Tuesday, December 10, 2013

OU professors named Fellows of the National Academy of Inventors


Norman, Okla.—Two University of Oklahoma professors—Paul L. DeAngelis and Jeffrey Harwell—have been named Fellows of the National Academy of Inventors, a high professional distinction awarded to academic inventors who have demonstrated a prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society.

DeAngelis, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the OU Health Sciences Center College of Medicine, is the co-founder of four spin-out companies and holds a total of 92 patents in 20 countries.  In 2000, Hyalose was formed to commercialize unique recombinant technologies.  Two sister companies, Choncept and Heparinex, are based on DeAngelis’s inventions to offer related recombinant technologies for biopolymers, which are important to healthcare, cosmetics and biomedical research.

Most recently, Caisson Biotech was formed as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Heparinex to develop a novel heparosan-based drug delivery system called HEPtuneTM.  This delivery platform has broad applications for a variety of therapeutic areas and has recently been licensed to Novo Nordisk to engineer and develop compounds within undisclosed therapeutic areas.  The delivery platform also is being evaluated by several other pharma companies for various therapeutics. 

Jeffrey Harwell, who holds the Asahi Glass Chair and former associate dean of the OU College of Engineering, has 30 patents in 12 countries and has launched and collaborated with start-up companies in the areas of enhanced oil recovery, ground water remediation and carbon nanotubes.  These companies, based wholly or partially on his inventions, employ more than 30 people in Oklahoma.  He has worked with Fortune 500 companies around the world to invent and improve surfactants, nanoparticles and colloids for better product performance, greater cost efficiency and reduced environmental impact in areas, such as nanotechnology, consumer products, environmental remediation and polymer composites.
Harwell’s creative pursuit of inventive concepts, determination to reduce them to novel practices and his ability to apply them in the world have yielded tangible impact on society through the creation of jobs, a cleaner environment and a generation of students prepared to emulate his leadership.
National Academy of Inventors Fellows will be inducted by Deputy U.S. Commissioner for Patents Andy Faile, from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, during the Third Annual Conference of the National Academy of Inventors on March 7, 2014 in Alexandria, Va. at the headquarters of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Fellows will be presented with a special trophy and a rosette pin.  Fellows also will be honored in a full-page advertisement in The Chronicle of Higher Education and in a future issue of Technology and Innovation—Proceedings of the National Academy of Inventors.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Saving the World One Drop at a Time


OU College of Engineering Hosts International WaTER Conference and Prize

Editor’s Note: For more information, interviews or photos, contact Lori Johnson at (405) 840-4222.

Norman, Okla. — The WaTER (Water Technologies for Emerging Regions) Center at the University of Oklahoma is bringing together researchers and advocates from around the world to focus on the life-sustaining resource – clean water. The center reports more children die each year due to unsafe water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene than AIDS and malaria combined. This is not due to water scarcity, but rather poverty, inequality and government failures that result in poor or dangerous water quality.

The WaTER Center will address both technical and non-technical water and sanitation issues at the 2013 International WaTER Conference, scheduled for Sept. 23 through 25 at the National Center for Employee Development Conference Center and Hotel in Norman, Okla. The two-and-one-half-day conference includes local and international speakers, breakout sessions, and poster and paper sessions in the fields of social entrepreneurship, behavior change, water technologies, climate change and hydro-philanthropy in the developing world. The center anticipates as many as 200 participants from more than 20 countries, with many of these being developing countries.

The highlight of the conference will be a lecture and presentation by the OU International Water Prize-winner Ada Oko-Williams, formerly an associate director at Water and Sanitation for Africa and currently the assistant director at the Sustainable and Thriving Environments for West Africa Regional Development program, a U.S. Forest Services International Programs/USAID program. Oko-Williams was nominated and selected for her advocacy and collaborative community approach for clean water, sanitation and hygiene in Africa.

The conference also will feature water and sanitation experts Richard Taylor, University College London; Tamara Baker, iDE-Cambodia; Feleke Zewge, Addis-Ababa University-Ethiopia; Frank Kansiime, Makerere University, Uganda; and Hans Mosler, EAWAG- Switzerland. A panel discussion on Tuesday, Sept. 24, will discuss “Climate Change and Water: Challenges Across Sectors”; a question-and-answer session will follow.

The conference is open to anyone with an interest in the role clean water plays in global health. To register, go to http://WaTER.ou.edu. The deadline to register online is Sept. 20. To register by phone call (405) 325-2379.

