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FALL 2011

Engineering in Everything Expressing creativity through science and technology

Dear Friends and Alumni, We have had an exciting, busy year and you’ll see just a glimpse of all the great things happening in the college with this issue. Momentum is centered around the idea of how engineering is connected to many different things and how we can express our creativity with science and technology. Famed astrophysicist and Hayden Planetarium director, Dr. Neil deGrass Tyson and Jeff Lieberman, host of the Discovery Channel’s television show “Time Warp,” visited MSU’s campus this past year as part of the college’s Distinguished Lecture Series. Both visited with local elementary school students during their stays. Hosting individuals of this caliber is not only a pleasure but also brings important messages about math, science and technology to our students and the MSU community.

One of the core messages from both of these accomplished individuals was that engineering is far reaching and is composed of many elements. Creativity and science go hand-in-hand in order for our engineers to be successful students, teachers, researchers and leaders. Creativity isn’t separate from being an engineer. It’s our intellectual curiosity that drives inspiration and discovery.

state of behavior for children. The challenge for adults is to get out of their way.” As an institution of higher learning, I believe that it is our job to expose our students to a multitude of experiences. We guide them with our knowledge but at the same time let them explore and grow into the engineers and leaders our world needs. Our students will rise to the challenge, as is evident by our many talented and successful alumni.

These speakers’ visits challenged our students to think differently about their course work, while inspiring faculty and administrators to reflect on our methods and approach to engineering education.

My Best,

As an educator myself, I really appreciated something Tyson shared with us during his visit: “To explore and discover is the natural

Sarah A. Rajala, Ph.D. Dean of the Bagley College of Engineering Earnest W. & Mary Ann Deavenport Jr. Chair

FALL 2011

table of contents

Editor Kay Jones Allen Snow

Writer Susan Lassetter

Ar t Direction Heather M. Rowe

Photographers Megan Bean Beth Newman Heather M. Rowe

Online Video Producer Todd Dickey

Editorial Board Royce Bowden Lori Mann Bruce Bennett Evans Sarah A. Rajala

Subscription, Inquiries & Address Changes: Momentum PO Box 9544 Miss. State, MS 39762 or publications@

Follow the college on Twitter: MSUEngineering Or like us on Facebook: msuengineering


Alumnus followed taste buds to engineering, heart to Mississippi State


Researchers work to help protect MSU’s gridiron gladiators


New app to help amateur golfers be the ball, read the green


Alumnus’s fascination with flight helps athletes’ talents soar


Remembering Henry’s life, dedication to university


To swerve and protect: Driving simulator lets CAVS study how distracted driving affects law enforcement


‘I helped deliver a baby, Mom’: Student’s eye-opening experience leads to global health care outreach


Eye Spy: Using pilots’ fields of vision to develop better tools for unmanned flight


Twenty-year research partnership shows no signs of fatigue


New department heads bring new focus, big plans to college

States of Disaster: How engineering has helped the Southeast through a year of record-setting natural disasters






Student uses art and engineering to bring magical world to life Distinguished Fellows


Holy head start, Batman!


How-to Project


Cheers, Y’all! Couple turns unique hobby into liquid asset

Family legacy provides glimpse into life of turn of the century engineer More than a Degree: BCoE grads have Bulldog engineering power


Movers & Shakers


BCoE brings the ring to MSU’s Junction



Alumnus followed taste buds to engineering, heart to Mississippi State When the Rolling Stones sang, “You can’t always get what you want,” they obviously didn’t know about Emmanuel Gatling’s determination. Gatling lives by the rule, “Do what you need to get what you want”, and as a growing, 13-year-old boy, he wanted a sandwich.

“I decided I wanted to be an engineer because I loved peanut butter and jelly sandwiches,” Gatling said.

“I decided I wanted to be an engineer because I loved peanut butter and jelly sandwiches,” Gatling confessed. “My driving force was that I wanted to build a device to make them for me. I decided the best way to do that was to learn how to use the tools and equipment as an engineer so I could make my own machine.” Gatling’s plans matured as he worked his way through high school, but he never let go of his desire to study engineering. He discovered that he enjoyed chemistry, so rather than being led by his stomach, he focused on finding a university where he could play football and earn a degree in chemical engineering. A native of McAllen, Texas, he was recruited by several universities as an athlete and considered others for academics, but after visiting Mississippi State on the recommendation of Jamison Holmes, his high school trainer, Gatling knew he was meant to be a Bulldog. “I came to Starkville and was blown away. I loved the campus, and Dr. Bill Elmore completely sold me on the university,” Gatling explained. “I knew I wanted to be here and I saw an opportunity to make a contribution on the football team. It was a winwin. I could walk onto the team and get a great education.” He didn’t waste any time getting started. Just one month after his graduation from Rowe High School, he moved to Starkville to participate in Summer Bridge, a program meant to give African-American students a head start on their undergraduate careers. A late admission to the program, Gatling had to work extra hard to show that he could handle the course work. Despite the extra effort, he was thankful for that head start once football season started. He admitted that being a college athlete was more time consuming than he expected, and balancing practice with classwork was a delicate


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task. But he stayed true to his rule for life— he knew what he wanted, he just had a lot of work to do in order to earn it. “Choosing between football and engineering wasn’t an option,” Gatling explained. “I knew I wanted to be a chemical engineer and to play college football. It was just a matter of knowing my priorities and balancing my time between the two.” Although he was redshirted as a true freshman and didn’t see playing time his first year on the active roster, Gatling’s commitment to his goals never wavered. Each fall, he carefully planned to have only morning classes. This left him enough time for lunch before he would report to Shira Field House for team meetings, practice and training. When things would wrap up around 7 p.m., he would shift his focus to homework and group meetings. “Every day went back and forth, school then football,” Gatling said. “I had to make time for my responsibilities and just try to unwind whenever I could.” By 2009, his hard work was paying off. In the classroom, he had enough credit hours to be classified as a senior, and his on-field determination had earned him an athletic scholarship. It was a start, but Gatling had bigger plans—including hearing his name called as part of the Bulldog’s starting line-up.

Bagley College of Engineering

“I needed to be a starter my senior year. There wasn’t another option for me,” Gatling explained. “I wasn’t the starter going into spring practices, but I fought for it tooth and nail, and by fall 2010 I was a starting linebacker.” He added, “Getting the starting nod was a huge weight lifted off my shoulders, but at the same time it gave me more responsibility to the team. It was like OK, now it’s really time to work.” By the time he graduated, Gatling had played in 37 games, including the Bulldogs’ 2011 Gator Bowl victory. He was credited with 26 solo tackles during his playing career, and following his senior season, was nominated for the Rudy Award, which recognizes Division I football players who bring “something extra” to the team. Head coach Dan Mullen said that Gatling’s success comes from his dedication, a trait that should serve him well in life. “Anyone that can walk on to a Southeastern Conference team and earn a scholarship is someone who is not just talented, but extremely hardworking,” Mullen said. “Those are the traits you find in someone who is a winner on the field and a winner in life. Emmanuel’s work ethic will take him far.”

Gatling earned his bachelor’s degree in December and spent the next few months planning his future. He continued his athletic training as he explored the possibility of a career in the National Football League, but when Alabama Power Co. called with a job offer, he knew his path. “It was decision time. Did I want to risk being a free agent in the NFL with all of the lockout uncertainty, or go ahead and start my life as a chemical engineer,” Gatling said. “In the end, I knew what to do. I’m an engineer at heart.” Based out of the company’s Birmingham office, he is part of a team that will help run a new power plant being built in Kemper County, Miss. The facility uses state-of-theart chemical processes to convert lignite coal into power for people’s homes. Lignite is an abundant resource that was previously considered inefficient for power production. And, even though he still hasn’t created a sandwich-o-matic, Gatling said he got everything he wanted out of college. “I was a starting linebacker, received a quality education, landed a great job, made lifelong friends, and recently got engaged to Quin Pippin, a great woman I met while at MSU,” he said. “I loved my time at State and I’ve gotten everything I could ever ask for.”



Researchers work to help protect MSU’s gridiron gladiators Not since the gladiators of Rome has anyone seen a more intense 60 minutes of sport than what players face on Southeastern Conference football Saturdays. In a conference characterized by hard hits and a brutal pace, these athletes must keep their bodies in peak condition in order to stay safe and competitive on the field. To prepare the Bulldogs for this elite level of play, the MSU Athletic Department has partnered with the Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems (CAVS) for a new sports performance program. Combining engineering know-how with established training methods, the program helps coaches gain a better understanding of the players’ physiology. “We have two goals: to maximize athlete performance and to maintain athlete health,” explained Daniel Carruth, associate director of human factors at CAVS. “The data we collect supplements the information that the athletic trainers routinely gather and will help them evaluate their current training programs.” Working with Matt Balis, head strength and conditioning coach, and scientists from the university’s kinesiology department, the CAVS researchers are using motion capture technology and specialty modeling software to allow the coaches to monitor, from any angle, how an athlete moves and reacts when performing certain actions. “Currently, the coaches use video to help evaluate players’ physical performance while in training, but this only allows them to see one side at a time. We are able to provide


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3-D data, which let the coaches evaluate the player from any angle,” Carruth said. Adam Knight, an assistant professor of sport biomechanics, added, “Motion capture and modeling software allows us to see things that you might miss with the naked eye. By identifying an athlete who might be predisposed to an injury, the athletic trainers can work to correct those deficiencies.” The program began in the summer of 2010 when the researchers collected data on a select group of athletes. After determining what information best allows the coaches to assess the players’ performance, the group established a schedule for collecting data to evaluate the athletes’ progress in the strength and conditioning program. “We work with CAVS three times a year to collect performance data,” Balis explained. “It gives us immediate feedback on a player’s condition so we can help him this season, better prepare him for next season, and protect him throughout his athletic career.” He added, “Pre-hab, or individualized corrective exercise, is the future of strength and conditioning. Instead of just reacting to a situation with rehabilitation, we can prevent an injury before it occurs.”

