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OU College of Engineering Dean

Thomas L. Landers, Ph.D., P.E. AT&T Chair


Neil Heeney, Karen Kelly and Robert Taylor

Design and Layout

Dylan Reif, Tim Kelly

Cover Photo: The Stephenson Research and Technology Center located on Norman’s Research Campus. Evolve is published annually by the University of Oklahoma College of Engineering Communications Office. For more information, contact: Karen Kelly Director of Communications 202 W. Boyd St., Rm. 104 Norman OK, 73019-1021 Phone: (405) 325-2621 This publication, printed by Transcript Press, is issued by the University of Oklahoma College of Engineering. 5,100 copies have been prepared and distributed at no cost to the taxpayers of the State of Oklahoma. © 2012 University of Oklahoma. This University in compliance with all applicable federal and state laws and regulations does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, genetic information, age (40 or older), religion, disability, political beliefs, or status as a veteran in any of its policies, practices, or equal opportunity institution procedures. This includes but is not limited to admissions, employment, housing, financial aid, and educational services.

Message from the Dean The College of Engineering welcomed the largest incoming freshman class since the post World War II era. It is our distinct honor to serve these students and to continue offering them the best in engineering education. From research opportunitites, outstanding facilities and dedicated faculty members, these students are off to a great start on their journey in higher education. The college continues to celebrate the accomplishments of our students and faculty. In this edition of Evolve, you will learn how our students continue to excel, not only in the classroom, but beyond. Already they are demonstrating the impact that an engineer has on improving the lives of others. Our growing collaboration with the Health Sciences Center is highlighted in a reprint from OU Medicine that demonstrates how biomedical engineering faculty members from our Norman campus are partnering with physicians and scientists in Oklahoma City. Our faculty members continue to receive accolades that make us all proud. In the fall of 2010, John Fagan was inducted into the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame, followed in 2011 by Charles Bert. Under the visionary leadership of Pramode Verma, the Telecommunications Engineering program at the OU-Tulsa Schusterman Center celebrated their 10th anniversary in April. As we continue to do more with less in the midst of this tough economy and ongoing budget reductions, we applaud the generosity of so many alumni, friends and corporate partners. You will learn about a new donor giving program, the James H. Felgar Society. We inducted new members into the University of Oklahoma’s Seed Sower Society: Madelaine Pfau and Charles Jones, recognized in fall 2010 in Dallas, and Michael Turner, recognized in spring 2011 in Norman. Corporate partners continue making possible summer camps that reach out to future engineering students in middle and high school, and to incoming freshmen so they are better prepared for success in their first year of our curriculum. They sponsor many other events that are so vital to our college, including our annual student welcome, fall festival, women’s programs, E-week, open house and career fair, just to name a few. This support is vital as it allows us to continue providing our students with the tools they need to become successful engineers.

Thomas L. Landers Dean and AT&T Chair

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Table of Contents Evolve Features 4 6

Dr. Hong Liu Research Problem Solving with a Purpose

Southern Exposure Where Norman meets OKC


Antonio Family Legacy -


Devon Energy Hall


Engineering Practice Facility

The Threads of an Engineering Tapestry Breeching the Boundary Where Ideas Come Alive

Inside this issue 13 23 24 30 32 34 36 42 48 51

Center Update Facility Snapshot Student Update Research Snapshot Faculty Update Alumni Spotlight CoE Events Giving Update In Memoriam Class Notes Winter 2012


Biomedical Engineering Research

Problem Solving with a Purpose

Biomedical Engineering Careers Expected to Grow 79% Oklahoma Focuses Biomedical Engineering Research, Education on Improving Cancer Diagnoses, Minimizing Radiation

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Evolve FEATURE According to a top 100 careers rating by and, biomedical engineering ranked 10th out of the 100 top careers, with an estimated 79 percent job growth forecasted for the next 10 years. These kinds of statistics look good for Hong Liu, professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Oklahoma and endowed Charles and Jean Smith Chair in Biomedical Engineering, who holds the highest research honor title at OU of George Lynn Cross Research Professor. With approximately 10 graduate students typically pursuing a master’s or doctoral degree in electrical and computer engineering with an emphasis in biomedical engineering research, Liu is pleased to know his students are entering a growing field that has the potential to save lives. Liu focuses his current research on medical imaging technology to decrease radiation and generate earlier diagnoses in breast cancer, cervical cancer and leukemia patients. “Medical imaging research will help save and improve lives,” Liu said. “I’m pleased that the field is growing dramatically, allowing us to make more advancements and lead students to pursue careers that help others.” Da Zhang received his doctorate in electrical and computer engineering in May 2009 from OU under Liu and currently is a junior physicist in the Department of Radiology at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. He said he wouldn’t be where he is today without the guidance of Liu, a lifelong mentor.

area is the X-ray phase and phase contrast, which is designed to provide a clearer image and a lower dosage of radiation.” Students of Liu have gone on to work in the industry and academia. For example, a former student currently is conducting cancer research at the University of Pittsburgh; another joined General Electric early last year and is now an R&D engineer developing PET-CT systems. “It’s an exciting but competitive field,” Zhang said. “I have goals to become a head medical physicist, furthering diagnostics imaging and possibly becoming a faculty member so I can teach in addition to conducting research.” Liu suggests to those who are interested in pursuing biomedical engineering to pay attention to the following throughout their studies: •

Build a solid foundation through formal educational programs and increase self-learning skills through research and practices.

Develop interdisciplinary collaborations and always keep the patients’ benefits in mind.

Know the state-of-the-art developments, think about the big picture and then learn how to move forward to reach new discoveries.

