Page 1

The official magazine of the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology, Oklahoma State University


Upholding a tradition of excellence

THE COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING, ARCHITECTURE AND TECHNOLOGY AT OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY is proud to deliver another inspiring edition of IMPACT. Over the last year, students, faculty and alumni have extended the traditions of excellence for CEAT through their accomplishments, special recognitions and service projects. The stories in this publication reflect some of the successes and provide updates on where the college is headed. The mission of the college, which is proud to be part of a land-grant institution, is easily recognized in the following pages with its excellence through Instruction, Research and Outreach.

The College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology thanks KHALED A.M. GASEM for his leadership and dedication in serving as the interim dean from 2011-12.


This year, CEAT has gained recognition through many outstanding students — from national award-winning competition teams to scholars excelling in personalized disciplines. Students are also expanding our global presence with study-abroad trips and service in underdeveloped countries. Even with all the exciting opportunities students have taken advantage of, the college has also excelled in other areas. Faculty members have helped secure more than $29 million in research funding from outside sources. Some of the research taking place is highlighted in stories such as the launch of a new line of products through the Helmerich Research Center in Tulsa, efforts within the Virtual Reality Center here on campus, and Homeland Security projects related to fire protection. Additionally, some faculty members are leaving a legacy through inspired instruction and serving on international panels.

The college’s impact on Oklahoma and the nation does not stop there. The outreach units within CEAT touch lives well beyond the OSU campus and students. College outreach aimed for a Guinness World Record this year, broadened its impact through distance learning, affected thousands of Oklahomans with nearly $2 million in direct economic impact through the Center for Local Government Technology, and continues to be the largest source of training materials for firehouses around the world. In addition to all this, CEAT alumni are making tremendous impacts worldwide. This year, two alumni were inducted into the CEAT Hall of Fame, and the Lohmann Medal was awarded to its youngest recipient to date. Of course, one of the most anticipated updates for CEAT was the announcement of new Dean Paul Tikalsky. He will assume this role on July 1. He and his family are joining OSU from the University of Utah. Interim Dean Khaled Gasem has directed CEAT this past year, and we are grateful for his dedication and commitment to excellence in the college. We hope this issue leaves you inspired and excited about all the great things happening at CEAT. GO POKES!

about the cover

PAUL TIKALSKY will take over the reins at the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology when he becomes the dean on July 1. He gives an idea of his vision for the college’s future in a profile that begins on PAGE 2. Portrait by Gary Lawson.



OSU architecture students say studying abroad term opened their eyes to the world.



Two teams from OSU work with NASA on elements of future space travel. Outreach


The Center for Local Government Technology expands CEAT’s impact on Oklahoma government and residents. CEAT News


Former Dean Karl Reid says his workaholic ways won’t let him vanish from campus, but he has left the dean’s post after 25 years.












is a publication of the Oklahoma State University College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology and is designed to provide information on college activities and accomplishments while fostering communication among the CEAT family and friends. The office of publication for IMPACT is 121 Cordell North, Stillwater, OK 74078-8031. © 2012, IMPACT. All rights reserved. Oklahoma State University, in compliance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 11246 as amended, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and other federal laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, disability, or status as a veteran in any of its policies, practices or procedures. This includes but is not limited to admissions, employment, financial aid, and educational services. Title IX of the Education Amendments and Oklahoma State University policy prohibit discrimination in the provision of services or benefits offered by the University based on gender. Any person (student, faculty or staff) who believes that discriminatory practices have been engaged in based upon gender may discuss their concerns and file informal or formal complaints of possible violations of Title IX with the OSU Title IX Coordinator, Mackenzie Wilfong, J.D., Director of Affirmative Action, 408 Whitehurst, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078, (405) 744-5371 or (405) 744-5576 (fax).


This publication, issued by Oklahoma State University as authorized by the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology, was printed by University Marketing Services, Printed Products, Inc., at a cost of $19,315.00 16,500/Jun 2012/job #4150.

instruction research outreach ceat news


Taking the helm


CEAT Paul Tikalsky looks forward to the opportunities and challenges involved with leading the college.

For centuries, strong leadership has been admired and proved legendary as stories of such are passed down through generations. Every

PAUL TIKALSKY is moving from the University of Utah to become dean of OSU’S College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology.





organization views leadership as a vital element to success. A leader represents the vision and direction for any group’s efforts. It is no different in academia. A leader is expected to take on great responsibility and foste progress toward high accomplishments of students, faculty and programs. The College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology at OSU is pleased to introduce its new leadership as Paul Tikalsky takes the reins as dean starting July 1. There is no doubt he has big shoes to fill. And Tikalsky is excited about the opportunities and challenges that are associated with this position.



instruction research outreach ceat news


1910–14 Richard E. Chandler





1927–28 Alfred Boyd John Henry Bringhurst Richard Gaines Tyler 1928–29 Edward Parkman Boyd

“The college has a strong foundation of accomplished faculty and high-achieving students,” says Tikalsky. “Together, we can deliver some of the best engineers, architects and innovators to the marketplace. The capabilities and potential synergies between the schools within CEAT provides for advances in architectural design and performance, handson education, new areas of research and development and entrepreneurial experiences.” Tikalsky holds an impressive background in both engineering and academic leadership. He received his bachelor’s degree in civil and environmental engineering from the University of Wisconsin, and his master’s degree and doctorate in structural engineering are from the University of Texas at Austin. Most recently, he served as the chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Utah, including the nuclear engineering program. Before that, Tikalsky was a professor and deputy director of the Larson Transportation Institute at Penn State University. “My background in civil and environmental engineering, as well as my work in structural materials and industrial byproduct utilization, is highly interdisciplinary in nature,” says Tikalsky. “These collaborative skills will help as the OSU CEAT team works together to solve large problems that improve our world and drive the Oklahoma economy.”

former CEAT deans

Committee of Robert Lee Rhoades, Edwin B. Kurtz and Philip Armour Wilber Committee of Kurtz, Wilber and Ren George Saxton

1929–42 Philip Stone Donnell

1942–55 Edward Ray Stapley

1955–77 Melvin Rudolph Lohmann

1977–86 Kenneth Allen McCollom


Tikalsky has been a senior research fellow with the Czech National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He is a fellow of the Engineering Academy of the Czech Republic, a registered professional engineer in California, and a fellow of the American Concrete Institute and the American Society of Civil Engineers. He comes to OSU with a multitude of accomplishments. He was named Utah’s engineering educator of the year twice. He is an ABET program evaluator and was recognized for best paper/ presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Durability of Building Materials and Components in Porto, Portugal. But it is his personal drive to enhance CEAT and its position in respective industries that speaks more highly to his character. “I’m a hard-working guy who is committed to the faculty, students, donors and friends of CEAT,” says Tikalsky. “I plan to lead this impressive college into a new era of innovation and offer a new vision for this diverse organization to become even greater in its future endeavors.” Although he has many goals for the college, he says some of his initial plans include simply listening and learning. Tikalsky believes many voices need to be heard before a vision can be put in place. Being new to Oklahoma, OSU and CEAT, Tikalsky is looking forward to getting to know the people and places that make up the college and experiencing the impact of its students and research.

Karl Nevelle Reid Jr.

“As dean, I plan to offer transformational changes to enable this college to rise to its true potential,” says Tikalsky. “I believe this college has the opportunity to be seen as one of the best colleges for engineering, architecture and technology in the nation.” Over the next year, Tikalsky will lead the development of a new vision, which will be no easy task for such a large and diverse college. “I see great opportunity to engage both alumni and industry leaders in setting the vision of the college,” says Tikalsky. “It should be a common vision of all the stakeholders and offer significant goals to be obtained. I feel the investment in CEAT should grow from its current levels to meet much higher aspirations.” In addition to his leadership responsibilities, Tikalsky is committed to student success and believes exceptional teaching is vital. “I have a passion for students,” says Tikalsky. “I love to see them realize that science, math, business and art can be used together to invent new technologies, solve environmental problems, improve energy efficiency, design buildings, improve public health, preserve resources and make our lives better.” Tikalsky thinks CEAT is doing a good job of pursuing excellence in educating the next generation of professionals who will be addressing the world’s challenges. But there are always ways to improve and raise the bar even higher, he says.

“As a land-grant university, the college has a mission to educate a diverse workforce that understands the challenges of industry and society; is empowered by knowledge, skill, experience and desire; and is encouraged to imagine, innovate, design and build the future,” says Tikalsky. “This is where I see CEAT headed, and as we define a vision, these elements must be included.” Tikalsky believes in the power of alumni. He feels those with a close bond to the college have the potential to elevate it to the next level.

“The college has a strong foundation of accomplished faculty and highachieving students. Together, we can deliver some of the best engineers, architects and innovators to the marketplace.” — Paul Tikalsky

“I plan to engage alumni who have a strong draw back to the college — building on the experiences they had to enhance the lives of future students,” says Tikalsky. When it comes to giving, he says everyone can assist in contributing funds for improving scholarships, faculty support and facilities. Even small gifts can have a large impact. “The support seen through the current campaign of the OSU Foundation is incredible,” says Tikalsky. “It is providing the needed resources for enhanced education, and shows that alumni and industry are all engaged in making this a better institution.” Through opportunities such as endowed faculty positions, Tikalsky says CEAT can bring the best and brightest faculty to this college and offer them the resources for collaboration internationally while enhancing student’s education immensely.

“As legislative commitments to higher education decline, it is more important than ever for alumni and supporters of the college to recognize the gifts they can contribute to the next generation,” says Tikalsky. It is evident Tikalsky does not take this new role lightly; he sees this position of leadership as a great responsibility. He understands the history and tradition of deans before him, and he plans to leave his own mark as the next leader of this great college. “As a land-grant institution, I believe it is our job to provide practical education that can change the world,” says Tikalsky. “We have impressive students and faculty. I hope to provide new leadership to bring CEAT to a new level of prominence in the areas engineering, architecture and technology.”

PAUL TIKALSKY and his wife, JULIE, are excited about the opportunities OSU offers. They, along with their sons, PETER (age 11) and DANIEL (10), look forward to being cowboys.


2012 5

European Influence Summer trip abroad opens

the world

to OSU architecture students

instruction research outreach ceat news


“This is not ‘tourism for credit.’” — Jeanne Homer

Hanser says the inspiraFor many students, summer represents a time tion behind the program is to of relaxation, a break produce elite architects upon from textbooks, and graduation from OSU. good old-fashioned fun. “For at least a thousand

OSU students spend time analyzing significant architecture structures while in Europe. Part of the experience includes two weeks of independent travel for students to personalize this education to their architectural interests.



years, probably much longer, architecture students have been encouraged to travel widely as a large part of their formal studies,” says Hanser. Hanser says his prior experience with a similar program at the University of Illinois gave him the basics for creating the program — and allowing OSU to tailor it. “In the beginning, we associated with the University of Illinois at Chicago, but curriculum changes there ended that relationship,” says Hanser. Over the years, this program has become a staple in the curriculum for the School of Architecture at OSU. “The late professor George Chamberlain, who had taught the architectural history courses for decades in the School of Architecture, told me he immediately saw the difference that the European program had made,” says Hanser. “Students were now enthusiastic about studying architectural history. Either they had seen the buildings discussed or knew that they would soon see them, and that made a big difference. He told me when he retired, that the Europe program was the most important single thing that had happened in the school during the more than 40 years he had taught here.” Andrew Klare, a 2001 OSU architecture graduate who is now a senior associate principal with Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates in New York City, says there is a distinct

potential of the world and the potential of this profession.” The program is designed to engage students. It provides an atmosphere of fun while incorporating a strategic learning environment. Students are expected to complete assignments, including journals, sketchbooks, analytical problems and independent projects while on the trip. Students spend their first five weeks on the trip in France, mostly in Versailles with field trips to Normandy and sometimes Provence. They then travel as a group to locations outside of France for a couple of weeks; in the past, they’ve mostly gone to Rome or Venice, but other cities have been explored as well. The program ends with two weeks for independent travel when they can visit one or two places in which they have a special interest.


But for aspiring architects at OSU, a nine-week summer stretch could be a pivotal point for their future careers in the industry. Since 1981, architecture students have been embarking on a unique study-abroad experience that captures beauty, elegance and historical architecture designs throughout Europe. “This has become a lifechanging event in the education of many architecture and architectural engineering students at OSU,” says Randy Seitsinger, head of the School of Architecture in the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology at OSU. “Students take part in the program for many reasons, but in architecture, students need to experience actual buildings and cities in order to imagine them.” Seitsinger credits the formation of this unique experience to David Hanser, retired professor of architecture at OSU. “Dr. Hanser designed, organized and led the first program and was the director of the program from 1981 until he retired in 2009,” says Seitsinger. “His visionary leadership and his first-hand knowledge of the architecture of Europe made the program unique. He designed a program that focused on students learning about architecture by experiencing it, analyzing it, and documenting it in person, not in a classroom.”

difference among architects who have studied in a real environment setting versus those who just attended class. “I was excited about the opportunity this gave me to see the world, or at least start with Europe,” says Klare, who believes his quest to broaden his understanding of people, culture, architecture and lifestyles is essential to become an elite architect. His OSU experience, in particular, allowed him to explore what would be a vital aspect to his professional life in later years. “Bringing the ideas we study and work with every day (in class) to reality was so important to me,” says Klare. “I cannot put a value on it. I think my career path would have gone a completely different direction if I would not have gone to Europe. I would never have seen the


instruction research outreach ceat news


“During the entire trip, the focus is on going to a few key places and being at each place long enough to really understand its special cultural and architectural features, rather than making the normal tourist whirlwind trip with a new city each day or two,” says Seitsinger. Professor and 1985 OSU graduate Jerry Stivers has fond memories of the program. “I am amazed at how often I consider the summer of 1983. It might be a building, a space, a smell or maybe a sound that triggers a memory of a time that changed the way I view the world,” says Stivers. “Dr. Hanser’s passion for life and the built environment infused us all to grow and consider the possibilities of our futures as individuals and professionals.” But it’s not just memories that spark excitement with Stivers. He feels this program is shaping the world’s future in architecture and design, one student at a time. “For architecture students in their infant stages of development, the European Studies Program presents a unique opportunity to participate in a special program — living, learning and developing their awareness of buildings both historic and contemporary, as well as urban spaces and cities,” says Stivers. “Beyond the significant architectural heritage of Europe, students are exposed to numerous other cultures unlike they have ever experienced before, thereby developing a new understanding of how buildings become a reflection of culture and context.” Hanser says architecture must be experienced to be understood — a building in real life is quite different from pictures of it — and it’s important for architects to experience buildings different from those they grew up with.

