Engineering at Nebraska Fall09

International and inspirational

International and inspirational

A UNL team flew to Harbin, China in February for the World Finals of the IBMsponsored Association for Computing Machinery International Collegiate Programming Contest. With them was the "winningest coach" in the competition’s history.

Chuck RiedeselCharles Riedesel, assistant professor of practice in Computer Science and Engineering, has coached UNL’s ACM-ICPC teams for 12 years, and eight of his teams have competed internationally. Riedesel received a coaching award in Harbin, and UNL honored him with a 2009 James V. Griesen Award for Exemplary Service to Students.

Riedesel recruits and advises computer science and engineering majors, and in the past decade, he has dramatically increased UNL’s involvement in the ACM-ICPC competition. UNL hosts the fall regional competitions, where teams can progress to the international finals. The handful of teams from nearby schools has grown into an annual gathering of 40 teams from universities across the Midwest.

UNL’s 2010 "Incendiary Pigs" team included seniors Tim Echtenkamp (Cairo), Tyler Lemburg (Dannebrog) and Steve Trout (Batavia, Ill.) They also worked with assistant coach Jeff Ifland.

When recruiting new students, Riedesel explains that at UNL they have a better chance to compete at the international level than at just about any other school. That’s a strong sell, because contest sponsor IBM recruits heavily from the student participants. And ACMICPC participation impresses on resumes and graduate school applications.

The competition is a five-hour problemsolving marathon, but coordinated activities help the programmers relax. In Harbin, they visited the city’s famous Ice Festival.

"These students are placed in situations where they have to struggle, and because it’s a team of three, they have to learn teamwork, sharing, cooperation, and all kinds of skills related to that," Riedesel said. "It’s like a sports program: they develop friendships that take them from freshman through senior year."

– Sara Gilliam

Greg Bashford, BSEN assistant professor, traveled to Rome to attend the 2009 International Ultrasonics Symposium, the premier conference for scientists and clinicians solving problems applying ultrasound technology to medical problems. His laboratory had two presentations: the first revealed a new way of measuring blood flow velocity; the second showed the latest progress in quantifying tendon degeneration (in collaboration with Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital and the University of Southern California). Graduate students Tiantian Xu and Pengfei Song were lead authors on the two presentations.

Suat Irmak, BSEN associate professor, received the "Engineer of the Year" award from the Nebraska Section of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) in October. The award is given to an ASABE member of the Nebraska Section to recognize outstanding achievement in the Agricultural and Biological Engineering field.

BSEN faculty David Jones, Deepak Keshwani, and Ron Yoder attended Bioenergy Engineering 2009, a conference with sponsors including the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). Yoder gave the welcome address at the conference and is currently serving as ASABE president.

Khalid Sayood, professor of electrical engineering, worked with a UNMC team to annotate the genome of Francisella tularensis, a virulent bacteria causing the disease often referred to as Rabbit Fever. The results of the work, published in February in the journal PLoS ONE, highlight a new effort by researchers in the NU system to map a genome’s entire sequence. Sayood’s specialty, data compression, studies the organization of information and compacts it for applications such as cell phones and computer programs; with UNMC he applied that skill to microbiology.

IMSE professor (and director of Nebraska EPSCoR) Fred Choobineh, P.E., is chairman for the State of Nebraska’s Board of Engineers and Architects.

Mathias Schubert, associate professor with electrical engineering and principal in the Complex Materials Optics Network, was the keynote lecturer at the Third Annual NanoCharM Ellipsometry Winter Workshop, sponsored by the European Research Council. Approximately 100 graduatelevel students were expected to attend the event held in Bad Hofgastein, Austria.

Jim Goedert, associate professor of Construction Systems with The Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction, traveled to Mali to help build an addition on Koutiala’s hospital. He noted that since the hospital was built, the local infant mortality rate decreased 90 percent. Learn more about the project at

Lily Wang, Vranek Distinguished Scholar and associate professor of architectural engineering, was named chairperson of AE graduate programs in The Durham School.

Jerry Hudgins, professor and chair with the Department of Electrical Engineering, was named to the Lincoln Electric System’s board.

