Page 1


Going Global

inside this issue: Digital biology goes abroad Bulldogs catch travel bug CAVS puts the world within easy reach

Dear Friends and Alumni, My recent travels during the last year have led me across the world with visits to Russia, Taiwan, South Korea, Nigeria, Hungary, and Peru. Every visit has reinforced my commitment to engineering education with a global perspective. Sharing the college’s exciting engineering research and educational achievements with professional global colleagues has been a great opportunity. The collaboration helps identify, educate and produce capable engineers who will thrive in our world economy. Today’s engineering colleges are preparing students to not only have excellent technical skills, but also to be creative problem-solvers and innovative leaders. The highly effective engineer of the 21st century needs refined communication skills, cultural awareness and be able to live and work as responsible global citizens. The Bagley College of Engineering is leading the way with several programs that help our students excel in these areas, including distance education, unique undergraduate and graduate research opportunities, a variety of technical certificate programs, business and technical writing programs, and the chance for students to study and work abroad. All of the above are essential curriculum elements that ensure producing successful engineering leaders for the future. In this issue of Momentum, from the comfort of home or office, you will travel across multiple continents with our researchers and students as they collaborate with others, making new discoveries and increasing their engineering knowledge. Our Bulldogs will take you to the west coast of the U.S., over to Australia and China, and the researchers at the Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems will share diverse backgrounds from Africa, France, Japan, and Peru. Momentum highlights how the Bagley College of Engineering is thinking globally about education and research. Engineers today must perform in a global work environment to tackle the many complex challenges facing the world. That’s why the Bagley College of Engineering works to support and enhance the ability of its students, faculty members and researchers to understand and operate within the varied cultures of the world. Our people are embracing their futures as engineers who have the talent and skill to help save the environment, improve health and enhance the quality of life across the globe.

The highly effective engineer of the 21st century needs refined communication skills, cultural

My Best,

awareness and be able to live and

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

work as responsible global citizens.


table of contents

Editor Kay Jones

Writers Diane L. Godwin Susan Lassetter Ar t Direction Heather M. Rowe

Photographers Megan Bean Diane L. Godwin Russ Houston Heather M. Rowe

Editorial Board


Class helps smooth the bums in students’ and Mississippi’s roads



Students’ design paves the way for automotive future


Bulldogs catch travel bug from outback experience

Environmental accountability bonds scientists and society together



Distance learning lets college showcase new forms of Southern hospitality


Two scientists introduce innovation to help solve America’s energy crisis

For engineering, project size doesn’t matter


Passing the torch of knowledge


License-wilding alumnus helps profession ward of evildoers

John Brocato Lori Mann Bruce Bennett Evans Sarah A. Rajala Donna Reese


CAVS puts the world within easy reach


Subscription, Inquiries & Address Changes:



Momentum PO Box 9544 Miss. State, MS 39762 or publications@

Subscribe to our podcasts and electronic newlsetters by sending an email request to hrowe@

Views from above


In honor of a legend: The Z.U.A. Warsi Excellence Scholarship



Development notes Looks can be deceiving Scientific minds think alike for the good of mankind


‘Lights, camera, action’

Researchers want you to ‘walk this way’





The power of one Digital biology goes abroad


Circle of giving


Researchers help facilitate vital law enforcement training

Southern success at its best Global interaction shapes the future of engineering


Movers & Shakers


50 Ways to help the BCoE and MSU

Class helps smooth the bumps in students’ and Mississippi’s roads By Susan Lassetter

Life in Mississippi comes with certain undeniable truths—summers will be hot, sweet tea will be plentiful and the roads always will be bumpy.

tough project, but at the same time, it was doable.”

Transportation officials make a valiant effort, but in a state where surface elevations change with the seasons, the never-ending battle to maintain accurate land surveys—not to mention make repairs—strains budget and personnel resources. To expedite this process while saving time and money, the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) provided $25,000 in funding to a Bagley College of Engineering senior design team to enlist its help in creating a robotic surveyor.

Burnes, along with fellow electrical engineering majors Amanda Burns and Kris Williams and computer engineering majors Matthew Crymble and Tyler Smith, began their project by evaluating an abandoned, unsuccessful surveyor model. They determined its weaknesses to begin building their own, all-new systems. The team eliminated the use of liquid components, which had caused the previous model to be affected by vibrations and acceleration. They also employed distance sensors, instead of a tracking wheel, to allow the device to respond more quickly to angle changes.

“Basically, MDOT wanted to find a way to complete more surveying, faster and with fewer people,” explained team leader Eric Burnes. “At first, we looked at the project and wondered what we had gotten ourselves into. It looked like a

“The previous model’s actuator could only move about three inches per second, making it difficult to adjust to changing situations, but with our design, we were able to increase its speed to approximately 40 inches per second,” Burnes said.


Momentum Spring 2010

Encased in a handmade fiberglass form, the final design can be mounted to a rack on a truck and uses controls, cameras and GPS which can be monitored by employees in the cab. Although it took more time and consideration, the team utilized many of these user-friendly tools with real-world functionality in mind. “We could have made it easier on ourselves by not including some things, but we knew in the end we wanted to create the best product possible,” Crymble said. “This was the first time any of us had worked with expectations from an outside organization. The responsibility was daunting at first, but it was rewarding.” Team members began their capstone class knowing that it would test their accumulated engineering knowledge, but they quickly learned that their project wasn’t just about helping to create smooth driving surfaces--it was also going to help smooth their transition into professional

“As a student, you want to please your professors, but with a project like this there is additional pressure to please your client and not let down your teammates,” Burns said.

life. In between the late nights tweaking and refining their systems, the unique experience provided by MDOT meant that team members also had to write proposals, produce status reports and overcome budget hurdles. “We were lucky to receive such generous funding. It made us really slow down to consider things,” Smith explained. “When you are a student and one of your parts costs over $9,000, you want to be absolutely sure it is going to work. We spent a lot of time researching components and how they would integrate into our system before we purchased anything.” Combining electrical, computer and even some mechanical systems, the group also learned the importance of team work. While no one person was expected to be an expert on everything, each member provided additional support whenever possible. Working in small subgroups, they completed all the necessary tasks

Bagley College of Engineering

and performed incremental tests to make sure there were no weak links in the final product. “When you are working in a group, it is important to be patient and respect your responsibilities,” Burns said. “As a student, you want to please your professors, but with a project like this there is additional pressure to please your client and not let down your teammates.” At the end of the academic year, the team’s working prototype had been completed under budget, providing an opportunity for the students to stay on campus after their May graduation to make further changes to the design. “We had put in almost a full year of hard work and, even though we had finished the class, we wanted to stay to see the project through as far as we could,” Crymble said. “There was enough money left over to pay us for two weeks of additional work, but

I think if it came down to it, I probably would have stayed to help anyway.” The team members graduated with numerous job offers among the group, but before leaving to begin their careers, the students were honored by MDOT. The officials recognized the team’s dedication and the progress it made towards developing a road-ready robotic surveyor. “The engineering supervisors for this project were pleased with the progress the team made,” explained Dr. Bob Reese, electrical and computer engineering’s senior design sponsor. “It was a very valuable experience for these students to get to work with an outside organization’s support and it is an experience I hope we can share with many students in the future.”



By Susan Lassetter

For two weeks last summer, nine Bulldogs traded their Southern college campus for the Southern Hemisphere as they took part in an Australian study abroad experience. The trip centered on a digital forensics introductory course, but from the differences in government to the phenomenon of Vegemite cuisine, these Bagley College of Engineering (BCoE) students returned to Mississippi with more than additional classroom knowledge. They also gained an appreciation for different ways of life. “The purpose of study abroad is not only to provide educational opportunities, but also to give our students a global perspective,” explained Dr. Dave Dampier, a computer science and engineering associate professor. “We made sure the students engaged in educational and cultural activities to make the most of this experience.”


Momentum Spring 2010

Working with Dr. Jill Slay, a computer forensics specialist at the University of Adelaide, Australia, Dampier sponsored this trip as a unique way to expose BCoE seniors to the field of computer security. Although none of the participants were computer science majors, each student gained an appreciation for the value of digital forensics and how much computers have become a part of our lives. “The primary thing the students took away from this experience is that we live in a big world,” Dampier said. “As Americans we tend to only see our perspective on things, but the world is a much bigger place than we all realize. There are a lot of people out there doing things very similar to us; they might just do them in a little different way. Computer engineering major Tim Pitts recognized those differences upon learning that Australia doesn’t have an equivalent to America’s Bill of Rights, providing them

different protocols for collecting evidence. Having recently accepted the Department of Defense Information Assurance Scholarship to study computer security, his Australian experience proved that he’s chosen the right path for his future, but for industrial engineering major Missie Smith, the benefits were more general. “The class gave me more computer confidence,” Smith admitted. “I had never had a computer science class so, before we went, I started worrying that I was going to mess up my grade-point average for a study abroad class. I mean who does that? But once I got in the class and saw that I could do everything Tim was doing, I felt more secure in my abilities.” Despite being a computer science novice, Smith is no stranger to the study abroad. In previous summers she spent time in Spain and South Korea. She explained that those trips provided immersive language learning

experiences and crash courses in culture, but the Australian study abroad program was more relaxed. After visiting countries where even ordering a soft drink was a challenge, she was startled by the lack of culture shock she experienced upon arriving in Australia. “I was expecting something dramatic, like my previous trips, but when we landed in Sydney, I really felt like we were still in the states only everyone had an accent. In a way I was shocked because it wasn’t that shocking,” Smith explained. “It was a very laid-back trip. When we weren’t in class, we were allowed to explore what we wanted, and because everyone spoke English, it was easy to get into the culture.” During the course of the trip, the students broke off into small groups to tour different parts of the continent and take part in various activities. Smith and Pitts visited the oddly seal-less Seal Bay, home to hundreds of sea lions, and Ayers Rock,

Bagley College of Engineering

an iconic natural formation just outside of Alice Springs.

participating in Mississippi State’s annual South Korean study abroad trip.

In between petting koala bears, watching boxing kangaroos and touring museums, the two racked up more than 2,000 photos, which they posted to their travel blog, “Missie and Tim’s Australian Adventure,” in an effort to chronicle the 17-day trip.

“I made a mistake by not doing something like this the summer after my freshman year. Time is limited to do these types of things, but I was lucky and still got the opportunity to participate in a study abroad,” Pitts confessed. “Students shouldn’t let the costs discourage them. There are opportunities out there for scholarships.”

“The blog was a way for us to let our families know what was going on and share in the experience. Even my grandma was able to get on the computer and see what we had been doing,” Pitts said. “We were able to write about what we did and post pictures as we went, which will be nice in a few years when we want to look back on the trip.” This was Pitts’ first study abroad experience. Although he is a senior and will be graduating in May, he hopes to cure his travel bug before leaving Starkville by

Smith added, “I’ve been on a study abroad every year since I’ve been in college. I think it’s one of the best things you can do. Even just going somewhere for a week, there’s a lot to be gained from these experiences.” For more details about the students’ Outback adventure, visit the couple’s blog at *Above photos are courtesy of Missie Smith and TimPitts.




Momentum Spring 2010

“Distance learning provides a valuable service to engineers who don’t have access to traditional programs by allowing them to pursue advanced degrees without uprooting their lives,” Burrell said. “This

Offering nine master’s and doctoral degree programs, BCoE-Learning allows students to receive the same instruction, complete the same assignments, and earn the same degrees as their traditional delivery counterparts. These distance programs account for 20 percent of the college’s total graduate enrollment and are currently ranked 11th nationally on the basis of quality and cost by a consumer advocacy Web site.

“With our distance education programs students are not confined to a classroom. They can approach their coursework with flexibility and complete lessons when it suits their schedules,” explained Rita Burrell, the BCoE graduate and distance education manager.

Through its distance learning programs, students from coast to coast have an open invitation to not only participate in the college’s programs, but to do so from their own homes, wherever they might be.

Staying true to its roots as the Hospitality State, Mississippi State University always makes students feel welcome. Utilizing new education technology, the Bagley College of Engineering (BCoE) has taken that courtesy one step further.

By Susan Lassetter

Bagley College of Engineering



Finding himself in a job not quite suited to his passions, Reed Mosher wanted a change. He had a bachelor’s

Reed Mosher master’s in civil engineering, 1982


For more information about the BCoE-Learning program and a complete list of degrees offered, visit

increased access promotes lifelong learning while opening the door for career advancement opportunities.”

“I wanted to have a job that allowed me to use more of my engineering skill and background. ERDC provided me with that opportunity and even funded my continued education,” Mosher explained.

After searching for a job that would allow him to keep working while pursuing a master’s degree, Mosher finally found that opportunity at what is now the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) in Vicksburg. There he could maintain a steady flow of income while earning a degree via distance education from Mississippi State.

degree in civil engineering, but not with the emphasis he needed for the career he wanted. He knew what needed to be done to facilitate a change; he just needed to find the right opportunity to make it happen.

