Arizona Engineer | Summer 2023 | The Growth Issue

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Steady Growth, Strong Commitment

The People Behind Engineering’s Success


As we all like to say in the college, it’s engineering’s time.

I write this letter as we reflect on a productive academic year that brought continued success in the education and research arenas. It is my pleasure to share in this issue the many stories of the people behind our successes.

You will read about the fascinating projects at the 2023 Craig M. Berge Engineering Design Day, including the college’s support of community service efforts. The enthusiasm of our students and the volunteers and sponsors who make Design Day happen is contagious. This year Nancy Berge and Barbara Berge Campbell, Craig and Nancy’s daughter, joined us. They thoroughly enjoyed meeting students and seeing the full vision of the Craig M. Berge Design Program.

We also highlight engineering faculty. Four received university awards of distinction, an all-time record. Three won prestigious NSF CAREER awards. And Kim Ogden received the largest research award in the college’s history.

The College Is on the Move

I came on board four years ago with a bold vision to grow the college to its rightful place among peer institutions. Namely, these are land grant universities in the Association of American Universities with medical schools on their main campuses. (AAU members form a group of the most active and prestigious research universities in North America.) No more than a dozen universities in the nation meet these criteria. They all have engineering enterprises two to three times the size of ours. This vision drives a high-tech economy while providing access to an engineering education for the people of Arizona, and the nation.

This magazine focuses on the progress we have made.

For example, I am delighted to announce the college’s 17th undergraduate degree program – computer science and engineering, housed in Electrical and Computer Engineering. Recently approved by the Arizona Board of Regents, CSE will train engineers vital to an increasingly complex technology landscape. This expansion feeds the college’s strong relationship with industry, where workforce and research are key. Our programs, steeped in experiential learning, provide high-quality engineers trained in fundamentals who have developed the skills of teamwork, leadership and communication, and who thrive on diverse teams.

Support Matters More than Ever

Developing new degrees and hiring new faculty, often with significant start-up costs in research equipment, requires a strong institutional investment. Senior Vice President of Research Betsy Cantwell, Provost Liesl Folks and President Robert Robbins have been highly supportive of the college’s strategic growth. As you will read in President Robbins’ guest column, he sees engineering among the cornerstones of university expansion.

Partnerships across campus, such as collaboration with Health Sciences on cancer engineering, reinforce the college’s key role in the university’s teaching and research missions. Beyond campus, industry leaders, alumni and friends, and elected officials have embraced the expansion of UA Engineering, bringing together the final pieces of a powerful coalition. Together we will achieve greatness. I hope you enjoy learning more about our plans.

Wishing you a safe and wonderful summer and Independence Day.

Go Cats and Bear Down!






Why Guayule?


2 21 23

Dean’s Message

Class Notes

Thoughts on Philanthropy

Nurturing the Business Ecosystem — An entrepreneurship center and a focus on startup partnerships lend to “a renewed push” for experiential education.

The University of Arizona College of Engineering

P.O. Box 210072 Tucson, AZ 85721-0072

Facebook: @UACollegeofEngineering

Instagram: @AZEngineering

LinkedIn: University of Arizona College of Engineering

520.621.1992 •

Produced by University of Arizona Engineering Marketing & Communications

Managing Editor Katy Smith

Art Director David Hostetler

Contributors Emily Dieckman, Jeff Gardner, Zachary Jackson, Chris Quirk, Katy Smith, Daniel Stolte, Paul Tumarkin, University Communications

Photography John de Dios, Eller College of Management, Mark Febbo, Chris Richards, Julius Schlosburg, Katy Smith, Paul Tumarkin

Illustrator Johnny Carrillo

Arizona Engineer is published twice a year for alumni and friends of the University of Arizona College of Engineering.

Some articles in this print magazine are edited for length. Please visit for more stories, photos and videos.

All contents © 2023 Arizona Board of Regents. All rights reserved.

The University of Arizona is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution. The university does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or genetic information in its programs and activities. We respectfully acknowledge the University of Arizona is on the land and territories of Indigenous peoples. Today, Arizona is home to 22 federally recognized tribes, with Tucson being home to the O’odham and the Yaqui. Committed to diversity and inclusion, the University strives to build sustainable relationships with sovereign Native Nations and Indigenous communities through education offerings, partnerships, and community service.

1 SUMMER 2023
Kim Ogden leads a $70 million project — the college’s largest-ever grant — to grow a new rubber source.
Design Day 2023 — Student projects include a Battlebot, a drone system to monitor ocean health and a sleep apnea monitoring device. Exploring Martian Caves — Wolfgang Fink details a method for flocks of robots to independently explore other worlds, “breadcrumb-style.”
7 14 17 46:1 Summer 2023 | 3 COVER ILLUSTRATION
A Time of Growth: The College of Engineering is welcoming new leadership, launching millions of dollars’ worth of new programs and initiatives, opening high-tech makerspaces, and increasing student enrollment.

Partners in Intelligent Growth

The University of Arizona is preparing to welcome a new incoming class, and I expect this group to match or exceed our fall 2022 class, which was the largest, most diverse, and best prepared first-year cohort on record. I anticipate that engineering will remain among the most popular majors and continue to serve as a major driver of the university’s growth.

Every student deserves access to the individualized resources that help them become confident, proficient alumni, and the university and the College of Engineering must remain attentive to our responsibilities in this regard. Employers who rely on the Arizona talent pipeline need work-ready graduates more than ever, and they are counting on us.

When we grow intelligently and in ways that honor both the University of Arizona’s history and potential, we create greater impact. Among our proudest accomplishments is the increasing number of underrepresented and first-generation students we have welcomed into the engineering fields, with more and more of them contributing to transformations that yield safer, cleaner, more efficient spaces, and more livable environments.

Supporting Students

In addition to recruiting more students, the university is strongly focused on retention. Now fully operational, our impressive Student Success District is a nine-acre, fourbuilding complex that continues to earn accolades and win national awards. Most importantly, students this spring have told us how much they enjoy having so many dayto-day resources and services centrally located in a modern facility that connects to our past, with a renovated Bear Down Gym anchoring the district.

General education also had a recent refresh with support from the university strategic plan. Additionally, this fall, the University of Arizona Bookstores is launching Pay One Price for main campus undergraduate students. This new program will provide digitally-preferred access to all required textbooks and courseware at a predictable flat rate.

Safety on our campuses, for our students as well as our faculty and staff, remains a crucial priority. We are instituting a number of initiatives and trainings in this area. As you may have heard, we have hired Steve Patterson as our new Interim Chief Safety Officer, and we have established the Office of Public Safety, which is leading many safety initiatives. If you are interested in learning more, please check out the university’s safety website:

In addition, the university remains committed to offering mental health resources to help students and those who work with students.

Growing and Championing Faculty

I hope you are as fascinated as I am to read about the work of exceptional engineering faculty members in this issue. As you know, these instructors and researchers are not only crafting solutions for today’s world but anticipating those needed for the future. Intelligent growth depends to a great extent on the faculty who mentor our students and enhance the university’s reputation by making breakthrough discoveries.

Alumni Advocacy

Thank you for remaining connected to the University of Arizona and the College of Engineering. As we grow, we rely on our alumni to build many important bridges – to their companies, to their colleagues and neighbors, and often to fulfilling careers for our new graduates. Students better envision themselves taking on specific career opportunities after making inspiring connections with successful alumni.