Liu joined the faculty at OU’s College of Engineering nine years ago and is an internationally acclaimed researcher in medical imaging. He is a fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering, and a fellow of the International Society for Optical Engineering. He serves as the editorin-chief of the Journal of X-ray Science and Technology and has also served as a charter member of the NIH study section in Biomedical Imaging Technology. His research has been funded continuously through National Institute of Health grants and other peer-reviewed funding agencies for the past 20 years. In the past nine years at OU, he has received more than $8 million through major externally funded grant awards for his research in the areas of medical X-ray cancer imaging and optical genetic imaging. Projects include phase contrast mammography for breast cancer diagnosis, optical chromosome imaging for leukemia diagnosis, and optical fluorescence imaging for cervical cancer screening. Liu and his students have published more than 180 scientific papers and book chapters and have several issued patents.

Medical imaging being a hot topic in the biomedical science field, Zhang said he and his colleagues saw a lot of new job listings in biomedical engineering when they were job hunting. “More physicians are using medical imaging first when diagnosing a patient, so it’s a big deal to reduce radiation exposure. We also need physicians to be able to use the X-ray image to its fullest for diagnosis,” Zhang said. “One of Liu’s most promising projects to help in this

Hong Liu conducts his research from the Stephenson Research and Technology Center on OU’s Research Campus.

Winter 2012


OU Medicine

Southern Exposure

The deans of medicine and engineering agree that two disciplines can be better than one in the effort to find new treatments and even cures for disease. So College of Medicine physicians and scientists are teaming up with new engineering colleagues on the Norman campus 24 miles south. 6 Evolve

OU MEDICINE When chemical engineer David W. Schmidtke did his post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania, his mentor’s lab was sandwiched between the labs of two physicians in what was called the Institute for Medicine and Engineering. This was in the late 1990s, but Schmidtke has never forgotten how beneficial it was to have engineers and physicians working so closely together on some of the same subjects at an institute where one of the focus areas was cardiovascular disease, Schmidtke’s own research area. With a medical lab studying endothelial cell biology on one side, and his own lab looking at shear stresses and the interaction of leukocytes and endothelial cells, it meant there was “overlap of research areas, essential to any collaboration.” A decade later, Schmidtke is director of the OU Bioengineering Center on the main campus in Norman, 24 miles south of medical research labs at the OU Health Sciences Center. He has the twin blessings of the deans of medicine and engineering to try to bridge that stretch of I-35 between the campuses. Although there had been collaborations in the past, the bridging process formally began last winter when faculty members of Schmidtke’s Bioengineering Center, themselves representing a variety of engineering disciplines, came to the OU Health Sciences Center to meet with interested College of Medicine faculty. Break-out groups demonstrated considerable interest. Some new collaborations are now beyond the talking stage, while others are still being formulated. Pre-existing collaborations now have full institutional recognition and approval. Like Schmidtke, Thomas W. Seale, Ph.D., professor of pediatrics, is a true believer in the power of collaboration. He praises the intellectual dialogue and enthusiasm that partnerships contribute to a venture’s success: “Without that, it doesn’t happen.” In addition, the complexity of subject

matter in today’s world makes the solo investigator working alone in a lab an anachronism. “We can’t all know everything and stay up to date in the whole spectrum” of information required, Seale said, pointing to the appearance of more and more co-authors on scientific papers. In Schmidtke’s eyes, and those of collaborators like Seale, the possibilities for scientific discovery through medicineengineering partnerships are endless. Take the work of electrical engineer Hong Liu, who is developing improved X-ray technology for breast imaging to detect cancer even earlier. Liu, who has collaborated with Shibo Li, Ph.D., professor of pediatrics and director of the Genetics Laboratory, also has focused on optical chromosome imaging for leukemia diagnosis and optical fluorescent imaging for cervical cancer screening. “We have to be outstanding in our own field, but we also have to understand the language and needs of physicians, who are our end users,” Liu told Sooner magazine. “I always tell my students that we must listen to the physicians and always keep patients in our minds.” There is also Schmidtke himself, who is applying an engineer’s understanding of fluid mechanics to determine how leukocytes and platelets deform in order to maintain interaction with the blood vessel wall.

David W. Schmidtke, Ph.D., directs the OU Bioengineering Center in Norman and is working to foster collaborations between the center’s engineering faculty and College of Medicine physicians and scientists.

haven’t been communicating with each other. The first step is to get the conversation going.” The Bioengineering Center recently was awarded University Strategic Organization status. Plans are being developed to use funds associated with USO status to offer interdisciplinary seed grants and an annual research retreat for Bioengineering Center and Health Sciences Center researchers. Descriptions of two fruitful medicineengineering collaborations follow.

Collaborating for a Cure

In a project with more direct clinical application, Schmidtke’s lab also studies implantable biosensors that measure glucose levels. The goal is development of a biosensor implemented long-term that could send accurate readings to an insulin pump.

With the median survival rate for metastatic breast cancer only two years after the spread has been documented, and with most treatments for the disease at that stage considered palliative at best, two members of OU’s engineering and medical faculty are pooling their ideas and resources in hopes of finding a cure, preferably, an effective treatment with few side effects.

He has no OU Medicine collaborators to date, “but I hope to,” Schmidtke said. “One of the things we have to do is make people (at the Oklahoma City campus) aware of what the bioengineering center is, that we have these capabilities and we’re working in these areas.

The collaborators are Roger Harrison, Ph.D., professor in the OU School of Chemical, Biological and Materials Engineering, and Carla Kurkjian, M.D., assistant professor of hematologyoncology. Harrison is a member of OU’s Bioengineering Center.

