Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Students develop cancer technology

By Paighten Harkins
Campus Reporter for OU Daily

A group of OU researchers tucked away inside the Stephenson Research and Technology Center is developing new technologies to detect certain cancers at earlier stages.

“We build toys,” team leader Hong Liu said.

These toys are the equipment that Liu, chair of Biomedical Engineering and his team have developed to make cancer detection a more streamlined and efficient process.

The researcher is focusing on phase-contrast imaging and how it can be used for earlier and less invasive treatment of breast cancer.

Normal X-ray imaging relies on how much radiation objects absorb, according to the OU Biotechnology website. These differences create contrasting images. However, in phase contrast X-ray imaging, the X-ray beams collect information as they pass through the body.

This creates a better picture because it picks up weakly absorbing areas as well and exposes patients to less radiation, according to the website.

The current process to detect breast cancer is slow and painful, research associate Molly Wong said. With this technology, the team hopes to make it a more bearable process.

“Our goal is to be able to provide [patients] a new technology that has a lower dose and allows [doctors] to actually detect the cancer right on the X-ray so [patients] don’t have to go through the not-so fun-process of having a biopsy and waiting,” Wong said.

The team also studies ways to detect leukemia and cervical cancer earlier and easier.

They created a machine called the Automatic Cytogenetic Image Scanning System that helps diagnose diseases such as leukemia much more efficiently, graduate research assistant Yuchen Qiu said.

The typical process of identifying leukemia is a strenuous, manual process, he said. Physicians identify a cell using a low-magnification lens, and then switch to a higher magnification to look for any abnormalities in the cell’s chromosomes.

The process is even harder because the cells clinicians are looking for only account for four percent of all cells, Qiu said.

However, this new machine does all of this work automatically.

This research could one day “help people live longer,” Liu said.

College of Engineering adopts new name to reflect expanding program

Xiaoquan Wang, Campus Reporter
Feb. 23, 2012; OU Daily

Leaders within the School of Industrial Engineering are changing its name to better reflect the expanding skills of its students, according to officials.

The school, part of the College of Engineering, is now the School of Industrial and Systems Engineering. Systems engineering focuses on complex projects over a span of time and involves coordination among many teams.

“Today, systems are more complex and larger scale, and our graduates work in a very broad range of environments...,” Director Randa Shehab said. “Bringing the word systems into our school name better reflects our broad perspective on engineering problem solving.”

OU graduates are working in fields from government agencies to health care companies to oil and gas manufacturing and processing, Shehab said.

As part of the name change and new focus, the college has added courses to teach students more about decision making and critical thinking with systems, Shehab said. The college also offers graduate courses in systems engineering to teach a systems perspective to students with other undergraduate degrees. It has a master’s program with Tinker Air Force Base to teach airmen about systems techniques.

The department works to use materials, people, information and technology to solve modern engineering problems, Shehab said.

This is one of the few departments of its kind in the U.S. and should attract more attention to OU, College Dean Thomas Landers said. “The new name is an efficient way to let others know what we are doing well,” Landers said. “In the coming years, [the department] will actively recruit, develop and retain talents with the passion to bring out a new breed of engineers who posses the ... skill to deal with problems holistically.”

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Early motivation leads to success in STEM

BY THOMAS LANDERS
Published: February 22, 2012
NewsOK.com

Most engineers can recall when their interest in engineering was sparked at a young age. Some recall taking toys apart and rebuilding them. Others had a parent in the industry or an outstanding teacher or a camp or extracurricular activity that ignited a passion. But as economic growth becomes increasingly driven by the ability to generate ideas and translate them into innovative products and services, it becomes more apparent that all children should be prepared for a world immersed in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

This is National Engineers Week, a time to celebrate the advancements in the field. It's also a time to encourage current and future generations to explore the career possibilities in engineering. Recent studies show the importance of engaging middle school students with STEM education as it prepares them for the high school courses necessary to pursue engineering in college. Simply exposing teens to engineering was found to double career interest in our field. That's why Oklahoma engineering colleges and professional societies continue to put forth a number of creative initiatives to help fill the pipeline for engineering talent.

A recent example is the autonomous aerial vehicle, or drone contest, held at the University of Oklahoma's College of Engineering. Students as young as 14 were programming flying robots to cooperate with ground robots — a challenge perhaps more typical of college-level projects. The students not only accepted the challenge but also rose above the expectations by thinking outside the known limitations of aerial vehicles.

