November 2011

Making It
Revolutionary manufacturing processes stir hope of a U.S. industrial revival.
By Thomas K. Grose

Fuel cells are typically made from three materials that have to withstand heat ranging from room temperature to 800° Celsius. But because the materials expand at different rates when heated, degradation and cracking can occur where they meet. To help solve this problem, Denis Cormier, a professor of machining and manufacturing at the Rochester Institute of Technology, is developing fuel cells that are produced by 3-D printers, microlayer by microlayer. Instead of having potentially weak seams binding them together, the materials blend into one another. “You gradually transition the materials,” Cormier explains. It’s an intricate weaving process that can’t be done by conventional manufacturing technologies.

Such delicate fabrication is among the breakthroughs that enthusiasts hail as the first stirring of an American industrial revival. So-called advanced manufacturing brings new and emerging technologies — 3-D printing, or additive manufacturing, as well as robotics, telematics, and nanotechnology – to making what we now use or may invent, and in ways that can adapt to change. It could “offer the potential to produce higher quality and a wider variety of products — even customizing products for just a few or even a single buyer — and do so at low cost,” former U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke told Congress last March. Heralding “a renaissance in American manufacturing,” President Obama has enlisted research-and-development talents from six leading universities and a half-dozen major companies in a $500 million partnership. The results could mean bright prospects for engineers in a variety of disciplines, even if they don’t generate huge numbers of jobs.

If, as Locke contended, manufacturing remains vitally important to U.S. national and economic security, it is in dire need of a reboot. The world’s largest manufacturer, the United States produces 19 percent of global output. But the sector, which employs 64 percent of American engineers, represents just 13 percent of GDP, compared with 77 percent for services. In 1979, it employed 19.5 million Americans; last year, that figure had shrunk to 11.5 million, just 6 percent of the total workforce. A generation after jobs and production began drifting offshore, much of what’s left of U.S. manufacturing is low-tech, “making it much more vulnerable to low-wage competition” from overseas, notes Rob Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF). In high-tech goods, the United States has gone from a trade surplus a decade ago to a deficit of $81 billion last year.

Manufacturing and Innovation Are Linked

Clearly, jobs are on the line, but so is the edge in innovation that underpins U.S. economic strength. That’s because America’s share of global research and development is shrinking along with its traditional manufacturing base. As governments elsewhere, particularly in Asia, expand science and technology training, multinational companies increasingly find hospitable locales for R&D outside the United States, taking advantage of local talent, proximity to markets, and sometimes lower costs. Harvard Business School professors Gary Pisano and Willy Shih, writing in 2009, contended that without a strong manufacturing base, American innovations will be few and far between. There are, the pair wrote, “relatively few high-tech industries where the manufacturing process is not a factor in developing new – especially, radically new – products . . . An economy that lacks an infrastructure for advanced process engineering and manufacturing will lose its ability to innovate.” The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) noted that “proximity still encourages people to exchange the knowledge most critical to innovation.” Many high-tech products invented in the United States — including “fabless” chips, LCD monitors, and PCs — no longer can be made here because of a loss of knowledge and skills. When products such as smartphones serve as battlefield gear, loss of this capacity has a national security dimension. “We may be denied these things in the future,” says Gary Fedder, the professor of electrical and computer engineering who heads the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU).

What’s needed are new, improved ways to make things we all know and cutting-edge methods to create products that don’t yet exist – techniques that let the United States produce more of what is invented and designed here. That’s the goal of advanced manufacturing, or what some call high-value-added production.

Of the new methods, additive manufacturing is perhaps the most radical. It is the complete opposite of the subtractive methods of manufacturing – the milling, chipping, cutting away at a chunk of material to create a product or part – that underpin most mass production. Specialized 3-D printers come in different varieties and use a range of techniques. But they all digitally scan a 3-D CAD design, and virtually divide it into ultra-thin slices. Then they essentially print out and layer each microslice atop another using powder or molten liquids as “inks” — which can encompass metals, resins, composites, and plastics — and fuse them together, perhaps with heat or lasers. “It is closer to how nature does it,” says Radovan Kovacevic, head of the Research Center for Advanced Manufacturing at Southern Methodist University in Texas.

The technology has been around for decades and was used mainly to make “rapid prototypes” of parts. But now it’s increasingly used to make the parts themselves. It’s estimated that 20 percent of current 3-D printer output is for actual components. “We’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg, and it will be enormous,” says Terry Wohlers, a Colorado consultant and expert in the technology.

Low Volume, High Quality

The advantages of 3-D printing are many. It can be inexpensive, since there are no dies, molds, and tooling to make. There is much less waste since it uses no more material than necessary to make the part — another cost-savings. And it can allow for more design freedom. “Geometrically, you can make stuff you couldn’t make before,” says Richard Hague, a professor of innovative manufacturing at Britain’s Loughborough University. For instance, researchers are developing printers to make the first nonflat circuit boards, which can be used to accommodate curvier product designs. They’ll soon make it easier to embed sensors and other electronics within materials, giving a big boost to efforts to create smart or self-healing materials. And additive manufacturing allows for customization; absent the cost of dies and molds, it will become economically feasible to make and profitably sell truly individualized products.

For now, it’s a technology best suited to low-volume, high-quality production. Think aerospace components, super-luxury automobiles, furniture, light fixtures, and medical devices and equipment. Boeing, for example, uses it to make an air vent that requires just two pieces; the old, subtractive way of making the vent required the machining of nearly 20.

Still, “it will not overtake mass production,” Kovacevic says. Everything from computers to cars to crayons will rely on traditional manufacturing for years to come. Though additive manufacturing is sometimes called rapid prototyping, “there’s nothing rapid about it,” Cormier says. It only speeds development time because there’s no need to make dies and molds. Mass production machines can spit out parts in seconds; 3-D printers need a minimum of many, many minutes, and usually several hours. Cormier estimates it will be at least a decade before we see 3-D printers fast enough to make parts by the millions. Part of Hague’s research at Loughborough is developing ways to speed up the process. For now, if you need a million plastic trash cans, stick with injection-molding. But if you need a thousand or fewer, “it’s ridiculous to make a mold,” says Cormier.

Additive manufacturing “is an exciting idea, but we have to be careful not to overpromise,”cautions Olivier de Weck, an associate professor of aeronautics and engineering systems at MIT. Still, over the next decade, as researchers find ways to accelerate the speed of 3-D printers, an increasing number of components needed for mass production will be printed. That, of course, eventually could mean some manufacturing comes back home from low-wage countries. If you can fabricate the parts you need quickly and cheaply where you need them, why ship stuff in from overseas?

Adapting to Market Demands

It’s also important to make manufacturing more flexible to better keep pace with ever changing consumer demands. That’s the focus of the University of Michigan’s Engineering Research Center for Reconfigurable Manufacturing Systems, which is developing technologies that range from wireless networks to virtual simulations. The goal: to help plant managers quickly reduce — or ramp up — production to meet demand fluctuations, or speedily retool to change products. “Being able to deliver the right product at the right time that the market demands is difficult to do in many industries,” particularly the automotive, says A. Galip Ulsoy, a manufacturing professor and the center’s deputy director. It takes years to design and build a plant, and most are built to produce a specific product. “But it’s easy to get out of sync with the market.” Gasoline prices soar, and buyers suddenly want more fuel-efficient cars. The center’s research aims to help, say, an engine plant deftly and quickly segue from V-8s to V-6s.

At CMU’s Robotics Institute, research professor Ralph Hollis is designing hardware and software to speed the design and production of high-precision, electromechanical products using fully automated assembly systems. That’s a trend largely pushed by demand for more customized goods and the short life cycles of high-tech products. MIT’s de Weck says manufacturers also are gaining agility by moving away from large-scale, big-batch factories to small-scale, less capital-intensive facilities.

Fixtures in modern factories, robots are very good at doing the same chore over and over again, ad infinitum. But what’s largely absent from manufacturing are autonomous or semiautonomous robots that rely on sensors and can make decisions, operate in less-structured environments, and not necessarily do the same tasks endlessly. These kinds of robots already are used for nonmanufacturing duties, such as scoping out the innards of oil wells or disarming roadside bombs in war zones. But they are coming to manufacturing, too, Ulsoy says. One early use of thinking robots: autonomously guided vehicles for parts storage and retrieval, replacing inflexible conveyor belts. A new challenge, currently a focus of the multiagency National Robotics Initiative, is creating robots that work in symbiotic relationships with people. “That still requires a lot of research,” CMU’s Fedder says. “That’s the reason you don’t see robots and humans interacting — it’s dangerous. One swing of a (robotic) arm could kill you.”

An Array of Nano Possibilities

New man-made materials with wholly unique properties, especially those derived from nanotechnology, also loom large among advanced-manufacturing technologies. “Innovative manufacturing is going smaller and smaller,” says de Weck, who is also executive director of MIT’s new Production in the Innovation Economy project. Two promising new materials under development in MIT labs: a fiber composite material that’s conductive, and so can carry electronic signals that could, say, rid planes of wire bundles and also protect aircraft from lightning; and a plastic coating infused with microsensors that could be used on airplane wings, slightly altering its texture to accommodate changes in airflows, or on bridges. According to PCAST, “Materials such as graphene, buckyballs, and carbon nanotubes that have nano-scale crystalline structures could serve markets for data storage, energy, optoelectronics, avionics, defense, and packaging. Potential products include highly attuned chemical and biological sensors, fuel cells, touch screens, lightweight body armor, and airframes.” There is also potential for “entire new classes of pharmaceuticals based upon nanostructures for broad classes of disease such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.”

For engineering students of all stripes, the hoped-for boom in advanced manufacturing should provide great job prospects – if they can be attracted to the field. “There are opportunities for people with every engineering skill,” Fedder says. “Manufacturing crosscuts through all disciplines.” A number of schools already encourage students to work with industry, among them Olin College, MIT, Michigan, and CMU. Still, mention manufacturing to 18-year-old freshmen, de Weck says, “and they look at you like you’re crazy. People still think it is a greasy, oily, dirty job that is old-fashioned. People don’t think it’s sexy.”

Whether the revolution in manufacturing will turn into an engine of employment for the broader population of job-seekers is a question. MIT President Susan Hockfield told a 2010 conference on manufacturing technologies that 17 million to 20 million new jobs need to be created in the coming decade if America is to fully recover from the Great Recession. “And it is very hard to imagine where those jobs are going to come from unless we seriously get busy reinventing manufacturing.” But part of the genius of advanced manufacturing lies in the promise of productivity gains. “As we develop tools to become more productive, we produce an increasing number of goods, but we need fewer and fewer people to do it,” Michigan’s Ulsoy says. Along with its many other benefits, Wohlers says, manufacturing with 3-D printers “does reduce labor needs dramatically.”

The labor force required will need to be numerate and tech-savvy, able to operate and program computerized machines, troubleshoot complex equipment, use math to make logistical decisions, and read blueprints. Those with at least an associate’s degree from a community college will have a leg up.

Incorporating cutting-edge technologies into manufacturing will, in many cases, require massive amounts of capital. Cost is also holding back efforts to update legacy industries like textiles. The know-how needed to manufacture electronics-embedded “smart clothes” exists, but is still too expensive. “The problem is, how do you manufacture them in a cost-effective way?” Fedder says. Last June, PCAST argued that no single company was prepared at this stage to risk the sums needed to develop the potential of nanoscale carbon materials, flexible electronics, or nanotechnology-enabled medical diagnostic devices. The upshot is Obama’s Advanced Manufacturing Initiative, comprising CMU, MIT, Georgia Tech, Stanford, the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Michigan, and industrial partners Caterpillar, Corning, Dow Chemical, Ford, Intel, and Northrop Grumman. But when the White House could come up with only half the $1 billion PCAST recommended, ITIF’s Atkinson was disappointed: “It’s a step in the right direction, but it’s a day late and dollar short.” Another possible solution for the financing of risky research would be the creation of industry consortia, like the chip industry’s Sematech. Other countries, meanwhile, aren’t standing still. ITIF estimates that Japanese government spending on manufacturing R&D as a share of GDP is 35 times higher than the U.S. government’s, and Germany’s is 20 times more. The return of “Made in America” is not yet a sure thing.

Thomas K. Grose is Prism’s chief correspondent, based in London

TED Talk – Lisa Harouni: A primer on 3D printing


Nanosatellites bring space discovery to campus at down-to-earth prices.
By Charles Q. Choi

What’s smaller than a breadbox, nearly as affordable, and is opening up space exploration? Though it may sound like the answer to an old quiz-show query, MIT’s loaf-size ExoplanetSat and some 20 other tiny “nanosatellites” that NASA plans to launch in the coming year represent a bold break from the past. They also highlight the powerful new role of engineering departments in tackling one of astronomy’s biggest tasks: discovering distant planets that could support life.

Unlike well-funded federal or industry-led revolutions in space technology, nanosatellites are the university equivalent of garage start-ups. One popular type, the CubeSat, occupies a frame just 10 centimeters across and was “based off the size of a Beanie Baby box I found in a shop,” says coinventor Robert Twiggs, a professor of earth and space science at Morehead State University. Cheap and lightweight — just 2 to 22 pounds — these miniature satellites have thrust thousands of undergraduates into design/build experiences that not only fit departmental budgets and course requirements but also let students address some of the same cutting-edge space challenges that engage the military, space scientists, and industry.

Engineering educators find that nanosatellites motivate undergraduates to master difficult material. “Working on a satellite that will go up to space on a rocket appeals to a lot of students, and can attract them into putting in long hours and dealing with a lot of frustration to learn something they didn’t know before,” says Bruce Yost, a project manager at NASA’s Ames Research Center who has worked with students on a nanosatellite designed to look for organic compounds in the cosmos.

A lucky “perfect storm”

The embrace of nanosatellites was spurred by advances in microelectronics that enabled even minuscule packages to pack a huge performance punch. “We had miniaturization of sensors, electronics, communications packages, cellphones, laptops, and all that — a perfect storm going our way,” explains Twiggs’s CubeSat coinventor Jordi Puig-Suari, a professor of aerospace engineering at California Polytechnic State University. The small satellites’ arrival coincided with the government’s need to train aerospace engineers who held U.S. citizenship and could be cleared for sensitive projects. Out of this need for talent sprang the University Nanosat Program (UNP), now run by the Air Force in partnership with the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Since its inception in January 1999, some 4,000 undergraduates, mostly in engineering, from at least 27 universities have participated. Participants go through a two-stage process: In the first phase, students design and build a prototype nanosat to enter in a flight competition. The second phase involves integrating and testing systems in preparation for a potential launch opportunity.

UNP Program Manager David Voss of the Air Force Research Laboratory got involved as a Boston University doctoral student in electrical engineering. He oversaw 60 undergraduate and graduate students working to design and engineer a five-system UNP nanosatellite to hover over the aurora borealis and test existing computer models to better predict space weather that can disrupt cellphone communications.

As space systems go, they’re relatively quick to build, “so students can see a project they worked on from the start launch while they are still in school, something they find very exciting,” says Mason Peck, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Cornell University. Still, small doesn’t mean simple. Like their larger cousins, nanosatellites have solar panels, batteries, power systems, antennas, command and telemetry systems, and a host of mechanical structures. Students not only must create exceptionally robust systems that can survive the launch as well as the cold, heat, and radiation found in the vast vacuum of outer space; they also need to identify and fix fatal design flaws before their satellite fails beyond reach of repair. “You have to put a lot of effort up front and be really confident when it launches,” says Peck.