“I think there’s a lot of overlap between research on both campuses, and we

Assisting them are Mohamad Cherry, M.D., assistant professor of hematology-

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OU Medicine oncology, and engineering Ph.D. candidate Brent Van Rite, who work together closely in the animal studies aspect of this project. The focus of all four is the development of an effective enzyme prodrug cancer therapy that targets the endothelial cells that line blood vessels in tumors. The process takes advantage of the affinity of the protein annexin V for the biochemical phosphatidylserine (PS), which is found on the outside of these endothelial cells in tumors but not on the vascular endothelium in normal organs. In his lab, Harrison has shown that the use of annexin V in combination with a prodrug, which converts to a cancerkiller at the site of the tumor, causes tumor endothelial cells to die, resulting in clotting and cutting off the oxygen that feeds the tumor. In a bystander effect, the converted prodrug also kills tumor cells that have the biochemical PS exposed on their surface. Cherry and Van Rite are now testing the efficacy of this process in mice given metastatic breast cancer. “This project has the potential for a revolutionary impact on the treatment of metastatic breast cancer,” Harrison said. A new treatment developed from this research would be designed to be selective for treating breast cancer tumors “wherever they appear in the body.” The project was started by Harrison in 2007 in collaboration with former medical

faculty members. “I wanted to have a connection to the people who are treating patients,” he explained. Kurkjian and Cherry are recent and welcome additions to the team for their patient care and clinical research perspective, which is valuable for guiding the testing of the treatment in animals. Collaborations like this one between basic scientists and clinicians are “the way to move forward in cancer drug development,” Kurkjian said. “It’s an exciting collaboration.” In addition to providing her input as a physician, Kurkjian has other invaluable experience to offer the collaboration. “I had done some work during my fellowship investigating a combination of drugs in a mouse model of breast cancer. We used some of that experience in the current project such that these findings hopefully can be translated into the clinic one day,” Kurkjian said. Harrison said the partnership with Kurkjian and Cherry made it possible for the project to be funded by a new grant from the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology, which he hopes will be a bridge to further funding. The prodrug project was funded originally by a Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Idea grant. An enzyme prodrug isn’t the only weapon Harrison hopes to develop in the fight against breast cancer. He has another – carbon nanotubes – and he hopes to enlist Kurkjian in this effort as well.

OU Medicine oncologist Carla Kurkjian, M.D., is collaborating with OU engineering professor Roger Harrison, Ph.D., to find a new treatment with few side effects for metastatic breast cancer.

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These tiny objects, with walls that are one-atomthick sheets of

carbon, can be delivered to the endothelial cells on tumor blood vessels the same way the prodrug gets there: the affinity of the protein annexin V for the biochemical phosphatidylserine, Harrison explained. Once in place, the nanotubes can be heated to cell-killing temperatures via a new radiofrequency field system that can reach tumors anywhere in the body. Harrison earlier received support from the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program (Concept Award), the U.S. Department of Energy, and the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology for researching the concept using an older, near-infrared heating technique that reaches only 1 centimeter into the body. He also is the recipient of a recent $250,000 estate gift to establish the Jean Wheeler Sparks and Baxter Abbott Sparks Cancer Research Fund at OU to support his research on the treatment of breast cancer. Harrison hopes new collaborations with Kurkjian and Daniel Culkin, M.D., professor of urology, will lead to new funding for this nanotube research and new treatments for breast, prostate and other cancers.

Ear Infections Get New Look Every parent knows the suffering that an ear infection can cause a child and that some children seem to have more frequent and more painful – ear infections than others do. Learning why this is true and converting this information into better therapies for otitis media is the complicated challenge taken on by a collaboration of scientists and a clinician on OU campuses in Norman and Oklahoma City. Heading the OU Medicine contingent is physician-scientist Terrence L. Stull, M.D., chair of the Department of Pediatrics. On his team are researchers Thomas Seale, Ph.D., professor of pediatrics Paul Whitby, Ph.D., and Daniel Morton, Ph.D., both associate research professors of pediatrics. Representing the Norman campus in the partnership is noted biomedical engineer Rong Gan, Ph.D., holder of the

OU MEDICINE Charles E. Foster Chair in Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering. Gan is the inventor of a high-tech, implanted hearing device for people with moderate to severe hearing loss. She is a member of the OU Bioengineering Center. Gan is the principal investigator, and Seale the consultant and collaborator, on a new National Institutes of Health grant to identify and model changes in the middle ear in cases of otitis media principally caused by Haemophilus influenzae, the bacterium long studied by Stull, Seale and their OU Medicine team. Their group, too, has an NIH grant supporting their research, with Stull as principal investigator. The focus of the Oklahoma City group is “bacterial infection and the factors in the bacteria that are important to virulence and to the actual sustaining of the infection of the ear,” Seale explained. “Gan,” Seale said, “brings to this a really outstanding perspective of how the ear works and how it is structured.” “This project, led by Dr. Gan, represents the opportunity for collaborations merging our laboratory’s expertise in bacterial molecular pathogenesis with her laboratory’s expertise in precise biomechanical measurement and modeling of middle ear function,” said Stull. “Collaborations such as these offer new scientific approaches to important health care issues.” Haemophilus resides peacefully in the nasopharynx of about 80 percent of all humans. Trouble begins when some of the bacteria move to the ear, causing a marked inflammation and painful pressure from fluid build-up. In some cases, the infection clears rapidly. In others, it becomes recurrent, sometimes causing permanent damage. Some physicians believe the difference stems from subtleties in ear structure, Seale said. He believes the cause is multifactorial – “partly anatomical, partly a unique susceptibility of the route into the ear . . . and in some individuals, there’s something about their immune system

