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November 2015

From the Dean

We're clearly on the move. Our students are in demand in the job market, and our faculty ranks continue to swell. By reading this monthly newsletter, I hope you will get a glimpse of the people who make up the college — not only read about their research and achievements, but get to know them as individuals — because a great engineering community is made up first and foremost of amazing people.

This fall, 17 of those people joined the college as new faculty members, and more than half are women. Another amazing person, John Mathews, the new head of the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, has literally hit the ground running in the Kelley Engineering Center, where he's logged some 400 miles so far in "walking meetings," which he believes are a great way to connect with faculty, staff, and students.

When I dropped by the Engineering and Technology Career Fair in late October, I was thrilled to see the Ch2M HILL Alumni Center packed with recruiters and employers looking to fill positions with Oregon State graduates. In talking with some of the company representatives, I learned employers are sending Oregon State alumni back to campus to recruit new hires for two main reasons: 1) companies have a plethora of positions to fill, and 2) Oregon State develops quality graduates (amazing people!) that their companies can count on.

Fall term is in full swing, and I'm hoping you can feel the momentum of all the good things amazing people are doing here…and throughout the world.

Go Beavs!

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


Storage advance may boost solar thermal energy potential
Nick AuYeung, an assistant professor of chemical engineering, and colleagues at the University of Florida, have identified a new approach for the storage of concentrated solar thermal energy, to reduce its cost and make it more practical for wider use. More…

Discovering how snakes slither, reduce friction
A research team led by Joe Baio, an assistant professor of bioengineering in the School of Chemical, Biological, and Environmental Engineering, has discovered a layer of very well-organized fatty molecules on the belly scales of snakes that could play a key role in helping snakes slither and might also reduce wear and tear from friction. Snake scales are more slippery on their bellies than the backs, but the reason for this difference has not been known. More…

Humanoid robot advances, could help improve prostheses
An Oregon State robotics research team led by Jonathan Hurst, an associate professor of mechanical engineering, is working with Daniel Renjewski of the Technical University of Munich in Germany to advance development of Oregon State's bipedal robot ATRIAS, which has the most human-like gait of all bipedal robots and could lead to development of better prostheses. Read more at Nanowerk and ScienceDaily…

Faculty & Staff

Ashford appointed to geology and mineral board
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown appointed Scott Ashford, Kearney Professor and dean of the college, to a four-year term on the governing board of the Oregon Dept. of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI). The five-member board sets policy, oversees general operations, and provides an important connection between Oregonians and DOGAMI's mission of providing earth science information and regulation to make Oregon safe and prosperous. More…

Burnett wins honors for paper on gender differences
For the second time in four years, Margaret Burnett, a professor of computer science, has won the Most Influential Paper Award from the IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing. The latest award was given for Burnett's seminal 2004 paper that brought attention to gender differences in software and led to a growing subfield in gender human-centric computing. More…

When it comes to wave machines, bigger is better
Dan Cox, a professor of civil and construction engineering, is quoted in a Wired magazine article about a new 900-ft.-long Dutch wave machine that generates the world's largest artificial waves. When it comes to wave machines, Cox said, "bigger is better, because you don’t have to worry about scale effects" when trying to understand how human-made structures — breakwaters, seawalls, giant concrete blocks — stand up to crashing waves and giant storms. Oregon State is home to the largest research wave machine in North America. More…

Dig Receives two awards at ICSME
Danny Dig, an assistant professor of computer science, received two awards at the IEEE International Conference on Software Maintenance and Evolution (ICSME) in Bremen, Germany. The first award, for the Most Influential Paper in the last ten years, was for a paper titled, "The Role of Refactorings in Application Program Interfaces (API) Evolution." The second award, for Best Paper, was for a paper titled, "Software History Under the Lens: A Study on Why and How Developers Examine It." More…

Huang Receives Yahoo Award
Liang Huang, an assistant professor of computer science, received the 2015 Yahoo Faculty Research and Engagement Program Award. Yahoo gave 24 faculty awards worldwide in 2015 to "produce the highest quality scientific collaborations and outcomes by engaging with faculty and students conducting research in areas of mutual interest." It is the first time an Oregon State faculty member has received this award. More…


Abroad, friends, and sunsets
Graham DiNicola, a senior in civil engineering, shares some of his favorite memories from his study abroad experience in Florence, Italy. More…

Student sticks to dream, lands Intel fellowship
Although Pranjal Mittal was initially thwarted from studying computer science in college in India, he never lost his excitement for the field, eventually applying for a Google Summer of Code project that landed him in the Oregon State Open Source Lab for two summers. That experience made him apply for graduate school at Oregon State, where he is now a master’s student in computer science and was recently honored with a prestigious Intel fellowship. More…


Helping specialty metal manufacturers save millions
KW Associates, a Corvallis startup has developed a technology that could save specialty metals manufacturers millions of dollars in energy costs, reduce waste, and improve safety in massive furnaces used to make titanium and other metals. The company is using funding from Oregon BEST to collaborate with Kyle Niemeyer, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering, to speed development of the technology. More…

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