Monday, December 14, 2009

Computer Science students to present evaluation of oZone

Computer class evaluates oZONE for final project

Kelsey Witten, Contributing Writer
Friday, December 11, 2009

Computer science students will speak directly to the oZONE project team on behalf of nearly 1,000 opinionated students Monday during the class’ final exam period.

Twenty-one students in Amy McGovern’s human and computer interaction class have been surveying and analyzing student and faculty opinions on OU’s oZONE Web site, which is the new hub of enrollment. The students will present their findings in front of McGovern and the oZONE team as their final project.

“We were covering how you evaluate different user interfaces,” McGovern said of her class. “One of the major ways you do that is to get your user population in to do a survey. We were talking as a class about what we could evaluate and what would be interesting to them. Since oZONE just came out, it’s a very meaningful experience to [students] because everybody had to use it to enroll.”

The class worked together to develop an oZONE survey, and McGovern sent out a mass e–mail. As a result, the survey received nearly 900 responses in the first eight hours.

The student groups sorted through the responses, which included 800 surveys with written comments in addition to multiple choice responses. After McGovern saw the response, she contacted the oZONE team, and they agreed to attend the class’ final Dec. 14.

Each small group will give a 15-minute presentation to the oZONE team during the final. Computer science junior Julia Layne said the opportunity to speak in front of the oZONE staff made the project seem more worthwhile.

“Hopefully some of the things we talk about might be able to be changed,” Layne said. “But it’s a little scary because they’re the people who developed it, and you don’t want to rag on them too much.”

Layne said most student complaints were about the enrollment portion of oZONE.

“A lot of people really liked the old enroll system,” she said. “Since this new enroll is still really in the works, it is very difficult for students to use. It’s not extremely user friendly. A lot of people are saying go back to enroll, which really isn’t an option.”

Enrollment will not return to the old system, called OE, but Eddie Huebsch, OU IT director of projects, said the class presentations would be “a very good thing,” and the oZONE team is working hard to make oZONE more user friendly.

“We are very concerned about the user interface,” Huebsch said. “No matter how much great technology you have behind the scenes, the user interface is where ‘the rubber meets the road,’ so to speak. We did have to take a few steps backward with the user interface to go forward with the system as a whole, but we are hoping in the not-too-distant future that we will make great strides in improving that.”

This sentiment is echoed by most students who have tried to use oZONE, including Layne and her classroom peers.

“For the most part, we’re not in love with oZONE,” she said. “We’re hoping we can make a difference, and we can help them make a better oZONE. It really is a good idea to have it all in one place. It just needs to be hammered out.”

Monday, November 23, 2009

Avila named Outstanding Senior in CoE

Del City displays the engraved platter he received as the Outstanding Senior in the College of Engineering at the University of Oklahoma during a Nov. 13 ceremony on the OU Norman campus. With him are (from left) OU President David L. Boren, OU Board of Regents Chairman Max Weitzenhoffer and College of Engineering Dean Thomas Landers.

Jesus is a senior electrical engineering major. He will graduate in May 2010.

Stubsten named Overall Outstanding Senior Man at OU

DAVID A. STUBSTEN of Fairvew displays the engraved trophy he received as the overall Outstanding Senior Man at the University of Oklahoma during a Nov. 13 ceremony on the OU Norman campus. With Stubsten, who is in the OU College of Engineering, are (from left) OU President David L. Boren (left), OU Board of Regents Chairman Max Weitzenhoffer and Mary Martha Stewart, president of the OU Parents’ Association.

In addition, David has received numerous awards including:

Homecoming Royalty Court Candidate
Pe-et, Top Ten Senior Honor Society
Regents’ Award for Outstanding Juniors (Top 12 Juniors)
President’s Award for Outstanding Sophomores (Top 12 Sophomores)
President’s Award for Outstanding Freshmen (Top 12 Freshmen)
University College PACE Award Recipient (Top 1% of Freshmen Class)
Robert C. Byrd Scholar
Regents Scholar
David A. Burr Scholar
Jane E. Lawton Internship Award Recipient for President’s Leadership Class
College of Engineering Distinguished Freshman Scholarship
Floyd H. Grant Scholar for Industrial Engineering

