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Case Alumnus The Magazine of the Case Alumni Association

Spring 2016 • vol. 27 • no. 3

The NEXUS between MAN and MACHINE

ALSO INSIDE: Engineering/Non-engineering Dual Degrees Celebrating Scholarship Engineers Week Banquet Photos

Your next step is where you started.

As valued alumni, you’re already part of the CWRU family. Now it’s time to take your career to the next level by earning your master’s degree in engineering from one of five 100% online programs at Case Western Reserve University, named as a Best Grad School according to U.S. News & World Report. Enhance your skills and master emerging technologies by earning a: • Master of Engineering

• M.S. in Civil Engineering

• M.S. in Biomedical Engineering

• M.S. in Mechanical Engineering

• M.S. in Systems and Control Engineering

Take the first step toward your master’s degree today. case alumnus magazine

A Message from the Case School of Engineering Dear Alumni and Friends of the Case School of Engineering, I take great pride in all the incredible work being done across the school, and, as a former chair and Ph.D. recipient of the biomedical engineering department, I have a particularly deep connection with that discipline, as well as a unique perspective on how biomedical research can have a direct impact on patients. In science and engineering, sometimes our end-users – the people whose lives we’re trying to change through research and discovery – can seem far away. The beauty of biomedical engineering research is the chance to work directly with patients to see our research in action, changing people’s lives, right now, whether it’s through advanced sensors that connect the brain to paralyzed muscles or new biomaterials that support superior orthopedic implants or targeted drug delivery. Another beautiful thing about biomedical engineering is how it’s so intricately tied to many other core engineering disciplines. For many of us who were pursuing our education before biomedical engineering was an established academic discipline, we approached the biological challenges of the human body through the lenses of other fundamental disciplines: electrical, mechanical, chemical and materials engineering. It’s been especially rewarding to be part of an institution that helped establish biomedical engineering as a core field of study. The Case School of Engineering started the first joint biomedical engineering department between engineering and medical schools and launched the first undergraduate degree program in the field. Today, U.S. labor statistics cite biomedical engineering as one of the fastest-growing fields in the country, and our program is specifically designed to prepare students for the variety of careers available under the biomedical engineering umbrella. Beyond the classroom, our faculty are making groundbreaking discoveries, just some of which are highlighted in the following pages. We are restoring function and independence to paralyzed patients, using new imaging techniques to predict the severity of cancer and learning how to stop disease in its tracks by shutting down bad genes. We have a proud history in biomedical engineering, a robust present and an exciting future. Even more exciting is knowing that this kind of world-changing work is going on in each of our departments, which is truly something to celebrate. Sincerely,

Jeffrey L. Duerk PhD ’87 Dean and Leonard Case Professor of Engineering SPRING 2016

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A message from the

Case Alumni Association The Case Alumni Association sponsored and planned an exciting and successful Engineers Week Banquet in late February. The banquet, which many of you attended, showcased articulate and entrepreneurial Case student leaders, their projects and some impressive business plans. The students and their faculty sponsors who participated in the Engineers Week Banquet illuminated the exciting changes in the approach to education at Case. Case students are learning to apply their intellectual horsepower to both solving technical challenges and finding ways to capture the solutions’ marketplace value. They understand the value and importance of clear communication, business acumen and interpersonal skills. (I think today’s Case students also understand if they don’t have these skills, they will work for someone who does.) The Engineers Week Banquet success is due to the hard work of the Case Alumni Association staff. Countless hours were spent preparing, marketing, securing corporate sponsors, and inviting students and alumni. The effort truly paid off. Please remember, we all have an open invitation to visit the campus, meet the students and faculty, and experience the Case excitement firsthand. If you didn’t make the banquet this year, look for notices for the 2017 event.

The Case Alumni Association serves the interests of more than 20,000 alumni of the Case School of Applied Science, Case Institute of Technology and the Case School of Engineering. Its mission is to serve and advance the interests of the Case School of Engineering, the math and applied sciences of Case Western Reserve University, its alumni and its students, through a strategic focus on fundraising, institutional leadership, responsive services, public relations and student programs. Established in 1885 by the first five graduates of the Case School of Applied Science, the Case Alumni Association is the oldest independent alumni association of engineering and applied science graduates in the nation. The Case Alumnus is a publication of the Case Alumni Association, Inc., a 501(c)3 public charity under the IRS code. CASE ALUMNI ASSOCIATION, INC. Tomlinson Hall, Room 109 10900 Euclid Avenue Cleveland, OH 44106-1712 Phone: 216-231-4567 Fax: 216-231-5715 Web: Email: OFFICERS Jeffrey Herzog ’79, President James R. Sadowski ’63, MS ’67, 1st Vice President Marvin Schwartz ’68, PhD ’73, 2nd Vice President Joe Fakult ’90, Secretary Ronald J. Cass ’84, Treasurer Nick Barendt ’95, MS ’98, Assistant Treasurer

We continue our work on renewing our strategic plan for the Case Alumni Association. Our goal is to preserve and strengthen the bonds of friendship and comradery forged during our trials, tribulations and fun times at Case. Programs and opportunities for lifelong learning and intellectual growth will be continually enhanced. More opportunities for you to contribute your time and energy on campus will be offered. As a result, we are looking for an engaged and motived team of alumni who will also step up their support to the Case Fund®, the annual fund for the Case School of Engineering and the applied sciences and mathematics of Case Western Reserve University.

STAFF Stephen J. Zinram, Executive Director Thomas J. Conlon, Chief Financial Officer Anne E. Cunningham, Senior Director of Development and Global Initiatives Terri Mrosko, Senior Director of Communications and Alumni Engagement Kellie Mayle, Director of Alumni Relations Claire McBroom, Manager of Grants and Stewardship Ryan Strine, Assistant Director of Annual Giving Pamela A. Burtonshaw, Coordinator of Database Operations Corey Wright ’11, MEM ’13, Webmaster

It’s a great time to be part of Case. I look forward to seeing more of you on campus and working with you to support the wonderful things happening at our alma mater.

CASE ALUMNUS Terri Mrosko, Editor Steve Toth, J. Toth Graphic, Design and Layout PHOTO CREDITS Hilary Bovay, cover, pp. 6-12, 19-21 David Braun, p. 13 Kevin Kopanski, p. 4 (bottom) Rob Wetzel, p. 18, for inside back cover

Jeff Herzog BSME ‘79 Case Alumni Association, President p. 2

case alumnus magazine

Case Alumnus

To serve and advance the interests of the Case School of Engineering, the math and applied sciences of Case Western Reserve


University and its alumni and students.

SPRING 2016 • vol. 27 • no. 3


ON THE COVER: The Far-reaching, Life-enhancing Impact of Biomedical Research

Whether restoring sensory perception to an amputee, finding better ways to manage cancer diagnoses or quieting the tremors of an epileptic seizure, the Department of Biomedical Engineering is leading the way in groundbreaking research.

