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October 2014

From the Dean

Campus is again buzzing with new and returning students and an unusually dry summer has given way to the season's first rains. For me, fall is a time to reflect back on a summer winding down, but also a time to pause and look forward to the coming academic year.

And so as we begin Fall Term, I want to wish each of our faculty, staff, and students a successful and productive year of research and teaching, learning and living well. And to our alumni – wherever life has taken you, I wish each of you the very best and thank you for being part of our Oregon State engineering community.

We are indeed a community, and the stories below illustrate our shared successes — from students winning national titles and designing smart bicycle helmets, to companies tapping sunlight to clean up stormwater and innovating new ways to fuel natural gas vehicles, to alumni funding new buildings where our students and faculty will thrive for decades to come.

Thanks for being a part of our community. And Happy Fall!

Go Beavs!

Scott A. Ashford, Ph.D.
Kearney Professor and Dean
College of Engineering
Oregon State University


Only a few decades ago, the idea that robots would be stocking warehouses, assisting physicians in the operating room, and conducting covert operations overseas was the stuff of science fiction. Researchers in the College of Engineering can imagine these scenarios, and they’re making technology breakthroughs that will make your head spin. We’re in the process of creating the nation’s strongest robotics program right here at Oregon State University. Watch the video…

New surgically embedded pulley could aid rehab
Assistant professor Ravi Balasubramanian and his research team have developed and successfully demonstrated the value of a simple pulley mechanism implanted inside the body that improves hand function after surgery. More…

Running with robots
ATRIAS, a bipedal robot built by Associate Professor Jonathan Hurst and his research team are helping researchers to delve into the complexities of animal locomotion. More…

$7.5M new funding to advance wave energy research and water power technologies
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced the funding of up to $4 million for continued wave energy technological research and monitoring efforts. Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center (NNMREC) faculty will also share in another $3.25 million grant to improve “water power” technologies that convert the energy of waves, tides, rivers and ocean currents into electricity. Specifically, Associate Professor Merrick Haller has received $630,000 to develop an improved system for real-time wave forecasting. More…

Faculty & Staff

Megaquake preparedness will cost Oregon billions
A task force chaired by Scott Ashford, Kearney Professor and dean of the College of Engineering, has released the Oregon Resilience Plan commissioned by the legislature. Read more at the Statesman Journal, and KVAL.

Lessons for Oregon from the Napa Earthquake
H. Benjamin Mason and André R. Barbosa, both assistant professors of earthquake engineering, discuss how a recent research trip to the site of the Aug. 24th magnitude 6.0 Napa earthquake should re-motivate Oregon's efforts to prepare for the impending disaster from an earthquake in the Pacific Northwest. More…

Higgins named Cecil and Sally Drinkward Professor in Structural Engineering
An international expert in bridge structures, Chris Higgins, a professor in the School of Civil and Construction Engineering, exposes steel, concrete, composite, hybrid, and polymer materials to a variety of load conditions and stresses that can cause bridges to fail. His research on reinforced concrete bridges for the Oregon Department of Transportation helped save state taxpayers $500 million. Cecil and Sally Drinkward established the professorship in 2013 as a way to thank Oregon State for training many of the engineers who helped build Hoffman Construction into one of the leading general contractors in the Pacific Northwest. Drinkward joined Hoffman in 1967, serving as its president from 1974 to 1991.

New computer science degree program hires first faculty member
The recently approved computer science degree program at OSU-Cascades has named Marc Rubin as its first full-time faculty member. Rubin, who was a fellow in the National Science Foundation’s prestigious IGERT program and whose research includes wirelessly monitoring and automatically detecting snow avalanches, will help guide the program’s vision and growth. More…

College of Engineering honors faculty/staff with awards
The College of Engineering honored seven faculty and staff at the annual Engineering Breakfast on September 17 at the Reser Stadium Club Level. Awards included: Brian Jensen, Professional Faculty Award; Belinda Batten, Research Collaboration Award; Annette von Jouanne, Research Award; Ted Brekken, Loyd Carter Award; Jonathan Hurst, Engelbrecht Young Faculty Award; Andrew Klein, Austin-Paul Engineering Faculty Award; Milo Koretsky, Alumni Professor Award. More…

And the winners are… University Day awards
During University Day on September 18, four College of Engineering faculty and staff were honored with awards. Toni Doolen, the Excellence in Graduate Mentoring Award; Robert Stone, the OSU Award for Outstanding Service to Persons with Disabilities; Manfred Dittrich, the OSU Exemplary Employee Award; and Brian Paul, the OSU Faculty Innovator Award. More…


Students develop "smart" bicycle crash helmet
Five undergraduate students working as interns at Intel have developed a smart safety helmet for bicyclists that connects to a smart phone and, if a crash is detected, initiates communication with the rider through helmet speakers to ask if he or she needs help. If the rider says “yes” or does not respond, the software automatically calls and/or texts a predefined emergency contact with location information. More…