Terry Foster, professor of construction systems, was named a 2010 Fellow of the American Institute of Constructors.

The UNL Parents’ Association honored faculty praised by parents in 2010 (numbers in parentheses indicate prior years awarded): Berthe Choueiry - Computer Science & Engineering; David Morgan, Jack Schinstock (14) and Dennis Schulte (12) - Biological Systems Engineering; Bruce Fischer (3) and Paul Harmon (4) - Construction Management; Mehrdad Negahban (3) - Engineering Mechanics; M. Susan Hallbeck (4) - Industrial & Management Systems Engineering; Linxia Gu and Carl Nelson (1) - Mechanical Engineering.

Clarence Waters, associate professor of architectural engineering, serves as the Architectural Engineering Program Evaluator (PEV) for King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM) in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. He visited KFUPM in December 2009 with an Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET) Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) team of 16 evaluators, one for each program being evaluated. ABET recently started providing full accreditation of international programs. Waters said he valued the opportunity to visit Saudi Arabia and was pleased to get to know the architectural engineering students and faculty of KFUPM.

Sam Saunders, who is pursuing a Ph.D. in civil engineering, earned a UNL 2010 Outstanding Graduate Research Assistant Award. Saunders studies prions, infectious proteins that cause fatal neurodegenerative diseases and can linger in soils; he calls his work "an intersection of public health, ecology, biochemistry, soil science, and environmental engineering." The honor was one of two such awards conferred by UNL's Office of Graduate Studies this year. It was presented by his nominator, Shannon Bartelt-Hunt, Ph.D., associate professor of civil engineering.

Partners in Pollution Prevention (P3) received the 2009 Lincoln and Lancaster County Environmental Leadership Award in the education category. The program was lauded for its efforts to improve the environment and protect public health. P3 is jointly sponsored by UNL Extension and the College of Engineering.

Of 14 UNL honorees in the 2010 research Development Fellows Program, seven are College of Engineering faculty. The Office of Research and Economic Development established the program to help early-career faculty pursue grant funding by enhancing their proposal development skills. The program’s main components are mentoring, learning sessions and consultations. Each participant is paired with a senior faculty mentor who has a strong track record of securing grants. Fellows learn to plan and write effective grant proposals, build budgets and understand the proposal review process. Consultations with Office of Research and Economic Development staff provide advice and expertise as fellows develop grant proposals. Fellows also gain external peer review of final proposals and sponsored travel to visit federal program officers in Washington, D.C.

  • Jinsong Huang, Mechanical Engineering
  • Deepak Keshwani, Biological Systems Engineering
  • Jeonghan Ko, Industrial and Management Systems Engineering
  • Siu Kit Lau, Architectural Engineering
  • Josephine Lau, Architectural Engineering
  • Yi Qian, Computer and Electronics Engineering
  • Mehmet Vuran, Computer Science and Engineering

College of Engineering faculty gain distinctions
UNL regents voted approval at their April 16 meeting for 75 UNL faculty to receive tenure or promotion, and more than a dozen COE faculty were among that group. Promoted to professor were Sebastian Elbaum (CSE), Shane Farritor and Ruqiang Feng (MECH); Mehrdad Negahban (ENGM); Hossein Noureddini and Anuradha Subramanian (CHME); and Clarence Waters (AE). Promoted to associate professor were Myra Cohen and Lisong Xu (CSE), Ece Erdogmus and Haorong Li (AE), Mustafa Gursoy (EE), Yong-Rak Kim (CIVE), George Morcous (CSY), Carl Nelson (MECH), Jeyamkondan Subbiah (BSEN), and Li Tan (ENGM). Francis John Hay was promoted to Associate Extension Educator (BSEN).

College of Engineering faculty were recognized at UNL's spring 2010 Honors Convocation. Receiving Distinguished Teaching awards were Dennis Alexander, Kingery Professor with Electrical Engineering, and Wieslaw Szdlowski, associate professor with Mechanical Engineering. Yongfeng Lu was named the Lott Professor of Electrical Engineering.

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