13 ‘Complementary, Never Conflicting’ Engineers, mathematicians and

scientists are hard-wired for analytical thought, logic and reasoning, but many are pursuing creative endeavors in their studies as well.


Celebrating Scholarship

Our Junior-Senior Scholarship program awarded 202 Case students with scholarships this year. Relive the celebration with students and alumni donors at our annual reception.


Forging the Future – Shaping the World

The Engineers Week Banquet held in February was a resounding success! Enjoy a photo gallery recap of this signature event.



DEPARTMENTS 1 2 4 22 24 26 28

Dean’s Message President’s Message Case Connections – STEM Education and Campus News Alumni Outreach Across the Globe Class Notes In Memoriam The Last Word: Research Abroad





The nexus between man and machine. Igor Spetic (pictured) lost his right hand in a work-related accident. Associate biomedical engineering professor Dustin Tyler PhD ’99 and his team of researchers have found a way to restore the sensory perception of touch in his prosthetic hand, fully realizing the delicate, intricate interface of man and machine.


The best way to stay connected to the Case Alumni Association between magazine issues is to follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube. Please join our sites today for the latest news on alumni, students, faculty and innovative research and projects.

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Case Connections UPDATES FROM THE OFFICE OF THE DEAN Institute for Smart, Secure and Connected Systems launches Dedicated to advancing research on the Internet of Things, Case Western Reserve University’s new Institute for Smart, Secure and Connected Systems (ISSACS) will lead specific initiatives in data science, cybersecurity, networks, embedded systems and more. The Internet of Things – the network of billions of physical devices that can connect to the Internet and each other – is generating data at an exponential rate. The new institute, led by the Case School of Engineering, will help the university leverage its strengths in sensors and electronics, networks and communications, systems and control, data science and analytics, and other related technology fields to operate on the leading edge of this rapidly growing area of research and opportunity. The new institute also builds on other recent investments at Case Western Reserve, including the recruitment of five new faculty members with specific expertise in related fields under the institute’s purview. Additionally, establishment of an endowed professorship in data science and analytics and a new commitment for graduate student scholarships, both from alumnus and former Microsoft COO Bob Herbold MS ’66, PhD ’68, are key elements within the new institute. Learn more at

Engineering students chosen for prestigious University Innovation Fellows program The National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter) selected students Marc Bouchet and Calin Solomon as University Innovation Fellows in a national program that empowers student leaders to increase campus engagement with innovation, entrepreneurship, creativity and design thinking. Bouchet and Solomon are among 155 students from 47 institutions to be named University Innovation Fellows. Fellows design innovation spaces, start entrepreneurship organizations, host experiential learning events and work with faculty to develop new courses. Learn more at

‘MythBusters’ Adam Savage visits campus

“MythBusters” host Adam Savage (right), a champion of the “maker” movement, with Sears think[box] manager Ian Charnas ’05.

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Inventor Adam Savage, host of the Emmy-nominated show “MythBusters” and advocate of the “maker” movement as a national economic development engine, spent some time on campus in April while he was meeting local makers, community leaders and stakeholders. His first stop of the day was at the Larry Sears and Sally Zlotnik Sears think[box], the university’s center for innovation and entrepreneurship. A representative of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy accompanied Savage during his trip to Cleveland. Learn more at case alumnus magazine

STEM education news from across campus FACULTY UPDATES Two new department chairs named at Case School of Engineering Frank Ernst, Leonard Case Jr. Professor, has been named chair of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. He came to the Case School of Engineering as a postdoctoral researcher in the department in 1987 and returned to his native country, Germany, after two years before returning to the university in 2000. Ernst has extensive research expertise in surface engineering of alloys as well as materials applications in the field of advanced energy, including fuel cell catalyst nanoparticles, solid-oxide fuel cells and photovoltaic thin films.

Daniel Lacks, the C. Benson Branch Professor of Chemical Engineering, has been named chair of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. He has been a member of the Case School of Engineering faculty for 13 years, focusing his research in molecular simulation of materials. Lacks has been a leading figure in the university’s international efforts and influence, including creating a unique study abroad opportunity for engineering students that allows them to take one of their core courses, thermodynamics, in Botswana.

Gao is appointed the Cady Staley Professor of Engineering Robert X. Gao is an esteemed scholar and chair of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. He joined the faculty in 2015, bringing extensive research expertise in the areas of physics-based sensing methodology; design, modeling and characterization of measurement systems; multiresolution data analysis; and energy-efficient sensor networks for the in-situ monitoring of dynamical systems. Gao has led more than 50 projects funded by federal agencies and industrial partners, and is a well-respected educator and mentor, having graduated more than 35 Ph.D. and master’s students. He has two books, more than 300 papers and 12 awarded and pending patents to his name, as well as several editorial appointments in his field’s leading journals.

Three faculty members named AIMBE Fellows Three biomedical engineering faculty members were elected to the College of Fellows of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering for research enriching specific areas of human health. Biomedical engineering professors Eben Alsberg and Cameron McIntyre and associate professor Horst von Recum join 29 Case Western Reserve faculty members who have previously been elected to the institute. Learn more about this year’s honorees at SPRING 2016

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The far-reaching, life-enhancing impact of biomedical research By Terri Mrosko


hether restoring sensory perception to an amputee, finding better ways to manage cancer diagnoses or quieting the tremors of an epileptic seizure, biomedical research is opening up incredible and life-altering changes for patients who suffer from these and other medical conditions. The Department of Biomedical Engineering at Case Western Reserve University continues to lead the way in groundbreaking research in the field, just as it has for the nearly 50 years of its existence.

The nexus between man and machine Human touch. The tactile sensation that engages us with the world in a way perhaps no other sense can. For people who have lost an upper extremity to accident or war, restoring the sensory perception of touch in a prosthetic hand means the difference p. 6

between simply holding their wife’s hand and actually feeling her touch in theirs. The ability to hold a loved one’s hand in a meaningful way is the motivation behind the innovative technology developed by Case Western Reserve University researcher Dustin Tyler PhD ’99. The associate professor of biomedical engineering has been working toward this case alumnus magazine

The far-reaching, life-enhancing impact of biomedical research

interface of man-to-machine for nearly 24 years. The innovation creates functions by creating a connection between the prosthetic hand and the brain, allowing users to actually feel the sensation of picking up an object – or the touch of another human being. “The sense of touch is one of the ways we interact with objects around us,” Tyler stated. “Our goal is not just to restore function, but to build a reconnection to the world.” The user feels as if an actual hand, not a prosthetic, is touching the object. The touch feels real, he said. Tyler likens the experience to that of a gaming control interface that vibrates. Without touch, you still know that the controller is vibrating, but you have to process that sensation in your brain to understand it. But with the implanted technology, if you actually see your hand touch something and feel it in the fingertips, there’s no processing needed – it’s an immediate, natural sensation.