Beyond developing technical knowledge, students hone such practical skills as working on diverse teams. Consider MIT’s ExoplanetSat, scheduled to launch in 2012. The $5 million nanosatellite, designed to scan space for potentially life-sustaining, Earth-like planets, uses high-performance optics that can measure the dimming of a star as an orbiting planet passes in front – data that can help tell how large such a world is and its distance from its star. The project demanded a variety of expertise. “Engineering students might design solar panels and rely on orbits that collect power most effectively, but science students explain that idea can’t work, since it means they can’t observe the stars properly,” explains ExoplanetSat project leader Sara Seager, a professor of planetary science and physics. “So there’s a constant back and forth.” That discourse also affects how students perceive their roles on projects. “Students learn how to integrate something complex; the environment is really multidisciplinary,” notes Cornell’s Peck. “You can’t just be an expert in one little discipline — you have to take into account how your work might affect others and how theirs might affect yours.” Adds NASA’s Bruce Yost: “If some problem pops up, it’s not just the electrical guy’s problem. It’s everyone’s problem.”

Valuable Skills

Such experience attracts employers. “They’ve definitely got jobs lined up,” says Peck, whose students are “heavily recruited” by Boeing, Lockheed, NASA, and the Air Force. Nor is aerospace the only interested sector. CubeSat coinventor Puig-Suari has seen Cal Poly students hired by Apple. “The kinds of skills students are learning working on complex systems have a value beyond the space industry,” he says.

Ironically, that value went largely unnoticed at first by many. “Naysayers said nanosatellites were too small to do anything useful,” since telescopes needed large apertures that collect light to see well, recounts NASA’s Yost. At best, government and industry experts thought nanosatellites “were toys, like owning a model car,” Peck notes. At worst, they were potential space debris that could harm satellites, astronauts, and spacecraft.

Concern and scorn dissipated with each nanosat launch, however. “The whole attitude regarding nanosatellites began to change” as their usefulness and “significantly lower prices” became clear, says CubeSat coinventor Twiggs. Today, NASA, the military, and aerospace companies have robust programs. Engineers, for example, use nanosatellites to troubleshoot components designed for larger satellites. The military is investigating them as a potentially quick, inexpensive way to set up battlefield telecommunication networks. Scientists want them for observing Earth, deep space, and the behavior of microbes in orbit, while industry hopes they will help boost understanding of risky space environments and hazards spacecraft might face. “Government and industry have finally caught on,” marvels Wayne Shiroma, an assistant professor of electrical engineering at the University of Hawaii, Manoa. His electrical and mechanical engineering students won two awards at the UNP competition in Albuquerque, N.M., last January.

Nanosatellite proponents see this transformation as an example of how engineering undergraduates can help develop the underpinnings of viable future capabilities and enterprises. As UNP program manager David Voss notes, “students don’t know what you are and aren’t allowed to do, and so can lead to innovations.” Meanwhile, increasingly sophisticated technology is finding its way into nanosatellites as universities partner with industry. With ExoplanetSat, for instance, MIT partnered with Draper Laboratory to develop battery-powered piezoelectric drives that control the motion of the imaging detector an order of magnitude more precisely than any previous nanosatellite.

Emerging companies are now supplying, off the shelf, components that were once highly specialized, freeing faculty and students to concentrate on post-launch operations. As they analyze data from satellites already aloft, researchers also are investigating ways to overcome limitations imposed by small size, such as having an array of nanosatellites work together like one big space telescope. The challenges, however, are significant. “You have to have incredibly accurate timing and know the exact position of each element of such an array,” says NASA’s Yost, adding that high-accuracy atomic clocks, GPS, and range-finding technology would all have to come way down in size to fit inside each nanosatellite. Given the speed with which miniaturization advances, however, that could well become possible. Another development seen to hold promise: fusing nanosatellites together to create larger, more capable satellites.

Not everyone is thinking big, however. Twiggs and his Morehead State students are pursuing what they call a PocketQub, a satellite just 2 inches or so wide. “You can put eight of these in a regular CubeSat, so theoretically they’d cost an eighth,” he calculates. Cornell’s Peck and his collaborators are going even smaller with the idea of a satellite on a chip, called a “Sprite,” with numerous inch-square orbiters dispersed per launch. They already are testing these cracker-size devices with solar and radio cells on the international space station. Cornell student Zac Manchester has even designed a container to deliver a payload of solar-powered “ChipSats.” Called KickSat, it will allow anyone to launch his own micro-Sputnik for $300 apiece. So far, 30 sponsors have signed up — and Manchester hopes to lift off in 2013. Concludes Stephen Arnold of the Naval Research Lab, “Sometimes smaller is better.”

Charles Q. Choi is a New York-based freelance writer specializing in science.

South Korea bets the time is right for a nuclear-only graduate school.
By Corinna Wu

Japan, struggling to recover from March’s triple disaster of an earthquake, tsunami and nuclear-plant meltdown, has seen mass demonstrations against nuclear power. Germany, where antinuclear sentiment was intensified by the Fukushima crisis, intends to retire its own reactors by 2022. But at a nuclear complex overlooking the East Sea in Busan, South Korea, a different lesson has been absorbed: the need for more advanced training of nuclear plant operators. And so by March, 2012, the Kori Nuclear Complex will not only be a major supplier of electricity, with five operating reactors, three under construction, and four more planned; it also will be a working campus.

Kori is the home of the Korea Electric Power Co.’s new International Nuclear Graduate School (K-INGS), currently selecting its first class of 100 students — 50 from Korea and 50 from other countries. The school, developed in collaboration with George Mason University in Virginia, is designed to train engineers in the skills needed to run nuclear power plants. “The importance of K-INGS has been enhanced after the Fukushima accident,” says KunMo Chung, chairman of the new graduate school’s founding commission. “K-INGS became a timely project in training top nuclear professionals to upgrade the safety, security, and supply of nuclear power generation.” It will not offer a traditional nuclear engineering program, he says: “We are really talking about nuclear power plant engineering. When you try to plan, design, construct, operate, and maintain an energy power plant, you need all kinds of engineers and managers. It’s not nuclear engineering alone.”

South Korea is not alone in refusing to surrender its nuclear-power capacity in the face of global fright over Fukushima. The world’s steadily growing appetite for energy continues unabated, and nuclear power retains the dual advantages of being a homegrown energy source – resistant to the swings of global energy markets – and of not spewing out carbon dioxide and contributing to global climate change. France plans to build its 60th nuclear plant, and hopes to cash in on decades of atomic experience to sell its advanced technology – designed to post-Fukushima safety standards – in countries such as India, China, Britain, Poland, South Africa, Turkey, and Brazil, its energy minister, Eric Besson, recently told Reuters. Britain’s government has identified eight potential sites for reactors. Even Japan’s new prime minister, Yoshihiko Noda, sounds prepared to withstand public anger and fear, and cling to nuclear power for a portion of his country’s energy. Altogether, some 70 nations are interested in building new nuclear power plants, says Chung, and will need engineers who can operate them. Also, old reactors are reaching the stage where they need to be upgraded.

A Growth Market

The persistent demand for nuclear power, coupled with mounting concern about safety, has exposed a dearth of advanced training programs in the increasingly complex skills required. During the three-decade hiatus in nuclear plant construction in the United States following the Three Mile Island accident in 1979, many universities phased out their nuclear engineering programs or merged them into other programs.

Now demand for trained personnel is expected to rise. According to the Nuclear Energy Institute’s 2010 Work Force Report, nearly 38 percent of workers in the U.S. nuclear industry will be eligible to retire within the next five years. To maintain the current workforce, the industry will need to hire approximately 25,000 more workers by 2015. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 11 percent employment growth for nuclear engineers through 2018.

The nuclear industry needs workers across the spectrum, from skilled technicians and operators all the way to nuclear CEOs, says Dale Klein, a former chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and now associate vice chancellor for research at the University of Texas system. “I think it’s very important to have a very skilled workforce because nuclear is one of those energy forms that is just different,” adds Klein, a member of K-INGS’s International Advisory Board. “It’s very important that we do it right, we do it safe, and we do it secure.” Fellow adviser Roger Stough, George Mason’s vice president for research and economic development, says “huge questions” about nuclear plant safety compound the importance of education.

South Korea’s needs are particularly acute. Although many countries halted nuclear-plant construction in the 1980s, Korea kept building. “We didn’t have any other choice,” Chung says. “The oil price went up. We need energy, and we don’t have any natural resources in our country.” The country currently operates 20 reactors, but is building eight more. An additional 10 reactors are being planned, Chung says, making it the world’s most active reactor-building nation. Trained personnel are needed not only to run the existing plants but also to operate new ones that are coming online. South Korea, like France, plans to export nuclear plants, generating demand abroad for skilled operators.

Graduate-level nuclear studies generally prepare students for research and academic careers, not jobs operating nuclear plants. For those, the U.S. nuclear industry usually hires college graduates and gives them a lot of in-house, on-the-job training with help from the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations, an industry-established nonprofit based in Atlanta, and the National Nuclear Accrediting Board.

K-INGS aims for a more formal and detailed approach, one that Klein, a member of K-INGS’s International Advisory Board, likens to the lengthy process the military uses to prepare candidates for the senior ranks. “I think at the top levels of the nuclear industry, they need to have the same kind of program. So the industry needs to develop a comprehensive, integrated program as they develop their leaders worldwide.”

K-INGS’s location at a nuclear power plant enables what Klein calls a “really unique” experience, in which students will prepare full time for either a master’s of engineering or a Doctorate of Technology. “In our case, we call it Doctor of Technology to signify the professional aspect of this training,” Chung says. “This is not a traditional doctoral degree program.” Instead of having students write a dissertation on original science research, K-INGS students will focus on systems engineering design and technological innovations.

It’s All About Systems

Students will enter having majored in a variety of engineering disciplines, including systems, mechanical, electronics, electrical, and materials engineering, as well as nuclear engineering. Their curriculum is organized around all the systems – 60 in all – that go into running a nuclear plant. These systems, such as cooling or emergency preparedness, are broken down into modules and then subdivided into units. “It’s an experiment — but a very exciting experiment,” says Chung. “It’s not just ivory tower.”

The 50 Koreans in the first class will spend six weeks in the summer at George Mason taking three 40-hour courses in systems engineering. Although the school doesn’t have a nuclear program, “I think we found a niche” with systems engineering, Stough says. Outside class, students will visit the NRC and nuclear operating facilities, meet with officials in government and the nuclear power industry, and “learn more about the global regulatory framework.” Incoming international students – including 10 from the United Arab Emirates, which currently has no nuclear power plants but plans to build four reactors – will be spending the same period in South Korea, getting to know the country and its culture. All classes, both in Korea and Virginia, will be conducted in English, “the international language of business,” according to Stough.

The connection between K-INGS and George Mason, which has been expanding ties with East Asia, began when Chung was a visiting scholar at the Fairfax, Va., school during the 2008-9 school year. K-INGS plans faculty exchanges with a consortium that includes George Mason, the University of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Liberty University.

What distinguishes K-INGS from a typical academic program, says Klein, is “that practical, hands-on, very detailed understanding of how the technology works and how to maintain it in a safe, secure manner. I think it’s a very creative program, it’s international, and it’s interdisciplinary.” And it’s in demand to the point where nuclear power companies, including KEPCO, are expected to cover the cost of students’ tuition. If his “experiment” succeeds, Chung envisions a similar nuclear graduate school springing up in the United States.

Corinna Wu is a writer-editor based in Oakland, Calif., who specializes in science.

A Head Start
Industry internships can boost students’ skill and confidence — and keep them in engineering.
By Margaret Loftus

Starting that first job out of college can be nerve-racking, but newly minted civil engineer Kyle Kwiatkowski arrived cool and collected when he began work as a project engineer for Clark Construction in Washington, D.C. Any job butterflies had already been vanquished when he interned for the Dubai Construction Co. the previous summer. “The projects we were on in Dubai were pretty impressive. That helped me starting out here,” the Syracuse University graduate says. “[Internships] go such a long way to help you prepare for industry. They are pretty invaluable.”

Whether they work for a summer like Kwiatkowski or a semester, savvy engineering students have long depended on internships to earn some cash and gain a leg up in the job world. But increasingly, academia and industry are recognizing internships as key to addressing the country’s engineering exodus. Experiential education, proponents claim, can help reduce the staggering 40 percent dropout rate of STEM majors and groom fresh grads to hit the ground running as they fill the shoes of retiring boomers. Schools are finding new ways to support internships, and industry is showing more interest. At a meeting of President Obama’s jobs and competitiveness council in September, some 40 major companies agreed to double their number of engineering internships to 6,300 in a bid to retain and graduate 10,000 more engineers a year. Texas Instruments, for one, recently increased its engineering internships by nearly 60 percent.

The push is supported by research showing that engineering students who’ve interned are more likely to work as professionals in a related field. Among new engineering grads at Iowa State University between 1996 and 2009, 80 percent of those with a summer internship under their belt reported postgraduate plans that included a job or graduate study related to their major, compared with 54 percent of those with no work experience. The longer the experience, the higher the percentage: Eighty-three percent of those with semester-long internships and 90 percent of those with co-op experience ended up in engineering or a related pursuit.

Internships engage students in a way that’s difficult to replicate in a classroom. “They go through lectures and labs, but internships give them a sense of reality of what engineering is,” explains Gerard Jones, associate dean for academic affairs and professor of mechanical engineering at Villanova University’s College of Engineering. And that’s just the hook many students need to stay the course, says Leah Jamieson, dean of engineering at Purdue University, one of a handful of deans who met with the president’s job council Aug. 31. “There’s always the question ‘What will I do with what I’m learning?’” adds Jamieson. The more opportunity that students have to get good glimpses of that, she says, the better it is for retention.

Anecdotally, interns report being more enthusiastic about their studies and future. For Villanova chemical engineering senior Cynthia Schrank, an internship in immunology at the University of Connecticut Health Center last summer clinched her hunch that biomedical engineering was her calling. “It helped direct my interest. I have a more specific idea of what I want to do, whereas some of my peers still have no idea.” As a Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation (SMART) scholarship recipient who’s done three consecutive internships at the Naval Air Systems Command, fellow Villanova student Emberle Lawson finds her industry experience motivates her in the classroom. “When you know exactly where you’re going, you never have room to slack off. It definitely focuses you,” says Lawson, a junior in mechanical engineering.

What’s more, interns have the opportunity to develop communication and other professional skills highly sought by employers. Schools started to recognize this back in the early 1990s, says Jamieson, prompted by feedback from industry. “They said, ‘Your students have great engineering skills, but they don’t have professional skills.’ Internships are one of the best understood ways we can increase this capacity.” She adds that in postgraduate surveys, alumni report that they use communication skills more than anything else in their jobs.

The ability to establish networks has become crucial, particularly in firms where new hires are replacing retirees. “When [retired engineers] walk out the door, the attrition to the organizational network is astounding. The ability of young people to come in and rapidly establish working relationships is essential,” says Larry Hanneman, director of engineering career services at Iowa State University. “The expectations for students graduating today are at the level of someone with five years experience five years ago. It is essentially impossible to simulate that practice field in a classroom.”