We are evolving together, and I am delighted to gear up for a new academic year. Bear Down!

‘As we grow, we rely on our alumni to build many important bridges.’


Solutions for Explosive Mineral Demand Growth

The University of Arizona was founded, in part, to advance mining in our mineralrich state. Now, nearly 140 years of mining education history positions the university to confront extraordinary challenges in this field. The School of Mining and Mineral Resources honors and carries forth the university’s land grant mission with an approach that addresses the unique circumstances of modern times.

More Need, Fewer Experts

The world’s population is quickly growing – the United Nations predicts it will reach 9.7 billion by 2050. At the same time, the global poverty rate is down nearly 24% since 1994. This point of intersection results in increasing demand for energy – preferably clean energy – and other life-improving technological advances made possible by minerals.

With a 30-year career in the environmental sector, I’ve seen no evidence that the international population is willing to achieve a greener future through decreased consumption. According to the U.S. Senate, “it is logically and practically impossible” to recycle our way out of this problem, since there are not enough minerals in the current system.

Because of these constraints, we’re going to have to rely on innovation and technology, and we must do more mining. The industrial minerals market is expected to quadruple in order to supply the demands created by clean energy technologies by 2040 and beyond, according to the International Energy Agency.

This brings up another big problem on the way to meeting this explosive growth in mineral demand – how to increase mining activities when fewer young people are entering the field. In Australia, where 75% of the country’s exports are mined resources, there has been a 63% drop in mining engineering enrollment since 2014. The U.S. has seen a 39% drop in mining graduates since 2016.

Additionally, many industry leaders have indicated that the current mining curriculum is narrow and outdated and is not keeping pace with advancements in technology, such as robotics and AI, nor with the legal and social issues around mining and environmental sustainability.

A New Model

At SMMR, we are creating the mineral resources educational model of the future, today. By bringing together existing world-class programs in mining engineering and economic geology and developing new educational programs like our sustainable mineral resources minor, we are breaking down the silos of traditional mining education. We are advancing understanding of mining law, tribal land rights, and environmental impact by creating learning opportunities for communities, professionals and K-12 educators. And we are funding critical research that addresses the needs of industry and society, to create more sustainable mineral extraction methods and develop a workforce of highly skilled, transdisciplinary professionals.

Learn more about the School of Mining and Mineral Resources and Misael Cabrera, its inaugural director.

Through innovations like these, we can solve today’s problems around the responsible management of mineral resources and help create a more prosperous, healthier, more equitable and sustainable future for all humankind.

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‘We are creating the mineral resources educational model of the future, today.’

New Entrepreneurial Initiative Connects Engineering and Business Students

The donor-funded program is projected to reach 600+ students within five years.


Entrepreneurship initiative, also known as E3 or E cubed, is uniting two worlds. The program began in the fall 2022 semester, with a mix of engineering and business majors taking the blended subject course.

The 200-level class offering is the first step in a plan that encompasses an additional 300-level class, student internships, and a joint capstone experience intended to encourage business and engineering collaboration. The program was made possible through a substantial gift from the Muzzy family, which is headed by UA alumni couple Jim and Pamela Muzzy.

Program leaders and the Muzzys project that in the fifth year, the program will involve more than 600 students. Benefits are expected to go beyond the program to boost rankings and enrollment for both colleges, position the university as an entrepreneurial powerhouse, and increase opportunity for students in underrepresented groups, ultimately diversifying the top levels of the workforce.

Both colleges are also contributing financially to help make the program a success.

Blending Cultures

The course is co-taught by Mark Van Dyke and Mark Peterson. Van Dyke is associate dean of research for the College of Engineering and a professor of biomedical engineering. Peterson is a senior lecturer in entrepreneurship and innovation for the Eller College of Management.

Along with others from Engineering and Eller, Van Dyke was a key player in forming the E3 concept and proposing it to the Muzzys. Pairing future engineers with business students can help them develop viable paths to success, while the business students can benefit from learning how engineers think and applying that knowledge to the identification of market opportunities, Van Dyke said.

“By blending those two cultures at this stage, it’s easier for them to have conversations, rather than being on these paths where they graduate with very different mindsets and degrees and skill sets,” he said.

Oliver McClean is an Eller College student majoring in operations and supply chain management who took the inaugural class.

The program is part of a continuing effort by both schools to promote real world entrepreneurial experience. Engineering students design products as part of the Craig M. Berge Design Program. Both engineering and Eller students have the opportunity to enter the McGuire New Venture Development Program, a yearlong, team-based program that helps students build companies from the ground up. NVD teams compete in annual events for cash prizes.

The E3 vision is for students to engage in one or both of the program’s classes, complete internships as early as the second year of university and bring viable ideas to the engineering senior capstone project or the McGuire NVD program.

Thanks to the Muzzys’ gift, students will be able to do meaningful paid work for companies that normally might be unable to compensate interns. The family’s gift also funds technology support, faculty education and salaries, student projects and curriculum development.

“A lot of what I’ve personally taken from the class is what not to do when starting a business – like, why do so many small businesses fail? Because they’re missing certain aspects on both the business and engineering side,” said McClean, who hopes to start his own business one day.

Students in the first Eller-Engineering Entrepreneurship course engage in a Lego Serious Play exercise, part of the Eller-Engineering Entrepreneurship initiative. Jim and Pamela Muzzy
“By blending those two cultures at this stage, it’s easier for them to have conversations, rather than being on these paths where they graduate with very different mindsets and degrees and skill sets.”
MARK VAN DYKE instructor and associate dean of research

Nurturing the Business Ecosystem

RRAPHAEL LEPERCQ is an engineer and an entrepreneur. He completed his bachelor’s degree in electrical and computer engineering in May and plans to finish an accelerated master’s this academic year.

Lepercq worked in real estate and founded a sugar cane juice company before pursuing his engineering education. For his senior Interdisciplinary Capstone project, and through the McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship New Venture Development Program, he created his own product and business, Gesund Me, a biomedical device company.

an unusual student, but college leaders want more engineering students moving in this direction.

“There’s a renewed push,” said Larry Head, director of the Craig M. Berge Design Program, who helped Lepercq set up the capstone project.

That push is giving engineering students increased exposure to startup companies and easy access to a business community for science, technology, engineering, art and math, or STEAM, students.

students see how to craft entrepreneurial versions of themselves,” he said.

Students and Startups

Lepercq’s business wasn’t the only startup to get a boost from the efforts of a student design team over the past year. Several more were part of the capstone program thanks to a grant from the Technology and Research Initiative Fund, which is overseen by Research, Innovation and Impact at the University of Arizona.

New Paths

Head, Van Dyke and other college leaders are intent on building these on- and off-campus partnerships so that engineering students can acquire business experience and knowledge within the college as part of a four-year degree program.

Lepercq competed as a finalist in the McGuire Center’s New Venture Competition in April. At Craig M. Berge Engineering Design Day in May, his team won the $1,000 Mensch Foundation Award for Best Use of Embedded Intelligence.

Lepercq’s decision to develop a capstone project around his invention and serve as both the project advisor and a team member makes him

Arizona FORGE, which stands for Finding Opportunities and Resources to Grow Entrepreneurs, is the university’s entrepreneurial umbrella organization. FORGE and the College of Engineering partnered to open a STEAM FORGE office in the electrical and computer engineering building in October 2022.