Most exhilarating moment? Four years ago, after our first subject was fitted for the prosthetic hand for the first time. This look came upon his face, and he said, “That’s my thumb! Right here, that’s the tip of my thumb. That’s the first time I’ve felt my thumb since the accident.” Next steps? We just implanted our redesigned technology in our third subject this past month for the next phase. What is the future of this technology? I think we’re at the beginning of the new evolution of the Internet of Things. Tactile sensation within virtual reality – a fully immersive experience. Learn more at

The project in more recent years has been significantly funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency primarily as a result of so many amputations coming out of the wars in the Middle East. Tyler started working on the prosthetic hand research beginning around 2002, after having researched spinal cord injuries for 10 years, some as a graduate student in neural engineering. After obtaining his Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from Case in 1999, Tyler spent some time in industry before returning full time as a faculty member. “It is really about the training from Case, the expertise in neural engineering, coupled with what I like to call my second Ph.D. – when I went to industry for five years – that enabled this research,” Tyler said. “Now, my degree has come full circle as my graduate work is what really led to the capability of doing this clinically and getting the right people to notice and get interested.”

Dustin Tyler on his innovative prosthetic hand … Most challenging part of the project? Aligning FDA approval timelines with the funding timelines to optimize both. SPRING 2016

Igor Spetic (left), who lost his right hand in a work-related accident in 2000, shakes hands with Dustin Tyler PhD ’99. The two have been working together since Spetic was implanted with Tyler’s technology more than four years ago. Spetic is grateful he can once again feel the sensation of his wife’s hand in his prosthetic one. He is currently pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering at another university and hopes that in the future anybody who is an amputee will be able to benefit from this remarkable research out of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Case Western Reserve. p. 7

The far-reaching, life-enhancing impact of biomedical research

Predicting disease outcome through digital pathology-based imaging Growing up in India in the early 1990s, one had two clear career pathways – either become a doctor or an engineer, stated Anant Madabhushi, professor of biomedical engineering and director of the Center for Computational Imaging and Personalized Diagnostics. With several doctors in his family, Madabhushi felt pushed toward a medical profession, a highly competitive endeavor in his native country. “Long story short, I didn’t get into medical school. An uncle working for GE sent me a couple of books on biomedical engineering and instrumentation. That piqued my interest, and it seemed like a good convergence of the medical and engineering fields,” said Madabhushi, who has received several patents for his research since joining the faculty of the biomedical engineering department at the Case School of Engineering two years ago. “Just looking around at the unmet clinical need and how biomedical engineers have an opportunity to make an impact and advance medical technologies on so many levels – that’s what excites me about this field.” Madabhushi’s work is focused on using computational image analysis, artificial intelligence and pattern recognition tools to find cues or features from MRI, CAT scan and digital tissue pathology images for predicting disease outcome, primarily in breast, prostate and lung cancer patients. While science is fairly good at diagnosing cancer early enough for treatment, the technology around characterizing the outcome is still not ideal. Which patient will benefit from more aggressive chemotherapy, or, as in about 20 percent of breast cancer patients, which might require few or no therapies and be spared the toxic side effects? What Madabhushi’s team has done is take digital images of a routinely acquired biopsy or tissue specimen and look for distinct patterns and appearances that correlate to a more or less aggressive disease. “You can take your tissue slide, put it into a scanner and create a p. 8

Anant Madabhushi, professor of biomedical engineering and director of the Center for Computational Imaging and Personalized Diagnostics

high-resolution digital image. We then run our software programs on it and come up with a prediction of the disease outcome.” That is a game changer, Madabhushi continued, not only because it pushes the needle in terms of precision medicine, but because it is a fundamentally nonclinically destructive technology. The technology can apply to a woman diagnosed with breast cancer in Dubai or Brisbane – there are no barriers, and the protocol is the same. Once the slide is digitalized and uploaded to the cloud, programs can render a diagnosis from anywhere. Think of the cost savings, especially to lower- and middle-income countries, he said. “For me, success is the translation of these technologies to the patient,” Madabhushi said. “We’ve achieved success in terms of publications, in terms of grants and patents so far. But in my mind, as a biomedical engineer and somebody who got into this area with a clear vision of developing methods that would be used clinically, I have to say we’re not quite there yet. We’re very, very close, though.” Learn more at

case alumnus magazine

The far-reaching, life-enhancing impact of biomedical research

Neural engineering making huge strides within the biomedical engineering discipline

with memory – and change direction, while generating brain waves. The generator itself, however, produces no detectable electrical signal.

Neural engineering – the interface between engineering and neuroscience – is a relatively new discipline within biomedical engineering. The resident expert within the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the Case School of Engineering is Dominique Durand, the Elmer Lincoln Lindseth Professor in Biomedical Engineering and the director of the Neural Engineering Center.

“The work involves trying to understand how seizures are generated, how they are propagating and how to prevent them,” Durand stated. “We are eagerly awaiting the final phase II epilepsy clinical trial results, testing ideas developed in our laboratory and hoping that another 30 years of research will be paying off.”

“Neural engineering is only about 20 years old, but it is making a big impact here and is being recognized at the national level,” Durand explained. In Durand’s laboratory, research topics combine computational neuroscience, engineering and electrophysiology to solve problems in the central and peripheral nervous systems. Some of the different aspects of Durand’s work include neural interfacing with the peripheral nervous system and the development of neural prostheses to restore function for patients with stroke or spinal cord injury. He is also exploring some completely uncharted territory within the enteric nervous system, which controls the function of the gastrointestinal system, and the autonomic nervous system that influences the function of internal organs such as breathing, heartbeat and digestive processes.

Learn more at neural-engineering

Dominique Durand was recognized two years ago as one of the university’s Faculty Distinguished Research Award recipients for his contributions to the field of neural engineering. More recently, Durand was elected to a fellowship in the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2015.

Because of some recent breakthroughs, the research in neural engineering at Case has garnered the attention of several companies and organizations including the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Durand said. Some of the other projects making headlines, such as that of one of Durand’s former students, Dustin Tyler PhD ’99, had their origins in neural engineering. One of those breakthroughs includes the discovery of moving, electrically “silent” sources initiating brain waves that have never before been seen – a possible step toward treating epilepsy. The research showed a traveling spike generator that appears to move across the hippocampus – a part of the brain mainly associated SPRING 2016

Dominique Durand, the Elmer Lincoln Lindseth Professor in Biomedical Engineering and the director of the Neural Engineering Center, in one of his labs.