This is especially true for architecture students in Oklahoma, since the state is relatively new and small — its buildings aren’t thousands or even hundreds of years old, nor does it have many more recent buildings designed by worldfamous architects. Many of the architecture faculty members at OSU have assisted with teaching the program over the years. Currently, Jeanne Homer has assumed a leadership role in continuing this program’s heritage. “Students not only study architecture, but they become more immersed in the culture,” Homer says. “In addition, as a contrast to our studies in Stillwater, most of our educational experiences are outside the classroom in Paris or wherever we are staying. This is not ‘tourism for credit,’ as students do quite a bit of analysis and sketching.” Homer calls this a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and says many alumni refer to their experience in the program as one of the most important aspects to their education and future careers. “Students who experience architecture in different contexts have the opportunity to become more well-rounded citizens and culturally sensitive architects,” says Homer. “Because many firms expand their practices globally, extended international study is even more valued.”

Seitsinger brought up the expenses of the program, which continue to rise, although it is designed to be a good value for students. The rising costs mean additional support is needed from alumni and industry representatives who believe in the program’s long-term benefit to architecture. “The Eason Leonard Endowment, the Allen Porter Endowment (in honor of Thomas and Winifred Porter), and the George and Shari Schoenleber Endowment all provide scholarships for this program,” says Seitsinger. “In addition, Mike and Sharon Damore, Cyntergy (an architectural firm in Tulsa), and the family of the late Elliot Evans all provide yearly scholarship gifts.” These financial donations allow the school to send as many students as possible to experience this opportunity. “Alumni who have found their experience on the European program to have been one of the most useful and lifechanging parts of their university education, as well as professionals who have seen the difference it has made in the quality of their employees’ designs, have both contributed significant amounts of money to establish scholarships for students,” says Hanser. With the support of individuals and architecture firms, the future of this program appears solid and will continue to contribute to the valued education OSU architecture students are gaining. “I believe our European Studies Program is one of the best in the nation, and it is by far the most important non-required experience students can have while in the School of Architecture,” says Seitsinger. “I recommend participation to every student and have seen time and time again the impact the program has had on their development.”


­— Andrew Klare


“I think my career path would have gone a completely different direction if I would not have gone to Europe. I would never have seen the potential of the world and the potential of this profession.”



OSU teams take honors at regional Chem-E-Car contest

instruction research outreach ceat news



Students MATT MISKELLY and KATIE HANING say their participation in the American Institute of Chemical Engineers’ annual Chem-E-Car contest prepared them for the problems they’ll face in the future as chemical engineers.

When junior Matt Miskelly was deciding on a major, the former wrestler had just one question.




“What’s the most difficult one?” Miskelly recalls asking. “They said, ‘Chemical engineering.’ I said, ‘Go ahead and enroll me.’” It’s no surprise then that, ever since Miskelly saw his roommate’s car last year, he wanted the challenge of building his own when it was his turn to compete in the American Institute of Chemical Engineers’ annual Chem-E-Car contest. The competition, with regional, national and international stages, pits students’ cars (powered solely by chemical reactions) against each other. The goal is to teach students about the teamwork, safety, planning and precision needed for the unforgiving discipline. In March, 18 OSU students on four teams competed in the 2012 regional competition. Miskelly’s team took second overall and won the most creative design award. They’re headed to nationals in the fall in Pittsburgh. An OSU team has made the nationals 12 of the competition’s 13 years. Other OSU teams placed fourth and fifth at the Washington University regional.


The Chem-E-Car competition, held outside the Noble Research Center at OSU in 2011, features mini-vehicles that must start and stop on their own. It’s a hands-on experience that teaches chemical engineering students lessons of teamwork, safety, planning and precision.

“It was cool to see my work coming to a reality.” — Katie Haning

instruction research outreach ceat news



It’s work. Hard work. going was tough, she says; it was a huge relief once the car moved the first time. “That was a big hurdle,” she says. “Once we had a moving car, we had problems where we couldn’t go far enough to meet the competition requirements, and so we had to redesign and get a new piston so it would go farther.” Her team developed a system that stopped the car within the specified distance by simply letting the reaction peter out. That required a lot of knowledge of what’s going on inside the car. Accordingly, she modeled the chemical reaction and the car’s performance to get an idea of what was happening. Once she understood that, then her team could determine how to finetune everything from the design to the reaction’s components for improved performance. “I learned that I could build and analyze a system,” she says. “It was a really cool project because it wasn’t all on paper or on the computer. We have homework problems where we can sit on the computer but nothing in which we can see the immediate results of what we do. It was cool to see my work coming to a reality.”


which redirects electrical power to the solenoid valve to close off and send the pressure the other way to push piston back and forth.” Like Haning’s team, Miskelly’s team stopped their car ultimately by measuring out the reactants correctly to power the exact amount of motion needed for the car to go the desired distance, but the LED lights and microprocessor helped moderate its movement. Then it was a just a matter of waiting for the reaction to complete and the falling pressure to stop the car. “It’s pretty effective,” Miskelly says. His teammate Nate Nahmias, who also welded the team’s aluminum car frame after its wooden one broke, came up with the idea. Rhinehart adds, “We are grateful to Chevron Phillips Chemical Company for funding the event at OSU as well as supporting OSU teams as they progress to regional, national and international competition. Our 2004 team placed second in the U.S. and represented the U.S. by placing sixth in the international competition in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.” OSU chemical engineering students dominate in other contests that test similar skills, too, such as the AIChE Plant design competition, Stopping by LED which three students won in 2011. It Miskelly’s team won the most cre- was the fifth time in the past 17 years ative design award for its stopping of the contest that an OSU team won mechanism using LED lights and a the award. microprocessor. The American Institute of ChemiHurdles abound “There are two phototransistors cal Engineers is the world’s leading Katie Haning, whose team took which act essentially as garage door professional organization for the discifourth place at regionals, remem- LED lights that send the door back up pline, its website states. In addition to bers feeling both inspired and over- when something enters their beam,” he publishing journals and other services, whelmed by the cars as a sophomore. says. “That’s how these function. When it has more than 40,000 members Still, she stepped up to lead the team, the piston is extended or retracted, it in 90 countries as part of its global and in the process, she learned about blocks the infrared reading between network of chemical engineering proteamwork and how to manage a proj- the front and back sensor, and that fessionals. ect, among other lessons. Just getting sends voltage to the microprocessor MATT ELLIOTT


There’s not something in the water, says Heather Fahlenkamp, an assistant chemical engineering professor and the students’ team adviser. “It’s a direct result of students’ hard work through their junior years in school,” Fahlenkamp says. “Everything the program teaches up until this point gives them the skills they need for this project— not because we want to win contests, but because we teach to high standards.” The students’ work begins during their sophomore year when they observe junior Chem-E-Car students build boot-box-size cars that are powered by a chemical reaction such as vinegar and baking soda, or a homemade battery, or yeast and hydrogen peroxide. That produces carbon dioxide, which powers a piston tethered to the front drive axle that moves the car. But the cars have to start and stop on their own within a set distance. No help from a driver is allowed. “The students have to actually make it work, make it safety compliant, health compliant, environmentally compliant,” says Russ Rhinehart, the chemical engineering department’s head. “And they have to integrate all the concerns and work within the time and budgetary constraints they’re going to face in the workplace.” Students love the contest for its hands-on experience, Miskelly says. “It’s really a lot of work,” Miskelly says. “But it is a lot of fun.”


instruction research outreach ceat news


Construction management team tops out at regional contest

Civil, Design/Build, and Commercial Building, in a regional industry student competition. “This competition sets students up for success in their careers by strengthening presentation, comEach year, students in the munication and organizational skills College of Engineering, Archi- that cannot be gained in the classtecture and Technology com- room,” says Jordan Northcutt, a pete for top honors in a variety 2011 team member and senior in of disciplinary competitions. construction management. “Much One, the construction management of the success of the construction team, has put together a long record department is measured from this of success for OSU, culminating in a competition, and our program takes clean sweep in 2011 when OSU won pride in continually delivering excepall three divisions, including Heavy/ tional results each year.”


The 2011 OSU John Brown University, Louisiana Construction State University, University of LouiManagement Team swept siana at Monroe, Louisiana Tech, all the divisions at a regional contest. Team Bossier Parish Community College, members pictured are Texas Tech University, Texas A&M (from left) professor MARK University, Texas A&M UniversityPRUITT, RYAN SMITH, CASEY MONTGOMERY, Commerce, Texas State University, professor HEATHER University of Houston, University YATES, BLAKE SELF and of North Texas, and University of professor MILES HUNTER. Texas at Tyler. “Most of us (students) don’t get the opportunity to represent OSU on the football field or in the basketball court,” says Northcutt. “Having the chance to represent OSU and our construction program with excellence is a privilege and an honor.” continues


Hobson says more competition divisions were added later: A Design/ Build problem was added in 1998, and a Heavy/Civil problem was added in 1999. From 1999 to 2009, student competitions were held in the ASC’s other six regions across the nation, with the three divisional winners from each region advancing to the national student competition at the annual AGC convention. National winners in each division are awarded there. Universities participating in the Region V competition in Dallas include Oklahoma State University, OSUIT, University of Oklahoma, University of Arkansas at Little Rock,


The competition began in 1996 when the Associated School of Construction partnered with the Associated General Contractors to host the first Region V Student Competition in Dallas. According to Dana Hobson, head of construction management and technology in CEAT, the first competition provided a problem based on a real-world construction project that had been built by a Dallas AGC member contractor. This builder sponsored the problem and prepared a bid package that was given to the student competition teams.


instruction research outreach ceat news


Mark Pruitt, CEAT associate professor and the Design/Build team coach, says teams are formed in October and meet regularly until the competition in February. During the competition, each university selects a six-student team, which receives a copy of the plans and specifications of the real-world project. Each team prepares an estimated cost, a schedule and a plan of construction for the project within 16 hours; their results are sent to the problem sponsor. Next, the team members prepare a defense of their work and communicate it to a panel of judges consisting of employees for this real-world builder. Each team is scored, and awards are given at an evening banquet held after the presentations. “These students prepare for months in advance for this competition,” says Heather Yates, associate professor in construction management technology and the Commercial Building coach. “They do mock problems and presentations to prepare.” This team’s accomplishments continue to validate the education being taught at OSU through the construction management program, Yates says. “We compete against Texas A&M and OU, who have much larger departments yet have not achieved the same level of success as our students,” she says. “By winning all three categories, we caught the attention of contractors that currently hire our students and those who have not recruited here in the past. It really shows that OSU provides a quality education for students entering the construction field.” Northcutt credits his own personal growth and enhanced skills to this extracurricular activity, knowing it will benefit him from a career standpoint as well. “The experience gained in the hours of preparation beforehand in addition to the time allotted for the project proposal provides a student with irreplaceable undergraduate experience,” says Northcutt. OSU has placed first in two divisions of the competition six times, as well as scoring numerous individual successes. The school has competed 14 times in the last 16 years.

CEAT’s own Pistol Pete Jordan Northcutt was selected in May 2011 to serve as one of two Pistol Petes for the year. He attended more than 300 events and activities as this famed mascot. “I met Wyatt Swinford (a past Pistol Pete) three or four months before tryouts, and he pointed me in the right direction,” says Northcutt. “Pistol Pete is such an icon and, in my opinion, one of the most unique and likable mascots in the nation. The OSU community takes a lot of pride in Pistol Pete and the Pete alumni take even more.”

Pistol Pete Fun Facts The head weighs 45 pounds. The pistol and the shotgun are actual firearms (Ruger Blackhawk .357 and a double-barreled shotgun). Both Petes are expected to make a total of 500 appearances in one year. Pistol Pete is modeled on a real person: Frank Eaton, who lived near Perkins and served as a sheriff. His autobiography in Pistol Pete: Veteran of the Old West. Question heard most often: “Pete, does it get hot in there?” The answer is yes.

ABDUL TUREY and JESI LAY pump water from the 61-foot well they drilled in Sierra Leone. The drilling, which took nine days, used a Water4 kit. REBECCA PURVIS (left) empties a drilling auger with another student.

OSU students travel to Sierra Leone to help orphanage

bringing running water and basic needs to the people of Sierra Leone. The departments of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, Agricultural Economics, Civil Engineering and Mechanical Engineering collaborated to form the study-abroad team. The group traveled to Sierra Leone for two weeks during winter break in December 2011.

plumbing and gravity-fed water systems, a laboratory manager for biosystems and setting up a cooperative extension center agricultural engineering who provided to teach residents about fruit and veg- technical support for equipment and etable production, drilling water wells, procedures. “I want to encourage others setting up water filtration systems and to help their society be self-sufficient.” giving residents information about how continues to improve their diets. The projects were designed to give the community the ability to produce the food they need and maintain a healthy water supply.