“You tend to take courses more seriously when you can see how what you are learning will be used every day,” Mosher said. “I was able to advance my career, while at the same time getting an education. Earning my master’s through distance education was the basis for me to move forward in my career. It was an important stepping stone to lead me into other things.”

Over the course of four years, Mosher worked as an Army researcher while receiving course instruction from adjunct professors at ERDC and tenure-track MSU faculty who traveled to teach in Vicksburg as part of the center’s partnership with the university. He explained that while it was difficult to balance classes with his career, it was a beneficial situation as he was able to actively apply what he was learning to his work.

Mosher completed his master’s degree in civil engineering in 1982. He earned a doctorate 10 years later and now serves as director of ERDC’s Information Technology Laboratory. In the time since his graduation, the facility has created a graduate center where classes can be taught inperson or via video link. He encourages all new ERDC engineers to explore distance education as an option for furthering their education. “My son is currently in the bioengineering program at MSU. If after graduation he is lucky enough to have an employer like ERDC who will fund his graduate education, I will definitely encourage him to consider a distance degree,” Mosher said. “It is a good way to supplement your skills and education without putting your career on hold.”

Vicki Dulski - master’s in industrial engineering, 2002 As a NASA engineer, Vicki Dulski already had a successful engineering career when she became interested in engineering management. Leaving her job for a traditional path to a graduate education was not a viable option, and personal situations prevented her from becoming a commuter student. However, she found a perfect fit in the Bagley College of Engineering’s distance education program. “I am visually impaired and unable to drive, so pursuing a master’s degree in a traditional manner—in the evenings or on weekends at a local university—presented logistical difficulties for me,” Dulski explained. “The MSU distance program was an ideal option for me.” Having earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Michigan Technological University, Dulski enrolled in the BCoE-Learning industrial engineering program to gain experience in the engineering management side of the industry. To date she has never actually been to Starkville, but video of on-campus classes allowed her to experience the instructors’ classroom presentations as if she was sitting in the back row. “I’d receive the tapes about two weeks after the class on campus occurred,” Dulski said. “The instructors were very accessible in answering e-mail or


Momentum Spring 2010

returning phone calls when I had questions about the material. The best part was when I wanted to ‘go to class’ I could do so in the comfort of my own home.” Dulski explained that her instructors were understanding about the career-based demands on her time and allowed her to work at a pace convenient for her schedule—as long as she didn’t lag too far behind. While balancing a full-time job and class work was a challenge, she believes she gained insight into her assignments by applying them to real-life situations. “I found it beneficial to have a few years of work experience before pursuing my master’s degree. I could relate much better to a lot of the material I was learning in class, as I could apply it to the experiences I had in my own job,” Dulski said. Dulski received her master’s in 2002. She now serves as the ground system manager for the Landsat Data Continuity Mission at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. In this position, she draws upon her engineering management classes to lead a team of technical staff and coordinate activities with the U.S. Geological Survey. “Many of the subjects I studied have had direct applicability to my own responsibilities in the workplace,” Dulski said. “It has given me more confidence in my job and a foundation that I‘ve been able to build upon as I’ve moved into different positions and gained greater responsibility.”

Tom O. Bialek electrical engineering doctorate, 2005 When Tom Bialek began searching for a doctoral program in 1995, he got a cold shoulder from the many institutions not able to accommodate nontraditional students, but luckily for the Canada native, the Bagley College of Engineering provided a warm welcome.

“I was working full time and could not afford to take time off to complete an entire doctoral program,” Bialek recalled. “The distance learning program at MSU provided me the best of both worlds—the ability to continue to work with my existing employer in California and advance my education at the same time.” Bialek explained that he enrolled in the electrical engineering doctoral program at State partly because of his existing knowledge of the university’s facilities, such as the High Voltage Laboratory, and its internationally recognized faculty. Although there was little opportunity for face-to-face interaction, he said his professors were always available to their students. “Missing class was never an issue since the class videos were available at any time. This also provided a great opportunity to review the lectures and homework assignments to ensure comprehension,” Bialek said. He completed all of his degree requirements while living in California and working for local utilities. He first worked for the San Francisco Bay area’s Pacific Gas & Electric before moving to San Diego Gas & Electric. He believes this career change would not have been possible if he had been enrolled in a traditional program. Having earned his doctorate in 2005, Bialek now serves as SDGE’s chief engineer for the smart grid system. He also works as an unofficial liaison for a research project the company is funding at Mississippi State. “My dissertation topic was a potential solution to an important problem for all electric utility operations,” Bialek said. “The current research work is a continuation and extension of my dissertation. It definitely has the potential to advance the nation’s needs.” He added, “I pursued my doctorate specifically to open doors. Positions have been created that recognize my accomplishments. I definitely believe that obtaining my doctoral degree has been a worthwhile endeavor.”

Bagley College of Engineering

Terry Swindle master of engineering, 2008 Terry Swindle decided to pursue a master’s degree to help differentiate himself from others in his field. While he didn’t know it at the time, this degree would also give him a unique distinction among Bagley College of Engineering alumni. He is the first graduate of the college’s master of engineering program.

“The master of engineering program is set up with flexibility in mind, both with the Internet delivery system and the customizable curriculum. It allowed me to choose classes that would be most likely to impact my situation,” Swindle said. “Each class has had its own specific applications and you never know when they will come up.” He added, “By providing differentiation of skill, this degree is an important credential to have in the industry today. I believe it will open doors for me in the future.”

“Engineers today must have multiple talents and skills while being leaders in their companies,” Swindle said. “The master of engineering program at MSU is unique as it allows you to craft a program from multiple disciplines to learn additional skills and knowledge to impact your day-to-day work. I believe it indicates persistence and a willingness to go the extra mile.” Swindle holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Tennessee Technological University, which has served him well in his career with the Summer Shade, Ky.-based Kingsford Manufacturing Co. But through his observations of his facility’s environment, he recognized a need for engineers with a broad-based education. “Most manufacturing facilities are too small to have multiple disciplines represented as part of their engineering function. If you are lucky, you may have two at the most,” Swindle explained. “In those situations, having a wide understanding of the different disciplines is essential.” With his current title of engineering manager, Swindle is essentially responsible for environmental, quality engineering and maintenance issues for his company’s site. To perform these functions he must use practices from mechanical and industrial engineering, in addition to his chemical background.



Two scientists introduce innovation to help solve America’s energy crisis By Diane L. Godwin

The world’s consumption of two of Earth’s limited resources, oil and water, is growing at an alarming rate. In fact, experts predict that within the next 50 years, the world population will grow 40 to 50 percent. Combine that prediction with additional industrialization and urbanization, and the demand for water and oil may have serious consequences on our environment. Two chemical engineering researchers, Drs. Rafael Hernandez and Todd French, are working to save the environment by providing the world with a renewable energy resource. They have invented a process that can provide the world with clean energy and recyclable effluent water just by tapping into the world’s abundant supply of wastewater. Their invention has been so promising that the Dave C. Swalm School of Chemical Engineering team has secured a $1.2 million research contract intended to commercialize the inventive process that makes biocrude from the oil of microorganisms that grow naturally in wastewater. The money will fund the first of a three-phase commercialization process managed by General Atomics, an innovative research and development company that transforms and evolves technologies from the laboratory to the marketplace. The first phase, a yearlong process, involves basic research, initial full-scale facility design, project management, and logistical planning among General Atomics, Mississippi State and the Air Force Research Laboratory. The partnership gives Bagley College of Engineering microbiologist and scientist Todd French and colleague Rafael Hernandez, a researcher and chemical engineer, access to more than three million square feet of engineering laboratories and state-of-the-art technology, not to mention connections with General Atomics and the Air Force’s own experts.


Momentum Spring 2010

“We’re developing a natural process that uses Mother Nature’s resources. Micro-organisms that are found naturally in wastewater treatment facilities will grow fat with oil when we add an inexpensive carbohydrate concoction,” said Hernandez. “As a result, society benefits in three ways by the production of clean drinking water, fuel that will lesson our carbon footprint and a decrease of the waste added to landfills.” The Air Force Research Laboratory is relying on long-range vision and planning when providing the financial backing for the project. The Air Force hopes the eventual payoff of financing the research and development will be in the form of lower fuel costs for aircraft operations. Bobby Diltz is the technical lead for the AFRL Deployed Energy Systems Group at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida. “This research can positively impact the way energy is developed and used; moveover it offers America competitive alternatives other than relying on foreign oil supplies,” said Diltz. “Plus, it will drive down the cost of our operations and what the taxpayers see, instead of paying hundreds of millions of dollars, we could be paying only hundreds of thousands of dollars.” An added advantage of the biofuel research to commercialization project is that the Air Force has bases located across the country equipped with wastewater treatment facilities, providing the basic infrastructure, with little modification, to test and grow the micro-organisms that produce the oil that makes the fuel.

“Think of the third world countries who today can’t afford wastewater treatment facilities and, therefore, can’t provide clean drinking water to their citizens,” commented Dr. Mark White, former director of the Dave Bagley College of Engineering

C. Swalm School of Chemical Engineering. “When Drs. Hernandez’s and French’s invention is commercialized, those countries could build a facility that provides clean drinking water, but also pays for itself by producing biofuel that they can use and sell for other energy systems, which, by the way, are safe for the environment.” Kevin Downey, project manager at General Atomics, said that for the past four years GA has been conducting cutting-edge research aimed at the production of biofuels from algae. Algae research is being performed in three principal areas, including pond algae and heterotrophic or tank algae. The third focus is MSU’s technology that uses a microbial consortium to generate oil from wastewater combined with algae for wastewater cleanup and additional oil production. Downey says the microbial consortium and algae complement one another because the algae consume carbon dioxide and remove nitrogen and phosphorus from the wastewater, while also producing oil and providing oxygen for support of microbial growth. The microbial consortium consumes the algae-produced oxygen and carbohydrates present in the wastewater to generate oil and then produce carbon dioxide, which in turn is required for algae growth. The net result is a cleaner wastewater effluent and a biofuel product that subsequently can be converted to either biodiesel or jet fuel.

explained Downey. “That comes at a pretty steep price and the price is getting steeper all the time because of increasingly stringent guidelines for wastewater cleanup. The advantage of this technology is that you’re leveraging the existing infrastructure, taking advantage of the microbes that are already present, adding algae to help clean up the wastewater, providing a cleaner water for discharge, and producing fuels for sale that are safe for the environment. It is a win, win situation.” In a little more than a year experts hope to advance the project to phase two, which involves expansion of the technology to larger-scale equipment and application of test data to the full-scale facility design. If successful, the project will then go into phase three, which involves demonstration of a prototypic pilot-scale facility.

“I think we’re three to five years away from seeing this break into the market,” commented French. “When it does, we’ll have another alternative fuel source that helps keep America from being dependent on foreign oil and helps regulate oil prices.”

“This is a project that can potentially use the existing infrastructure throughout the country, when you consider that every municipality has a wastewater treatment facility. These facilities are geared towards cleaning wastewater sufficiently so it can be discharged into our rivers and oceans,”



Views from above

Using big picture perspective to manage Earth’s resources By Diane L. Godwin

Launching satellites into orbit is considered a national source of pride for many developing countries. In fact, until this fall, the Chinese were lauding a 13-year streak of successful launches, and South Africa recently celebrated the inauguration of their first national space agency, which recently rocketed two satellites into low Earth orbit. Although people across the world are proud of these commemorative achievements, scientists who collect data from the satellite images are facing another challenge—efficient use of limited resources and developing automated ways of searching through the archived data and extracting information from it. As more and more countries have plans for additional satellite observation systems, researchers are confronted with ways to increase the usability of millions of images stored in archives and data collected in real time. Dr. Roger King, director of the Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems, is working with many international space agencies to solve that problem. King, a William L. Giles Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering—the highest of Mississippi State faculty recognitions— began working with NASA and NOAA to establish an international organization while serving at NASA headquarters in an Intergovernmental Personnel Act


Momentum Spring 2010

appointment. The result of this effort was the establishment of a ministerial-level organization, Group on Earth Observations, during the first Bush administration. “The international group was developed to address the need to collaborate among countries and share satellite imagery,” explained King. “The world population is growing at an astronomic rate; at the same time, people have higher standard of living expectations, so the question becomes, ‘How can world decision-makers establish effective policies and solutions to better manage Earth’s limited resources if we don’t have consistent, informative data to support them?’” The principle outcome from GEO was the inception of the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS)—a system of all satellite systems, with the intent of providing the infrastructure to manage the world’s observations systems and computational models to better utilize limited resources and to develop the capacity and infrastructure for automated extraction systems for different sets of environmental data. “We need to manage more effectively for the good of global society. If we as a world consortium have satellites that already collect

data, for instance, about climate change and water depletion, what advantage does a country offer society by launching another satellite that collects the same information,” asked King. “When what the world really needs is to launch a satellite that collects other, but just as important, data.” In order to address and support the knowledge discoveries gathered from Earth Observation images, researchers around the world have begun developing automated tools for extracting information from the global satellite images. To further support GEOSS efforts of collaboration, the Romanian Space Agency recently hosted the International Workshop on Innovative Data Mining Techniques. Data mining is a computational, automated technique that uses machine-learning algorithms (intelligent mathematical solutions) to recognize and identify unique patterns within imagery. “The objective of the workshop is to work toward proactively linking together existing and planned observing systems, as well as to promote common and consistent technical standards, so that the data from the thousands of different satellite instruments can be combined into coherent data sets,” explained Dr. Marius-Ioan Piso, president and CEO of the Romanian Space Agency.