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The far-reaching, life-enhancing impact of biomedical research

An overview of the Department of Biomedical Engineering The Department of Biomedical Engineering is wellrespected nationally. It has a rich history of producing impressive research being done by some of the top biomedical researchers in the world, many of whom are themselves Case graduates. “Our biomedical engineering department was founded in 1968 as one of the first in the world. We pioneered rigorous BS, MS and Ph.D. educational programs that have long served a wide range of career aspirations and prepared our graduates to be leaders in academia, industry and medicine,” stated Robert Kirsch, Ph.D., the Allen H. and Constance T. Ford Professor and chair of the BME department. Kirsch cited the record number of declared undergraduate majors – nearly 500, with another 65 students minoring in BME – as a strong case for the successful growth of the department as well as the ever-increasing popularity of the discipline. Out of about 115 academic programs across the country, Case’s biomedical engineering program ranks No. 12 for undergraduate and No. 17 for graduate studies. A high showing, Kirsch stated. The department has added two new faculty members since January, one with a focus in cardiac regeneration and one in cancer imaging informatics. The three faculty members elected fellows of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering this past year have joined 13 department faculty members already holding this honor. To put that honor in perspective, those named to the AIMBE represent the top 2 percent of their field, Kirsch explained.

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Capping off the department highlights, a new undergraduate biomedical engineering laboratory opened this spring on the main floor of the Wickenden Building. The lab features flexible use of space and, for the first time, provides serious wet lab experience to undergraduates. The lab space can house senior design projects and other experiential opportunities.

Senior design class in the new undergraduate biomedical engineering wet lab.

Developing tomorrow’s researchers A year ago January, biomedical engineering professor Colin Drummond rejoined the department in the newly created position of assistant chair to lead efforts in undergraduate education with a specific focus on expanding experiential design courses and professional practice preparation. Most recently, Drummond was with the School of Nursing, and prior to that, he was the director of the Case-Coulter Translational Research Partnership (see page 12). Drummond used his previous ties to nursing and the flight simulation center to form the strategy for his new role in biomedical engineering. The first area of focus was looking at processes. How could the department better serve student advising? The second strategic thrust was to find ways to improve the senior design experience. “I teach courses like entrepreneurship and clinical information systems. My type of research is translational. I wanted to use the School of Nursing relationships and unique programs I developed when I came back to biomedical. For instance, I am working on a project with flight simulation on decision-making. We bring in biomedical engineering students to run the computers. We use nurses as clinical consultants to the engineers. This is about crossing boundaries and disciplines,” Drummond said. case alumnus magazine

The far-reaching, life-enhancing impact of biomedical research

Some of the nursing capstone projects now align with some of the biomedical engineering capstones. The two work together – putting a different twist on senior design, Drummond said. The need to involve clinicians with senior design also became evident. Graduate student Nicholas VanDillen (left) “Now, works with Professor Drummond to fine-tune primarily his research project. all of the senior design projects are clinician driven. The clinicians come up with the project ideas, and some of the projects even continue over multiple years. I wanted to make senior design a bit more like industry to make it more relevant. The technical aspects are still there, but so is the teamwork and communication piece,” noted Drummond, who also comes from an industry background. Another change Drummond implemented is that every senior design project is now included in the annual Research ShowCASE held in conjunction with the Spring Undergraduate Symposium. “We got a lot of pushback on that,” Drummond said, “but learning how to create a poster and present to the campus community in a nontechnical way is an invaluable learning experience. Despite the initial objections, the students’ presentations end up quite polished.”

Finally, Drummond utilizes biomedical engineering alumni on a regular basis. Some may return as guest speakers for senior design or some may serve as review panelists for the biodesign program. They share their perspectives on the biomedical industry and their experiences. “I would love to have more alumni engaged in serving on our review panels,” he said. “It would be fantastic to have a board of alumni who could advise on the relevancy of these projects and help shape our program.”

An alumnus’ perspective Joe Giuffrida ’99, MS ’01, PhD ’04 first saw a patient who had lost all use of his limbs open and close one of his hands during a senior design class as a BME undergraduate at Case Western Reserve University. That is when he knew he had chosen the right major. Today, Giuffrida is president of Great Lakes NeuroTech, which develops, markets and manufactures wearable and wireless biomedical sensing technologies integrated with mobile platforms to improve quality of life and access to healthcare. “We focus on medical technology and electronic data-capture systems for Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders with targeted algorithms and applications for clinical trials and patient care,” he said. Giuffrida acknowledged that the time he spent at Case pursuing three biomedical engineering degrees had a tremendous impact on his career. “I was fortunate enough to work with professors Pat Crago, Bob Kirsch and Hunter Peckham. I acquired strong technical and writing skills that are important for any job in the biomedical industry.” Most importantly, Giuffrida learned to keep the focus on why his company is doing things in the medical space. Successfully developing medical devices requires context and strongly considering the experience of the patient user, he said.

Radhika Vazirani will graduate in 2017 with an undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering. Her Digital Doppler Display featured at this year’s CES in Las Vegas began as a senior design project mentored by department assistant chair Colin Drummond. SPRING 2016

“All of the hands-on experiences I had as part of my BME research, such as restoring movement after spinal cord injury, had a tremendous impact, and I have kept that motivation with me. You can have the greatest algorithms in the world, but if a patient can’t put a sensor on his hand because you didn’t consider that as a design consideration, then your system failed,” Giuffrida said. p. 11

The far-reaching, life-enhancing impact of biomedical research

Improving patient care: Advancing research from the laboratory to the marketplace To help foster collaborations among clinicians and engineering on translational research projects with the potential to impact patient care, the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation held out a carrot to research institutions. Ten years later, the foundation provides the topperforming engineering schools across the country funding to help advance products from labs to marketplace. “It worked out really well,” said Stephen D. Fening, director of the Case-Coulter Translational Research Partnership in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Case Western Reserve University. “The carrot for the schools was that the top performing schools would receive an endowment to continue the program in perpetuity. Case, fortunately, was one of those schools.” The $20 million endowment equates to about a million dollars a year. Six other schools have a similar-sized endowment, and the schools all work together and continue to collaborate to come up with what is widely considered a world-class model of technology translation. “When we say we have a Coulter program, it instantaneously puts us in that group of top BME programs in the country,” Fening pointed out. In addition to working on best practices with each other, the schools host different events, including an investor forum. There, the Coulter schools all pitch their top two technologies that are already in companies to a group of venture capitalists. It provides an opportunity for investors to see the best technologies from the best schools that have gone through the best translational program. Selecting the best technologies is all about metrics, Fening explained. Overall, about a third of the projects in the CCTRP program succeed, which means they get licensed and they start down the commercialization p. 12

pathway. Normal tech transfer offices run in the single digits percentage-wise for translational research. Some alumni have gone on to be a part of these successful startup companies, primarily because they worked on the research as graduate students, Fening said. Some may own intellectual property or be named on patents and technical licensure as well. But basically the translational research is faculty-based. Overall, this program is just a small part of some $300 million in research conducted each year through the university, he added. The research follows two clear pathways when it leaves the university – either to become a company or be licensed to industry. One of the first and biggest success stories is Neuros Medical, a neurostimulation company located east of Cleveland. It spent nearly nine years in the Coulter program before recently getting its product close to patients. Another example is Apollo Medical Devices, which developed a rapid-fire blood test that provides a valuable snapshot of what’s going on inside the body. Learn more at

Punkaj Ahuja ’09 (right) is founder and chief technology officer of Apollo Medical Devices. Along with the company’s chief executive officer Patrick Leimkuehler (left), Ahuja demonstrated Apollo’s technology at the CES® 2016 in Las Vegas earlier this year. The company inked an exclusive technology transfer agreement with Case Western Reserve to move its product from a university lab to the market. The research was led by associate professor of biomedical engineering Miklos Gratzl. case alumnus magazine

‘Complementary, Never Conflicting’

Ryan Rose ‘17 (above) is one of three members of the quartet double majoring in engineering and music.