One of three campus FORGE locations, the office offers mentoring, programming and space for solo and group study. FORGE is open to students at any stage in an entrepreneurial journey, said Paul Valdez, Student Venture Pathways program manager.

“Placing a FORGE office in the ECE building helps

Mark Van Dyke, associate dean of research, describes the situation as a win-win, both for startups that may lack sponsorship capital and students in need of realworld experience.

“Students get to see more of the operations of a company. For engineering students this is really important, because a lot of times they are deep into the engineering aspect of it and may not see the larger context of a business or product development,” Van Dyke said.

Another funding source, an experiential learning allocation made by the Arizona Board of Regents for this year, is helping create paid internship opportunities with small companies.

“We want to collaborate more with and support the startup and economic development community in and around Tucson,” said Van Dyke.

With the help of options like the Eller-Engineering Entrepreneurship initiative, McGuire Center programs, FORGE services, and business-focused internships, Van Dyke hopes to see more students graduate with confidence in their ability to take their inventions to market. Some might even consider launching companies just after graduation, if not before.

“The grand vision here is that it all comes together and gives these students pathways that didn’t exist before,” Van Dyke said.

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Design Team 23088 showcases a device to measure pH and calcium levels in saliva. The device is paired with an app and a health quiz to provide users with dietary supplement recommendations. A new STEAM FORGE location and startup partnerships are part of a ‘renewed push’ for experiential business education. Raphael Lepercq, far right, and his teammates accept their prize at Craig M. Berge Engineering Design Day.

New Educational Options Align With Industry and Student Needs

TTHE COLLEGE OF Engineering is launching a new bachelor’s degree program in computer science and engineering, at the main campus and online, starting in the fall 2023 semester. The following year, the college expects to expand its bachelor’s degree program in biomedical engineering to the Phoenix Bioscience Core, or PBC, in downtown Phoenix.

Members of the Arizona Technology Council have expressed a strong need for more workers with computer science engineering skills, said Karla Morales, vice president of the trade association’s Southern Arizona regional office. They also want to hire recent graduates with collaboration and problem-solving abilities, Morales said.

The computer science and engineering curriculum plan will engage students in an applied, project-based education model. Each student’s education will culminate with a senior year Interdisciplinary Capstone.

Computer Science and Engineering: A Unique, Experiential Model

Right now, United States employers are unable to fill around 1 million computer science-related jobs because of a lack of qualified candidates, as estimated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And the bureau predicts graduates will continue to lag behind job openings significantly.

This workforce need is the primary reason the college is offering the new major, said Michael Wu, head of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, which houses the degree.

The educational model distinguishes it from other degree programs and provides an option for interested students who want an interdisciplinary engineering education.

“The market is so large that we’re not competing with other institutions or other programs within the University of Arizona,” said Wu. “Instead, we’re joining with other educators to develop a qualified workforce for the computer industry.”

“Students will work with theories, but we stress the hands-on part. They will get opportunities to solve realworld problems in every course. In the capstone, they will form teams to solve even bigger problems,” Wu said.

These aspects, and the overall engineering focus, make the new program distinct from traditional computer science degrees and from the program offered by the UA College of Science. Computer science and engineering is also different from other college degree programs such as software engineering. The former is a broader discipline teaching mastery of computer principles and algorithms as well as concepts including artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, quantum computing, data analytics, human–computer interaction, robotics, and hardware and software codesign. Software engineering is a more focused specialty, said Wu.

BME Phoenix: Fast-Paced Cohort Model

The University of Arizona Health Sciences is building the Center for Advanced Molecular and Immunological Therapies, or CAMI, at the PBC, which is already home to the UA’s College of Medicine – Phoenix. BME Phoenix classes and research activities will take place in the CAMI building complex once it opens in 2025.

“That’s exciting for us and continues our growing collaboration with the University of Arizona Health Sciences,” said David W. Hahn, the Craig M. Berge Dean of the college.

Having students earning BME degrees in Phoenix will make partnering with Maricopa-area companies on initiatives such as internships and project sponsorships convenient, said Hahn. Companies are attracted to relocating or starting businesses in Arizona because of the state’s favorable business climate and workforce availability, he said, explaining that the region is expected to have a particularly high need for biomedical engineers.

The new location also provides an option that will work better for some Phoenix-area students who are wellsuited to the experience.

“This is for the independent and fastpaced student who isn’t looking for the traditional campus experience but values the chance to learn in a cohort model and with an intimate studentto-faculty ratio,” he said. “They can work with a physician and prepare for medical school or focus on industry and go right into good jobs.”

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, in which Clarisa Grijalva is a graduate student, is launching a new bachelor’s degree program in computer science and engineering in fall 2023. Undergraduate Adiba Haque and graduate student Kevin Kasper are both studying biomedical engineering. The UA will offer a bachelor’s degree in BME at the Phoenix Bioscience Core.
“We’re joining with other educators to develop a qualified workforce for the computer industry.”
MICHAEL WU, ECE department head

$10.8M Cancer Engineering Initiative Pushes Frontiers


Engineering Symposium, held in March, brought together acclaimed researchers for the launch of the UA Cancer Engineering Initiative.

Through the state of Arizona’s New Economy Initiative, the UA was awarded $10.8 million for interdisciplinary research to advance understanding of cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment. David W. Hahn, Craig M. Berge Dean of the College of Engineering, and Joann Sweasy, Nancy C. and Craig M. Berge Endowed Chair for the Director of the Cancer Center, initially shared a vision for the program and gained strong support from leaders across the university.

Cancer Engineering: ‘Pushing Frontiers’

Seven experts traveled from out of state to share knowledge with the UA faculty who will merge engineering and cancer research. The work involves identifying how cancer cells in diverse environments mimicking human tissues respond to imaging methods, drugs, blood flow conditions and mechanical stresses. 3D printing is key to formulating tissue models that allow for the study of cancer initiation, growth, metastasis and response to therapies.

Many of the standard cancer treatments currently in use are not tailored for specific patients or even the exact type of cancer present.

“These treatments often do a good job of killing select populations of cancer cells sensitive to the treatment,” said Arthur Gmitro, professor and former head of the Department of Biomedical Engineering and a member of the initiative’s working group. “But, often, there are remaining cancer cells that have evolved to be less sensitive to that kind of treatment.”

With 3D-printed growth environments, referred to as biomimetic because they mimic human tissue, engineers can help develop precision treatments. Researchers can place cancer cells from a patient into these environments to test the efficacy of treatments specific to those cells, thereby developing precision treatment strategies, Gmitro said.

Engineers can also create 3D models of the cancers themselves, accelerating understanding of diagnostic and prevention methods. Knowledge acquisition in any one area feeds other areas.

Advances in polymer development and 3D-printing technology over the last decade have made cancer research collaboration a promising engineering focus area. Additionally, said Hahn, the mechanics of tumors and their environments fall into the realm of engineering science. However, cancer engineering is a novel area of study with much untapped potential.

“We’re pushing the frontiers of what’s going on. There are some pockets of activity around the country, but this is new,” Hahn said.

Leaders from the UA Cancer Center and the College of Engineering plan to hire three to five additional researchers to focus on the initiative. The project also will involve students at all levels and from multiple disciplines in cancer research.

Relying on the expertise of faculty across the university and other researchers who will be recruited thanks to initiative funding, the effort is a big and bold one, said Hahn and Sweasy.