Countries such as South Africa, China and India are working hard to further develop their technical expertise and knowledge capacities.

“The critical point of all of this is we don’t need to tell developing countries how to do this,” said King. “What is preferred is that we share and show them how we are collecting data and are building our own knowledge base. This practice will allow them to be independent and learn to do it for themselves.” King served as the convener at the Romanian-sponsored international workshop and as the technical co-chair at the International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS). The prestigious position has been filled in years

Bagley College of Engineering

past by colleagues from leading universities and space agencies from around the world.

IGARSS general chair and professor at the University of Johannesburg.

“This was the first time Africa has ever hosted IGARSS and we had representation from 67 countries and 1,200 delegates in attendance,” said King. “Before the conference, we offered a week of short courses for young scientists and the local people of Cape Town. It was an opportunity to share our research and technological advances to help Africa build its own knowledge capacity for doing some of this kind of work.”

IGARSS is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, providing yet another opportunity for King to cultivate relationships and share ideas that will make the world a better place. “We need to be careful and wary of doing research just for the sake of getting published in a journal or just for the sake of completing a dissertation,” said King. “The research that we do needs to make an impact and improve the places in which we live.”

In the spirit of collaboration, the IGARSS team, the African Association for Remote Sensing of the Environment and Environmental Information SystemsAfrica, worked together for five years through a series of training workshops and conferences on remote sensing technologies and applications to prepare for this year’s IGARSS conference. “Many regions of Africa are emerging from dark periods of civil strife and regional conflict. It is an appropriate moment to embrace the possibilities of remote sensing and associated sciences as tools in development, environmental protection, health, good governance, and disease and poverty alleviation,” said Harold Annergarn,



CAVS puts the world within easy reach By Susan Lassetter


Momentum Spring 2010

Gaining exposure to international points of view no longer requires frequent flier miles, as long as you can tolerate high humidity. The proof lies in the diverse makeup of Mississippi State University and its Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems (CAVS). While not exactly Embassy Row, the center has established itself as a hub of international cooperation in the heart of a rural Mississippi town. “Because we are a major research university, we not only have faculty and staff from all over the U.S., but we also have many who were born outside of the states,” explained Dr. Roger King, who holds a doctorate from the England’s Cardiff University. “With these different influences, Starkville is like a metropolitan city of only 22,000 people.”

continents, believes that each individual can be enriched from the international relationships fostered by the center. “Many of our people have been trained and worked at a variety of off-shore research facilities and universities. This gives us new partners and opens the door to new areas of research in which to work,” King said. “It’s key to have these relationships, which provide great opportunities for our faculty and students.” For more information about CAVS and its various partnerships, visit www.cavs. or contact King at rking@

Couple finds career path synergy through university center Natives of France, they each hold degrees in mechanical engineering, but Jean-Luc and Clemence Bouvard have differing ideas when it comes to utilizing that knowledge. His drive stems from academic research, but for her, commercial application takes priority. It may not seem strange to those familiar with the broad reach of engineering disciplines, but considering that the Bouvards were wed in 2006, these diverging paths create an interesting dynamic.

As director of CAVS, King has experienced firsthand the impact a diverse population can have on the dynamics of an institution. Projects at the center regularly bring together researchers who hail from opposites sides of the globe. Engineering is the common thread that bonds the teams, but the experiences that inform each person’s decisions and processes provide each individual with a unique perspective. “Our diverse pool of researchers brings a whole new dimension to what we are able to do,” King said. “By combining international educational backgrounds and work experiences like we have here, I think we give our sponsors a much better product.” Research sponsors, such as the Department of Energy, National Science Foundation and Department of Defense, have all benefited from the unique situation found at CAVS. The center’s state-of-the-art facilities, combined with its varied faculty, make it a veritable one-stop-shop for companies looking to bring a global perspective to their research, saving them the investment that would come from commissioning the same work from multiple sources. However, multi-million-dollar organizations aren’t the only ones who benefit from CAVS’s global reach. King, who is personally involved in projects on three

Bagley College of Engineering



“Our scientific field is the same, but the application is definitely not,” Clemence explained. “Even while we were studying for our master’s degrees, Jean-Luc stuck to the research side while I preferred the industrial orientation.” After completing their master’s degrees, she began a career in the French automotive industry while Jean-Luc chose to pursue a doctorate. Each operated in his or her own engineering realm until he had to face the decision that plagues new graduates around the world. He could join wife Clemence and her two-hour daily commute in a corporate career, or follow his passion by searching for an academic research position. “In France, after earning a doctorate, you basically have to work for a company. You could work for a university, but the salaries are not competitive and the opportunities are limited,” Jean-Luc said. “I really wanted to stay in academics, so when my adviser told me of the opportunities at CAVS I decided to come to America.” Jean-Luc accepted the position of postdoctoral fellow in 2007 and Clemence joined him on the payroll in 2008 as a research associate. With their offices just yards apart, the couple now finds ways to benefit from each other professionally while pursuing their own interests. “At CAVS we still get to work for the automotive industry and the equipment is really outstanding. The last project we worked on, Jean-Luc developed material models and theories and I applied it to engineering fixtures like reproducing testing,” Clemence said. “Although it’s different, the work we are doing is kind of complementary.” Jean-Luc added, “We have a lot of freedom to research. Plus, I have had the opportunity to work with students, write proposals and be the principal investigator of a project. In France, I don’t think a post-doc would have such responsibility. It’s been a great experience for me.” The couple originally planned to limit their stay in America to one year. However, they


Momentum Spring 2010

found Mississippi to be so welcoming and full of opportunities that they have made their plans indefinite while they establish family-roots in Mississippi. The couple welcomed their first child, a daughter, in November and Jean-Luc is currently pursuing projects that will allow for collaboration between CAVS and his alma mater.

“Many outsiders don’t see the state of Mississippi as having much to offer, but after taking a closer look, many will find that they are mistaken,” Motoyama explained. “I know the state is working hard to invite foreign companies to find a home here. Having CAVS helps Mississippi prove that they can provide for and help support these industries.”

Automotive industry finds familiar liaison in Mississippi

Motoyama first came to Mississippi State in 1992 as the Honda flight test engineer. After having had a successful career with the company’s aircraft operations in Japan, he served as the liaison for its newly formed partnership with the university. He served in this capacity for three years before returning to the Honda Research Center in Japan. Later, he became senior consulting director for the American-based MSC Software Corp., but his previous experience ultimately brought him back to MSU. He rejoined the Bulldog family in 2008 as a research professor.

Known for catfish and cotton, Mississippi likely won’t spring to mind when thinking of automotive manufacturing, but Dr. Keiichi Motoyama hopes to change that perception. A native of Tokyo, Japan, he not only helps research vehicular technologies for the future, he also helps international companies establish American roots through the Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems.

“In my time at the university I found my work to be challenging, but rewarding, since I was able to work with students and conduct research,” Motoyama said. “I considered many things before coming back. My family enjoyed Starkville and I saw an opportunity to help bridge the gap between this American institution and my many connections in Japanese industry.” Currently Motoyama is conducting research in vehicle structures, but much of his time is spent traveling between various company headquarters to meet with key managers and executives in an effort to secure and progress his research projects. In the time since he returned to the university he has helped maintain its relationship with his previous Japanese employer and its American branches, while introducing new partnerships with several other large Japanese manufacturing companies.

“CAVS is a place where advanced research is pushed forward,” Marin said. “If you like staying in one specialty area you can, but the technology and knowledge is available if you want to branch out. There is a freedom of research here that you wouldn’t find in other places, like commercial labs.” In addition to taking advantage of the research independence the center provides, Marin also values the global interchange CAVS creates. Even with all of his experience, he still takes every opportunity to learn from the accumulated knowledge of his co-workers. With colleagues

“Japanese automotive companies, in particular, are very interested in what CAVS can do in terms of research, as well as the knowledgeable work force it helps produce,” Motoyama said. “Through my many foreign friends, I have an international information network which helps me communicate with companies headquartered in many different countries.”

Variety keeps life interesting for Peruvian engineer Being a professional means accepting responsibility, performing under pressure and having pride in one’s work. Dr. Esteban Marin lives up to all of these requirements while fulfilling his own condition for career achievement. “I think a professional should be happy with what they are doing and I am very happy with what I am doing here,” Marin explained. After spending seven years at Sandia National Laboratories, Marin, a native of Peru, joined CAVS to continue his research in materials modeling. While working at a university facility is different from what he experienced in California, he finds plenty of enjoyment in his work. He is currently involved with two primary research projects, but he eagerly assists others whenever his expertise can be beneficial.

Bagley College of Engineering

from almost every continent, he believes the research teams have an uncommon approach to the problems they are working to solve. “This environment gives you a unique understanding. Everyone has such different skills. There is benefit to be gained from working with people from so many different backgrounds,” Marin explained. “That kind of interaction is what allows you to grow as a professional and I enjoy that kind of learning.”



His experience at CAVS is a continuation of a lifelong devotion to learning. Marin earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and came to America as a Fulbright Scholar in order to obtain a master’s degree. After practicing as an engineer in Peru, he returned to America in 1990 to obtain a doctorate. He has worked in the states as an engineer ever since.

“I have it in mind to write a proposal that would involve my former doctoral adviser, Dr. Jean-Baptiste Leblond of Pierre and Marie Curie University, as well as colleagues from Texas A&M and CAVS. Even though the economic situation is tough right now, we can still try,” Enakoutsa said. “I am looking forward to the opportunity to collaborate and if it doesn’t succeed this year, I know we can make it work within the next five years.”

“It’s very well known that America is one of the most advanced countries in the world in terms of technology and knowledge,” Marin said. “If you are eager to continue studies, this is the place.”

Already looking years ahead into his career, it’s clear that Enakoutsa doesn’t see another moving van in his near future. He explains that after living in Paris and Texas, Starkville’s small-town atmosphere and its lush Southern landscape are a welcome change. Plus, with all of the doors opened by the university, his life promises to never be boring.

Starkville holds appeal for worldly researcher For anyone keeping track of Koffi Enakoutsa’s career, the tally reads as follows: three continents, three countries, three American states, four degrees, and five universities, all in just over 10 years. It seems unlikely, but beginning at his home in Togo, Africa, that’s the path that led him to MSU. “I started my studies in my home country where I earned a master’s in mathematics. I then went to Paris where I earned a second master’s and a doctorate in mechanical science and engineering,” Enakoutsa explained. “I moved to the United States in 2007 and since then have held post-doctoral positions at Ohio State and Texas A&M, College Station.” It was Enakoutsa’s adviser at Texas A&M, Dr. Amine Benzerga, that introduced him to the Bagley College of Engineering’s Dr. Mark Horstemeyer and the capabilities of CAVS. He joined the center in July as a post-doctoral associate. “I have been working with Dr. Douglas Bammann and other colleagues from CAVS on the virtual accident and injury reconstruction project,” Enakoutsa said. “The project is funded by the Department of Transportation. One of my duties is


Momentum Spring 2010

“In bigger cities you feel anonymous but here it’s like everyone knows everyone. I like that. I also like the greenness of the area. I find it beautiful and interesting. I can even bike to work,” Enakoutsa said. He added, “The thing I like about CAVS is that it provides a lot of opportunities in mechanical engineering. You won’t find too many universities with research facilities like the ones we have here.”

the development and computational implementation of nonlocal theories within the paradigm of multiscale modeling of materials.” Although he has been with the university for less than a year, Enakoutsa is already looking forward to opportunities to expand his research. He chose mechanical engineering because of its practicality and versatility, which is something he plans to expand upon through future endeavors.

In honor of a legend: The Z.U.A. Warsi Excellence Scholarship By Diane L. Godwin

“I consider teaching the noblest of all professions and believe through education, the human condition can most effectively be improved.” Those are the words of a three-time Hearin-Hess Distinguished Professor. To describe professor emeritus Dr. Zahir U. Warsi’s feelings for his profession as passionate would be a mild description. His life was a testimony to his dedication in all facets of his life—career, family, students, and to Mississippi State University. The accomplished aerospace engineering professor was born in India and earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Lucknow, India. He immigrated to the United States in 1967 and began his career at Mississippi State as a visiting professor. “Dad didn’t choose America. America chose him. His Ph.D. dissertation produced four original journal articles, which brought invitations from various universities in the U.S.,” said daughter, Rani Sullivan, assistant professor of aerospace engineering at MSU. “He was originally on his way to Brown University, but his contact was away on sabbatical, and dad was not a gambling man—at

Bagley College of Engineering

the time he had four children. He took no risks and accepted a solid invitation from MSU.” Warsi’s plan was to stay at the university for three years, but Dr. Charlie Cliett, then aerospace engineering department head, realized Warsi’s potential and offered to sponsor him for a green card. “Dad and mom became citizens in 1978 and loved Starkville and its people and never looked back,” said Sullivan. In Warsi’s 41-year MSU career he produced 90 research papers, including 49 archived journal articles, three books, two book chapters, and two monographs. That’s not including numerous conference presentations and invited lectures, guiding 14 doctoral dissertations and 10 master’s degree theses, along with the distinction of receiving the MinnaJames-Heineman Foundation Fellowship to spend a semester on sabbatical as a visiting professor at the Von Karman Institute for Fluid Dynamics in Belgium. When he died in December 2008, Warsi was in the final stages of completing a book on continuum mechanics.