By Claire McBroom | Photos courtesy of Brad Petot, Ryan Rose, and Kristen Stultz SPRING 2016

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t’s common to think of engineers, mathematicians and scientists as hard-wired for analytical thought, logic and reasoning, but many are quick to point out that creativity, emotion and communication are equally important features for them. Many Case Western Reserve University STEM grads and current students champion the diverse benefits of pursuits that may, at face value, seem wholly unrelated to engineering.

Petot designs the lighting and technical direction for all of the productions at the Mather Dance Center and asserts that “engineering and the arts are complementary, never conflicting.” He believes that skills learned in both fields are transferable between the two. “The engineering field turns us into project managers,” Petot said. “In engineering, the project is to figure out how to solve problems with the tools we have at our disposal and implement the solutions.”

When evaluating STEM and non-STEM pursuits, “people often feel that you cannot do both as you are ‘more suited’ for one or the other,” said Gabrielle Kiefer ’18, a biomedical engineering major with minors in Spanish and ethics. On the contrary, Kiefer believes her interests “complement each other well.” Though each field is unique, “I feel that my minors help me see things from different perspectives and vary the learning and thinking styles I experience,” she said. Ryan Rose ’17, a dual major in computer engineering and music, sees his love of coding and playing saxophone as “absolutely complementary, largely on a fundamental level.” It seems clear that “mathematics is a large part of engineering, but mathematics is also fundamental in music,” he continued. “In computer engineering, the creativity of algorithms and developing is surprisingly parallel to creativity in music. They can both be very expressive, and there are certainly a wide array of styles of programming and music performing.” Brad Petot ’80, MS ’97 has degrees in mechanical engineering and minored in theater while at Case. He’s had a robust engineering career in Northeast Ohio and has worked in research and development and mechanical design; currently, he’s a principal engineer in Moen’s faucets and plumbing division in North Olmsted. Since 1984, he’s also been involved with the Department of Dance at Case Western Reserve, where he’s a part-time lecturer and resident lighting designer and technical director. p. 14

case alumnus magazine

According to Petot, “the art world is no different. For an artist, the problem to solve is ‘What do I want to say?’ The artist’s tool is the medium he or she chooses to work with. [Creating an artwork] to express the artist’s ‘solution’ requires these project management skills.” Art and engineering meet in managing time and resources effectively, Petot argued, especially in “arts such as dance or theater, where the cooperation of a number of contributors is essential.” Above: Kristen Stultz ‘17 performs as part of the Mather Dance Collective, a dance ensemble featuring members of the CWRU and Cleveland communities.

Brad Petot ‘80, MS ‘97 has designed lighting and provided technical direction for countless performances at the CWRU Department of Dance, including annual performances by the Mather Dance Collective.


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According to Petot, it’s limiting to see engineering or the arts as rigid. “Solving problems of any kind requires imagination,” he says, “and designing lighting for dance, or designing a better mousetrap, follows the very same creative process.” Students like Kristen Stultz ’17, a double major in mechanical engineering and dance with a minor in biomedical engineering, are following in Petot’s footsteps. Stultz agrees with Petot, explaining that “the combination of majors keeps my analytical thinking skills sharp in engineering and my improvisational mindset open through dance.” Stultz finds this interaction to be incredibly rewarding. “It was the main reason I chose to study at Case,” she stated. “With the welldeveloped nature of both programs here at Case, I found the perfect environment to pursue intellectual and artistic growth.”

p. 16

case alumnus magazine

Celebrating Scholarship By Claire McBroom


n February, a group of alumni volunteers met with 148 Case students over the course of one week as part of the 2016 Junior-Senior Scholarship program’s interview process. A total of 202 students from the Case School of Engineering and the applied math and science programs of the College of Arts and Sciences received awards, a combined total of $677,200 in scholarships. These scholarships are provided by generous donors and our endowed funds. We celebrated with our students, donors and the Case Alumni Association board of directors at a reception on March 31. Interested in getting involved with our scholarship programs? Contact Claire McBroom, manager of grants and stewardship, at or 216-368-3647.

Don Poe and Carol Hodge Poe connect with Marlena Praprost ’18 (center), a mechanical and aerospace engineering major. Marlena is a recipient of the James C. Hodge ‘23 Scholarship Fund, established by Carol’s father.

Annual fund scholarship donors Frank Del Greco ’71 (left) and Eric Snyder ’72 (below) get to know some new scholarship recipients.

Senior mechanical engineering major Chris DeVito introduces himself to Joan Ainsworth, steward of the Horsburgh Family Scholarship Fund, of which he is a recipient.

Senior chemical engineering major Khailing Neoh, who received her scholarship in 2015, congratulates her peers and welcomes them to the scholarship program. Board member and scholarship committee chair Joe Fakult ’90 explains to current students why he volunteers his time as an alumnus. SPRING 2016

p. 17

Forging the Future – Shaping the World


he Engineers Week Banquet held on Feb. 25, 2016, by all accounts was a resounding success! This year, the Case Alumni Association was asked to take back the responsibilities of coordinating the p. 18

event. We worked with the students of the Case Engineers Council, who developed the week’s theme of “Forging the Future, Shaping the World.”

case alumnus magazine

Forging the Future – Shaping the World

“Engineers Week activities raise public understanding and appreciation of engineers’ contributions to society, as well as enable the students to celebrate the field of engineering through friendly competition, social events, excellent speakers and the Engineers Week Banquet.” – The Case Engineers Council


p. 19

Forging the Future – Shaping the World The importance of sponsorship The Case Alumni Association is always a major sponsor of Engineers Week, but we can’t do it alone. We thank all the industry sponsors, including Accenture, GE Lighting, Parker Hannifin, Lubrizol, Colloquy, Deloitte and ASM International. This year, we added more table sponsors, which included an outstanding showing of alumni who work at these companies. Many of the sponsorships were obtained through our own board members, who reached out to their companies. The sponsorships included up to 10 spots at two tables, with the other seats filled by students, faculty and, in some cases, department chairs.