For data collection, the athletes wear numerous reflective markers that bounce signals to a system of infrared cameras which record the players’ movements as they run through a series of basic exercises including squats, jumps and lunges. These actions showcase a variety of muscle and joint movements. By providing a comprehensive look at how athletes’ joints and muscles work together, motion capture technology is particularly beneficial for identifying players with a predisposition to knee and ankle injuries, which can bring a quick end to a promising athletic career. “This testing looks a lot at the strength and flexibility of the lower extremity, especially the knee and hip,” Knight said. “It helps the coaches see that everything has proper alignment and that the guys aren’t putting too much stress on one particular joint.” The group realizes that no amount of research or strength and conditioning can prevent

all injuries—especially when 300-pound linemen collide—but Balis has been pleased with the results of the program so far. He noted that the team’s pre-season injury report was shorter and included fewer muscle pulls and strains than those of other teams he has seen. “This program provides a great way to see how our guys are improving and evaluate our training methods” Balis said. “We feel like we’ve got a good system in place with this testing protocol and I just hope CAVS is able to continue to work with us for years to come.”

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The researchers are currently looking into expanding the program to include Bulldog baseball. Carruth is hopeful that the research can eventually build from the success of the football performance program to expand its reach to include all Bulldog athletic teams. He also sees future applications in area rehabilitation or physical therapy units. To get an inside look at the sports performance research, scan this code with your mobile device or visit momentum/2011/gridiron.html.



New app to help amateur golfers be the ball, read the green Players will soon have a new tool to help them “be the ball” at Mississippi State’s nationally ranked golf course. An application being developed for cameraequipped smart phones and tablet computers will provide detailed information about the layout of the green, allowing players to make more putts by better predicting the movement of their ball. “Having this system will be like having a virtual caddie; someone who knows the green and can be your guide. Kind of like a road map,” explained Tony Luczak, director of the Mississippi State Institute of Golf. “We hope this will help people become better golfers and maybe speed up play for people trying to squeeze a few rounds into their busy schedules.”


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The product of a collaboration between Luczak; Ed Swan, an associate professor of computer science; and Sujan Reddy, a computer science doctoral student, the app will essentially read the topography of the course for the user, giving the golfer insight into the unseen hazards of the course. “Reading the green is a tough skill to learn and most players don’t have the time to dedicate to it,” Luczak said. “That’s why professional golfers have caddies who are familiar with the course and can offer advice about how to play a hole.” He explained that during the construction of a course an architect will try to hide subtle

characteristics of the land. Clever landscape design can cause the ball to move in ways the golfer might not have expected. Some designs can even make the path to the hole appear to veer one way when it actually goes another. The MSU golf course app will put this information in the hands of the golfers. “Once you know the typography of a golf course, like how much slope there is on a hole, then you know what the ball is going to do after you tee off, and you’ll be able to make shots from all over the course,” Luczak said.

From the golf side, Luczak said the toughest part of the app development is mapping the green, a living organism that changes over time. For the computer scientists, the difficulty comes from matching the display to what the user is seeing in real life. The app uses augmented reality to overlay lines that indicate the slope of the ground and angle to the hole into the real-life image that is being displayed to the user. To activate the app, the golfer will use his or her mobile device to scan one of many markers that will be placed around the course. This tells the program where the player is on the course and allows the relevant topographical information to be displayed.

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“Unlike virtual reality, which would be a completely computer-generated image on the screen, augmented reality places digital objects into a live image,” Reddy explained. “This allows the golfer to see information that is specific to the part of the course he is dealing with.”

In addition to topographical information, the researchers plan for the app to include information about course hazards, such as how much height a player needs on a drive in order to avoid hazards like trees or sand traps. “This will probably never be legal for tournament play, but for someone just looking to come out to the course for a 18-holes of fun and relaxation, this app will be worth every penny,” Luczak said.



Alumnus’s fascination with flight helps athletes’ talents soar Most engineers build careers on big machines and complicated technology, but Bob Thurman’s professional life started with a little, round golf ball.

“The dimpled surface of a golf ball is a very delicate aerodynamic feature that helps the ball fly farther and more efficiently. My first job as an engineering graduate was to design those dimple patterns,” Thurman explained. A native of Dyersburg, Tenn., Thurman had always been fascinated with flight, so it was natural that he chose to study aerospace engineering at Mississippi State. However, instead of building rockets or designing aircraft, he became involved in a project that tested the wind resistance of sports equipment. After seeing how engineering principles could be applied to sporting goods design, Thurman knew he’d found the niche he wanted to work in. Following his 1992 graduation, he sent his resume to Wilson Sporting Goods Co. on a whim. That summer, he was hired as the principle engineer of aerodynamics at the company’s Tennessee facility that produces golf balls. “I managed a couple of research and development teams that explored different ways of faceting the ball’s surface to create geometries to make the balls fly farther,” Thurman said.


Momentum FALL 2011

He added, “With a good golfer, a ball without dimples would fly about 120 yards, but a properly dimpled ball, with the same golfer, could travel about 270 yards. The science behind the ball is very important to performance.” Thurman’s innovative dimple patterns made quite an impression at the company. He was promoted to director of global research and development in 2006. From Wilson’s headquarters in Chicago, he now oversees development of all types of sporting goods. “Right down to the football Chris Relf is holding when he throws touchdown passes for the Bulldogs,” Thurman said. “It makes me proud to know that my team of engineers plays a little part in the Bulldog teams’ athletics successes.” He said that sporting goods design comes down to managing weight and material properties, and understanding how collisions affect the product.

“Take a baseball bat for instance. If a bat usually weighs 30 ounces, we’ve got to study how to use all of that mass in the most effective way to help a batter hit the ball farther,” Thurman explained. “It comes down to physics; the equations of motion that make things move.”

One of his more recent product developments was successfully finding a way to marry a graphite shaft and a steel shaft to create a golf club that has the best properties of both materials— lightweight and strong. This allows players to swing the club faster and hit the ball farther. His team’s current projects include studying the aerodynamic behavior of soccer balls to better predict and control their movement, and developing protective gear such as baseball catchers’ mitts and football pads. “We are making products that benefit athletes at the highest level, but that can trickle down to even casual players,” Thurman said. “We want all athletes to have a great game experience whether they are playing on Wrigley Field or in a backyard in Corinth.” An athlete throughout his childhood and teenage years, Thurman passed up opportunities to play college baseball in order to pursue an engineering degree at Mississippi State. But he doesn’t regret the decision. He has vivid memories of his first sports equipment— baseball glove, golf clubs, football—and he says he can’t imagine a better career than being at the center of innovation for the products he loved as a kid and that will help shape the next generation of athletes. “This job makes you feel young again,” Thurman said. “Knowing that the work we are doing is going to put a smile on a kid’s face, that’s what it’s all about.”

Bagley College of Engineering

Remembering Henry’s life, dedication to university This summer, the Bulldog family lost a loyal friend, generous philanthropist and proven alumni leader. Hunter W. Henry Jr., a chemical engineering graduate, died June 4 in San Marcos, Texas. Henry was born in the southern Mississippi town of McComb in 1928. He spent his formative years in Canton before moving to Starkville in the late 1940s to attend Mississippi State University. He left State in 1950 with a bachelor’s degree and a lifelong passion for higher education and his alma mater. After his graduation, Henry went to work with the Gulf Oil Co. The following year, he joined Dow Chemical to begin his 42-year career with the company. He retired in 1993 as president of Dow Chemical USA. Many in the Bulldog family recognize Henry’s name because of the alumni and development center named in his honor, but it was the actions leading to that recognition that have left the most lasting impact on the university. He dedicated countless hours to university service as a long-time member of the MSU Foundation board of directors and vice chairman of the steering committee of

the university’s State of the Future capital campaign. Joined in his support of the university by is late wife, Lila Harlow Henry, and their three sons, Hunter “Ticket” Henry, Robert Henry and the late James Henry, a 1977 mechanical engineering graduate, Henry’s legacy will continue to be felt at MSU through an endowed faculty chair in chemical engineering and endowed lecture series, as well as the numerous scholarships his family has established in the colleges of arts and sciences, business, and engineering. His giving served as an example and challenge to other Bulldog alumni. Through the years, Henry received numerous honors from Mississippi State and the Bagley College of Engineering, including being named a Distinguished Engineering Fellow, and the 1988 National Alumnus of the Year. In 2001, he earned the university’s highest tribute, an honorary doctorate. But his most exciting achievement was sharing in the success and lives of his many beneficiaries at Mississippi State.

Hunter W. Henry Jr. September 9, 1928 – June 4, 2011 Momentum


New department heads bring new focus, big plans to college When good things happen, people tend to take notice. At least that’s the case with the Bagley College of Engineering. As the college has grown and evolved, it has attracted more attention and with it new opportunities for its faculty, students and alumni. Among those opportunities were chances for career advancement that, over the course of two years, lured away several BCoE department heads. “It’s difficult to lose proven leaders, but the fact that they are so highly sought after speaks highly of our faculty and administrators,” Dean Sarah Rajala said. “It’s always a challenge to replace so many people in such a short time, but we’ve been fortunate to have a talented pool of candidates to draw from.” To fill vacancies in five departments, the college conducted national searches to find new leaders whose passion for their fields could help further the college’s goals and continue the development of their departments. “The past few years have been challenging because of the financial constraints, faculty retirements and student growth. It appears that we have turned a corner and that’s a great thing,” Rajala explained. “Now we can start exploring new ways to accommodate our growth and we need strong leaders to help take us into the future.” Those tapped for new leadership opportunities include: Pasquale Cinnella, aerospace engineering; Steve Daniewicz, mechanical engineering; Jason Keith, chemical engineering; Jonathan Pote, agricultural and biological engineering; and Donna Reese, computer science and engineering. “I know that the new leadership will bring new energy and ideas to the college,” Rajala said. “I look forward to working with them to achieve our vision and goals for the college.”


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Pasquale Cinnella Aerospace Engineering

Pasquale “PC” Cinnella has more than 20 years of experience as an educator in the college of engineering. He replaced Anthony Vizzini, who in 2009 became dean of Western Michigan University’s College of Engineering and Applied Science. Cinnella served as the interim leader for two years giving him a firm grasp of what the job entails. “I love all the aspects of this job, especially being able to help students and ensure that we continue to provide quality education,” Cinnella said. The National Science Foundation ranks MSU’s department of aerospace engineering 10th in research expenditures among similar departments at public universities nationwide. The undergraduate program is ranked 84th nationally by U.S. News and World Report. Cinnella plans to continue to

Bagley College of Engineering

move up in the rankings despite being faced with tight budgets. “We have an excellent undergraduate program and we need to make sure its quality isn’t effected by lean budgets,” Cinnella explained. “ I also want to continue to grow our research program through increased collaboration with the university’s research centers, and put an increased focus on graduate education and our new distance program.” Cinnella holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Bari, Italy, and a doctoral degree in aerospace engineering from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. He came to Mississippi State in 1990 as an assistant professor of aerospace engineering. After six years, he was named associate professor and ultimately earned full professorship in 2003. Prior to coming to

State, Cinnella served as a research associate in the department of aerospace and ocean engineering at Virginia Tech. His research interests include computational fluid dynamics, thermodynamics and engineering mechanics among others. His work has been published in numerous academic publications including those produced by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. “Being chosen for this leadership position is an exciting and extremely rewarding experience,” Cinnella said. “I have been part of the MSU family for a very long time. We have been pushing the boundaries of new knowledge in engineering and applied sciences, while ensuring excellence in our educational mission and I look forward to the rest of my career here.”



