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Summer 2015

From the Dean

As summer comes to a close and fall arrives, we're preparing to welcome all current and new students into our community of engineers here at the College of Engineering.

We are more committed than ever to continue building a community of collaboration and inclusivity at the college because the demand for quality engineering education continues to grow. Private engineering programs are admitting a smaller and smaller percentage of applicants, so public institutions like Oregon State must step up to ensure access to the increasingly diverse pool of students driven to become the engineers and problem solvers of tomorrow.

As a public institution with an outstanding engineering program, our emphasis is on increasing student access, and that's clearly working. I'm pleased to announce that we are now the 13th largest engineering school in the United States. That's a large community, and one I'm very proud of. So welcome — everyone — to Our Community.

Go Beavs!

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


Assessing the aftermath of the Nepal earthquake
The April 25, 2015 Nepal earthquake caused 9,000 deaths, injured tens of thousands of people, and left hundreds of thousands homeless. The Geotechnical Extreme Events Reconnaissance (GEER) Association mobilized two teams, including Oregon State's Ben Mason, an assistant professor in the School of Civil and Construction Engineering, to investigate the effects with a focus on time-sensitive (perishable) data. The findings are in a 250-page report. More…

Quantum dot technology could cut lighting costs in half
Advances in manufacturing technology for quantum dots may lead to a new generation of LED lighting that is less expensive, emits more user-friendly light, and is made using less toxic materials. Greg Herman, a professor in the School of Chemical, Biological, and Environmental Engineering, who is leading the research effort, said the technology could help the nation cut its lighting bill almost in half and could be incorporated into computer displays, televisions, and other systems. More…

Faculty & Staff

Preparing now for "The Big One"
Scott Ashford, dean of the College of Engineering, is spearheading an initiative called the Cascadia Lifeline Project that is organizing public utilities, transportation agencies, and others to begin work on how to prepare for life after a major earthquake in the Pacific Northwest. Although it will take many years to fully prepare for "The Big One," Ashford said we can start now to find ways to better retro-fit, replace, or repair. More…

Distracted driving caused by more than cell phones
In an article about a 13-year-old boy killed by a driver checking his GPS and eating in a vehicle, David Hurwitz, an associate professor in the School of Civil and Construction Engineering, said that while most people think distracted driving involves a cell phone — a driver texting, calling, or searching for music — distractions include "any secondary task that isn't related to the guidance of the vehicle and takes your focus away from the roadway." More…

New head of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science has track record for growth
V. John Mathews, an expert in biomedical signal processing and neural engineering who has a track record for growing both research funding and student enrollment has been hired as the new head of the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Mathews led the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Utah, where he helped triple the department's research funding, double the number of graduate students, and increase undergraduate enrollment by 50 percent. More…

Pritchett elected to National Academy of Construction
The National Academy of Construction (NAC) has elected Hal Pritchett, a professor emeritus of civil and construction engineering, as one of 27 members in the class of 2015. Selected from a pool of more than 300 prospects, Pritchett and his class join a total of 211 members of the NAC, a select organization made up of industry leaders whose present or past professional career demonstrates outstanding contribution to the effectiveness of the engineering and construction industry. More…

Bonding with robots like we do with pets?
In a Popular Science article about bonding with robots, Bill Smart, an associate professor of mechanical engineering, who studies human-robot interactions, said, "As humans, we're eager to bond with things. People give their cars names. Kids give their stuffed animals back-stories. At some level you know it's a robot. But as you interact with it, you'll probably find yourself doing things that you'd do with animals." More…

Improving California bridges after flood-caused collapse
Armin Stuedlein, an associate professor in the School of Civil and Construction Engineering, said there is "room for improvement" in bridge design and protection standards related to the recent I-10 bridge collapse in southern California, noting that this stretch of I-10 has several dozen similar bridges. More…

The benefits of taking engineering and liberal arts courses
Gabor Temes, a professor of electrical and computer engineering, has authored an article about how the workforce benefits when colleges and universities offer engineering students a combination of a quality liberal arts education along with the intellectual content of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) subjects and courses. More…

Wave energy and von Jouanne featured on CBC News
Annette von Jouanne, a professor in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, is featured in a new video produced by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's news and current affairs program, The National. The 12-minute video explores the highs, lows, and history of wave energy development, and highlights von Jouanne's role as a national leader in the field. More…

Civil and Construction Engineering hires new leader
Jason Weiss, a researcher involved in the development of more durable and sustainable concrete, has been named the new head of the School of Civil and Construction Engineering. Weiss comes to Oregon State from Purdue University and will direct the Kiewit Center for Infrastructure and Transportation Research and hold the Miles Lowell and Margaret Watt Edwards Distinguished Chair in Engineering. More…


From band leader to software engineer to Carnegie Mellon
At first, transitioning from band teacher to software engineer seemed like a huge leap for Jennifer Burns, but things quickly fell into place after she made the switch. While enrolled in Oregon State's online degree program for post-baccalaureates, she held internships with Intel in Oregon and Micron in Colorado, before applying to five graduate schools. Accepted by all five, she's chosen to attend Carnegie Mellon to study information security. More…

Global Formula Racing team wins in Germany
The Global Formula Racing Team, a collaboration between Oregon State students and students from Duale Hochschule Baden-Württemberg - Ravensburg (DHBW-R), Germany, won top place in a formula car design and racing event in Germany last month. The team designed two vehicles for the challenge, a combustion engine vehicle that won first place in the combustion category, and an electric vehicle that took fourth place in its category. More…

Making a Difference

Gift endows humanitarian engineering professorship
A $1.5 million donation from Oregon State alumni Richard ('69, Industrial Engineering) and Gretchen ('69 Elementary Education) Evans has endowed a professorship in humanitarian engineering that will be held by Kendra Sharp, a professor of mechanical engineering and the Glumac Faculty Associate in Sustainable Technologies. Richard Evans was president and CEO of Alcan, a Fortune-100 mining company based in Montreal, and prior gifts from the Evans' helped launch the Humanitarian Engineering program two years ago. More…


Onboard Dynamics goes to the White House
Onboard Dynamics, the spinout company founded by Chris Hagen, an assistant professor of energy systems engineering at OSU-Cascades, was invited to display its technology at the White House during White House Demo Day last month. The company's technology integrates natural gas compression into cars and trucks, allowing drivers to refuel from any low pressure natural gas supply line. More…


Nuclear engineering becomes school, selects new name
To recognize the expanding academic offerings and incorporate future growth, the Department of Nuclear Engineering and Radiation Health Physics has changed its name to the School of Nuclear Science and Engineering. "The name change was requested to better represent the academic programs contained in the school and to bring greater visibility to the research and academic programs already being operated within this unit," said Kathryn Higley, head of the re-named school. More…


New college's strategic plan in action
Read the College of Engineering stories that put the spotlight on additive manufacturing research, humanitarian engineering, and the inaugural Graduate Engineering Research Expo in the latest issue of the alumni magazine Momentum!

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

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