David has contributed to the local community in the following ways:

Big Brothers Big Sisters – 4 years (currently being rematched)
Community Engagement Committee Member – Norman Campus
Served on OU’s United Way “Day of Caring” Committee
Spoke for United Way panels
Organized logistics for Rake-It-Up campus cleanup effort

David has been involved in various campus activities as listed below:

• Chair, Campus Activities Council High School Leadership Conference
• Co-Chair, LEAD Team, Leadership Development & Volunteerism Office
• Counselor, Camp Crimson and Sooner Orientation Weekend
• Crimson Club
• Student Mentor, President’s Leadership Class
• OU Recruitment Video Committee Member
• Webmaster, Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

WaTER Center announces first prize recipient

By Julianna Parker
The Norman Transcript
Published Nov. 1, 2009

An international symposium brought experts from business, engineering and public health together to talk about providing clean water to developing regions Friday at the University of Oklahoma.

At the symposium, the WaTER Center announced the recipient of the International WaTER Prize: Dr. Stephen P. Luby.

This is the first prize given by the Water Technologies for Emerging Regions Center at OU. The research center at OU is dedicated to helping solve drinking water challenges in impoverished areas.

The prize was modeled after OU and World Literature Today's Neustadt International Prize for Literature, said David Sabatini, professor for the School of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science and director of the WaTER Center.

The panelists at the symposium Friday made up the jury for the prize. Each nominated someone for the prize and then they discussed it this week until they came up with a recipient. The prize winner was announced at lunchtime.

Sabatini said the prize was begun this year

· to celebrate significant contributions to clean water development,

· to hold up the prize winner as an inspiration to others, and

· to bring someone of Luby's stature to campus to interact with students.

Luby has worked for the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh since 2004. He is head of the Program on Infectious Diseases and Vaccine Sciences and also functions as the head of Agency for the Centers for Disease Control in Bangladesh.

Luby earned a bachelor of arts in philosophy from Creighton University in 1981. He earned his medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School at Dallas in 1986 and completed his internship and residency in internal medicine at the University of Rochester-Strong Memorial Hospital. He studied epidemiology and public health in the Epidemic Intelligence Service and the Preventive Medicine Residency of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Luby has authored over 120 scientific articles, the majority concerning communicable disease epidemiology in low-income countries.

Luby officially will be presented with the award at International WaTER Conference tentatively scheduled for October 2009 in Norman.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

OU Racing produces its best season in team history

Wednesday, July 08, 2009
By Jay C. Upchurch

In Norman, the University of Oklahoma has forged a football tradition steeped in history, filled with more than a century’s worth of colorful characters, unforgettable moments and unparalleled success.

Across campus at the OU College of Engineering, the fan base pales in comparison. Saturday crowds are practically nonexistent and the roster of talent contains nary a single household name.

Still, the Sooner racing team has managed to build a fairly respectable name for itself in the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) over the last few years. In fact, the 19-member crew — all mechanical engineering majors — recently finished off the most successful racing season in the program’s 15-year history.

OU closed the 2009 season with consecutive top-5 finishes, including a fifth-place finish at the Formula-SAE West competition in Fontana, Calif. That field included 80 teams representing 10 countries and 24 states.

And yes, Oklahoma beat Texas.

“It was a great year,” said David Collins, team president and junior-to-be. “We did well basically everywhere we went with this car, including a second-place finish at Virginia. This season’s results definitely put us among the top teams in the Formula-SAE competition.”


An international competition devised of student-based engineering teams that design, build and drive small-scale Formula One and Indy-style race cars, Formula-SAE has grown to more than 400 teams in 30 different countries over the past decade.

OU launched its racing team back in 1994 to help promote “creativity, management, budgeting, goal-setting, testing and promote competition,” according to its Web site.

The Sooner crew took a major step forward last season with its first-ever top-5 finish. The momentum of that performance undoubtedly carried over to 2009 and the redesigned car that promoted both fuel economy and higher safety standards.

“The primary focus of the team is engineering design. We come up with a new design every year, and the car we put out there this year was much different than last year’s design,” Collins said.