As the largest department within the college, Steve Daniewicz believes mechanical engineering is in a position to get back to basics. “We’ve had a lot of growth in the past few years. We want to continue to grow, but we also need to catch our breath and make sure we have a solid foundation that we can continue to build on,” Daniewicz said. Daniewicz has served as the interim department head since Louay Chamra, now dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science at Oakland University in Michigan, stepped down from the post in 2009. In that time, he has had ample opportunity to evaluate the needs of the department and the approximately 600 students enrolled in its programs. “I would like to renew our focus on hands-on education. We’ve always done a good job with that, but our laboratory facilities need to be bolstered through improved physical spaces and equipment,” Daniewicz explained. “This would allow us to make better use of labs in our curriculum and expose more students to what they teach.”

Daniewicz joined the Mississippi State faculty in 1994 as an assistant professor. Since that time he has worked his way up the faculty ranks becoming a full professor in 2004. He has also served the department as graduate coordinator and a member of the curriculum review committee. As a researcher, Daniewicz’s work focuses on fatigue and fracture mechanics and has earned funding from the Federal Aviation Administration, NASA and the Department of Energy among others. He has twice earned an MSU Hearin Professor award, which recognizes outstanding teaching and research. He currently serves as an executive member of the ASTM International committee E-08 on fatigue and fracture. He holds a bachelor’s degree in welding engineering technology from Arizona State University. He earned master’s and doctoral degrees from Ohio State University in welding engineering and mechanical engineering respectively.

Steve Daniewicz Mechanical Engineering


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Jason Keith Dave C. Swalm School of Chemical Engineering

Jason Keith says that a 2004 visit to the Dave C. Swalm School of Chemical Engineering made a lasting impression. Now, as its new director, he plans to make sure that the rest of the chemical engineering community sees what he saw during his first visit to Mississippi State.

“Websites are the old way to communicate. We will continue to update its content, but we also want to branch into Facebook and Twitter to communicate more informally and more frequently to let our alumni, industrial friends and academic colleagues know of our successes,” Keith said.

“When I visited MSU for a seminar, I was really impressed by the faculty, facilities and atmosphere of the chemical engineering department. I’m looking forward to now being a part of the school,” Keith said.

Keith earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering, with minors in mathematics and chemistry, from the University of Akron in 1995. In 2000, he completed a chemical engineering doctoral degree at the University of Notre Dame. That same year, he joined the faculty of Michigan Technological University as an assistant professor. He earned tenure and promotion to associate professor in 2006, and full professor status in 2011.

Keith officially joined the BCoE on Aug. 1. He replaced Mark White, who served as director from 2006 until his retirement in 2010. Keith explained that the BCoE’s chemical engineering undergraduate program is the strongest in the Southeast and that the graduate program has a lot of potential for growth. To capitalize on this, he plans to increase graduate recruitment within the region, and to increase the school’s visibility through social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, and a more frequently updated website. In addition, he will be involved in organizing large proposal efforts both inside and outside of the school to enhance the its research and educational missions.

Bagley College of Engineering

His research uses mathematical modeling to improve air quality and energy efficiency through the applied fields of reactor design and alternative energy. Keith has also spent time studying, evaluating and implementing faculty development programs. He is an active member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and the American Society for Engineering Education. Follow MSU_Swalm_Direc on Twitter or like Dave C. Swalm School of Chemical Engineering on Facebook for Keith’s updates.



In his 26 years at Mississippi State, Jonathan Pote has had the opportunity to serve in many leadership positions. He says he is excited to now have the opportunity to help lead a “young” department of agricultural and biological engineering into maturity. “There are a lot of excellent faculty in the department, a lot of people who have tenure ahead of them, and I look forward to seeing them through the process,” Pote said. Pote had served as interim department head since 2010 when Bill Batchelor left the position to become dean of the College of Agriculture at Auburn University. “I think the timing was perfect,” Pote said. “I’ve held many leadership positions at the university, but at this point in my career I am glad to be back at the departmental level so I can work closely with the faculty and students.” Among Pote’s goals are finding ways to accommodate the department’s growing enrollment and increase diversity among research sponsors. “We have the highest retention rate of any engineering major, so even though we have a new building we are

already outgrowing it. We need more space and new faculty positions,” Pote explained. “We also need to make sure that all of our funding isn’t coming from one source. We have great research potential and we need to tap into all federal, state and industry funding opportunities.” Since being named a full professor in 1994, Pote has served the university in a number of administrative roles including associate vice president for research and economic development, interim vice president for research, director of the Mississippi Water Resources Research Institute, and most recently, associate director of the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station. His research focuses on water chemistry, quality, management and conservation, as well as aquaculture and environmental planning. He holds two patents for agricultural equipment. Pote earned a doctorate degree in agricultural engineering from the University of Arkansas. He holds a master’s degree in environmental and water resources engineering from Oregon State University and a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Hendrix College.

Jonathan Pote Agricultural and Biological Engineering


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Donna Reese Computer Science and Engineering

As associate dean for academics and administration, Donna Reese spent the last six years helping the BCoE develop a diverse and well-prepared student population. Now, she is focusing these strategies specifically for the needs of the department of computer science and engineering. Reese officially assumed the role of department head in July after serving in the interim since Rayford Vaughn, now associate vice president for research, stepped down in May 2010. “I’m looking forward to being back in my discipline, and working more closely with the students and the faculty, who are so energetic and enthusiastic about what is going on,” Reese said. She explained that there is a lot of nationally recognized research underway in the department and she hopes to find ways to

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better integrate those projects with other activities in the college and the university’s research centers. “It would give us the opportunity to multiply our effects because we could pool our resources and strengthen our programs,” she said. Reese said she also plans to reach out to underrepresented groups to show them what computer science has to offer. “I think computer science is a couple of years behind the other engineering disciplines as far as reaching out to underrepresented groups,” Reese explained. “We need to get these students engaged and show them how computer science can have an impact on people’s lives.” Reese was first introduced to Mississippi State as a visiting assistant professor in 1989. She

served for several years as the system software thrust leader for MSU’s National Science Foundation funded Engineering Research Center. Since that time, she has held several positions including being named a professor in 2003 and serving as undergraduate coordinator for her department. Her teaching and research interests in recent years have focused on broadening participation in computing and retention of students in science, technology, engineering, and math disciplines. She has been recognized by Mississippi State and national organizations for her dedication to students earning awards for mentoring and advising. Reese earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Louisiana Tech University, and master’s and doctoral degrees in the same field from Texas A&M University.



Student uses art and engineering to bring magical world to life Lorraine Lin describes herself as an artist masquerading as an engineer. Everyone else would probably just describe her as a character—a winged, blue-haired, heroic character, to be exact. 18

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Through her alter ego, Wing, the admittedly shy computer science senior has found a unique way to share her personality with the world.

then I assign personality traits. Once the characters start to form, I put them into situations and watch how they develop through the storyline.”

Wing is one of many characters Lin created as part of a fiction-writing group she helped found while in high school. Using original characters, she and her fellow members took turns writing stories in the group notebook. However, Lin had a head start—she had been creating characters through her sketches and writing since the second grade.

Lin credits her parents with being inspirations for her writing. Natives of Taiwan, she said they taught her a lot about ancient Chinese mythology during her childhood in Vicksburg. She said the magic and lore in those tales inspired her imagination and helped foster her love of art and storytelling.

“The first character I created was a white mouse named Curly Tail. It was based on a stuffed animal my mom made me,” Lin explained. “I start by drawing the characters,

As a teenager, Lin aspired to be an author and had completed a novel, Revenge of Fireblade, by the age of 16. The book explores the battle between good and

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evil through her original characters and a magical fantasy world. However, after its publication she realized words and images on paper were not enough to contain her imagination. “Artistic things come naturally to me, but when I considered choosing that path as a major it seemed like something was missing,” Lin said. “That’s when someone mentioned engineering. I realized that art is like the skin on an animatronic dinosaur and engineering is what gives it life.” She added, “Mixing the two disciplines is what makes the magic real. By combining my love of art and my love of science, I hope to make my own magic.”



Both skills were used when she decided to bring Wing to life. The handmade costume started with sketches and dimensions. Working during her free time while at State, it took her a full year-and-a-half to complete. It features a movable wing, lighted sword and hinged jaw that moves when Lin speaks—details that have made Wing a popular addition to fantasy and anime conventions. “Lots of people go to conventions like Anime Weekend Atlanta or San Diego’s Comic-Con in costume, but there aren’t a lot of original characters because they aren’t as recognizable. Luckily, I don’t have that problem with Wing, as she tends to stand out,” Lin said. “I love taking on Wing’s personality and just bounding around making people smile and maybe believe in magic for a little while.” Even though Lin has a quiet and reserved personality, all of her characters are very outgoing. They are warriors and leaders, heroic and even a little mischievous. She explained that without realizing it, she


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imbued these fictional creatures with characteristics she admires.

“Some people don’t understand the connection between the fantasy genre and reality. My stories all start out as fiction, but they are drawn from real life,” Lin said. Her recent work reflects her life as an engineering student. If she is stressed about going to Allen Hall to take a big calculus test, her character Wing might find herself entering an evil fortress to battle a dragon. This type of artistic expression has become a form of stress relief and an inspiration for Lin’s life after college. “When I was growing up, I hated that I was artistic. People would shake their heads

in disappointment saying it was a waste of potential because I didn’t have ‘normal’ aspirations. I thought God had given me the most useless talent ever,” Lin confessed. “But I slowly realized that I could use this skill to my advantage and to inspire creativity, imagination and fun in others.” Lin spent the summer learning how to do 3-D animation and modeling while studying 3-D/human interaction through an internship. Combining that experience with her education and work with the MSU Augmented and Virtual Reality Lab, she hopes that after graduation she can realize her dream of helping bring fantasy characters to life full time. “I’ll keep making art until the end of time,” Lin said. “I’m not worried about running out of ideas. I’m more concerned that I won’t be able to get all of my ideas out in my lifetime.” To see more of Wing and learn about her construction, scan this code with your mobile device or visit www.bagley.msstate. edu/momentum/2011/art.html.

