Tuesday, April 25, 2017

OU Student Receives Boren Award for International Study

University of Oklahoma junior Benjamin Korty of Denver has won the Boren Award for International Study, sponsored by the National Security Education Program. Korty is the 31st OU student to receive the award since the program began in 1994.

Boren Scholarships, named for David L. Boren, OU’s 13th president and former Oklahoma governor and U.S. senator, focus on geographic areas, languages and fields of study deemed critical to U.S. national security. The awards provide up to $20,000 in funding to undergraduate students to study abroad. This year, 791 undergraduate students applied for the Boren Scholarship and 194 received the award.

“I am thrilled that an outstanding OU student, Benjamin Korty, has won the national study abroad fellowship, which I worked to create while in the U.S. Senate,” said OU President David L. Boren. 

Korty is pursuing a major in electrical engineering with minors in physics and math. He will study from October 2017 to August 2018 at the University of Electro-Communications in Tokyo, Japan. Before traveling to Japan, he will intern for L3 Mustang Technologies in Plano, Texas. His previous internships include Ball Aerospace and Karcher, North America, both in Boulder, Colorado.

At OU, Korty is a member of the Honors College and the OU chapter of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. For the past year, he has been the research assistant for Jessica Ruyle, OU assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering. A National Merit Scholar, he also has received a scholarship from the OU School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Korty plans to pursue a career with the U.S. Department of Defense in research and development of communications and intelligence systems.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

CS Student Places Second at Research Day at the State Capitol

The University of Oklahoma Computer Science Senior Taner Davis won second place for his research on a weather simulation video game, “Storm Lab,” at the 22nd Annual Research Day at the Capitol on March 27-28, 2017. Davis’ research was funded by the OU Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies.

Titled “Large-Scale Weather Simulation as an Education Video Game,” Davis’ presentation competed against 25 other Oklahoma undergraduate students in the annual event hosted by the Oklahoma Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research. The Moore native was one of two students selected by OU’s Office of Undergraduate Research to represent the university at the Capitol.

Davis works with Associate Professor Amy McGovern in developing an educational game to teach middle school students how the motion of air masses in the atmosphere result in different weather experienced on the ground. The game’s goal is to help K-12 students learn an important earth science standard through observation and experiment.

Davis’ role in the project focuses on programming and optimization of the simulation. McGovern and OU CIMMS research and OU School of Meteorology PhD student Ryan Lagerquist participated in the research.

The OK EPSCoR competition included a three-minute oral presentation to a panel of EPSCoR-appointed judges on Monday. Later that evening during a poster session, judges visited with students about their research and asked follow-up questions. Awards presentations at the Oklahoma State Capitol and visits with legislators concluded the event the next day.

Biology and mathematics junior Casey Cai, of Bixby, Oklahoma, also represented OU at the event.

Research Day at the Capitol is sponsored by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, OK EPSCoR and the National Science Foundation.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

OU Engineering Professor Receives National Science Foundation Early CAREER Award

Norman, Okla.—A University of Oklahoma Gallogly College of Engineering professor, Steven P. Crossley, is the recipient of a five-year, National Science Foundation Early CAREER Award in the amount of $548,829 for research that can be used to understand catalysts that are important for a broad range of chemical reactions ranging from the production of renewable fuels and chemicals for natural gas processing. The research will be integrated with educational and outreach programs intended for American Indian students, emphasizing the importance of sustainable energy.

“The NSF CAREER award is partly in recognition of the important work that Steve has already done in the field of catalysis. It is one of the highest honors a young faculty member can receive. We look forward to him doing great things in the future,” said Brian P. Grady, director of the OU School of Chemical, Biological and Materials Engineering.

Crossley, an assistant professor in the OU School of Chemical, Biological and Materials Engineering, is also a faculty mentor for the American Indian Science and Engineering Society. The project entitled, “SusChEM:CAREER:Using unique synthesis techniques and reaction kinetics to quantify and manipulate catalytically active sites in metal-reducible oxide systems,” will provide a detailed understanding of active sites and atom transfer processes involved in catalytic conversion of bio-oil molecules derived from biomass.

“We are proposing a new method to quantify the role of different catalytically active sites under harsh reaction conditions that are commonly challenging to decouple. Our findings should help to clarify confusion in the literature while providing valuable information necessary for improved catalyst design,” said Crossley.

Biomass conversion processes typically create a broad range of oxygenated intermediates that are treated further by catalytic processes to remove excess oxygen and build longer chain hydrocarbons attractive as fuel components and chemical intermediates. The efficient conversion requires multifunctional catalysts—typically composed of metal and metal oxide active sites—capable of several simultaneous or sequential reaction steps. While it is well understood that different types of active sites are required for different reactions, the exact nature of those sites and their ideal proximity is not known.