The group focused on helping the “The major reason I wanted to be Oklahoma State University students took new hope for a new year New Steps orphanage. Members com- part of this trip was because I want to to remote areas of West Africa by pleted several projects, including repairing make a difference,” says Wayne Kiner,


a Holiday of HOPE


instruction research outreach ceat news


Kiner says that this project also aimed to Nick Copeland, a civil engineering senior, teach the students of New Steps the skills found West Africa to be beautiful and needed to keep the facility maintained. With fascinating. few adult mentors in these students’ lives, “When I heard about the Sierra Leone studytraining in basic construction and repairs was abroad opportunity, I knew I had to go,” says greatly needed. Because of wars in this area, Copeland. “Most of the country’s infrastructure nearly an entire generation has been lost. He was destroyed during a horrific 10-year civil says the children were eager to help and learn; war, and I saw big potential to meet immedithey not only want education but an improved ate and pressing needs.” lifestyle as well. Copeland says he values his education in However, not everything came easy in Sierra civil engineering, as many of his courses proved Leone. Kiner says just getting supplies for a vital to completing projects in this underdejob was a task in itself. veloped area. “When working in underdeveloped coun“Even though our trip was water-focused, tries, you have to have patience and a way my main civil engineering advantage was in to get the job done with what is available,” project management,” says Copeland. “I knew says Kiner. “Things never go as planned, and about the risks of aquifer drawdown, about the it takes a lot more time to do something. … treatment abilities of our bio-sand filters, and Most generally, you are working with primi- about the proper methods of concrete mixing. tive hand tools.” But that knowledge wouldn’t have translated To students like Jesi Lay, an environmental into the field without excellent project manageand natural resource master’s degree student ment skills.” With this trip considered a success, there who holds a BAE bachelor’s degree, the hard labor is worth it when you can make a positive will be more study-abroad trips in the future. impact on the lives of so many. “I would absolutely encourage other students “For me, an engineering degree isn’t about the to participate in future programs like this,” money. It’s about applying the knowledge and Copeland says. “This trip’s impact on my life skills I have gained to real-world problems so goes far beyond the technical tools I gained as to help improve the lives of others,” Lay says. through training sessions and in-class semiLay had several goals as a student goup nars. Trips like these are what make OSU leader, and some went beyond the trip itself. special. We find real needs and meet them She hopes to arrange an internship program with hands-on projects.” to train more students from the orphanage on Faculty advisers who also traveled to Sierra well drilling, and to increase research collabo- Leone were Mike Dicks, agricultural economration between OSU and Njala University (the ics professor, and Dee Ann Sanders, associate African partnering institution). Lay will be professor of civil and environmental engineermaking additional trips to Sierra Leone as part ing and study-abroad course instructor. of the international component to the research “The trip to Sierra Leone highly exemplishe is doing through her master’s program. fies OSU’s mission as a land-grant univer“This is what brings my education full circle,” sity,” says Lay. “We had students and faculty from several OSU colleges working together Lay says. to promote instruction, research and outreach in order to advance the quality of life in Sierra Leone.”

Covering the trip expenses A study-abroad experience is extremely valuable — and it doesn’t come cheap. Many of the 16 students on the Sierra Leone trip received scholarships to offset the cost of the course and travel expenses. Khaled Gasem, interim dean for the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology, provided $3,500 in travel scholarships for the students, while the civil and mechanical engineering departments together provided scholarships totaling $2,500. Those scholarships were in addition to substantial scholarships provided by the OSU provost office. Funds from these scholarships covered a significant portion of the students’ expenses and serve as evidence of OSU’s commitment to provide the means for international experiences to all students.

For additional information on other study-abroad programs and CEAT’s

Engineering Without Borders programs, contact Student Services at 405-744-5276.


— Jesi Lay


“For me, an engineering degree isn’t about the money. It’s about applying the knowledge and skills I have gained to realworld problems so as to help improve the lives of others.”



TRENCHES instruction research outreach ceat news


Studying. Tests. Leadership training. Combat. For some students in the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology, a traditional education may not be an option, especially for those serving in the U.S. military. But the Master of Science in Engineering and Technology Management program offers military personnel the higher education they need despite being in remote areas around the world. “Distance education was a must when deciding on a post-graduate program,” says U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Chad Fulgham, a master’s student whose bachelor’s degree in civil engineering is from the Air Force Academy. “Between deployments and changing duty locations, moving is just a way of life in the Air Force. So it was imperative I found a university that was willing to work with military personnel like myself, and OSU offered just that and more.” Air Force 1ST LT. CHAD FULGHAM is studying for his master’s degree even through his wartime deployments. One tour of duty included serving in Tikrit, Iraq. PHOTO / CHAD FULGHAM

The program aims to provide accessible career-enhancing educational opportunities to practicing engineers, scientists and technical managers. Videos of lectures, along with related materials, are available on a course website. For students who do not have reliable Internet access, CDs can be shipped. From a military perspective, higher education is important for promotions as well as to gain additional technical and engineering skills. This program fits well into a military lifestyle. “I chose the MSETM program because of the nature of the courses and their potential to help me develop my leadership skills in an engineering setting,” says Fulgham, a native of Maben, Miss., who is stationed at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., when not deployed overseas.

Director has history with program Camille Frye DeYong, who was named director of the Master of Science in Engineering and Technology Management (MSETM) program in June 2010, has been involved with its planning and objectives since its inception. She is also an associate professor of industrial engineering and management at Oklahoma State University. She has consulted and performed research with several organizations, including the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, the U.S. Army Materiel Systems Analysis Activity and the city of Stillwater in performance metrics and customer satisfaction measurement. DeYong has presented numerous seminars on identifying performance metrics, strategic planning and life-cycle costing. She has authored 13 technical papers and one book chapter. Her research interests are in technology forecasting, quality management, service quality and women in engineering. For six years, she directed a summer academy for high school girls designed to introduce them to career options in engineering, architecture and technology. She is an ASQ Certified Quality Engineer and served as an examiner, team leader and for the Oklahoma Quality Award in 1994, 1999, 2000, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011.

For more information on the MSETM program, call 405-744-2337 or go to


From 2001-2007, DeYong was a member of the board of examiners for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, serving as a senior examiner and team leader in 2006 and 2007. She is a member of the Institute of Industrial Engineers, the American Society for Quality and the American Society for Engineering Education and in 2011 was selected as an associate member of the International Association for Quality.


“As I progress through my career, my responsibilities will continue to grow as I’m called to lead more and more airmen,” says Fulgham. “I can confidently say that the OSU MSETM program has prepared me for that challenge.” The program runs on a traditional semester cycle, and it allows students to progress at their own rate. It is designed to help students better identify strategic issues, manage emerging technologies, integrate key functions in a company and enhance both personal and organizational intellectual capabilities. “It takes a tremendous amount of motivation to complete a graduate degree through distance learning,” says Brenda Johnson, assistant director of the program. “Our military students are ideally suited for the challenges that accompany a rigorous program like the MSETM.” Because students in the program are located around the world and focus “Of all the on their coursework at different times, universities I flexibility is increasingly important for researched, I felt program staff and directors. like OSU was Fulgham says he has been impressed by far the most with the program’s leadership and the military friendly.” detailed attention paid to students. — 1st Lt. Chad Fulgham “Their willingness to provide me with information about the program and map out my plan of study was “I’ve found that the correlation unmatched by any other university I between the courses I’ve taken and considered,” says Fulgham. “Of all the my job are very similar, and I’ve been universities I researched, I felt like OSU able to apply a lot of the principals was by far the most military friendly. I’ve learned to my everyday work as a That’s even more evident by the numcivil engineering officer,” he says. The ber of military personnel I’ve come in 25-year-old’s most recent tour of duty contact with in my classes.” was in Afghanistan. Realizing the rapid growth in higher Designed for today’s fast-track engi- education needs among military proneer or scientist, the master’s program fessionals, CEAT is paving a way in effectively provides military profes- providing technical and engineering sionals with knowledge and strategic management courses to this demotraining. graphic. OSU’s MSETM program specifically addresses the real needs identified by military and industry leaders to produce the most skilled graduates possible.




LEGAC Y 45 years of teaching

at OSU isn’t enough for professor

instruction research outreach ceat news


Stillwater airport wind energy system, 1974

“I have now spent over 60 In 1967, the Beatles topped the music charts, and Lyn- percent of my life at OSU,” says don B. Johnson was presi- Ramakumar, a Regents Professor. dent of the United States. “Since 1967, energy has been a huge

RAMA RAMAKUMAR (left) discusses energy with a graduate student in 1976.

“Again, this is part of a legacy,” says Ramakumar. “Students will benefit each year from this and further advance research and development in the renewable energy industry.” Because of Boone Pickens’ 2:1 match gift, Ramakumar decided to give a large amount to OSU while still being a professor with no immediate plans for retirement. “I wanted to see the impact of my gifts,” says Ramakumar. “I have been treated well by OSU, so what better way to give back and to promote renewable energy than through future students?” The Ramakumar Family scholarship is set up for CEAT students interested in renewable energy and studying electrical and computer engineering. “I hope to gain national attention for potential students interested in this area to come to OSU,” he says. “I have also placed a large gift to CEAT for directing the Engineering Energy Lab.”

It has been a longtime goal for Ramakumar to leave his mark — not only at OSU but internationally in the field of renewable energy. Ramakumar was honored this spring with an invitation, one of 20 worldwide, from the United Nations Industrial Development Organization to participate in an expert group meeting in Trieste, Italy. The group addressed potentials of renewable energy options for off-grid areas of Africa. This international recognition adds to the long list of significant accomplishments of this acclaimed OSU professor. His legacy will forever be remembered at OSU. But for now, he has no intention to retire. “I will continue to teach and do research until I find something better to do,” Ramakumar says jokingly. With 45 years here, Ramakumar is making a mark for his devotion to OSU. But his substantial gifts to the college will leave a legacy that far surpasses his tenure.


focus. I chose to address my efforts on renewable energy from the time I arrived at OSU.” Ramakumar has become a leading world-renowned expert in renewable energy and can be credited with some of the early models for wind energy systems. One of his more significant contributions, he says, is being a member of the first group to discuss using variable speed in wind energy as the best method to harness power. Ramakumar has received a multitude of awards over the years for both his renewable energy research as well as plaudits in instruction. But aside from all the accolades, he says he believes his greatest legacy will be in the scholarships and support he has given to OSU, and the Ramakumar Family Award for Excellence in Renewable Energy, established under the Power and Energy Society of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the world’s largest professional association dedicated to advancing technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity.


It was also the year that Rama Ramakumar began his influential career at Oklahoma State University — and 45 years later, he is still going strong. In 1952, Ramakumar started his engineering education at the University of Madras in India, where he completed a bachelor’s degree in 1956. The next year, he received his M. Tech degree from the Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur. A scholarship from the United States through the Technical Cooperation Mission helped him pursue his doctorate at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. Ramakumar completed his doctorate at Cornell in 1962, then returned to India to teach in engineering until 1967. Bill Hughes was the department head for electrical and computer engineering at OSU then, and he made it a point to recruit Ramakumar. Encouragement from a friend who received his master’s degree at OSU helped convince Ramakumar to move to Stillwater and begin a career at OSU.


instruction research outreach ceat news



An assistant professor’s work on sensors is accomplishing two goals: Not only is it making

roads and bridges safer, it’s making his classes even more appealing to students.


The information they detect and report can help determine the time frame for major repairs to a structure, enhancing construction planning and aiding in building stronger structures. Many tests have validated these sensors as the best method to detect structural issues early. This year, Ley’s sensors will be used in Oklahoma, Texas and Iowa. John Veenstra, department head for civil and environmental engineering at OSU, says Ley is a great example of a quality researcher and instructor within CEAT, calling his work in sensors and structural integrity practical and a solution to a current problem. Students value what they are being taught if they see a direct correlation to practical use, he says. “Through both his research and teaching, Dr. Ley is raising the level of enthusiasm amongst both the undergraduate and graduate students for concrete materials and its role in creating, as well as redeveloping, our nation’s infrastructure,” Veenstra says. Ley was recently awarded a prestigious honor through the National Science Foundation.


Tyler Ley, an assistant professor in civil engineering, is known for an engaging classroom environment, whether the students are in his OSU classes or learning at a distance at other schools. “Dr. Ley prepares his students in his structural classes for their futures using up-to-date textbooks and real-world examples,” says Jacob Burton, a civil engineering senior. “His multiple years of experience and ability to adapt to new methods for structural design give his students the best chance to excel in their future careers.” Engineers continue to battle the effects of the environment on the structural integrity of infrastructure such as bridges and overpasses. Without sensors embedded in the structures, it’s difficult to detect rust, corrosion and cracking in the steel reinforcements inside concrete until the problems become visible on the outside. Some sensors are already in use, but they have drawbacks, including cost (more than $100 each), the wiring required for them to communicate the problems, and the breakdown of their components over time. Ley’s patented sensors are around $20 each, about the size of quarters, are wireless with radiofrequency identification (RFID) technology to communicate problems, and can be read through concrete using a simple device.

“Dr. Ley received an NSF CAREER Award for his work on fly ash characterization,” says Veenstra. “These awards are highly sought after and prized by faculty. This award demonstrates that state-of-the-art research that will have a tangible impact on the country’s infrastructure is taking place in civil and environmental engineering at OSU.” Ley’s enthusiasm in the classroom also garners positive reviews from his students. Ley inspires those he instructs to be better students, better learners and eventually better professional engineers, says Burton. “Dr. Ley uses a variety of teaching styles to meet each student’s best learning method,” says Burton. “His teaching styles vary from creating hands-on examples to letting students answer each other’s questions in open-forum style.” His teaching skills have been recognized with such awards as the outstanding speaker at the national American College Personnel Association meeting in 2009, and the Chi Epsilon Student Chapter Teacher of the Year in 2008. Ley was an Oklahoma State graduate in 2000, before he went on to the University of Texas to complete both his master’s degree and doctorate in civil engineering. He has been an assistant professor at OSU since 2007.


