University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of EngineeringOnline: Spring 2011
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Engineers without borders

The NU student chapter of Engineers Without Borders continues its work in Kianjavato, Madagascar. After a winter of fundraising and preparations, two EWB-NU teams departed in May for onsite work sessions. The group working on sustainable solar projects departed May 8 and included: Devor O’Connor (CHME), Jodi Sangster (CIVE), and Cassandra Williams (ELEC). The group focused on improving water supply—with Stacey Joy (BSE), Ben Schudel (AGEN) and Sam Saunders (CIVE)—departed May 19. Professor Libby Jones (CIVE), EWB-NU faculty adviser, planned to be in Madagascar until June 9 to work with both teams.

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For Nanodays, sponsored in April by the Nebraska Center for Materials and Nanoscience, information booths and activities were hosted at Lincoln’s Westfield Mall, for families to learn more about science at its tiniest levels. Nebraska Engineering’s Srivatsan Kidambi (CHME), Li Tan (ENGM), and Yunshen Zhou (ELEC) were among the faculty involved, and Charles Rice, Chad Briley and Philipp Kuehne (ELEC) and Michael Trogdon (MECH) were some of the UNL students who shared science among the shoppers.

Calvin Pappas, a sophomore Computer Science and Engineering major from Lincoln, is founder of the online privacy site SelectOut.

Biological Systems Engineering senior Quentin Dudley of Worthington, Minn., was among the students recognized at a April 10 honors convocation as Chancellor's Scholars, the university's highest undergraduate academic honor.

The University of Nebraska State Museum featured presenters from the UNL Department of Electrical Engineering when its Sunday with a Scientist program for children and families focused on light, lasers, and optics in March. Experts leading activities included Assistant Professor Ming Han and students Thomas Fink and Greg Baker.

The North American Manufacturing Research Institute announced Kamlakar Rajurkar, Distinguished Professor of Industrial and Management Systems Engineering, will receive the 2011 NAMRI/SME Outstanding Service Award for long-term dedication and contributions to NAMRI/SME. Rajurkar is a past president of NAMRI.

water bircher picWalter Bircher of Omaha, a freshman mechanical engineering major at UNL, will spend the summer studying in Bursa, Turkey, on a Critical Language Scholarship. The Critical Language Scholarship Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, funds seven to 10 weeks of intensive study in 13 critical-need foreign languages. Bircher, an honors student, will spend 10 weeks studying Turkish at TOMER Language Institute. "My interest (in Turkey) is fueled by the thought of an exciting career in the intelligence community," he said.

Computer Science and Engineering faculty Carrick Detweiler and Sebastian Elbaum received approximately $10,000 from Ascending Technologies, a German firm that develops and sells Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). The sponsorship gift to the Nebraska Intelligent MoBile Unmanned Systems (NIMBUS) Laboratory honors their project idea: "AscTec UAVs in the Wild." The NIMBUS proposal surpassed 20 top robotics groups’ submissions from around the world.

Daniel Schmidt, postdoctoral researcher with UNL's Department of Electrical Engineering, received the 2011 Paul Drude Medal at a European ellipsometry conference in Berlin, Germany. The highly competitive award, designated for the best young researcher, was chosen by an international committee.

Mathias Schubert, professor of electrical engineering, is president-elect of the UNL Faculty Senate.

Electrical engineering senior David Freese was one of three engineering students nationwide selected for a nine-week Washington Internship for Students in Engineering experience awarded by IEEE, the leading professional group for electrical engineers. Each summer the WISE program connects outstanding upper-level students with leaders in Congress, the administration, industry and non-government organizations.


The Nebraska Center for Energy Sciences Research announced several grants earned by College of Engineering faculty. Recipients include: Joseph Turner and Li Tan, Engineering Mechanics; Song Ci, Computer and Electronics Engineering Department; and Siu Kit Lau, Avery Schwer and Dale Tiller, The Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction;

Jeffrey Woldstad, professor and chair of the Department of Industrial and Management Systems Engineering, was appointed to serve on the Safety and Occupational Health Study Section for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services in December, 2010.

Charles Riedesel, undergraduate adviser for computer science and engineering, was named a community columnist for 2011 by the Lincoln Journal Star.

Lily Wang, associate professor, The Durham School, was a panelist for the UNL ADVANCE program, “I have tenure--now what?”: a discussion on developing teaching and research careers.

Jason Kruse, a senior who majors in computer engineering and has a minor in business administration, won UNL’s Quick Pitch competition for entrepreneurs in February 2011. In April, he launched the business he had proposed:, where visitors can order custom decals.

Ming Han, assistant professor of electrical engineering, will receive $100,000 for his research initiative, "Miniature and Durable Fiber-Optic Microphone for Accurate Measurement of High-Level Noise." His proposal was selected as one of 10 winners from nearly 100 proposals nationwide in an Office of Naval Research competition.

Shannon Bartelt-Hunt, assistant professor of civil engineering, received a 2011 Excellence in Graduate Education Award from UNL.

Jinsong Huang, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, applied ferroelectric polymer layers in the structure of organic solar cells, to make energy harvesting more efficient and with less expensive materials. His innovation was reported by the prominent scientific journal Nature Materials in its Feb. 13 online edition.

Jeffrey LopezJeffrey Lopez, a junior studying chemical engineering, has been awarded a 2011 Goldwater Scholarship. The nationally competitive scholarship of up to $7,500 per year is awarded to students preparing for careers in science, engineering and mathematics. This year, 275 scholars were selected from 1,095 applicants.

UNL’s Department of Electrical Engineering earned the inaugural ADVANCE-NE Initiative Award for its efforts to recruit and retain women in STEM (science, technology, engineering or math) disciplines at UNL. Four years ago, EE had 19 tenure-line faculty and seven other teaching faculty—all male. Thanks to a concerted effort to recruit women faculty, three of the department’s 23 tenure-line faculty are women and a fourth woman teaches in a part-time capacity. Department chair Jerry Hudgins plans to use the $1,000 prize to support further recruitment efforts. His goal is to have at least five women in tenure-line positions in the next few years. The Department of Mechanical Engineering was also nominated for the award.

The National Science Foundation awarded Graduate Research Fellowships to four Nebraska Engineering students: Thomas Frederick, mechanical engineering; David Lee Freese, electrical and electronics engineering; Robert Woodward, computer, information systems and engineering; and Tyler Wortman, who studies mechanical engineering. These fellowships provide three years of support for the graduate education of individuals who have demonstrated potential for significant achievements in science and engineering research. Benefits include: $30,000 annual stipend; $10,500 cost-of-education allowance; international research and professional development opportunities; and TeraGrid Supercomputer access.

Terri Norton, assistant professor, The Durham School, gave the keynote address at UNL’s February 2011 Women in Science Conference, for middle and high school students.

Bruce Dvorak, professor of Biological Systems Engineering and director of the UNL Water Center, presented "Water Supply and Higher Education in the Czech Republic: Lessons Learned as a Fulbright” in January.

Electrical Engineering Ph.D. students Dingguo Lu and Jie Cheng were finalists in Vestas' 2011 Winnovation Case Competition at Aarhus, Denmark in February.


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