L-R: William Ball, Jerry Redmond, Richard Loftin, Frank Kessler, Sara Ford, Samuel Lawrence, Ann Hairston, John Hairston, Allen Sills Jr.

Distinguished Fellows Eleven esteemed alumni of the James Worth Bagley College of Engineering at Mississippi State University were named distinguished engineering fellows during an awards ceremony earlier this year. Recognized for their commitment and dedication to the engineering profession, these MSU graduates are part of a tradition of excellence within the college of engineering.

“From their first day on campus to the day they receive their degrees, our engineering students excel in their personal and professional growth,” said Sarah Rajala, dean of the college of engineering. “Over the course of their careers, we’ve been pleased and privileged to follow our alumni’s successes and share them with the next generation of engineers.”

Distinguished alumni honored during this year’s award ceremony include: William (Billy) Ball B.S. Electrical Engineering, Mississippi State University, 1987 M.B.A., University of Southern Mississippi, 1994 Sara S. Ford B.S. Computer Science & Mathematics, Mississippi State University, 2001 Ann J. Hairston B.S. Chemical Engineering, Mississippi State, 1987 John M. Hairston B.S. Chemical Engineering, Mississippi State University, 1987 Frank C. Kessler B.S. Mechanical Engineering, Mississippi State University, 1998 Samuel M. Lawrence B.S. Aerospace Engineering, Mississippi State University, 1986

Richard Allen Loftin B.S. Nuclear Engineering, Mississippi State University, 1974 Alton C. Morris B.S. Civil Engineering, Mississippi State University, 1941 Ronald Pantin B.S. Petroleum Engineering and Management Science, Mississippi State University, 1975 M.S. Petroleum Engineering and Industrial Engineering, Stanford University, 1977 Jerry E. Redmond B.S. Industrial Engineering, Mississippi State University, 1988 M.B.A., Northwestern University, 2000


Allen K. Sills, Jr. B.S. Biological Engineering, Mississippi State University, 1986 Ph.D. Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, 1990

For more information about each of our distinguished alumni, please visit

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Holy head start, Batman! Unique camp introduces middle schoolers to engineering principles

This summer, Starkville morphed into a mini Gotham City when the Bagley College of Engineering played host to 23 teens hoping to find their inner Caped Crusaders. The 13-16 year old boys were part of Becoming A Teenage Mechanical ENgineer, a new summer camp aimed at introducing middle school students to engineering. Program creator Eric Heiselt said that the

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camp’s name was inspired by DC Comic’s Batman character. “Batman is one of the only superheroes with no powers, that’s why he’s my personal favorite. He’s the ultimate engineer,” Heiselt said. “Bruce Wayne is just a man who uses science and engineering to create tools that allow him to become a hero. We want these kids to see that; to understand how engineering can make a difference.” Even though mechanical is in the program’s name, the week long camp exposed the participants to many engineering disciplines. Each lesson featured hands-on activities meant to teach the engineering design process while introducing new

science and math concepts. However the campers often didn’t realize exactly how advanced what they were learning really was. Building model bridges was actually a lesson on loads and stresses; creating “Viking ships” introduced the fundamentals of fluid dynamics; and copper wire and batteries became a working motor, much to the delight of young minds. “Some of the concepts in these activities would easily be seen at the high school or junior college levels,” Heiselt explained. “We pushed trigonometry, geometry and even introduced some calculus, but we didn’t tell them that until after they completed the work. Once we told them,



How-to project Find your inner engineering hero by building this homopolar motor at home. All you need is some copper wire, a battery and a magnet. You’ll need:

• AA battery • Neodymium magnet approximately 0.05 inches in diameter and 0.25 inches thick • 18-gauge copper wire • Needle-nose pliers

1) Place the neodymium magnet on the negative terminal of the battery. 2) Remove any insulation from the copper wire, then bend the wire into any shape you want, making sure that it makes contact with the positive terminal of the battery and the circumference of the magnet. it helped make those higher math classes seem less intimidating.”

“I like making things, and I think engineering could be fun,” he said.

The main project for the camp was having the students design and build functional rockets. Working in teams, the boys had a week to make an action plan, create a scale drawing and build a rocket capable of flight. Each team was given a budget and had to purchase materials such as cardboard, plastic bottles and rubber bands from the camp store.

Heiselt explained that the goal of any academic outreach program is to introduce kids to fields that they might otherwise not come across. He says he is confident that through BATMEN the BCoE has a new generation of engineering heroes in the making.

“I really enjoyed the rocket project. I’ve built rockets before, but I think I’m being more responsible this time since I have a budget. Plus, I’m working with a partner and I don’t want to let him down,” said 13-year-old Zachary Sullivan. He confessed that before coming to camp he had wanted to be an architect, but now he thinks engineering might be a good fit.


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“We still get comments and emails from parents telling us how much their sons still talk about the camp, and many of them are planning on coming back for additional programs,” Heiselt said. For more information about the BCoE’s K-12 outreach activities, visit www.bagley. or email to request information about upcoming programs.

3) Ask an adult to make a small dent on top of the battery to help hold the wire in place. 4) Balance the copper wire on top of the battery and watch it spin. Small adjustments will effect how quickly the wire moves. Want to see a homopolar motor in action? Visit momentum/2011/howto.html or scan this code with your mobile device to watch BATMEN participant Lee Arthur walk you through the process.

Cheers, Y’all! Couple turns unique hobby into liquid asset

In a little hamlet on the Gulf Coast, Leslie and Mark Henderson have created an empire. Don’t try to find it using a GPS device, though, just follow the smell of hops in the air. One pint at a time, the couple’s Lazy Magnolia Brewing Co. has become the toast of Mississippi and developed a fan base across the Southeast. “When we started this place, there was nothing here. It was just an empty warehouse, a bare slab of concrete,” Mark said. “Look at it now and there are pipes, tubes, vats, machines, and people everywhere doing all kinds of crazy things.”

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Mark and Leslie Henderson are excited to be welcoming their son in November.

The company opened the doors to its commercial facility in Kiln six years ago, but the roots of Lazy Magnolia first took hold in the Hendersons’ kitchen. Desperate to find an interesting gift for her husband, an electrical engineer, Leslie bought a home brewing kit on a whim. It only took brewing one batch to get them hooked on the process.

Lazy Magnolia

“It was the most fascinating thing I had ever seen,“ Leslie said. “I mean we just took these raw materials and two weeks later had a beer that tasted good. It was a revelation! We started brewing more and more until eventually I kicked Mark out of the kitchen.” Leslie’s background in chemical engineering made her a natural brewmaster and she was able to put Mark’s electrical engineering degrees to work making temperature controls and other gadgets to help perfect their brewing process and refine their recipes.


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“A brewery is nothing more than a specialized chemical plant, which fits perfectly with my background,” Leslie said. “Combine that with Mark’s expertise in electrical and control systems, and we were kind of the perfect match in the perfect place at a perfect time to make a brewery happen.” Soon the Hendersons’ “hobby” was beginning to take over their lives. Their kitchen overflowed with ingredients and their garage was bursting with equipment. With every new recipe their friends grew more supportive and wanted to introduce more people to the unique brews,

until one night Mark came to a realization: it wasn’t just their friends drinking the product anymore. They had developed a cult following. “I came home one night to find nearly 200 people at our house. This random guy came up to me and said ‘Dude, do you know where the bathroom is?’ I realized he didn’t have a clue who I was and it was my house,” Mark said. “At that point, I had two thoughts: one was ‘My azaleas are in danger,’ and the second was ‘I think we might have something here.’” Leslie added, “It had started to become obvious that Mississippi and the South, in general, was lacking this one thing that people really wanted—a microbrewery— and that’s what all good businesses are based on: finding a need that’s not being met and filling it.” In 2005, Lazy Magnolia officially became Mississippi’s first and only packaging brewery. It distributed primarily along the state’s Gulf Coast. However, it had to expand quickly after Hurricane Katrina hit the area. “The storm devastated the coast, so if we were going to survive, we had to ramp up our business plan and start selling throughout Mississippi,“ Leslie said. “Luckily, the coast came back with a vengeance and we were selling more beer on the coast a year later than we were the day before Katrina.” Today you can buy their products in six states: Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Tennessee, Florida, and Georgia. The company has 18 full-time employees and will produce 14,000 barrels of beer this year. That translates into 4.5 million servings. Of the six beers currently in production, the Henderson’s say that Southern Pecan, one of the first flavors they created in their kitchen, remains the top seller. It is the first commercially made beer brewed with whole roasted pecans and it earned a bronze

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medal in the specialty beer category at the 2006 World Beer Cup. The company’s Amberjaque flavor, which will be re-released in 2011 as a spiced Christmas seasonal, earned the same award in the rye beer category. “The World Beer Cup is like the Olympics of beer,” Leslie explained. “Winning those awards really changed the way people in the craft beer community viewed Mississippi. This put us on the map in a good way. We were no longer considered a backwater, backwards state with no craft beers and bad laws.” She added, “The laws are still bad, but we’ve built a business despite the handicaps they’ve caused and we are working very hard, with support from our fans, to get them changed.” Despite their success, the couple is still very involved in the production process and product development. Mark’s engineering influence can been seen throughout the production facility, including a machine he created to assemble six-pack boxes, and Leslie still helps create new recipes. “I love our tasting days when we try out new flavors. I really love the creativity involved in creating new recipes,” Leslie said. “The interesting thing is that the recipe alone, just the list of ingredients, is not enough to make beer. It’s a very precise process, and if you don’t have the right temperature, times or even the right water chemistry, you won’t get the same results.” Leslie said they are always working on new flavors and ideas to expand their product line. One product she would like to see hit the shelves is a brew that gives a subtle nod to Mississippi State University, the couple’s alma mater and the place where they first met.

as Deep South Pale Ale, invokes thoughts of Ole Miss, while Southern Gold, a honey ale, is dedicated to the University of Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles. Leslie says that she has plenty of perfect recipes that she would love to dedicate to Mississippi State, but that the perfect name has eluded her for years.