“The astronauts who helped judge our concept were very impressed with the unique design our students came up with, including its robustness, flexibility and safety.” — Jamey Jacob

instruction research outreach ceat news


A highflying dream

OSU ‘space cowboys’ rope an extension in working with NASA

SHEA FEHRENBACH floats in zero gravity aboard the NASA Weightless Wonder.

Floating in zero gravity is the most exciting thing I’ve ever done. It was like being in a dream.” “




experiment itself essentially proved that our rotational concept was feasible for deployment,” says Fehrenbach. Once back on Earth, the space cowboys watched as NASA technicians placed their X-Hab loft design atop the habitat demonstration unit — a totally new spot to proudly display an image of Pistol Pete. Though the team’s design for X-Hab didn’t advance to field testing, the space cowboys remain proud of winning a place in NASA’s history for their school. “It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” says Cory Sudduth from Allen, Texas. The team also impressed some professionals along the way. “The astronauts who helped judge our concept were very impressed with the unique design our students came up with, including its robustness, flexibility and safety, and NASA has stated that it wants to explore our design elements for use in their manned space exploration program,” says Jacob, who traveled with the team to the Johnson Space Center in June. This is where the story is supposed to end, but it doesn’t. Instead, at NASA’s invitation, the OSU space cowboys traveled to the Arizona desert in September to witness for themselves all phases of the X-Hab program — every new and exciting gadget. “One of the greatest features of our Arizona trip was getting to see NASA demonstrate its new space exploration vehicles, such as the Robonaut and Chariot, over rough terrain and observe how they’ll be used to collect and transport geological samples on Mars,” says Sudduth. In addition, NASA announced in August that OSU is one of two universities that will participate in a new phase of the X-Hab project with a new goal — a deployable habitat to give astronauts more living space during their eightmonth trip to Mars. “I’m very excited about this year’s X-Hab project since we will have much more design freedom, which will allow us to explore a wide realm of space habitats,” adds Sudduth. The dream continues.


That’s Oklahoma State University student Shea Fehrenbach’s take on just one of the many thrilling moments he and his teammates experienced as part of NASA’s educational outreach efforts. Fehrenbach, who hails from Piedmont, Okla., started working toward that dream about a year ago when the OSU team — dubbed the “space cowboys” — became one of 10 chosen from among 75 schools that submitted proposals to participate in NASA’s Microgravity University. “It was a terrific opportunity and a testament to our students’ ability to put together a proposal to show NASA they had the ‘right stuff,’” says Jamey Jacob, OSU professor of aerospace engineering and the team’s official adviser. The students’ proposal addressed NASA’s request to supply an astronaut living environment with artificial gravity for long-duration space missions. “Our idea was to use a rotating inflatable system to generate artificial gravity for the astronauts so they won’t experience the side effects that usually happen when working in a weightless environment, such as muscle and bone loss,” says Kristin Nevels from Claremore, who served as a team leader. For Nevels, Fehrenbach and a few others, the microgravity work represented only a portion of their involvement with space projects. They were also members of another OSU team of “space cowboys” that qualified as one of three national finalists for NASA’s first Academic Innovation Challenge. Also known as X-Hab, the challenge was to design an inflatable space habitat — a “loft”— for astronauts on long flights.

That OSU team included members from mechanical and aerospace engineering in the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology, including Nevels and Fehrenbach, as well as interior design students from the College of Human Sciences. “With all our projects in mind, I thought it would be good to give the students a chance to look at some of NASA’s hardware and consider how best to integrate the designs they were developing,” says Jacob, who put together a valuable road trip in November 2010 to Houston, home of NASA’s Johnson Space Center. While there, the students discussed research applications with scientists and visited labs, including the Neutral Buoyancy Lab, where astronauts spend much of their time underwater training for spacewalks. It includes a full-scale mock-up of the International Space Station immersed in a giant swimming pool. After meeting with some of the astronauts, Zack Deck of Midland, Texas, expressed the enthusiasm the space cowboys felt on that initial visit: “When we shook hands with the astronaut commanding the last shuttle mission — I think my mind exploded a bit!” Memories of the trip mingled with the serious design plans as both teams returned to OSU to bring their concepts to life and offer NASA working prototypes. Several months later, in June 2011, they were headed back to Houston, anxious to see their life-size, inflatable loft put to the test and do some testing with a small-scale model of their rotating system in zero gravity. After a few days of required NASA training, Fehrenbach was living the dream as he rode in a specialized aircraft that flew dizzying maneuvers over the Gulf of Mexico so he and his colleagues could perform experiments in a microgravity environment. “Floating around and conducting an experiment was like being an astronaut for two hours. The experience of zero gravity was like nothing I’ve ever felt before, and the



instruction research outreach ceat news


Abdolvand’s invention could Scaling down size is the name of the game in today’s end up replacing quartz-based fiercely competitive con- oscillators, which have been the de facto standard in electronics for sumer electronics market.

In the future, Abdolvand plans on continuing his work in microresonators and developing new and miniaturized sensors.




A native of the Iranian city of Shiraz (a city known for the wine that bears its name), he is an assistant professor in OSU’s School of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the director of dynamic microsystems lab. He is an expert in designing, building and evaluating devices such as the microresonator. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from Sharif University of Technology in Tehran, and a doctorate from the Georgia Institute of Technology.


decades. This is the first technology commercialized through OSU’s Helmerich Advanced Technology Research Center. The Tulsa center, named for the late philanthropist and oilman Walter Helmerich III, was built in “That’s important because you’re 2007 in part with the goal of helping really saving area if you can do that,” OSU commercialize developments Abdolvand says. “That immediately in areas such as nanotechnology. means producers going to save Abdolvand was hired in 2007; the money, and therefore you can make $52 million center was completed things more compact, and you can in 2009. push more functionality out of the His work on resonators began a same device.” decade ago when he was a doctoral That’s how a cellphone became student at the Georgia Institute of a smartphone with a video recorder, Technology. Web browser, Wi-Fi, email plat“I was fortunate to keep working form and more. Along those lines, in the same field of study these last Abdolvand and his team of engi10 years,” Abdolvand says. The neers have developed a new techresults of his work have turned nology to make microresonators, into 10 patents with his name the hearts of electronic circuits as an inventor, Abdolvand notes. such as transceivers, combinations “Some of the results and some of transmitters and receivers so of the progress that I see in this critical in consumer electronics. field today, and the news that my Resonators integrate into elecgroup generates, they are fascitronics with circuits. They are the nating to me. I never thought that mechanical part of a miniature some of these were going to be device called an oscillator used in possible, and now they are. This sending regular electrical impulses goes to show how powerful the such as in a microprocessor clock. collective effort of a community Its regular signal can synchronize of researchers is when they all all the devices within a product focus on common goals.” like an iPhone, ensuring they’re all Although inexpensive and relioperating and communicating in the able, quartz’s shortcomings include same ways and at the same rates. that it won’t easily integrate with Integrated Device Technology electronic circuits and can’t operInc. is mass-producing the microresate under as diverse a range of onator invention, it was announced conditions as Abdolvand’s. His last November. The semiconductor microresonator operates reliably manufacturer, based in San Jose, at a wide range of temperatures Calif., is one of the world’s leading like quartz, while it is much smaller makers of such oscillators.

In that spirit, Reza Abdolvand is working to shrink the biggest little things behind consumer electronics at OSU. He’s shrinking them until they’re invisible to the naked eye.

than quartz and several of them at different frequencies can be placed on the same chip unlike quartz. Abdolvand’s microresonator uses piezoelectricity like quartz does, meaning it can convert pressure into electric potential — essential in consumer electronics. His invention is huge because shrinking the guts of popular electronics allows engineers to cram more things into them that consumers want. That means more sales for the $186 billion American consumer electronics industry. Appropriately, Abdolvand’s microresonator is only about 100 micrometers long — about a hundred times smaller than a flea. That and other reasons are why Integrated Device Technology snapped up Abdolvand’s invention and put it into what it calls the “world’s first commercial piezoelectric MEMS oscillators.” The company chose his team’s invention after evaluating the other technologies available.



21st-century care


instruction research outreach ceat news

Remember C-3PO and R2-D2?


The Star Wars robots could do everything from translate more than 6 million forms of communication to pilot a starship. Alas, the real robots of the future will be more likely to help take care of your elderly loved ones than take you to the Tosche Station to pick up some power converters.


“I’m very interested in technologies for elderly care,” says Weihua Sheng, director of the OSU electrical and computer engineering school’s Laboratory for Advanced Sensing, Computation & Control. “It will be a very hot research topic in the future because of the growing population of elderly.” The U.S. Census estimates that 20 percent of Americans, or around 88.5 million people, will be older than 65 by 2050, more than double the number in that age range in 2010.

the human by watching, enabled by artificial intelligence. “It’s very simple right now,” he says. “It’s just a prototype.” Other projects include using video game technology to help a robot create a map of its surroundings for navigation. For that, Sheng uses the Xbox’s Kinect feature to make 3-D maps that can help robots navigate a new environment, such as a patient’s room. And, as if none of that were exotic enough, Sheng has another project in which brain waves can be used to control a robot. That’s right. With the Emotiv Epoc headset used in video games, Sheng can make a robot move in a desired direction. It works with only about 60 percent to 80 percent accuracy, he says, but it has a host of potential uses including driving cars with only the driver’s mind. In reality, his robots won’t be helping us cook or taking care of our loved ones any time soon, Sheng says. But what’s been accomplished so far would surprise even 2001: A Space Odyssey author Arthur C. Clarke. “Currently, the intelligence of robots is still very limited,” Sheng says. “We still have a lot of things to do in this area.” MATT ELLIOTT


process that looks for patterns in massive amounts of data, to define what’s normal and abnormal behavior for the wearer. “If he falls to the floor in the bathroom, he’s doing something abnormal,” Sheng says. “We should be able to detect that.” His system, which has shown promise in trials, can also be extended to monitor such things as the heart rate and other vital signs. If an issue is detected, the computer can send the message to a robot, which can roll in and help a patient in distress. That monitoring can be beneficial beyond merely keeping track of a patient’s vital signs. “When you go see a doctor, it’s very important to let the doctor know what you have been doing since they saw you last, and they can access this information in case you can’t remember,” Sheng says. Delving further into science fiction land is Sheng’s work with robots that can help people in daily tasks. One of Sheng’s projects involves using a humanoid robot to help its companion cook. Another can help move heavy furniture. In cooking, one of Sheng’s robots watches — through the sensor technology — the human putting an ingredient in a bowl. It learns to collaborate with


Along those lines, Sheng has a number of sci-fi caliber projects at OSU in embedded computing and artificial intelligence. Those projects could help robots take care of their human masters in the future. It can be a challenge to learn what a human is doing and where he is indoors. Sheng is using wearable sensors attached to the human body to solve this problem. There also has to be a brain on the other end capable of interpreting those signals and acting upon them — artificial intelligence. He has several National Science Foundation grants to develop a system of sensors and computers that help robots learn daily activities and respond to alarms as they monitor subjects in their homes. That system logs all of the wearers’ habits, allowing the computer to note when something seems out of the ordinary. “We developed some sensors and integrated them with wireless communication,” Sheng says. “Then, we can send data to a computer. It’s like a body sensor network. You also need some batteries in the sensor.” The sensors, placed on a necklace, shirt or belt, let a computer track the wearer’s movements and collect data on the subject’s activities. Sheng can then use data mining, a programming


Chemical engineering professors GARY FOUTCH (left) and A.J. JOHANNES use mashed potatoes to test their waste treatment machine, which turns the material into a harmless, sanitized powder.

instruction research outreach ceat news






example, the invention must run with little or limited power, such as the amount of electricity generated perhaps by a person pedaling. Also, the technology needs to be simple to use so that even someone who can’t read can operate it. Additional factors yet to be addressed include screening mechanisms to handle foreign objects such as rocks and whether any waste storage would be required or if immediate destruction is possible. If a second grant is awarded, more concerns will be tackled, including cultural acceptance and community integration. “What we’re thinking about is several different ways to make it easier for a family or a small village to use,” Johannes says. The machine could make a huge dent in a massive global problem. More than 2.4 billion people lack any type of water sanitation, while 1.1 billion don’t have access to potable water supplies, the World Health Organization reports. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, established by the Microsoft founder and his wife, works to improve public health in the developing world and, in the United States, to ensure access to such things as education for all people. Johannes has been an OSU professor since 1984. He is a noted expert in mathematical modeling, especially as it relates to environmental engineering, combustion, plasmas, reactor design and fluid dynamics. He has master’s and doctoral degrees in civil and chemical engineering from West Virginia University and the University of Kentucky, respectively. An OSU professor since 1980, Foutch’s main research area is in mass-transfer-limited separations including ultrapure water processing and reactor design. He has bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral and professional degrees in chemical engineering from the Missouri University of Science and Technology.