“The symposium was an incredible success and a good indication of where we’re headed with this collaboration. I have no doubt that biologists and engineers will make a critical difference in the prevention and treatment of cancer,” Sweasy said. “And I think this is a model for how we’ll see science tackling the greatest problems we face. It gives reason for incredible hope about what can be accomplished when we work together.”

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The symposium brings internationally renowned researchers to the UA. Acclaimed researchers, including seven from out of state, gather at the inaugural Cancer Engineering Symposium. David W. Hahn and Joann Sweasy

TTHE UA CONTINUES to to be a major player in developing hypersonic technologies, designed to fly at five times the speed of sound and faster. Two recent grants totaling more than $5.5 million are focused on developing improved guidance, navigation and control systems for hypersonic vehicles and new alloys for 3D-printing the vehicle components.

$4.5M for AI-Powered Guidance and Navigation Systems

Roberto Furfaro, professor of systems and industrial engineering, received $4.5 million to lead the development of improved guidance, navigation and control systems for autonomous vehicles operating at hypersonic speeds. The three-year proposed research is sponsored by the Joint Hypersonic Transition Office through the University Consortium for Applied Hypersonics.

University Expands National Prominence in Hypersonic Flight Research

that are so nonlinear that they are not fully understood, and that we need to characterize if we want to design systems that work under these conditions.”

Consider how, when a car is moving at 80 mph, a one-second delay in the driver’s decision making can have catastrophic results. Hypersonic vehicles, which travel thousands of miles per hour and face additional factors such as shockwaves and extreme heat, have even less room for error.

To train hypersonic systems to navigate and react to extremely complex, highspeed situations on their own, the team – which includes researchers in engineering and the Space Systems Engineering Laboratory – is using a type of machine learning called metareinforcement learning.

“With meta learning, we can train it not only on one scenario, but on many scenarios,” Furfaro said. “By enabling this continuous learning, we are basically able to have a system that continually adapts.”

$1.2M to 3D-Print Parts for Hypersonic Vehicles

“Many conventional systems are designed using linear theory and are not designed to fly or intercept at that speed,” Furfaro said. “There are a lot of things happening in hypersonic flow

Not every material, or every shape, can withstand traveling at hypersonic speeds. UA professors are creating novel metallic alloys optimized both for the additive manufacturing, or 3D-printing, process and for the high temperatures and stress levels of hypersonic flight.

A $1.2 million grant from the Office of Naval Research’s Defense University Research Instrumentation Program will fund a suite of new equipment to support the work of Sammy Tin, department head of materials science and engineering, and Andrew Wessman, an assistant professor in the same department.

3D printing, or additive manufacturing, offers much more design flexibility than traditional manufacturing, allowing the creation of precise geometries that aren’t otherwise possible. It offers a new world of possibilities for the field of hypersonic flight, such as incorporating cooling pipes directly into the structure of a vehicle. Until now, most metal additive manufacturing specialists have used metal alloys that were originally developed for traditional manufacturing processes.

“If you try to take that same material, you can make it into a powder and then print with it,” Wessman said. “And it prints OK, but it’s not really optimal.”

The grant will fund the purchase of an array of instruments, including a powder bed fusion system, a gas atomization system, a vacuum furnace and an X-ray diffractometer.

“Combining all these pieces will give us a unique capability in terms of the infrastructure for advanced manufacturing,” Tin said.

Andrew Wessman, assistant professor of materials science and engineering, is developing new materials optimized to withstand both the 3D-printing process and the extreme conditions of hypersonic flight. Roberto Furfaro, professor of systems and industrial engineering, is improving guidance, navigation and control systems for hypersonic flight.

Mechanical Engineering Student Graduates With His Family

HHARRY CHHIEU FINISHED his mechanical engineering degree at the same time his mother, Carol, and his brother, Anthony, graduated from the UA.

“This is such a big step since my mom has always been preaching about how we should go to college. She wants us to make something of ourselves. Being able to do that with her is so big,” he said.

Achieving the Goal

Carol Chhieu, previously known as Pech, fled the Khmer Rouge regime in 1981 and built a life here in America.

Changing her name was just one of many adjustments she had to make when she arrived in California at the age of 15.

She had to learn in English long before the internet was available, painstakingly

translating her native language of Khmer. She now speaks multiple languages.

“Life of refugee was tough. Most people don’t finish high school. In my generation, very few people graduated from high school,” said Carol.

Carol ended up raising a daughter and two sons, by herself. As her sons started pursuing their education, she realized she wanted to finish hers.

“After a while you get older, you get wiser. And I always wanted to go back to school. I was just waiting for the kids to grow older,” said Carol.

The plan worked out better than she imagined. Carol is a literacy learning major and hopes to eventually teach abroad.

New Civil Engineering Grad Is an NSF Graduate Research Fellow

GGABRIEL GEFFEN COULD use his National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship to pursue an advanced degree at any accredited U.S. institution of graduate education. He’s staying at the UA because of the support of Yao-Jan Wu, associate

professor of civil and architectural engineering and mechanics.

“Now that I will begin my PhD in August, I think back to when I was a sophomore, with zero programming or modeling experience. I am beyond grateful to Dr. Wu, who still offered me a job in his lab because he said he saw potential in me,” said Geffen, adding that he has access to copious amounts of data and other resources as a UA student.

NSF Graduate Research Fellowships recognize and support outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees. Fellows get a three-year annual stipend of $37,000, along with a $12,000 allowance for tuition and fees.

Geffen graduated in May with a

bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and engineering mechanics. His research area is traffic engineering. With the NSF award, Geffen will use natural language processing and machine learning to analyze real-time crowdsourced data from social media to gauge public sentiment and feedback about trafficrelated topics. This information can help transportation planners and traffic management centers make informed decisions, he said.

Geffen aims to develop a framework or methodology that can be used in Pima County and Arizona and potentially be expanded across the nation and beyond civil engineering.

“I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity because it allows me to continue my research and education in a field I am very passionate about,” Geffen said.

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Harry, Carol and Anthony Chhieu Gabriel Geffen

Kim Ogden Leads


Project to Grow a New Rubber Source

GUAYULE, a desert shrub, is a promising and sustainable domestic crop.


KIM OGDEN, chair of the Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, is leading a collaboration to develop a new variety of natural rubber from a source that is more sustainable and can be grown in the forbidding conditions of the arid Southwest.

Ogden is principal investigator on a $70 million, five-year project focused on growing and processing guayule (pronounced why-OO-lee), a hardy, perennial shrub that could be an alternative source of natural rubber.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture granted $35 million for the project, with an equal match from Bridgestone Americas Inc., the tire and rubber company, to help growers transition to guayule crops from their traditional rotations of hay, cotton and wheat.

Additional partners on the project include the Colorado River Indian Tribes, Colorado State University, regional growers and OpenET, a publicprivate partnership that facilitates responsible water management.

Bridgestone has been working with guayule in Arizona since 2012 at the company’s 280-acre farm in Eloy, about halfway between Phoenix and Tucson.

KBridgestone plans to expand the farm to 20,000 acres in the next several years by working with Native American farmers to grow guayule on tribal lands, and with other area farmers.

Why Guayule?

Rubber is currently sourced from a single species –Hevea brasiliensis, or the Pará rubber tree – grown almost exclusively in Southeast Asia.