For accommodations on the basis of disability, contact Molly Smith at (405) 325-5913 or mfsmith@ou.edu. Please make all requests for accommodations by Sept. 20.

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The WaTER Center, a part of the OU College of Engineering, started in 2006 as an organization focused on bringing water and sanitation to remote villages. The vision of the WaTER Center is a world in which all humankind has safe, reliable drinking water. The center’s mission is to help solve drinking water challenges for impoverished regions, both internationally and locally, through innovative teaching and research initiatives. OU’s WaTER Center was established to meet a growing need for university-based programs, personnel and resources, including technical innovations and educational opportunities for U.S. students and citizens of the affected regions. For more information on the WaTER Center, visit http://WaTER.ou.edu.


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

OU Engineering Program Challenges Creativity Through Contraptions

NORMAN– The gold standard in engineering is to create efficiency, but for 47 University of Oklahoma incoming freshmen students, the goal is total complexity.

Engineering students taking the OU College of Engineering’s AT&T Summer Bridge Program are challenged to take a simple task, like turning a page, and make it complicated while still completing the task. The teams' off-the-wall contraptions are famously inspired by the designs of Rube Goldberg.

“It may seem backwards, asking engineering students to take something as simple as hammering a nail and make it as complicated as possible, but by thinking through the grandiose process, these students are learning the basic skills of engineering mechanics such as the value of experimentation, teamwork and design reliability,” said Lisa Morales, program director.

The AT&T Summer Bridge Program is a four-week, on-campus residential program that prepares students for life as an engineering student. In addition to early exposure to course work, the students meet fellow classmates, faculty and staff and earn early college credit.

“These students are highly motivated as they already see the value in planning ahead and investing part of their summer to increase success in the classroom this fall,” said Tom Landers, dean of the University of Oklahoma College of Engineering. “Because engineering coursework can be a challenge, this program prepares incoming freshmen academically for the rewarding road ahead.”

University of Oklahoma AT&T Summer Bridge Program is a four-week-long, residential camp for incoming freshman students who have been accepted to the University of Oklahoma and are planning to major in engineering. This program is geared toward students who are African American/Black, Hispanic/Latino, Alaskan Native/Pacific Islander, American Indian or first-generation students; however, the program considers all applicants regardless of background. This annual program is intended to encourage diversity within the College of Engineering, helping students connect with engineering students, faculty and staff; acclimate to the college; and prepare academically for engineering and math coursework.

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QUOTES:
“The Rube Goldberg project helped me think outside the box and expand my thinking style.” – Ramiro Brigueda, Weatherford, OK

“My favorite part about the AT&T Summer Bridge Program was the opportunity to get used to college life and meet crucial people in college career services. The Rube Goldberg project helped me prepare for the application of engineering. Whether you are a petroleum engineer or a civil engineer or any other kind of engineer, people need to put basic subjects like physics to work, they need to probably think of unconventional methods to accomplish such tasks. The Rube Goldberg project is the epitome of inventive thinking.” – Hyeon Joon (Harry) Jun, Seoul, South Korea

“My favorite part was experiencing college life and getting to know both other students in my field of study as well as the campus. The Rube Goldberg project gave me a little hands on experience as well as an idea of the way I should think as an engineer in the future.” – Desmond Alexander, Houston, TX

“I really enjoyed getting to experience dorm and campus life before everyone else. I also liked getting college credit for the class I took. Most importantly, I loved meeting all the campers.” –Teresa Ayala, Wylie, TX

“Working on the Rube Goldberg project has helped me prepare for my first semester as an engineering major by being able to practice my problem solving and math skills.” –Hunter Bonham, Kingfisher, OK

“My favorite part about the AT&T Summer Bridge Program was meeting people from all over the United States who are planning to pursue engineering who are similar to me. We come from many different backgrounds but all share the same goal. The Rube Goldberg project taught me that if we get along with other easily what great wonders we will achieve.” – Skylar Calhoun, Norman, OK

Monday, July 1, 2013

OU Professor to Serve as NSF Program Director


NORMAN, Okla. – University of Oklahoma chemical engineering professor Dimitrios Papavassiliou has been selected to serve as a National Science Foundation program director for the Fluid Dynamics Program. Papavassiliou will help establish the organization’s research policy in fluid dynamics as well as be involved in NSF initiatives that affect research directions in engineering and sciences more broadly. 