It’s a crappy job. But someone has to do it. Chemical engineering professors Gary Foutch and A.J. Johannes have an invention that could help millions of people all over the world with waste sanitization. Their Simple Treatment of Fecal Waste project recently received a $100,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “We’ve worked together for a number of years in consulting and in the university,” says Johannes, adding with a laugh that “when he first told me his idea, I said, ‘Wow, that’s the best idea you’ve had in a long time.’ ” Foutch came up with a device similar to an extruder, and the two worked out the details. The machine uses an electric motor to cycle waste down a narrowing cylinder. The friction and pressure from the increasingly small space heats the material up so much that, by the time it’s forced out a small hole, it’s a sanitized, harmless powder. The two designed and built it in a lab inside the Advanced Technology Research Center on the OSU campus. “The theory is sound,” Johannes says. “We’ve got this machine and a model, to show that it works and to demonstrate the principle.” The two used mashed potatoes instead of real human waste for regulatory reasons and because the potatoes have a similar viscosity to fecal matter, in addition to other properties. Johannes notes that the initial test runs heated the material to about 190 degrees Fahrenheit. “They pasteurize milk at around 170 F,” he says. “We want to get this stuff above the boiling point of water — 212 F. In fact, we would like to get it somewhere around 250 to 260 F to destroy any disease-causing microbes.” The Gates Foundation offers a larger grant that might push the technology through to commercialization. That money could be available once all of the kinks are ironed out. For

OSU professors win $100,000 Gates grant for their waste treatment project


OSU team brings importance of  The United States consumes almost 19 million barrels of oil daily — nearly 7 billion a year.

instruction research outreach ceat news


Oil does everything from power the world’s largest economy to fuel its military, assemble its plastics and make its cosmetics. And every day, the majority of it bubbles through thousands of miles of pipes, under deserts, over mountains and through plains, to a town of about 7,800 people in the middle of rural Oklahoma. Cushing is the “Pipeline Crossroads of the World.” Its huge tank farms are largely out in the open, secured only behind a tall barbed wire topped fence. What would happen if the unthinkable occurred on Cushing’s huge tank farm, network or other facilities there? Just how important is it, really? “We decided to take a look at pipelines using a program called Model-Based Risk Analysis,” says Mike Larrañaga, a professor and department head for OSU’s renowned Fire Protection and Safety Technology program. Larrañaga and two graduate students, Patrick Smith and John Bennett, tracked down sensitive government maps of U.S. pipelines. The pipeline networks crisscrossing the country were developed during World War II, when it was considered too dangerous to transport oil over water because of lurking German U-boats, Larrañaga says.

What the team found was telling. The east and west coast pipeline networks are largely independent of each other. Meanwhile, three-quarters of the nation is serviced by one major web of pipes. Within that huge mess of pipes, no hub was more important than Cushing. “We tried to find more efficient places within the network to place a hub,” Smith says. “Every time, our numbers kept bringing us back to Cushing.” So much oil goes through the town that the amounts are used to determine prices on commodity exchanges. But Larrañaga says seeing the raw numbers come back was astounding. “This made it real,” Larrañaga says. “Much of the United States is completely dependent on the Cushing oil trading hub for its fuel supply.” Larrañaga recently presented his team’s preliminary findings to military and government officials at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Homeland Defense and Security. They were also shocked by the group’s findings, Larrañaga says. “Some had never considered the sheer importance of the Cushing facility,” he says. “Some already knew it intuitively, but again, as it did with me, this made it real for them.”

The group is urging the government to give pipeline hubs such as Cushing special protection as “critical national assets.” The study has national security implications, and much of it is being kept secret. Its results are to be published soon in a restrictedaccess journal, Larrañaga says. The project is through OSU’s Homeland Security Scholars and Fellows Program, a multidisciplinary study path that exposes students to a mix of courses in science, social science, engineering and business. An innovative program in higher education, it’s the product of a partnership with the FBI, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s National Bioforensics Analysis Center, the national labs at Oak Ridge, Tenn., and Los Alamos, N.M., and OSU’s University Multispectral Laboratories. Graduates are primed for careers in emergency response management. “I have a chance to apply what I have learned during my education to a project that will produce information which can be used to make our country more secure,” says Smith. “That’s pretty amazing.” The unique research will help students both in their academic and professional careers. Bennett is getting his master’s degree in industrial engineering, and Smith is a doctoral student in industrial engineering with a master’s degree in management science information systems. Both are graduates of the School of Fire Protection and Safety at OSU. MATT ELLIOTT

Cushing oil hub to life

Cushing’s tank farms turned out to be vital to the nation’s oil production in a new study by a FIRE PROTECTION AND SAFETY TECHNOLOGY professor and two graduate students.


2012 35


Bringing virtual reality 

Center for Information Centric

instruction research outreach ceat news


This center focuses on research, teaching and outreach, which directly Engineering gives OSU’s fit the mission of a land-grant institution. While information technology has CEAT a cutting edge revolutionized engineering practices worldwide, very few engineering colleges A virtual reality lab has become have developed curricula for students a literal reality on the Oklahoma that emphasize information-centric principles and approaches. OSU’s CEAT State University campus. J. Cecil, associate professor of indus- is one of the few colleges pioneertrial engineering, spearheaded the devel- ing new courses that emphasize this opment and operations of the Center emerging area of importance. Research at the center primarily deals for Information Centric Engineering. “Our state-of-the-art center is with investigating such topics as the unique for its research, education and creation of advanced virtual engineeroutreach activities, which emphasize ing environments for domains such as an information-centric perspective micro/nano and space systems, to the across various fields of engineering,” design of innovative cyber infrastructure to enable distributed collaboration says Cecil. using engineering resources. “The virtual reality lab contains cutting-edge technology that could provide both commercial and educational applications in the future,” says student Daniel Wilkerson. “I am personally developing software for a haptic device that could be used to train surgeons.”

to campus

The center offers physical automated work cells to conduct research in micro assembly technologies as well as a wide variety of software tools for research and teaching. Other faculty in mechanical and aerospace engineering, electrical engineering, civil engineering and computer science work with Cecil on interdisciplinary projects. Professor Jamey Jacob, mechanical and aerospace engineering, is working with Cecil on a NASA-funded project involving the design of a space habitat for astronauts. Virtual technologies are being used to provide cross-functional analysis and reduce the overall cost. “Working in the lab has taught me a great deal about software development and C++, which is a programming language,” says Wilkinson. “I have also gained plenty of experience working with people who have a wide variety of majors, which is important as I look toward the future as an industrial engineer.” Funding sponsors for the lab are the National Science Foundation, NASA, Sandia National Laboratories and the Missile Defense Agency, among others. Cecil is excited about the opportunities this center offers to students as well as the public. “The future is bright,” he says.


The center is also home to the Soaring Eagle program, which provides an early introduction to engineering for elementary through high school students with workshops introducing them to engineering concepts through exciting virtual reality technologies. One of the recent examples from these workshops was the creation of a three-dimensional solar system, allowing students to immerse themselves and learn basic concepts through exploration and self-learning. “The idea of bringing school students to the lab and giving them a chance of getting early exposure to engineering is outstanding,” says Gunda. The center is equipped with a PowerWall, which is composed of a large screen, a back projector, a range of trackers/sensors and 3-D glasses for viewing virtual environments. A haptic device is also available for creating environments where users can touch and feel various objects inside a virtual setting.


The facility’s research allows advancements in several disciplines within the college, and its teaching opportunities create quite a buzz among students. “The center supports teaching activities for engineering students at both the undergraduate and graduate level,” says Cecil. “It is a pioneer and leader in the creation of virtual learning environments using virtual reality technologies. VLEs have been developed to enhance the teaching of fundamental and advanced engineering concepts in various engineering courses.” Cecil is using virtual learning environments to teach several engineering courses at OSU. CEAT is one of the few engineering colleges in the world that offers courses that adopt such approaches. Graduate student and research assistant Raviteja Gunda believes the center gives OSU a unique element that most other engineering colleges lack. “I have gained cutting-edge knowledge on the 3-D graphics and virtual reality applications that enhanced my technical skills,” says Gunda.


instruction research outreach ceat news



CEAT widens its appeal with distance education program

In addition, Engineering Distance The College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology Education also provides NUCLEAR ENGIis expanding its national reach NEERING COURSES through the Big 12 through distance education. With Engineering Consortium that enables


students enrolled at any Big 12 institution to take nuclear engineering courses taught by Iowa State University, Kansas State University, Texas A&M University, University of Kansas, University of Missouri-Columbia, and the University of Texas at Austin. The nuclear engineering courses have been adapted to ensure the same quality of education as in an on-campus course. These courses run within a semester, and students are required to meet the instructor’s deadlines. Students can use email, online chats, discussion boards and other methods to interact with instructors and other students. With a focus on the oil and gas industry in this area of the country, a MINOR IN PETROLEUM ENGINEERING can be earned through Engineering Distance EduMASTER’S DEGREES IN INDUSTRIAL ENGINEER- cation as well. This program has been ING AND MANAGEMENT, ELECTRICAL AND designed for students from all of the COMPUTER ENGINEERING, AND ENGINEERING engineering and engineering technology AND TECHNOLOGY MANAGEMENT. OSU also disciplines at OSU who wish to prepare offers a BACHELOR’S DEGREE IN ELECTRICAL for positions in the petroleum industry ENGINEERING TECHNOLOGY. A variety of or in companies that are closely related undergraduate and graduatel courses to the petroleum industry. are offered online. Collectively, the distance education programs offered at CEAT help extend the student base of the college and adapt to a fast-paced, everchanging world.


this outreach effort, students can experience quality education outside the classroom in a flexible environment. Students appreciate the technical approach to learning as they complete their coursework through various media. Some current offerings available include credit obtained via the Internet, CDs, MP3 players, iPods and iPads. Distance education is an option for students who want to continue their education but can’t attend classes at traditional times. The program works well for a changing student base as well as for nontraditional students, who may need to improve their existing skills for better career opportunities or gain knowledge in new fields. Engineering Distance Education offers three graduate degree programs:


Center keys up training, tech support and more for local entities

government AID

The College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology offers training, technical assistance, technology transfer, demonstrations and research advocacy for the municipal, county and tribal governments of Oklahoma through its Center for Local Government Technology.

instruction research outreach ceat news





The Center for Local Government Technology, part of the college’s participation in OSU’s outreach mission, benefits thousands of Oklahomans with close to $2 million in direct economic impact annually and indirectly in an amount beyond measure in terms of money saved through more efficient government operations and the lives saved from safety advocacy. Under the leadership of Director Douglas Wright, the center’s programs are dedicated to enhancing the lives of Oklahoma residents. “The Center for Local Government Technology truly embraces the intent and spirit of the Morrill Act’s establishment of land-grant universities for the purpose of providing outreach to the citizens of our state,” says Wright. “CLGT’s staff is characterized by having many long-term employees who feel very passionate about what we do. “Most of us believe that what we have contributed to research, outreach, technology transfer and the education and training of local government officials and employees over the years has made a significant impact on the quality of life in Oklahoma,” he says. Realizing the need for enhanced technology support, this CEAT outreach center has a lasting impact on people statewide. “We are proud to be Oklahomans and feel it is our duty as an outreach function of CEAT to constantly improve our state and the technology within,” says Wright. “Contributing to the state’s technological advancements through local government agencies leads to enhanced economic development for all of us who live here.”

Most Oklahomans benefit from the center’s Local Technical Assistance Program, which provides services to the local governments that are responsible for the planning, maintenance and construction of transportation systems. This includes the public works departments of more than 600 municipal governments, the 228 road districts in Oklahoma’s 77 counties and the transportation departments of 38 tribal governments. Oklahoma’s program is part of a nationwide 58-center system conceived and proposed to the Federal Highway Administration by then-center Director Jim Shamblin in 1981. Oklahoma’s program typically conducts more than 50 outreach activities a year, including training classes, demonstrations, seminars and conferences that involve about 2,000 people. As an authority on road and bridge maintenance and construction issues, the program also provides technical assistance to local government officials and employees. The Local Technical Assistance Program is involved with implementing Federal Highway Administration initiatives such as Every Day Counts and working to solve highway safety problems. The program provides matching funds to university researchers investigating problems that affect local government transportation departments and assists these researchers with disseminating their results to local government agencies. Oklahoma’s program also serves as the state chapter office of the American Public Works Association. Oklahoma’s Local Technical Assistance Program has a sister program at the center called the Tribal Technical Assistance Program, which works directly with tribal governments. The tribal program primarily provides training and technical assistance in managing the Indian Reservation Roads Program. It also provides technology transfer on the roads program inventory and a fund allocation system, tribal transportation planning, project management, budgeting and cost estimating, accounting and GIS/GPS data collection.


Seminole County district road foreman ED JONES (left) works with the center’s adjunct instructor BOB SPRINGER in learning how to use a handheld global positioning satellite receiver to conduct asset management inventories.

By the Numbers A look at some of the CLGT’s statistics


(figures are approximate annual totals)

790 95,000 530,000 4,550 $1,846,600 Formal contact hours

Local government entities served

Number of people directly affected

Direct economic influence

instruction research outreach ceat news


DOUGLAS WRIGHT (left), director of the Center for Local Government Technology, supervises the installation of geo-synthetics fabrics on a demonstration site for best maintenance practices demonstration.

Website hits

“The Center for Local Government Technology truly embraces the intent and spirit of the Morrill Act’s establishment of land-grant universities for the purpose of providing outreach to the citizens of our state.” — Douglas Wright

JIM SELF, CLGT’s Tribal Technical Assistance Program manager, delivers a presentation at a tribal transportation planning seminar in Catoosa, Okla.

Working closely with the assessor training program at the center is the County Computer Assistance Program, which provides computer software and hardware assistance and training to county governments and others related to property tax billing and collection. About 1,300 software users, attendees and others use software authored and supported by program staff. The computer assistance program joined the center in 2008, coming from the State Auditors and Inspectors office. The program’s collaboration with the assessor program on matters of interest to both has resulted in a more integrated delivery of their services. State officials are considering moving other state tax assessment functions to the center, having noted this positive dynamic between similar programs.


Another transportation-related activity at the center is the Rural Transit Assistant Program, which provides oversight and management of the Oklahoma Rural Public Transit Consortium Drug and Alcohol Program in coordination with Oklahoma Department of Transportation Rural Transit Programs Division. The program consists of 19 rural transit systems within the Oklahoma Rural Transit division that employ 900 to 950 safety-sensitive employees. This program’s oversight also provides technical assistance to ensure compliance with 49 CFR Part 40 and 655, Transportation Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing Programs. The center also contributes to the state through the Assessor Training Accreditation Program, which provides legally mandated training to county assessors and their deputies. This accreditation training consists of seven courses covering real estate and personal property appraisal. There are 121 classroom hours involved in this training, and participants must successfully pass a test after each class to gain accreditation. On average, 480 students participate each year in a total of more than 58,000 hours of classroom training. This training provides for professional appraisal and assessment of taxable property in Oklahoma, resulting in equitable and fair property taxation.