The ’09 model tipped the scales at just under 400 pounds, almost 100 pounds lighter than last year’s model. And in order to be even more fuel-efficient, the new design included a 550-cc, two-cylinder (55-horsepower) engine — compared to the 600-cc, 4-cylinder utilized in 2008.

“We sacrificed some power for better fuel efficiency, but it was well worth it in the long run,” he said.

Collins described the basic objective of the project as “designing a car for the weekend autocross racer.” Autocross racing is a type of motor-sport event emphasizing safety and low-budget competition on a challenging course marked by traffic cones.

“We’ve got a great relationship with the Lloyd Noble Center, where we do all of our practicing,” he said. “We’ve been fortunate to receive the support we have from the university.”

Engineering appoints new director to the School of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering

DATE: July 6, 2009

Farrokh Mistree, most recently a professor in the Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, has been named the L.A. Comp Chair and Director in the University of Oklahoma College of Engineering’s School of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering. He follows Professor and Lesch Centennial Chair Subramanyam Gollahalli who is stepping down as Director after having led the School for eight highly progressive years. Gollahalli is a leading authority in combustion science and technology, and is looking forward to devoting more time and creative activity to teaching, research and service.

Mistree comes to OU with more than 30 years of experience in academia, beginning as a lecturer at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. He also served as associate professor and professor at the University of Houston and as professor of the Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering. He worked with Professor Ward O. Winer, chairman of the Woodruff School from(1988 to 2007, to start the Woodruff School Savannah and served as the associate chairman for the Woodruff School from 2005 to 2008.

Mistree’s design experience spans mechanical, aeronautical, structural and industrial engineering. He has taught courses in engineering design, naval architecture, solid mechanics, operations research, computer science and professional development. Mistree’s research accomplishments are embodied in the scholarship of integration and the scholarship of education. His current interests include strategic engineering; distributed, collaborative, robust design multi-scale systems and simulation-based systems realization; and engineering education.

Mistree has co-authored two textbooks, one monograph and more than 325 technical publications. His distinctions consist of recognition for research and teaching in 1999 and 2001, namely, the ASME Design Automation Design Award in 1999 and the Jack M. Zeigler Woodruff School Outstanding Educator Award in 2001. He has served as an ABET reviewer and the national secretary-treasurer for Pi Tau Sigma mechanical engineering honor society for 13 years. He is a Fellow of ASME, an associate fellow of the AIAA, a Life Member of Phi Kappa Phi, and a member of ASEE and the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers.

Mistree earned his bachelor’s degree from the Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur in 1967. He received his master of science degree in engineering from the University of California at Berkeley in 1970, followed by his doctoral degree in 1974.

Mistree said he looks forward to working with his colleagues and others in the OU community to realize the strategic plan of the College of Engineering and to help create opportunities for highly motivated and talented people to learn how to define and achieve their dreams.

Cerato to receive Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers

Jana Smith, Director of Strategic Communications for R&D
July 9, 2009

Norman, Okla.--Amy Cerato, assistant professor in the School of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science within the College of Engineering at the University of Oklahoma, is among 100 beginning researchers nationwide named by President Obama as a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on outstanding scientists and engineers starting their independent careers.

“These extraordinarily gifted young scientists and engineers represent the best in our country,” President Obama said. “With their talent, creativity, and dedication, I am confident that they will lead their fields in new breakthroughs and discoveries and help us use science and technology to lift up our nation and our world.”

Cerato is studying how to design and build robust foundations for critical infrastructures, particularly in marginal soils. She says the U.S. spends $15 billion a year repairing infrastructure built on expansive soil, which exceeds what is spent annually on damage caused by floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, and tornados combined. Expansive soils are frequently overlooked as a major problem because they often take years to cause extensive damage.

“Receiving the PECASE Award is the highlight of my career,” said Cerato. “I am ecstatic.”

John P. Holdren, director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy and assistant to the President for Science and Technology says, “Cerato’s accomplishments early in her career highlight her extraordinary potential to catalyze the kinds of scientific and technological advances that have long been at the core of this nation’s strength. Her promise as a leader stands out among her peers and places her in a position of great opportunity and responsibility—a position I am confident she will fully embrace.”

