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October 2015

From the Dean

The academic year at Oregon State has begun in earnest. Here at the College of Engineering, there's a lot going on — from our own ATRIAS robot making an appearance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert to a new project that seeks to sequence the genome of the American Beaver to better understand the animal's engineering skills, woody diet, and the impacts on watersheds and forest ecosystems.

Our faculty and students are hard at work making coastal communities more resilient, highways safer, and artificial intelligence more effective. We've just announced grants worth millions of dollars that expose our students to cutting-edge research and ultimately improve the world. We also recently learned that of the 260 members in the Oregon State Marching Band, up to 50 percent are engineering students, including one of the three drum majors who direct the band on the field and off.

Clearly, our growing community of engineers is doing great things on many fronts. And we're barely a month into the academic year!

Go Beavs!

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


Stephen Colbert talks up OSU's walking robot
Oregon State's walking robot, ATRIAS, has received more fame and national media attention, this time on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. Developed by Jonathan Hurst, an associate professor of mechanical engineering, and colleagues, the walking, bipedal robot was featured on the show, while Colbert dished up his signature humor to video clips showing research 'nerds' throwing balls and kicking ATRIAS to test the robot's stability. Watch the Video Clip…

Toward more sustainable manufacturing systems
Karl Haapala, a professor of industrial and manufacturing engineering, and colleagues have developed a new "sustainable development methodology" to help address a social and regulatory demand for manufacturing processes that more effectively consider their economic, environmental and social impacts. More…

Shaking up the earth, to engineer safer building sites
Field tests in Charleston, South Carolina, by Armin Stuedlein, an associate professor of civil and construction engineering, uses underground explosives to simulate earthquakes as he and his team study how 40-ft.-long pilings driven deep into the ground might help structures survive soil liquefaction. The test, one of only 10 ever performed in the U.S., is featured in a six-minute video by Discovery News.

Faculty & Staff

Tidal and wave energy potential
"The technology has kept moving forward, which is good news," says Ted Brekken, an associate professor of energy systems at Oregon State University. "But the big issue is to get the cost down. Right now, there is the reality of surviving while we get there." More…

Preparing for the double threat: earthquake + tsunami
Research at the O. H. Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory by Daniel Cox, a professor in the School of Civil and Construction Engineering, and Anne Trehu, a professor in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, are featured in a new six-minute video from NBC that contains gripping footage of the Fukushima earthquake and tsunami. More…

Keeping ahead of advancing Artificial Intelligence
Tom Dietterich, a professor in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, has been in the news a lot lately, talking about artificial intelligence (AI), including the impacts AI will have on humans, our fears about losing control of AI robots (and robots taking our jobs), and how researchers must focus more intensely on near-term artificial intelligence challenges. Read more at Inside Microsoft Research, Computer World, Channel World, and National Magazine.

Higher speed limits mean fewer places to pass
As some highways in eastern Oregon prepare to raise speed limits from 55 to 65 mph this spring, highway crews are already working to re-stripe, shorten, and sometimes eliminate passing zones. David Hurwitz, an associate professor in the School of Civil and Construction Engineering, says the higher speeds give drivers less time to make good choices. More…

Beaver Genome Project seeks to "sequence the beav"
Stephen Ramsey, an assistant professor in Computer Science and Biomedical Sciences, and colleagues are partnering with the Oregon Zoo to sequence the genome of the North American beaver. The project will help understand the animal's engineering and dietary feats and their important contributions to stream and forest ecosystems. Through October 30, a crowd-sourcing campaign, "Seq the Beav" (watch video), is raising $30,000 for the project — the first time a Pac 12 school has sequenced the DNA of its mascot! More…


Being a drum major for the marching band
Ken Anderson, a trombone-playing, fourth-year student studying electrical and computer engineering, is one of only three drum majors who direct the 260-person Oregon State University Marching Band during football games — both on the field and in the stands. Director of Athletics Bands, Dana Biggs, says that up to 50 percent of the band's members are engineering majors. More…

Helping new students learn the ropes, literally
Shalyndria Finley, a fourth-year nuclear engineering student, is vice commander of the three-day New Student Orientation that the Oregon State Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps holds each fall to help students learn about team building, gain new skills, and develop relationships. More…