The tribal program works with an average of 1,500 people a year in various training, conference and technical assistance activities. The majority of those served are tribal employees, but federal, state and local government employees are helped as well. The program serves tribal governments in Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. In Stillwater, the center has the only co-located local and tribal assistance programs in the country, and their synergistic relationship allows them to effectively coordinate their services for local and tribal governments. The center’s Transportation Intern Program places students from transportation-related degree programs in paid summer internships with local government agencies. The intern program is funded by the Oklahoma Transportation Center. Students assist agencies such as the Circuit Engineering Districts, city public works departments, county road districts and Councils on Government with transportation-related projects, tasks and activities. This program has been instrumental in introducing students to local government service and to potential employment with these agencies after graduation.



Fire Service Training lines up a Guinness World Record OSU’s Fire Service Training should soon become the proud holder of a Guinness World Record.

instruction research outreach ceat news



The OSU school conducts trainings throughout the year and is recognized as a national leader in standards and procedures for firefighting. On Jan. 21, this outreach unit held Allen says Oklahoma legislators the largest fire truck parade in history increased state funding for rural volwith more than 220 fire trucks (and unteer firefighting operations, which a total of 280 emergency responder covered the cost of the regional training. vehicles) representing stations from Fire Service Training relies heavily throughout Oklahoma and Texas lining on legislative support to continue its up in Atoka to shatter the world record training and outreach in Oklahoma. In of 159 previously set in Switzerland. 2011, more than 2,380 training and cer“Seeing fire trucks lined up for 3½ tification events were held, with 30,649 miles made all the hard work worth professional and volunteer emergency the effort,” says Atoka Fire Chief Don- responders receiving training. nie Allen. “The streets of Atoka were “This regional school offered trainfull of supporters, and when (record- ing in most all firefighting areas, breaking) Truck 160 crossed the end focusing on wildland firefighting of the parade line, the roar was equal and managing wildland fires,” says to that of the winning touchdown at a Allen.  “Oklahoma is still in the one of Super Bowl.”  the worst drought conditions, (and) that This event kicked off the two-day has lead to a record number of wildfires.” regional training that attracted rural Other areas covered during this and volunteer firefighters from across training included leadership, vehicle Oklahoma. firefighting, hazardous materials, emer“With over 500 volunteer firefighters gency medical training, mutual aid, attending, this was our largest-ever flammable liquid firefighting, tornado regional training event coordinated response, rescue training and structural in Oklahoma,” says Bob Allen, rural firefighting procedures. program coordinator.

As an OSU outreach unit and housed within the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology, the service creates and delivers top-notch training, continued education and professional certifications to emergency responders in Oklahoma. “We are very proud of what we do,” says David Thompson, associate dean of outreach for OSU’s College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology. “The efforts made through this department potentially affect every citizen in Oklahoma.” Fire Service Training is dedicated to the original land-grant vision of research, instruction and outreach for the college. Its mission emphasizes the importance of development and training in fire safety, as well as education and professional certifications for Oklahoma’s emergency responders so they may safely and successfully perform their duties. Whether delivering enhanced training methods or setting world records in parades, the service has a lasting impact in every aspect of its programs.

Fire Protection Publications

helps save   families WITH WORK IN PROJECT While OSU’s Fire Protection Publications is often recognized as the world’s leading publisher of fire and emergency service training materials, it recently played a more direct role in saving the lives of five Oklahoma families.

requesting the smoke alarms. FPP tracks customer satisfaction, behavior changes and “saves.” Working smoke alarms and practicing home fire drills have the greatest potential to save lives in Oklahoma, which annually experiences more than double the fire death rates of other states. Under the direction of FPP Assistant Director Nancy J. Trench, FPP and its partner organization International Fire Service Training Association are also national leaders in conducting firefighter safety and public fire and life safety education research. Much of this funding comes from such agencies as the U.S. Fire Administration, U.S. Departments of Homeland Security, Transportation and Justice.


The Pryor Fire Department received smoke alarms and alert equipment valued at more than $20,000 to install in the area. The lifesaving equipment was funded by an Assistance to Firefighters Grant from the Department of Homeland Security. Pictured are (from left) Pryor Assistant Fire Chief SHERMAN WEAVER and firefighter/EMT BRANDON MERRITT, Fire Protection Publications Assistant Director NANCY TRENCH and research coordinator CINDY FINKLE.


they are among the U.S. counties with the highest per capita home fire death rates. FPP provided technical assistance and project management for SAFEOklahoma. The project, which was formally completed in 2011, was funded through a subaward from the Oklahoma State Firefighters Association/Oklahoma Fire Chief Association. The funding came from an Assistance to Firefighters Grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The SAFE part of the name stands for Smoke The families were among the Alarms and Fire Education. residents of Coal, Johnston and Although the formal program Harmon counties who participated was completed in 2011, the mission in the SAFEOklahoma project. to reduce home fire deaths in OklaThis program served 776 homes homa continues. A large inventory with 1,763 free smoke alarms and of state-of-the-art smoke alarms other alert devices installed, affectequipped with 10-year batteries ing more than 2,000 people. As a remained. FPP worked with memresult, the five families were alerted bers of the Oklahoma State Fire by their home smoke alarms and Marshal’s Office to initiate Northwere able to escape uninjured from east SAFEOklahoma that follows house fires. the protocols of the original grant. FPP research staff, working Personnel from nearly two dozen fire with local agencies, targeted these departments in the area promote counties for a residential smokethe project, volunteer their time to alarm installation and home firedo the installations and provide fire safety education program because safety education to the consumers


instruction research outreach ceat news


in his own way


Dean Karl Reid has turned over the CEAT reins, but he’ll still be around PORTRAIT / GARY LAWSON

Karl Reid took a vacation


Komanduri recalled that the ATRC’s basement houses equipment that is very sensitive to vibrations. And when OSU Athletics built the tunnel down to the new football locker rooms nearby several years ago, the dean fought hard to move it further away. OSU had hired researchers whose work depended on those basement rooms being where no vibration could reach. “Next thing we knew, that was not what was going to happen,” said Komanduri, who died suddenly several months after this interview. (Tribute, Page 52) Still, “you would never find him upset. He would try and hold his footing as much as he could, but when it came to the university, the broader thing was more important to him.”

Academic appeal Even after he graduated, Reid remained dedicated to his family and OSU, something that showed once he finished his doctorate at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. An expert in fluid control systems among other areas, Reid thought he might end up in corporate America. Inspired instead by his instructors at MIT, he chose academia and took a position teaching at his alma mater in Stillwater, where he would go on to author four patents. continues



“What’s important to Karl is the student experience,” says Good, who is now the Noble His mother died in 2006. And he had had Foundation Professor of mechanical and aeroheart surgery. space engineering. “Good instruction, good “I said to my wife, ‘We need to take some facilities, good jobs — everything the student time off,’ ” Reid says. The couple took a cruise has contact with. When I came to OSU, our to Alaska’s Denali National Park. “It was one student labs and graduate research were conof those rare times when I let my hair down.” ducted in World War II Quonset buildings; Reid retired in 2011 as dean of OSU’s College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology. they were basically metal tents that leaked A towering figure with size-13 feet and a deep, badly. Karl Reid was responsible for helping booming voice, Reid led the college for 25 of CEAT step into a new era.” Reid spearheaded the development of the its 110 years as its longest-serving dean. He Advanced Technology Research Center that oversaw improvements that attracted more opened in 1997. Located just next door to his students and prepared for the 21st century a offices, the 165,000-square-foot facility is college that, at the start of his deanship, still home to high-tech research into everything had labs in leaky metal Quonset huts dating from manufacturing processes to photonics to World War II. and the physics of hydrocarbons. Understandably, the man who’s taken only A decade later, he pushed through a simione vacation in 50 years says he’s not ready to lar center at the OSU-Tulsa campus that is completely retire. devoted to commercializing innovations in “A simple way of putting it is: I’m not very areas such as nanotechnology. He also heavily smart,” Reid deadpans. “I’m a workaholic. lobbied OSU’s then-President David Schmidly And I enjoy my job.” to make funding a new architecture school Although he is retiring as dean, Reid will building a priority. continue directing OSU’s Web Handling Today’s Donald W. Reynolds School of Research Center, which he founded in 1986, Architecture Building (at the original univeras well as overseeing the Boys and Girls Club sity gymnasium/armory site) is now a jewel on and W.W. Allen scholarship programs. campus and home to one of the nation’s top Indulging passions architecture schools. “I have a passion for OSU, a passion for Persuasion with aplomb our college and a passion for our students,” “We weren’t the only ones who wanted to Reid says. “We have some very special faculty in this college who have supported and helped me.” go to the foundation to raise money for a new Among those is J. Keith Good, who works building,” says the school’s head, Randy Seitwith Reid in the Web Handling Research singer. “He’s passionate. You know he believes Center. The center is a campus facility devoted what he’s telling you. I think those things make to the study of the manufacturing process in him a compelling, persuasive person.” It’s hard to imagine CEAT without him. which Reid is a noted expert. Good was a student at OSU when Reid was Reid accomplished all that with an unflapa professor and remembers when Reid became pable demeanor that equally weathered the department head in mechanical engineering ups and downs. His late friend and colleague, Ranga Komin 1976. Once Reid became dean in 1986, Good worked with him to set up the center. anduri, said that’s why he lasted so long in his Good describes his colleague as a dedicated position: Reid took his losses graciously. researcher and educator.


instruction research outreach ceat news


More accomplishments

Inspired by students Reid routinely hosted students at his house with his wife, Verna Lou. He remains inspired by their intellect, dedication and promise. He routinely cited their stories in talks with high school kids looking to attend Oklahoma State. One of his favorite stories to tell today is that of Cassie Mitchell.

Mitchell, a bioeng ineering researcher at Georgia Tech, was one of the top students at OSU when she graduated in 2004. She also suffered from Davic’s neuromyelitis optica, a disease that has forced her to use a wheelchair and deal with various medical issues. Today, Reid still mentions Mitchell’s story as a source of deep inspiration to him. “He was not your normal paperpushing kind of dean, and I mean that in the most respectful way,” Mitchell says. “He took a special interest in every student. Every student was just as important as the next. He wanted to have an impact, even if a high school student he was talking to about Oklahoma State wasn’t going to attend. He invests just as much in mentoring those students and encouraging them.” Another former student, Mark Nelson, praised the dean for his guidance and influence on his life. Nelson is one of the 10 Allen Scholars and graduated in May. He remembers meeting Reid for the first time, when the dean told him about his vision for the program. “There’s really nothing like it that I’ve ever heard of,” says Nelson, describing the Allen Scholars’ trip to Japan, where they toured manufacturers in the island nation. He described an intense course students take during their trip in which they learn how to be productive members of a larger whole and not just good engineers. “He’s incredibly thoughtful. He’s very contemplative. He believes in the power of cross-cultural communication. … He has done a fantastic job of broadening the horizons of students there.” MATT ELLIOTT


His other accomplishments include establishing the first academic research facility in Tulsa, OSU’s Helmerich Advanced Technolog y Research Center. The $52 million center has become a regional hub for work in nanotechnology, biotechnology and energy. Reid also represents his discipline and his university on dozens of boards and committees. He is on the Oklahoma Science and Technology Research and Development Board. He was the first chair of the Oklahoma Transportation Center and serves on dozens of other boards and has edited several journals. He also was an engineering advisory committee member of the National Science Foundation’s Directorate for Engineering, among many other roles, and is an advisory committee member for MIT’s mechanical engineering department. He also directed the Center for Systems Science at Oklahoma State University in the 1960s and 1970s, and founded the Oklahoma Center for Integrated Design and Manufacturing in 1989, leading the center until 1995. But first and foremost Reid sees himself as an educator. “If you give your students the right opportunities, the right environments for their encouragement, then you can do some fantastic things,” Reid says. “Students have been by far the best part of my time as dean.”


“Dean Reid could’ve gone anywhere,” Komanduri said. “He could’ve been anybody. He chose to come back to Oklahoma.” Reid also credits his mentor, former Dean Melvin “Pete” Lohmann, with inspiring him as an engineer and an educator. Lohmann led the college from 1955 to 1977, and he took Reid under his wing as an assistant professor in the 1960s. But, among his proudest achievements, Reid says, is the CEAT Scholars program. Shortly after he became dean, enrollment was falling. He developed an enrichment program for talented students, one that included international travel and, later, scholarships to lure top engineering students to Oklahoma State. That later became the CEAT Scholars program, and now is the Karl N. Reid CEAT Scholars. His crown jewel, however, is considered to be the premier engineering scholars program in the nation, the W.W. Allen scholar Program. He worked with Wayne Allen, alumnus and former CEO of Phillips Petroleum Co., who wanted to start the program at his alma mater. Today, the program includes a substantial scholarship, a stipend and an optional year of graduate study at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. “Karl is very easy to work with,” Allen says. “He has an incredible energy even now and tends to call me in the evening. When he was dean, he would send me emails at 2 o’clock in the morning. He’s unbelievable. Then you add in that he has a great interest in students as well as the graduates, and you have an extraordinary man.”




instruction research outreach ceat news


ERIC BILLMAN (left) and STEVE BUZZARD are joining SANDI BLISS on the OSU Foundation Development Team for the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology. PORTRAIT / OSU FOUNDATION

Albert Einstein once said, “The value of a man resides in what he gives and not in what he is capable of receiving.” This concept sparks the true spirit of philanthropy and is the primary mission of the OSU Foundation Development Team for the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology.

graduate had such meaningful experiences as an undergraduate researcher at OSU that he wanted to help provide similar opportunities for OSU students in perpetuity.” As a result of this gift, 12 OSU students each year will be funded to do interdisciplinary research. The most rewarding part of the experience, says Buzzard, was to witness the couple’s return to Stillwater to see each student present their research. The students’ sincere gratitude was matched only by the couple’s obvious satisfaction as a result of their generosity.

