University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of EngineeringOnline: Autumn 2010
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Walter Bircher
, a UNL freshman from Omaha who majors in mechanical engineering, was awarded one of 650 National Security Language Initiative for Youth Scholarships for 2010-11. The merit-based scholarship covers all program costs that enabled Bircher to study the Turkish language in Turkey for a summer. Funded by the U.S. State Department and administered by non-profit organizations, NSLI-Y seeks to increase Americans' capacity to engage with native speakers of critical languages and promote mutual understanding through educational and cultural activities.

Lauren Ronsse picLauren Ronsse, a Ph.D. candidate in architectural engineering, is one of eight recipients of 2010-2011 Presidential Graduate Fellowships announced by University of Nebraska President James B. Milliken. These prestigious fellowships honor NU graduate students on the basis of high scholastic performance, personal accomplishment and innovative research projects. “Presidential Graduate Fellowships honor students who are conducting extraordinary research and scholarly activity,” Milliken said. “We are fortunate to have a level of private support that allows us to give students an opportunity to devote full time to their academic efforts.” Fellows each receive an annual stipend provided through the University of Nebraska Foundation. Ronsse has studied the perceptual impacts of noise on humans, speech intelligibility in rooms, and archeological acoustics. In her current research, she is relating acoustical measurements in classrooms to standardized student achievement scores to determine the impact of acoustical conditions on student learning. The outcomes of her research could be used to specify acoustical conditions in building standards to maximize student achievement. Ronsse also serves as president of the National Acoustical Society of America Student Council.

Michael Riley, P.E., professor of Industrial and Management Systems Engineering, will travel to National Tsing Hua University in Hsin Chu, Taiwan as a Fulbright Scholar, January-June 2011. He will teach an ergonomics course during the spring semester and work on a research project, "Job Task Repetition and Psychosocial Risk Factor Interactions." Riley was also honored as a 2010 Distance Education Pioneer by UNL Extended Education & Outreach during National Distance Learning Week.

Khalid Sayood and Rodney Soukup, professors of electrical engineering, have been named to new professorships thanks to the generosity of the late UNL alumnus Omar Heins, ’36 B.S. ELEC.

BSEN faculty Suat Irmak spoke to a gathering of Fulbright fellows at UNL, meeting about Global Food Security.

Electrical engineering department chair and professor Jerry Hudgins, along with colleagues Wei Qiao (assistant professor) and Joel Jacobs (lecturer) are co-PIs for a grant with the new federally funded Sustainable Energy Options for Rural Nebraska implemented at UNL’s Haskell Agricultural Lab in Concord.

Carrick Detweiler has joined the Department of Computer Science and Engineering as an assistant professor. He specializes in robotics and has his Ph.D. from MIT's CSAIL.


A UNL video about smart grid research by Wei Qiao, assistant professor of electrical engineering, was featured on the National Science Foundation’s “Science 360” website.

IMSE professor Fred Choobineh, who is also director of Nebraska EPSCoR, led this year’s Nebraska Research & Innovation Conference, which focused on renewable energy.

Bing Chen (CEEN professor and department chair) and Jerry Varner (associate professor, ELEC) have both served 45 years with the UNL College of Engineering. For other current service awards see

Yuris Dzenis, R. Vernon McBroom Professor of Engineering Mechanics, received funding of $189,547 via Northwestern University for his project on Multiscale Design and Manufacturing of Hybrid DWCNT-Polymer Fibers. Dzenis continues to work on projects through Northwestern for the Department of Defense's Multi-University Research Initiative, in which he pursues development of tougher fibers for the U.S. military's flexible armor needs.

Yuris Dzenis also gained an award for $149,050 from the National Science Foundation for a project titled MRI RAPID: Acquisition of High-Rate Nanomanufacturing System for Accelerated Development of Novel Materials and Processes for Oil Spill Remediation.

Joe Turner, professor and department chair with Engineering Mechanics, received a $64,073 grant from UNMC for a project on Sonolysis in Acute Coronary Syndromes.

Shane Farritor, professor of mechanical engineering, and Stephen Reichenbach, professor of computer science and engineering, were appointed by Chancellor Perlman to the new Nebraska Innovation Campus Faculty Advisory Committee.

Moe Alahmad, professor of architectural engineering, received $10,000 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for his project titled “Real Time Monitor for Energy Conservation."

Tino Hoffman, a research assistant professor with electrical engineering, will serve on the editorial board of the Review of Scientific Instruments. Hoffman's selection followed his recent paper on THz ellipsometry instrumentation, which appeared in the review.

Lance Perez, associate professor of electrical engineering and associate vice chancellor for Academic Affairs, has been elected treasurer of the IEEE Education Society for 2011.

Anita Sarma, assistant professor of computer science and engineering, received a $13,170 NSF award for the project titled "CCF: Student Volunteer Scholarship: Broadening Participation through Student Volunteers at FSE.”

Jung Yul Lim, assistant professor of engineering mechanics, received a $120,000 grant from the AO Foundation for his project, Controlling Nanotopography-ECM Environment for Enhanced Bone Formation with hMSCs.

Clarence Waters, professor of architectural engineering, and Michelle Eble-Hankins, Ph.D. ’08 ARCH (who works with Alvine & Associates and as an instructor at The Durham School), won the Illuminating Engineering Society’s 2010 Taylor Technical Talent Award for their paper titled “Subjective Impression of Discomfort Glare from Sources of Non-Uniform Luminance.” IES’ Taylor Technical Talent Award recognizes superior application papers.


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