“Being selected as an NSF program director is a reflection of national recognition and an indication of trust by the scientific community to lead research at a national level,” said Thomas Landers, OU College of Engineering dean. “It’s important to select a person who is well-respected in their field since their decisions can affect the direction of federal funding for research as well as the career path of young faculty and students for several years.”

As an NSF program director, Papavassiliou will manage the NSF research portfolio in fluid dynamics, which is a research area in mechanical, chemical, aerospace, civil, petroleum and environmental engineering, applied mathematics, physics, and meteorology.  The position includes setting research priorities at the national level, soliciting proposals and organizing their peer review, funding these proposals, and monitoring progress of already funded projects.  Program directors, called rotators, traditionally serve two to three years and oversee a typical annual program budget of $7 million to 9 million.

Papavassiliou’s goal as NSF program director is to expand fluid dynamics research in multiple fields, particularly at the nano- and micro-scales, in life and biology, atmosphere, oceans and the subsurface.

“Fluid dynamics has been around for hundreds of years, going back to Leonardo Da Vinci, but there are important problems today that need and can be addressed with modern fluid dynamics experiments and computations,” said Papavassiliou.

“I would like to stir the community to become more extroverted, to not only take over projects of significance to our lives, but to also publicize their work to more visible outlets, engaging the public and young scientists to pursue a career in fluid mechanics,” said Papavassiliou.

Papavassiliou is a Presidential Professor in the School of Chemical, Biological and Materials Engineering at OU. He received his bachelor’s degree from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, and his master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He joined OU in 1999, after working with Mobil's Upstream Strategic Research Center in Dallas, Texas. He has co-authored more than 80 journal articles and presented his work in more than 130 conferences. He is actively involved in the American institute of Chemical Engineers, including the AIChE Journal Consulting Editorial Board.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Caroline Cochran DeWitte, Recipient of Regents' Alumni Award


Caroline Cochran DeWitte received a Regents’ Alumni Award during a May 10 ceremony on the University of Oklahoma’s Norman campus.

DeWitte is the visionary who founded the OU Club of Boston. As president, serving from 2009 to 2012, she began by securing regular Sooner watch party locations for area alumni, which proved popular from the beginning and has grown to the largest in the Northeast, attracting attendees from bordering states.

Throughout her tenure as president of the club, DeWitte also organized networking events and socials to foster friendships and networking among alumni. She created the club’s website and social media connections, including  Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. The club currently has more than 250 Facebook members and 100 Twitter followers. She now serves as club treasurer and fundraising chair, managing club funds and continuing to guide other club officers on the board.

During her time as a student at OU, DeWitte cofounded Engineers Without Borders (now Sooners Without Borders), served as a member of the UOSA executive cabinet as communications director, and was the systems leader for the Sooner Racing Team, where she won an international design award for the braking system she developed. DeWitte helped establish OU’s Center for the Creation of Economic Wealth while serving as program manager intern with the Office of Technology Development, under current interim College of Business Dean Danield Pullin. She graduated in 2007 with a Bachelor of Arts in economics and a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering.

Without her vision, perseverance, creativity and love for her alma mater, the OU Club of Boston would very likely not exist today. DeWitte’s efforts have paved the way for greater collaboration with the university and connections among alumni.

Nominated by the OU Club of Boston.

The Regents’ Alumni Awards are presented each year to honor alumni and friends for exceptional dedication and service to the University of Oklahoma. The OU Board of Regents and the OU Alumni Association present the awards.
Nominations are accepted from alumni, friends and OU faculty and staff. The names of each year’s recipients are engraved on a permanent plaque that hangs in Oklahoma Memorial Union as a testament to the important role that OU’s alumni play in the life of the university.

John Kenney, Recipient of Regents' Alumni Award


John Kenney received a Regents’ Alumni Award during a May 10 ceremony on the University of Oklahoma’s Norman campus.

Kenney has been actively involved with OU since graduating with Industrial Engineering and Law degrees in 1971 and 1975. He has served nine years on College of Engineering Board of Visitors, including his time as chair during the OU Engineering Centennial Celebration.

Kenney’s leadership throughout the College of Engineering has encouraged a community of generous donors. Along with is wife, Jane, the Kenneys have hosted many events in their home for the college and the Industrial Engineering school. Through their generous donations and support, today’s engineering students enjoy new facilities, renovated classrooms and metting space as well as undergraduate and graduate scholarship support.