Holdren said in his letter of notification to Cerato, “America is counting on you to elevate its place in the world, both directly through your accomplishments and by inspiring others. I applaud your energy and ambition and look forward to your achieving even greater goals in the years to come.”

According to Thomas L. Landers, dean, OU College of Engineering, “Amy Cerato is highly regarded by her students and faculty peers. National recognition was sure to follow suit. We are very proud of her accomplishments and grateful for the recognition she brings to our engineering college.”

Robert Knox, director, OU School of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science, acknowledged Cerato for her early career accomplishments and as the recipient of the prestigious PECASE Award. “I knew when we were recruiting her that we had someone special. She has worked very hard over the past four years and is most deserving of this recognition.”

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The College of Engineering embarks on her Centennial

By Tom Landers

Engineering education at OU has beginnings well chronicled by Dr. David W. Levy in The University of Oklahoma, A History, Volume I, 1890 – 1907. He notes that “In the Catalogue for 1901-1902 the new heading “Engineering Course” summarized the situation . . .” of engineering oriented courses available in mathematics, surveying, chemistry, and the like. The OU College of Engineering was formed in 1909 and recorded its first graduates in the spring of 1910. As we begin our 100th anniversary, we do so recognizing the dedication of those who have come before us, setting a precedence of excellence and contributing not only to who we are now but also to who we will become during the next hundred years. We look forward to celebrating this milestone in our history this academic year. Plans are still developing for events, which will culminate in the Centennial Symposium scheduled for April 21 and 22, 2010. The symposium will include stimulating panel discussions and stellar keynote speakers. We look forward to recognizing our Distinguished Graduates Society in April and graduation of our centennial class in May. More information will be available soon. Watch our website at

Our engineering faculty, students and graduates have compiled an impressive record of discovery, innovation and leadership. Chemical, Biological and Materials Engineering (CBME) Professor Emeritus, Dr. Cedomir (Cheddy) Sliepcevich, is a member of the National Academy of Engineering. His achievements span diverse fields, including membrane dialysis for kidney patients and the storage and transportation of liquefied natural gas. Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering (AME) Professor Emeritus, Dr. Karl Bergey, is a pioneer in wind energy technology and founder of a Norman-based company that supplies wind turbines throughout the world. Students are involved in these kinds of research and development and have gone on to successful careers in industry, government and academia. OU engineering has produced two astronauts (including Apollo 13 Astronaut Fred Haise), nine Generals and Admirals, and over 650 corporate presidents and CEOs.

Several current research projects with potential to impact OU and the world include:

• Green technology developed by Civil Engineering and Environmental Science (CEES) Associate Professor Robert Nairn and his colleagues to remove metals contamination from subsurface mine water that erupts to the surface in the Tar Creek Superfund Site and would otherwise flow into the greater watershed including Grand Lake. This process is completely passive, making use of natural chemical and biological processes and requiring no pumps or other machinery that would consume hydrocarbon fuels.

• Single wall carbon nanotubes research and technology development by CBME Professor Daniel Resasco and his colleagues will lead to products in Oklahoma’s medical, energy, and aerospace industries in ways that could impact our state and the world. These revolutionary nanomaterials can be tailored to exhibit useful properties such as ultra-high strength-to-weight ratio and thermal or electrical conductivity.

• CBME Professor Lance Lobban, AME Professor Sub Gollahalli and their colleagues are researching conversion processes to produce biofuels from crude feedstocks such as cellulosic biomass that do not compete with the food supply. Oklahoma has designated their project, together with collaborators at OSU and the Noble Foundation, a top priority by forming the Oklahoma Bioenergy Center.

• CEES Professor David Sabatini, faculty colleagues, and OU’s Engineers Without Borders student chapter are doing research and humanitarian work to supply safe drinking water for impoverished villages in Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia.

• As one of Oklahoma’s first grantees under the Economic Development Generating Excellence (EDGE) endowment fund, Industrial Engineering (IE) Professor Shiva Raman and his colleagues are working on technologies to design and manufacture complex shaped and dimensionally precise replacement parts. They are performing research in non-contact measurements and additive fabrication processes, while also forming a startup company to provide current state- of-the-art services to Oklahoma’s aerospace and medical sectors.

• Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Professor Hong Liu and his colleagues are developing imaging technologies to improve early detection of breast cancer and to identify genetic predispositions.

• AME Professor Rong Gan is doing leading research on inner-ear biomechanics.

• Computer Science Professor Sridhar Radakrishnan and his colleagues are working on a system, currently in the prototype phase, which was demonstrated at the Tulsa Port of Catoosa in October 2008. This technology addresses the critical need for end-to-end security of global freight to detect terrorist and piracy threats, assess the risks, and support interdiction to protect our homeland and global commerce while also safeguarding privacy interests of individuals and supply chain companies. The interdisciplinary team includes faculty and students from the following disciplines: electrical engineering, industrial engineering, computer science, city and regional planning, and international and area studies programs.

Many in the OU community may be aware of the spirited and (mostly) good natured competition between our engineering and law students. Clever and amusing ‘incidents’ have occurred occasionally, particularly around Engineers’ Week. Coincidentally the OU law and engineering programs are both marking their hundred year anniversary in 2009. It is a well-kept secret that many fine engineers go on (some would say “go astray”) to become lawyers, often in technically-related areas of practice such as intellectual property, environmental, and product liability law. The current chair of the College of Engineering Board of Visitors is a partner in one of Oklahoma City’s leading law firms and is in a unique position to celebrate this centennial as a graduate of both the School of Industrial Engineering and College of Law.

During economic downturns, we see some softening in most job markets, including engineering. However, Oklahoma industries and OU engineering programs have been fortunate to experience a relatively strong economy and continued recruitment and hiring of engineers, environmental scientists, and computer scientists for internships and permanent employment. We are still seeing good demand for our graduates. The future security and prosperity of our nation depends on innovation and technological leadership, so long-term prospects for employment in these fields is excellent. We must also increase the numbers and diversity of our engineering workforce. We need K-12 programs that prepare Oklahoma students to study engineering and university academic programs with the best faculty, staff, facilities and equipment, resulting in successful engineering graduates. Through educational research by our Sooner Engineering Education Center and outreach programs, such as Botball, administered by Norman-based KISS Institute for Practical Robotics, we seek to inform and inspire young people to study math and science and enter the engineering profession. The soon to be completed Engineering Practice Facility (EPF) located on the engineering quadrangle, will provide a place where K-12 and OU students can enhance academic success, develop leadership skills and enjoy the best in experiential learning through hands-on, project teamwork. The EPF will also be the interdisciplinary home to several student teams that compete in national and international championships, including the Formula Car Sooner Racing Team and the Concrete Canoe Team.

Students at all levels can maximize their prospects for success by committing to academic preparation in rigorous topics, including mathematics, science, foreign language and advanced placement courses of all kinds. The successful engineer or scientist is also

• good at analysis, design and problem solving;
• well educated in our history, culture, system of government, and global context;
• able to collaborate in hands-on project-oriented teamwork; and
• an effective writer and speaker.

OU engineering enjoys a rich tradition, with focused events sponsored by the Engineers’ Club (E-Club) including Engineers’ Week, a celebration occurring each February coinciding with National Engineers’ Week and the celebration of St. Patrick, the Patron Saint of Engineers. E-Club provides a very popular Hamburger Feed on each home football game day. Our over 40 honor societies, technical societies and clubs provide many opportunities for professional development, community service, and socializing. The Loyal Knights of Old Trusty mark special dates on the OU engineering calendar by firing the canon “Old Trusty” and providing selfless service throughout the year. This tradition was begun by OU students who returned from Europe after World War I. OU engineering alumni remain active in campus engineering life through service on our college and departmental external advisory boards, the Distinguished Graduates Society, and their countless acts of generous service and financial support. Our progress, and most notably at this time, new facilities currently under construction – the Devon Energy Hall and ExxonMobil Lawrence G. Rawl Engineering Practice Facility - would not be possible without the enormous generosity and financial support of alumni, friends and leading companies.

From the earliest days of OU engineering until today, the future has always invited us to be our best and to invest well in our most precious commodity - our students. We take this mission seriously and we look forward to building a better and brighter future, together.