Having a single source for rubber globally means the supply of this critical material can be precarious and subject to market volatility. The Pará rubber tree crop is susceptible to disease, particularly leaf fall disease. In addition, the price of rubber is affected by increasing labor costs, and there is the potential for geopolitical disorder, Ogden said.

“The goal for Bridgestone and for the other tire companies is to find reliable, domestic sources of rubber.”

Climate- and MarketSmart Solution

The grant will fund the development and refinement of growing guayule with climate-smart practices, Ogden said.

“We want to use less water, install irrigation systems to avoid flood irrigation, use less fertilizer and educate the growers,” she said. “If you’re looking at a big system lifecycle assessment, this is going to cut down on greenhouse gases.”

sequestration. In addition, guayule has natural properties that deter insects, so no insecticides are needed once the plants reach early maturity.

As promising as guayule is as a source of natural rubber, producing the rubber alone is not economically viable, so Ogden is working to find additional products that could be derived from guayule resin and biomass, which would be marketed to supplement the revenues from manufacturing rubber products.

“There is a big risk, as well as supply chain problems, when you have all the natural rubber coming from one region of the world,” Ogden said.

Unlike annual crops, which require tilling the land every time the crops are planted or harvested, guayule is perennial. That makes no-till and low-till farming a viable practice, and it’s one method of storing carbon dioxide in the soil rather than the air, which is known as carbon

“Finding research-based solutions that have a global impact is an ideal expression of the University of Arizona’s mission,” said University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins. “I am grateful to our partners at Bridgestone and the USDA for their investment in Dr. Ogden’s expertise. I look forward to seeing new, sustainable tires on the road soon, knowing the University of Arizona helped get them there.”

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“Finding researchbased solutions that have a global impact is an ideal expression of the University of Arizona’s mission.”
ROBERT C. ROBBINS University of Arizona President
Kim Ogden is leading a $70 million project focused on growing and processing guayule (pronounced why-OO-lee), which could be an alternative source of natural rubber.


Engineering students competed for $47,000 in prizes, with projects ranging from the winning Snorpheus to a BattleBot and a system for a swarm of aquatic drones.

AAT THIS YEAR’S Craig M. Berge Design Day, 99 teams of seniors completed projects requested by industry and university sponsors, competing for $47,000 in prizes. The $7,500 top prize, the Craig M. Berge Dean’s Award for Most Outstanding Project, went to Team 23078 for Snorpheus. The wearable device records sleeper data to guide treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA.

The device provides valuable information about the snoring and sleeping positions of those who suffer from OSA, helping clinicians recommend the best therapy. Based on the information, clinicians might work with patients to sleep in different positions or use oral implants that reshape the mouth. Both treatments prevent snoring, which leads to OSA, and are permanent solutions that address the root cause of illness. In contrast, CPAP therapy only addresses symptoms, said team member Nisha Rajakrishna, a biomedical engineering major.

OSA is a disease in itself, and it can be implicated in medical conditions such as stroke and hypertension, she said.

“By getting ahead of the issue through our diagnostic tool, we prevent snoring, prevent OSA, prevent serious medical conditions from continuing,” said Rajakrishna, who is headed to medical school at University of Michigan after she completes a year-long research project.

Snorpheus was one of several health-related projects that impressed the judges and are “more complete, further along the design cycle and closer to commercialization,” said biomedical engineering alum Vina Nguyen, who works for W.L. Gore and Associates.

A few such projects were noted by Nguyen’s coworker and fellow judge Tyler Brown, a mechanical engineering alum and judge.

“They were able to directly affect patients’ lives in a positive way, and they’re so close to being able to be used in real life because of the prototyping and testing the teams had already done,” he said.

One was Team 23030’s Novel Inspiratory Muscle Strength Training Device, which won both Gore’s $1,250 Award for Lifelong Innovation and the

Team 23104 members, winners of the $1,000 prize for Best Video Capturing the Project Story, showcase the robotic system they designed to explore Martian lava tubes. Students compete for tens of thousands of dollars in cash prizes at Craig M. Berge Design Day each year. Team 23078 members, the creators of Snorpheus, accept Design Day’s top prize from Barbara Berge Campbell; Nancy Berge; and David Hahn, Craig M. Berge Dean of the college. Learn about the projects at the 2023 Craig M. Berge Engineering Design Day SCAN QR CODE

Rincon Research Award for Best Presentation at $1,500. The team developed a respiratory training system, a handheld device that provides live user feedback, to reduce blood pressure.

Helping and Family

In addition to helping people through medical advances, family was a prominent theme this year. The college’s four-year design program, as well as Design Day, are named for Craig M. Berge. An engineering alum and longtime supporter, Berge died in 2017. His widow, Nancy Berge, and daughter, Barbara Berge Campbell, were honored guests at this year’s event and helped present the first-place award.

“Craig and Nancy are proud alums of this university. Craig was an amazing engineer, and I know he would be fascinated to see what’s been accomplished thanks to his family’s generosity,” said David W. Hahn, the Craig M. Berge Dean of the college.

Nancy Berge said it was wonderful to attend in person and hear from students about their projects.

“It’s thrilling to see the students so excited,” she said. “Everyone is just filled with gratitude. That makes it even nicer.”

One grateful student was Snorpheus’ team lead Logan Deane, a biomedical

engineering major, who also won one of two project leadership awards.

“I could not have gotten a better team. They’ve basically become my family throughout this,” she said.

‘Today Is the Day’

“Today is the day where all of your designs came together,” Hahn told the students as he opened the awards ceremony. “Today we have a chance to recognize all your wonderful accomplishments.”

Awards went to a wide variety of projects, including Team 23037 for its BattleBot, a 250-pound combat robot that earned the $2,500 L3Harris Commercial Aviation Solutions

Award for Most Robust Systems Engineering. The team is in the process of auditioning for the BattleBots television show. The students had two Destruct-a-Thon tryout battles at the BattleBots Arena in Las Vegas just after Craig M. Berge Design Day. They won both, increasing their chances of being selected for a televised battle. The team also laid the foundation for the new Wildcat Robotics club, inspiring future engineering students to get in the arena.

“In 35 years at the University of Arizona, this is probably the most impressive group of undergrads that I’ve worked with. What they accomplished in one academic year is remarkable,” said team advisor and Regents Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Michael Marcellin. “Even if they hadn’t won the fight, I would have said that.”

Garnering the $1,000 IEEE Tucson Section Award for Best Use and Implementation of Engineering Standards was Team 23077’s AQUABOT Aquatic Drone Coordination, Communication and Control system. The AQUABOT serves as proof of concept for a drone system to monitor ocean health and remove plastics.

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“In 35 years at the University of Arizona, this is probably the most impressive group of undergrads that I’ve worked with. What they accomplished in one academic year is remarkable.”
MARCELLIN BattleBot team advisor and Regents Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Team 23037 members showcase their Battlebot at the inaugural Battlebots: Destruct-a-Thon competition in May. Erick Dzeketey of Team 23042 displays a live silage analyzer and mini-fermenter, winner of the $2,500 Voltaire Design Award.

$3.1M MRI Machine to Advance Research into Brain’s Inner Workings

College Opens First All-Student Makerspace

WWHILE FUNDRAISING FOR the upcoming Student Design and Innovation Center ramps up, college leaders have opened an Engineering Design Center to meet immediate needs for student workspace.