How schools deliver these experiences varies from traditional co-ops to unique work/study hybrids. Most students at Boston’s Northeastern University graduate in five years, a period that accommodates three six- month-long co-ops. One of the pioneers of the concept a century ago, the school now places 7,000 students in co-ops with 2,800 companies worldwide each year. Northeastern Provost Stephen Director says that a full six months is essential for a meaningful experience. Shorter stints are limited in value, he argues. “It takes them a month to figure out where things are and then they have to leave,” he says. “Six months is deep; they’re considered full-time employees.” Multiply that experience by three and you’ve got a more seasoned student. Director adds,“Teaching students who have gone out on co-op is different. They are much more mature.” And hirable: Most get job offers from at least one of the companies for which they’ve worked.

Still, some students want options. Iowa State revamped its internship offerings 15 years ago to include the full range: the classic co-op, semester-long experiences, and summer internships. Today, 83 to 85 percent of Iowa State engineering students graduate having had a co-op or internship, and 50 percent of them have had more than one experience. As a result, most engineering students forgo interviewing their senior year because they already have a job lined up. More than half of the interviews on campus are for internships. Says Hanneman, “The employers’ identification of talent and relationship-building has moved into freshmen and sophomores.”

Other schools have incorporated industry experience on campus. At Villanova’s Multidisciplinary Design Lab, launched last year, engineering seniors spend a year working on capstone research projects alongside mentors from industry partners. In one of these so-called in-house co-ops, a team of students is working with Boeing to develop “swarming” robots that communicate with one another. While not mission critical, the projects are real and not academic exercises – a win-win for everyone, says Jones. “The students get a good sense of what it’s like to work for that company, and the company gets a good chance to get to know the students.”

At Syracuse in 2007, Kyle Kwiatkowski was part of an inaugural group of civil engineering students who participated in an internship that sends juniors to the Middle East for an intensive course in construction management. At the Dubai Construction Co., founded by SU alum Abdallah Yabroudi, the team is immersed in all aspects of the business, from touring work sites and pitching in with projects, to getting lessons from DCC staff and SU faculty on the operational end of the industry, such as financials. The stint lasts only six weeks, but Kwiatkowski says the experience made all the difference in his career choice: “It went a long way to showing the potential of working in construction as well as the bigger picture down the road and how fun it can be.”

Margaret Loftus is a freelance writer based in Boston.

High-Stakes R&D
By Mark Matthews

Steven Rattner oversaw the federal bailout of General Motors and Chrysler. Both automakers show signs of recovery, so you might expect him to be bullish about U.S. manufacturing. He’s not. Writing in the October 17 New York Times, Rattner dismisses “politically attractive happy talk nostalgically centered on restoring lost manufacturing jobs.” The declining role of manufacturing in the economy, he says, “will continue.”

So the stakes are high for the engineering researchers whose work Tom Grose describes in our cover story, “Making It.” They’re developing the revolutionary techniques that Rattner’s former boss, President Obama, hopes will produce a “renaissance” of U.S. manufacturing. Among them: 3-D printing, or additive manufacturing, which requires no dies or molds and shows promise in producing high-quality aerospace components, for example. Robots are common in factories, but new research aims at enabling them to work symbiotically with people. Nanotechnology is another growing field with broad manufacturing potential. If it’s cost-effective to make products here, the reasoning goes, we can compete with countries whose main selling point is low wages.

More than jobs is at risk if the United States continues to bleed manufacturing operations. We hear complaints that technology invented in the United States – lithium ion batteries, for example – ends up being produced overseas. But loss of manufacturing could also diminish American capacity for innovation, since industry serves as a test bed for research and development and exposes problems that need to be solved. Already, multinational firms are locating R&D close to production sites overseas.

Advanced manufacturing, if it succeeds, offers a bright future for engineers, Grose reports. Laid-off industrial workers won’t fare so well, since part of what makes the new techniques attractive is greater productivity. What will be needed are skilled technicians with a grounding in math and science.

We hope you enjoy the cover story, as well as this month’s other features: Charles Choi’s look at nanosatellites that let undergraduates participate in sophisticated space research, and Corinna Wu’s story about South Korea’s planned nuclear-only graduate school, developed in collaboration with Virginia’s George Mason University.

Mark Matthews


No Place for Age Bias

I found the Leading Edge column “Over the Hill at 40” in the September 2011 Prism to be extremely offensive.  Although the author claims to not share the age bias mind-set of Mark Zuckerberg, the following quotes from the article make me wonder:

  • “After all, the (fresh) graduate is likely to have more up-to-date skills and will work harder (than an older worker).”
  • “I didn’t pay older workers the same salaries they made at their peak, though.  Most often, I paid a worker with 30 years of experience the same wage as someone with 10.  These workers were always grateful …”
  • “They also need to prepare for the salaries to fall as they approach their 50s.”

Why would anyone want to work in an industry that treats its workers this way?  I doubt that his views accurately describe engineering in general but perhaps his corner of it.  It is a shame the column appears in the same issue as “Seeing and Doing,” which describes the efforts of engineering faculty to keep their students in engineering.

I wonder if the author would fly in an airplane designed by entry-level engineers.

— Allen Plotkin
Professor of Aerospace Engineering
San Diego State University

Columnist Vivek Wadhwa replies:

Allen, I am sorry that I offended you, but this is the harsh reality that your students will face when they graduate. This is why we have so many middle-aged engineers in the ranks of the unemployed. Sadly, this is not a small corner of engineering, but the tech industry as a whole. Most engineering professors don’t understand the dynamics of the real world and they don’t prepare their students adequately. That is why I felt compelled to bring this issue to the surface. And to answer your question, I wouldn’t want to fly in a plane designed by entry-level engineers, but if I were developing a new social media app, I would prefer to hire a fresh engineering graduate.

Write to
Submissions may be edited for brevity and clarity.

Breakthroughs and trends in the world of technology


Monumental Thrill

Emma Cardini has inspected some impressive facades, including the neo-Gothic spires of Chicago’s Tribune Tower. Still, nothing compared with the capital view she enjoyed on her latest job: rappelling down the Washington Monument to assess damage from the 5.8-magnitude earthquake that struck August 23. “For an engineer, it’s Disney World,” she told the Washington Post.

A licensed professional engineer with civil and structural engineering degrees from Tufts University, Cardini was one of five members on the “difficult access team” dispatched by Chicago-based Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates to examine each marble stone in the national landmark. Along with professional training, team members must qualify for certification by the Society of Professional Rope Access Technicians–including familiarity with general rigging and self-rescue techniques. Rappelling down facades not only allows for close inspection of areas unreachable by scaffolding or aerial lifts; it’s faster and cheaper because fewer personnel need to be on site.

The “vertical engineers” captivated the capital as they slowly descended the 555-foot monument, the world’s tallest free-standing stone structure. Tourists squinted up as if watching high-wire daredevils. Local news featured progress reports, and the National Park Service posted photos and “helmet-cam” videos.

It took less than two weeks, including weather delays, for team members to work their way down each side from the pyramid-shaped apex where a large, inchwide crack was discovered soon after the earthquake. Comparing each numbered block with photos from a 1999 renovation loaded into iPads, the engineers searched for fractures and loose mortar. They gently tapped with soft mallets, “sounding” the monument for weakness like a physician examining an elderly patient.

The survey, which wrapped up October 5, found classic shear cracking near the top associated with movement caused by the earthquake. Engineers removed some loose chunks — they ranged from 10 to 30 pounds — and found fewer fissures as they descended. The loss of joint mortar and patching material detected lower down probably was due to weathering. The monument remains closed indefinitely; the engineers will return to winterize it. Overall, however, the 127-year-old monument seems to have survived the earthquake in good shape. “She’s kind of an old lady,” Jennifer Talken-Spaulding, chief of resource management with the National Mall and Memorial Parks, told the Post. “But she’s doing great.”

Not so the cellphone service aloft, as Cardini learned. Married to an engineer, she was working on the monument when a text arrived from their real estate agent about an offer to buy the couple’s condo. Could she talk? Demurring, Cardini explained her location, adding that reception up there was “not great.” The vista, however, was awesome. — MARY LORD


Water Balloons

We’ve all seen TV news reports of planes swooping low over wildfires to drop many gallons of water (or fire retardant) onto the flames below. It can be an effective firefighting ploy, but it takes a specially built air tanker to do the job. And the United States has only 21 of them. A solution may soon be at hand, however, that would allow any cargo plane, including the military’s massive fleet of C-130s and C-17s, to be pressed into use. It’s called the Precision Container Aerial Delivery System (PCADS), and it has been in development for nine years – with government funding – by California-based Flexible Alternatives Inc. and Boeing, the aerospace giant. The precision containers are made from cardboard with plastic liners — all biodegradable — and pop open when dropped from a plane, releasing their liquid cargo onto the fires below. The water containers don’t open until they’re close to the ground, allowing for more precise targeting of the flames. Flexible Alternatives says it has recently received funds to work with the U.S. Army to certify the containers for use by the Air National Guard and Forest Service. Spokesman Ty Bonnar tells Prism that operational testing of PCADS, including tests on live fires, will begin next year and “hopefully will be ready for deployment at the end of 2012.” – THOMAS K. GROSE


Natural Imprint

The wings of Costa Rica’s beautiful blue morpho butterfly are so iridescent their shimmer can be spotted more than a half mile away. Yet they contain no pigments. Instead, they have nanostructures that reflect and refract wavelengths of light to produce the vivid blue hue. Researchers at Canada’s Simon Fraser University have developed a printing method that produces nanoholes 1,500 times thinner than a human hair that can, like the morpho’s nanostructures, each trap a single light wave. The resulting 3-D images change color as they are moved, much like holograms. However, nanoholes are printed rather than fastened to materials, as are holograms. The process can be used to make banknotes more secure, since nanohole-derived images can’t be copied. The idea came from Clint Landrock, an applied sciences graduate student at Simon Fraser working under the guidance of Bozena Kaminska, a professor of engineering sciences. The anti-counterfeiting technology — called Nano-optic Technology for Enhanced Security (N.O.T.E.S.) — has been licensed to Nanotech Security Corp., which this fall unveiled a shim, or master die, it says can reproduce the nanoholes in banknotes and other materials, cost-effectively and in large volumes. Treasuries from around the world have expressed interest, and Nanotech says it is producing shims for several agencies for commercial trials. Can the fluttering of a butterfly’s wings produce a hurricane half a world away? Perhaps not, but the blue morpho has unleashed a brainstorm that could prove a counterfeiter’s bane. – TG


Mommy Tenure Track

Women earn 41 percent of Ph.D.’s in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics yet account for only 28 percent of tenure-track faculty in those fields. Why? Probably because it’s harder for female researchers to juggle career and family commitments. To help close the gap, the Obama administration recently announced a new Career-Life Balance Initiative at the National Science Foundation to provide early-career STEM researchers more flexibility in meeting family needs and job demands. While its provisions cover both genders, women are more likely to benefit than men since they tend to postpone or abandon promising careers to focus on their families. The initiative will let researchers delay NSF grants for up to one year to care for a new baby. Researchers also can apply for extra money to staff their labs while on family leave. NSF is encouraging universities, industry, and other government agencies to incorporate similar family-friendly policies. Director Subra Suresh said it was designed to recruit and retain talented scientists and engineers and help them advance to leadership positions. Women researchers, he said, “should not have to choose between their baby and the lab bench.” – TG


E=mc2 … Never Mind

Particle physics rarely makes prime-time news. Yet when CERN, the European particle physics lab outside Geneva, announced that an international team of physicists had detected neutrinos traveling faster than the speed of light, the buzz could be heard around the world. That’s because if the finding is verified — a big if — it would upset Einstein’s special theory of relativity that nothing is faster than light. It also would make a casualty of causality, or cause and effect, because time no longer could be viewed as a one-way arrow. And that opens up the possibility of traveling backward in time. The CERN group fired neutrinos from Switzerland to a lab in Italy; measurements showed the particles arrived 60 nanoseconds faster than light. Skeptics rushed out papers at lightning speed that either trashed the findings or sought plausible alternative explanations. Several critics said that neutrinos speeding faster than light would lose energy en route to Italy and degrade. Others noted that if the CERN calculations were accurate, neutrinos traveling from supernovae would have reached Earth several years ahead of photons. And that hasn’t happened. Some explanations suggest that neutrinos are not faster than light but can take shortcuts through other dimensions, or wormholes. Most doubters just think that the CERN group made a measurement error. Scientists at the Fermi particle accelerator near Chicago quickly geared up to try and replicate the CERN findings. By now, Fermi’s results already may be known. Then again, perhaps you read about them light-years ago. –TG


Ultimate Vindication

Back in 1982, materials scientist Dan Shechtman quick-chilled a mix of molten aluminum and manganese, then viewed a chunk of it through an electron microscope. Common theory held that he should have seen an incoherent jumble of atoms; instead, he found the atoms were packed together in nonrepeating patterns. These unique chemical structures – quasi crystals – can now be man-made, and are used to make a highly resilient steel used in razor blades and eye-surgery needles. But at the time, fellow scientists and research colleagues at the National Bureau of Standards (now the National Institute of Standards and Technology, or NIST) dismissed his findings. So did Linus Pauling, winner of two chemistry Nobels.