Our knowledge-based economy will grow through innovation, which relies on critical and creative thinking. Nearly all jobs — not just engineering jobs — will require skills gained through STEM education. All of us should support youthful interests in solving the problems they see around them, as they learn how things work and discover how to improve products and processes.

Through partnerships with K-12 schools, higher education can offer engaging STEM activities outside of the classroom. An example is the Sooner Engineering Education Center's summer engineering academy. The workshop, offered at no charge to participants, focuses on showing teachers and students how engineering methods help solve real-world problems. Industry also plays an important role in encouraging STEM in young students, offering mentorship and training for students considering majoring in STEM fields.

As part of National Engineers Week, I challenge all Oklahomans to expand the STEM reach beyond those with an early desire to be an engineer or those with a scientific role model in their early years. Let's find opportunities throughout the year to ignite interest in STEM for every student, to help them achieve their full potential.

Landers is dean of the University of Oklahoma College of Engineering.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Pramode Verma discusses aleviation of poverty through technology

Read article from publication Vision Tulsa by Pramode Verma, director of OU-Tulsa's Telecommunications Engineering Program, in which he discusses alleviating poverty through technology.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

James Sluss Jr.: Disruption helps advance technology, nation

By JAMES J. SLUSS JR.
Published: 2/18/2012
Tulsa World

This week, on engineering college campuses across the nation, we celebrate National Engineers Week - a celebration and observance of the positive impact engineers make on society through advancing technology.

Our celebration offers a platform on which to reach out to and inform people of all ages about the rewarding profession of engineering. It also provides an opportunity to highlight the key role engineers play in leading technological innovation that is so vital to our knowledge-based economy.

Today more than ever, as the United States strives to maintain its preeminence as the innovation hub of the world, we must challenge engineers to explore innovative and disruptive technology ideation - the process of conceiving new ideas. Technology advances at an ever-increasing pace, so it is important that today's students learn to think beyond incremental improvements and discover ideas that challenge the status quo.

As an engineering professor, I encourage my students to learn about the importance of technology ideation. I challenge them to gain a historical perspective of the ideas and inventions developed by leading innovators, such as Leonardo da Vinci and Galileo Galilei, which challenged many of the social and cultural norms and religious beliefs of the day.

Those inventions - such as those that improved clocks and telescopes - are second nature to us now but were revolutionary in their era.

What innovations challenge current social and cultural norms? My students have recently explored ideas such as personal genetic testing using sophisticated computer chips, which map variations in DNA sequences between individuals and can be used to predict susceptibility to disease. Or a machine that could use a single camera to observe its total environment instead of relying on multiple sensors, leading to smarter and more capable computers.

Clearly, these innovations can be beneficial, but challenges arise in ensuring that personal privacy rights are preserved.

Another aspect of innovation is the development of disruptive technology - innovative technology that disrupts established markets. The term "disruptive" can invoke a sense of dread in the minds of corporate managers. However, when disruptive technology is nurtured and embraced, it has the potential to transform an organization and generate tremendous growth and enterprise value.

Historical examples include the printing press and automobile. Recent examples include the World Wide Web, digital media, GPS navigation devices and smart phones. These, as well as others, turned existing markets upside down, offering businesses a competitive advantage and consumers more choices.

As we reflect on the profession of engineering during National Engineers Week, which begins Monday, it is important to remember the role innovation plays in the well-being of our society, both in terms of improving the quality of life for our citizenry and the health of our economy.

We all have a role to play in fostering this spirit of innovation in American society. Perhaps the most important thing we can do is encourage our children to study math, science and engineering, and to develop a spirit of exploration and creativity. They will become our future innovators.

James J. Sluss Jr. is the University of Oklahoma College of Engineering Morris R. Pitman Professor and director of the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, which offers degree programs on both the Tulsa and Norman campuses.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Engineering safer drinking water in Africa

February 6, 2012
Community outreach helps technology solve water problems in Africa

In the United States and other developed countries, fluoride is often added to drinking water and toothpaste to help strengthen teeth. But too much naturally occurring fluoride can have exactly the opposite effect.

Large amounts of fluoride can lead to dental fluorosis and skeletal fluorosis.