Within the next few years, the 100,000-square-foot SDIC – 50% bigger than the Bear Down Building and with half the assignable footage of McKale Memorial Center – will become the public face of the College of Engineering.

The SDIC, prominently located on Speedway Boulevard, will provide collaborative classrooms and a student advising center. It also will be home for student clubs and organizations, with building and design spaces for student projects in direct support of the UA’s commitment to experiential learning.

In the meantime, engineering leaders opened a collegewide makerspace on Feb. 1 near the university’s Main Gate at Park Avenue and University Boulevard. The 5,000-square-foot Engineering Design Center is available to all engineering students.

“All engineering students now have 24hour access to a spacious, well-equipped, safe place to collaborate and build. The Engineering Design Center is advancing the college’s goals to provide the facilities our students need to succeed in and out of the classroom,” said David W. Hahn, the Craig M. Berge Dean.

The biggest need is for seniors doing Interdisciplinary Capstone projects, said Larry Head, director of the Craig M. Berge Engineering Design Program.

“We are creating a culture of students being practical and able to build their designs, do testing, fail and try again. A lot is learned from iterating on designs,” he said.

Funding for the EDC’s equipment and three-year lease came from the Technology and Research Initiative Fund, which is overseen by Research, Innovation and Impact at the University of Arizona.

THE NATIONAL INSTITUTES of Health awarded University of Arizona researchers a $2 million grant to help purchase an advanced 3-Tesla MRI instrument for studying the human brain. The UA will be among the first institutions in the country to receive the new model, which is manufactured by Siemens Healthineers and scheduled for delivery in fall 2023. The system’s advanced hardware will produce clearer and more comprehensive images of the brain with greater speed. The UA Office of Research, Innovation and Impact is contributing $1.14 million to cover the costs above the NIH cap of $2 million.

“The new instrument will be the most powerful FDA-approved 3T MRI instrument in the world, allowing researchers to obtain the most detailed images possible,” said Ted Trouard, professor emeritus of biomedical engineering, professor of medical imaging, and principal investigator of the grant. “It will dramatically enhance current research projects and enable new research directions and discoveries.”

MRI machines have become essential in brain science research because they provide a noninvasive, safe way to obtain detailed images of the brain. But there is currently only one MRI facility on the UA campus dedicated solely to research purposes, and it’s booked for use every day from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Thus, in addition to allowing for faster scanning, higher resolution and higher fidelity, the new MRI machine will help research teams in fields including health sciences, psychology and engineering expedite their research. Eighteen investigators working on nearly two dozen projects already have plans for how to use the instrument.

“This machine will enable faculty to create new knowledge and diagnostics, as well as helping develop therapies for neurological and cognitive disorders,” said Jennifer Barton, director of the BIO5 and professor of biomedical engineering.

The Student Design and Innovation Center will measure 100,000 square feet and become the public face of the College of Engineering in the next few years. The 5,000-square-foot Engineering Design Center is available to all engineering students, including seniors working on Interdisciplinary Capstone projects.

Exploring Martian Caves, Hansel and Gretel Style

Wolfgang Fink leads a team of researchers creating a way for autonomous vehicles to scout out underground habitats for astronauts.

UUA RESEARCHERS HAVE developed technology that would allow a flock of robots to autonomously explore subsurface environments on other worlds. Caves or lava tubes on planetary bodies such as Mars are prime targets for possible future spacecraft, robots and even human interplanetary explorers.

“Lava tubes and caves would make perfect habitats for astronauts because you don’t have to build a structure; you are shielded from harmful cosmic radiation, so all you need to do is make it pretty and cozy,” said Wolfgang Fink, an associate professor and the Edward and Maria Keonjian Endowed Chair of electrical and computer engineering and biomedical engineering, as well as founder and director of the Visual and Autonomous Exploration Systems Research Laboratory at Caltech and the UA.

Fink is lead author of a paper in Advances in Space Research that details a wireless communication network to link rovers – or lake landers and submersibles on ocean worlds – through a so-called mesh topology network, whereby the machines would work as a team, independent of human input.

According to Fink and his co-authors, the approach would help NASA overcome the technological limitations of safely traversing environments on comets, asteroids, moons and planetary bodies. In a nod to the fairy tale “Hansel and Gretel,” the researchers named their patentpending concept the “Breadcrumb-Style Dynamically Deployed Communication Network” paradigm, or DDCN.

Fairy Tale Inspires the Future

“If you remember the book, you know how Hansel and Gretel dropped breadcrumbs to make sure they’d find their way back,” said Fink, who recently received the SPIE Aden and Marjorie

Meinel Technology Achievement Award and was named a Silver Fellow by the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology. “In our scenario, the breadcrumbs are miniaturized, wireless communication nodes that piggyback on the rovers, which opportunistically deploy the nodes as they traverse a cave or other subsurface environment.”

“The breadcrumbs can switch between each other and compensate for dead spots and signal blackouts,” added Mark Tarbell, paper co-author and senior research scientist in Fink’s laboratory. “If some of them die, there still is connectivity through the remaining nodes, so the mother rover never loses connection to the farthest node in the network.”

Mission of No Return

The network of communication nodes ensures all the data collected by the robotic explorers make it back to the mother rover on the surface, rendering the robots. There is no need to retrieve them once they have done their jobs, said Fink.

Yet another consideration for the technology is the search for extraterrestrial life.

Continuously monitoring their environment and location, the rovers proceed on their own, connected to one another via the wireless data connection. Once a rover senses the signal is fading but still within range, it drops another communication node, adding another “breadcrumb” to stabilize the network.

Fink said the biggest challenge, apart from getting the rovers inside the subsurface environment in the first place, is retrieving the data they record underground and transmitting them back to the surface. The DDCN concept allows a team of rovers to navigate even convoluted underground environments without ever losing contact to their “mother” rover on the surface.

“The communication network approach introduced in this paper has the potential to herald a new age of planetary and astrobiological discoveries,” said Dirk SchulzeMakuch, president of the German Astrobiological Society and author of many publications on extraterrestrial life. “It finally allows us to explore Martian lava tube caves and the subsurface oceans of the icy moons –places where extraterrestrial life might be present.”

Victor Baker, a UA Regents Professor of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences, Geosciences and Planetary Sciences, said the proposed concept “holds magic.”

“The most amazing discoveries in science come about when advances in technology provide both first-time access to a thing or place and the means of communicating what is thereby discovered to creative minds that are seeking understanding,” he said.

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Wolfgang Fink, founder and director of the Visual and Autonomous Exploration Systems Research Laboratory at Caltech and the UA, is developing a new approach to space exploration using a mesh topology network.


Four College Faculty Earn University Awards of Distinction

Four faculty members have won Awards of Distinction, the highest faculty honors at the UA. These individuals have made a difference on local, national and global scales.

who has worked closely with youth and Indigenous communities, particularly around the use of solar power –received the University Distinguished Outreach Faculty Award.

Associate professor of electrical and computer engineering and biomedical engineering Wolfgang Fink earned the University Faculty Service Award, recognizing his academic leadership and “astonishing commitment to STEM education.”

Assistant professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering Alex Craig earned the Early Career Scholar Award

Three Faculty Members Win NSF CAREER Awards

for his contributions to teaching, creative activity and service.

Assistant professor of biomedical engineering Judith Su received the Early Career Innovation and Entrepreneurship Award for significant involvement in expanding the impact of research to the public good through innovation and commercialization.