response to the presence of even a small number of organisms.” Equally important to the differences in severity and recurrence is the strain of Haemophilus present. The Stull team knows from its work with animal models Noted OU ear mechanics expert Rong Gan, Ph.D., is welcomed to the OU Medicine that different lab of her Oklahoma City campus collaborators, Tom Seale, Ph.D., left, and Terrance Stull, M.D., right. The three and others in Stull’s lab are working together to learn as strains cause much as possible about the effects of Haemophilum influenza infections in the ear. different severities and induces inflammation in the ear, how it durations of infections. Haemophilus proliferates in the ear and what it needs to strains can vary by 1 to 400 genes from do that. each other, giving the species a much In addition to providing the OU Medicine larger genome than any given isolate and team with an understanding of the adding another layer of complexity to the mechanics of middle ear infections, Gan research. said she also hopes to develop a diagnostic Nonetheless, the team has managed to tool that would allow clinicians to see the identify about 30 genes that appear to correlation between structural changes in be crucial to the organism’s growth and, the ear and changes in ear function that therefore, potential vaccine targets. Their occur with Haemophilus infections. work continues to narrow the field. Among the functional changes she is Gan’s research on the Norman campus analyzing is the effect of biomechanical uses isolates from the Oklahoma City changes of the middle ear on sound lab to measure a range of diseasetransmission in otitis media. The middle induced changes in the ear related to ear, composed of ossicles and soft tissues each strain. The testing is done with an that include the tympanic membrane, animal model developed by her OU ligaments and joints, plays a vital role in Medicine collaborators. What she learns the transmission of sound and the sense will be compared with findings from the of hearing. It is hypothesized that hearing Oklahoma City researchers and added loss during an ear infection is caused by to the wealth of information already changes in ear tissue, fluid and pressure in developed about various strains. the ear. “We are trying to understand what happens due to an infectious disease like otitis media,” Gan said. “From a biomedical engineering point of view, we can measure tissue, system and morphological changes.” These results, coupled with those from the Stull lab, could offer what would be the first explanation of how Haemophilus

The goal of this work is to help physicians and audiologists interpret diagnostic test results and identify the specific type of middle ear disorder the patient is experiencing. © 2011 OU Medicine, reprinted with permission.

Winter 2012


The Antonio Family Legacy By Karen Kelly

Written Spring 2011 When Matt Green enters the classroom to teach his Professional Development course, he begins by recording those present. “Alex Antonio, check. Victoria Antonio, check.” It’s no coincidence these two students share the same last name and a passion for engineering, for not only are they brother and sister, but their father is an engineer. And, so was their grandfather. If you ask Robin and John Antonio why their three children have a propensity toward engineering, they will tell you it’s not just because John teaches in the School of Computer Science at the University of Oklahoma. Nor is it only because their grandfather was an engineer, investing his career in the aerospace industry. John and Robin would tell you the reason their children love engineering is because it is so intricately woven into the daily fabric of their lives.

36 and more years ago This engineering thread can be traced back to the late Alexander G. Antonio, John’s father, who received both his electrical and mechanical engineering degrees from the University of Arkansas. Antonio Sr., who worked for General Dynamics in Fort Worth, Texas, now part of Lockheed Martin, was unable to talk about his classified projects with his son. One of his jobs involved creating replica radars of the Soviet Union’s radar system during the Cold War era, enabling the United States to better understand the vulnerability of their planes in enemy skies. But his dad’s

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enthusiasm and passion about what he did was contagious. John remembers one lesson in the mid 1970s when he was a teenager. “Dad told me about a new computer they had at work, which could be programmed very easily with a computer terminal, not punch cards, using a language called BASIC. He was so excited because much of his analysis involved performing extensive numerical computations. Of course, we did not have a computer at home, so he wrote sample programs out for me on paper. We would then work out what the program would do by stepping through each line of code, as if we were the computer.”

weekend. John’s friend thought John should meet Robin. He tapped John on the shoulder, and as he turned around, Robin was standing right there, up close and personal: the most beautiful girl he’d ever seen. It was an encounter that would prove to be unforgettable. Four years and three college degrees later – both with their bachelor’s and John with his master’s degree, they would marry.

John also recalls sitting at the breakfast bar, listening to his dad talk about important computing concepts, like nested looping constructs, still fundamental in the field today. Finally, in his senior year at Western Hills High School in Fort Worth, John enrolled in his first computer programming class. John loved the course, submitting a program he wrote for a science fair project, winning first place at the regional science fair. “I remember thinking to myself, ‘Maybe I could do this for a living.’”

28 years ago The year was 1983. John Antonio was a senior majoring in electrical engineering at Texas A&M in College Station. Robin Rogers was a junior majoring in accounting. They had both gone to their church’s college student retreat that

John and Robin Antonio on their wedding day.

Evolve FEATURE 22 years ago Introducing Alex Antonio The date was May 12, 1989, when John would receive his ceremonial hood signifying completion of his doctorate. George H.W. Bush, then president of the United States, delivered the Commencement address. As if this accomplishment were not significant enough, John and Robin would follow it on May 13 with the birth of their first child, Alexander John Antonio. Alex is now a senior studying mechanical engineering at the University of

Oklahoma. He recalled what it was like growing up with a dad who is also an engineer. Whether on the football field (from first grade through high school) or tinkering with their dirt bikes and motorcycles, engineering concepts were always close at hand. Like most teenagers, when Alex turned 16, it was time to consider purchasing his first vehicle. He and his dad bought a 1990 Ford F-150 truck that required some fine-tuning. Like everything in the Antonio household, the truck became a learning laboratory where together they experimented by performing such tasks as

replacing the ignition system, thermostat and periodically changing the oil. As Alex progressed through his high school years, he continued to excel in math and science. After all, he had a livein tutor, and it was not uncommon for complex math problems to be worked out on a napkin while at the dinner table. This created a bit of a dilemma for Mom, Alex related. “She wouldn’t know whether to discard the old napkins or keep them.” When it came time for Alex to choose a college to attend, he had many options. He seriously considered going to Texas A&M, where his parents and numerous other relatives had attended. He also considered Southern Methodist University. Ultimately, he would choose the school located in his own backyard. Alex interned for Chesapeake Energy during the summer following his sophomore year. As an intern in the field serving on a rig just south of Clinton, Okla., he was introduced to an intense schedule of 12-hour workdays for seven days, alternating with one week off. “There’s no doubt that it was hard work. I was the only college student in the midst of these more seasoned professionals. But I have to say it was worth it, because I learned so much from being out on site.”