But gifts do not always have to be in large amounts. Lives can be changed with even the smallest act of giving.

If you are interested in leaving a legacy and contributing to the betterment of CEAT for years to come, return the attached postcard, or contact one of these development team officers.


Billman says some gifts inspire development officers. “One day, I received a call from an alum who had graduated the month before,” says Billman. “The alumnus stated now that he had a good job, he would like to establish a scholarship for others in his program. At the time, we had no efforts to engage students, so this was a total surprise. For the first few years, the donor knew the recipients as they had been behind him while he was a student. This was as close to pure philanthropy as any I have seen. We have remained friends over the years and he remains active and generous, increasing his contribution as his resources allowed.” Philanthropy is not about showcasing how much you can give; it is the selfless act of enabling others’ potential and, in the grand scheme, caring for something or someone other than oneself.


“I look forward to helping CEAT realize the many exciting opportunities this college has on the horizon,” Billman says. “When everyone gives what they can, that’s when the magic happens!” Steve Buzzard has joined the CEAT Development team as director of development. During the last six years, Buzzard has been an asset to The Foundation in his corporate and foundation relations The OSU Foundation has been creat- role and will bring that experience and ing opportunities for alumni and friends skill at building productive organizational of the institution to leave a legacy and and individual relationships to CEAT. touch the lives of others since 1961. Every “We are here to assist the dean in gift to Branding Success, OSU’s billion- propelling CEAT to the next level,” dollar campaign, accelerates learning says Buzzard. “Our job is to help and discovery. The impact of these friends and alumni of this college gifts ranges from student scholarships leave a legacy through gifts and to research advancements, program support.” creations and facility enhancement. The Both Billman and Buzzard are jointransformation made by ordinary people ing Sandi Bliss, the current director of giving back to a place pivotal in their development for CEAT. Collectively, they lives is inspiring. make a dynamic trio. Two new members joined the CEAT For those who value education, innodevelopment team in 2012, offer- vation and the tradition of CEAT at OSU, ing years of experience backed by the team is equipped to find the right personal dedication to enhancing the avenue for donors to leave a lasting College of Engineering, Architecture and impact on the college. Technology. This dynamic team works Bliss calls working with a family to diligently to connect students, faculty endow a memorial scholarship in their and alumni with the mission of CEAT in son’s name one of her most meaningful ways that both serve the college and are donor experiences. meaningful to individual philanthropists. “Their son was a senior in mechanical Eric Billman joined the CEAT and aerospace engineering at the time Development team on April 2, as the of his death, while their younger son associate vice president of develop- was also a student in CEAT,” says Bliss. ment. He holds an impressive résumé of “A couple of years later, they decided as philanthropic work including five years a family to increase the amount of their as the senior director of development scholarship with the Pickens’ Legacy for the McDonough School of Business Scholarship Match. As their scholarat Georgetown University. ship endowment continues to grow, in Billman received his bachelor’s perpetuity, so will the lives their generdegree in civil engineering from Purdue osity will touch to honor this precious University and his Master’s of Business young life lost.” Administration from Carnegie Mellon There are many ways to leave a legacy University. He has led or been a part of in the college. Buzzard recalls a signifimore than 20 capital campaigns, rais- cant gift dedicated to research growth. ing upwards of $3.5 billion. His proven “Just over a year ago I had the privilege capabilities will add tremendous value of working with a couple to endow an to enhancing CEAT and creating oppor- interdisciplinary scholarship program,” tunities for additional giving. says Buzzard. “This particular OSU


In Memoriam

Ranga Komanduri

Regents Professor Ranga Komanduri, the A.H. Nelson Jr. Endowed Chair in Engineering at Oklahoma State University, died Sept. 6, 2011, at his home in Stillwater. He had been a member of OSU’s faculty for 22 years.

“We have lost a wonderful human being, a great colleague, a brilliant researcher and an outstanding educator,” Khaled A.M. Gasem, Bartlett Chair and head of the school of chemical engineering, told the Daily O’Collegian. Born in India, Ranga Komanduri studied engineering at the Regional Engineering College at Warangal, affiliated with Osmania University in Hyderabad, India. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in 1964 and a master’s degree in heat power engineering in 1966. He pursued his doctoral studies at Monash University in Australia under the guidance of R.H. Brown, studying the mechanics of chip segmentation in machining as the instruction

subject of his dissertation. After Komanduri received his doctorate in 1972, he


began his career as a research engineer


and assistant professor in the mechani-

ceat news

cal engineering department at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.



Komanduri had a deep respect for history. He would often, with great excitement, discuss the scientific contributions of famous mathematicians and scientists such as Srinivasa Ramanujan or Sir C. V. Raman. One of his favorite accounts was that of the pioneering work of Sir Benjamin Thompson, count of Rumford, on the nature of the heat generated in machining, which played an important role in establishing the laws of the conservation of energy later in the 19th century. In June 2011, Komanduri presented the Founder’s Lecture at NAMRC 39 at Oregon State University on “How to Conduct Research — the Rumford Way.” Komanduri’s sense of the importance of history extended to the developments in manufacturing science and engineering. In his classes, he would discuss the importance of the contributions of M. Eugene Merchant, Milton C. Shaw, Michael Field, Robert Hahn, Erich Thomsen, B.T. Chao and Ken Trigger, to name a few. In the spring of 1993, to both honor these pioneers and to highlight their significant contributions, Komanduri organized the Symposium on U.S. Contributions to Machining and Grinding Research of the 20th Century at Oklahoma State, with many of the pioneers of manufacturing research in attendance. It has been said of Komanduri that two of his greatest strengths were the depth of his concern about his students and his colleagues, and the eagerness with which he embraced and sought out new knowledge. This second strength was the genesis of numerous collaborations that endured and prospered during his career. The first was the reason the students, postdocs, and faculty with whom he worked functioned with such harmony and productivity. Komanduri’s energy, enthusiasm, work ethic, dedication to research and education and easy smile will be sorely missed. DON A. LUCCA, OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY AND SHIVAKUMAR RAMAN, UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA


Komanduri was a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers and an Emeritus fellow of the International Academy for Production Engineering (CIRP). He was recognized for his leadership in the North American Manufacturing Research Institution as its president in 1992, and as co-organizer of NAMRC 21. In addition, he served as chairman of the Production Engineering Division (now the Manufacturing Division) for ASME and as vice president of the Manufacturing Group from 1989 to 1993. It was under his initiative that the M. Eugene Merchant Manufacturing Medal of ASME/SME was established. His national and international awards and recognitions were numerous and included ASME’s Blackall Machine Tool and Gage Award (1981), Charles Russ Richards Memorial Award (1990) and William T. Ennor Manufacturing Technology Award (2002). In 2004, he received the SME Albert M. Sargent Progress Award and the OSU Eminent Scholar Award, Oklahoma State’s highest award for academic and research excellence. It was particularly fitting that in 2011 he received the Merchant Medal. Dr. K, as he was affectionately known by his graduate students, served as a mentor to many young engineers and scientists. His care and compassion for his students and post-doctoral graduates were well known. Over the years, he enthusiastically served as an unofficial mentor to many junior faculty members around the world who have gone on to highly successful careers in academia.


At Carnegie Mellon, he began his collaborations and developed his lifelong friendship with professor Milton C. Shaw. Their work led to influential publications in Nature and Philosophical Magazine on the wear of diamond in the grinding of ferrous metals. For his fundamental contributions to understanding metal build-up in grinding with aluminum oxide abrasives, Komanduri was awarded the F.W. Taylor Medal of CIRP in 1977. Komanduri then moved to the General Electric Corporate Research and Development Laboratory in Schenectady, N.Y., where he researched the machining of titanium and high-speed/high-productivity machining. At the same time, he was an adjunct professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. From 1986 to 1989, while on a research sabbatical from GE, Komanduri went to the National Science Foundation, where he served as director in several programs including Materials Engineering and Processing, Tribology and Manufacturing Processes. He also served in NSF’s Division of Design, Manufacturing and Computer-Integrated Engineering as a deputy division director and acting division director. In the fall of 1989, he joined Oklahoma State University as professor and MOST Chair in intelligent manufacturing in the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Komanduri’s technical interests in advanced manufacturing and tribology were broad and diverse. His contributions included work on conventional machining and grinding, high-speed machining and ultraprecision machining. He also studied low-pressure synthesis of diamond coatings, laser-assisted materials processing, molecular dynamics simulations of nanometric cutting, and thermal aspects of various manufacturing processes. His work resulted in more than 230 technical publications and 22 patents.


2012’s outstanding

College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology





Elizabeth Wilson, architecture instruction research outreach ceat news


ELIZABETH WILSON is the 2012 Dean’s Outstanding Architecture Student. A native of Albuquerque, N.M., Wilson graduated from Oklahoma State University in May and will be attending graduate school at Georgia Tech to study integrated facility management. Professor Randy Seitsinger, head of OSU’s School of Architecture, says she is smart, talented and a leader among her peers. Her numerous awards include the American Institute of Architects Certificate, Alpha Rho Chi Medal, Golden Key International Honor Society induction, National Society of Collegiate Scholars, OSU President’s Honor Roll, Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society, and Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, placing her in the top 10 percent of the graduating class. NORTHCUTT / JOSH DEAN

Some of Wilson’s activities include membership in the Architecture Student Leadership Council; the American Institute of Architectural Students; and Architecture Students Teaching Elementary Kids (ASTEK), where she was the 2009 co-coordinator and 2010 and 2011 coordinator. She has designed features for disabled homeowners through Freedom by Design and has been active in Cowboy Cousins from 2008-2012. As an aspiring architect, Wilson completed several internships with Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque. She observed and executed techniques to fix supercomputer nodes, designed floor plans of the supercomputer annex, produced conceptual renderings for various tech areas, utilized numerous design programs and contributed to the

development of the 2008 and 2009 longrange development plan of the facility. Wilson says she would like to continue working for the Department of Energy or the Department of Defense after she completes her master’s degree. She is the daughter of Peter and Cynthia Wilson. “It is such an honor to receive the Dean’s Outstanding Architecture Student Award,” says Wilson. “My experience at Oklahoma State University, especially in the School of Architecture, exceeded all my expectations. I believe the knowledge and discipline I have gained during my time at OSU has equipped me to continue excelling in all endeavors I pursue in the future, and it is truly an honor to be acknowledged.”

Jordan Northcutt, technology

The 2012 Dean’s Outstanding Student in Engineering comes from the Civil and Environmental Engineering department. NICK COPELAND is from Shawnee, Okla., and is the son of Wayne and Kendal Copeland. He will be attending the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom this fall to pursue a master’s degree in engineering for sustainable development. Professor John Veenstra, head of civil and environmental engineering, says Copeland is one of the most talented undergraduate students he has been associated with during his 32 years at OSU. “Three traits that characterize Nick are that he has a vision for what he wants to accomplish, is an expansive thinker and brings in ideas from many different areas to focus on a problem,” Veenstra says. Copeland is a leader, with a long list of activities at OSU, including serving as the Freshmen Council coordinator and a CEAT Week coordinator with the CEAT Student Council; a member of OSU Student Government Association; a delegate to the National Association of Engineering Student Councils, where he was elected Central region vice president of outreach; and is a W.W. Allen Scholar. Copeland represents the spirit of philanthropy, having served as both the philanthropy chair for his social fraternity and as a philanthropy coordinator with the Ray Murphy Foundation.

He says the one word that summarizes everything OSU has meant to him would be service. “I hope to represent CEAT in engineering and service both in my future studies and career,” says Copeland. “I hope to be a positive influence in vulnerable societies around the world facing poverty, injustice and inequity. When others see my experiences and this award, I hope that they will be pointed towards an attitude of service and become a part of something greater than themselves.” Much of his service has been directed to those less fortunate in the form of practical engineering work. This includes international work with OSU’s chapter of Engineers Without Borders, which designed, built and installed water filters for a village in Honduras, and drilled water wells and built bio-sand filters in Sierra Leone, Africa. Additional activities include his work in Ghana to design a children’s home and work with the Terra Rubea Engineering Exchange focusing on a math and educational partnership with Sierra Leone. Copeland maintained a 4.0 grade-point average at OSU. In addition, he is a member of both the university honor society Phi Kappa Phi and the civil engineering honor society Chi Epsilon. Currently, Copeland has an internship with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics and Office of Strategic Environmental Management.


Even with all his activities, Northcutt also found time to represent OSU as one of two Pistol Petes this past year. Northcutt took on several internships and other work experiences to prepare for a career in construction management. He has worked as a project engineer for Lambert Construction Co. and Clark Construction as well as construction foreman for Northcutt’s Nursery. Following graduation, he has accepted a job with Targa Resources in Decatur, Texas, to begin his career in the natural gas industry as a gas pipeline inspector. Professor Dana Hobson, head of construction management technology at OSU, says Northcutt embodies the attributes all students should strive for. “He is a leader, a servant, a citizen, and a scholar,” says Hobson. “The record of this student at OSU predicts that he will contribute much to the future.” Northcutt says the challenges that OSU offers along with the support of its faculty helped to make him the person he is today. “Every day I remind myself of how wonderfully blessed I am to have had the opportunities presented before me and how lucky I am for them to turn in my favor,” says Northcutt.