Senior Abigail Advincula, president of the Case Engineers Council, welcomes guests to the 2016 Engineers Week Banquet.

“We appreciated the opportunity for our employees to get to know students who may be future co-ops, interns or new hires,” said Kirsten Bowen ’96, a civil engineer with Michael Baker International, a bronze-level sponsor of the banquet. “The ability to talk with these students and receive department updates from the professors was most valuable.”

Computer science engineering students sponsored by the Opal Group, a company owned by Jim Kilmer ’00, a Case Alumni Association board member.

Attendees enjoying the keynote talk, “350 Years, 350 Reasons to Believe in the Future.”

p. 20

Keynote speaker Didier Roux is vice president of research and development and innovation at Saint-Gobain, a 350-year-old materials company based in France. Roux detailed how the company has become a world leader in sustainable habitat, using an outward-looking and innovation-focused strategy to develop diverse partnerships throughout the world.

Chris Fietkiewicz PhD ’10 receives this year’s Srinivasa P. Gutti Memorial Teaching Award from Shadi Ahmadmehrabi, awards chair of the Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society. case alumnus magazine

Forging the Future – Shaping the World

There was plenty of time to network and make new acquaintances before and after the banquet. This year, the banquet attracted more than 600 people and was sold out again.

The Department of Materials Science and Engineering, chaired by Frank Ernst, was this year’s featured engineering department. Students and faculty demonstrated and shared posters of research and projects.

Tyler Eston and Xyla Foxlin, both second-year engineering students who were selected to join the Case Western Reserve University displays at this year’s CES® in Las Vegas, showcase their innovative products created out of the Sears think[box].

“As the little old lady in the picture to the left, I want to say how very much [my husband] Oliver and I enjoyed the Engineers Week Banquet 2016! In particular, we enjoyed the mingling and mixing of all ages and interests. Our table at dinner was a particular joy, and we thank you for introducing us to and seating us with such a stimulating group. Abbie, the young lady pictured talking with me, is a joy, brilliant and excited for the future. She is an exemplary representative of the Case School of Engineering. We thank you for a most enjoyable and informative evening and hope to be included again next year.” – Meredith Seikel (pictured, left)


p. 21

Alumni Outreach – Regional, national and global relations Report from Home: Diversity in Engineering Meet-Up – Feb. 9, 2016 The Diversity in Engineering Meet-Up was held this past February at the Tinkham Veale University Center Ballroom with over 100 students, alumni and industry professionals in attendance. The Case Alumni Association is a proud sponsor of this event. The evening consists of alumni and industry professionals mentoring and networking with students from various organizations, including the Women in Science and Engineering Roundtable, the Case Engineers Council, the Society of Women Engineers, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and the National Society of Black Engineers. These students represent the next generation of diverse and talented engineers who will soon be on the job hunt. This annual event is designed to forge stronger connections between our current students and our illustrious alumni and to celebrate all that is made possible with a Case engineering degree. Students were excited to meet alumni, learn about the various paths and career opportunities and share their own experiences. If you are interested in being a part of this networking event next year, please contact Kellie Mayle at

Brian Humphrey ‘72 and daughter Hannah Humphrey enjoy a conversation with Beth Palmer from Patriot Software.

Engineering students network with representatives from Centric Consulting, Kevin Bracy ‘93, MS ‘94 and Carmen Fontana ‘00, MSE ‘05.

– Kellie Mayle, Director of Alumni Relations

Case School of Engineering Senior Send-Off 2016 – April 25 We had a record turnout at this year’s event – over 200 engineering students joined the Case Alumni Association at the Jolly Scholar to celebrate the end of classes and look forward to graduation. Thank you to Dean Jeffrey L. Duerk, PhD ‘87, and all of the alumni and faculty who joined us to congratulate and welcome our newest alumni. Congratulations again, Class of 2016! p. 22

case alumnus magazine

Report from the Road: May 2016 Dean Jeffrey L. Duerk ’87 spent time in the Asean region this spring, along with representatives from the university, the Case School of Engineering and the Case Alumni Association, as part of the university’s international development initiative. – Anne Cunningham, Senior Director of Development and Global Initiatives Biomedical engineering alumni and friends with Dean Jeffrey Duerk.

The Case Alumni Association sponsored an event in conjunction with the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine conference, held this year in Singapore. ISMRM is a multidisciplinary nonprofit association that promotes innovation, development and application of magnetic resonance techniques in medicine and biology throughout the world. This Case Western Reserve University group was the second largest of university-based groups at this year’s conference.

Photo credit: Z.R. Lu

A reception for the Seoul Alumni Chapter was held at the JW Marriott Seoul on May 3, with 30 alumni joining Dean Jeffrey Duerk.

Case Western Reserve University Korean alumni from New York and Seoul joined us in Seoul, South Korea.


p. 23

class notes 1940s Charles J. Swartwout ‘42 Sedona, AZ In April 2016, Chuck’s book You Don’t Die – You Just Change Channels! was named winner of the Spirituality category at the Great Southwest Book Festival. His literary debut at 94 draws on his experience and training as an electrical engineer to explore questions of the afterlife and what happens to us when we die, from a scientific viewpoint.

Taylor J. Smith ‘62 Avon, OH Taylor published a sci-fi detective novel, Into the Air. The novel, Taylor’s first, explores environmental issues in relation to the chemical industry. Taylor also maintains a blog on the history of Avon, Ohio, at

1970s James A. Gampetro ’70, MBA ’72 Buffalo, WY Jim is chair of the Land Quality Advisory Board of the Department of Environmental Quality of the state of Wyoming, which assists in the development of all mining rules for the state. In addition, he is on the Johnson County 1 percent tax board and is a 4-H shooting instructor and a substitute high school teacher.

1980s 1960s Russell J. Warren ‘60 Lyndhurst, OH Russ was named the 2016 Lifetime Service Award winner by the Case School of Engineering. He will accept his award during the 131st annual All-Classes Celebration held in October during Homecoming and Reunion Weekend.

John M. Oblak ‘62, MS ‘64, PhD ‘67 Wethersfield, CT John represented Case Western Reserve University at the FIRST Robotics Competition held in Hartford, Connecticut, on April 2, 2016. He is also an Alumni Admission Ambassador for the university.

p. 24

Michael V. Nathal ‘80, MS ‘81, PhD ‘84 Strongsville, OH Mike retired after 32 years at the NASA Glenn Research Center, where he was a researcher and manager in the Materials and Structures Division working on jet and rocket engine materials. In retirement, he continues to play basketball and softball, and is a baseball umpire. He has also taught himself woodturning, and is selling his vases, bowls and hollow forms at four galleries in Northeast Ohio.