20 years ago Introducing Victoria Antonio Victoria June Antonio is only 16 months and one academic year separated from Alex. This close proximity in years has led to many shared experiences. While Alex was assuming his football position for the Norman North Timberwolves, Victoria was on the field in her cheerleading uniform, which transformed in color and mascot as she moved through the Norman public school system, cheering the team, and her brother, to hopeful victories.

John and Robin Antonio with their three children - Alex, Victoria and Nicole.

Victoria assumed her childhood experience was similar to her friends; that it was normal if something broke, Dad just fixed it. Referring to hers and her younger sister Nicole’s naturally curly hair, Victoria recalled how their hair straighteners would break about every six months. She remembered one time when she, her

Winter 2012


Evolve FEATURE sister and a friend down the street took their straighteners to her dad. “He placed them all on the table, took them apart and borrowed parts from one to fix the others. Getting two working straighteners made from the parts of three broken ones isn’t bad and we don’t mind the duct tape around the cord because they work. It sure beats buying new ones.” This kind of “hero” dad is responsible for keeping the family washing machine running for 21 years. The dryer had to be replaced last year after serving the five-member family for 20 years. Word about John’s ability to fix straighteners even made it to the local beauty shop. And while computers continue to become smaller and lighter, you might find old computer exteriors, kept running by an efficient technician who just keeps replacing components and updating software. Victoria is a junior studying chemical engineering with a pre-med option at the University of Oklahoma. Her love for chemistry began when taking the AP chemistry course at Norman North High School. It wasn’t until her freshman year in college that she realized her choice of disciplines was not the norm. “Of the people I know choosing pre-med, they have selected zoology, biology or chemistry as their major. If for some reason I didn’t go to medical school, my engineering degree will be great to have,” she said. “I feel it gives me an advantage, both in its analytical and problem solving approach.” Like her brother before her, she considered all options when choosing where to pursue her higher education goals. Among the schools that also offered her enticing scholarships were the University of Texas and Texas A&M, but it was OU that would win the decisive vote in the end.

17 years ago Introducing Nicole Antonio Nicole Sarah Antonio is John and Robin’s youngest child. A senior at Norman North High School, Nicole is a member of the student council, likes to play soccer and, this should come as no surprise, excels

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in math and science. Nicole is described by her family as not only smart, but extremely social, artistic and funny. Nicole, like Alex and Victoria, also sees engineering as commonplace. “Whenever Alex and Victoria tell other people, ‘I’m an engineering major,’ people are like, ‘whoa’; but I’m just like, ‘yeah, isn’t everybody?’” While facing her senior year in high school, Nicole does think about where and what she will study in college. Perhaps she’ll major in meteorology with a minor in broadcast journalism. As her father likes to describe her, “She is an amazingly outgoing and social person that is trapped in a mathematician’s body.” Because of the solid academic foundation Nicole has received at home, from the Norman school system and community, she is in a great place to face her future academic pursuits. Whether she follows in the footsteps of her siblings at OU or blazes a new path to destinations beyond Norman, one thing is certain, her options are many and her likelihood for success great. Big sis, Victoria, recognizes a pattern. “All three of us kids have similar personalities. We get our social skills from Mom, our engineering skills from Dad. We feel we are a great combination of both.” In hearing this description, John quickly reminds everyone that their mother also has her share of analytical skills, having started out as an engineering major before ultimately switching to accounting; and that he himself has at least some social skills. These are the threads that comprise the Antonio family tapestry. They are as diverse as the vivid colors and interesting patterns that run throughout and yet they come together in perfect symmetry of design. Postscript: John Antonio is currently working with a company residing on the Research Campus in Norman.

John Antonio won this first-place ribbon from the 29th Annual Fort Worth Regional Science Fair while a student at Western Hills High School for his project titled “Generating numbers in an odd order magic square as a function of their position.”


2011 OU International WaTER Conference

Top: The 2011 OU International Water Prize recipient Ben Fawcett (center), with WaTER Center co-directors (from left) Robert Knox, David Sabatini, Robert Nairn and Randall Kolar (not shown, Yang Hong). From bottom left: Undergraduate honor students who presented posters at the conference, scholarship recipients from Uganda, and Nepal and conference attendees.

The second biennial University of Oklahoma Water Technologies for Emerging Regions (WaTER) Conference, Synergy at the Interface: Integrating Technology, Social Entrepreneurship and Behavior Change, held Oct. 24-26, 2011, was designed to bring together participants from multiple disciplines responding to the UN Millennium Development Goals of bringing water and sanitation to emerging regions and to allow participants a forum for sharing experiences and discussing challenges and solutions. The 200-plus attendees included water and sanitation experts from academia, industry, NGOs, governments and foundations representing more than 35 countries. Conference events included contributed oral and poster presentations addressing water and sanitation related topics, such as social entrepreneurship, behavior change, water technologies, climate change, and hydro-philanthropy in the developing world; six keynote talks from leading water and sanitation professionals; an educational Clean Water Poster Contest for local school children; and two half-day workshops on social entrepreneurship and pump, well, water treatment and latrine technologies. The highlight of the conference was the awarding of the 2011 OU International Water Prize to Ben Fawcett from the University of Queensland, Australia, co-author of the milestone book The Last Taboo: Opening the Door on the Global Sanitation Crisis.