JORDAN NORTHCUTT of Lexington, Okla., is the 2012 Dean’s Outstanding Student in Technology. He is a construction management technology major with a building option and business minor. He is the son of Doug and Montez Northcutt. During his time at OSU, Northcutt was treasurer for the Construction Management Society, safety coordinator for the Student Construction Management Competition Team and a member of Greek Ambassadors and Order of Omega. Additionally, Northcutt participated in Relay for Life, Big Event, Into the Streets, and coached the YMCA 5th- and 6th-grade flag football team. As a member of FarmHouse fraternity, he has held a number of different positions at various times, including president, internal vice president, owner’s representative for new house, homecoming director, delegate for internationals, Family Day chair, Varsity Revue director, bylaws committee member, Spring Sing director, Bible study worship leader and fire marshal liaison.

Nick Copeland, engineering


Mitchell adds Lohmann Medal to her honors Lohmann Medal 2012

The medal is named after Dr. Melvin R. Lohmann, the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology dean, from 1955 to 1977, who led the college to national prominence. The medal was established in 1991 to recognize CEAT graduates who have made “outstanding technical or managerial contributions to the profession or contributions to the education of engineers, architects or technologists.� Twenty-five medals have been awarded.

instruction research outreach ceat news


Cassie Mitchell

Mitchell has been awarded many teaching honors, research grants, and was selected as a senior research engineer at the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech. She also volunteers as a mentor for the Shepherd Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Center in Atlanta, where she also is a researcher, patient and athlete. She currently competes for the Shepherd Smash Quad rugby team and has been selected as an all-star team finalist, as well as an MVP at several tournaments. Her Shepherd Smash team placed third at the 2011 national tournament in Birmingham, Ala. In 2010, Mitchell started participating in paracycling. She has been part of the USA Cycling National Championship Women’s Handcycling Road Race, Criterium and Time Trials, as well as the 2011 and 2012 USA Paracycling National Team. In 2011, Cassie was the first-ever female quadriplegic to become a Union Cyclist International Paracycling World Champion. She is training for the 2012 Olympic team and continues to push past the boundaries that challenge her life. Cassie’s progress can be tracked on her personal website,


At OSU, Mitchell continued to excel. She was named a Goldwater Scholar in 2003, received a Donald F. & Mildred Topp Othmer National Scholarship Award from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers in 2003, won a Wentz Research Scholarship, was named to USA Today’s 2004 College Academic AllStars First Team, and was an active member of several clubs on campus including Omega Chi Epsilon, an honor society for chemical engineering students. Mitchell graduated from OSU in 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and two internships under her belt: a research and development engineering internship with Syntroleum of Tulsa and a reservoir engineering internship with ExxonMobil in Houston. Mitchell was granted a five-year graduate fellowship at the Georgia Institute of Technology to study biomedical engineering. She completed her master’s degree and continued on with doctoral study, with her research in neuropathologies. She completed her doctorate in 2009 and stayed at Georgia Tech as a research professor. Mitchell has several grants from the National Institutes of Health to work with students at Georgia Tech and staff at Emory University School of Medicine. Currently, she is investigating ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, analyzing data from her colleagues at Emory to try to determine its root causes.


The 2012 recipient of the Lohmann Medal may be the youngest in the program’s history, but with her high accomplishments, advanced research, competitive athletic ability and personal drive to excel, Cassie Sue Mitchell easily deserves it. She was born in 1981 in Muskogee, Okla., to Randy and Clara Mitchell, who raised her with firm values and strong influences. Her father was a high school shop teacher in the small Oklahoma town of Warner, and her mother was a professor at Connors State College. Mitchell says they instilled in her the drive to succeed and determination to overcome obstacles. Mitchell grew up participating in a number of youth sports and competitions. She was named an all-around champion multiple times in gymnastics tournaments, attended dance school and excelled in equestrian and track events. Her natural ability in track and field earned her many college scholarship offers. However, after her high school graduation, Mitchell was diagnosed with Devic’s neuromyelitis optica, an autoimmune disease that attacks the spinal cord. Devic’s causes painful muscle spasms and inflammation that damages the spinal cord and optic nerves. The result is paralysis, severe weakness, vision loss and blindness. Being a track athlete was no longer an option, so Mitchell turned to her next great love: engineering. She was accepted to OSU on a full academic scholarship and decided to pursue chemical engineering.


Hall of Fame Inducts Ponnala, Fisher in 2011 The College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology’s 2011 Hall of Fame inductees are two distinguished graduates, Minister Lakshmaiah Ponnala and Jeff Fisher. In addition to excelling in their fields, these individuals share qualities that help inspire others and generate a remarkable foundation for the future. Their induction in 2011 brings the total CEAT Hall of Fame giants to 86 since the college began its Hall of Fame in 1954.

Minister Lakshmaiah Ponnala

instruction research outreach ceat news


Lakshmaiah Ponnala is using his Oklahoma State University education as a platform to help transform the state of Andhra Pradesh in India as minister of Information Technology and Communications. Ponnala acknowledges that as a graduate student, OSU presented a new dimension to his life. He says, “It created a strong foundation and contributed significantly to what I am today.” He earned a master’s degree from OSU in mechanical engineering in 1969. Ponnala relinquished a lucrative engineering job in the United States in 1978 to return to his birthplace, where he focused on public service in rural communities. His vision of promoting the welfare of the people continues to elevate the standard of living for untold thousands of Indian citizens. He strongly believes that rural and social inclusion should be the hallmark of government policies and political leadership. While Ponnala served as minister for Major Irrigation (2004-10), he helped pave the way for irrigating hundreds of thousands of acres of undercultivated lands, resulting in cropyielding arable lands. Those irrigation projects, called Jala Yagnam, created more than 100,000 jobs and directly affected 60 million lives. Through his leadership, the state’s food production increased from 13.7 million metric tons to 19.9 million metric tons in five years.

As minister for Aqua-culture and Fisheries (1991-92), he was instrumental in acquiring World Bank funds to develop the fishing community and expand export opportunities. He developed fish marketing facilities and regularized freshwater aqua culture. Under his administration, Fisher-women Cooperative Societies were established for marketing fish products in rural areas, aiding women’s empowerment efforts. Born in a remote South Indian village to an economically disadvantaged family, Ponnala praises his widowed mother, Radhamma Ponnala, for her influence on his character and for teaching him honesty and resilience as well as how to be a fighter in life. He credits her immense influence for his career and his vision — to lift citizens of his country out of poverty. Referring to his three decades in politics, Ponnala says, “God lifted me and gave me every opportunity I never could dream of. It is my time to give it back to the world, and politics is my chosen vehicle.”

Jeff Fisher

From 1994 to 2000, he worked as the engineering manager of the Hugoton/Anadarko basins and the asset manager of the Arkoma basin for Vastar Resources Inc. in Houston. Before joining Chesapeake, he was an asset manager for BP in Houston. He returned to Oklahoma in 2003 as operations manager for Chesapeake Energy; in 2005, he was named vice president of operations for Chesapeake’s Southern division. Fisher has held his current position since 2006. His father, Bob Fisher, set an example for success in the petroleum business. Bob Fisher worked for Cities Service Co. and Occidental Petroleum Corp. while Jeff was growing up, which gave the son an inside look at parts of the industry. Jeff’s success has given his daughter Mary the inspiration to study mechanical engineering at OSU. The father and daughter represent two generations of OSU students for mechanical engineering professor Afshin J. Ghajar. He was Jeff’s adviser and now is Mary’s thermo professor.


He was always a self-described “math and science kid” and studied pre-engineering at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M Junior College before attending the University of Tulsa. However, he got a glimpse of student life at OSU at a football game and liked what he saw. It wasn’t long until Fisher and his bride, Rebecca, made the move to Stillwater, and he enrolled in the College of Engineering. Looking back, Fisher says his time at OSU, where he pursued a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering with a petroleum option, was critical to his future. His professional career started in 1983 with Arco Oil and Gas Co. in Tulsa, where he worked as a gas engineer. After only a year, he was promoted to plant engineer at Arco’s Enid location, and in 1987, at age 27, he was named plant manager. By 1990, Fisher was senior operations/reservoir engineer at Arco’s district headquarters in Midland, Texas. Those early responsibilities propelled his career.


From his start with a summer roustabout job in the oil fields to his current position as senior vice president of production with one of the nation’s top oil and gas producers, Jeffrey A. Fisher has left his mark on the industry. He is passionate about using science and technology to find new oil and gas reserves. His role in “cracking the code” on new shale fields and other unconventional resources has guided his company, Chesapeake Energy Corp., in carrying out the nation’s most active drilling program, and, as he says, “can have a profound effect on U.S. energy supply.” Fisher leads nearly 2,000 employees in the company’s Oklahoma City headquarters and in field locations that span 17 states. Chesapeake is the second-largest producer of natural gas in the nation. Fisher says that once he became immersed in the oil and gas industry, he never considered doing anything else.


In Memoriam

Senator David Myers

The College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology lost one of its strongest supporters with the death of state Sen. David Myers, R-Ponca City. Myers died in

“I sat by Sen. David Myers in the Oklahoma Senate Chamber and was constantly impressed by his grasp of the issues and the respect that his colleagues had for his judgment,” says Halligan. “As chair of December 2011 at the age of 73. the powerful Appropriations ComHe had fought a severe case of mittee, Sen. Myers had to balance pneumonia for several weeks. all of the competing interests in Born in Ponca City, Myers grad- the state of Oklahoma to craft a uated with a bachelor’s degree in balanced budget for presentation chemical engineering from Okla- to his colleagues. We were all homa State University. He went to impressed with his dedication work for ConocoPhillips and stayed and depth of knowledge.” there, retiring after 33 years in the oil refining industry. Along the way, he earned a master’s degree in business administration from “(David) was Louisiana State University. While always proud at ConocoPhillips, Myers was a that he was an true advocate for CEAT, contribalumnus of OSU uting to the recruiting and hiring and thought of many OSU graduates. the education

Passion to Help

instruction research outreach ceat news


State senator was strong CEAT supporter

After his retirement, he became a successful independent consultant for the oil industry. Still, his passion was to help the people of Oklahoma improve their lives, which led him to run for the Oklahoma Senate. He was elected in 2002. For nearly 10 years, he served District 20, which includes Alfalfa, Garfield, Grant, Kay and Noble counties. Myers served as chairman of the state Senate Appropriations Committee and sat on three committees: Energy, Agriculture and Rural Development, and Tourism and Wildlife. Myers was a close friend and legislative colleague of state Sen. Jim Halligan, former president of OSU.

he received in chemical engineering had prepared him to be successful in life.”

— Sen. Jim Halligan

Halligan adds: “His presence is greatly missed. There was never a doubt that David put the welfare of the citizens of Oklahoma above any political considerations. He was always proud that he was an alumnus of OSU and thought the education he received in chemical engineering had prepared him to be successful in life.” Myers is survived by his wife, Sara, of Ponca City; son Craig Myers of Claremore; daughter Cheryl Hazelbaker of Yukon; and several grandchildren and a greatgrandchild.

The CEAT ASSOCIATES PROGRAM prov ide s f r iends a nd a lumni of the C ollege of Eng ineer ing, A rchitecture and Technolog y w ith the oppor tunit y t o c on nec t w it h t he c ol lege’s a c a dem ic suc c e ss. CE AT A ssoc iat e s en r ich a nd suppor t a c a dem ic excellence w ith a dv ice a nd counsel on prog ra ms a nd i n it i at i ve s , a s wel l a s help i n de velopi ng f i n a nc i a l r e s ou r c e s c r uc i a l for a v i br a nt a nd ef fec tive college. The CE AT A ssociates compr ise t he h ig he s t-le vel s t r at eg ic a dv i s or y g r oup for the college in a ll a c a demic pursuit s of tea ching, resea rch a nd outrea ch.


Membership in the CEAT Associates Program is open to managers and executives of organizations served by the college, as well as alumni and friends of the college. Invitations to join are extended by the dean of the College of Engineering, A rchitecture and Technology. The principal criteria for membership are a stated and demonstrated commitment to the college and a strong interest in participating in the continuing development of the college.


   CEAT Associates serve the college in the following ways: n Serving as advocates n Identifying and securing appropriate contacts n Assisting in recruitment of undergraduate and graduate students n Directly participating in educational experiences of students n Identifying and securing appropriate internships and practical experiences for students n Identifying and securing appropriate professional development experiences for faculty n Sharing ideas on emerging technological trends and issues that impact academic programs n Assisting in securing additional resources to provide excellence in college programs


Oklahoma State University 2 0 1 A d v a n c e d Te c h n o l o g y R e s e a r c h C e n t e r S t i l l w a t e r, O k l a h o m a 74 0 7 8 - 5 0 1 3


Office of the Dean




Oklahoma State University 2 0 1 A d v a n c e d Te c h n o l o g y R e s e a r c h C e n t e r S t i l l w a t e r, O k l a h o m a 74 0 7 8 - 5 0 1 3

P A I D S T I L LWAT E R , OK P ER M I T N O. 1 9 1

W.W. Allen Scholars Recognized as one of the nation’s premier undergraduate engineering scholarship programs, the W.W. Allen Scholars Program is designed to accelerate leadership and professional development, stimulate intellectual growth, develop interpersonal skills, foster career and cultural perspectives, and to prepare graduates for a full awareness of global forces and opportunities.

MARK NELSON, senior, aerospace engineering

NICK COPELAND, senior, civil and environmental engineering

LASHUN OAKLEY, junior, mechanical engineering

ALEX WHITEWAY, junior, electrical engineering

Generously funded by Wayne Allen, former chief executive officer of Phillips Petroleum Co., the central purpose of the Allen Scholars Program is to initiate the development of future intellectual leaders. These scholars are recruited nationally, receive a significant undergraduate scholarship and have the opportunity to pursue a master’s degree at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. CEAT is proud of its Allen Scholars and the opportunities made available through Mr. Allen’s endowments.

ERIC GILBERT, sophomore, mechanical engineering

ERIC RUHLMANN, sophomore, mechanical engineering

PHILIP WHITE, freshman, aerospace engineering

STEPHEN OGLE, freshman, chemical engineering


Oklahoma State University's College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology's official magazine