This study will examine those factors by decoupling metal sites from reducible metal oxide sites using carbon nanotube bridges as hydrogen shuttles. By eliminating direct contact between the metal and metal oxide components, and by varying the metal-metal oxide spacing along the carbon nanotubes, the study will provide an opportunity to examine independently two important aspects of bifunctional catalysis on reducible metal oxides: metal-support interactions and hydrogen spillover effects vary with different types of molecules common to biomass deconstruction processes. For more information on the study, contact Crossley at stevencrossley@ou.edu.

Monday, February 20, 2017

OU Professor Awarded Highest Recognition by Society for Mined Land Reclamation Work

University of Oklahoma Gallogly College of Engineering professor, Robert W. Nairn, is the recipient of the prestigious William T. Plass Award from the American Society of Mining and Reclamation. Nairn pioneered wetland technologies to rehabilitate contaminated water at the Tar Creek Superfund site where he has worked for almost 20 years. The award is the highest level of recognition given by the society in the field of mined land reclamation. Nairn transformed mine reclamation work at Tar Creek—one of the Environmental Protection Agency’s top abandoned hazardous waste sites.

“Professor Nairn’s scholarly work has had a huge impact in Oklahoma and around the world,” said OU President David L. Boren. “No one is more deserving of the Plass Award.”

Nairn, the Viersen Family Presidential Professor in the School of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science and the director of the Center for Restoration of Ecosystems and Watersheds, began working to clean up Tar Creek in the late nineties. In 2008, he and his team installed a full-scale passive water treatment system for the contaminated water discharging site near Commerce, Oklahoma. The system treats approximately 20 percent of mine drainage, rendering the treated water safe for discharge into the receiving stream. The success of this passive treatment system led to additional funding to extend the system to other discharge sites.

“It is with great pleasure that I share in the selection of Robert W. Nairn for the William T. Plass Award from the American Society of Mining and Reclamation. With this award, the society recognizes Nairn’s research, teaching and regional, national and international outreach. His career accomplishments in the field of mined land reclamation are huge and have impacted many people, including tribes, non-profits, regulatory agencies, industry and international governments,” said Randall L. Kolar, director of the School of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science.

Nairn’s work has received significant media attention over the years from local, state and national newspapers and broadcast news stations, as well as from the History Channel and Discovery Channel. In 2009, an award-winning documentary film featuring Nairn entitled “Tar Creek” was produced by Matt Myers and screened nationally and internationally. As testimony to his global impact, Nairn has expanded his mitigation work at one of the world’s oldest and largest silver mines in Potosi, Bolivia. His efforts have been widely recognized.

Previously, Nairn received the Richard I. and Lela M. Barnhisel Reclamation Researcher of the Year Award from the American Society of Mining and Reclamation for his work at Tar Creek in northeastern Oklahoma, the Arkoma Coal Basin of eastern Oklahoma, eastern Arkansas and Potosi, Bolivia. The award was given to individuals demonstrating substantive contributions to the advancement of reclamation science and technology through scientific research. Nairn was nominated for the award by his students and voted on by his peers in the society.

Contact: Jana Smith, Director
Strategic Communications for R&D
University of Oklahoma
405.325.1322; jana.smith@ou.edu
Follow on Twitter @OUResearch

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

2016 Gallogly College Pursuit of Excellence Awards Given

Congratulations to the 2016 Gallogly College Pursuit of Excellence Award recipients! These awards were first given in 2015 to honor those who have regularly and unselfishly served our college with excellence in all they do and in motivating others. This year's recipients include Dane Schoelen (undergraduate student), Needa Virani (graduate student), Dr. Ed O'Rear (faculty) and Kristi Boren (staff).

Dr. Ed O'Rear was selected for his outstanding and pioneering research in surfactant science and biomedical engineering, his award-winning excellence in teaching and research, his many years of passionate service as director of the OU Bioengineering Center and his dedicated service to both the college and the university at large, including the arts.

Needa Virani was selected for her efforts as an outstanding graduate student, which she demonstrates both in the classroom and lab, as she pursues a doctorate degree in biomedical engineering with a research focus in cancer and nanomedicine. She serves as president of the student chapter of the Biomedical Engineering Society, which she helped establish.

Dane Schoelen was recognized as an outstanding undergraduate student. An Oklahoma Regents' Scholar and mechanical engineering major, he has served the college as an engineering recruiter, mentor, and ambassador to K-12 students interested in studying in the STEM fields. Schoelen served a transformative role as project lead for the NASA Robo Ops team, who brought home a first-place win in June, besting seven other university teams, in addition to a team of professional engineers from NASA itself.