“I’m currently trying to compile a complete set of his papers to donate to Mitchell Memorial Library to be housed in its Special Collections,” said Sullivan. Warsi made fundamental mathematical contributions in the area of grid generation, a technique necessary to model complex structures and flows in disciplines, such as aerospace: the study of air flow past flight vehicles; biological: the analysis of blood flow; and civil: earthquake analysis of structural buildings. Additionally, he made important contributions in the areas of boundary layers, turbulence, compressible and incompressible flows, and differential geometry. He also was one of the original participants in the proposal to the National Science Foundation for the establishment of the Engineering Research Center, renamed the High Performance Computing Collaboratory. Warsi’s proudest achievement was the publication of his book, Fluid Dynamics—Theoretical and Computational Approaches, first published in 1992, which received scholarly acclaim and is now in its third edition. Professors from around the world use the book to teach graduate courses in fluid dynamics and it is used as a reference by aerospace professionals.

“Dad gave me a copy of his book and I never looked at the front leaf until he had passed. He had written,‘To my beloved daughter Rani. For her to learn: method, style and the appreciation of beauty in mathematical language, Dad’”


Momentum Spring 2010

He and his wife Amina were married for 50 years and graduated five MSU alumni, daughters Fatima Shmulsky (’97), Rani Sullivan (’89,’93,’03), and sons Saif Warsi (’84), Shahab Warsi (’85), and Javed Warsi (’93). There are 14 grandchildren. In honor of Professor Warsi and his scholarly impact on the scientific community, his family, with the help of Dr. Masoud Rais-Rohani, professor of aerospace engineering, and former aerospace engineering department head Dr. Anthony Vizzini, in addition to matching gifts from both the 3M Corporation and Pfizer, has established the Z.U.A. Warsi Excellence Scholarship. The first scholarship is to be awarded in spring 2010 and preference will be given to graduating seniors entering the aerospace graduate program in the area of fluid or solid mechanics. “The annual scholarship will be a reminder of a great MSU researcher who dedicated his life to exploration and education,” said Sullivan. “He loved to expose and engage engineering students to use the elegance of mathematics to explain the world around them and this scholarship will continue his legacy.” To make a contribution to the Z.U.A. Warsi Excellence Scholarship, contact Bennett Evans at 662-325-0386 or

of false or misleading information,” said Oliver Myers, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering. Through practice crisis scenarios, the classroom full of faculty members discovered when one responds with “No comment.” to a crisis situation, the probability of inaccuracies, inappropriate speculation and damaging innuendo increases dramatically and damages not only their credibility, but also the reputation of the college and university.

‘Lights, camera, action’ By Diane L. Godwin Responding to media inquiries and cultivating positive relationships with reporters helps ensure that media stories about the Bagley College of Engineering (BCoE) are more balanced and, often, more positive. With that in mind, many of the BCoE’s faculty members enrolled in the media training workshop offered by the college’s publication and communication team. The workshop was offered to teach engineering faculty how to appear and feel comfortable with on-camera interviews, how to position and bridge to their message when reporters ask negative questions, as well as the importance of giving reporters brief, up-to-date information on a timely basis. “We learned that there are many reasons to talk to the media, and with the development of social networking sites, the most important is to respond quickly to prevent the communication

Bagley College of Engineering

“Being in front of that camera teaches you not to underestimate the power of the media,” said James Fowler, professor of electrical and computer engineering. “I appreciate learning from my mistakes, rather than spending a lifetime rebuilding my reputation. It’s amazing what you don’t think of when you’re in front of that lens. Something as innocent as responding by nodding my head in a positive fashion to indicate I was listening rather than agreeing to a reporter’s negative comment, really can send a mixed message to the audience.” Given a hypothetical crisis scenario, the faculty prepared for the on-camera interviews by playing the role of a journalist. This helped them predict the questions that would be asked, learn how to respond and to predict potential information quagmires. “It definitely increased my media literacy, the importance of not repeating the reporter’s negative questions, and the appropriate phrasing and body language to use when conveying a more positive message,” explained Adrienne Minerick, associate professor of chemical engineering. As the media training workshop concluded, faculty members walked away with the fact that the best way to build credibility in a crisis situation with the media is through cooperation and honesty. Audiences many times see the media as an independent and objective resource, which can bolster or hinder the perceived value of any college and university.



1 The power of

By Diane L. Godwin


Momentum Spring 2010

Mike Mathews spent 35 years transforming the lives of nearly 12,000 students. The former associate director of the MSU Cooperative Education (co-op) program retired recently, but not before he and his team helped students earn more than $163 million by connecting them to employers who paid them to learn while on the job. “In 1955, we started with 18 companies and we’re still working with 15 of the 18 more than 50 years later,” said Mathews. “Of course some merged with other companies, such as BellSouth, which is now AT&T, and Mississippi Power and Light is now Entergy, but they stayed with us.” Since the beginning, the MSU co-op team has worked with a total of 2,800 employers from across the world. This year nearly 400 companies are working with students in 30 states. Mathews says the program’s success is evident because employers line up at the door for students. “That generally has been the case, the students have made such positive impressions that we have more opportunities than students to fill the jobs,” explained Mathews.

“Actually, we placed Doug at Union Carbide before he took his first class at MSU. He worked the fall semester, and then took classes on campus the following semester,” explained Mathews.

his actions, he taught me that exposure and a helping hand can go anywhere and produce incredible results. This man saw opportunity for a young man, not a young black man.”

Deason then filled the informal role of coop ambassador, speaking to first-semester freshmen about enrolling in the program. That’s where he met and was unsuccessful in recruiting Joy McCarver, a diligent student who was away from her studies just long enough to eat.

Professors usually have exposure to the same students for one or two semesters. The co-op program gave Mathews the opportunity to sustain student relationships during the entirety of their college career. When they went to work, Mathews found them coming back to MSU as recruiters. The alumni wanted to return the favor by giving other students the same opportunities they had.

“Mike and the others finally convinced Joy to join the program. We ended up cooping at Carbide together, began dating in the summer of 1978 and married in 1981,” said Deason. “I thank God and Mike for this, as Joy has been my biggest fan for over 30 years. I don’t think we would have likely met without the co-op program.” If Mathews had taken his planned career path, Deason may not have been recruited into the program or met his wife, because Mathews intended to attend graduate school to become an accountant. However, Dr. Luthor Epting, former head of the co-op program, intervened. Epting was Mathews’ former high school basketball coach and algebra teacher, and realized Mathews was a people-person, encouraging him to apply for a full-time co-op position.

“Mike’s involvement in my life speaks to the power of one,” said Mack. “One man reached out to one child. That one child, through maturation and community involvement, has touched the lives of literally tens of thousands. All because one man, Mike Mathews, took the time to show me something I had never imagined. I will love him forever.”

“I got out of the Air Force on a Friday and started work on a Monday,” explained Mathews. “Initially, I was going to stay long enough to earn my master’s degree, I never imagined this was going to be my career. I fell in love with it and the students and got my MBA and stayed.”

Mathews has made a difference in thousands of students’ lives. Doug Deason, a 1980 chemical engineering graduate, was attending Louisiana State University, when his mother scheduled a tour of the MSU campus and made an appointment with Mathews to discuss co-op opportunities.

Carl Mack, a 1986 mechanical engineering graduate, now the executive director of the National Society of Black Engineers, is thankful that Mathews made a career change, because that decision made a huge impact on Mack’s life.

“Before I left Mike’s office, I decided to enroll in MSU and the co-op program,” said Deason, an environmental adviser at the ExxonMobil Refining and Supply Company in Houston, Texas.

“The long and short of our life-changing meeting was that Mike came to an all-black high school in Jackson, Miss., and changed my life forever by giving me a vision of my future,” explained Mack. “He changed my life forever by giving me options. Through

Bagley College of Engineering

“Mike’s an individual who had a career with meaning and he touched the lives of many,” said Deason.“The co-op experience was key for me being offered and accepting employment at Exxon Chemical, a career that has lasted for more than 29 years.”



Digital biology goes abroad

By Diane L. Godwin

Digital technology is having a major impact on computer science and biology and the resulting profession is computational biology. This specialized field addresses how human, animal and plant biological systems work by analyzing computerized molecular data, such as DNA, genonomic classification of genes and protein structure alignment, and the complicated, but impressive list continues into infinity. With technology advancing at lightning speed, experts discovered they needed a common platform for the cross-fertilization of ideas to shape and share knowledge of scientific achieve-


Momentum Spring 2010

ments. They created a huge database to house all these biological, computational analysis datasets called bioinformatics. There are two such valuable databases in the world and Mississippi State manages the agriculture and animal biological database. The advantage of this high-tech field to society is that it provides scientists more in-depth knowledge about the molecular structure and nature of biological systems. Some simplified examples, among the millions of possibilities, is how pharmacology experts can use these knowledge-based systems to analyze biological effects of small molecule compounds when developing new drugs. The application also has an equal impact on animal and plant biology. For instance, if a beloved pet contracts cancer, scientists can now tap the knowledge database and compare genome notes of the pet’s affected cells to identify previously unknown mutation points in a variety of genes in cancer and potentially create a more effective drug to cure or treat the animal fighting the disease. Dr. Susan Bridges, co-director of the Institute for Digital Biology and professor of computer science, explained, “Modern biology is often a real collaboration between biologists and computer scientists. So, the primary function of the institute is to develop key collabora-

tions between biologists and professionals in the computational fields. Most advancements in human and animal medicine and the development of modern agriculture products require computational analysis.” As scientists use the application of information technology to glean understanding of biological processes, they also want to share it with developing countries. As a result, the first International Joint Conference on Bioinformatics, Systems Biology and Intelligent Computing was held in Shanghai, China. Sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the conference was organized to promote collaboration between scientists in China, Europe and the U.S. Bridges, the keynote speaker for the international conference, helps manage one of the two existing digital databases in the world. “Genetic engineering is applied to the crops that produce the food that we eat,” she said. “For instance, genetic engineering allowed experts to identify a gene that includes a natural insecticide from the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis, which helps the crops produce a natural insecticide that kills the insects that eat the plants, but is harmless to people.” The conference attracted experts from all over the world and was especially of interest to Chinese scientists. The country’s growing population threatens to outpace agriculture production and health care services. “Bioinformatics talent in China is reaching a critical mass and we are working closely with them to help increase this talent pool

Bagley College of Engineering

of bioinformatic experts. An important aspect to keep in mind when working with the Chinese is respect for their culture and knowledge of social nuances,” said Bridges. “Meeting these experts in person helped us further refine our communication styles and approaches, so we won’t offend them in the future when sharing information.” Dr. Philip D. Bridges is the technical director of the Raspet Flight Research Laboratory and husband of Susan. Philip escorted his wife on the trip and provided their American colleagues with some communication tips on Chinese etiquette. The Chinese have some very subtle distinctions in expression and what they mean. Here is what American scientists had to keep in mind as they collaborated with their Chinese colleagues. “They have a hard-working entrepreneurial spirit,” said Philip. “At one point, I was almost besieged with merchants selling things in the park, I kept saying, ‘No, no,’ and a Chinese businessman observed this as he was walking by and gave me a huge grin, mimicked and then cleared the way for me. In America we might have been offended, but in China, it’s seen as taking the initiative and having a hard work ethic.” In a business setting, the relationships between people are more formal and that formality extends to professional working relationships between men and women. “Unless you’re very close, don’t call someone by their first name. Always address a business colleague by his or her title and last name,” explained Philip. “When men or women are introduced, a formal handshake and greeting is appropriate, but a

hug or arm around the shoulder is considered rude whether you’re the introducer or making a new acquaintance.” Another important social implication is called “losing face.” “Loss of face, means loss of social standing. Losing control of emotions is one way. Another is denying a guest’s request,” said Philip. “For instance, a foreign visitor asks a Chinese guide to visit a certain location. If the guide knows it’s off limits, they will give a noncommittal answer, such as ‘I’ll check on it.’ If the tourist persists and forces the guide to visit the desired spot and they’re turned away, the guide, embarrassed, will consider himself or herself to have ‘lost face,’ even though the visitor insisted.” Many older Chinese gather at the Temple of Heaven, where the emperor would go once a year to pray for good weather, crops and military victories. “Every morning, thousands of elderly Chinese go to the temple to exercise, meet friends, play cards, dance, sing, or participate in whatever activity appeals to them. It’s like a giant social club. It was an incredible experience to see all these people doing so many different activities to help them live happily after retirement.” The Chinese are very aware of their history and the repeated invasions from Western powers during the 19th and 20th centuries. Philip said, “They don’t want it to happen again. During the historical part of the tour, the guide smiled and said, ‘The USA is the most powerful nation on Earth...for now.’”