“We are proud of our faculty and appreciate the work and effort that goes behind these award nominations,” said Kathleen Melde, the college’s associate dean of faculty affairs and inclusion.

Three UA College of Engineering professors have received the National Science Foundation’s CAREER Award, the organization’s most prestigious honor for early-career faculty.

Adam Printz, chemical & environmental engineering

Adam Printz is an expert in perovskite-based photovoltaics, a form of solar power generation that uses ultrathin materials printed onto flexible plastic substrates. The technology is promising, but not yet commercially viable because it exhibits chemical and mechanical instabilities. Printz is investigating the role of molecular strain in causing these instabilities and seeking ways to mitigate them.

Judith Su, biomedical engineering & optical sciences & engineering

Judith Su is the inventor of FLOWER, an optical sensing platform that can detect ultrasmall quantities of “anything worth sensing,”

including disease particles and toxic chemicals. Now, she is developing a bloodhound-like optical nose to detect volatile organic compounds. VOCs are compounds with high vapor pressure at room temperature that emit odors.

Nima Toosizadeh, biomedical engineering & medicine

Nima Toosizadeh is developing a more practical way to diagnose frailty, or patients’ reduced ability to tolerate stress. Existing diagnostic methods include a lengthy questionnaire and set of physical tasks, which can be impractical in clinical settings. In Toosizadeh’s method, a patient is equipped with sensors to measure motor, heart and brain functions, then tasked with bending and straightening an arm for less than a minute.

National Academy of Inventors Names Moe Momayez a Senior Member

Moe Momayez, professor of mining and geological engineering, has been named a senior member of the National Academy of Inventors. Senior members, 334 of whom have been named worldwide since the “rising-star” program began in 2018, are considered “NAI fellows of the future.”

Momayez develops sustainable mining practices, such as improved methods for the storage and use of mine tailings.

With a focus on miner health and safety, characterization of geomaterials, energy and process efficiency, and renewable energy, he has dedicated his career to creating technologies that advance mine safety and productivity.

Momayez has three issued U.S. patents and two pending patent applications. He has worked with Tech Launch Arizona to license inventions for multiple startups.

“As a researcher, you use your knowledge, experience, and imagination to work on novel approaches to complex issues, design groundbreaking new technologies and products, and improve people’s lives,” Momayez said. “Our job as inventors is to never stop trying to improve the world we live in.”

Professor of electrical and computer engineering Kelly Simmons-Potter – Nima Toosizadeh Judith Su Alex Craig, Wolfgang Fink, Kelly Simmons-Potter, Judith Su Adam Printz

Da Vinci Circle Selects Erin Ratcliff

EERIN RATCLIFF HAS always had the makings of a successful electrochemist and an interface scientist – starting with her “super soaps” as a child in Wisconsin.

“I would take all of the soaps and mix them together,” she said, “which really just meant I made a super surfactant.”

Now Ratcliff is an associate professor of chemical and environmental engineering and chemistry and biochemistry at the UA; co-director of the Institute for Energy Solutions; and director of the $10.95 million Center for Soft PhotoElectroChemical Systems, an Energy Frontier Research Center (EFRC) funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Most recently, Ratcliff, who also has a joint appointment at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, was named the College of Engineering’s 2023 da Vinci Fellow. Among other support, generous donors to the da Vinci Circle fund faculty members who engage in multidisciplinary research, selecting one faculty member each year as a fellow. The award comes with a onetime grant of $10,000.

“I’m so thrilled to have been selected,” said Ratcliff, who is also the director of the Laboratory for Interface Science of Printable Electronic Materials. “I’m among some very prestigious peers at the university. I plan to use the award to fund all my grad students and postdocs to go to an important conference in North Carolina this summer.”

Ratcliff first joined the UA as a postdoctoral researcher in chemistry and biochemistry in 2007, where her advisor was Neal Armstrong, Regents Professor of chemistry and biochemistry and optical sciences. She went on to receive national recognition for her work helping Armstrong with his EFRC.

“She not only was doing very highlevel science in my group and mentoring students at the same time, but she was taking notes on how big, multidisciplinary science centers are organized,” Armstrong said. “It was only natural that she was going to wind up directing an EFRC.”

There have been only 104 EFRCs established since they were conceived in 2009. Ratcliff’s center, known as SPECS, is focused on the molecular-level science behind lowcost, highly scalable soft semiconductor technologies.

College’s Patent Luncheon Celebrates Inventive Engineers

At the second annual Patent Medallion Luncheon in early March, the College of Engineering and Tech

Launch Arizona recognized the ingenuity of 20 inventors. The engineers received medallions to commemorate 24 patented inventions.

Doug Hockstad, assistant vice president of Tech

Launch Arizona, thanked the inventors for their part in bringing the university to its second year as No. 28 in the world among universities granted U.S. utility patents. Of all university patents in the most recent fiscal year, 20% were issued to College of Engineering faculty and their collaborators.

“The College of Engineering’s engagement with TLA and its commitment to creating impact from research and innovation is a model for the university,” Hockstad said.

The following faculty members, graduate students and alumni received medallions:

Siyang Cao, Chaohan Cui (graduate student), Pierre Deymier, Wolfgang Fink, Carissa Grijalva (graduate student), Linan Jiang, Minkyu Kim, Peiwen Li, Min Liang (alum), Douglas Loy, Gregory Ogden, Kimberly Ogden, Marek Romanowski, Marvin Slepian, Tsu-Te Judith Su, Jekan Thanga, Hao Xin, Jinhong Zhang.

Erin Ratcliff first joined the University of Arizona as a postdoctoral researcher in 2007. Now, the associate professor is leading a $10.95 million Energy Frontier Research Center.
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SCAN QR CODE Watch the Video

Students Create Women in Mining Chapter

WWHEN GREATNESS OJUM was in her first year of mining engineering studies, she learned about an opportunity to launch a UA student chapter of Women in Mining, which has supported an equitable and sustainable mining industry since 1972.

“As a freshman, that was very overwhelming for me. It was

as well as its founder. “But it was something that I wanted to get involved in … so I took the initiative and got some students together.”

The WIM student chapter has attracted 17 members so far. Ojum and Angelina Anani, the chapter’s advisor and an MGE associate professor, see growth as one of their

majors. Welcoming these populations is a foundational goal for WIM chapters at every level and benefits all participants, said Anani.

“We want people to understand that regardless of your background, you can go into mining. We also want you to be included in




Homecoming is nearly here! Be sure to save the date for our 60th annual Engineers Breakfast on Friday, November 3. Enjoy delicious food, catch up with old friends and celebrate the college award winners.

Check out the website for more details. We’ll see you at Homecoming!
Greatness Ojum is the president and founder of the Women in Mining University of Arizona student chapter.


Roslyn Norman, BS/ME 2020, and Christian Davila-Peralta, MS/ME 2018 and PhD/ME 2022, founded Paramium Technologies, together with Justin Hyatt. The company was awarded $1.25 million in grants from the National Science Foundation’s Small Business Innovation Research program to build a full-scale commercial production line of highly customized curved reflectors for nextgeneration satellite applications.

Camila Leite Madeira, MS/EnvE 2016 and PhD/EnvE 2020, is a postdoctoral fellow at the State University of Campinas in Brazil. She will soon join the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Texas at El Paso as a tenuretrack assistant professor, where she will establish a research group focused on the development of sustainable and cost-effective solutions for wastewater treatment and bioremediation.