Kristi Boren was selected for her 13 years of selfless dedication to the college. She has always aspired and achieved excellence in her important role while managing to stay positive and encouraging to everyone she comes in contact with.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Daniel Resasco Named Inaugural Gallogly Chair

It is the great pleasure and honor of the School of Chemical, Biological and Materials Engineering to announce that Dr. Daniel Resasco was named the Inaugural Gallogly Chair of the Gallogly College of Engineering this September, pending Regents’ approval in October. Resasco has served as a member of the CBME faculty since August of 1993 and currently holds the titles of the Douglas and Hilda Bourne Chair and the George Lynn Cross Professor of Engineering.

His list of achievements include but are not limited to more than 40 patents (the greatest number in the GCoE), more than 250 publications and an average of nearly $1 million per year in research funding for the past five years. He has served on the executive committee for the International Congress on Catalysis and as the associate editor of the Journal of Catalysis since 2001. He worked as the senior scientist at Sun Company, Inc., and is the founder of SouthWest Nanotechnologies, Inc.

Resasco is the winner of numerous awards including the Oklahoma Chemist of the Year from the American Chemical Society; the Big XII Rising Star Award from the Big XII Center for Economic Development, Innovation, and Commercialization; and was finalist for the Small Times US Innovator of the Year in 2007.

Resasco earned his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the Universidad Nacional del Sur in Argentina and his Ph.D. from Yale University, teaching at several locations including the Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata in Argentina, Yale University in the U.S., and Chulalongkorn University in Thailand, in addition to his service at the University of Oklahoma.

Resasco most recently was featured in the American Association for Applied Sciences EurekAlert! highlighting his joint work with fellow faculty member Roger Harrison on non-invasive cancer therapy utilizing near-infrared light and single-walled carbon nanotubes, which do not produce the adverse side effects of chemotherapy, radiation or surgery.

Resasco is an invaluable member of the CBME faculty and it is our pleasure to congratulate him on this appointment!

Introducing Keisha Walters to the CBME Team

The School of Chemical, Biological and Materials Engineering welcomed its newest member, Keisha Walters, to the faculty starting this fall. The South Carolina native, the first of her family to graduate from college, grew up near Greenville and graduated with her B.S. degree from Clemson University. For a few years, she worked in industry as a chemist in the area of polymer additives alongside other chemists and chemical engineers in research and development labs and pilot plants before deciding to return to Clemson to complete her graduate degree.

Walters originally intended to study for her master's degree, but discovered she had “a passion for creative, open-ended research and innovation.” She chose instead to get her doctorate in chemical engineering because “it was interesting, combined my interest in chemistry and polymer materials, was challenging, and would allow me to work in a large number of different fields.” She intended to return to industry once completing her Ph.D. but instead found herself considering academia, joining the faculty in the Swalm School of Chemical Engineering at Mississippi State University and serving from 2005-2016 as the director of PolySEL: Polymer Science and Engineering Laboratory.

Walters' research covers a broad range of topics in polymer- and nano-based materials engineering, and transport modeling. Her research has been published in more than 80 refereed technical manuscripts and presented at numerous national and international conferences. Walters’ work also has been sponsored by government agencies including the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, Department of Defense and by industry partners.

Walters has served in several leadership positions including associate dean for Strategic Initiatives for the MSU College of Engineering, the focus area lead for several multi-institution research grants, and principal investigator for a number of research and equipment grants. She also serves as a board director for the Society of Plastics Engineers, Bioplastics Special Interest Group and has served as secretary of the Women in Engineering Division of the American Society of Engineering Education.

In addition to research, Walters’ commitment to a strong undergraduate and graduate teaching mission is part and parcel of who she is as both an educator and leader. She has received several awards highlighting her success at engaging students, and is heavily involved in STEM 'out-reach' to K-12 and community college students and ‘in-reach’ centered around undergraduate research and strategic professional development. In recognition of her efforts, Walters received the MSU Outstanding Woman Faculty Award (2012), Fahien Award from the American Society for Engineering Education (2012), and induction into MSU's engineering college Academy of Distinguished Teachers (2010). She currently is the Conoco-Dupont Professor of Chemical Engineering within the OU School of Chemical, Biological and Materials Engineering.

Walters is an avid reader and gardener who is settling into Norman life after her move from Mississippi with her three children and husband Keith Walters, a faculty member in the OU School of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering. Walters spends her free time outdoors playing tennis, running and having fun with her family.

Welcome to the School of Chemical, Biological, and Materials Engineering Dr. Keisha Walters!