NuScale sets sights 'across the pond' on the U.K
NuScale, the Oregon State nuclear energy startup based on technology developed by professor José Reyes, has opened an office in London, England, and is looking to deploy its small modular reactor (SMR) technology in the U.K. NuScale is majority-owned by Fluor, which has a significant base at Farnborough, has worked on fuel design development with the U.K.'s National Nuclear Laboratory, and sponsors an internship program with the University of Sheffield and Oregon State University. More…


Grad globetrots across Eastern Europe, Asia
Jordan Machtelinckx, a recent Oregon State’s graduate who majored in civil engineering and international studies, studied abroad in Cape Town, South Africa, and was involved in Engineers Without Borders, is now on a journey across Eastern Europe and Asia. His blog post discusses the benefits of learning about the world from experience. More… (Scroll down to the post Fueled by Curiosity)

Alum's path to journalism
Meet the newest member of the Fox 13 Now news team, Matt McDonald, a 1999 civil engineering graduate. His path to journalism has been a long one: a year in China and stints in marketing and film production. More…

Özyeğin received philanthropy award from the American Turkish Society
Hüsnü Özyeğin (’67 Civil Engineering) was awarded the Philanthropy Award by the American Turkish Society. Özyeğin is a Turkish entrepreneur, businessman and philanthropist, as well as Founder and Chairman of FIBA Holding and Chairman of Özyeğin University. He has received international acclaim for his charitable endeavors of over $420 million to support Turkey's education, health, and rural development and help to eliminate social disparities. Özyeğin has built 65 schools and girls dormitories and awarded over 12,000 scholarships to young, disadvantaged Turkish students. Over one million people in Turkey have been reached through the programs supported by Hüsnü Özyeğinn and his family. More…

Parker named fellow of the Association of Energy Engineers
Graham Parker, a 1973 chemical engineering graduate who has worked as an engineer at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory since graduating from Oregon State, has been named a fellow of the of the Association of Energy Engineers. The honor recognizes AEE members who have made significant contributions to the energy management and alternative energy industry. Parker is currently leading a project in Pakistan to help the government there build power generation capacity through efficiency and energy planning. More…

Skoro to receive Alumni Association honor
From carpenter to Senior Vice President of Peter Kiewit Sons’, Inc., and President of General Construction Company, Tom Skoro (’81 Construction Engineering Management) literally built his way to the top of a very distinguished career. He is responsible for all Kiewit Bridge and Marine Operations throughout the United States and Canada had has led teams that were responsible for the design and/or construction of over 500 bridges. Skoro will be honored as a 2015 alumni fellow by Oregon State’s Alumni Association during Homecoming. More…

Alum invested in "Big Stone Gap"
For many investors in the space the perks are the payoff — or at least a big part of it. Ivan Williams, a 1980 chemical engineering graduate and longtime oil and gas executive who invested about $150,000 in Bradley’s slate of films — and was there for Goldberg’s greeting — says his decision was based on both "the opportunity for significant returns on my investments" and "the whole other experiential aspect that I certainly don’t get with my investments in Coca-Cola and Alcoa." More…


$4.5 million to advance nanotech at OSU, UW
A new grant from the National Science Foundation will allow Greg Herman, a professor in the School of Chemical, Biological, and Environmental Engineering, and others at Oregon State to take nanotechnology research to a new level. The funding will provide effective ways of collaborating with industry and better training opportunities for students in areas related to the Northwest's high-tech industry. More…

$3.8M NSF funding for coastal resilience
The School of Civil and Construction Engineering has received a $3.8 million award from the National Science Foundation to increase the resilience of the nation’s coastal communities. Two main resources at the O.H. Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory will become part of a distributed, national program — the Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure. Daniel Cox, a professor of civil and construction engineering is the project's PI, with co-investigators Pedro Lomónaco, director of the Hinsdale Laboratory, and Chris Higgins, the Cecil and Sally Drinkward Professor in Civil Engineering. More…

$2.5M to advance microchannel solar energy technology
An Oregon State research consortium has been awarded a $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Dept. of Energy to advance an Oregon State-developed technology for solar thermal generation that uses microchannels to speed heat transfer and improve efficiency — generating electricity more efficiently and at a lower cost than existing systems. Kevin Drost, a retired Oregon State mechanical engineering professor, is leading the research consortium developing the new system. More…

NOAA funds research to help coastal communities
NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science has awarded Oregon State University $444,743 to look at the economic value of protecting the shore with natural infrastructure, such as restored wetlands, as communities plan for sea level rise and coastal flooding. Dan Cox and Chris Parrish in the School of Civil and Construction Engineering are co-PIs on the grant. More…

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