When Shechtman eventually was proved right, the accolades started coming. Elected to the U.S. National Academy of Engineering in 2000, he won this year’s Nobel Prize for chemistry, an honor that’s normally shared by two or more scientists. Now 70, Shechtman is a professor of materials science at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, and professor of materials science and engineering at Iowa State University. “What Danny did was fantastic science. He instigated a scientific revolution,” says Iowa State colleague Pat Thiel. That pretty much crystallizes his achievement. – TG

QUOTED: “And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.” – – Apple cofounder Steve Jobs, delivering a Stanford University commencement address, 2005


Nothing Sticks

Slide over, Teflon and make room for SLIPS. Man-made, nonstick Teflon currently holds the Guinness World Record as the world’s slipperiest material. But SLIPS — or slippery, liquid-infused porous surfaces — is even slicker. Developed by Tak-Sing Wong, a postdoc at Harvard University’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, SLIPS mimics the outer lips of the pitcher plant, which are so slick that nectar-seeking bugs quickly slide into the plant’s gut. The plant’s rim consists of microscopic ridges and troughs created by overlapping cells. That uneven surface holds secreted nectar in place, creating an ultraslippery surface. To get the same effect, Wong designed nanosize stacks of tiny posts and networks of fibers that can similarly retain a lubricant in place. SLIPS could one day be used for low-friction water and oil pipes, self-cleaning windows, and bacteria-resistant materials. How slick is that? – TG


Sun Screen

In traditional Arab architecture, intricately carved wooden lattices called mashrabiya cover windows to provide cooling shade without blocking light. Now the same concept is being used for a new set of 25-story office buildings under construction in Abu Dhabi. The Al Bahr Towers will be partly cloaked in a secondary skin composed of 2,000 translucent units that mitigate solar glare while allowing for greater use of natural sunlight. The computer-controlled facade — made from Teflon-coated fiberglass mesh — is called a dynamic mashrabiya because it can open and close with the sun’s rays. Solar panels on the tubelike towers’ south-facing roofs will power the protective veil. The engineering firm Arup says the mashrabiya will reduce cooling needs by 20 percent, cutting energy use and carbon emissions by a similar amount. The Abu Dhabi Investment Council commissioned the towers for its new headquarters via a competition and asked for designs that were both environmentally friendly and evocative of traditional Middle Eastern architecture. London architectural studio Aedas won the competition. –TG


Open Minds

Mind reading crops up in science fiction. Now real science is borrowing the plot line. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, have combined functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) technology with algorithms to delve into the human mind and unearth mental images. A team led by neuroscientist Jack Gallant had volunteers remain still inside an fMRI scanner for hours watching movie trailers. Their recorded brain activity was fed into a computer program that matched it with corresponding visuals from the trailers. A computer program was then fed 18 million seconds of random YouTube videos, and used that material to predict the type of brain activity each image would evoke. The program then spliced the video images together to match as closely as possible the film clips the subjects had watched. The results were often eerily close. “This is a major leap toward reconstructing internal imagery. We are opening a window into the movies in our minds,” Gallant says. Machines that can read people’s thoughts and intentions are decades away. More likely, the technology may one day be used to understand what’s happening in the minds of stroke victims or comatose patients. It also could lay a foundation for linking brains to machines, enabling people with cerebral palsy or paralysis to operate computers. – TG


New Word on the Street

Engineering is taking center stage in an early childhood staple: Sesame Street. Now in its 42nd season, the educational program and its cast of bright-colored puppets is focusing more on science, technology, engineering, and math. Murray’s Science Experiments shows the furry orange monster posing a scientific question and setting up an experiment to find the answer. In his Word on the Street segment, he sets out to find “engineer.” The new curriculum is intended to give children a better understanding of how things work and build critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Engineering means asking questions, observing, and testing hypotheses — and kids as young as 2 can get it, the show’s executive producer, Carol-Lynn Parente, tells ABC News. If history is any guide, the STEM thrust could eventually boost achievement by U.S. students, who rank in the middle of the pack on international math and science assessments. A 30-year study showed that children who watch Sesame Street earn higher grades later in life. Even Oscar the Grouch would applaud. – Jaimie N. Schock


Chill Out

Refrigerants containing chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, can damage the ozone layer and contribute to global warming. That is why the United States banned them. But refrigerators are built to last, and older ones are tricky to recycle because those ozone-depleting CFCs can be released during the process. Europe has long had tougher standards on the release of refrigerants, so it’s no surprise that two German companies are world leaders in devising robotic systems that can dismantle old fridges while safely capturing most of their coolants. Untha Recycling Technology’s giant machine does the dismantling within a vacuum to keep the CFCs from hitting the atmosphere; only 0.2 of the coolant remains once its shredders turn a refrigerator into recyclable piles of metal and plastic, the New York Times reports. A portable system manufactured by another German firm, SEG, sorts 95 percent of the materials from old fridges for recycling. The German companies may soon see a potentially huge U.S. market opening up. According to the Times, some states, like California, will offer financial incentives to encourage the capture and destruction of CFCs. – TG


Gem of an Idea

Computer chips and electronic circuitry made from diamonds? That sounds posh, but nanodiamond-based components for microelectronic devices not only are very robust; they’re inexpensive. Developed by researchers at Vanderbilt University, the devices are made by depositing a thin nanodiamond film on a layer of silicon dioxide and then vacuum-packaging it. Electrons flow through the vacuum between the components rather than through materials like solid-state chips, so they don’t produce as much heat. Potentially, they can operate at higher speeds while using less power than silicon-based devices, says Jimmy Davidson, a research professor of electrical engineering. They’re also very tiny. One diamond carat would create a billion chips, so they’re cost-competitive with silicon, and sturdy enough to withstand temperatures ranging from 900 degrees to minus 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Possible applications include military electronics, circuitry for spacecraft, and sensors that operate in high-radiation areas. In fact, Davidson says, his nanodiamond chips would be ideal for fail-safe circuitry in nuclear reactors. Perhaps Pink Floyd said it best: Shine on, you crazy diamond.– TG

Not All Black and White
By Thomas K. Grose

>A course probes the gray areas of engineering ethics.

In 1971, the Ford Motor Co. launched the Pinto, a big-selling subcompact with a big problem. If rear-ended by another car traveling faster than 25 mph, its gas tank was likely to leak, explode, and catch fire — a defect Ford’s engineers were aware of that ultimately was linked to at least 27 deaths. The automaker chose not to correct the problem, however, calculating that it would cost the company more than paying claims for subsequent deaths and injuries.

When chemical engineer Esat Alpay recounts this harsh episode of cost-benefit analysis to his first-year engineering students at London’s Imperial College, they’re shocked. To a person, they say they’d never go along with such a decision. But as Alpay’s students eventually learn, not all ethical dilemmas that engineers might face are so stark. Moreover, even the most upstanding engineers can wind up on the dark side of morally suspect decision making propelled by motives ranging from fear to self-interest to groupthink.

To get Imperial’s engineering students thinking about these issues, Alpay — a senior lecturer in engineering education who also oversees the training of graduate teaching assistants — developed an Engineering Ethics course in 2009 that was piloted in the aeronautics and bioengineering departments. It was so well received that last year the course expanded to two more departments, computing and chemical engineering, with electrical engineering joining the roster this fall. The effort also won Alpay the 2011 Teaching Award in engineering from the Higher Education Academy, an independent organization, partly government funded, with a mission to improve teaching and learning.

The course has two parts. In the first half, students attend three to six lectures over three weeks that cover ethical issues both small (students’ personal biases) and large (the role of engineering in society). To keep his students fully engaged, Alpay makes use of anecdotes, role-playing, debates, and videos. Case studies range from such major events as the Pinto debacle or the overriding of engineers by higher-ups in the space shuttle Challenger disaster to some that hit closer to home, including why some students resort to plagiarism. In the second half, students work for two weeks in teams overseen by their tutors (faculty advisers) to devise fun methods to encourage their peers to think about ethics. The top three projects win awards, and this fall they will be posted on a website so faculty can put the ideas to use. Last year, for instance, a team of computer engineering students devised screen savers that highlighted ethical issues.

Alpay, 46, arrived at Imperial in 1992 as a postdoc with a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Cambridge University and an undergraduate degree from the University of Surrey. (Past research activities included absorption processes, hybrid reactors, and polymerization processes.) But a strong personal interest in pedagogy spurred him to earn a master’s in the psychology of education from the University of London’s Institute of Education. The creation of the ethics course coincided with a push from the accrediting bodies of U.K. engineering schools to make students more aware of ethics, and to ensure they have the skills to work on culturally mixed, multidisciplinary teams as well as to deal with a wide variety of stakeholders. Alpay also devises methods to embed ethical thinking into advanced engineering courses. For example, a bioengineering design course now requires students to do 30-minute presentations on the ethical basis of their designs.

Alpay’s goal is for Imperial engineering students to learn how to think about the long-range effect of their work. He also hopes they will develop the ability to make tough decisions based on “sheer objectivity and transparency” in confusing environments, amid competing demands. If students gain those skills, Alpay says, then even if something goes wrong “they’ll know they can live with themselves.” They also are less likely to ever succumb to the kind of blind, groupthink calculus that drove Ford’s deadly Pinto decisions.

Thomas K. Grose is Prism’s chief correspondent, based in London.

Softening the Curriculum

The real world demands more than technical training.

There has long been tension between those who advocate teaching more of the softer side of our profession and those who insist on maintaining a curriculum filled with courses in mathematics, science, and engineering science. On campuses across the country, the latter side usually prevails.

However, engineers in industry who employ our graduates continue to tell us that it is softer skills, especially written and oral communication, that they find lacking in young hires. Knowing how to solve a differential equation and run a computer program is essential, of course, but engineering in the real world involves more than technical stuff.

Engineers are expected to be able to translate modeling and computational results into jargon-free English so their managers and their company’s clients can grasp what has been done. The engineer is expected not only to be able to do this in written words on paper or screen but also to be able to do it in spoken words before a design conference or project review and, increasingly, interested citizen groups.

The time spent in college is only a small fraction of the time that most engineers will spend in the workplace, but the habits they develop as students play a large role in whether engineers are effective, successful, and satisfied in their careers. Encouraged to think that communicating in acronyms, equations, and technical specifications is sufficient for an engineer is no service to the engineer or to the profession.

How well or poorly engineers can communicate to a broader audience affects not only their effectiveness as engineers but also their profession’s standing in the larger community. If engineers speak at city council meetings, say, as if they were conversing with their colleagues in front of a computer screen, not only is the message likely to be less effective — if it is understood at all — but it is likely to reinforce the stereotype of the profession as a collection of technogeeks.

Increasing movement to make a master’s the entry-level degree for engineers seeking employment in the real world provides an opportunity for putting more emphasis on softer skills in the undergraduate curriculum, with the expectation that the harder aspects of engineering will be honed at the graduate level.

The legal and medical professions, which are often held up as paradigms for engineering to emulate if it wishes to gain more respect, certainly follow this model. But in addition, postgraduate training inculcates in lawyers and medical doctors-to-be the idea of what it means to be a professional. Doctors and lawyers certainly have to master their own jargon to practice and to advance in their careers, but they also are taught to act like doctors and lawyers, which means projecting a sense of professionalism that goes beyond what they learn in the classroom and in the laboratory.

While doctors and lawyers may have to interact more frequently and more directly with those who consult them than engineers may have to with their clients, the most successful engineers can always be expected to be those who have the communications and people skills that enable them to come out of their cubicles and speak to ordinary folk like ordinary men and women.

It is imperative that the engineering curriculum and its adjuncts — student chapters of professional societies and other extracurricular activities — expose students to both the technical and the nontechnical, the harder and the softer sides of the profession. Otherwise, the stereotypes of engineers and engineering will tend to be reinforced by the very graduates who are expected to improve upon the image. They will lack the training necessary to do so.

Henry Petroski is the Aleksandar S. Vesic Professor of Civil Engineering and a professor of history at Duke University. His new book, being published this month, is An Engineer’s Alphabet: Gleanings from the Softer Side of a Profession.

Take the Plunge
By Debbie Chachra

Tackling unfamiliar subjects makes us better teachers.

None of us imagines becoming the professor who lectures from years-old, yellowed notes. But unless we consciously learn and teach new material, that’s what’s going to happen. We talk the talk — we ask our students to wrestle with new material every day — but we need to walk the walk ourselves, by learning new content or skills and bringing them to the classroom. This is a little scary. We’re used to being the person who has all the answers. After all, engineering faculty normally don’t teach without a Ph.D. or years of experience. Teaching something you’ve only just learned yourself can feel like being on a tightrope without a safety net. I had to get over the idea that my job was to have all the answers, and learn that it was valuable to give my students opportunities to find the answers themselves.

The simplest way to teach something you haven’t taught before is to bring a student-directed component into an existing course, letting students choose an area that interests them and investigate it deeply. Whether it’s a hands-on project or a review of current research, guiding your students as they learn something that you aren’t familiar with is a great way for you to learn alongside them. For example, every year my upper-year biomedical engineering students choose a topic to study in detail, and every year I get to learn about the latest findings in many different subfields, some of which get folded into the next iteration of the course.

Another approach is to coteach a course in a field that’s close to yours (or isn’t, if you’re brave!), which gives you a chance to teach something new but without feeling that you’ve been thrown into the deep end. Co-teaching something you’ve always wanted to learn is a great way to become current on a new topic, and it also gives you the opportunity to observe your colleagues’ pedagogical techniques.

The high-stakes way to teach new material is to follow the example of my colleague Mark Chang, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering. During the summer and the January intersession, he puts himself through a crash course in a programming language or environment, and then teaches it in the following semester. His is a fast-moving field, and this approach enables him to get his students up to speed in some of the latest technologies. In the past few years he’s taught Ruby on Rails, mobile apps development on the Android phone, and more. By going through the process himself only shortly before his students, Mark reports, he finds out where the “pain points” are and is better equipped to help them learn. And it has borne unexpected fruit, opening up a new world of professional activities for Mark himself.

I’ve focused on the utility of teaching new material, but if you’re reading this, you almost certainly think learning is fun. And developing new skills yourself helps you reflect on what it means to be an educator. A few years ago, I decided to learn how to snowboard and took lessons. I was motivated but klutzy, and the experience made me think hard about the role I play in guiding my students from where they are to where they are trying to get. We expect our students to continuously engage with learning; we need to model it ourselves.

Debbie Chachra is an associate professor of materials science at the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering. She does research, speaks, and consults on engineering education and the student experience. She can be reached at or on Twitter as @debcha.

Student to Engineer
By Matt Eliot and Jennifer Turns

Portfolio-building helps crystallize a professional identity.

How do students build their identities as professional engineers while learning about the roles and responsibilities related to professional engineering practice? By what process does this identity construction occur, and how can we as educators more effectively guide it? Our study, funded by the National Science Foundation, used portfolio construction as a context to investigate these questions. Professional identity can be defined as personal identification with the duties, responsibilities, and knowledge associated with a professional role. The process of developing professional identity involves a negotiation between the social expectations related to a specific professional role and the needs, wants, and aptitude of the individual engaging in that role. In other words, professional identity construction occurs as we make sense of the natural flow of events in our professional and personal lives.

In our study, we investigated professional identity construction in engineering undergraduate students by asking them to construct cross-curricular portfolios featuring examples of their best work to date. Students participated in four workshops to learn how to create their portfolios. During the workshops, they received brief instructions and many opportunities for group discussion and peer review. The students also completed online questionnaires that asked about their experience of creating and sharing their portfolios. Participant responses to a subset of questions from these surveys were analyzed for this study.

The results of the analysis revealed that students engaged in two processes for constructing professional identity while creating their portfolios: an “external” sense-making process that involved new understandings about themselves related to the perceived expectations of other people, and an “internal” sense-making process involving new realizations about their own abilities, goals, and values as engineers. Many students engaged in both sense-making processes.

Participants employing an external frame of reference submitted responses that revealed three processes of professional identity construction: framing themselves as job applicants, particularly focusing on what others will expect of them when that role is enacted; creating a persuasive case, an argument to others about their preparedness for professional practice; and comparing themselves to others in order to make better sense of their standing with their peers regarding their progression toward being professionals.

Participants employing the internal frame of reference submitted responses that revealed six processes underlying professional identity construction: reframing events in their personal history and increasing the relevance of these events to participants’ development as engineers, defining themselves as engineers and claiming membership in the field of engineering, constructing their future trajectories toward becoming professional engineers, realizing and articulating their own values as engineers, defining their interpretation of engineering practice, and developing their abilities to construct narratives about themselves.

The external frame of reference categories read like a classic American career road map: Be a good applicant, sell yourself in the interview, and know how you compare to your competition. These opportunities reflect the “business” of professional education, which is to ensure the high post-graduation employment rates that serve as one indicator of program excellence.

While external frame activities are often supported by events such as career fairs and résumé workshops, it is more difficult to pinpoint structured opportunities where engineering undergraduates can build professional identity through internal frame of reference activities such as reframing personal history or defining themselves as engineers. Our findings suggest that participants found the professional portfolio activity to be exceptional in the best sense of the word. Participant comments such as “This {portfolio activity}allowed me to” or “this forced me to” suggest that the range of identity-related thinking prompted by the exercise was unprecedented or novel for many of these participants. Given its effectiveness and the richness of its impact, the professional portfolio activity is an important support for our students’ professional identity development.