Circle of giving By Diane L. Godwin


Momentum Spring 2010

It is known as the roaring 1920s. A time when the country’s jobless rate began to rise, giving hints of the beginning of what was to come--the Great Depression. In 1921, Charles Carley Sr. began his college career at Mississippi State. In the spring of 1922 he was proud that he had finished his freshman year; however, it marked the beginning and the end of a young man’s dream. Carley Sr. was a victim of the recession and had to quit college because he didn’t have the money to pay the tuition or room and board. He overcame the adversity of the recession, survived the Great Depression and wanted to ensure this plight would never repeat itself within his family. Thirty years later, he sent son Charles “C.T.” Carley Jr. to college at Mississippi State. “It was fortunate that I wanted to attend college, because dad insisted that I get a college education,” said C.T. “We didn’t have a lot of money. I had to work, but I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering (ME) in 1955. It felt good to know that I helped my dad complete his and my dream of becoming an engineer.” Before moving to Lynn, Mass., to work for the General Electric Co., C.T., a Vicksburg native, married his hometown sweetheart and Mississippi University for Women graduate, Shirley Holland. Reminiscing about accomplishing three major life changes with in a week’s time, C.T. laughed and said, “Lynn, Mass., was where we spent our honeymoon. After working for G.E., I joined the Navy and went to Officer Candidate School in New Port, R.I.” Charles “Chip” Carley III, managing partner of the Holiday Inn Express in Starkville, enthusiastically piped in, “Dad, Mississippi State plays Rhode Island this year in baseball.” C.T.s’ face lights up with, “Yeah, it’s the first three games on the schedule.” Chip nods an affirmative yes and C.T. notes that Chip attended Mississippi State studying marketing and is the co-founder and organizer of Starkville’s Dudy Gras parade

Bagley College of Engineering

and celebration. The family has a long history of being MSU baseball fans. Shirley’s father, Bill “Lefty” Holland was a left-handed pitcher for MSU in the 1923-25 seasons and went on to play in the minor leagues. It is said that during Holland’s career in the minors he pitched against Babe Ruth and struck out the legendary home run hitter. For years Shirley and C.T. have held season tickets for MSU baseball games and Chip has a “vehicle” in the Left Field Lounge. “Dudy Gras signifies the beginning of the MSU baseball season and the date that everyone moves their trailers into the Left Field Lounge. The parade route includes downtown along Main Street and is open to anyone,” said Chip. “We created this parade as a way for the community to express their spirit and support for MSU baseball and a way to have fun during the Mardi Gras season. ” Chip added that Dudy Gras also was another way to thank MSU for bringing his dad back to Mississippi State and supporting him in creating a successful 30-year career with the university. “In 1955, when I graduated with an ME degree, engineers were in high demand. I had 25 job offers. But, when I needed to get out of the Navy, I had one offer and it was in Los Angeles where I sure didn’t want to raise a family,” explained C.T. “That’s when I wrote the ME department head at Mississippi State, Dr. A.G. Holmes. Professor Holmes was a friend of the department head at Virginia Tech who was looking for an ME instructor. Again it was the influence and help of Holmes and MSU that helped me get hired as an instructor at Virginia Tech.” C.T. worked full time as an instructor and graduated from Virginia Tech with a master’s degree in ME, however his employer didn’t have any positions open at the assistant professor level. Once again, Mississippi State was there. “Professor Holmes hired me as an assistant professor in ME. I soon discovered that I really loved teaching and research, but realized that the only way to control my own destiny

and move up the ranks within the university system was to earn a Ph.D. Holmes and other MSU professors gave me recommendations for a Ford Foundation Grant,” explained C.T. “Fortunately, I was awarded the grant. The Ford Foundation Grant was the only way I could afford further graduate studies and still support my family.” “By-the-way,” Chip added, “We all still drive Ford vehicles.” Three years later, C.T. received his doctorate from North Carolina State University and returned to his career at Mississippi State. Holmes hired him as an associate professor and C.T. worked his way up the ranks to full professor and eventually stepped into his mentor’s position when Holmes retired as head of the ME department, a position that C.T. then held for 21 years. Chip smiled and said, “It’s important for us to show appreciation and express our loyalty to MSU. That’s why my three sisters, Karen, Mari, Holland, (all of whom attended MSU) and I are creating a scholarship in honor of our parents. It’s our way of thanking and giving back to the university and a great group of people who have given so much to our family.” We’re all probably familiar with the old saying, “Things have a way of coming back to you.” By creating the Dr. and Mrs. Charles T. Carley Jr. Endowed Scholarship in the Bagley College of Engineering, Chip Carley and his siblings truly have completed the full circle for the Carley family and for Mississippi State University. “Hopefully, this will help a student who, like my grandfather, might not have the funds to go to school, making that dream of higher education possible,” said Chip. For more information on how you can contribute to the Carley Scholarship Foundation or create a scholarship foundation, please contact Bennett Evans at 662-3250386 or



Researchers help facilitate vital law enforcement training By Susan Lassetter Mississippi’s police forces have a new tool in their arsenals to help keep citizens safe. Through the state’s new Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) initiative, patrol officers receive instruction on how to act decisively to control situations that, in the past, would have required the intervention of special tactical teams. “Active shooters are just that, active, with no other motive than to kill or maim. They never consider negotiations or taking hostages,” explained Joel Lofton of Mississippi’s Homeland Security Office (MHS). “For those reasons, we are training law enforcement to act aggressively, work together regardless of agency and immediately engage the aggressor.” Common patrol officer procedure instructs first responders to contain active shooter situations while waiting for units like SWAT to arrive, establish a plan of entry and act to neutralize the situation. The training provided by the Texas-based ALERRT organization will equip these first responders with tactics similar to those of specialty units. “Traditional police protocol creates a delay in action. That’s OK for hostage situations, but for an active shooter, every second counts,” explained Dr. Daniel Carruth, an assistant research


Momentum Spring 2010

professor at the Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems (CAVS). “By implementing consistent, statewide training, any two officers who happen to be on the scene can find each other and take action, even if they are from opposite ends of the state.” Spurred to action by the recent Virginia Tech University tragedy, the MHS hopes to have all of the state’s police forces trained by 2012. While everyone involved hopes that the effectiveness of this training is never put to the test, officials have to be certain that the results are worth the continued investment. Approximately 100 Mississippi officers participated in a 40-hour class to receive the training while learning how to effectively deliver the information to their colleagues. Using standardized instruction manuals, presentations and tools, they then conducted 16hour classes at their respective offices. Working with Mark Thomas, a doctoral student, Carruth developed methods to evaluate the stages of this training, including acceptance of the information, retention of knowledge and putting tactics into practice. “Information passed from person to person has a tendency to change, kind of like the telephone rumor game,” Carruth said. “All of the instructors have their own experiences, so we wondered how the original information would get filtered through those personal biases.”

Pre- and post-training surveys evaluated the officers’ interest in and acceptance of the training, while a certification test measured what they learned. However, assessment of the local instructors’ consistency required a more in-depth analysis. For this evaluation, the researchers videotaped the original ALERRT training, as well as two locally run classes. After transcribing more than 32 hours of tape, they had to determine what changes, if any, had occurred in the content of the class. “To compare the information delivered in the classes we took an ALERRT manual and coded its content,” Carruth explained. “We could then mark when local instructors addressed something from the manual, but we also tracked additions, omissions, changes, and errors. These things could be good, like an on-topic personal anecdote, but they could also be detrimental by presenting contradicting information.” The researchers also facilitated simulated scenarios to test how well the participants could implement the training in a realistic, high-pressure situation. Officers were tested prior to receiving training, and at intervals of three and six months after becoming certified. Carruth explained that before the class, many officers exhibited a “Hollywood-style” technique. “Before ALERRT, some officers would jump into doorways and do other things you see in movies, which are completely against the training,” Carruth said. “The videos of these scenarios were scored by two ALERRT trainers and even six

Bagley College of Engineering

months after receiving the training, having had no more practice, there was a vast improvement in the scores.” Carruth and Thomas have compiled the data they’ve collected so far and presented it to MHS and Texas ALERRT officials. Both have been pleased with the results shown thus far, which indicate increased knowledge, capability and acceptance of this new training. In the post-class surveys, nearly 100 percent of participants indicated that they would recommend the training to fellow officers. With such a positive response and results, Lofton is confident that continued funding for the program is worthwhile.

“It is vital that we have reliable techniques to measure the many facets of this training,” Lofton explained. “Without sound statistical support for this program’s expenditures, we would be unable to continue funding it. CAVS statistical and on-site analysis of the training has given us proof of our success.”

to each of its police academies. To date, 140 ALERRT classes have been conducted statewide, resulting in more than 3,000 trained and certified officers. Completing this initiative will make Mississippi the first state outside of Texas to have all police officers universally trained in active shooter tactics. Other states have expressed interest in following the example and are studying the state’s implementation and the statistical data compiled at CAVS. “This project might not fit within the traditional scope of our center’s research, but part of the mission of any university organization is to help the community,” Carruth said. “In addition to the protection they provide, our local law enforcement officers have helped us with research in the past. Now that they need assistance, we are happy to reciprocate and fill this need for the community.”

The state can conduct five classes simultaneously and has added the training



Students’ design paves the way for automotive future By Susan Lassetter What has four wheels, a hybrid-electric motor and the power of more than 20 Bulldogs? The future of automotive engineering, which is being explored at Mississippi State. As part of EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge, sponsored by the Department of Energy and General Motors, a team of student engineers has redesigned a sport utility vehicle to improve its fuel economy and lower emissions while maintaining performance and appeal. After a year of simulating these designs with specialty software, the team has received the keys to a 2009 GM donated vehicle and is ready to enter the next stage of competition. “We are ready to start working and can’t wait to get our hands dirty,” explained Michael Barr, the team’s powertrain leader. “This year we are focusing on implementing our design into the vehicle. We will put all the components in, get them working and get the car running.” Prior to the competition’s first year, the team selected a plug-in electric, range-extended hybrid vehicle architecture, which once implemented, will provide a 40 mile all-electric driving range. The team began phasing in its design this past fall, with the goal of having


Momentum Spring 2010

both the rear motor and front engine in place and operational by the semester break. “We aren’t just going to rip out all of the stock powertrain components and start sticking new parts in,” said Barr, a mechanical engineering graduate student. “We are working in stages to make sure everything is durable and works correctly, so that this spring we can focus on optimization and preparing for competition.” In January, the team attended the Winter Workshop in Daytona, Fla., where it earned first place in the Web site competition and third in the hardware-in-the-loop simulation category. This year’s culminating events are set to begin May 17 and include competitions in Yuma, Ariz., and San Diego, Calif. These final evaluations will mark the end of the EcoCAR program’s second year, which tasks teams with putting their designs into action. The third year of competition will center around establishing a viable, production ready prototype of the vehicle. During the 2008-09 year-ending competition in Canada, Mississippi State’s team took third-place honors in a field consisting of 17 North American institutions. The Bulldogs also won first place in the mechanical

systems presentation subcategory, second in outstanding outreach, and special recognition for creative promotion of EcoCAR. Barr explained that the team’s displays and creative presentation of its hardware-in-theloop software simulations contributed to its competition success. “Other teams had built simulators, but we were the only ones who had actually taken part of the vehicle and created an actual driving simulator, complete with a full-sized steering wheel, front seat and animated display,” he explained. The team looks forward to drawing upon this creativity again this year to build upon last year’s success. “Everyone on the team is excited, because as students, we are working with the same emerging technologies that professional engineers are using in the automotive industry,” Barr said. “It’s exciting for us and with teamwork and continued enthusiasm we know we will continue to see competitive success.” For more information about MSU’s EcoCAR team visit its Web site, www.ecocar. or follow MSStateEcoCAR on Twitter for up to the minutes updates.

By Diane L. Godwin

Alexander the Great, Marco Polo and Genghis Khan were explorers and conquerors who traveled the great Silk Road–the infamous trade route that connected Southeast Europe, Iraq and Central Asia with Mongolia and China. These adventurers led warriors through what is now known as Uzbekistan to fight wars and win territories in order to rule empires near one of Mother Nature’s most powerful resources--water. Fast forward a couple of thousand years, and countries, regions, states, and even cities still fight over one of Earth’s limited resources. Water in Uzbekistan is in limited supply because the very nature of the country’s geography is 70 percent desert, making conservation and use of this natural resource a premium commodity. That’s why Dr. Javlon Tashpulatov, acting director of Uzbekistan’s Institute of Microbiology and Academy of Sciences, brought his research team to Mississippi State. The Uzbekistan research team introduced high-water plants, indigenous to North and South America, into the Uzbekistan climate to grow in and around municipal and wastewater treatment facilities. These plants’ root systems serve as natural immobilizers

Bagley College of Engineering

for microorganisms that are naturally found in waste water and are capable to digest pollutants. The plants also can produce biomass that can be converted into bio-oil, creating a trifecta and symbiotic relationship between organic wastewater cleansing, technology and plant-microorganisms. “We would like to collaborate with Drs. French and Hernandez because we found that we have some common ground for joint research projects that could provide our countries with economic advantages of producing energy that is safe for the environment and could build our global economy and at the same time recycle wastewater that can be used for agriculture irrigation and other technical uses,” said Tashpulatov. Rafael Hernandez and Todd French have discovered micro-organisms that grow naturally in wastewater are fat with lipids. When adding an affordable, carbohydrate concoction they gain 60 percent of their body weight in oil, and the researchers have figured out how to convert it into a biocrude that can be used as an alternative, renewable fuel source.