Winter 2012


Devon Energy Hall

Breaching the Boundary OU’s new engineering facility is creating the environment for collaborative learning envisioned in the college’s strategic plan.

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Evolve FEATURE By Debra Levy Martinelli Today’s students in the University of Oklahoma College of Engineering increasingly are collaborating across disciplinary boundaries. Over the past decade, the college has implemented a curriculum that melds engineering theory and practice with such crucial life skills as communication, leadership and teamwork. The goal is to produce graduates who are leading citizens and superior engineers who excel in problem-solving, innovation and global competition. Devon Energy Hall is a tangible expression of this vision for engineering education in both its form and function. The five-story, 103,000-square-foot, $30 million engineering and technology facility anchors the southwest corner of Boyd Street and Jenkins Avenue. Its centralized location is convenient to students from both the College of Engineering, headquartered in nearby Carson Engineering Center, and the Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy in Sarkeys Energy Center. Designed from the ground up as a collaborative learning environment, the building was a major focus of the college’s five-year Campaign for Engineering, launched in 2002. “The college’s new strategic plan incorporated the adoption of key group-oriented trends in engineering education and research that are well supported by our new facilities,” says Tom Landers, now the dean of the College of Engineering and associate dean of research and graduate studies during the planning process. “We didn’t have ideal space, so the design process began with an honest evaluation of our needs by a team of college faculty, staff and students.” Classrooms, laboratories, machine shops and other support facilities were scattered across central campus and beyond, to the University’s Research Campus to the south and Research Complex to the north. Constructing the state-of-theart, combination teaching and research facility that would be Devon Energy Hall

Devon Energy Hall Inside the Facility •

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Basement Model shop, IT service center and building mechanical/electrical 1st Floor Computer Science and Electrical and Computing Engineering administrative offices Bill and Gayle Parker Executive Conference Room Wayne T. “Dusty” and LaFawn Biddle/ John and Mary Moore Classroom Jon and Rebecca Bayless Digital Design Lab Hitachi Computer Science Lab Stover Family Seminar Room Team room Lounge and public areas 2nd Floor Computer Science faculty offices Robert and Gail Hughes Group Classroom Samson Resources Software Laboratory ConocoPhillips Forum Dorothy Grace Barkow Team Room Ray Collins Team Room ConocoPhillips Team Room Patrick L. Foster Team Room Martin Jischke Landing Research laboratories Study spaces

was key to easing overcrowding and consolidating facilities. The schools of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Computer Science would relocate from Carson and the Engineering Laboratory, respectively, to the new facility. Once the needs were identified, the question became one of funding. The underlying thought process dated back to State Questions 680 and 681, enacted in 1998, which allowed Oklahoma’s universities to partner with the state’s top companies to leverage the skill sets of both sectors. “We looked at

• • • • • • • • •

3rd Floor Electrical and Computer Engineering faculty offices ConocoPhillips Landing Research laboratories Tom and Mary Dugan Forum Charles and Carol Foster Team Room Hutlas Family Team Room Ken and Edie Purgason Team Room Carl and Suzie Baerst Team Room Study spaces

• • • • • • • •

4th Floor Electrical and Computer Engineering faculty offices ConocoPhillips Atrium Research laboratories Forum Astellas Team Room ConocoPhillips Team Room Team room Team room Study spaces

• • • • • • • • •

5th Floor Optical and solid state labs Open lab seating Joe Peerson Team Room W. Arthur “Skip” Porter Team Room Jack and Tess Sleeper Team Room Paul and Donna Witt Team Room Technician workshop/office Nichols Family Terrace Research laboratories

companies with similar values as ours, companies that would help us maximize what we already had,” recalls Neil Heeney, assistant vice president for development, who spearheaded the Campaign for Engineering. “Devon Energy Corporation is an Oklahoma company and its co-founder, John Nichols, had been a part of the life of OU for decades. We knew that [John’s son and Devon co-founder and executive chairman] Larry Nichols was committed to building on Oklahoma’s strong roots, which is what we were trying to do as well.”

Winter 2012


Devon Energy Hall Oklahoma City-based Devon Energy was founded by John and Larry Nichols in 1971 with four employees and no oil and gas assets. Now a Fortune 500 company that is included in the S&P 500 Index, Devon is a leading independent natural gas and oil exploration and production company, with operations focused onshore in the United States and Canada. The company also owns natural gas pipelines and treatment facilities in many of its producing areas, making it one of North America’s larger processors of natural gas liquids. The company currently is building its new Oklahoma City headquarters, a $750 million, 50-story tower scheduled to open in 2012 as the state’s tallest skyscraper.

That vision is carried out through the classrooms, flexible research laboratories, teaching labs, administrative space, forum rooms, study and lounge space, a basement and the fifth-level Nichols Family Terrace, which offers a breathtaking view of the campus. The classrooms employ creative design features that promote group-focused learning activities and interdisciplinary teamwork, and also encourage intimate dialogue with invited outside speakers from industry, government and academia. Students from the College of Engineering and the Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy are joined by students from other colleges across the campus learning in these classrooms.

In November 2004, OU announced Devon’s $10 million lead gift for the engineering facility that would be named for the company. At the time, it was the single largest corporate gift in OU history.