Matt Eliot is a senior research project officer at CQUniversity Australia. Jennifer Turns is an associate professor at the University of Washington. This article is an abstract from “Constructing Professional Portfolios: Sense-Making and Professional Identity Development for Engineering Undergraduates” in the October 2011Journal of Engineering Education.

Tropical Math Quest

Scientist-explorers faced danger and hardship in pursuit of precision.

MEASURE OF THE EARTH: The Enlightenment Expedition that Reshaped our World
by Larrie D. Ferreiro.
Basic Books 2011, 376 pages.

Over the next few months, as engineers make final adjustments in the construction of a new airport just outside Quito, Ecuador, they’ll be working along the same long, flat plain that once supported an even more ambitious project: establishment of a geodesic baseline to help determine the shape of the Earth.

Undertaken by a joint French-Spanish team, the 1735 Geodesic Mission was a large-scale scientific endeavor unlike any previously attempted. Its success marked a watershed of Enlightenment scientific inquiry and inspired in subsequent decades innumerable projects in navigation, astronomy, and botany. In Measure of the Earth, author Larrie Ferreiro transports readers to an intriguing world of colonial politics and scientific competition, blundering incompetence, dedication, and hardship. In doing so, he reconstructs a story of early scientific exploration that will surely interest Prism readers.

The debate that prompted the 1735 mission was championed on one side by French philosopher René Descartes, who believed that Earth was an elongated sphere, shaped like an egg; and on the other, by English mathematician Isaac Newton, who championed an oblate shape—Earth as a squashed sphere. European governments grew interested because of the implications for ocean navigation and political advantage: “the nation that could accurately locate its ships at sea could control an empire.”

Urged on by its Navy minister, the French government sponsored the mission, which would take three French scientists, two Spaniards, and a host of assistants—a botanist, surgeon, cartographer, draftsman, and instrument maker—to the Spanish Viceroyalty of Peru. The goal was to determine the length of a degree of latitude at the equator, which could then be compared with measurements taken in Paris, helping to finally settle the issue of “the figure of the Earth.”

As an engineering educator and naval architect, Ferreiro demonstrates mastery of the technical concepts and ease in translating them for the general reader. Yet the real pleasure of this book lies in the nuanced portraits of the mission’s three French scientists: project leader Louis Godin, who quickly burned through group funds on gifts for a favorite prostitute; wealthy, socially adept Charles-Marie de La Condamine, whose breezy trip report, Journal of the Voyage to the Equator, would help popularize both scientific endeavors and South America; and astronomer Pierre Bouguer, who joined the mission only reluctantly but eventually produced its most solid work and leadership.

The three had “prepared for their journey as scientists, not as explorers,” Ferreiro tells us, “and this would nearly be their undoing.” Staggered by the oceanic journey and months of difficult overland travel merely to reach Quito, the scientists quarreled and split into different camps. In the first twelve months, they spent the equivalent of a quarter million dollars, leaving themselves impoverished for much of the remaining nine years it would take to complete the mission. The savvy La Condamine found refuge in a Jesuit seminary, where he hocked his lavish personal goods: silks, linens, diamond and emerald jewelry, and a set of silver and gold spoons.

Despite continued setbacks, disagreements, bouts of malaria, and the violent death of their surgeon in an honor duel, the mission members pressed on. Over a period of seven years, trekking into the Peruvian jungles and up high mountains, they constructed a precise seven-mile-long straight path containing a series of pyramids for focal point-measurements and astronomical calculations. Measuring the angle of the star Epsilon Orion from either end of the pyramid chain was their final task, one that required building an eighteen-foot zenith vector, then three months of long nights under the stars, taking notes, waiting for the right weather conditions, and “adjusting and readjusting” their instruments.

In the end, the mission achieved its single, crucial number: 68.7 miles for the length of a degree of latitude at the equator. The accuracy of the measurement—within 50 yards of the currently accepted value—is breathtaking, writes Ferreiro, “even by today’s standard.” And it vindicated Newton, defining the shape of the Earth as an oblate spheroid.

Robin Tatu is a contributing editor of Prism.


Nominations for ASEE Board Elections

Presented on the following pages are candidates for offices to be voted on in the 2012 ASEE elections. These candidates were selected by the 2011 ASEE Nominating Committee, chaired by J. P. Mohsen. The nominations were received by the Executive Director as required by the ASEE constitution. The ASEE Nominating Committee believes that the candidates offered here are eminently qualified and deserve the close consideration of the membership.

Members are reminded that additional nominations of eligible candidates may be made by petitions of at least 200 individual members. Nominees so proposed must indicate a willingness to serve before their names are placed on the ballot. Such petitions and agreements must be presented to the Executive Director no later than Jan. 1, 2012.

Write-in votes will be accepted for all offices. In all cases, a simple plurality constitutes election. The official ballot, which will be furnished to each individual member by March 1, must be returned by March 31.

Editor’s note: Because of space limitations and in the interest of fairness to all candidates, the biographies and statements may have been edited to fit the allotted space.


Kenneth F. Galloway

Kenneth F. Galloway is dean of the School of Engineering and professor of electrical engineering at Vanderbilt University. An alumnus of Vanderbilt, he earned his doctorate from the University of South Carolina and went on to hold appointments at Indiana University, NAVSEA-Crane, the National Bureau of Standards (NBS, now the National Institute of Standards and Technology), the University of Maryland, and the University of Arizona. In his final position at NBS, he served as chief of the Semiconductor Electronics Division. At the University of Arizona, he served as professor of electrical and computer engineering (ECE) and Chair of the ECE Department. He returned to Vanderbilt as professor and dean in 1996.

His recent American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) activities include service as chair of the Engineering Deans Council (2009-11) and as a member of the ASEE Board of Directors. Prior to that, he served as chair of the Engineering Deans Council Public Policy Committee (2005-07) and as a member of the Engineering Deans Council Executive Board (2006-11). He recently joined the Journal of Engineering Education Advisory Board (2011- ). In addition to his election as an ASEE Fellow, he is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and the American Physical Society (APS).

Galloway’s personal research and teaching activities are in solid-state devices, semiconductor technology, and radiation effects in electronics. He has published numerous journal and conference papers in these areas, and his research has received sustained support from several U.S. Department of Defense organizations. As dean, he has been a strong advocate for undergraduate research and curriculum innovation.

In 2002, his technical and service accomplishments were recognized with the IEEE Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society Radiation Effects Award, and in 2007, he received the IEEE Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society Richard F. Shea Distinguished Member Award.

He has served as general chairman of the 1985 IEEE Nuclear and Space Radiation Effects Conference and as general chairman of the 1997 IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting. He was a vice president of the IEEE Electron Devices Society (2000-05) and a member of the U.S. Air Force Scientific Advisory Board (2003-07).

Candidate’s Statement

I became an engineering educator after working for the U.S. Navy on strategic systems and for the National Bureau of Standards (now NIST) in support of the U.S. semiconductor industry. After teaching electrical engineering part time at the University of Maryland (1980-86), I left NBS for the engineering faculty at the University of Arizona (1986-96). I joined the faculty at Vanderbilt in 1996.

If selected to serve you as ASEE President-Elect, I will focus my energies in two principal areas: public advocacy for engineering and engineering technology education and the “value proposition” for membership in ASEE.

Engineering and engineering technology education are critical to the economic strength of our nation. The financial challenges faced by our universities and colleges have never been greater. We must strongly advocate for our students and for engineering and engineering technology education with decision makers in academia, industry, and government. ASEE leadership must continually strive to build public understanding and support and to beneficially affect public policy as it relates to our academic enterprise.

ASEE leadership must be concerned with serving the ASEE membership and being relevant for faculty members and students at a diverse group of academic institutions. Fewer than 30 percent of U.S. engineering and technology educators are ASEE members. In addition to promoting excellence in instruction and curriculum and the scholarship of engineering education, we must serve engineering and engineering technology educators in all phases of their careers. We must provide products, services, and opportunities to our members that enhance and support their professional endeavors and their professional aspirations.

In addition to public advocacy and membership service, ASEE must continue its efforts in K-12, in communicating the excitement of engineering to potential students, in promoting diversity in the engineering workforce, in linking effective teaching and student learning, in preparing our students for a globalized economy, and in encouraging collaboration between our colleges and industry.

The President of ASEE must represent all of the Society’s programs, promote collegial dialogue for growth and change of the organization, and actively speak out for engineering and engineering technology education. I am confident in my ability to do this. My career experiences and ASEE service have provided important insights and excellent preparation for these tasks. There is outstanding leadership on the ASEE Board and at ASEE Headquarters committed to the success of ASEE. I would be honored to work with them as your President-Elect.

Letha A. Hammon

Letha A. Hammon is an Ethics and Compliance Officer and a Program Manager for Records Management for the DuPont Co. During her 30 years, DuPont, she has held a variety of organizational leadership positions. Roughly two thirds of her career has been spent in operations assignments, including manufacturing management and human resources. The balance of her career has included roles in end-use marketing and direct sales, as a market segment leader, and most recently as Manager of the Field Engineering Program for DuPont. In the latter role, she managed the recruitment and hiring of early career engineers for DuPont. Under her leadership, a diverse group of early career candidates was recruited from almost 90 different colleges and universities. Additionally, she supported the development of regional field engineering programs in the Asia-Pacific region, Latin America, and Europe.

Her career has spanned multiple businesses and functions within DuPont, including relocation to six different DuPont sites in the United States. Several of her roles have carried global responsibilities. Her breadth of experience in a large corporation like DuPont has allowed her to develop a wide range of skills in leading people, managing complex organizations, and effectively interfacing with external partners, all with a “getting results” focus.

Hammon has been an active member and leader in ASEE since 2002. Currently, she holds director positions on the Corporate Member Council (CMC) and the College-Industry Partnerships Division (CIPD) and is a member of the ASEE Diversity Committee. Additional roles have included the Professional Advisory Council for the ASEE Student Constituent Committee; Vice-President Institutional Councils – ASEE Board; National Outstanding Teaching Award Committee; CMC Vice-Chair, Chair, and Past-Chair; ASEE Awards Contact Committee; ASEE Nominating Committee; the newly established ASEE Isadore T. Davis Award for Excellence in Engineering Education and Industry Collaboration Award Committee; and the ASEE Executive Director Search Committee. She has participated as a panelist, speaker, or moderator for a variety of sessions for ASEE Industry Day and the CIEC Annual Conference, as well as annual conferences for Society of Women Engineers and and Women in Engineering ProActive Network (WEPAN). She serves on the Rowan University Dean of Engineering’s Advisory Committee and the Advisory Council of the Delaware non-profit Fund For Women.

Hammon has a B.S. in Social Work from Auburn University and an M.S.S.W. from the University of Tennessee, and has put her academic training to excellent use throughout her career prior to and after joining DuPont.

Candidate’s Statement

ASEE is a talent-rich organization. Our staff, volunteers, and leaders bring a wealth of experience and expertise in the fields of engineering and engineering technology education. It is a time of significant change, which creates great opportunity for us to collaborate, grow our membership, and increase our collective impact.

I am fortunate to work for a company that has, throughout its 210-year history, promoted the value of education, supported broad access to education, and led education reform efforts in Delaware and nationwide. Scientific research at educational institutions is a key part of the education-business continuum. DuPont’s social investments in education initiatives, including STEM disciplines from preschool through college, look for high-leveraged impact, sustainability, and potential for replication worldwide and by other organizations. Our commitment to a diverse workforce of technically trained, degreed and non-degreed employees requires that we do more. I look forward to bringing my breadth of corporate and ASEE experience to the benefit of ASEE and all of its members.

It is an incredible honor to be nominated for ASEE President-Elect. As an active corporate member since 2002, I understand that industry and academia are dependent upon one another to further our collective missions for engineering and engineering technology education. I believe we have untapped potential to more broadly collaborate between industry and academia on issues that are of common interest and importance to all of us. Continuing our focus on diversity and the critical need for a robust STEM pipeline is an essential goal as ASEE continues to broaden its impact.

Another goal is to recognize the wonderful opportunities ASEE has to become even more engaged with all our individual and organizational stakeholders in advancing engineering education, including actively seeking ways to further our own development and learning opportunities.

As a newly appointed member of the advisory committee of the National Academy of Engineering’s Infusing Real World Experiences into Engineering Education project, I look forward to finding concrete ways to support all of ASEE’s constituents. I am fortunate to have the support of my senior leadership to serve ASEE, and my close proximity to Washington, D.C., and ASEE Headquarters will help to make me available for ASEE on short notice. As a leader, I have a vested interest in the success of all, and if chosen, look forward to serving our membership as President-Elect.

Candidates for the Office of Vice President, Member Affairs

Dennis J. Fallon

Dennis J. Fallon is presently the Citadel Distinguished Professor of Engineering Education. He just recently stepped down after an eight-year term as Dean of the School of Engineering and Louis S. LeTellier Chair to return to the faculty of the Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Department. He received his B.S.E. from Old Dominion University (ODU) with honors in 1970, and his M.S.C.E. and Ph.D. from North Carolina State University in 1972 and 1980, respectively.

Fallon’s industrial experience includes seven years at Carolina Power and Light Co. in Raleigh, N.C., two years as Chief Structural Engineer with a consulting firm, and three years with the Underwater Explosion Research Division in Portsmouth, Va. He is a Professional Engineer in the state of South Carolina. His academic career includes six years as an assistant professor at ODU and 23 years at The Citadel, where he served as head of the CEE Department for 10 years.

In 2010, Fallon was inducted as a Fellow of ASEE. As an active member of the Southeast Section of ASEE, he has held numerous leadership positions within the organization, including President of the Southeast Section from 1996 to 1997 and then again from 2003 to 2004. He also served for three years as the National Campus Representative and a term as Chair of the ASEE Civil Engineering (CE) Division. In addition, he served a three-year term as Newsletter Editor of the CE Division. Lastly, he has completed a two-year term as Chair of Zone II and as a member of the ASEE Board of Directors. Fallon has also been active in the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), where he achieved the grade of Fellow. He was president of the Eastern Branch and the South Carolina Section of ASCE.

Fallon has received such prestigious teaching awards as the Cumberland Gap Chi Epsilon Award for Teaching Excellence, the James Grimsley Citadel Teaching Excellence Award, the Thomas Evans Best Instructional Paper at the ASEE Southeast Section conference in 1990, and a Section Leadership Award from the South Carolina Section of ASCE. He is also a five-time recipient of the Outstanding CE Professor at ODU award. Fallon is a member of Tau Beta Pi, Chi Epsilon, and Phi Kappa Phi. He also received the Tony Tilmans Award for Service to the ASEE Southeast Section.

Candidate’s Statement

Since becoming actively involved in ASEE in 1991, I have held various leadership positions at both the national and regional levels. These positions have afforded me the opportunity to observe the total dedication and commitment of the ASEE membership. The reality is that without their involvement in the Society, there would be no ASEE. If I am fortunate enough to be elected as the Vice president for Member Affairs, I will support and represent the membership in three specific roles: as a member of the Board of Directors, as chair of the Council of Zones, and as a liaison to the campus representatives.

