago, engineers in Washington and California opted for more durable bridge designs, which is the reason Oregon has many more structurally deficient steel bridges than our southern and northern neighbors. More…

OSU robotics startup wins $100K in angel funding
Agility Robotics, a startup cofounded by Jonathan Hurst, an associate professor of mechanical engineering and the College of Engineering Dean’s Professor, that is developing walking robots based on technology developed at the college won $100,000 at the Willamette Angel Conference. More…

Koretsky and Sherrett win Wickenden award
Milo Koretsky, a professor of chemical engineering, and Benjamin Sherrett, have won a 2016 William Elgin Wickenden Award, which recognizes authors of the best paper published in the 2015 Journal of Engineering Education. Their winning paper was titled, "Feedback on Professional Skills as Enculturation into Communities of Practice." Read the abstract…

"The Oregon State Engineer" wins CASE silver award
The Oregon State Engineer, a publication that promotes the college by capturing what differentiates Oregon State from other engineering institutions, has received international recognition with a silver award from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). Thuy Tran, the college's director of marketing and communications, oversaw the publication's production. More…


Rocket team blasts to first place finish
The Oregon State Rocketry Team won first place in the Advanced Category of the Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition in Green River, Utah. The student-built 65-lb. rocket soared to an altitude of 21,200 ft., reaching a maximum speed of Mach 1.5 (1,140 mph).

Using technology to empower people
Mechanical engineering student Grace Burleson wants to use technology to empower people worldwide, so she traveled to Uganda, where she interviewed families, restaurant workers, government agencies, and nonprofits about how they treat their water. She then developed a sustainable business plan for the construction, distribution, and maintenance of BioSand water filters. More…

Ruth Hamblin: Rocket scientist and WNBA draft pick
Mechanical engineering graduate Ruth Hamblin talks about balancing her star role on the Oregon State basketball team with the rigors of studying engineering at Oregon State and how her senior capstone project in rocketry and ECampus courses helped her succeed as a person, student, and basketball player. More

Robotics work at OSU helps student land job at Google
Johnathan Van Why, an Oregon State Honors College student, mathematics major, and a member of the engineering team that worked on Oregon State's robot ATRIAS, has been selected for a job at Google months before graduation. He will start as a software engineer at Google’s Mountain View headquarters in California. More…


OSU robotics program ranked fourth in nation
The college's graduate robotics program has been ranked best in the western United States and No. 4 in the nation, according to Grad School Hub, where officials say the rankings are based on the specificity of the degrees offered and the quality of the research programs. More…

Why get an MS in industrial engineering online?
In a new video, students from Intel and Boeing, the vice president of engineering at A-dec, and a faculty member discuss the benefits of Oregon State's online master's degree program in industrial engineering available through Oregon State ECampus.

Making a Difference

Faculty and grad students attend Global Summit of Women in Warsaw
Through the generous support of Dick (’69 Industrial Engineering) and Gretchen (’69 Elementary Education) Evans, Kendra Sharp, the Richard and Gretchen Evans Professor in Humanitarian Engineering and three graduate students — Liz Jachens, Susan Elliott, and Phylicia Cicilio — traveled to Warsaw, Poland, for the 2016 Global Summit of Women where Dick Evans was a featured speaker. More…


It started with a dead chicken's beating heart
Keith Miller ('65, mechanical engineering) was the first in his extended family to attend college, and at the time, he had no idea what mechanical engineering was. Since then he's worked on cockpit technologies for Boeing, software for the international space station for NASA, and a lamp to treat newborns with jaundice for a medical equipment manufacturer. More…

Why engineers make great business leaders
Wes Snyder ('94, industrial and manufacturing engineering) is vice president of engineering at A-dec, the world's largest manufacturer of dental chairs. In this short video, he talks about why engineers make great business leaders and what they should consider when making the move to management. Watch video…


NuScale Power brings interns from England
Four engineering students from the University of Sheffield are participating in internships at NuScale Power’s nuclear test facilities. The undergrads will learn about the Oregon State spin-off's development of small modular reactors, seen by some as a cheaper and more flexible alternative to massive nuclear developments. More…

NuScale’s CEO appointed chairman of U.S. Chamber of Commerce
John Hopkins, chairman and CEO of NuScale Power has been appointed chairman of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Under Hopkins’ leadership, NuScale has emerged as a world leader in small nuclear reactor technology. 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…


$7.5M launches Oregon Manufacturing Innovation Center
Oregon State University and the College of Engineering will play a key role in the new Oregon Manufacturing Innovation Center (OMIC), which was just funded by the Oregon Legislature and will launch with an R&D and training center, a partnership with industry, higher education, and government. More…

$1.4 million for advanced manufacturing research
The college accepted a symbolic oversize check for $1.4 million from the Walmart Foundation to fund research in advanced manufacturing techniques at Oregon State. The check represents two grants, one for $590,000 awarded in 2014 and one for $810,000 awarded this January. More…

$270,000 to help underrepresented students achieve in STEM
The college's Women and Minorities in Engineering program recently received a $270,000 grant from the Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Council (HECC) to expand its Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program to other campuses across the state with the goal of increasing the number of underrepresented students who achieve in STEM.

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