“It has to be the perfect name for my alma mater,” she said. “It can’t be too obvious like Bulldog Brew or Cowbell Ale. It needs to be subtle and classy, because I want the best for Mississippi State.” She says that she welcomes suggestions for a name and encourages anyone with an idea to email it to To learn more about Lazy Magnolia, visit or scan the code to the left with your mobile device. Scan the code below with your mobile device or visit momentum/2011/cheers.html to get an inside look at Lazy Magnolia Brewery.


Lazy Magnolia currently has beers whose names allude to other universities in the state. Reb Ale, which is set to be re-branded



To swerve and protect: Driving simulator lets CAVS study how distracted driving affects law enforcement

When it comes to safe driving habits, everyone knows what to do—leave the radio dial alone, put the cell phone down, and keep both hands on the wheel. In short, don’t be a distracted driver.

Carrick Williams added, “They can’t eliminate the communication channels because they are necessary for the job. With our project, we hope to identify ways to help officers stay safe during patrol.”

But what if your job demanded split attention while on the road? What if public safety depended on your ability to gather information—from a radio, phone or computer screen—while maneuvering a 3,000-pound vehicle through crowded city streets?

With a grant from the National Institute of Justice, Garrison and Williams are using the CAVS driving simulator to evaluate officers’ driving performance in various on-duty scenarios.

It’s a problem that law enforcement officers must face every day, and recent driving statistics show that the men and women in blue haven’t yet found a good solution. “There’s been a trend of law enforcement officers being involved in more traffic accidents,” explained Teena Garrison, a researcher at the Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems (CAVS). “One possible explanation for this is the distractions caused by the new technology in police vehicles.”


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“We want to see how the officers perform under normal circumstances and then monitor how that changes when they are responding to dispatch calls or if issues arise in the simulated environment,” Garrison explained. “We will also test how communication effects their performance by seeing how they respond to calls when the information is available on screen versus having to retain it in memory.” The driving simulator is a room-sized installation that includes three forward and one rear screen, as well as integrated side and

rear-view mirrors in order to give participants the same visual experience they would get in the real world. The Nissan-donated Maxima car body rests on a motion-base that imitates the feel of a moving car including roll, pitch and yaw. For the law enforcement study, a mobile data terminal has been added to the vehicle. It includes the technology found in many modern police cars such as a police communication radio and in-vehicle laptop computer. The researchers use these tools to imitate the daily distractions that are present for on-duty patrol officers. Eye-tracking software allows the researchers to monitor where participants are looking as they drive, while a floorboard camera records how quickly they react to stimuli by releasing the accelerator or pressing the brake. One click of a mouse collects all of this data in real time so researchers can determine which stimuli resulted in a reaction and what might have not been seen at all.

Garrison says the simulator offers a safer way to evaluate driver performance as compared to realworld road-test. “When you wreck an actual car, there’s a lot more at stake than just a bruised ego. Not only could people be hurt, but it also costs money to continually replace the car,” Garrison explained. “When someone wrecks the simulator, we have a good laugh, then reset and go on our merry way. You just can’t do that with road tests.” The researchers have the ability to project any environment into the simulator. For the police officer test, they use a city scenario: a four-lane road, with traffic lights and other cars. Other environments available to researchers at CAVS include a desert, for military applications, and a simulated highway. Any driving situation can be replicated in the simulator as long as it is designed for man-in-the-loop interaction.

option; making it less realistic,” Garrison said. It is also important that the simulations not break down because a person does something unexpected during a test. She explained that man-in-the-loop means that human action directly affects what happens in the simulation and whether it is a desired action or not, it’s important data to collect.

“When you wreck an actual car, there’s a lot more at stake than just a bruised ego. Not only could people be hurt, but it also costs money to continually replace the car,” Garrison explained. “When someone wrecks the simulator, we have a good laugh, then reset and go on our merry way. You just can’t do that with road tests.”

“This is an engineering center, so in everything we do the question comes back to, what does this mean for engineering,” Garrison said. “We’ve got to understand how humans interact with an environment so that we can create better products and build better systems to be safe and effective in the real world.” Want an inside look at the CAVS driving simulator? Scan this code with your mobile device or visit html to see it in action.

“Video games are scripted, so if you don’t want someone to do something, you simply don’t put it in the storyline, but if you do that in a research situation, you are potentially taking away a person’s

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‘I helped deliver a baby, Mom’: Student’s

eye-opening experience leads to global health care outreach

Five years ago, Ali Borazjani had a plan for his future—first earn a degree in engineering, then finish medical school and, finally, bring home a hefty salary as a heart surgeon. By fall 2008, everything had started to fall into place. Borazjani was busy working on a biological engineering degree while building a resume that should get him into a top-flight medical school. But he wasn’t so blinded by the lights of the operating room and a future in the big city that he missed the reality check that awaited him at Starkville’s Oktibbeha County Hospital. “I shadowed a lot of doctors in Starkville,” Borazjani explained. “I originally thought I wanted to be a cardiovascular surgeon, but while shadowing a cardiologist, I realized that wasn’t the specialty for me. Everyone seemed to be suffering from the same conditions and were on regimens of many different medicines. It was kind of depressing. “Then, I did a rotation in OB-GYN and it blew my mind. In one day, you might do everything from surgery to labor and delivery to seeing patients in the office. I got to help with about a dozen Caesarean sections, and I remember calling my mom and just saying ‘I got to help pull a baby out.’ It offered a variety that the other specialties seemed to lack.” He continued, “I wanted to be in a surgical specialty that would allow me to also do primary care and medical treatments. That’s what made OB-GYN so challenging and I realized that was what I wanted to do.” With a new plan and a more open mind, Borazjani eagerly began to seek out other medical opportunities that might offer similar challenges. He joined the department of agricultural and biological engineering’s Tissue Engineering Research Center where he worked under Assistant Professor Jun Liao to investigate safer methods of performing amniocentesis, a prenatal diagnostic test that can result in a miscarriage. He also applied for an internship with Child Family Health International, a nonprofit group that places health science students at hospitals around the world to increase knowledge of global health care. By the summer of 2009, Borazjani was on his way


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to a three-month medical rotation in Cape Town, South Africa.

‘Women were dying because they couldn’t get ultrasounds’: Previous experience doesn’t prepare Borazjani for realities of Third World health care Borazjani spent the first month of his internship at G.F. Jooste Hospital, which treats more trauma patients than any other hospital in the Southern Hemisphere. With 200 patient beds, the facility serves nearly 1.3 million people in a suburb of Cape Town. “There is a lot of gang violence in that area, so it wasn’t unusual to come in at 9 a.m. and see three stabbing victims,” Borazjani said. “Every patient that came in got a chest X-ray, because nearly everyone had some form of tuberculosis. More than 65 percent of the patients were HIV positive and not receiving treatment. You just don’t see numbers like that in America. “It was scary the first few days, but it was the kind of stuff I had always wanted to do. And as far as being concerned with contracting HIV or any of the other infectious diseases we treated, once you become educated about them you realize how easy it is to protect yourself.” As he recalled his experiences from South Africa, the 22-year-old couldn’t hide his excitement. Borazjani explained that the doctors in that area are world-renowned for their diagnostic capabilities and that it was a great learning experience to work with them. However, his excitement faded when he began to recall some of the preventable deaths that also occurred while he was there. “Sometimes there was only one ultrasound in operation for the whole hospital, so it was in very high demand,” Borazjani said. “We would have women come in with severe abdominal pain. A lot of the time it would turn out to be an ectopic pregnancy, which can cause a fatal hemorrhage. When diagnosed in time, it can be treated and

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the mother can be saved. But it is best diagnosed with an ultrasound, and since that wasn’t always available, the mothers would die.” That wasn’t the only instance where Borazjani observed inadequacies in women’s health care. After a brief rotation at an AIDS clinic, he spent the remainder of his internship working with a midwife obstetrics unit (MOU). These units were created to prevent unattended births, which the World Health Organization says are responsible for three-fourths of all maternal deaths. “Working with the MOU is what I enjoyed the most,” Borazjani said. “I got to assist in several deliveries, but we also took care of a lot of HIVpositive mothers. That’s when I realized that a child should rarely contract HIV from its mother. With proper perinatal care and an assisted delivery, the chances of transmission should be less than 1 percent. That’s why proper perinatal care and education is so important.” He explained that one MOU has approximately six beds and five nurses, and although he had shadowed an OB-GYN in Starkville, it did not prepare him for labor and delivery in a Third World country. “When an American woman goes into labor, she is immediately hooked up to machines that monitor contractions, blood pressure and even the mother’s and child’s heart rates, and all of this data is monitored from the nurses station,” Borazjani said. “They don’t have this equipment in MOUs. “One of my tasks was to check on the mothers every two hours. Instead of a contraction monitor I would actually stand with my hands on the mother’s belly and count the contractions for 10 minutes. Instead of a pulse oximeter to measure oxygen levels, I checked for discoloration under their lips and eyes.” Beyond the lack of medical electronics, Borazjani said he also noticed that the MOUs didn’t have access to many of the specialized materials that are so common in America. Simple things, such as the right resorbable sutures, which reduce complications and enhance wound healing, weren’t available.