"Dental fluorosis is a darkening or mottling of the teeth, and you can tell very easily when people smile, because their teeth will be dark and discolored," says Laura Brunson, environmental scientist at the University of Oklahoma (OU) in Norman, Okla.

While dental fluorosis is not painful, it can have a dramatic effect on an individual's ability to get a job or find a spouse.

"They may have a harder time finding some type of public service job. And there is sort of a social stigma attached to it, a poverty stigma," says Brunson.

Skeletal fluorosis is much more debilitating.

"We saw some women in India who were physically unable to put their hands behind their heads. Some skeletal fluorosis can come with pain associated with it as well, and children sometimes end up with bowed legs or deformed knees or arms," says Brunson.

With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), Brunson is working on methods of removing fluoride from drinking water, using tools and raw materials readily available in local communities. Brunson and her team recently returned from a month of fieldwork in Ethiopia, where they tested filtering methods using charred bones and charred wood.

"We'd prefer to find filtration materials that don't have to be shipped in from another country, and that are inexpensive," says Brunson.

"We took materials, such as bone char and aluminum-coated bone char that we've worked with in the laboratory for quite a while, to Ethiopia and did continuous flow studies in that setting to see what would happen under more realistic conditions," she explains.

Brunson says the need to understand and incorporate local cultural considerations is just as important as the technical tools needed to remove fluoride or other toxins like arsenic.

In some communities, she notes, using bone char is not an option because people are not willing, for religious reasons or cultural reasons, to use water that's been filtered through bones. So then, more questions need to be asked. "'What would be acceptable to you? Would wood char be acceptable as opposed to bone char because it's not an animal product?' Looking at those kinds of things," says Brunson.

The team included OU anthropology professor Paul Spicer, OU Health Sciences Center graduate student Andrew Borgstrom, and experts from Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia.

"We were able to do a couple of community surveys, trying to talk to people about, 'What do you think of your water, how do you use water, where do you get it from, what do you think about the current treatment system, is there something you would prefer to have? And how could this treatment system be more convenient for you to use this water for drinking for your family,' asking those types of questions," says Brunson.

She is beginning a study of the use of plant waste material as a possible filter material, testing char made from the grain teff. Teff kernels are used in the production of injera, the staple bread of Ethiopia.

Brunson says many water projects in Africa that were started by well-meaning organizations are, unfortunately, not showing long-term success.

"Reports estimate there are nearly 200,000 wells across Africa that have been dug and implemented by well intentioned organizations. They raise money, they go to Africa, they drill a well; the community has water. That's great. And then they leave and then six months later, two years later, for whatever reason, the well breaks. It runs dry, there's a tiny part that breaks and no one knows how to repair it. It doesn't work anymore, and people are back to drinking contaminated water out of a river or a lake," she says.

As an instructor at the Price College of Business at OU, Brunson also brings a business and marketing aspect to her clean water research. She's trying to find ways to make clean water solutions sustainable and locally controlled.

"For example, if it's someone's livelihood to sell those bone char filters, it's doing two things. It's getting bone char filters to people that need to have water that's treated for fluoride. So it's great for those people, but then, it's also growing the local community economy and helping the person who's running that business make a living. Then, that person has the motivation to keep charring the bones, to keep talking to the community members about why it's important for them to treat their water and to keep purchasing the bone char so that their children and their families have treated drinking water," says Brunson.

She also sees excitement from her students in developing long-term answers.

"I have them write journals to reflect on some of the things they're learning in class, and I ask them, 'If you were going to start a social entrepreneurial venture, what would you do?' And I start getting some really interesting answers. They realize, I am really passionate about this, and I could really make a difference through this, while still being an entrepreneur," says Brunson.

And, she says, clean water can have a much more dramatic impact than just eliminating disease. According to the United Nations, 884 million people around the world do not have access to clean and safe drinking water.

"If you can get people a water source that's safe and much closer to home, you save so much time. Frequently, the burden of collecting fresh water for drinking and cooking falls on girls and women. So, with a clean and close water supply, then girls are able to spend more time going to school. Women are able to spend more time doing family improvement activities," says Brunson.

There is also a big health improvement, if people are not suffering from diseases caused by arsenic, fluoride, or parasites.

"Kids are able to go to school and learn much better if they don't have worms and diarrheal disease. Parents are able to go to work more often. So, there are huge economic and education benefits," says Brunson.