As a member of the Board of Directors, I will actively support the implementation of two major recent initiatives — the first being the report “Creating a Culture for Scholarly and Systematic Innovation in Engineering Education.” This initiative takes ASEE in an exciting direction that will provide engineering education a venue to improve research in education and to improve the facilitation of learning in the classroom. Through this initiative, ASEE will enhance its credibility, especially at research institutions. The second initiative deals with diversity, an area about which I am extremely passionate. The fact that the engineering profession loses so many women and minorities is a true tragedy. As a community of educators, we must commit ourselves to recruiting and retaining these talented individuals. Personally, I am pleased to see that ASEE has made diversity a priority.

I will provide assistance to the Sections through their Zone representatives. The Sections are the grass roots for membership growth. From personal experience, I know that being actively engaged in the Southeast Section increased my desire and interest in being a member of ASEE. I witnessed firsthand the commitment of individuals to enhance learning, and their dedication inspired me to become a part of an organization that supports their efforts.

Individual membership is developed through the Campus Representatives. As their liaison, I will work with these individuals to identify avenues through which ASEE at the national level can most effectively help them to do their jobs within their respective campuses. In other words, I will seek ways to ensure that Campus Representatives are active in the recruitment of members.

I am pleased and honored to be nominated for this position. If I am elected, I will work diligently to fulfill all the assigned responsibilities of this position.

Stephanie Farrell

Stephanie Farrell is an Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at Rowan University. She has been an active member of ASEE for 15 years at both the section and national levels. From 2009 to 2011, she served on the Board of Directors as Zone I Chair. In the Middle Atlantic Section, she served as Section Chair (2004-05), Awards Chair (2006-07), and Newsletter Editor (1999-2002), and has been a member of the Section’s Executive Committee since 1999. She organized and hosted the 2001 Middle Atlantic Section Spring Meeting held at Rowan University. She has served as an ASEE Campus Representative since 2000 and has won both Section and Zone Outstanding Campus Representative Awards. Farrell currently serves as Chair of the ASEE Chemical Engineering Division, and is cochair of the ASEE Membership Policy Committee. She also serves on the Publications Board of the ASEE journal Chemical Engineering Education.

Farrell received her B.S. degree from the University of Pennsylvania, her M.S. degree from Stevens Institute of Technology, and her Ph.D. from New Jersey Institute of Technology, all in chemical engineering. She was a faculty member in chemical engineering at Louisiana Tech University for two years before joining the new College of Engineering at Rowan University in 1998. At Rowan, she has played a key role in the development of the chemical engineering program. She has led the efforts of the college’s multidisciplinary freshman engineering program and other multidisciplinary initiatives campuswide.

Farrell has participated in several NSF-sponsored projects on curriculum and laboratory innovation, which have enabled her to incorporate experiential learning throughout the curriculum at Rowan University. A pioneer in the development of Rowan’s hands-on, multidisciplinary Engineering Clinic program, she has led over 20 industrially funded projects involving undergraduate students. She has shared her educational innovation and fostered academe-industry-government collaboration through workshops, conference presentations, and journal publications. She has helped to cultivate the next generation of engineers through numerous K-12 outreach workshops for students and high school teachers. Her contributions as an engineering educator have been recognized with several ASEE awards, including the Middle Atlantic Distinguished Teaching Award, Robert G. Quinn Award, and National Outstanding Teaching Award.

Candidate’s Statement

This is an exciting time for our profession. We are engaged in the transformation of engineering and technology education to create students who will address the Grand Challenges of the 21st Century set forth by NAE. As the premier professional society dedicated to engineering and engineering technology education, ASEE is in a unique position to guide this process. I would like to take a leadership role to advance this cause.

I have considered ASEE my primary professional society since I joined the profession in 1996. As Campus Representative and through leadership roles as Section and Zone Chair and Chemical Engineering Division Chair-Elect, I have had the opportunity to work with the ASEE leadership and to contribute to promoting ASEE’s vision of advancing excellence in all aspects of engineering and engineering technology education. As Zone I Chair, I have worked closely with Section Chairs to develop and advocate activities that meet the needs of their membership. I have worked to increase member attendance and student involvement at section conferences and to promote awards that increase member recognition: Best Paper awards, Distinguished Teaching awards, and Campus Representative awards. I have also had the privilege of serving on several ASEE award committees to recognize the outstanding professional contributions of its members: The National Outstanding Teaching Award, Raymond W. Fahien Award, Robert G. Quinn Award, and Chester F. Carlson Award.

As Vice President for Member Affairs, I will work to identify and promote the interests of ASEE members and to increase membership in the Society. I will continue to work with our different member constituencies to learn how ASEE can better serve its members. I will work with Campus Representatives to enhance on-campus activities and increase membership. I will interact closely with Section and Zone leaders to enhance activity and valued services at the Section and Zone levels. I will continue to champion member recognition through best paper and teaching awards. With Section leaders, Institutional Members, and K-12 educators, I will work to increase student involvement in the organization and to attract more students to the engineering profession. I will promote further involvement of industry, government, and NGOs to help strengthen our membership base. It would be an honor to serve the Society in the role of Vice President, Member Affairs.

Candidates for the Office of Chair-Elect, Zone I

Navarun Gupta

Navarun Gupta is an Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut. He has been a faculty member since 1994 and has been active in the ASEE Northeast Section since that time. He holds a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Florida International University, a master’s in Physics from Georgia State University and a master’s in Electrical Engineering from Mercer University. Before coming to Bridgeport, he worked as a physics lab supervisor at Georgia Perimeter College in Atlanta.

Gupta’s deep involvement with the ASEE Northeast Section has included service as co-chair of the Northeast Section Conference in 2009 (held at the University of Bridgeport). He currently serves as Northeast Section chair (2010-12). He has received several awards for recruiting faculty and promoting ASEE membership within the Section. These include the ASEE award for Outstanding Achievement in Recruiting the Most New Faculty Members in the New England Section (2008) and the ASEE award for Outstanding Achievement in Achieving the Highest Percentage of Faculty Membership in the New England Section (2008). In 2011, he received the Zone I Outstanding Campus Representative Award. Gupta has also been successful in encouraging students at the University of Bridgeport to participate in ASEE events. During the 2011 ASEE Northeast Section Conference, the University of Bridgeport sent more than 50 participants to Hartford, Conn., and they won most of the student awards at that conference.

Gupta’s interests include audio and bio signal processing. Besides teaching, he supervises several master’s theses and is advising one Ph.D. student. He is also an active member of the biomedical engineering program at the University of Bridgeport. Gupta also likes to work with the local schools in the area of Bridgeport to encourage students to take up engineering as a career. He and his graduate students have been working with middle school students in Bridgeport to improve computer literacy. They are also involved with the Project Lead The Way program at Stratford High School in Connecticut. If elected to serve as ASEE Chair-Elect of Zone I, he promises to work hard to improve the outreach and program of ASEE in the Zone I region.

Suzanne Keilson

Suzanne Keilson serves as Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Loyola University Maryland. She is a faculty member in the Engineering Department and teaches in the first-year programs at Loyola to bring an interdisciplinary approach and appreciation for engineering to all students. She has also taught a numeracy course for a master’s degree program in Liberal Studies.

She has been active as a member and leader within the ASEE Middle Atlantic Section since 1997, presenting papers and rotating through all the section positions including Newsletter Editor, Awards and Nominations committees, and Section Chair. She currently continues to serve as Meetings Chair. In these capacities, she was involved in the operations of the section, development of awards, nominations, criteria, and programming. She also continues to serve as ASEE Campus Representative at Loyola and has participated in a number of panels and discussions about the role of ASEE in engineering education and the recruitment of members. She has served as a moderator and reviewer for ASEE national meetings in a number of divisions, including the Materials Division, First-Year Programs, and Women in Engineering. She hosted a Middle Atlantic Section conference on the campus of Loyola University Maryland in the spring of 2009. The theme and focus of the meeting were design and accessibility.

Her research interests include signal processing, biomedical engineering, design education, and issues in STEM recruitment and retention. She has worked collaboratively with members of Loyola’s School of Education and Office of Institutional Research, as well as Western and Polytechnic High Schools in Baltimore and other area private and public schools.

Keilson received her B.A. in Physics from Yale University and her M.S. and Ph.D. in Applied Physics from Columbia University. She is a member of both ASME and IEEE. She has participated in numerous leadership programs and roles, including HERS for women administrators in higher education. She has presented at a number of general higher education conferences such as the American Association of Colleges and Universities, the Association for Institutional Research, and the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities.

Candidates for the Office of Chair-Elect, Zone III

Charles McIntyre

Charles McIntyre is an Associate Professor and Graduate Program Coordinator in the Department of Construction Management and Engineering at North Dakota State University (NDSU) in Fargo, N.D. He received a B.S. from Springfield College in 1975, a B.S. from the University of Massachusetts in 1989, an M.Eng. from Penn State in 1991, and a Ph.D. from Penn State in 1996.

As an active member of the North Midwest Section of ASEE, McIntyre is a former Zone III Chair as well as a past Section Chair and Secretary-Treasurer. As a Campus Representative for NDSU, he has won a number of awards for recruiting and retaining faculty for membership in ASEE. He has several ASEE publications in the areas of active and cooperative learning. At NDSU, he is very active in a number of pedagogical programs, including the Teaching Academy, the Mentor Program, and the Peer Review of Teaching program.

McIntyre’s industry experience includes nine years as a department supervisor and manager in the area of water and wastewater systems. He also headed his own consulting firm from 1985 to 1990. He has a number of publications in American Society of Civil Engineers journals and has served on the ASCE Land Development and Standards Committee. He has also been involved in the ASCE Construction Congress conferences and served on the ASCE Engineering Education Task Committee for Construction Congress VI. He is also a member of Chi Epsilon and Sigma Lambda Chi.

McIntyre has been involved with the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) for many years. He has presented several workshops at the International Builders’ Show in the areas of computer technology, risk management, and scheduling. He is also the adviser to the NAHB Student Chapter at NDSU. He currently serves on the philanthropic Home Builder Care Committee and the Education Committee for the Fargo-Moorhead Homebuilders’ Association.

Prior to entering the construction and engineering industry, he was an elementary and high school teacher. He has taught in a variety of areas, including physical education, mathematics, and science. He has taught at every level from K to 12 and has work experience in both the United States and Canada.

McIntyre is a recipient of the prestigious Robert Odney Excellence in Teaching Award and the Peltier Award for Innovative Teaching, both sponsored by NDSU Development. He has won numerous awards and citations for teaching from the College of Engineering and Architecture at NDSU.

Kenneth W. Van Treuren

Kenneth W. Van Treuren is currently associate dean for research and faculty development as well as a professor of mechanical engineering at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. At Baylor since 1998, he has taught courses in fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, and energy and heat transfer, as well as freshman engineering. As associate dean, he is responsible for promoting excellence in both research and teaching. He is recognized as an outstanding educator on campus, having won Baylor’s Outstanding Teaching Award as a Tenure-Track Professor (2001), as well as Baylor’s Outstanding Teaching Award while tenured (2010). He received the SAE Ralph R. Teetor Award for Educational Excellence (2000) and the Boeing Welliver Faculty Fellowship (2009). Prior to his appointment at Baylor, Van Treuren taught for eight years at the United States Air Force Academy in the Department of Aeronautics, where he received the Outstanding Military Educator Award (1990).

Van Treuren earned a B.S. in Aeronautical Engineering from the USAF Academy. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship and studied at Princeton University, where he graduated with an M.S. in Engineering Science. After serving as a Command Pilot in the USAF, he studied at Oxford University in the United Kingdom, where he received his D.Phil. in Engineering Science.

He has been a member of ASEE since 1996 and is very active in ASEE, both on the local and national levels. He has authored or coauthored 35 papers presented at ASEE conferences and has over 77 conference and journal papers to his credit. His educational interests include freshman engineering, engineering design, STEM topics, and energy education. Since 1999, he has regularly attended the ASEE Gulf Southwest Section (GSW) meetings, reviewing papers and chairing sessions. In 2009, Baylor hosted the ASEE GSW Section Annual Meeting, where Van Treuren served as the Section Chair/Conference Organizer. Van Treuren has emphasized the importance of student involvement in the local conferences, where his graduate and undergraduate students have won seven awards at student paper competitions, including those held at the ASEE GSW. He himself won a third-place outstanding paper award (2008), as well as the ASEE GSW Section Outstanding Teaching and Campus Representative Awards (2009). At the national level, he has attended numerous ASEE Annual Conferences with papers supporting the Liberal Education/Engineering and Society, First-year Programs, and Mechanical Engineering Divisions. Currently, he is on the Best Paper Committee for the Mechanical Engineering Division and has coordinated external speakers for this committee. He also serves as the Baylor University Campus Representative.



This award was initiated by the Campus Liaison Board to honor outstanding Zone Campus Representatives.

Navarun Gupta
University of Bridgeport

J. P. Mohsen
University of Louisville

Steven Hietpas
South Dakota State University

Amir Rezaei
California Polytechnic State University-Pomona

ASEE Council Awards

ASEE Corporate Member Council
CMC Excellence in Engineering Education Collaboration Awards

GE Foundation Developing Futures™ in Education
General Electric

DaVinci Charter High School Program
Northrop Grumman and the Wiseburn School District

Partnership in Advanced Materials Education
The Boeing Co. and the University of Washington


ASEE Engineering Research Council
Curtis W. McGraw Research Award
Kenneth Gall
Georgia Institute of Technology

ASEE Section Awards

Section Outstanding Teaching Award

This award, given by each ASEE section, recognizes the outstanding teaching performance of an engineering or engineering technology educator. The award consists of a framed certificate and an appropriate honorarium presented by the local section. The following are this year’s award recipients.

Illinois/Indiana Section
Gregory Scott Duncan
Valparaiso University

Middle Atlantic Section
Col. Bobby Grant Crawford
United States Military Academy

Midwest Section
Mark B. Yeary
University of Oklahoma

Northeast Section
Brian Savilonis
Worcester Polytechnic Institute

North Midwest Section
AnnMarie P. Thomas
University of St. Thomas

North Central Section
Anna Dollar
Miami University

Pacific Northwest Section
Robert Driver
University of Alberta

Southeast Section
David Silverstein
University of Kentucky

St. Lawrence Section
Susan Daniel
Cornell University


Section Outstanding Campus Representative Award

ASEE’s Campus Liaison Board initiated this award to recognize those ASEE Campus Representatives who have demonstrated steadfast support for ASEE on their campuses. The award consists of a framed certificate of recognition and is presented at each section’s annual meeting. The following are this year’s award recipients.

