Dean's Newsletter September 2014
MESSAGE FROM THE DEAN
Welcome to the start of another school year. We recently held our Engineering Club Fair to encourage the college’s new freshman and transfer students to join one of our 18 student sections of professional engineering societies and numerous other engineering clubs. I helped make root-beer floats and students had an up-close look at our champion Formula Hybrid race car project, which won 1st place at the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Collegiate Design Series competition last semester. New students also had the opportunity to talk with out other 2014 winning teams like our WERC (Waste management Education Research Consortium) design team, 1st place; American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) radio controlled Micro-Baja team, 2nd place; and our SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge team, 3rd place, which has a long history of awards and being very competitive. I am very proud, as should you be, of our Vandal engineering teams and their 2014 victories — amazing! From the looks of the level of interest new students showed these teams, we will have no shortage of interest in carrying-on our winning tradition.
Speaking of competition, are you excited for another Vandal football season? I am and so is the College of Engineering. If you are planning to attend the home game opener in Moscow (U of I vs. Western Michigan) this weekend, please join us at our College of Engineering tailgate party to cheer on the Vandals! Vandal dogs and refreshments will be provided and we will even be giving away our new U of I Engineering drink Koozies, for tailgate party information click here.
You may have heard that this year’s University Convocation keynote speaker was Sean Astin, the actor who played the title role in the movie Rudy and the loyal hobbit Samwise Gamgee in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. In both roles, Astin plays characters that are steadfast and determined to accomplish what they set out to do against all odds. My hope is that our students will embody the same dedication and grit as Astin’s characters as they approach their academic studies and professional transitions. My hope is also that as we begin this new academic year, our College of Engineering community commits to making our students’ journey the best possible experience.
The beginning of the school year also marks the beginning of a journey for our new engineering faculty and I want to extend a warm welcome to our all six new faculty members. Three faculty, Sara Eftekharnejad, Feng Li and Ata Zadenhgol will be joining our Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering; Joel Perry, our new robotics specialist, will bring his expertise to the Department of Mechanical Engineering, and Aleksandr Vakanski and Haiyan Zhao will be located on our Idaho Falls campus teaching in the Industrial Technology and Chemical & Materials Engineering programs respectively. You can learn more about our new faculty below.
Also, later this month we officially inaugurate President Chuck Staben as the Eighteenth President of the University of Idaho. Having worked with him for six months now, I am encouraged about our future and his support for our college. He has been instrumental in expanding our college and increasing opportunities for collaboration with industry. I will provide more details about these actions in the next couple newsletters.
Larry A. Stauffer
Dean, College of Engineering
Please join us to “kick-off” the football season and cheer on the Vandals in their home game opener vs. Western Michigan, September 13, 2014. Vandal dogs and refreshments will be provided. The 2014 University of Idaho, SAE Formula Hybrid Vandal racing team will be present to discuss their recent international championship and display their winning formula hybrid race car "Voltz N' Boltz".
We have added six new faculty this fall to strengthen our teaching, research, and outreach missions. While we have had a few faculty retirements and departures, half of our new faculty are joining the Department of Electrical Engineering, where we are making a concerted effort to develop expertise to support a world-class microelectronics research and education program. Our college has a tradition of providing students strong fundamentals, hands-on learning, and exceptional design and research opportunities. These faculty will carry on this tradition. To learn more about our new faculty click here.
The website Best Computer Science Degrees recently released an article ranking the top fifteen high-quality, affordable computer science degree programs in the nation. The University of Idaho, Computer Science program received the the site's #5 rank, citing the program's recently established Center for Secure and Dependable Systems (CSDS) which is focused on computer-related security education and research. The methodology used by the site notes that U of I computer science grads receive a return on investment of $788,700 over the course of their careers from their U of I education. .
At the beginning of each academic year the College of Engineering hosts a seminar series to provide students the opportunity to learn about the College from the perspective of current students and professors. The seminar series provides a first-hand look at classroom, lab, and extra-curricular learning that students will encounter in the College of Engineering. It is a great opportunity for students to learn about how to get involved with professional clubs and activities that enhance the educational experience.
For University of Idaho civil engineering graduate Riannon Heighes the path less traveled has always presented unique opportunities to make a difference. Prior to choosing the engineering path Riannon worked in real-estate, until she realized she could do more. Riannon recently graduated with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and has decided to pursue her master’s degree at U of I with a focus on transportation research. “I want to make a real-world difference. As an undergraduate, U of I civil engineering classes were taught by professors with working experience that they brought to the classroom," she says. “They encouraged us to not just do problems out of a book, although there was a lot of that, too. They inspired me to apply engineering to real-world problems. That’s one of the reasons I’m back for my master’s.”
Registration is now open for University of Idaho 2014 Women in Engineering (WIE) Day! Women in Engineering Day is a free one-day workshop for female high school students, grades 11-12, designed to introduce students to career options in engineering and computer science. This year's event will be held on October 24, 2014 at the U of I Moscow campus, the deadline to register is October 15. The event is sponsored by the and the University of Idaho Chapter of Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and the College of Engineering. To register or learn more about Women in Engineering Day click here.
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