The University of Oklahoma's College of Engineering is home to the WaTER Center (Water Technologies for Emerging Regions). In addition to research on the removal of toxins like fluoride and arsenic, the center studies techniques such as passive wetland treatments for improving water quality, and also how climate change and drought might impact water cleanup.

Science and social entrepreneurship: Coming together to make affordable, safe water available to millions.

Miles O'Brien, Science Nation Correspondent
Marsha Walton, Science Nation Producer

MacDonald to Lead Navajo Code Talkers

At the annual meeting of the Navajo Code Talkers held on Saturday, February 11, 2012 in Window Rock, Arizona, Peter MacDonald, Sr., 83, was elected to lead the Navajo Code Talkers Association and the Navajo Code Talkers Foundation. He assumes the duties of well-known Navajo Code Talker, Keith M. Little, who passed away on January 3, 2012.

In accepting the position, MacDonald told his fellow comrades and their families, “I will do my best as your president. I am committed and dedicated to establishing the National Navajo Code Talkers Museum and Veterans Center…I need your help.”

MacDonald, a World War II Veteran and a Navajo Code Talker, served in the U.S. Marine Corps, 6th Marine Division from 1944-46 in the South Pacific and North China. Upon his discharge, with a rank of Corporal in October 1946, he headed home to Teecnospos, Arizona. He graduated from Bacone High School, earned a Social Science degree from Bacone Junior College, and received an electrical engineering degree from the University of Oklahoma.

He was employed as a project manager and a member of the elite Hughes Technical staff (MTS) for the Hughes Aircraft Company, manufacturing the Polaris Guidance System.

Most prominent is his unprecedented four terms as Chairman of the Navajo Nation, in 1971-83 and 1987-91. He also co-founded the Council of Energy Resource Tribes (CERT), National Tribal Chairman Association, American Indian National Bank and the Native American Prep School.

Among his many honors are: recipient of the Congressional Silver Medal, University of Oklahoma Engineering Hall of Fame, special commendation by President Richard M. Nixon, the Distinguished Service Award by the U.S. Marine Corps League, TIME magazine’s 1974 one of 200 “Rising Leaders of America”, and the Distinguished Service citation from the University of Oklahoma.

MacDonald was appointed by U.S. Presidents and state governors to serve on several national task forces and commissions. He holds honorary doctorate degrees from the University of Southern Utah in Cedar City, Utah and the College of Ganado in Ganado, Arizona.

Today, he lectures across the nation and lives on the Navajo Nation in Tuba City, Arizona with his wife Wanda and has five children and seven grandchildren

Computer science graduate student, Susanna Rodriguez, to serve as course instructor for techJOYnt

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (PRWEB)
February 10, 2012

Students at techJOYnT learn app development for Android platforms and iPhone. Students will be introduced to and learn graphics, game design, and the current uses of smart phone apps. Student will explore the possibilities that smart phone apps have in today’s society and possible future uses. The course instructors will be professionals and graduate level students in the fields of computer engineering and programming. Our instructors include Susanna Rodriguez, a graduate student seeking her Master's in Computer Science Engineering at the University of Oklahoma. This previous semester she was an intern developer for the EMMA iPad application project at the Center of Creation in Economic Wealth. Currently she is the Vice-President of the Society of Hispanics Professional Engineers and a coach for three BotBall teams. In both of these activities she promotes engineering, science and math to the Hispanic community.

Our guest instructor is Mr. Pulkit Singhal. Mr. Singhal is a NYU-Poly alumni, who works as the Chief Technology Officer for a Silicon-Valley based startup named Fermyon. He is based out of OKC where he is responsible for putting together techJOYnT robotics academy in Oklahoma City on February 14 offering classes for a team of talented engineers.

techJOYnT is striving to raise awareness among parents and teachers of middle school and high school students that techJOYnT robotics academy is opening registration for smart phone app development class. Registration starts February 9, classes begin February 14. techJOYnT will have class Tuesday and Thursday for 4pm to 6pm and 6pm to 8pm for Android apps. The early class is for middle school students and the later class is for high school students. The iPhone app class will be on Sundays from 12pm to 4pm and is open to middle school and high school students. The classes are on programming and development of smart phone apps for the Android and iPhone markets. All classes are 4 weeks long. Raising awareness about techJOYnT and our educational goals and services among parents and teachers is an important factor in helping Oklahoma’s students achive success in the fast moving world of technology.