‘We realized a lot of these problems were easy to solve’: Students put their heads together to help South Africa During his last two weeks in South Africa, Borazjani was joined by fellow biological engineering student Ben Weed, who was there to attend a conference. As he recounted the things he had seen and experienced, the two students came to a realization. “We realized that a lot of these problems are really easy to solve,” Borazjani said. Weed added, “South Africa has a nice health care system in place, they just don’t have enough money to go around. That means they don’t always have the consumable products they need. They are constantly running out of stuff that an American doctor probably wouldn’t even consider counting because it’s so easy to order more.” The two returned to Mississippi State and began the process of establishing a non-profit organization, Global Solutions for Reproductive Healthcare (GSRHC). Working with medical directors that Borazjani met during his internship, the students created a plan. “A lot of times charities send supplies like gloves, gauze and bandages, but the hospitals and MOUs have those materials. It’s appreciated, but they don’t really need that stuff. They need equipment like ultrasounds or higher level medical consumables like sutures and pap smear kits,” Weed explained. “By working directly with health care providers in South Africa, we can be sure that the help we provide really addresses a specific need.” At first, GSRHC set out to simply ask for donations, but Borazjani said this wasn’t the most effective organizational model. With so many more established charities also asking for money, their small startup would get lost in the fray. However, the students realized they could offer something other organizations could not. “People are way more giving if you do something for them, so that’s what we did,” Borazjani


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explained. “We realized we could provide biomedical engineering consultation to companies in exchange for long-term commitments to donate to our cause.” Working through the laboratories of Liao and Assistant Professor Lakiesha Williams, GSRHC provides independent studies of biomedical products. Such studies can be expensive for companies to commission, but are important for getting product approval from the Food and Drug Administration. The organization’s first partnership is with a Mississippi-based medical supply company, MediVation. In exchange for tests of its surgical sutures, the company has agreed to supply Cape Townarea MOUs with sutures for at least two years. “Sutures are really expensive. One packet might cost an American patient $20 and it’s not uncommon for MOUs to go through 30 packs a day,” Borazjani said. “Getting that donation will make a big difference to the MOUs. Using the correct sutures can drastically reduce the rates of complications.” The organization also is working to find ways to provide low-cost medical equipment to health care systems in developing nations. Those efforts include seeking donations, both in money and refurbished equipment, but Borazjani and Weed also are tapping into the Bagley College of Engineering’s talent to work on the problem. In spring 2010, several groups in the biological engineering senior design class set out to create low-cost versions of medical equipment, including a neonatal scale, contraction monitor, pulse oximeter, and HIV patient tracking software. Weed said that the goal is to create designs that can be produced cheaply by third-party companies or can be assembled from kits. The end result will be affordable equipment that is just as effective as more expensive versions. “Just because you are operating in the Third World doesn’t mean that you need lower quality materials,” Borazjani said. “Our goal is to provide like-quality reproductive health care to all women, regardless of geography or politics.”

In addition to serving as president and vice president of GSRHC, Borazjani and Weed also have established a company, Innometrix, to facilitate the development of a patent-pending device they created. The device analyzes the structural integrity of the soft tissues in the female pelvis, particularly after childbirth, in order to prevent disorders such as pelvic organ prolapse. This disorder affects approximately 50 percent of all women who have given birth, and can result in incontinence, discomfort and an array of sexual and psychological problems. “Currently, there is not an approved method for detecting the subtle mechanical defects in the soft tissues within the pelvis that lead to pelvic organ prolapse,” Borazjani said. “Typically, the effects of such defects aren’t seen until 20 years down the line when the damage becomes symptomatic, but our device can detect such defects early, when preventative therapy can still be very effective.” Borazjani, who earned his bachelor’s degree in May, is currently pursuing a medical degree at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio and is overseeing human trials of the device through a clinic in Jackson. Weed, who will earn his doctorate in December, will continue to help run both GSRHC and Innometrix from their headquarters in Starkville. For more information about GSRHC, visit the organization’s website at To read more of Borazjani’s firsthand South African experiences and see photos of his journey, scan this code with your mobile device or visit www.bagley.

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Eye Spy: Using pilots’ fields of vision to develop better tools for unmanned flight

Despite what the name implies, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) don’t exactly fly themselves. Even though there is not a pilot on board, someone still has to monitor dozens of variables to keep these metal birds in the air and on task. As the military and national agencies begin to rely more and more on UAV technology, researchers at the Bagley College of Engineering are working to ensure effective operations between land-based controls and an aircraft that could be half a world away. “Officials are beginning to recognize the safety and efficiency benefits of UAV systems,” said Lesley Strawderman, an assistant professor of industrial and systems engineering. “As this technology becomes more widespread, there is a need to address the human factors issues that arise through this relatively new human-machine interface, such as how flight data is presented to pilots.” She explained that the primary use of UAVs is to


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operate in situations too dangerous for pilots and aircraft personnel. The vehicles either follow a preprogrammed flight path or are controlled remotely. All of the information from the flight, including real-time data from the on-board instruments, is sent to a ground station where trained personnel can monitor it. Joshua Stoll, a second lieutenant in the Mississippi Air National Guard, explained that even with unmanned aircraft, flight data is important to maintaining safe and effective operations. “Pilots need to be able to quickly and easily process information about the aircraft’s performance and status,” Stoll said. “This is especially important for UAV flights where the only way to monitor the aircraft is through the instrument read-outs displayed on the computer monitors at the ground station.” Stoll is one of 12 pilots who participated in the Mississippi State study that evaluated the

“Pilots need to be able to quickly and easily process information about the aircraft’s performance and status,” Stoll said. “This is especially important for UAV flights where the only way to monitor the aircraft is through the instrument read-outs displayed on the computer monitors at the ground station.”

usefulness of various computer interfaces that can display UAV flight information.

looked at how the participants’ real-world training and experience factored in.”

Each participant assumed the role of pilot for three flight simulations, which were run through different ground station computer displays. One setup showed much of the information as a digital readout; another used gauges and other visual cues that one might see in a cockpit; and a third used some visual features, but not others.

The study’s initial results were not surprising to the researchers. Pilots with prior UAV training or experience perceived the displays as more beneficial and showed less mental strain during the simulations. Strawderman said that these results will not only help software developers design more effective tools for UAV pilots, but will also lead to larger projects down the road.

The pilots were asked to identify certain dangerous situations to show how quickly and accurately they could interpret the data being shown. Eyetracking software was used to identify what parts of the interface were viewed most often by the participants, and what part of the screen their eyes were drawn to. “We wanted to quantify the effect a computer interface can have on operator performance; how quickly they could get information and identify hazardous situations,” Strawderman said. “We also

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“This project has laid the ground work for future research in this area,” Strawderman said. “The next steps would be to study the impact of teams monitoring long-term flights, how effectively a pilot can monitor multiple UAVs, and even how some of our current research, like remote sensing, can be used to extract, display and interpret data retrieved by the UAVs.”



Twenty-year research partnership shows no signs of fatigue “My bike started feeling really weird, wobbly while I was riding it,” Steve Daniewicz recalled. “When I got home, I realized what had happened; my axle had snapped in two. I knew just enough to realize that it was a fatigue failure and not some random act of God. That was the point when fatigue research grabbed my interest.” That was in 1980. For the next decade, Daniewicz consumed all of the textbooks, published articles and research studies he could on the subject. He was using that knowledge to complete his dissertation, extending the work of a world-renowned leader in the field, when he hit an academic roadblock. “I had reached a point where there were a few holes in my understanding. It was a long shot, but I looked up the phone number of Jim Newman, this famous NASA researcher whose work I had been studying,” Daniewicz said. “I called to see if I could ask him a few questions. I was afraid he would say he didn’t have time, but he didn’t do that. He was very helpful and very kind. We ended up having a fairly lengthy conversation.” “I’ve always tried to give as much time as possible to students,” Newman said.

“I made a point to try to go work with Dr. Newman for two summer fellowships. We’ve been working together on fatigue research ever since,” Daniewicz added. 36

Daniewicz completed his education in 1991 and found work as a research engineer. Meanwhile, Newman continued his work at NASA-Langley, maintaining his reputation as one of the agency’s most prolific authors. And though they kept tabs on each other through mutual acquaintances, the two men didn’t cross paths again until Daniewicz joined the mechanical engineering faculty at Mississippi State. “When Steve began teaching, I was able to sponsor him for a faculty fellowship at NASA,” Newman said. “The program allows academics to work side-by-side with NASA researchers for the summer.” “I made a point to try to go work with Dr. Newman for two summer fellowships. We’ve been working together on fatigue research ever since,” Daniewicz added. Newman retired from NASA in 2001, but nearly 40 years of professional experience wasn’t enough for the self-professed “workaholic.” After leaving the space agency, he accepted a position as a professor of aerospace engineering at Mississippi State. Finally at

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the same institution, the two engineers were able to turn the initial $130,000 fellowship that brought their professional lives together into more than $6.5 million worth of shared research grants for projects in fatigue and fracture mechanics. “Retirement would have been boring,” Newman confessed. “I’m excited about my field. There’s so much to do, so many different things to study that I could never get bored.”

“Retirement would have been boring,” Newman confessed. “I’m excited about my field. There’s so much to do, so many different things to study that I could never get bored.”

Daniewicz added with a laugh, “I don’t know if I’ll be able to maintain as much passion for my work as he has after 50 years, but maybe that’s why he’s achieved the level of success he has. He works like a crazy person—all hours of the day—but he always has time to talk about his work with enthusiasm.” Most of the duo’s work has focused specifically on metal fatigue in aircraft—how to predict crack growth and failure rates in specific materials or situations. However, recently they have also been working to change a widely accepted testing method approved by ASTM International, the governing body for materials standards. “We’ve developed a new testing technique that needs to be adopted as the industry standard, but it takes time to compile data and gather enough votes to make the change,” Newman said. He added, “For the past decade, I’ve been doing tests to show the flaws in the current method and finding a method that provides correct data. Meanwhile, Steve and his students have been doing analysis that supports these tests.” Newman said that getting standards changed can be difficult, but he believes that the team’s diligent work will pay off, and that the support they have earned from aerospace and mechanical engineering professionals will help push the standard forward. “By being from different disciplines, we are able to reach more people and have more of an impact when pushing to revise a standard testing method,” Newman said. “It’s nice to have more than one voice in the wilderness calling for change, and between our colleagues and former students, we have many supporters.” Newman will present the revised standard at a future meeting of the ASTM fatigue and fracture committee. He will then submit the revised standard to a ballot for all members. If adopted, the test method developed by the Mississippi State engineers would become the international standard for determining fatigue-crack growth properties in metallic materials. With that project coming to an end, both researchers are ready to tackle new challenges. Newman has recently taken on new teaching duties and constantly seeks out new research opportunities, while Daniewicz accepted the position of mechanical engineering department head. But despite changes to their professional roles, neither sees an end to their partnership anywhere in the near future.

Bagley College of Engineering



States of Disaster:

How engineering has helped the Southeast through a year of record-setting natural disasters The states in the southeastern part of the country have many names, but from the Volunteer to the Bayou, the Magnolia to the Yellowhammer, recently they’ve all simply been called states of disaster. This spring, the region was inundated by unprecedented weather events that caused widespread devastation. Snowmelt from a recordbreaking blizzard in the Northeast combined with heavy rain to cause historic levels of flooding in the Mississippi River Valley. Meanwhile, a massive storm system sparked tornadoes in seven Southeastern states, making it the country’s most deadly outbreak in 79 years. Mississippi alone has approved more than $9.25 million for rebuilding following the spring storms. The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency said that number only included initial flood damage estimates and that it will grow as they continue to process request for assistance from both the flood and tornadoes. “Hurricane Katrina was a significant disaster on its own, but I don’t remember ever seeing multiple disasters on the scale of what we’ve seen this spring,” explained Henry Dulaney, chief of engineering and construction division of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Vicksburg District.