Illinois/Indiana Section
R. Thomas Trusty II
Trine University

Middle Atlantic Section
Robert Brooks
Temple University

Northeast Section
Navarun Gupta
University of Bridgeport

North Midwest Section
Steven Hietpas
South Dakota State University

Pacific Northwest Section
Thadd Welch
Boise State University

Pacific Southwest Section
Amir Rezaei
California State Polytechnic University-Pomona

Southeast Section
J. P. Mohsen
University of Louisville


Other Section Awards

Illinois-Indiana Section
Outstanding Service Award
John J. Uhran Jr.
University of Notre Dame


Outstanding Paper Award
Terry Schumacher
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology


Midwest Section
Outstanding Service Award
Thomas C. Roberts
Kansas State University

Person-Mile Award
University of Arkansas-Fayetteville

Outstanding Paper Award
First Place
Keith L. Hohn
Kansas State University
Paper: “Incorporating Creativity into a Capstone Engineering Design Course”

Second Place
YoonJung Cho, Sohum Sohoni, and Donald P. French
Oklahoma State University
Paper: “Needs Assessment for Graduate Teaching Assistant Training: Identifying Important but Under-Prepared Roles”

Third Place
Keith Hedges
Drury University
Paper: “The 2010 Haiti Earthquake: Real-Time Disaster Inquiry in the Classroom”


Middle Atlantic Section
Best Section Paper Award
Fall Conference
James Peyton Jones
Villanova University

Spring Conference
Gay Lemons, Adam Carberry, and Chris Swan
Tufts University


North Midwest Section
Outstanding Educator Award

Kris G. Mattila
Michigan Technological University

Outstanding New Educator Award

Eric S. Musselman
University of Minnesota-Duluth

AnnMarie P. Thomas
University of St. Thomas


Pacific Northwest Section
Best Paper Award

Qin Ma
Walla Walla University
Paper: “Using Mini-FEA to Assist the Teaching of Engineering Finite Element Methods to Undergraduate Students”


Southeast Section
Outstanding New Teacher Award

Joseph DeCarolis
North Carolina State University

New Faculty Research Award
Qiong Zhang
University of South Florida

Outstanding Mid-Career Teaching Award
Oge Marques
Florida Atlantic University

Tony Tilmans Section Service Award
Richard O. Mines Jr.
Mercer University

Thomas C. Evans Instructional Paper Award
Melissa A. Dagley
University of Central Florida

Professional and Technical Division Awards

Aerospace Engineering Division
John Leland Atwood Award

Glenn Lightsey
Aerospace Engineering & Engineering Mechanics Department
University of Texas-Austin

This award was established in 1985 in honor of Lee Atwood, a master of aviation and a pioneer in missile and space projects. It is bestowed annually upon an outstanding aerospace engineering educator in recognition of contributions to the profession. The award is endowed by Rockwell International and consists of a $2,000 honorarium, a certificate, and reimbursement of travel expenses to the ASEE Annual Conference. The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics also presents an engraved medal and a certificate to the recipient at its annual aerospace sciences meeting.

Electrical Engineering Division
Frederick Emmons Terman Award

Tony Givargis
Department of Computer Science and Engineering
University of California-Irvine

This award is conferred upon an outstanding young electrical engineering educator in recognition of contributions to the profession. The award, established in 1969, is sponsored by the Hewlett-Packard Co. and consists of a $4,000 honorarium, a gold-plated medal, a bronze replica, a presentation scroll, and reimbursement of travel expenses for the awardee to attend the ASEE Frontiers in Education Conference, where the award will be presented.

Mechanical Engineering Division
Ralph Coats Roe Award

Dennis Assanis
Director, Michigan Memorial Phoenix Energy Institute
Jon R. and Beverly S. Holt Professor of Engineering
Arthur F. Thurnau Professor
Department of Mechanical Engineering
University of Michigan

This award honors an outstanding mechanical engineering teacher who has made notable contributions to the engineering profession. Financed from an endowment established by Kenneth A. Roe of Burns and Roe Inc. in honor of his father, Ralph Coats Roe, the award consists of a $10,000 honorarium, a plaque, and reimbursement of travel expenses to attend the ASEE Annual Conference.

Other Division Awards

Biomedical Engineering Division
Theo C. Pilkington Outstanding Educator Award
Paul H. King
Vanderbilt University

Best Paper Award
Jonathan Sanghoon Lee, Shing Wai Yam, and William H. Guilford
University of Virginia
Paper: “Significant Factors in Successfully Matching Students to Biomedical Engineering Research Laboratories”


Chemical Engineering Division

Michael Hanyak
Bucknell University

William H. Corcoran Award
David Silverstein and Gifty Osei-Prempeh
University of Kentucky
Paper: “Making a Chemical Process Control Course an Inductive and Deductive Learning Experience”

Chemstations Chemical Engineering Lectureship Award
Richard Noble
University of Colorado

Ray W. Fahien Award
Adrienne Minerick
Michigan Technological University

Award for Lifetime Achievement in Chemical Engineering Pedagogical Scholarship
Ronald Miller
Colorado School of Mines

Joseph J. Martin Award
Lisa Bullard, North Carolina State University; Donald Visco Jr., University of Akron; David Silverstein, University of Kentucky; and Jason Keith, Michigan Technological University
Paper: “Strategies for Creating and Sustaining a Departmental Culture”

Graduate Student Future Faculty Grant
Debra Gilbuena
Oregon State University

Engineering Education Mentoring Grant
Matthew Liberatore
Colorado School of Mines

Mentoring and Travel Grant for New Attendees
Daniel Lopek
Cooper Union


Civil Engineering Division
Gerald R. Seeley Fellowship

Ellie H. Fini
North Carolina State University
Paper: “The Effect of Project-Based Learning (PBL) on Improving Student Learning Outcomes in Transportation Engineering”

George K. Wadlin Distinguished Service Award
J. P. Mohsen
University of Louisville

Glen L. Martin Best Paper Award
Steven Burian and Edward Barbanell
University of Utah
Paper: “Hydrotopia: Integrating Civil Engineering and Humanities to Teach Water Resources Engineering and Management”


College/Industry Partnerships Division
CIEC Best Session Award
Martina Y. Trucco
Session: “Open Innovation at HP Labs: Weaving Together Minds, Ideas, and Resources”
Moderator: Cath Polito, University of Texas-Austin

CIEC Best Presenter Award 
Cynthia C. Fry
Baylor University
Session: “Non-Traditional Preparation for a Global Workforce”

CIEC Best Moderator Award 
Charles E. Baukal Jr.
John Zink Co., LLC
Session: “Partnerships Between Universities and Electric Utilities with Nuclear Power Plants”


Continuing Professional Development Division
CIEC Best Session Award

Nelson Baker, Georgia Institute of Technology; Kim A. Scalzo, State University of New York (SUNY); Edward G. Borbely, University of Michigan; John P. Klus, University of Wisconsin; Alfredo Soeiro, University of Porto, Portugal; Terrye Schaetzel, Georgia Institute of Technology; and Anna-Maija Ahonen and Kirsti Miettinen, Aalto University
Session: “Extending International Continuing Engineering Education Benchmarking: Progress Through Collaboration”
Moderator: Keith Plemmons, The Citadel

CIEC Best Conference Presenter Award 
Sue Bray
New Vistas
Session: “Meeting the Challenges of Cross-Cultural Virtual Work Teams”

CIEC Best Moderator Award
Mark Schuver
Purdue University
Session: “Online Project Management: From Idea to Implementation”

Certificate of Appreciation
Mark Schuver, Director – 2008-11
Keith Plemmons, Director – 2008-11
Greg Ruff, Treasurer – 2009-11
Keith Plemmons, 2010 ASEE Program Chair
Lea-Ann Morton, 2011 CIEC Program Chair


Cooperative and Experiential Education Division
Lou Takacs Award

Laura Chessa
Johnson & Johnson/McNeil Consumer Care

CIEC Best Presenter Award
Robert Tillman
Northeastern University
Session: “Co-op and Internships Programs: Positive Strategies for Challenging Times”

CIEC Best Moderator Award
Bryan Dansberry
NASA Johnson Space Center-Education Office
Session: “Innovative Strategies for Increasing University/Employer Collaboration”

CIEC Best Session Award
Harold B. Simmons
Georgia Institute of Technology
Session: “An Evolutionary History of CEED and CIEC”
Moderator: Ilka Balk, University of Kentucky

Co-op Student of the Year Award
Roshni Barot
Northwestern University


Division of Experimentation and Laboratory Oriented Studies (DELOS)
Distinguished Service Award

Ahmed Rubaai
Howard University

Best Paper Awards
Bijan Sepahpour
The College of New Jersey
Paper: “An Interesting Application of Optical Measurement Techniques”

Lisa Huettel
Duke University
Paper: “Connecting Theory and Practice: Laboratory-Based Explorations of the NAE Grand Challenges”

Debra J. Mascaro, Stacy J. Morris Bamberg, and R. Roemer
University of Utah
Paper: “Temperature Alarm Laboratory Design Project for a Circuit Analysis Course in a General Engineering Curriculum”


Educational Research & Methods Division
Distinguished Service Award

Cynthia J. Finelli
University of Michigan

Ronald J. Schmitz Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Frontiers in Education Conference
Daniel J. Moore
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

Benjamin Dasher Award
Jeffrey L. Newcomer
Western Washington University
Paper: “Inconsistencies in Students’ Approaches to Solving Problems in Engineering Statics”

Best Paper Award
Michael J. Prince and Margot Vigeant
Bucknell University
Paper: “The Use of Inquiry-Based Activities to Repair Student Misconceptions Related to Heat, Energy, and Temperature”
Electrical and Computer Engineering Division
Meritorious Service Award

Dennis Silage
Temple University

Distinguished Educator Award
John A. Orr
Worcester Polytechnic Institute


Energy Conversion and Conservation Division
Best Paper Award

Margaret B. Bailey
Rochester Institute of Technology
Paper: “Studying the Impact on Mechanical Engineering Students Who Participate in Distinctive Projects in Thermodynamics”


Engineering Design Graphics Division
Distinguished Service Award

Ron Pare
University of Houston

Oppenheimer Award
Nancy Study
Virginia State University

Chair’s Award
Diamaid Lane and Niall Seery
University of Limerick

Editor’s Award
Holly Ault and Samuel John
Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Media Showcase Award
A. Varricchio, M. Kelly, J. Donovan, J. O’Donnell,
R. Kettner-Polley, J. Smith, and N. Bertozzi, Daniel Webster College; Ted Branoff, North Carolina State University; and Marie Planchard, Dassault Systèmes Solidworks Corp.


Engineering Economy Division
Eugene L. Grant Award

Carlo Alberto Magni and Reggio Emilia
University of Modena, Modena, Italy
Paper: “Average Internal Rate of Return and Investment Decisions: A New Perspective” (The Engineering Economist, Volume 55, Number 2, pgs. 150-180)

Best Paper Award
Louis Reifschneider
Illinois State University


Engineering Libraries Division
Homer I. Bernhardt Distinguished Service Award

Dorothy Byers
Kalifa University, Abu Dhabi

Best Publication Award
Thomas Conkling, Kevin Harwell, Cheryl McCallips, Sylvia Nyana, and Bonnie Osif
Pennsylvania State University
Article: “Research Material Selection in the Pre-Web and Post-Web Environments: An Interdisciplinary Study of Bibliographic Citations in Doctoral Dissertations” (Journal of Academic Librarianship, Volume 36, Number 1 – January 2010)

Innovation in Access to Engineering Information Award
Eugene Barsky
University of British Columbia


Engineering Management Division
Bernard R. Sarchet Award

Lucy Morse
University of Central Florida

Merl Baker Award
Ertunga Ozelkan
University of North Carolina-Charlotte

Best Paper Award
Amy K. Zander
Clarkson University

Best Presentation Award
Jon Sticklen
Michigan State University


Engineering Technology Division
CIEC Best Presenter Award

Ken Rennels
Indiana University/Purdue University-Indianapolis
Session: “Healthcare, Life Sciences, and Engineering Technology”

CIEC Best Session Award
Vladimir Genis, Drexel University; Phillip Cochrane, Indiana State University; Alan Hadad, University of Hartford; and William Clapp, Weber State University
Session: “Faculty Scholarship, Research, and Development in Engineering Technology”
Moderator: Walter W. Buchanan, Texas A&M University


Environmental Engineering Division
Best Paper Award

Stephanie Luster-Teasley and Cindy Waters
North Carolina A&T State University
Paper: “Reforming Environmental Engineering Laboratories for Sustainable Engineering: Incorporating Problem Based Learning and Case Studies into an Environmental Engineering Lab Course”

Early Career Grant
Isaac W. Wait
Marshall University
Paper: “Using Kefir to Teach Microbial Kinetics in an Undergraduate Wastewater Treatment Course” (Isaac W. Wait, Richard F. McCormick, and Sydney M. Wait)

Best Student Paper Award
Jonathan Wiggins
University of Colorado-Boulder
Paper: “Students and Sustainability: Assessing Students’ Understanding of Sustainability from Service Learning Experiences” (Jonathan Wiggins, Chris Swan, and Mary E. McCormick, Tufts University; Kurt Paterson, Michigan Technological University; and Angela R. Bielefeldt, University of Colorado-Boulder)


Industrial Engineering Division
Best Paper Award

Lizabeth T. Schlemer
California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo
Paper: “Design Projects With Out-of-Town Companies”


Information Systems Division
Best Paper Award

Jeongkyu Lee and Omar Abuzaghleh
University of Bridgeport
Paper: “Implementing an Affordable High-Performance Computing Platform for Teaching-Oriented Computer Science Curriculum”


International Division
Best Paper Award

Michael D. Mack and Fazil T. Najafi, University of Florida; and Nick M. Safai, Salt Lake Community College
Paper: “Cost-Effective Energy-Efficient Housing with an International Implementation”
Jian Yu, Auburn University and Tsinghua University, China; and Chefan S. Sankar, Auburn University
Paper: “Improving Engineering Education in Developing Countries: A Study”


Liberal Education Division
The Sterling Olmstead Award

Taft H. Broome Jr.
Howard University


Mathematics Division
Distinguished Educator and Service Award

Dale Buechler
University of Wisconsin-Platteville

Best Paper Award
Elton Graves
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology


Mechanical Engineering Division
Best Paper Award

Stephen R. Turns, Pennsylvania State University-University Park; and Peggy Noel Van Meter, Pennsylvania State University
Paper: “Applying Knowledge from Educational Psychology and Cognitive Science to a First Course in Thermodynamics”

Best Paper Award – Honorable Mention
Blake M. Ashby, Grand Valley State University; and Alan F. Asay, Woolley Engineering Research Corporation
Paper: “Reconstruction of an Actual Vehicle Rollover as a Special Project in an Undergraduate Dynamics Course”

Best Paper Award – Honorable Mention
Bobby G. Crawford and Daisie D. Boettner, U.S. Military Academy
Paper: “Integrating Thermodynamics and Fluid Mechanics Instruction: Practical Solutions to Issues of Consistency”

Best Paper Award – Honorable Mention
Patrick W. Pace and Kristin L. Wood, University of Texas-Austin; John J. Wood and Daniel D. Jensen, U.S. Air Force Academy
Paper: “Studying Ideation in Engineering Design”


Mechanics Division
Archie Higdon Distinguished Educator Award

Charles Krousgrill
Purdue University

Ferdinand P. Beer and E. Russell Johnston Jr.
Outstanding New Mechanics Educator Award

Jeffrey F. Rhoads, Purdue University; and Rashid K. Abu Al-Rub, Texas A&M University

James L. Meriam Service Award
Glenn Kraige
Virginia Tech


Multidisciplinary Engineering Division
Best Paper Award

Brock J. LeMares, Ahsan Mian, Hunter Lloyd, and Robb Larson
Montana State University
Paper: “The Montana MULE: A Case Study in Interdisciplinary Capstone Design”


Physics Division
Distinguished Educator and Service Award

David Probst
Southeast Missouri State University

Systems Engineering Division
Best Paper Award

Cecelia M. Wigal
University of Tennessee-Chattanooga
Paper: “Identifying and Defining Relationships: Techniques for Improving Student Systemic Thinking”

Women in Engineering Division
Denice D. Denton Best Paper Award

Rose Marra and Katie Piacentini, University of Missouri-Columbia; Lois Trautvetter, Northwestern University; and Lisa Lattuca and David Knight, Pennsylvania State University
Paper: “Programs and Practices Making a Difference: A Cross-Case Analysis Identifying Programs and Factors that Influence Recruitment and Retention of Women Engineering Students”

Apprentice Educator Grant
Stephanie Claussen, Stanford University; and Sara Atwood, Elizabethtown College


ASEE is currently seeking nominations for awards to be presented at the Awards Banquet of the ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition in San Antonio, Texas, June 10-13, 2012.

