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May 2017

From the Dean

As the 11th-largest college of engineering in the United States, we produce a wide spectrum of engineering research throughout our five schools, with areas of expertise across a vast array of disciplines.

Though the research subjects may vary, a common thread throughout the college is the purpose for which we do this work: to solve the problems facing our world. I am once again reminded of the solutions-oriented nature of our community with this issue of Momentum!

Faculty members are conducting research that will save eagles from collisions with wind turbines, and research that will protect people from rocks falling off the sides of cliffs. We have students working in Africa to collect important weather data, and others creating tools to better understand how social media reinforces stereotypes.  

Our faculty, students, and alumni are spanning the globe to create a safer, smarter, more resilient world. The stories below are a small sample of the impact we are making. To learn more, be sure to follow the College of Engineering on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Go Beavs!

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


2017 Undergraduate Engineering Expo
The 2017 Undergraduate Expo will take place on May 19 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. throughout Kelley Engineering Center, Johnson Hall, and the community plaza. This mind-boggling display of undergraduate engineering talent features more than 250 student-built projects from across the engineering disciplines. More…

Dean’s forum with Mitzi Montoya and Scott Ashford
Earthquakes are a common occurrence in the Puget Sound. While residents are generally prepared for slow-slip earthquakes, it is the threat of the “Big One” that worries many. On Thursday, June 22, at the Seattle Yacht Club, Oregon State experts Scott Ashford, Kearney Professor and Dean of the College of Engineering, and Mitzi Montoya, Sara Hart Kimball Dean of the College of Business, will examine how to build community and business resilience using engineering, business, and innovation principles. Register now for this event.

The Oregon State Board of Examiners and Land Surveying (OSBEELS) is looking forward to hosting the seventh annual OSBEELS Symposium on Friday, September 22, at the Salem Convention Center. This year’s Symposium will feature industry innovators and the projects that are shaping the future of clean energy and sustainability in Oregon. Students and faculty from the College of Engineering will be participating at this year’s event. More…


Technology predicts rockfalls
Michael Olsen, associate professor of geomatics, and a team of researchers have developed a new, automated technology to predict falling rocks onto roads. The study published in Engineering Geology is based on light detection and ranging (LIDAR) to assess the risk of falling rocks to the road, vehicles, or people below. More… (see also KING 5)

Contact lens sensor could change how people with type 1 diabetes test glucose
A sensor fabricated by Greg Herman, professor of chemical engineering, could change how people with type 1 diabetes monitor their blood sugar levels. Embedding the sensor into a contact lens would allow continuous monitoring of glucose levels through the eye’s tear fluid, eliminating the need for painful finger pricks to draw and test blood. More… (see also Forbes)

Bipedal robot mimics the design of an ostrich
Cassie, the bipedal robot designed by Oregon State University spin-off Agility Robotics, mimics the design of an ostrich. Jonathan Hurst, associate professor of robotics and chief technology officer of Agility Robotics, projects this technology could transform home package delivery. More…

Faculty & Staff

Selker named 2017 Distinguished Professor
John Selker, a professor in the Department of Biological and Ecological Engineering, has been named an Oregon State University’s 2017 Distinguished Professor recipient, the highest academic honor the university can bestow on a faculty member. More…

Building soft robots
In his paper “Smart and Squishy Robots,” Yiğit Mengüç, assistant professor of robotics and mechanical engineering, discusses work conducted at Oregon State to make robots that are entirely soft. More…

Is Elon Musk’s underground tunnel dream realistic?
Three College of Engineering faculty were asked to comment on Elon Musk’s idea to build a network of underground freeways. Read what Matthew Evans, associate professor of civil and construction engineering, Ben Mason, assistant professor of civil and construction engineering, and Armin Stuedlein, associate professor of civil and construction engineering had to say.


Protecting eagles from wind turbines
Roberto Albertani, associate professor of mechanical engineering, has been awarded a $625,000 grant to develop technology that would detect and deter eagles from colliding with wind turbines. Albertani is working with Sinisa Todorovic, associate professor of computer science, and Matthew Johnston, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, to develop the system to protect the eagles. More…


OSU ASCE places first overall in Pacific Northwest Student Conference
The OSU ASCE Student Chapter placed first overall in the Pacific Northwest Student Conference. From OSU, 34 students travelled to Boise State University to compete against 19 universities from Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Alaska, and British Columbia. More…

Social media tools can reinforce stigma and stereotypes
Nels Oscar, a graduate student in the College of Engineering, is part of a team of researchers studying how social media comments reinforce stigma and stereotypes, particularly among those with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. “As a society it’s like we’re learning a new skill of text communication, and we don’t fully understand or reflect on its power to affect so many people in ways that we may not have intended,” said Oscar. More… (see also Manila Bulletin, McKnight’s Senior Living, and University Herald)

Graduate student looks to develop surf forecast system
Tired of inaccurate surf forecasts, Ashley Ellenson, a graduate student in coastal engineering, has decided to create her own surf forecasting app, Surf OR. The project has been accepted through the Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network (RAIN), where she will work with experienced entrepreneurs to bring the app to market. More… (see also Marketplace)

Students participate in Trans-African Hydro-Meteorological Observatory
Two graduate students in water resources engineering traveled to Benin to participate in the Trans-African Hydro-Meteorological Observatory with John Selker, distinguished professor of biological and ecological engineering. The goal of the project is to install weather stations across Africa to collect weather data for research, weather predictions, crop monitoring, and extreme hazard warnings. More…


Wave energy test center moves closer to construction
The Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources has passed a $4.6 million funding bill to help construct the Pacific Marine Energy Center South Energy Test Site (PMEC-SETS), adding to the $40 million Oregon State University’s Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center (NNMREC) received from the U.S. Department of Energy to build the wave test center off the coast of Newport, Oregon. More…

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

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