Kenney has been instrumental in the OU K20 Center for Educational and Community Renewal, serving as chair for the Board of Advisors and helping to develop a community that links professionals in K-12, university and industry settings with projects aimed at fostering improvements in learning at all levels. During his leadership of that board, the annual Oklahoma teacher SKIE award for innovative use of technology in STEM education was initiated and the K-20 Scholars program was established. He also serves on the Honors College Board of Visitors.

He supports his beliefs in 21st century learning through his daily interactions in service to OU. Nominated by Dean Tom Landers, College of Engineering in partnership with the College of Education and the College of Law.

The Regents’ Alumni Awards are presented each year to honor alumni and friends for exceptional dedication and service to the University of Oklahoma. The OU Board of Regents and the OU Alumni Association present the awards.
Nominations are accepted from alumni, friends and OU faculty and staff. The names of each year’s recipients are engraved on a permanent plaque that hangs in Oklahoma Memorial Union as a testament to the important role that OU’s alumni play in the life of the university.

Priscilla Nelson Inducted into Distinguished Graduates Society


Priscilla P. Nelson was one of three inducted into the University of Oklahoma College of Engineering Distinguished Graduates Society during the May 11 Convocation on the Norman campus.

Nelson is a professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Nelson received a bachelor of science degree in geological sciences from the University of Rochester in 1970, a master of science degree in geology from Indiana University in 1976, a master of science degree in structural engineering from OU in 1979 and a doctoral degree in geotechnical engineering from Cornell University in 1983. Nelson served as provost at the New Jersey Institute of Technology from 2005-2008 and has a national and international reputation in geological and rock engineering and the particular application of underground construction. She has more than 20 years of teaching experience, has mentored many students and has more than 120 technical and scientific publications to her credit.

Her previous experience includes 11 years at the National Science Foundation concluding her service as senior adviser to the director of NSF. During her time at NSF, she acted in many capacities, including program director for the geotechnical engineering program, director for Professional Opportunities for Women in Research and Education program, director of the Civil and Mechanical Systems division, and as program manager for the Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation. She received the NEES Community Visionary Award in 2005.

Nelson was appointed to the faculty in civil engineering at The University of Texas at Austin from 1983 through 1996, rising from assistant through associate and full professor ranks. She was elected to The Moles, an association of the heavy construction industry (1995) and inducted into Tau Beta Pi as an eminent engineer (2007). At the NSF she received the Director’s Award for Integrative Collaboration four times, and was presented the Director’s Award for Meritorious Service in 1997. In 1999, she was appointed to the senior executive service. Also in 1999, she received the Director’s Award for Superior Accomplishment from the NSF. In 2008, she received the Kenneth Andrew Roe Award from the American Association of Engineering Societies, and was honored in the Executive Women of New Jersey Salute to the Policy Makers.  She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Rock Mechanics Association, distinguished member of ASCE, and honorary diplomate of the Academy of Geo-Professionals. Nelson currently serves on the National Academy Committee on Underground Engineering for Sustainable Urban Development, and as an adviser to the National Academy’s Center for Engineering, Ethics and Society.

In 1990, the College of Engineering Distinguished Graduates Society was established to honor our most accomplished alumni. Selection is based upon prominent and distinguished professional or technical achievement, notable public service, outstanding contributions, and other significant contributions to the engineering profession.
Membership in the society affords the public acknowledgment and recognition befitting these graduates. Each year, society awardees are honored by the administration, faculty and students of the College of Engineering at the University of Oklahoma through participation in the induction ceremonies at spring convocation.

Richard Milburn Inducted into Distinguised Graduates Society


Richard A. Milburn was one of three inducted into the University of Oklahoma College of Engineering Distinguished Graduates Society during the May 11 Convocation on the Norman campus.

Milburn graduated with honors with a bachelor of science degree in aeronautic and space engineering in 1964 and a master of science degree in aerospace engineering in 1965, both from OU. He is a member of the engineering fraternities Sigma Tau, Tau Beta Pi and Sigma Gamma Tau.

After receiving his pilot’s wings as a distinguished graduate in October 1955, he served as an interceptor pilot with the Aerospace Defense Command and served overseas with the 26th Air Division of ADC. He was the project engineer responsible for the YF-12 Interceptor (later SR-71) program, chief of the Weapons System Division of the Joint Chiefs of Staffs and served in London as assistant air attache and chief of the foreign technology office.