Plans are moving forward for completion of a solid-state electronics laboratory, designated for photolithography — a process used in micro-fabrication of complex integrated circuits — which must be the cleanest of the clean. “The micro-patterning involved in fabricating tiny semiconductor components has to be completely free of dust particles, which can be mistaken for components,” explains James Sluss, director of the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “Everyone in the lab will be required to

John Nichols passed away Aug. 3, 2008, before completion of the building. At the January 2010 dedication, Larry Nichols spoke of his father’s unwavering commitment to investing in Oklahoma’s future engineers and noted Devon Energy Hall’s role in that objective.

wear full clean room ‘bunny’ suits, and booties to cover their shoes.” That includes undergraduate students. “We have a fantastic undergraduate student body,” he adds. “As juniors and seniors, they are capable of performing research at a very high level. The opportunity to gain laboratory experience will even better prepare them for careers.” Connecting all of the labs, meeting rooms, classrooms and other spaces (and additional ones that have yet to be named) is an open atrium on the first floor that provides a gathering space for informal study sessions or friendly interaction in a comfortable setting. The atrium is Devon Energy Hall’s primary gathering spot and is Sluss’s favorite space in the building. “As soon as we moved in, I noticed that the atrium, in particular, all of a sudden was filled with students of all disciplines,” he remembers. “The College of Engineering has never had a central meeting place like that before. It is just great to see them all together in one space.” ECE senior Golnoosh Kamali noticed the same phenomenon at the end of the spring 2010 semester. “Devon is a bright, airy, breezy building,” she says. “It’s a happy place.” “The feedback so far is that open collaborative spaces are working the way they were intended, that is, places where students bump into one another. They may not be doing the same things, but they can still interact,” Sluss relates. Sridhar Radhakrishnan, director of the School of Computer Science, says the same is true for faculty. “The closer proximity to other faculty and students within the college makes me feel more connected to my students and colleagues,” he says. “I am energized by these interactions.”

Professor Ron Barnes analyzes simulation results with his students in the Soonergy Computer Architecture Lab.

16 Evolve

Throughout the building, engineering and computer science disciplines are deliberately integrated. On a single floor, solid-state electronics researchers may be working next to computer scientists who may be located adjacent to

Evolve FEATURE digital signal processing experts. In this interdisciplinary environment that is a hallmark of Devon Energy Hall, they can easily share information and help one another overcome scientific obstacles. “Sometimes you don’t even realize you have a problem until you bring people together from more than one discipline,” explains Sluss. “Good things can happen from that.”

It is not much of a stretch to contemplate Devon Energy Hall as the site of interdisciplinary collaborations beyond engineering. Kamali notes that in just one semester fellow students in other fields have discovered the many charms of Devon Energy Hall. “A lot of people seemed to have found out about it and migrated over,” she says. “But I don’t mind sharing.”

“Sharing” certainly is a word that can be applied to the numerous alumni and friends of the college who embraced the concept for Devon Energy Hall and stepped up to lend their financial support. “Engineering alumni are very practical and very giving. They give out of affection for the College of Engineering and an affinity for the students,” Heeney explains. “In Devon Energy Hall, we wanted donors to be able to tell the story of why they made those investments so that when students see the forum rooms, the team rooms, the classrooms, they know that these facilities were largely made possible by individuals who 10, 20 or 30 years ago were just like them. And 10, 20 or 30 years from now, when today’s students see the names on these doors, we want them to think, ‘Shouldn’t that be me? Shouldn’t I be giving back?’ ” That message already resonates with ECE graduate student Jordan Kuehn, who earned a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from OU in 2009. While he is not yet in a position to contribute financially, he is showing his pride in the college and its amazing facilities by landing the 2010 national conference of electrical and computer engineering honor society, Eta Kappa Nu, at OU (beating out such engineering powerhouse schools as the University of Illinois and Purdue University). The bulk of the conference, scheduled for Nov. 5 through 7, will be held at Devon Energy Hall and the adjacent ExxonMobil Lawrence G. Rawl Engineering Practice Facility. The theme of the conference is “Engineering in a Multidisciplinary World.” Intentional or happenstance, there is no better spot to explore that topic than Devon Energy Hall. Debra Levy Martinelli is principal of LevyMart Public Relations in Norman. She writes freelance articles for Sooner Magazine. © 2011 Sooner Magazine, reprinted with permission.

Team rooms are visible from the Devon Energy Hall atrium, where students gather to study or meet with faculty members as seen above, where Professor J.R. Cruz interacts with students.

Winter 2012


The Rawl Engineering Practice Facility

Where Ideas Come Alive

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Evolve FEATURE By Ben Fenwick


nside the front door of the new ExxonMobil Lawrence G. Rawl Engineering Practice Facility sit two competition vehicles — designed and built by students. They are a reminder of the way projects were accomplished in the not-too-distant past at the University of Oklahoma’s College of Engineering. The first is a mini-Baja, off-road vehicle with a Briggs and Stratton lawnmower engine, a steel roll-cage, knobby tires and steering yoke wrapped with gaff tape. It was designed by engineering students for gamboling over back-road tracks, swamp courses and sand pits. The second is an electric motor-powered, formula-style racecar with a top speed of more than 200 miles per hour, built by a student-faculty team sponsored by OG&E. Before both ran — and placed — in races around the nation, they were only ideas, specifications, line drawings, formulas, electrons in a computer, chalk on a board. Built before the Rawl facility existed, the two racers were created in various places around town, anywhere students could meet.