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Dulaney is one of many Bagley College of Engineering graduates who sees this kind of destruction firsthand as the corps works to protect people, their livelihoods and the infrastructure from natural disasters. Whether they are ear deep in schematics, navigating floodwaters in hip waders or managing debris removal in steel-toed boots, these engineers have become the first line of defense against Mother Nature’s wrath. “Engineering has a major impact in risk reduction and mitigating the damage that does occur,” said Dulaney, who holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a master’s in engineering management.

Taming Mother Nature when they can… One of the engineers’ most ambitious protection projects is the 3,700 miles of levees protecting more than four million people when the Mississippi River overflows its banks. The levees, along with four floodways and numerous backwater areas, are part of the Mississippi River and Tributaries (MR&T) project, which, to date, is credited with preventing more than $480 billion in flood damage. “You can’t tame Old Man River with levees alone,” explained Tom Minyard, of the corps’ Memphis District. “The MR&T project was created as a comprehensive design to help control flooding. In addition to the mainline levees, there are backwater areas with levees that are designed to overtop in certain conditions to accommodate floodwater. For severe high-water events, the four floodways can act like relief valves to reduce the height of the river as it travels south into areas with larger populations.” Minyard, who serves as chief of engineering and construction for the district, explained that the 2011 Mississippi River flood was the most thorough test of the MR&T system since its creation. The project was created in response to the flood of 1927, which held the high water record on many stretches of the river until this year’s flood.

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The 1927 flood inundated 16.8 million acres and took the lives of 500 people, according to the official record. This year’s flood, which involved a larger quantity of water, only affected 6.8 million acres—nearly all of which was backwater areas and floodways—and no lives were lost. Minyard believes this is a testament to the strength of the system and the engineers who maintain it. “I believe this year would have exceeded the devastation of the 1927 flood, if not for the systems we have in place,” the 1980 civil engineering graduate said. “Now we have to evaluate the damage that was caused to the system so that we can reset and be ready for the next high-water event.” Unlike other natural disasters, floods can be more accurately predicted, especially in the Mississippi River, which drains 41 percent of the continental United States.

“Floods are emotional events because it effects the lives and livelihoods of people. It’s a slow disaster and for those who live in the backwater areas or the floodways

“Once heavy rain falls on part of the river, that water is coming south,” Minyard said. “We knew this was going to be a wet year, and even though we didn’t know exactly how bad it would get, we knew what to do to prepare.”

it can be painful

Dulaney said that the corps works closely with other agencies to monitor the river so they can evaluate the situation and distribute any important information. At the first sign of high water, each district mobilizes teams of engineers that check the status of the system and make necessary preparations, including installing high-density polyethylene plastic to prevent levee erosion and sand bags.

happen,” Minyard

to have to sit back and watch it explained.

Minyard explained that once the river begins to reach flood levels, the districts implement their second stage of attack. For this phase, engineers work in 12-hour, two-person shifts to monitor the levees for potential problems. The men and women also work closely with local emergency responders to make sure anyone in the path of the floodwater is evacuated safely, which sometimes means going in to people’s homes to explain why they can’t “ride out” the water. “Floods are emotional events because it effects the lives and livelihoods of people. It’s a slow disaster



“Hurricane Katrina was a significant disaster on its own, but I don’t remember ever seeing multiple disasters on the scale of what we’ve seen this spring,” explained Dulaney.

and for those who live in the backwater areas or the floodways it can be painful to have to sit back and watch it happen,” Minyard explained. Minyard was on hand during this year’s event when Missouri’s Birds Point-New Madrid (BPNM) floodway had to be activated to protect Cairo, Ill., and other population centers down river. “The decision to operate the BPNM floodway was not made lightly, but conditions on the river simply left us no other choice in the end,” Minyard explained. “By opening a two-mile section of levee and allowing the floodway to serve its purpose, we were able to avoid more severe flooding in more densely populated areas along the river.” He added, “Knowing that it helped save New Orleans or Memphis doesn’t really ease the suffering of those people whose homes or farmland was flooded, but that’s what happened—the system operated as designed. And now the corps is helping them recover and rebuild.”

And paving the road to recovery when they can’t When engineering can’t completely control Mother Nature, such as when the floodway was opened, the corps has planning and response teams that can step in and help start the recovery process. “The corps is a key part of a number of emergency support functions,” Minyard said. “Different districts around the country have specialized teams that are part of a national response framework. They provide support for the efforts of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and state and local officials.” These teams fill a vital role, especially in the wake of disasters that can’t easily be prepared for or predicted. They provide temporary roofs for houses, debris removal, and emergency ice, water and power, as well as helping to re-establish critical public facilities such as hospitals and school. Such assistance became very important in late April when a storm system produced more than a dozen tornadoes across the Southeast, leaving hundreds dead, thousands injured and millions without power.


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“We helped the residents see a path to rebuilding,” Lummus said. “We helped clean the land so they could start restoring their town and be able to stay in the area that has been their home.“

The small Mississippi town of Smithville recorded the strongest storm of the outbreak. The National Weather Service rated it an EF5, the highest on the tornado rating scale. Although most reports say the tornado lasted less than a minute, it still was able to destroy approximately two-thirds of the town. Jasper Lummus, a subject matter expert with the corps’ Vicksburg District, was sent to Smithville just days after the storm as part of a planning and response team. “We walked into a meeting with city and county officials and said ‘What can we do for you,’ and they just said ‘We want it all,’” the 1979 civil engineering graduate recalled. Unfortunately in that instance, “it all” referred mostly to debris removal. There

Bagley College of Engineering

wasn’t enough of a town left for emergency repairs, and only people with government identification were allowed into the city limits for the days immediately following the storm.

“We helped the residents see a path to rebuilding,” Lummus said. “We helped clean the land so they could start restoring their town and be able to stay in the area that has been their home.“

While teams from the Memphis district were dispatched to hard-hit Alabama towns to assist with the “blue roof ” temporary structures project, Lummus and others from the Vicksburg office set about the process of cleaning up the storm damage so Smithville could begin to heal.

Many Bagley College of Engineering alumni used their engineering expertise to help during this spring’s disasters. To see some of their personal accounts, scan this code with your mobile device or visit statesofdisaster.html.

Stationed in North Mississippi for two months, Lummus helped the city and county file requests for assistance and prepare contract specification for solicitations of debris removal and disposal contracts so that they might be awarded. He also was working as the liaison between FEMA and the corps.



Family legacy provides glimpse into turnof-thecentury engineer’s life

When Monica French and David Holifield began to clear out their grandmother’s attic, they expected to find some insight into their family’s history. Instead of uncovering just a few keepsakes, what they found was a nearly complete record of the life of Lay West Sr., their great-grandfather. “We had a lot of boxes to go through because they had saved everything, but through some digging we were able to put things in order and piece together the story of his life,” French explained. A native of McCarley, West earned an electrical engineering degree in 1906 from Mississippi State, which was known at the time as Mississippi A&M. He went on to work as a draftsman for Timkin Roller Bearing before joining the Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression. French explained that times were tough and after his graduation, West would travel to where there was work, often leaving his wife, Zilpha Amabelle Hill, and three children—Laura Louise, Lay Jr. and Betty Jane—at home. “He would go to wherever there were engineering jobs, just living out of a tent with a cot. He would be gone for months at a time and would send money back to his family,” French said. “If you look at his resume you can see that he only stayed places a few months at a time, but he had steady work and that’s what mattered back then.”


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Neither French nor Holifield was surprised to discover that their great-grandfather had to make sacrifices in order to provide for his family; it was a fairly common experience for people who lived through the Depression. However they were surprised to discover the lengths he went to in order to indulge his natural desire to learn. “He was continuously trying to learn and would sock away money in order to pay for lessons,” French said. “He took flying lessons even though he didn’t have a plane and couldn’t go anywhere. He took painting lessons even though he wasn’t an artist. It didn’t seem to matter what it was, as long as he was learning.” “And when she says ‘he socked it away,’ she means that literally,” added Cynthia Martin, one of West’s grandchildren. “He would keep money in socks in the back of his filing cabinet. When he passed away we found a sock full of quarters with a note that indicated it was for repairing his old Chevy so that he could drive again.” Martin said that West would probably be considered a “techie” today because he always had to have the latest technology, which in his day meant becoming the first in his neighborhood to have a telephone. He raised his own telephone poles so that he could tie into the city’s lines a quarter of a mile away. “My fondest memories of Pa involve his electrical engineering training,” Martin said. “Even the

memory of him giving me a transistor radio for my birthday. I really wanted a doll, but by getting ‘me’ the radio he could investigate the technology and listen to the news when he sat outside watching me play.” West was also an avid reader. The family found lots of textbooks and non-fiction books that were his. “We can tell they were his because he would make notes in the margins if he disagreed with something,” French said. “It’s not uncommon to find whole paragraphs written on the side or things marked out and words changed.” Texts weren’t the only things West would take issue with. Because of his socially conscious nature, he took the initiative to write to politicians and public figures when he was upset with a policy or believed something was wrong. Holifield said they found files containing copies of letters he had sent out, and in many cases a reply from the recipient. “If he got upset about something he would write a letter—-to the governor, congressmen, even J. Edgar Hoover,” Holifield said. “The neat thing is these men responded. It’s interesting to read.” It was somewhat surprising to the family to discover that West was so outspoken about

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public matters, because he was very reserved about his personal life. Martin fondly describes her grandfather as stoic. She said he wasn’t one to get emotional or reminisce about his past, with one notable exception: the night Mississippi State’s Old Main dormitory burned down. Home to more than 40,000 men during its 40-year lifespan, Old Main was legendary for its rowdy residents and their hi-jinks. “I remember we were watching the news and they showed Old Main burning. He said it felt like loosing a friend,” Martin recalled. “That’s the only time I remember seeing him cry and one of the few times that he actually sat and told stories. He said those were some of his best memories. He dearly loved Mississippi State. Because of him I knew to stand and sing the fight song before I even knew the Pledge of Allegiance.”

university uniform from 1906, as well as countless photos and documents, which include report cards, football game programs, admissions materials, and even a letter offering him a subscription to the new, weekly edition of The Reflector. There were also notebooks full of engineering class notes, and a stack of letters he and his future wife exchanged while he was away at MSU during their courtship. The family donated the uniform and copies of the Mississippi State-related photos and documents to the University Archives where they can be preserved in order to help pass on the history of MSU and its students to the next generation. Scan this code with your mobile device or visit legacy.html to get a glimpse of what Mississippi State was like in the early 20th century.