“As researchers, our job right now is to collaborate and develop a sustainable, affordable fuel for the people of this planet. In the past we’ve fought wars over water and now it is oil, because they’re both limited resources,” said French. “One thing is certain, these are the resources and issues that can bond us together as a society or tear us apart. By working with our friends in Uzbekistan, we can work to resolve these issues by providing the world with clean energy that is safe for the environment and preserve our most valuable natural resource, water.” The researchers are hopeful that in the future their kids, grandkids and great grandchildren will one day read in the history books how they helped save the Earth’s environment by inventing recyclable water and renewable energy processes that are amicable to Mother Nature. Maybe history will prove that they will be our modern-day heroes.



For engineer, project size doesn’t matter By Susan Lassetter


Momentum Spring 2010

University researchers build their careers on extensive projects with multi-milliondollar price tags. However, as funding organizations struggle in the current economic climate, some faculty scientists have started to realize that it’s not the size of the grant that matters, but rather what you do with it that counts. With an extremely focused, directed scope, these small-scale applied research projects provide researchers with new avenues for industry cooperation without straining already tight budgets. “It’s a different model of working, but I think it is a great way to do it. The research component keeps academics like me interested while allowing us to gain experience with the problems currently facing the engineering industry,” said Dr. Keith Walters. “As faculty, we can’t always know what issues exist in these companies’ operations, but with this model they bring their problems to us.” Walters recently completed an applied research project with the Richland-based AZZ Calvert, an electrical bus duct manufacturer. The mechanical engineering associate professor helped the company improve its current design systems and tools by using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) science. “I provided detailed analysis of Calvert’s individual designs to show how air current moves inside the product and how much heat it generates,” Walters explained. “To address the issue they were having, we really brought together three different approaches to the problem--the know-how

Bagley College of Engineering

and empirical methods employed by the company’s engineers and the more theorybased results I produced through CFD.” Working alongside Calvert engineers, including several Bagley College of Engineering alumni, gave Walters the opportunity to see his research have an immediate impact. As a career academic researcher, he says it was a nice change from the more long-term, theory-based projects he usually works on. “I had never done such a pointed research project and wasn’t quite sure how it was going to work. It ended up being a nice supplement to the more fundamental research I conduct at Mississippi State,” Walters said. “Typically our projects last for years and the results are published in a journal. With this project, the results immediately affected a company’s operations.” Although the limited scope and short time frame of the project didn’t allow for a student research assistant, Walters is confident the experience will have a positive impact on his students. The partnership provided him with the opportunity to gain firsthand experience with the issues facing corporate engineers and commercial applications of engineering. He will translate this new understanding into classroom experience to prepare his students for the situations they will face in their future careers.

“This project will directly impact my classes because it is so interrelated to what I teach,” Walters said. “In my intermediate heat transfer class, I plan on presenting this problem to my students to see how they will handle it. It will be good experience for them.”

The project was funded through a $23,000 Small Business Association grant administered by Mississippi State’s Industrial Outreach Service (IOS). While not large by engineering research standards, the grant provided enough funding to secure two months of the professor’s time and access to the equipment of Mississippi State’s High Performance Computing Collaboratory. “This funding provided a great opportunity to help an industry partner and we were very pleased to be able to help with this project,” explained Dr. Joe Jordan, IOS director. “It is our goal to help local industry and we are confident that the results of this applied research project will not just help AZZ Calvert but the entire electrical bus duct industry.” Admittedly, it is unusual for IOS to have the resources to be able to fund an entire project like Walters’, but Jordan says he and his team do all they can to help companies find faculty research partners at the university who have the knowledge and capabilities to solve their problems. “Any company can contact me, or any IOS team member, for help in finding a researcher to address its problems,” Jordan explained. “We are always seeking sources of funding on our end, but we can also help companies write grant proposals that allow them to hire research elements of the university.” Jordan explained that by providing assistance to Mississippi-based companies, IOS is fulfilling its mission to aid in the betterment of the state’s economy. “We see this as a long-term investment,” Jordan said. “These are relationships with industry that we can build on to help create and retain jobs in the state to, hopefully, maintain a strong manufacturing base in Mississippi.”



Passing the torch of knowledge By Diane L. Godwin Prashant Daggolu will carry the torch of two scientists’ research into the future. Daggolu, a chemical engineering doctoral student, is developing technology to convert biomass—the waste leftover from harvesting wood and agricultural crops— into gasoline. A native of Hyderabad, India, Daggolu, spent last summer at the Pacific North West National Laboratory (PNNL) working with some of America’s most renowned scientists on ways to convert leftover residue from making ethanol into gasoline. “I’ve always wanted to become an esteemed researcher and everyone in my country realizes that the United States is the best in the world for offering a research-oriented education,” said Daggolu. “Earning an advanced degree from an American university will greatly enhance my credentials, not to mention the experience I received from collaborating with some of the best scientists in the world.” Daggolu, more than halfway to accomplishing his dream, earned his master’s degree from Mississippi State. Now, he is a Ph.D. candidate of Dr. Mark White,


Momentum Spring 2010

former director of the Dave C. Swalm School of Chemical Engineering. As you may recall from the story, “Green with Energy Part II,” published in the spring issue of Momentum, White is the scientist who invented a catalyst that converts the gas from burning wood harvest residue in a gasifier, called synthesis gas, into an environmentally friendly, liquid hydrocarbon that can be made into fuel or taken to a refinery to make other petroleum products, such as plastics. The same quality of products that are made from petroleum-based hydrocarbons. An important difference, White’s hydrocarbons make these products out of the earth’s bio-resources that don’t add carbon dioxide into the atmosphere versus petroleum based products made from carbons stored beneath the earth’s surface for millions of years, which are released into the atmosphere each time they are used. A 20-year friendship with another scientist, Dr. Jim White, connects Dr. Mark White’s catalyst invention, PNNL, and Daggolu. Jim is a senior lead staff scientist of PNNL’s Chemical and Biological Process Development Group. Both researchers attended a Department of Energy Contractors’ meeting in Denver, Colo., where Mark gave a presentation about his catalyst that produces liquid hydrocarbons from biomass. Intrigued, Jim approached his longtime friend and discussed a similar process his PNNL team was using by burning biomass to produce synthesis gas and then running it over a different catalyst to produce ethanol. The problem: residues from making ethanol and the produced ethanol were left in almost equal amounts. After some discussion and brainstorming, the two scientists discovered there might be a possibility that Mark’s process and catalysts could convert the byproducts of ethanol production into an alternative fuel.

“Jim invited me to give my presentation to his team. I was going to be in the Northwest giving a presentation at Washington State anyway, which is only 90 minutes from PNNL,” explained Mark. “We Bagley College of Engineering

wanted to create a partnership, the challenge being that PNNL has historically accepted only post doctorate or undergraduate persons for such summer positions, not graduate students who are still working on their Ph.D.” The two scientists contacted another colleague, Dr. John Scahill, a program manager for the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Golden Field Office in Golden, Colo. Scahill, who also oversees renewable fuel programs at the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, believes in more government and educational research collaboration to help solve America’s reliance on foreign oil. After a couple of phone calls to Battelle, the contractor who operates the government owned PNNL, the bureaucratic barriers disappeared and Daggolu was on his way to Richland, Wash., for an experience of a lifetime. “The founder of Battelle, Gordon Battelle, believed in the power of knowledge and education, so his entire estate and company culture embraces new technological inventions, science innovations and education,” said Jim, who works under the Battelle philosophy at PNNL. “This collaboration fostered innovation and showed us that although considerable research and development is still required, it is possible to create an alternative liquid transport fuel by transforming the byproducts of syngas to ethanol processes. As a result, we are exploring several possible avenues of making viable synthetic fuels from renewable resources. This research is not just fascinating and fun, it is necessary to help protect the environment and to reduce our spending on foreign oil.” Jim White and Mark White recently retired, however both are extremely involved in their respective renewable energy research projects. More importantly, they imparted years of wisdom to Daggolu with the hope of continuing their legacy of developing low-cost renewable fuels..



License-wielding alumnus helps profession ward off evildoers By Susan Lassetter

Faster than a slide rule, more knowledgeable than an instruction manual, able to control tall buildings with automation, he may not fit typical superhero archetypes, but Gerald Wilbanks will help protect the public welfare through engineering’s own brand of Justice League—the state licensing board. Appointed by Alabama Gov. Bob Riley, Wilbanks will serve a five-year term on the Alabama Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors. Each state’s board is tasked with overseeing all aspects of this engineering professional registration, including the exams, individual applications, rules, and regulations. “This position gives me the opportunity to give back to the profession that has been good to me,” Wilbanks said. “I want to see engineering held to a high degree of accountability and to help make the field even better for those who are just starting out. It is imperative that there be a strong process to maintain the integrity of the practice of engineering.” While the position doesn’t come with a cape or a Batman-style utility belt, Wilbanks will be expected to help preserve the principles of the field while preventing malpractice and fraud. A license is not strictly necessary for most corporate engineering jobs, but it is required for contractors and consultants to ensure that even independent engineers are held accountable for the quality of their work. “This credential verifies that the practitioner has met the qualifications to practice in an engineering specific field and safeguard the health, welfare and safety of the public,” Wilbanks explained. “Medical, legal and other professions have boards


Momentum Spring 2010

that license and register practitioners. An engineer is in the same professional and public domain and should be licensed.” A 1964 Mississippi State graduate, Wilbanks has been a licensed electrical engineer in more than 20 states at one time. Having retired after 32 years with Birmingham, Ala.-based Rust Engineering, he currently only maintains this distinction in four states where he practices as a consultant and instructor through his firm, Documentation & Engineering Services. He is a Distinguished Engineering Fellow of MSU and a Fellow and former president of the International Society of Automation (ISA). Available in 16 different disciplines, professional licensure generally requires an engineering degree from an accredited institution, a minimum of four years qualified experience under a licensed engineer, and a passing grade on two eight-hour tests, the fundamentals of engineering (FE) and principles and practices (PE) exams. This list of requirements may seem daunting to some, but Wilbanks believes it’s worth the investment. “Obtaining a license is not that difficult if the engineer does some planning and follows the proper steps,” Wilbanks said. “The FE is basic to college studies and can be taken prior to graduation, while the material on the PE is practical and more familiar if the exam is taken as soon as the required experience is obtained. However, a person is never too old to pursue the registration and license to practice.” Through his position on the advisory board for the Bagley College of Engineering’s electrical and computer engineering department, Wilbanks sees firsthand how the college prepares students to meet their licensing goals. “The college’s continued emphasis on handson instruction prepares young men and women to enter the engineering field with a solid grasp of both technical topics and personal relationships,” Wilbanks said. “I would like to encourage all new graduates to prepare for the examination and be recognized in their profession.”

Bagley College of Engineering

Development Notes Greetings Engineering Bulldogs! The Bagley College of Engineering (BCoE) faces large challenges this year due to the poor economy, along with state budget cuts. With the recent 5 percent budget reductions and another 3 percent to be cut from this year’s budget, the current economic situation is hitting home for all of us here on the campus of Mississippi State. There also will be further cuts for next year. The BCoE’s continued success is due to its talented faculty and staff, dedicated students and loyal alumni. Our alumni support is even more appreciated now and we would like to take a moment to remind everyone to consider gifts to our Excellence Fund. This fund allows our contributors to help the college, dean and department heads to have the ability to purchase operating supplies while being able to continue to support student organizations, faculty and other BCoE entities. Gifts to the Excellence Fund help the BCoE take on the budget challenges with confidence. At the university level, President Mark Keenum has started an initiative called StatePride. MSU has a goal of accommodating more than 22,000 students by 2015. Funding will be needed to create scholarships and faculty support to help facilitate that growth. During challenging economic times, it becomes even more difficult for individuals to attend college. At MSU, the StatePride initiative will focus on the core goal by increasing scholarship offerings for the “best and brightest” students. It also will include faculty support to retain top performing faculty in all areas of study and increase faculty research opportunities. MSU athletics already is chipping in to help support this new initiative, and the Bulldog Club has made a financial commitment to support academics with a total of $11,250,000, payable over the next 15 years. This support is a matching

challenge for scholarships and faculty support. A donation that qualifies for an employee matching gift also will qualify for the athletics match. The athletics match will include the entire donation. It’s a great time to give and make the gift count twice as much! On the back page of Momentum, there is a list of 50 ways you can help the BCoE and MSU. Your support could range from making a gift towards the Excellence Fund, encouraging prospective students to visit campus or connecting with current students. The next generation of engineers can always benefit from the experience and advice from their predecessors. Naming opportunities are still available within the new Civil and Environmental Building. We’d also like to thank those donors who have already shown their support for the building: Richard Rula, Mark Seymour Sr., the Bill Mitchell family, Brown & Mitchell Inc., Carl Ray Furr, Pickering Inc., Larry Cooley, Burns Cooley Dennis Inc., Elliott and Tani Dubuisson, Crymes Pittman, Brasfield & Gorrie LLC, Clearwater Consultants Inc., Martha and Margaret Swain, Laura Miller, Mendrop~Wages LLC, Jeanie and Dennis Truax, the Leo Seal Family Foundation, Bobby Fleming, Stanley Spradling, and James H. White. Alumni loyalty to the BCoE and MSU is what will help keep the college moving forward towards obtaining its goal of preparing engineers for the 21st century. To learn more about how you can make a difference, please contact me at (662) 325-0386 or Brett Aldridge at (662) 325-2464.

