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Dear Readers:

Welcome to the Spring 2010 issue of the Nebraska Blueprint magazine. This marks my last issue as editor, as I graduated in May. It has been my honor and privilege to serve you these past two years as editor of your student magazine. I am a bit humbled when I think of all the great editors who have come before me, keeping the Blueprint alive since it first began back in 1902. I believe my interest in writing came from my dad, Dave Neilson, who was once the agricultural news reporter for the Hastings Tribune. I thank him for all the proofreading and writing help he has given me over the years.

It doesn’t really seem like it has been four years since I first came to school here at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Things have changed, however, since the fall of 2006. One thing that has remained constant during my four years on the Blueprint staff has been our layout designer, Khoa Chu. It has been great working with him all these years, and I certainly could not do the layout without him. Also, a big thanks goes to our Blueprint adviser, JS Engebretson. During these last two years as editor, I have, almost subconsciously, tried to focus this magazine more on the stories happening within the walls of the UNL engineering buildings. I believe the power of the press should be used to tell the stories of the hard work of the everyday students here.

One example of such hard work that largely goes unnoticed is the variety of engineering student design competitions. On any given Tuesday or Thursday, one can find the Baja team hard at work in an old woodshop in Scott Engineering Center. Nate Benes brings us their story in his article. Also roaming the halls are the students testing and redesigning a complex tricycle for the Human Powered Vehicle Competition coming in the spring of 2011. See Michael McEniry’s article for details.

The steel bridge and concrete canoe teams always bring something “concrete” to enjoy. Kaiyan Shi and Jiayi Chen tell the ASCE stories in their article. The American Society of Mechanical Engineers holds an annual design competition that this year involved an autonomous sorter for recyclables. Read Ben Stangl’s article for the story. Two newer competition teams at UNL bring competition to new altitudes. The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics chapter participated in this year’s Design, Build, Fly competition, and Lindsay Griggs brings us their story. Finally, the Microgravity University team designs, builds, and tests NASA research projects in a special weightless environment. See Dan Mott’s article for the high-flying details. I know we just scratched the surface concerning the many competitions involving our engineering students in Lincoln and Omaha, and I wish we could have covered them all.

Thank you for all your support during the last four years. Please continue to make this magazine a success by picking up a copy when it comes out. Also, all of the content comes from students like you, so consider writing, taking photographs, or designing the layout for future issues. For more information, contact Engineering Communications in 203 Othmer Hall. I am confident next year’s co-editors, Michael McEniry and Nate Benes, will carry on the great tradition of this magazine. Enjoy this issue!

Brian D. Neilson,