Big Beam team takes home national title
A student team from the School of Civil and Construction Engineering won the national title and $2,000 in the 2014 Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute Big Beam Contest. The team of Luke Cressman, Drew Nielson, Sandy Spencer, and Jarrett Yanagida was advised by Keith Kaufmann of the Knife River Corporation. More…

Graduate students tapped for engineering awards
Three graduate students were honored with awards at the college's annual Engineering Breakfast. Anna Koch, a 2014 graduate of the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, was awarded the Burgess/Tektronix Award; Troy Ansell, in the School of Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering, won the Graduate Research Assistant Award; and Evgenia Chunikhina, in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, received the Graduate Teaching Assistant Award. More…

Chemical engineering student chapter named "outstanding" in U.S.
For the 10th year in a row, the OSU student chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AiChE) is one of only 16 chapters nationwide to be named an AIChE Outstanding Student Chapter and will be honored at the annual AiChE Student Conference in Atlanta in November.

Student wins Topp Othmer scholarship
Kayla Al-Khaledy, a student in the School of Chemical, Biological, and Environmental Engineering, has been selected to receive the AIChE 2014 Donald F. & Mildred Topp Othmer Scholarship Award in the amount of $1,000.

Students spend summer as interns in Turkey
Three students in the School of Chemical, Biological, and Environmental Engineering, James Mal, Jacob Lum, and Jaden Diefenbaugh, participated in summer internships at Özyegin University in Turkey, in the first of what the college hopes will become a long-term relationship with the Turkish university. Özyegin University is founded by Hüsnü M. Özyegin (’67 B.S. Civil Engineering).


Natural gas vehicle innovation wins $3M ARPA-E grant
Onboard Dynamics, a spinout company started at OSU-Cascades campus in Bend, has secured a $3M grant from the U.S. Dept. of Energy's ARPA-E to advance its onboard compressor technology that will enable fueling of compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles anywhere a low-pressure gas line is available and cut fueling costs by 50 percent. Oregon BEST and ONAMI invested $400,000 to help leverage the $3M federal grant. Read more from Innovation News and Portland Business Journal, and watch this video.

Solar-activated "LilyPad" stormwater treatment technology wins funding
Puralytics, an Oregon company working with OSU engineers to develop a floating, solar-activated "LilyPad" to treat stormwater runoff in ditches, retaining ponds, and construction sites, has been awarded additional funding from Oregon BEST to advance its technology that will be tested in the new OSU-Benton Country Green Stormwater Infrastructure Research Facility, an Oregon BEST Lab located near Avery Park that is directed Meghna Babbar-Sebens, an assistant professor in the School of Civil and Construction Engineering. More…

Making a Difference

Construction launched on newest engineering building
On September 15th, the Oregon State community celebrated the construction launch of Johnson Hall, the future home of the School of Chemical, Biological, and Environmental Engineering. Named in honor of Pete Johnson ('55 Chemical Engineering) and his wife Rosalie, the 58,000 sq.-ft. building will be a state-of-the-art research and learning hub located just north of the Kelley Engineering Center. Johnson founded Tekmax in 1980 and developed a battery separator technology that is used by every battery manufacturer in the U.S. today. More…

Semiconductor Research Corp continues funding for undergraduate research
The Semiconductor Research Corp (SRC) will continue to fund the Women and Minorities in Engineering Progam in support of undergraduate research. The funding also allowed three engineering students to attend and present posters at the 2014 TECHCON in Austin, Texas. The students are Brianna Goodwin, ME – Using a Passive Implant for Scaling Muscle Force in Hand Surgery; Jason Castaneda, ChE – Computational Investigation of Idealized Hard Carbon Pores; and Amber Horvath, CS – Principles of a Debugging-First Puzzle Game for Computing Education.


Workshop on multicore programming translates research into practice
Danny Dig, an assistant professor of computer science, Andrew Black, a professor of computer science at Portland State University, and experts from Intel and State University of New York will host a workshop in Portland on October 17-19 for software professionals to learn the foundations of multicore programming in Java and JavaScript. More…

Lessons learned from recent earthquakes: Implications for Oregon
Scott Ashford will share lessons learned from investigating recent earthquakes in Chile, New Zealand, and Japan. He will discuss the implications of those lessons for Oregon and what we are doing about it. He will also give practical advice on what individuals can do to prepare for the Big One. Friday, October 31st, 3 – 3:30 pm, Kearney Hall 112, Oregon State University campus.


Residence hall named for late Salem engineer opens
William Tebeau Hall, named after chemical engineering student William "Bill" Tebeau, the first African American male to earn a degree from the university who then had an illustrious career with the Oregon State Highway Department, celebrates its grand opening on October 9th. More…

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