Bennett Evans Director of Development



Looks can be deceiving By Susan Lassetter At first glance, most would think that blonde-haired, blue-eyed Jennie Honeycutt would feel more at home shopping in New Orleans’ French Quarter than in a construction zone on the city’s West Bank. Little do they know that the 26-year-old currently manages one of the largest engineering projects under way in the Crescent City. A 2007 civil engineering graduate, she serves as construction manager for the nearly $1 billion U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW)-West Closure Complex, which is part of the Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System. “This complex is a major point in the system to protect the West Bank of New Orleans,” Honeycutt explained. “It will feature the largest pumping station in the world and the nation’s largest navigable sector gate, as well as levees and T-walls, which will prevent the GIWW from harming environmentally protected wetlands or flooding the residents of that area.” Scheduled for interim protection completion by the 2011 hurricane season, the complex is being developed on a fast-track method where both the design and construction are being completed simultaneously. Honeycutt explained that while this method— known as early contractor involvement—is common among private sector contractors, it is a new model for government operations like the New Orleans Corps. Given the ambitious deadline and an almost $1 billion budget, this project is not exactly something most young professionals would expect to manage only three years into a career. However, with a little determination, the Birmingham, Ala., native was able to secure the job. “This project is monstrous compared to what I’ve been used to,” Honeycutt confessed. “It was originally offered to people who had worked with this type of capacity before, but most of them were close to retirement and didn’t want to start a long-term project. I proposed that I could do it because it was a new delivery method and contract. My argument was that I hadn’t been around long enough to be set in normal procedures and it wouldn’t be hard for me to learn the fast-track model.”


Momentum Spring 2010

ABOVE: An aerial photograph of ongoing construction in the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway West Closure Complex.

RIGHT: This cofferdam for the large sector gate is now complete.

LEFT: A native of Birmingham, Ala., Honeycutt knew she wanted to major in engineering, but tried several different disciplines before settling on civil. She completed her bachelor’s degree in May 2007 and began working for the Corps of Engineers soon after.

Bagley College of Engineering



She added, “I wanted this project. I don’t know how crazy that is, but I wanted it, and I guess my argument worked. Prior to this, my largest project had been $50 million, so it was different to see this many zeroes on the funding report.” The project officially started in April 2009, and as of January, the team had completed 75 percent of the overall design and 10 percent of the construction. Honeycutt says it is like nothing she has done before, but she welcomes the challenge. She is responsible for monitoring all of the funding, including any modifications, changes or negotiations for the project. She also serves as the main liaison between the construction site and the district office to ensure clean communication between the two groups. The project also requires cooperation between the Corps and the parishes, which will eventually take over system operations. She must address any concerns of these local sponsors and even the complaints of local residents who are affected by the construction. “You have to be open-minded and able to listen,” Honeycutt said. “You want to put your best foot forward and make sure everyone is comfortable with what is going on and understand the direction of the project.” Despite the fact that construction wasn’t even “on her radar” when she graduated, Honeycutt says she loves her job, which has given her a new perspective on some of the classes she took while at Mississippi State. “I never saw myself in the construction field or a management position. There were some classes I just didn’t get while I was taking them,” she admitted. “Being out in the field I can better see the application. For instance, the design classes that I took help me in construction to understand where the designers are coming from. When something goes wrong in the field, it’s easier to think logically and apply those principles from class to find the solution,


Momentum Spring 2010

ABOVE: This is a conceptual image of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway West Closure Complex sector gate, pump station, floodwall and levee tie-in.

instead of just turning to the designers saying,‘Here’s the problem can you help us?’ We are actively helping to reach the solution as opposed to just waiting for someone to give it to us.” It was actually the on-site engineering that caused Honeycutt to finally consider construction as a career. She explained that after meeting with representatives from the Corps at an MSU career fair she was convinced to visit their New Orleans office. Tours of a few active construction sites opened her eyes to possibilities she had never before considered. She became the first of 12 Bulldog alumni hired by that office for the post-Hurricane Katrina construction boom.

Considering how taking chances and leaps of faith have helped shape Honeycutt’s career, she encourages all students to stay open-minded about the doors that will be opened by their Bagley College of Engineering degrees. “Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, because if you don’t try, you’ll never know,” she said. For more information about the Bulldog influence at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers office in New Orleans and how BCoE students stand apart from the crowd, visit the college’s Web site and look for the electronic newsletter archive.

Scientific minds think alike for the good of mankind By Diane L. Godwin

Inspired from reading about the chemical engineering professors’ research, Gonzalez contacted French about the possibility of collaborating their efforts. “We’re a global community now, and any amount of energy that the U.S. and our neighbors use less of because we have recovered and recycled it from our waste decreases the amount needed from crude oil,” said French. “Another positive advantage is that Gonzalez’s research focuses on tequila production residue, which is an industrial wastewater. Our research focuses on municipal wastewater, so the more fresh ideas we have of converting wastewater into biofuel feedstock means we increase the possibility of turning those concepts into reality.” Working with the Bagley College of Engineering researchers, Gonzalez was able to find a number of process possibilities that will reduce the environmental impact produced by the tequila industry.

Drs. Yolanda Gonzalez, Todd French and Rafael Hernandez grew up literally worlds apart in terms of miles and culture. Yet the three researchers found something in common—their passion for recycling waste to create alternative fuels to save the environment and lessen their country’s dependence on foreign oil. Gonzalez grew up near the town of Tequila in the state of Jalisco, Mexico, a region known as the largest producer of tequila in the world. The small agave tequilana plants that are used to make tequila are exclusive to this locale of Jalisco, which is 40 miles northwest of Mexico’s capital of Guadalajara. Tequila, founded in 1656, is named after an Indian tribe, and means “lava hill,” which is significant since the Agave plant grows only in this climate on a dormant volcano. The 100 million Agave plants grown and harvested here produce 50 million liters of tequila a year, of which 40 percent is exported. And, that is where the challenge and focus of Gonzalez’s research begins.

Bagley College of Engineering

The production of distilled tequila creates millions of tons of industrial waste each year, which has a high potential to be very hazardous to the environment. European residents, who are large consumers of Mexican tequila, have refused to purchase this country’s No. 1 export until they address the issues of eliminating and treating tequila production wastewater. “I’m conducting research to find a way to use the tequila industrial waste residue as feedstock for the micro-organisms I’m working with to produce alternative energy, and at the same time clean the waste water,” explained Gonzalez. “I was extremely excited when I found that Drs. French and Hernandez invented a way to take advantage of the micro-organisms that grow naturally in municipal wastewater treatment facilities. They add a little carbohydrate and the micro-organisms grow fat with oil, which can be converted into alternative fuels.”

“I look forward to continuing the collaboration with my American friends in creating sustainable, alternative fuel processes that will translate into environmental and economic successes,” said Gonzalez. “It’s a project that will have an global impact.” The results of the collaboration are promising, so much so that Gonzalez, French and Hernandez are applying for a patent to protect the intellectual property gained by the summer research collaboration of Mississippi State and the University of Guadalajara.



Researchers want you to ‘walk this way’

Answering their siren song—a chance for free pizza—100 students recently found themselves participating in what would appear to be the wackiest race in history. However, despite their somewhat comical attire of bowler hats and runners’ numbers, these Bulldogs filled an integral role as part of a research project that will one day help ease the troubles of weary travelers across the country. “The purpose of this pedestrian project is to create a computer simulation to depict how people behave in intermodal transportation facilities like airports or train stations. We hope the end product will help improve the design and functionality of these facilities,” said Dr. Lesley Strawderman. “Before we can develop an accurate simulation, we need to understand how real people act in these situations.”

By Susan Lassetter


Momentum Spring 2010

To collect this data, Strawderman, an assistant professor of industrial and systems engineering (ISE), channeled Aerosmith and asked students from across Mississippi State to “walk this way” as subjects in a

research study. She and a team of undergraduate and graduate research assistants constructed a mock corridor in which the subjects were asked to run 26 different scenarios, recreating the densely populated situations found in busy airports across the country. Each scenario was recorded with a security camera system and students’ opinions about the “walk-ability” of each were collected via surveys. The researchers also collected information about the participants’ ages, weights and other factors, which will influence behavior. “We needed to gather information about how fast people walk, how they avoid each other, how much space they need, and the like. By setting up this test we were able to create the situations we needed to get our answers,” Strawderman explained. “Our results will validate what Dr. (John) Usher is programming into his computer simulations.” Usher, an ISE professor, was commissioned to conduct this research for the U.S. Department of Transportation four years ago. With nearly $900,000 in funding, he has spent that time working with Strawderman and a team of student

research assistants gathering the necessary information to create a simulation of Mississippi’s Jackson-Evers International Airport. Although modeling people’s behavior in these situations is not a new idea, Usher’s method of incorporating numerous human factors into a 3-D, freeform environment makes this research stand apart from its predecessors. “Previous modeling systems have been very mechanical, so that the individual objects in the simulation move like pieces on a checkerboard—very discrete and unrealistic,” Usher explained. “Our system is not so constrained. We are taking into account additional human behaviors so that each person, as depicted by the simulation, is treated individually. Each has his or her own tasks to accomplish and will complete these depending on the current environment.” He added, “Trying to simulate humans is difficult because we are so complex, but we actually have found a way to code the decision process an individual uses to determine what step to take next. The simulation treats each object individually, but they are continually interacting. Even without being programmed in, emergent

Bagley College of Engineering

behaviors commonly observed in crowds will arise. Beginning a simulation, the objects will start with chaos, but in a matter of seconds they begin to form lines as each tries to take the path of least resistance to meet its set goal.” The Department of Transportation hopes to use these simulations to create better facilities and a more pleasant experience for travelers. For example, design ideas can be put into the simulation to see how people would respond to everything from new furniture configurations to wider walkways in airport terminals, but the possibilities don’t end with the aesthetics of a building. Although the project officially ends this summer, Usher believes there will be opportunities to expand the system beyond its original parameters. “We will have the potential for another year of funding as we identify offshoots of this simulation program,” Usher said. “It would be possible to extend this system into evacuation modeling. Also, there are other researchers in ISE who are experts in modeling automotive traffic. It would be interesting to integrate the two to show people’s behavior as they go from automobile to airport to plane.”

Strawderman added, “The Bagley College of Engineering is a good place for this kind of research because of the varied skill sets the faculty brings to the table. Even just within the ISE department it’s been great having a team where someone can create the simulation and someone else can verify that it is a realistic model.” She noted that even Mississippi State students are eager to get into the research game. “For our research assistants, this is an invaluable experience to learn how to conduct a large-scale study and perform professional-level research. They learn how long it can take and how much effort is required,” Strawderman said. “Even those who simply walked in the study were excited. They experienced a side of the university they might not have seen, otherwise. Some even asked if they could take pictures to show their moms that they were part of a research study.” For more information about this research and other projects currently under way in the industrial and systems engineering department, visit its Web site, www.ise.



Southern success at its best Although Byron and Lakiesha Williams grew up in two different cultures, destiny kept its promise and brought the two together at Mississippi State. Byron spent his childhood in urban Chicago. Byron’s mother, a tax accountant, moved to Jackson, Miss., to be closer to family and to raise her teenage son and his siblings in a more positive environment. Lakiesha grew up in Southern Louisiana, just outside of New Orleans. Her father was a carpenter, and her mother an administrative assistant for the New Orleans water district. Both sets of parents were young professionals during the civil rights movement of the ’60s, and watched Dr. Martin Luther King stand up for equal rights for African-Americans. After living through that turbulent time, they shared a key piece of advice with their children, “Get an education, because it is something no one will ever be able to take from you.” The young couple took the advice seriously and both earned doctoral degrees from Mississippi State. In fact, Lakiesha is the first female AfricanAmerican to earn a doctorate in the department of agriculture and biological engineering (ABE), and Byron is the first male African-American to earn a doctorate in the department of computer science and engineering.