All it takes is a little of your time for a deserving colleague to receive national recognition and publicity on June 13, 2012, in the presence of an audience of esteemed colleagues in the engineering education community.

Awards that are offered, including award criteria, nomination requirements, and online award nomination forms are available on the ASEE website at Hard-copy nominations, which will also be accepted, should be sent to:

Awards Administration

1818 N Street, N.W., Suite 600
Washington, DC 20036

Consider nominating one or more of your deserving colleagues for these outstanding awards. The deadline for submitting award nominations is Jan. 15, 2012. For questions regarding awards, please contact Awards & Administrative Services at (202) 331-3550 or


Lifetime Achievement Award in Engineering Education (NEW! See Below.)
The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes individuals who have retired or who are near the ends of their careers for sustained contributions to education in the fields of engineering and/or engineering technology. The contributions may be in teaching, education, research, administration of educational programs, professional service, or any combination thereof.

Frederick J. Berger Award for Excellence in Engineering Technology Education
The Frederick J. Berger Award recognizes and encourages both programmatic and individual excellence in engineering technology education. It is presented to both the primary implementing individual and to the engineering technology school or department that have demonstrated leadership in curriculum, scholarly contributions, innovative techniques, or administration in engineering technology education.

Chester F. Carlson Award for Innovation in Engineering Education
The Chester F. Carlson Award is presented annually to an individual innovator in engineering education who, by motivation and ability to extend beyond the accepted tradition, has made a significant contribution to the profession.

Isadore T. Davis Award for Excellence in Collaboration of Engineering Education and Industry
The Isadore T. Davis Award celebrates the spirit and leadership of individuals who make a mark in the collaborative efforts of engineering or engineering technology education with industry that improve learning, scholarship, and engagement practices within the engineering education community.

DuPont Minorities in Engineering Award
The DuPont Minorities in Engineering Award is conferred for outstanding achievements by an engineering or engineering technology educator in increasing student diversity within engineering and engineering technology programs. Eligible candidates are engineering or engineering technology educators who, as part of their educational activity, either assume or are charged with the responsibility for motivating underrepresented students to enter and continue in engineering or engineering technology curricula at the college or university level, graduate or undergraduate.

John L. Imhoff Global Excellence Award for Industrial Engineering Education
The John L. Imhoff Award is presented to an individual who has made significant contributions to the industrial engineering discipline, who exemplifies the highest standards of the professorate in industrial engineering, and who has demonstrated global cooperation and understanding through leadership and other initiatives.

Sharon Keillor Award for Women in Engineering Education
The Sharon Keillor Award recognizes and honors a woman engineering educator who has an outstanding record in teaching engineering students and reasonable performance histories of research and service within an engineering school. Nominees will hold an earned doctoral degree in an engineering discipline or in an engineering-related field of natural science, including mathematics, and will have at least five years of teaching experience in an engineering school.

Benjamin Garver Lamme Award for Excellence in Engineering Education
The Benjamin Garver Lamme Award is given to an individual who represents the best in engineering education administration through excellence in teaching and ability to inspire students to high levels of accomplishment; improvement of engineering education through contributions of research, books, or technical articles that have a lasting influence on engineering education; and administration of engineering schools that has led to definite and recognized improvements in the art of engineering education.

James H. McGraw Award for Excellence in Engineering Technology Education
The James H. McGraw Award recognizes outstanding service in engineering technology education. It is presented to a faculty member, author, or administrator who is, or has been, affiliated with an institution that provides engineering technology education.

Meriam/Wiley Distinguished Author Award
The Meriam/Wiley Distinguished Author Award is given for a textbook that contributes to the advancement of technical and professional competence at the undergraduate or graduate level. Only first edition books published within four years of the award deadline are eligible.

Fred Merryfield Design Award 
The Fred Merryfield Design Award recognizes an engineering educator for excellence in teaching of engineering design and acknowledges other significant contributions related to engineering design teaching.

National Engineering Economy Teaching Excellence Award 
The National Engineering Economy Teaching Excellence Award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated classroom teaching excellence and teaching scholarship in engineering economy. Those eligible to receive the award are, or have been, full-time engineering teachers who have taught engineering economy courses in an ABET- or CEAB-accredited engineering or engineering technology curriculum. They may be current or emeritus faculty members who have taught engineering economy frequently for a substantial period of time.

Robert G. Quinn Award for Excellence in Experimentation and Laboratory Instruction
The Robert G. Quinn Award recognizes outstanding contributions in providing and promoting excellence in experimentation and laboratory instruction. Award nominees must be faculty members of ASEE who have made outstanding, sustained contributions to the teaching of laboratory or experimentation courses in engineering or engineering technology.


ASEE President’s Award 
The ASEE President’s Award recognizes those organizations that make the best use of print, broadcast, or electronic media to encourage K-12 students to enter engineering schools and pursue engineering careers and/or influence public opinion and create recognition of the critical role that engineering plays in today’s technology driven society.

W. Leighton Collins Award 
The W. Leighton Collins Award is the highest Society award for service to education for engineering and engineering technology and allied fields. It is given for highly significant contributions made by individuals. Nominations for this award may be made by any member of ASEE. No special forms are needed, but a career brief (about one page) is required along with a proposed citation and supporting letters.

Distinguished Service Citation 
The Distinguished Service Citation recognizes an ASEE member’s long, continuous, and distinguished service to education in engineering and engineering technology through active participation in the work of ASEE. The citation recognizes the kind of diligent, steadfast, and persevering service to ASEE that might otherwise go unnoticed.

Donald E. Marlowe Award 
The Donald E. Marlowe Award recognizes distinguished education administration and is bestowed upon an individual administrator who has made significant ongoing contributions to education for engineering and engineering technology by unusually effective national leadership and example beyond accepted tradition. The recipient will have demonstrated an understanding and responsiveness to societal and technological change through creative and dedicated administrative skill and leadership.

Fellow Grade Membership
This honor is conferred upon active members of ASEE who have been a member in any grade for at least 10 years and is in recognition of outstanding contributions to engineering or engineering technology education. Nominations for Fellow Grade may be made by any ASEE member. The deadline for nominations is Feb. 1, 2012.

Honorary Membership
This honor is conferred for eminent and distinguished service to mankind in education, whether engineering, engineering technology, or allied fields. Nominations for Honorary Membership may be made by any ASEE member. No special form is needed, but a career brief (about one page) is required along with a proposed citation. Honorary Membership is intended to recognize those individuals who are not members of ASEE.

More Information



Established and Endowed by ASEE Life Members and Like-Minded, Not-Yet-Life Member Fellows

The Lifetime Achievement Award in Engineering Education

The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes individuals who have retired or who are near the end of their careers for sustained contributions to education in the fields of engineering and/or engineering technology. The contributions may be in teaching, education, research, administration of educational programs, professional service, or any combination thereof.

The ASEE Lifetime Achievement Award was established through the efforts of the Lifetime Achievement Award Steering Committee and funded by an endowment created for this award by the contributions of ASEE Life Members and like-minded, Not-Yet-Life Member Fellows.

The Award
The recipient will receive a $1,000 honorarium, travel assistance up to $1,000 for travel to the ASEE Annual Conference to receive the award, and a commemorative plaque.

Candidates shall have demonstrated sustained contributions to education in the fields of engineering and/or engineering technology throughout their careers. These contributions may be in any combination of the following:

  • Demonstrated excellence in teaching either undergraduate or graduate courses;
  • Mentorship of students beyond the classroom;
  • Important contributions to the understanding of teaching and learning through the conduct and publication of educational research;
  • Demonstrated leadership through the administration of departments, schools, or colleges of engineering or engineering technology;
  • Volunteer activity and leadership in education societies.

The candidates will be retired or near retirement and will have devoted their careers primarily to engineering education. ASEE membership is not required.

Nominations for this and other ASEE awards will open on Nov. 1, 2011. Please visit our web site at for nomination guidelines and forms. The deadline for 2012 award nominations is Jan. 15, 2012.

The first presentation of this award is expected to take place at the ASEE Awards Banquet, which honors ASEE national award winners and Fellow Member honorees. The Awards Banquet is the culmination of ASEE’s Annual Conference and Exposition. The 2012 Annual Conference and Exposition will be held in San Antonio, Texas on June 10-13, 2012.

Lifetime Achievement Award Steering Committee
John A. Weese, Chair
Lyle D. Feisel, Co-Chair
Frank S. Barnes
Edwin C. Jones Jr.
Robert H. Page
Angelo J. Perna
James E. Stice

Gold Endowment Support ($1000 & Up)

Frank S. Barnes
Bei-Tse Chao
Edmund T. Cranch
George E. Dieter
Lyle D. Feisel
Wallace T. Fowler
Joseph C. Hogan
Edwin C. Jones Jr.
Edward T. Kirkpatrick
W. Edward Lear
Jack R. Lohmann
John McDonough
James L. Melsa
Don Newnan
Robert H. Page
John W. Prados
Victor K. Schutz
Ernest T. Smerdon
Klaus D. Timmerhaus
Harris T. Travis
John A. Weese
William J. Wilhelm

Silver Endowment Support ($500 – $999)
Merton R. Barry
Joseph Bordogna
Elmer C. Easton
John W. Fisher
Carl W. Hall
Richard A. Kenyon
John C. Lindenlaub
Carl E. Locke
Gerhard F. Paskusz
Edmund P. Segner Jr.
James E. Stice
Phil Wankat
T. Nejat Veziroglu

Bronze Endowment Support ($100 – $499)
Frederick H. Abernathy
A. L. Addy
W. David Baker
Lionel V. Baldwin
Ron Barr
Paul E. Bartlett
A. Wayne Bennett
William B. Berry
Charles W. Bert
Theodore Bickart
William A. Blackwell
Lia Brillhart
Robert W. Braun
Walter W. Buchanan
Chi-Hua Chen
Stephen R. Cheshier
Calvin G. Clyde
Elizabeth M. Corlew
Robert C. Creese
Gary Crossman
Richard Culver
Richard G. Cunningham
Robert M. Delcamp
Satinderpaul S. Devgan
Wallace B. Diboll
Samuel W. Dobyns
Richard C. Dorf
W. Ernst Eder
Fred Emshousen
Edward W. Ernst
Philip T. Eubank
Cary Fisher
Norman L. Fortenberry
Louis J. Galbiati Jr.
Carrol B. Gambrell
Lester Gerhardt
Joseph H. Gibbons
William H. Gotolski
Frank A. Gourley Jr.
Kenneth K. Gowdy
Richard E. Grace
Paul J. Grogan
Charles W. Haines
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An initiative by Wayne T. Davis, dean of engineering at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has brought 51 new members to ASEE. Davis offered to sponsor ASEE membership for all UTK engineering faculty who didn’t currently belong. He explained: “ASEE is one of the few organizations that really focus on engineering education, and I feel very strongly that our faculty benefit from the interactions at ASEE and the timely First Bell daily update on what is happening with respect to engineering education and STEM and the engineering community at large.”

Davis added, “Hopefully, many of our faculty will become more engaged in ASEE activities in the future, and this is a great way to jump-start the engagement.”

ASEE Executive Director Norman Fortenberry commended the action. “We are grateful to Dean Davis for his vision and commitment. His initiative has a standard that we are beginning to see emulated by his peers. He has started a trend that we hope will be strengthened and sustained as others become more aware of the value of ASEE membership.”

Industry Can Help Us Diversify
By Irving Pressley McPhail

Budget woes make the private sector a crucial player in STEM.

Increased private investment is essential to providing greater access to quality higher education in the United States. And nowhere is this more important than in the realm of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education.

The United States has enjoyed a privileged position of global leadership in technology and innovation since the Second World War. The country, however, has reached a critical time during which it needs to work aggressively to cultivate its domestic STEM talent pool in order to remain a global leader. The question is, how? Currently the government is divided over the national budget, and educational systems are stretched as far as possible. In response, the government, corporations, and nonprofits have started joining together to form innovative public-private partnerships. PPPs are driving initiatives across the country to recruit and train teachers, spur curriculum improvements, and increase the ranks of students studying STEM, from grade school to graduate school.

The PPP model has been used to improve road systems, hospitals, security services, and of course, educational systems around the world with great success. While considered somewhat controversial by some because of the perception that they will increase the involvement of government in the private sector, PPPs are not new. On the contrary, these arrangements have existed since the Roman Empire. They persist because they are mutually beneficial for government and the private sector.

One area where PPPs could make a crucial difference is in helping diversify the engineering profession. A recent study by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce showed that engineering majors enter the workforce commanding some of the highest salaries around. The study, unfortunately, also underscores a major challenge facing the STEM community – the underrepresentation of African-Americans, American Indians, and Latinos among engineering majors. We have both a national shortage of engineers and an engineering workforce that does not reflect an America in which nonwhites will shortly become the majority.

America’s corporations have resources and tools available to invest in our next generation of innovative leaders. By putting in place the appropriate funding and programs that provide STEM education and training for our underserved talent pool, we ensure that we will have the intellectual capital to reinforce our nation’s position as the world’s strongest economy and source of innovation.

In June, I was in the audience as President Obama announced an expansion of Skills for America’s Future. The initiative, launched by the Obama administration last year, exemplifies the power of the PPP model in promoting partnerships among industry and community colleges to focus on workforce development strategies and the educational necessities that will prepare America’s youth for the jobs that will drive our economic growth.

Among the specific programs the president outlined was Creating Our Next-Generation Engineering Workforce, in which more than 5,000 young people will be able to benefit from a mentorship program and scholarships being expanded by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), the SME Education Foundation, the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering Inc. (NACME), and the National Academy Foundation.

The focus on community colleges in Skills for America’s Future is critical, as these institutions provide minority and economically disadvantaged students access to opportunities in STEM. NACME has established a similar PPP model in Milwaukee, called the NACME STEM Urban Initiative, to help underrepresented minority high school students gain an education and enter the STEM workforce.

Another example of a PPP model comes from the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center). The NGA recently launched a PPP between various states and Innovate+Educate, a nonprofit that acts as a bridge between industry and states to advance STEM education. This partnership shares information on best practices for revamping higher education systems and leveraging industry investments.

Increasing diversity in STEM opens the doors for new approaches to solving problems and allows for new ways of thinking and thus the potential for greatness. We need talented individuals in STEM fields. Strong public-private partnerships will help build this workforce.

Irving Pressley McPhail, Ed. D, is president and chief executive officer of the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering Inc. (NACME).