Holifield added, “He was very proud of MSU. That’s one thing that is obvious from going through his things. He was active in the Alumni Association and stayed in touch with many of his classmates. Even though he traveled all around the country during his life, he never lost his love for Mississippi State.” Among the discoveries made in the family’s storage spaces was West’s well-preserved



More than a Degree: BCoE grads have Bulldog engineering power

Many schools offer degrees in engineering. They all boast similar classes, facilities and extra-curricular activities. So, what makes one school different from another? In most cases, there’s not a lot of basis for differentiation except maybe cost, location and admission standards. However, in a world of homogeneous choices, the Bagley College of Engineering and its students and alumni have proven time and again that they are a different breed. They’re Bulldog Engineers. Bulldog Engineers stand out from the pack and not just because they look so sharp on Maroon Fridays or have the most unique office decorations—cowbells. These men and women possess a unique spirit, a down to Earth mentality that allows them to get things done and find solutions to the world’s problems. And people both in and out of the Magnolia State are beginning to take notice.

This fall, more than 108 companies attended the annual Mississippi State Career Fair in order to specifically recruit Bulldog Engineers. Landon Summers, a senior coordinator at the university Career Center, said that BCoE graduates have gained a reputation for being valuable employees.

“Mississippi State engineers graduate with great practical experience in their field of study and are more prepared for the real world,” Summers said. “I believe it is because of our students’ sense of practical application and strong work ethic, which is often developed through the cooperative education program.” Michael Barton, former president of the Engineering Student Council, described Bulldog Engineers as being task-oriented

and very competent in their fields. He said he believes this stems from the culture of the college, which encourages hands-on learning and scholarly discovery. “The size of the BCoE allows the departments to be close-knit,” Barton said. “Our faculty members are very helpful to students, and even undergraduates have the opportunity to get involved in many different projects including co-op, student design teams and research.” It’s these experiences that shape the Bulldog Engineer giving him or her the ability to develop a theory, conduct an experiment, or get down to the nuts and bolts of a project without delay. It seems like common sense, to be able to apply your knowledge upon graduation, but don’t take it for granted. It’s this skill that makes BCoE graduates, from every level and every major, a hot commodity in the engineering industry today.

You might be a Bulldog Engineer if you’ve… • Calculated how much duct tape is required to

• Stopped to talk shop with a professor in an

hold a freshman to a wall

aisle at the Piggly Wiggly

• Done laps around The Hump, in business

• Made a list of the most comfortable chairs in

attire, in order to hand your resume to as many

the library

potential employers as possible • Worked on homework during halftime of a football game at Scott Field • Spent more time with your classmates than your roommates • Felt a sense of loss during school breaks

• Devised a new theory while in traffic on Engineering Row • Bragged about your calculator to a group of friends while hanging out on the Drill Field • Bailed on Super Bulldog Weekend because

Are you a Bulldog Engineer? Share your Bulldog Engineering stories on our Facebook page or on Twitter using #bdawgengr. Use this certificate to show the world that you got more than a degree. You have the mindset of a Bulldog Engineer. Special thanks to Wesley Holland, Bruce Mainka, Andy Odenthal, Dennis Truax, and Steven C. Waller for contributing ideas for this list.

you had plans to attend a voluntary lecture

because there was no homework to do


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Movers & Shakers Alumni William M. Cobb (B.S. ’66, M.S. ’67petroleum engineering) was recently honored by the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) and the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical and Petroleum Engineers (AIME) with honorary membership at SPE’s Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition. Honorary membership is the highest honor that SPE and AIME present to an individual. Chris Jones (B.S. ’90, M.S. ’96 - civil engineering) was named a Fellow of the National Society of Professional Engineers in recognition of service to the engineering profession. Rich Lopez (B.S. ’93 – industrial and systems engineering) associate vice president of consulting for Quorum Health Resources, was named a Fellow of American Colleges of Healthcare Executives. David Pittman (B.S. ’83, M.S. ’88 – civil engineering) director of the Geotechnical and Structures Laboratory at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center in Vicksburg, has been named Federal Laboratory Director of the Year by the Federal Laboratory Consortium. Anthony Wilson (B.S. ’87 – electrical engineering), was recently elected executive vice president of customer service and operations with Georgia Power. Wilson will lead the customer service function and oversee the construction, design and maintenance of the company’s electric system, as well as direct region operations, energy planning and sales, and corporate services.


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Students Mary Ann Murdock, a chemical engineering major, was named co-op student of the year. She recently completed her co-op experience with Ergon Inc. Tau Beta Pi has awarded $2,000 scholarships to both Mary Rougeau and Mary “Ginny” Sewall for the 2011-12 academic year. The two were among 158 students selected from a pool of more than 370 applicants from across the country. Six Bagley College of Engineering students are shaping their futures with $3,000 scholarships from the Mississippi section of the Society of Petroleum Engineers. The recipients include: David Easley, a mechanical engineering major, and chemical engineering majors Joe Armour, Rebekah Armour, Clint Diamond, John Edmond Wright and Josh Tucker. The 2011 class of Student Hall of Fame inductees include: Charles M. Clancy, mechanical engineering; David D. Easley Jr., mechanical engineering; Halston R. Hales, industrial engineering; William Morris Hill Jr., computer science; Emily Jane Smith, biological engineering; and Kaitlin Michelle Wheatley, biological engineering.

Faculty & Staff Royce O. Bowden Jr. was named the associate dean for academic affairs in the Bagley College of Engineering. Professor John Usher will take the wheel as interim leader of the industrial and systems engineering department in Bowden’s absence. Sandra D. Eksioglu, an assistant professor of industrial and systems engineering, earned a National Science Foundation 2011 Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award. Accompanied by a five-

year, $400,000 grant, the award will help fund her continued research in supply chain management for biofuels. Recently elected vice-president and named a Fellow of the National Society of Professional Engineers, Robert Green, the college’s undergraduate coordinator, was also recognized as the 2011 Mississippi Engineering Society’s Engineer of the Year. Mark Horstemeyer has earned the rank of Fellow in the materials information society, ASM International. He becomes the Bagley College of Engineering’s sixth faculty member to be named a Fellow in two or more professional engineering societies. Thomas E. Lacy Jr. was recently bestowed the rank of Fellow by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). Lacy joins 24 other Fellows in the BCoE and is one of the college’s six ASME Fellows. Keith Walters, an associate professor in mechanical engineering; Dave Dampier, an associate professor in computer science and engineering; and Pat Donohoe, a professor of electrical engineering were presented with the BCoE’s top faculty research, service and career achievement awards respectively Women from the Bagley College of Engineering received half of this year’s Mississippi State Outstanding Women Awards during the 33rd annual President’s Commission on the Status of Women awards ceremony. The BCoE’s honorees include: Michele Anderson, Outstanding Professional Woman; Lori Mann Bruce, Outstanding Executive/Administrative/ Managerial Woman; Thelma Neal, Outstanding Service/Maintenance Woman; and Rachel Wheeler, Outstanding Graduate Woman.


Mike Illane, President Mark Keenum and Sarah A. Rajala accepting a check from Chevron during the Mississippi State vs. South Carolina game.



Starkville Christian Home Educator’s Mississippi BEST team taking first place at this year’s competition themed “Bugs!”. Hosted by the BCoE, Mississippi BEST is part of a national framework of BEST-competitions designed to engage, excite and inspire middle and high school students. It is locally sponsored by Caterpillar, Mississippi EPSCoR, Sleep Innovations, Milwaukee Electric Tool Corporation, and the Maroon Volunteer Center.


Dave Dampier, Rani Sullivan, Lesley Strawderman, and John Brocato were inducted into the college’s Academy of Distinguished Teachers during a spring ceremony. This year’s honorees were chosen based on nomination letters from Mississippi State administrators, faculty and students that highlighted their dedication to the college and their fields of study.

B Are you a graduate of the college of engineering at MSU? Have you received a promotion, a new job, an exciting recognition or award? Send alumni updates to the Publications & Communications Office, so that we can spread the good news to your colleagues and peers. Publications and Communications Office PO Box 9544 Mississippi State, MS 39762

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Bagley College of Engineering PO Box 9544 Mississippi State, MS 39762

Mississippi State University complies with all applicable laws regarding affirmative action and equal opportunity in all its activities and programs and does not discriminate against anyone protected by law because of age, color, disability, national origin, race, religion, sex, handicap, or status as a veteran or disabled veteran.

w w w . b a g l e y. m s s t a t e . e d u

BCoE brings the ring to MSU’s Junction During Mississippi State home football games this fall, the Bagley College of Engineering’s new Spirit-O-Meter asked Bulldog fans to bring the ring. The device, which was developed by Associate Professor J.W. Bruce, gives fans 10 seconds to ring a cowbell in order to measure how much Bulldog spirit they can generate. Each participant was rated as Bully’s Buddy, a Bona Fide Bulldog or Top Dawg, and earned a corresponding spirit pin. The Spirit-O-Meter features a cowbell, Mississippi State’s most unique symbol, which has been equipped with a special microprocessor to measure the intensity behind someone’s ring. It has a simple computer interface that allows users to see a countdown clock and meters that show the fluctuations of their effort. The day’s 10 highest scorers are ranked on the right of the screen, and whoever is Top Dawg at game time earns a chrome cowbell. All other participants

are entered into a random drawing for a maroon or white bell. After its debut prior to Mississippi State’s game against Louisiana Tech, the SpiritO-Meter became a permanent feature at the college’s tailgates and proved to be just as popular as the free food served at each event. Fans often waited in line for their chance to showcase their spirit and many could be seen debating the most effective ways to earn the Top Dawg spot. This was the second year that the BCoE sponsored tailgates prior to MSU home games. Each event was co-sponsored by the Dean’s Office and one of the college’s departments or research centers. In addition to the Spirit-O-Meter, attendees were treated to barbecue, donuts or MSU ice cream, as well as a festive atmosphere to reconnect with the college and enjoy watching football on a flat screen TV. For more information about the BCoE’s tailgate, visit in the fall prior to the first football game.

Computer science and engineering graduate student Pooja Adhikari tested the strength of her cowbell spirit as senior computer science and engineering major Marlon Taylor recorded her score.

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