In Metro Family magazine techJOYnT was described as the “YMCA of the tech world,” techJOYnT is a hands- on after school education academy based on science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM). Ramier (Ray) Shaik Founder and CEO says “techJOYnT is designed to work with schools and augment student’s learning in the areas of science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics. We achieve this by using robotics as a starting point to learning problem solving; from there the next step is their choice.”

The 4 week courses are a continuation of techJOYnT’s philosophy of encouraging students to explore their interest in technology, by allowing students access to class taught by people who are involved in their field of interest. Students can ask questions and get immediate answers that help to ignite the spark of inspiration that can lead to their next great discovery. techJOYnT believes that when you encourage a student’s interest in science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics when they are young, you help them to become more prepared to be leaders in a technologically advanced world.

The android and iPhone app class at techJOYnT gives students the knowledge and experience to create applications to solve problems or launch their own entrepreneurial career. The hands-on experience and group interaction with classmates and instructors give students a positive reinforcement that creates a stronger self image base on accomplishments and success. techJOYnT classes also helps college bound students build and develop extracurricular activities that stand out on college applications.

What is techJOYnT?
We are a hands-on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) after-school education academy. Adults and children co-learn in our programs to make learning fun and engaging. As a result we hope to get kids creating, tinkering, and learning and to create tomorrow’s entrepreneur, innovator, and maker.

How Does It Work?
We create a strong relationship with corporations, community, and educational institutions that are passionate about retaining the innovative culture of our nation. Our goal is to reach out to youth ages 4-18 by offering a supplement to their schooling and provide hands-on-learning to the areas of science and technology. techJOYnT provides a place with gadgets to work with and mentorship from the professional community. Our mentors have experience with coaching competitive robotics leagues and are familiar with the core values of the internationally recognized Lego Education and F.I.R.S.T robotics initiatives.

Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/581094#ixzz1mgjwJ3Pu

David Sabatini receives Distinguished Alumna Award by the Civil and Environmental Engineering Alumni Association

2012 CEEAA Alumni Awards
02/08/2012

The Civil and Environmental Engineering Alumni Association is pleased to announce the 2012 recipients of its Distinguished Alumnus/Alumna Award and Young Alumnus/Alumna Achievement Award. The Distinguished Alumnus/Alumna Award recognizes professional accomplishments or unique contributions to society by alumni of the department. The Young Alumnus/Alumna Achievement Award recognizes a recent graduate who has achieved distinction in his or her field and reached a level of accomplishment significantly greater than that of other recent graduates. The honorees will be recognized at the CEE at Illinois Alumni Dinner in Chicago on March 14.

The Civil and Environmental Engineering Alumni Association annually presents awards to recognize the outstanding accomplishments of CEE alumni. Nominations are accepted throughout the year. To nominate, please fill out and submit the appropriate form on the 2013 CEEAA Award page.

For outstanding leadership and pioneering contributions in the field of hazardous waste remediation using surfactants and the development of appropriate and sustainable technologies for addressing water quality issues in remote villages of developing countries.

David A. Sabatini, Ph.D.
(BS 81)

David Ross Boyd Professor & Sun Oil Company Endowed Chair
of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science
University of Oklahoma
Norman, Oklahoma

David Sabatini is the David Ross Boyd Professor and Sun Oil Company Endowed Chair of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science at the University of Oklahoma, where he is also the Director of the Water Technologies for Emerging Regions (WaTER) Center. His research focuses on sustainable drinking water systems for developing countries such as Cambodia and Ethiopia, surfactant-based environmental and biofuel technologies, and understanding/characterizing contaminant fate and transport in the environment.

Sabatini is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Contaminant Hydrology and Editorial Board member of the Journal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development and has coauthored or coedited four books and more than 160 refereed journal publications. Recent awards include the Water Environment Federation Award of Merit for Work in Developing Countries (2011) and the Oklahoma Medal for Excellence in Teaching from the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence (2010). In 1997-98, he was a Senior Fulbright Scholar at the Universitaet Tuebingen, Germany.

After graduating from Illinois, Sabatini briefly worked for the Illinois Central Gulf Railroad (Chicago and Memphis). He completed his M.S. at Memphis in 1985, his Ph.D. at Iowa State in 1989, and joined Oklahoma University in 1989.