In 1977, Milburn was selected chief of the Mutual Defense Assistance Office at the American Embassy in Tokyo, Japan. He retired as a colonel in 1980 after an assignment as chief of the Air Force Headquarters Management Policy Division. Milburn joined the Grumman Corp. in 1980 and later was promoted to vice president for defense programs. After multiple promotions and the merger of Northrop and Grumman, Milburn was appointed vice president, Northrop Grumman International in Washington, D.C. After subsequent appointments to managing director and vice president for the Advanced Stand-Off Radar program in the United Kingdom as well as corporate director of Northrop Grumman Corp., Milburn retired from Northrop Grumman in 2011. Milburn currently is president of RAM International and continues to work with General Dynamics and Barbaricum.

Milburn is a member of the Order of the Daedalians, the Royal Aeronautical Society and the New York Academy of Science and is an Associate Fellow in the American Institute of Astronautics and Aeronautics.  He is chairman emeritus of the U.S. delegation to the NATO Industrial Advisory Group, and in that capacity is a member of the Conference of National Armament Directors of NATO. Milburn also served six years as chairman of the American League for Export and Security Assistance and is a member of the Board of the National Defense Industrial Association and the Board of the Robert C. Byrd Center for Aviation Education and Training as well as the Board of Advisors for the OU School of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering.

In 1990, the College of Engineering Distinguished Graduates Society was established to honor our most accomplished alumni. Selection is based upon prominent and distinguished professional or technical achievement, notable public service, outstanding contributions, and other significant contributions to the engineering profession.
Membership in the society affords the public acknowledgment and recognition befitting these graduates. Each year, society awardees are honored by the administration, faculty and students of the College of Engineering at the University of Oklahoma through participation in the induction ceremonies at spring convocation.

Paul McEuen Inducted into Distinguished Graduates Society



Paul L. McEuen was one of three inducted into the University of Oklahoma College of Engineering Distinguished Graduates Society during the May 11 Convocation on the Norman campus. A Goldwin Smith Professor of Physics at Cornell University, McEuen directs the Laboratory of Atomic and Solid State Physics and the Kavli Institute at Cornell for Nanoscale Science. His research focuses on nanoscale electronic, optical and mechanical properties of graphene, nanotubes and related materials. He received a bachelor of science degree in engineering physics from OU in 1985 and a doctoral degree in applied physics from Yale University in 1991. He joined the faculty at UC-Berkeley in 1992 before going to Cornell in 2001.

McEuen is interested in both the science of these nanostructures and their applications in physics, materials science, chemistry, biology and engineering. He is particularly fascinated by nanoscale forms of carbon, especially graphene sheets and single-walled carbon nanotubes. His group has probed many fundamental aspects of electron transport in carbon nanotubes, including single electron charging, non-Fermi liquid behavior and topologically induced spin-orbit coupling. They also have probed the physical and mechanical properties of both nanotubes and graphene. For example, they have shown that a one-atom thick graphene membrane is an impenetrable barrier and functions as a high-performance drumhead resonator. McEuen is excited about building tools to interface to the nanoscale world and the construction of functional nanomachines.

McEuen has served on a number of advisory panels and committees, including the DOE BESAC Grand Challenges in Energy Subcommittee (2006), the NRC Decadal Survey Team — Condensed Matter and Materials Physics (2006), and the APS Division of Condensed Matter Physics Executive Committee (2003-2006). He also has organized conferences and workshops, including the Kavli Futures Symposium on Cyborg Cells (2007) and the Gordon Conference on Condensed Matter Physics (2005).

Awards and honors include a Packard Foundation Fellowship, a National Young Investigator Fellowship and the Agilent Europhysics Prize. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He also is a novelist, and his debut scientific thriller SPIRAL was published in the United States by Random House in March 2011 and 15 markets worldwide. He was awarded best debut novel for 2011 by the International Thriller Writers Association.

In 1990, the College of Engineering Distinguished Graduates Society was established to honor our most accomplished alumni. Selection is based upon prominent and distinguished professional or technical achievement, notable public service, outstanding contributions, and other significant contributions to the engineering profession.
Membership in the society affords the public acknowledgment and recognition befitting these graduates. Each year, society awardees are honored by the administration, faculty and students of the College of Engineering at the University of Oklahoma through participation in the induction ceremonies at spring convocation.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Hilti Group Awards $30,000 Engineering Scholarship at OU-Tulsa