Michael G. Zink ’81 Singapore Michael has announced his retirement from Citi Singapore in May 2016. He has been with the bank for more than 28 years and was appointed country officer for Singapore in April 2010. He later became head of Asean in February 2012. He is one of the longest-serving country heads in Singapore. case alumnus magazine

class notes David C. Mangus ‘87 Enfield, CT David, an engineering instructor at the Academy of Engineering and Green Technology in Hartford Public High School, has been involved in the building of a solar- and wind-powered electrical generating system for the village of Saldana, Nepal. In 2013, David’s students built a 24-foot-tall wind turbine that was helicoptered to the off-the-grid Himalayan village. The wind turbine generates enough electricity to light Saldana’s birthing center and school, power several laptops, and run a copier machine where villagers can make copies of birth certificates and other important documents needed for a passport.

1990s Dawn M. DuPriest ‘97 Fort Collins, CO Dawn received the 2016 Allen Distinguished Educator Award from the Vulcan Foundation at this year’s South by Southwest Conference held in Austin, Texas. Founded by Seattle-based philanthropist Paul G. Allen in 2014, the program focuses on the integration of computer science, engineering and entrepreneurship into engaging, student-led learning.

Cameron C. McIntyre ‘97, PhD ‘01 Cleveland, OH Cameron is one of three Case Western Reserve University faculty members to be elected to the College of Fellows of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) for research-enriching specific areas of human health. His research is being honored for outstanding contributions to the scientific analysis, therapeutic mechanisms and technology development of deep-brain stimulation clinical therapy.

Andrew M. Rollins MS ‘97, PhD ‘00 Cleveland, OH Andrew, professor of biomedical engineering and medicine at Case Western Reserve University, traveled with a team of engineering and anthropology students to Uganda to help find better solutions to medical waste management and other important public health issues. The students are participating in a course titled “Interdisciplinary Solutions to Global Health Problems.” The course brings medical anthropology and engineering students and faculty together to address global health problems and builds upon the Uganda-Case Western Reserve University Research Collaboration, which began in 1988.

LET’S HEAR FROM YOU! Send your CLASS NOTES updates about job promotions and professional development awards, and personal milestones like your wedding and anniversary, as well as photos to Dawn DuPriest ’97 (right), pictured with fellow award winner Courtney Bryant (CAS ’01).