He and Frances, his wife of 27 years, live in Norman, Okla., as do their children, Caleb and Peggy.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Gollahalli named AIAA Fellow

The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics recently announced that S.R. Gollahalli, AME professor, Lesch Centennial Chair and former AME director, was selected to become an AIAA Fellow in 2012. He will be honored at a Gala in Washington, DC later this year.

This distinction, among the highest honors that can be bestowed upon an aerospace professional, places Gollahalli in a small and elite group of aerospace professionals throughout the world selected for their notable and valuable contributions to the arts, sciences, or technology of aeronautics and astronautics.

“Sub Gollahalli is a wonderful ambassador for the engineering profession and the OU College of Engineering. His technical expertise in the field of combustion is vital to aerospace propulsion systems. He led the School of Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering during a very important period of research, teaching and technology innovation. His students are in many technical and managerial leadership positions around the world,” said Tom Landers, dean of the College of Engineering.

Gollahalli came to the University of Oklahoma in 1976. He is an internationally recognized authority in the fields of energy and combustion, and from 2001-2009, he served two consecutive terms as AME director.

In 1991, Gollahalli was named a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). Among his notable achievements are the 2005 George Westinghouse Gold medal by ASME for his life time contributions to the power area, and the 2001 Energy Systems Award from AIAA for distinguished contributions to education, research, professional service and advancement of the field of energy and combustion. He is also a recipient of the university’s top teaching award.

In his role as a full-time teacher for 45 years, Gollahalli has mentored 80 graduate students and dozens of undergraduate students in his research lab. He has also mentored several post-doctoral fellows and junior faculty members involving them in his research.

“Dr. Gollahalli taught me not only combustion, but how to be a responsible researcher. Whatever success I have is because he trained me,” said Ahsan Choudhuri, chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Texas at El Paso who studied under Gollahalli for his master’s and doctorate degrees.

Dr. Gollahalli remains a favorite professor at AME, and continues to influence the field of combustion, clean energy and power, while also influencing the lives of his students.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Students from Sequoyah Schools visit OU College of Engineering


By Caitlin Schudalla
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Native American high school students from Tahlequah’s boarding school, Sequoyah Schools, visited the University of Oklahoma campus yesterday as part of a special recruitment program sponsored and organized by Sooner Engineering Education Center (SEED).

In partnership with the Cherokee Nation and other Native American nations in Oklahoma, SEED and the OU College of Engineering brought 26 students and 5 teachers to campus yesterday to give these students special insight into the classwork, facilities, and overall day-to-day experience of college students pursuing engineering and science degrees.

Helping with the event were several OU students who are members of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society, who acted as mentors and provided students with firsthand perspective.

“High school students usually have little to no idea what the academic side of college is like,” said SEED Center Director Dr. Mark Nanny. “Today’s tour was about taking the intimidation factor out of college and providing students with familiar faces to encourage their enrollment.”

For AISES president Lindsay Calhoun, an experience like this was a deciding factor in her decision to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, which she completed in 2004.

“I would say touring OU and meeting college students as a high school student had a big impact on my decision to come here,” Calhoun said.

Yesterday’s tour was the first of its magnitude, and was geared toward Native American students specifically becuase Native Americans have a very low representation among college students majoring in sciences - less than one percent.

The Sequoyah students who toured OU were selected by their teachers for their interest in mechanical engineering and science, and were given the opportunity to sit in on engineering classes in addition to viewing high tech research facilities like the Artificial Intelligence Lab and the Fears Structural Engineering Lab.

Yesterday’s tour was just one agenda item in the ongoing partnership of SEED and the Cherokee Nation, as teachers and faculty from OU and Sequoyah hope to collaborate on revamping the school’s science and math curriculum in the near future.

While the class auditing and tours were a helpful reference point for Sequoyah teachers, the day’s focus was on the students, with largely positive results.

“Overall I think they were very impressed and I got the impression they were very excited to be on campus,” Calhoun said, of the students’ reactions.

“(The students) seemed a little overwhelmed by the difficulty of the higher-level classes, but I think talking to the AISES mentors about their day-to-day experiences really helped take intimidation out of it,” Nanny said. “At the beginning of the day, the group was very subdued, but when I left them right before their departure, there were smiles all around.”