 
TULSA, Okla. – The Hilti Group, which provides leading edge technology to the global construction industry, has awarded a $30,000, three-year scholarship to the University of Oklahoma College of Engineering. The Hilti Scholar funds will be awarded to Bhagyashri Darunkar, a doctoral student in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Schusterman Center campus in Tulsa.
“We are extremely excited about the opportunity to partner with the OU College of Engineering in awarding this prestigious scholarship at OU-Tulsa,” said Clint Holler, Head of Information Technology for Hilti Western Hemisphere. “Hilti relies on leading universities such as OU to further develop students who are eager and ready to contribute at a high level immediately upon graduation.”
            “The OU College of Engineering is most grateful for Hilti’s generosity in providing a scholarship to support engineering students at OU-Tulsa,” said James J. Sluss, Jr., Ph.D., Director and Morris R. Pitman Professor, University of Oklahoma School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “We consider this an important first step in establishing a broader collaboration between Hilti and OU across all engineering disciplines on both the Norman and Tulsa campuses.”
            Pramode Verma, Ph.D., Williams Chair in Telecommunications Networking and Director of Telecommunications Engineering at OU-Tulsa, said Hilti’s support of an OU-Tulsa Ph.D. scholar is an important gesture of community goodwill. “It is also a tangible indicator of the company’s willingness to invest in producing technology leaders for the future. We greatly value Hilti’s global leadership in their area and are honored by their recognition of OU programs.
The University of Oklahoma Schusterman Center is home to all OU programs in Tulsa. Located on a 60 acre campus at 41st and Yale, it strengthens OU’s presence in northeast Oklahoma and expands educational, research and patient care programs in the Tulsa area. OU-Tulsa offers six bachelor’s degree completion programs; 14 master’s degree programs, including the physician assistant program, nurse practitioner program, doctoral programs in medicine, physical therapy, education, early childhood education, engineering, pharmacy and nursing, as well as nine residency programs in medicine. It is also home to the OU School of Community Medicine, the first of its kind in the nation, created with the explicit purpose of improving the health of all Oklahoma communities. For more information about OU-Tulsa, call 660-3318 or visit http://tulsa.ou.edu.

For more information, contact:
Tracy Kennedy (918) 660-3316  Cellular (918)691-7174
Glenda Silvey (918) 660-3317    Cellular (918)770-2407

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Friday, May 3, 2013

OU Concrete Canoe Team Takes First in Regional Competition


NORMAN, Okla. – Fifteen students from the University of Oklahoma College of Engineering Concrete Canoe team will be taking their paddles to the national competition after earning first place in the regional engineering design, knowledge and stamina competition.

“The OU Concrete Canoe team has had great success in the past and this year is no exception,”
said Alyse Burgess, Concrete Canoe co-captain and architectural engineering senior. “The regional competition showed our newer members that the extra time and effort put into even the smallest details makes a big difference.”

This is the eighth in the past 13 years OU’s team has advanced to nationals. Burgess said this year’s success is due to their choice to focus on a more stable, lightweight design.

“By putting people in the canoe and racing it, we proved that the mix we designed can float and is strong enough to support the stresses caused by the paddlers,” said Burgess.

In April, the OU Concrete Canoe team attended the Mid-West Continent Regional Competition at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville through the American Society of Civil Engineers’ collegiate chapters. Their first-place finish landed them one of the coveted 18 spots in the National Concrete Canoe Competition, occurring June 20 to 22 at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

“We compete on a business and design level, as well as agility,” said Burgess. “Between now and nationals we can’t touch the canoe, but we can work on our technical paper and oral presentation. We’ll also have quite a few paddling practices.”

The competition connects the classroom to the real world by challenging members to apply school concepts to a working product in a team environment.

“I have learned valuable teamwork and leadership skills that you don’t quite get in a classroom environment, but are important when heading out into the engineering profession,” Burgess said. “I’ve also succeeded at taking on the challenge of doing something most people would think is impossible. Make concrete float; how many people can say that?”

For more information about the OU College of Engineering competition teams, contact Jimmy Cannon, OU engineering practice coordinator and competition coach, at (405) 325-6844 or jimmyray@ou.edu.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

OU Daily features ECE Faculty Member as Voice of Diversity

When Jessica Ruyle opened her first faculty email from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at OU, she was found it was addressed to gentlemen only. Within minutes, the sender received over a dozen replies noting there was a lady on the faculty now, and the single-gender greeting wasn’t appropriate. Now, those emails are addressed to “gentlemen and lady.”

Read more. http://www.oudaily.com/news/2013/mar/07/womensday/