Leah Kaplan, BS/ChE 2018, is a PhD candidate and National Science Foundation graduate research fellow at The George Washington University. She was selected to participate in the 2023 Design & Technology Program of the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics. She will work with other graduate students and early-career professionals to grapple with their roles and responsibilities as designers of built environments/technology, as well as identifying and confronting the ethical issues facing architects, engineers, designers and other technologists today.


Cromey, BS/OptE 2015, was named a 2023 Optica Ambassador by the Optica Foundation. The ambassadors are selected based on demonstrated volunteerism and mentorship skills to provide guidance and advice to a global network of young optics and photonics researchers. Cromey is a senior optical engineer at Ball Aerospace in Boulder, Colorado and a sponsor mentor for the college’s Interdisciplinary Capstone program.

Jack Lundin, MS/MGE 2016, and his brother, William, successfully summited Mount Everest as part of Project No Limit, a campaign to raise awareness and funding for glioblastoma research in memory of their father, Lukas Lundin. The campaign has raised nearly $1 million in addition to the Lundin family’s initial donation. The climb was filmed for inclusion in a documentary with a working title of “No Limit.”


Otakuye Conroy-Ben, MS/EnvE 2004 and PhD/EnvE 2006, was recognized with a leadership award from the UA Indigenous Resilience Center. ConroyBen is an assistant professor in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment at Arizona State University. Her research focuses on the biological effects of polluted water. Conroy-Ben is advisor to the ASU chapter of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES).

Kathleen Hofmann, BS/CE 2005, is a civil and cost engineer and sustainability coordinator with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Little Rock, Arkansas. “I get to help solve problems and translate regulations/concepts to something tangible and understandable to others,” she said.

Jennifer Wilcox, PhD/ ChE 2004, is the principal deputy assistant secretary for the Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management in the U.S. Department of Energy.

Benjamin Cromey Jennifer Wilcox Leah Kaplan Camila Leite Madeira Justin Hyatt, Roslyn Norman and Christian Davila are the founders of Paramium Technologies. Jack Lundin & his brother, William


Jennifer Wipf, BS/AgBE 2003, was appointed to the board of directors of the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, an organization with a mission to advance Massachusetts’ leadership in the life sciences to grow the industry, add value to the health care system and improve patient lives. Wipf is head of commercial cell engineering at Ginkgo Bioworks Inc. in Boston.


Jonathan Higgins, BS/CE 1995, was named CEO of Rimkus, a provider of engineering and technical consulting services. Higgins was previously COO and has worked at the company for more than 20 years.

Kini Knudson, BS/CE 1995, was recently named deputy city manager of Goodyear, Arizona. Knudson was previously director of street transportation for the city of Phoenix.

Scott Bellamy, BS/ME 1992, works in NASA’s Planetary Missions Program Office at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Bellamy is the mission manager for the Europa Clipper mission launching in 2024. He retired from active service with the U.S. Air Force in 2009.


David Jansen, BS/EE 1985, was appointed interim CEO of Solid Power, a developer of battery cells for electric vehicles


Jonathan Weinberg, who earned MS and PhD degrees in materials science and engineering in 1991 and 1995, wrote to identify himself as the subject of this photo, taken around 1997. Weinberg worked at the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory with Peter Smith, who was the principal investigator for both the Imager for Mars Pathfinder (IMP) and Stereo Surface Imager/Robotic Arm Camera (SSI/ RAC) instruments on the NASA Mars Pathfinder and Mars Polar Lander missions, respectively.

“Since the IMP and SSI cameras were nearly identical, I can’t tell which one I’m holding, but it is more likely to be the SSI,” Weinberg said.

in Louisville, Colorado. Jansen has been the company’s president since 2017.

Eric Kalivoda, BS/CE 1980 and MS/CE 1983, was recently named secretary for the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development. He has worked in transportation for 40 years.

Marla Peterson, BS/SE 1983, was recently elected to the executive council of engineering honor society Tau Beta Pi. Peterson is a senior technical manager for continuous improvement at Honeywell.


Thomas Thoma, BS/EE 1969, is the founder and CEO of T-Squared Enterprises in Fairfax, Virginia, where he is a consultant for IT industry clients and the federal government. He is retired from the Department of Defense, where he worked for 51 years.

Terry Keith, BS/MinEng 1962, was featured in a Discover article as a pioneer in volcanology and petrology and one of the first people to explore the devastation in the wake of Mount St. Helens’ 1980 eruption. Her work helped establish the igneous petrology – the study of magma – and geothermal branch of the United States Geological Survey. She is now retired from USGS.

Marla Peterson Thomas Thoma poses with former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell. Scott Bellamy

Philanthropy Helps Fuel Growth

TTHIS ISSUE OF Arizona Engineer makes clear the college is on a growth trajectory that has accelerated under Dean Hahn’s leadership. And each step of the way, our alumni donors are partners with the college to help fuel this growth through their philanthropy.

Early on, Dean Hahn set several interconnected growth goals for the college in motion: double undergraduate enrollment; double research expenditures; expand in areas where we have the potential to lead; and strengthen our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts.

This themed issue presents several profiles of alumni and donors helping the college realize its goals – the Muzzy family is strengthening entrepreneurship and da Vinci Circle donors are helping Erin Ratcliff mentor graduate students. It was a distinct pleasure to see Nancy Berge and Barbara Berge Campbell present the top award at Craig M. Berge Design Day this year, knowing their family’s generosity is helping students graduate with substantial design experience.

I would like to highlight just a few additional examples of how outright

and planned gifts are fueling growth and progress.

During the last three years, donors have contributed more than $4.8 million to establish new undergraduate scholarships or add to existing endowments. These new funds are allowing us to both award more scholarships to more students and increase the size of the awards. Alumni have also established funds specifically designed to support graduate fellows and help transfer students achieve engineering degrees. Additionally, alumni donors are making contributions that will enable the college to realize a longheld goal to build the Student Design and Innovation Center that will become the new home for future Engineering Wildcats, thereby creating a recruitment hub as well as a home for experiential education and thus enhancing the college’s four-year design program.

During the same time period, more than $9.5 million has been donated through outright and estate gifts to establish two faculty chairs. Kray Luxbacher holds the Gregory H. and Lisa S. Boyce Leadership Chair in

Mining and Geological Engineering. The Patrick R. Taylor Leadership Chair in Materials Science Engineering is held by Sammy Tin, whose work with hypersonic vehicles is covered in this issue. The J. David Lowell Director of the School of Mining and Mineral Resources was also established, and a $4 million planned gift will create future endowed chairs in aerospace and mechanical engineering.

Endowed faculty chairs and professorships can help meet multiple college growth goals at once by supporting faculty who will bring in new research grants and retaining our outstanding faculty members.

And finally, our DEI goals are being fueled by broad support for the ENGAGED program and the Raclare Cordis Kanal Inclusion Fund, which funds scholarships and DEI initiatives throughout the college.

It has been said that vision without action is just a dream. Thanks to the actions taken by hundreds of alumni and donors to support the college through their philanthropy, the vision for growth within the College of Engineering established by Dean Hahn is being realized today.

The University of Arizona College of Engineering

P.O. Box 210072

Tucson, AZ 85721-0072


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