p. 25

In Memoriam Harry N. Cotabish ’38, Gibsonia, PA, January 31, 2016

Charles D. Svehla ’52, Pine Lake, NY, January 2, 2016

Richard M. Leader ’38, Tulsa, OK, February 15, 2016

Pierce T. Wetter, Jr. ’52, Simi Valley, CA, January 12, 2016

John C. Ponstingl ’41, Rocky River, OH, January 19, 2016

Norman A. Berg ’53, Boston, MA, March 8, 2016

Glen E. Guy ’42, Tucson, AZ, December 6, 2015

William C. Prior ’53, Chagrin Falls, OH, February 28, 2016

Harold D. Kessler ’42, Phoenix, AZ, November 2015

Robert M. Sandfry ’53, Westlake, OH, March 24, 2016

Robert F. Tuve ’42, Atlanta, GA, January 27, 2016

John P. Simons ’53, Fort Myers, FL, January 25, 2015

Arthur L. Wittmer ’43, Sarasota, FL, December 21, 2015

Jonathan Crawford ’54, Cypress, TX, December 1, 2015

Richard A. Bates ’44, Brethren Village, PA, February 7, 2016

Jack R. Engle ’54, Rocky River, OH, January 5, 2016

Edmond H. Borneman ’45, MS ’49, PhD ’52, Newark, NJ,

William R. Howard ’54, Chagrin Falls, OH, November 12, 2015

February 28, 2016

Paul J. Friedl ’55, Coronado, CA, March 5, 2016

Donald G. Swiers ’45, Carmel, CA, January 16, 2016

Oliver A. Phillips, Jr. ’55, Las Vegas, NV, January 14, 2016

Francis A. “Skip” Giddings ’46, Willoughby, OH, April 14, 2016

Lawrence E. Macioce ’55, Huron, OH, February 22, 2016

Francis W. “Babe” Neville ’48, Chagrin Falls, OH, February 8, 2016

George D. Cundra ’56, Massillon, OH, February 22, 2016

Robert Yonovitz ’48, San Francisco, CA, December 18, 2015

Kenneth H. Fetheroff ’57, Russell Township, OH, March 10, 2016

Phillip A. Froehlich ’49, Cincinnati, OH, November 22, 2015

Jim Gwinn ’57, Erie, PA, April 23, 2016

Ernest Leach ’49, Cleveland, OH, December 29, 2015

William T. Maloney ’57, MS ’59, Sudbury, MA,

Thomas F. Neubecker ’49, Beachwood, OH, January 30, 2016

December 14, 2015

Paul Ronges ’49, Broadview Heights, OH, March 24, 2016

Franklin D. Thomas ’57, Fairfield, OH, February 15, 2016

Charles P. Welch ’49, Canton, OH, December 16, 2015

William H. Tuppeny ’58, MS ’61, Hartford, CT, February 16, 2016

George F. Climo ’50, Los Altos, CA, February 21, 2016

Donald E. Wilkowski ’58, Van Nuys, CA, November 1, 2015

George T. Esry ’50, Elkton, MD, February 17, 2016

Bruce M. Shoffner MS ’60, Avon Lake, OH, March 23, 2016

Willard Frissell ’50, Bokeelia, FL, February 22, 2016

Michael R. Newman ’61, Houghton, MI, February 17, 2016

Edward J. Hodan ’50, Columbus, OH, November 25, 2015

Richard F. Tozer ’61, Dallas, TX, February 19, 2016

Harrison C. Pulsifer ’50, Cincinnati, OH, March 8, 2012

Dale A. Zych ’61, PhD ’67, Oswego, NY, April 5, 2016

William T. Tienvieri ’50, Chagrin Falls, OH, February 6, 2015

Terrence M. “Terry” Adams ’62, Kirtland, OH, December 3, 2015

Lester W. Bauman ’51, Fairview Park, OH, March 6, 2016

Ping Y. Liu MS ’62, PhD ’66, Naperville, IL, date unknown

Carl A. Beiser ’51, MS ’53, PhD ’57, North Olmsted, OH,

Lawrence E. Briskin MS ’63, Dayton, OH, October 14, 2015

October 20, 2015 Kenneth J. Friedenthal ’51, Los Angeles, CA, February 6, 2016

Frederick M. Galloway, Jr. MS ’63, PhD ’68, Tomball, TX, December 29, 2015

Richard J. Matt ’51, Avon, CT, February 1, 2016

John T. Rose ’63, Loudon, TX, February 11, 2016

Jack G. McArdle ’51, MS ’57, Olmsted Falls, OH,

James W. Dailey MS ’66, PhD ’69, New Hope, PA, January 2015

December 27, 2015

Henry K. Voigt MS ’66, Newark, DE, February 4, 2016

John W. Carson ’52, Goleta, CA, April 10, 2015

James E. Palmer PhD ’67, Rochester, NY, November 27, 2015

William R. Dawson ’52, MS ’58, PhD ’62, DeKalb, IL,

William C. Colket ’68, Bradenton, FL, December 23, 2015

March 10, 2016

Ronald C. Lutwen ’68, The Villages, FL, November 18, 2015

Clayton L. Koontz ’52, Syracuse, NY, September 6, 2015

David Y. Cheng MS ’70, city unknown, August 18, 1999

Roy Lahring ’52, Boca Raton, FL, June 20, 2015

Jeremy Rakowsky MS ’73, North Royalton, OH, February 11, 2016

James J. Millen ’52, Minneapolis, MN, February 6, 2016

Jack Hsu ’76, Chicago, IL, January 31, 2016

Roger A. Reeves ’52, Olmsted Falls, OH, December 18, 2015 p. 26

case alumnus magazine

Notable Deaths Francis A. “Skip” Giddings ‘46 Skip Giddings passed away on April 14, 2016, at the age of 90. Skip received his degree in mechanical engineering from the Case School of Applied Science in 1946 and was a proud and lifetime supporter of the Case School of Engineering. During his time at Case, he was a member of Sigma Nu fraternity, Glee Club, and worked on Case’s yearbook, the “Differential.” Skip served as a member of the board of directors of the Case Alumni Association. In 1997, he received a Meritorious Service Award.

Skip Giddings ’46 and his wife, Arline, surrounded by their grandchildren.

“Skip led an exemplary life and will be remembered fondly for his dedication to his family, community and to Case,” said Ed McHenry, past president of the Case Alumni Association. “We are all better for having known him.”

John C. Ponstingl ‘41 John Ponstingl passed away on January 19, 2016, at the age of 96. John graduated in 1941 from the Case School of Applied Science with a degree in electrical engineering. While at Case, he served as the campus photographer for three years, supplying event coverage for the Case Tech newspaper, the “Differential,” and the Case Alumnus magazine. He was retired from Westinghouse Electric Corporation, and later owned his own business, Creative Enterprise. John served as a council member for the Case Alumni Association from 1997 to 2005, and was very active on the Case Scholarship Committee. In 1989, he received a Meritorious Service Award, and in 1999 he was awarded the Samuel Givelber Award.

Harvey Buchanan, Retired Historian and Administrator, Case Institute of Technology Harvey Buchanan passed away on February 19, 2016, at the age of 92. An art historian, Buchanan received his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees at Yale University. His career at Case spanned 36 years, from the 1950s to the 1980s, from humanities instructor at Case Institute of Technology to professor of art and humanities at Case Western Reserve University. In addition, he served as the chair of the Department of Arts and as provost of humanities and arts. Buchanan was instrumental in the development of Case’s John and Mildred Putnam Sculpture Collection, serving as director and commissioning and installing many of campus’s beloved sculptures, including Athena Tacha’s 1986 “Merging” terrace fountain and outdoor sculptures by leading American artists such as Ronald Bladen, Tony Smith and Keith Haring. An annual lecture sponsored by the university and the Cleveland Museum of Art was named in his honor in 1988 after his retirement. This year, on April 22, the lecture served as a tribute to Buchanan’s impact on campus and University Circle. SPRING 2016

p. 27

The Last Word:

Research Abroad

By David Schiraldi Peter A. Asseff, Ph.D. Professor of Organic Chemistry in the Case School of Engineering and Chair, Department of Macromolecular Science and Engineering at Case Western Reserve University

As summer approaches, for many of us in higher education our thoughts turn to how to spend this stretch of time away from classes. For the past seven years, a number of students majoring or minoring in polymer science and engineering at Case Western Reserve University have spent their time carrying out cutting-edge research in another country. The program began as an outgrowth of a sabbatical I took in Spain. Now, we take advantage of the department’s faculty contacts in Spain, Switzerland, France, Germany, China and Japan. Interested students start the process typically two years in advance and begin two years of the appropriate language courses before the trip. At a recent Engineers Week Banquet, an engineering alumna shared with me how the summer abroad changed her life. These international assignments are treated as a supplement to the macro department’s Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates program, which has been funded for the past decade by National Science Foundation grants, as well as by the NSF Center for Layered Polymeric Systems Science and Technology Center, known as CLiPS. When we fell short on funding in 2014, recent alumni including graduate students responded to an appeal on the department’s Facebook page. Last summer, three undergraduates worked in Barcelona, Spain; two in Fribourg, Switzerland; and one in Kyoto, Japan. One of the research projects produced a variety of polyethylene glycol-modified methacrylate copolymers with the potential for p. 28

Macromolecular student Susan Kozawa, in the lab of Professors Takaya Terashima and Mitsuo Sawamoto at Kyoto University in Japan, during her research abroad assignment.

self-healing behavior and drug delivery. Another student’s project contributed to results in using enzymes to produce polymers without the need for expensive and potentially more dangerous metal catalysts. And yet another focused on the physical micro-foaming of polymer-fiber glass blends using the MuCell process, which combines a supercritical fluid mixed with a polymer melt to produce low-density molded products. For student Will Brenn, the experience of investigating the morphologies and degradation behaviors of anisotropic nanoparticles and block copolymers at the Adolphe Merkle Institute in Fribourg led to a greater appreciation for many of the cultures present in Europe. “This phenomenal opportunity allowed me to further the development of my French language skills by interacting with native speakers on a daily basis. Additionally, working in a lab with such a diverse group of people from so many different countries has given me a broader perspective of the world and helped prepare me for a career in a rapidly globalized world,” Brenn said. case alumnus magazine

YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT makes a difference in the lives of our students.

Support current and future makers, innovators and entrepreneurs! Make your gift to the Case Fund®, the annual fund for the Case School of Engineering and math and applied sciences at Case Western Reserve University, before June 30. Visit CASE ALUMNI ASSOCIATION Tomlinson Hall, Room 109 • 10900 Euclid Avenue • Cleveland, Ohio 44106-1712 • SPRING 2016

Ryan Strine 216-368-6399 •

CASE ALUMNI ASSOCIATION Tomlinson Hall, Room 109 10900 Euclid Avenue Cleveland, Ohio 44106-1712


Congratulations to the Class of 2016 Engineering, Math and Applied Sciences graduates


you’re one of us now! Join our network and find out more about what the Case Alumni Association can do for you at

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HOMECOMING AND REUNION WEEKEND - OCT. 13-16, 2016 Featuring our award-winning Innovation ShowCASE and the Case Alumni Association Awards Friday, Oct. 14 5:30-9 p.m. in Sears think[box]

All Alumni Welcome! If you graduated in a year ending in 1 or 6, this is your reunion year! Visit for a listing of our events - REGISTRATION OPENS in July

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