By Diane L. Godwin


Momentum Spring 2010

In the past five years their lives have changed drastically. They moved to Mississippi State, met for the first time at a college bible study class, dated, married, earned their degrees, and landed professional jobs. Dr. Lakiesha Williams graduated first and is a professor in ABE at MSU. Dr. Byron Williams is associate director for the Center for Defense Integrated Data at Jackson State University.

What did your parents teach you about success and believing in yourselves? Lakiesha: “My dad had very minimal education and mom finished high school and went to a year of college. Both always wanted something better for their children and believed education was the way. They always told me I was going to be a medical doctor. In fact, in my yearbook, several of my classmates predicted I would become a doctor, so I thought I was going to be doctor until I discovered this new and exciting field of biological engineering.”

Byron: “My mom was a single mother and she always instilled in me the values of being an independent thinker and developing the ability to problem solve. She always believed in my ability. Although she never told me I was going to grow up and get my Ph.D., she used to say, ‘You’re going to be the president of the United States.’ So, that was her way of instilling in me the value of being successful and going after more. That is why I was able to earn a Ph.D., the highest academic degree that a person can receive.”

Bagley College of Engineering

How did you find the perseverance to finish?

Byron: “When I graduated with my bachelor’s, I was planning on working for a while before earning my master’s degree, but then I met this beautiful, older young lady. Lakiesha was really my reason, mentor and motivation to stay and continue to earn my master’s degree right away. I never really considered getting a terminal degree until Gerald Nelson, director of the Jack Hatcher Entrepreneurship Program, and Dr. Tommy Stevenson, assistant dean of diversity, mentioned the possibility to me. Of course Lakiesha was already here studying for her doctorate, so it was a combination of factors that started getting me into that mindset.” Lakiesha: “I came to Mississippi State after earning my bachelor’s and master’s degrees from LSU (Louisiana State University) because my major adviser had a good friend and colleague who worked here and was familiar with the ABE program. I love research and enjoy transferring that knowledge into the classroom to teach students how to develop critical thinking skills. I experienced that at LSU, and MSU let me continue to pursue my passion. It gave me opportunities to professionally fulfill my dream in and outside the classroom.”

Are you surprised at the amount of success you’ve achieved while living in the South, specifically Mississippi? Lakiesha: “Mississippi has come such a long way since the civil rights movement and people really need to know that we would not want to be in any other place than in Mississippi. We serve people, not the color of their skin. The success Byron and I have experienced is the true testament of the quality of ‘good people’ who live in this state and who work here at Mississippi State.” Byron: “Now we’re in a place to give back to the people in the community, the people of the state and to serve them. I don’t think there would have been any other place that welcomed, encouraged and supported me in my educational endeavors as much as Mississippi State. Words can’t describe how appreciative we are of all the resources and people at the university who helped us. Now it’s our turn to give back.” Future aspirations for the Williamses may include political endeavors. Maybe over the years of repeatedly hearing, “You will be president one day,” made an impact? Whatever their destiny, in the end maybe this saying expresses it best, “Faith is to believe in what we do not see and the reward of faith is to see what we believe,” Author, St. Augustine.



Global interaction shapes the future of engineering By Susan Lassetter


Momentum Spring 2010

As our economy becomes more globally based, it seems that passport stamps will pave the path to future career success. This standard will appear strange to those accustomed to measuring achievement in terms of technological advancement, but as the industry changes, so must its practitioners.

“The world is changing and thanks to technology, it’s becoming smaller every day,” said Robert Green. “Young engineers need to recognize the importance of globalization and how much they will be doing outside of the United States during their careers.” In a presentation at the annual meeting of Southeastern Conference engineering deans, Green explained how globalization is shaping the future of engineering education. In his role as undergraduate coordinator for the Bagley College of Engineering (BCoE), it’s his job to help ensure that students leave Mississippi State ready for whatever their careers might hold. But, when that future can lead young engineers anywhere from Tokyo to Timbuktu, fundamentals of engineering have to share schedule space with lessons on international business etiquette. “Even here in Mississippi, international companies like Toyota, Eurocopter and PACCAR have established operations,” Green explained. “These are international companies with different cultures and we need to be prepared to work with them and their suppliers. The traditional approach to engineering education is no longer enough, we have to broaden our students’ horizons to keep them competitive at a global level.” Study abroad trips are one way the BCoE helps students gain international

Bagley College of Engineering

experience. Those students who don’t participate can still earn a global perspective by interacting with the college’s diverse population, which allows domestic students to work side-by-side with peers from around the world. While many students eagerly take advantage of these opportunities to learn about life in exotic new places, they sometimes fail to understand that the vast array of classes found in the university’s course catalog also can provide a different way of thinking. It may be the less glamorous of the personal enrichment options, but speaking from personal experience, Green knows that supplemental classes can be worthwhile. “When I was in school, I had my life planned out. All I thought I needed were technical classes, but several years later I realized I should have explored a broader curriculum to prepare myself for the new opportunities I was seeing,” Green admitted. “I try to encourage students to sample the different activities and supplemental classes the college offers to gain a better understanding of what they would like to do in the future.” At a time when many institutions are being asked to cut programs and eliminate course requirements, the BCoE provides ample opportunities for students to explore their passions through engineering while receiving a broad educational experience. For example, those interested in the business side of industry have the option to participate in the Jack Hatcher Engineering Entrepreneurship Program, while future managers can pursue leadership studies minors and budding educators can explore K-12 outreach. With opportunities ranging from Dorman Blaine Congressional Fellowships to specialized certificate programs, everyone has the opportunity to experiment with the potential applications of their knowledge, proving that engineering has become the professional world’s new gateway degree.

limited study, but it speaks to a growing trend,” Green explained. “I believe that most people major in engineering to make the world a better place, and now they are finding new ways to do that. Consider Lisa Jackson, a chemical engineer and new head of the Environmental Protection Agency. It’s a logical career move, but she is the first engineer to ever hold that position.” This trend has led to a number of new initiatives within engineering colleges, including the engineering and public policy course Green helped develop for the BCoE. But while efforts are being made to further the hopes and potential of each individual, the college must be careful to not forget the fundamentals of engineering education.

“Although we offer plenty of opportunities for students to tailor their education to their interests, we are careful to not forget the basics of a solid engineering education,” Green said. “We equip our students for the future by teaching the fundamental principles of math and science, and showing them how to apply this knowledge to solve new problems. We can’t do it for them because many of the problems they’ll face don’t exist yet, but as a college, we can prepare them for whatever the future holds.”

“A recent survey showed that only 46 percent of current engineering majors plan on practicing in the field. It was a



Movers & Shakers Alumni Ralph Cavin, an electrical engineering graduate, was awarded a Public Service Medal by the president of Singapore for his work as the chair of the scientific advisory board for the Institute of Microelectronics. Carl B. Mack, a mechanical engineering graduate, will be honored by Clarkson University with an honorary doctorate. Jimmy Palmer, a civil engineering graduate and former EPA administrator, joined the environmental law firm Butler Snow, O’Mara, Stevens & Cannada, PLLC. Albert J. Williams, an electrical engineering graduate, was named the Bagley College of Engineering’s alumnus of the year.

Students Ambarish Acharya, a doctoral student in industrial engineering, received first place for his research on supply chain designs for cellulosic ethanol in Mississippi at the eighth annual Southern BioProducts and Renewable Energy Conference. Junior, mechanical engineering major Chandler Ryan Bankston received the John Fayard Jr. Scholarship from the Mississippi Trucking Association Foundation. Senior, mechanical engineering major Seth Carroll was awarded the Mike McLarty Scholarship from the Mississippi Trucking Association Foundation.


Momentum Spring 2010

Phillip Jamison, a senior in chemical engineering, earned an honorable mention from the American Electrophoresis Society poster session at the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) annual conference. Timothy Ray McCaa Pitts, a senior in computer engineering, was awarded a study abroad grant of $1,000 by the honor society Phi Kappa Phi. Robert Wesley McGrew, a doctoral student in computer science, was designated the MSU Student of the 200910 Year by the MSU Student Association. He also was named the Bagley College of Engineering Student of the Year.

Faculty & Staff An international, membership-led organization, the Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE), elected Dr. Burak Eksioglu to its board of directors for the Operations Research Division. Dr. Stanislaw Grzybowski, director of the High Voltage Laboratory and recipient of the Mississippi Power Professorship in the department of electrical and computer engineering, was honored by Chongqing University with a “Guest Professor” award during the institution’s 80th anniversary ceremony.

The Mississippi State University Student Association announced the organization’s first class of Student and Teacher Recognition Awards sponsored by its academic affairs committee. Dr. Donna Reese, the Bagley College of Engineering’s associate dean of academics, earned the Most Outstanding Teacher award. The Institute for Clean Energy Technology’s Dr. Jagdish Singh has been named Fellow of The Optical Society of America. Dr. Tonya Stone, mechanical engineering, was recognized as a “technology rising star” at the 2009 Women of Color Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) conference. Dr. Ming Xin, an assistant professor in aerospace engineering, has been named a recipient of the prestigious 2009 Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Dr. Li Zhang, an assistant professor in civil and environmental engineering, has been named a Fellow of the Institute of Transportation Engineering (ITE).

Dr. William H. McAnally accepted a three-year appointment to the board of trustees for the Academy of Coastal, Ocean, Port, and Navigation Engineers (ACOPNE), an organization that grants specialized certification to practicing engineers. He will serve as the organization’s navigation engineering expert.


Dr. Sarah A. Rajala and President Mark Keenum accepting a check from Chevron at the MSU-University of Florida game.


Robert Wesley McGrew, a doctoral student in computer science, was designated the MSU Student of the 2009-10 Year by the MSU Student Association. He also was named the Bagley College of Engineering Student of the Year.

C. A

Dr. William H. McAnally, a research professor of civil and environmental engineering, is the 2009 Hans Albert Einstein Award recipient.


Engineering students receiving their entrepreneurship certificates. L-R: Joshua Vance, Daniel Bray, Travis Nylin, Matthew Speed, and Gerald Nelson, director of the entrepreneurship program.


C Are you an alum 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

Bagley College of Engineering

Momentum D


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

50 Ways to Help the BCoE and MSU 1.

Make an annual gift to the BCoE Excellence Fund. Even $10 helps.

17. Sign up for the BCoE-Newsletter.


Recruit five new BCoE fund donors.


Encourage a prospective student to visit campus.

19. Update your alumni address listing by calling 662-325-7000.

4. 5.

Remember the BCoE in your will or estate plan. Take a fellow BCoE alumnus to an alumni event in your area.

18. Subscribe to the BCoE Podcasts on iTunes.

20. Post an class note to Facebook. 21. Attend your class reunion on campus. 22. Attend homecoming every year. 23. More cowbell! Learn it. Love it. Live it.


Visit and evaluate your BCoE Web site.

24. Plan a family outing to campus.


Read Momentum magazine.

25. Show you school spirit on Maroon Fridays.


After reading Momentum magazine, share it with a friend.

26. Join your local alumni chapter.


Assist in MSU marketing and student recruitment efforts in your area.

10. Attend and promote MSU athletic and cultural activities. 11. Send news clippings and obituaries about the university and its alumni to the alumni office. 12. Respond to BCoE and MSU surveys. 13. Identify major gift prospects for the BCoE. 14. Identify donors for naming opportunities for buildings, rooms and other areas on campus. 15. If you live in Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama or Kentucky, purchase a MSU license tag. 16. Attend a MSU sponsored continuing education class.

27. Display your degree to let people know you’re a Bulldog. 28. Follow the college and other university groups on Facebook and Twitter. 29. Join the online alumni community.

37. Attend or host viewing parties with other Bulldog fans in your area. 38. Make the BCoE aware of student recruitment opportunities in your area. 39. Visit campus. You might be surprised by the changes and new opportunities. 40. Reconnect with classmates and professors at engineering events. 41. Connect with current students. They can always benefit from the experience and advice of their predecessors. 42. Showcase MSU’s beautiful campus with an official MSU calendar. 43. Participate in the new Maroon Edition reading initiative. 44. Support university backed charities and organizations.

30. 30. Purchase and wear officially licensed MSU and BCoE accessories and apparel.

45. 45. Familiarize yourself with university facts, programs and opportunities so you are always ready to promote your alma mater.

31. Take advantage of any gift matching opportunities offered by your employer.

46. Help foster partnerships between the BCoE and your company.

32. Share your story with the BCoE publications team so we can help share your story with the world.

47. Host a “Meet the Dean” event or alumni gathering in your hometown.

33. Plan your next vacation as a Traveling Bulldog with the Alumni Association. 34. Invite the dean to speak at your local Rotary Club or other community organization. 35. Attend MSU events in your area. 36. Show your Bulldog pride when you decorate your home or office.

48. Help sponsor some of our campus activities and events, like E-Week. 49. Let us know about other BCoE alumni who are doing great things. 50. Talk to your local middle or high school students about your engineering career.

Momentum 2010 Spring  

The Bagley College of Engineering's bi-annual magazine cover the news and events on engineering at Mississippi State University.

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you