Today, engineering students bring their ideas to reality at the state-of-the-art practice facility named for one of the college’s most distinguished graduates, the late Lawrence G. Rawl, former chairman and CEO of Exxon Corp., now ExxonMobil. From computer screen to conference table, from machine shop to assembly area, future engineers from

The two-story work area on the ground floor of the practice facility gives engineering students a light and airy place to work on their own designs and collaborate with those in other disciplines. For young engineers, it is the core of where “learning meets doing.”

across the gamut of disciplines collaborate and create in one place. And that is the whole idea, says College of Engineering Dean Thomas Landers. He calls it “synthesis.” “Synthesis is a creative process of bringing together scientific principles, teamwork, imagination, analysis and design in a new and innovative way,” Landers says. “Because it brings all those teams together in one place, the practice facility gives us the opportunity to offer them the very best in tools, but more importantly, it promotes interdisciplinary collaboration. They are learning from each other and getting out of their silos, sharing ideas, equipment and experiences — very analogous to how product realization happens in the industry.” Dedicated in February 2010, the 41,000-square-foot Rawl Engineering Practice Facility is two stories tall, with a ground floor, mezzanine and halfbasement. Of the five engineering bays, four extend to the ceiling above the mezzanine. One bay, primarily used by civil engineering students working on the concrete canoe, is enclosed to keep dust from contaminating other projects. Other features of the building include team conference rooms; multi-purpose

Winter 2012


The Rawl Practice Facility

Dean Tom Landers stands with six members of the OU FSAE team, which ranked first among U.S. teams during the 2010 season. The formula race car is one of many projects housed at the facility.

meeting hall; machining, forming and finishing shops; dynamometer test cell; computer-aided analysis and design labs; oil and gas drilling simulator; and leadership development center. The cost topped $11 million, almost half of which was donated by ExxonMobil in memory of Rawl. All so that an engineering student can start being an engineer from day one, Landers says. However, the mission does not stop with the building.

Where dreams become concrete The engineering bays where students build their projects extend two stories above the workroom floor. Students can view the projects in progress from a gallery above. The floor is clean, uncluttered, separated into areas for a variety

20 Evolve

of projects. On one side is a racecar that recently competed in Germany. Nearby a new racecar, its steel roll cage still gleaming, sits in a half-stage of assembly. Above is suspended last year’s remotecontrol airplane. Nearby is a recumbent bicycle, an experimental model with a drive shaft instead of the seemingly ubiquitous bicycle chain. Next to that is a

plywood hovercraft, a fan propeller bolted onto the rear — and finally, this year’s Homecoming Parade float, which took first place in its category. The float depicts all the practice center’s competitive projects on a field of crimson and cream. Leaning on the mezzainine railing, Michael Black, the center’s coordinator, reflects on the hive of activity the facility becomes after hours.

“The fact that this is such a major facility in an engineering college at a research university is very significant — a place that is exclusively devoted to undergraduate experiential learning.” — Dean Tom Landers

“The students typically work between 5 p.m. and 5 a.m.,” Black says. “That’s why we have this observation area. People can come up here, hang out and watch. A lot of people like to study up here and just keep an eye on what’s happening.” Watching the students build things also is a very hands-on part of Black’s position. He points to the one project under way.

Evolve FEATURE “At first I thought I wasn’t going to have to help with it much,” Black says. “But then I saw that they had a 10-horsepower, internal-combustion engine with a prop attached to it. It was bolted to a piece of wood that was glued to the vehicle. I said, ‘Hey, guys, now we need to talk about this.’ ” They needed to talk, Black explains, because the engine would put out far more thrust than the glue would be able to hold, a potentially hazardous situation should the engine fly off and head for parts unknown. He had them bolt the engine down. “We had to talk to them about safety,” Black says. “Part of an engineer’s job is to make sure people aren’t hurt by the things that you build. You have to test; you have to analyze. It was a good experience for them to go through a safety certification process.” Direct experience before the students even get to their sophomore year is exactly why the Rawl center is vital to the educational process, especially for engineers, Black says. Students are tasked with a project they may know little about. They learn what the project will need for completion

and then attempt to build it. The process is an educational feedback loop. “What that involves is you start with some kind of authentic experience,” Black says. “You build something, or watch it being built. You think, reflect on that, build a prototype, and then you test it.” The diagrams on a whiteboard, in a notebook, or in a computer model become pieces of metal or plastic in the students’ hands, a wire to be attached or a gear wheel to be placed on a shaft. Effort is rewarded with instant results. Minds take shape as well as projects. “That’s what the students here are doing,” Black says. “They are taking what they learn in the classroom, which is very theoretical and abstract, and putting it into practice. They are completing the learning cycle.” Adjacent to the practice bays is another vital part of the center—the fabrication shop. While most of the projects use off-the-shelf components, much of any design has to be custom fabricated. The shop contains welders, lathes, mills, drill presses, band saws, sheet metal benders, tubing benders and cutters and other machines.

Inside the Practice Facility Basement • Joseph and Ann Shaw Bench Lab First Floor • Frank G. Miller Engineering Practice Bays • McCasland Foundation / Tom and Phyllis McCasland Suite • Tom and Mary Dugan Machine Shop • Dillard and Georganna Hammett Team Room Second Floor • Alan and Shelly Armstrong Team Room • Alex Massad Information Commons • Archie and Linda Dunham Student Leadership Center • Darrell and Linda Bull Team Room • LGR Foundation Multipurpose Room • National Oilwell Varco Drilling Simulator • Williams Companies Gallery

“There is a lot of creativity that goes into it,” Black says. “That’s one of the things I like to teach the students in the machine shop. Nobody has to have done it before for it to be a valid way to do something. If you come up with something that will work, and you won’t hurt yourself or tear up the equipment, then let’s try it.” Some of the students will wade in even deeper.

Deepwater dreams Just off the observation deck above the project bays lies another of the prized high-tech programs in the practice center: the National Oilwell Varco offshore drilling simulator. Facing a wall-sized screen are three rotating “cyber chairs” that look more as if they belong on the bridge of a starship than in a classroom. Each chair has an array of computer screens, buttons, dials and joysticks that control a 17-by10-foot, high-definition simulation of a state-of-the-art offshore drilling platform. Sitting in the chairs, students learn firsthand how to control the actual offshore equipment. “They’ve taken photographs of everything on the rig; they scan them into a computer; and they create an interactive computer model of the drilling rig,” Black says. “These are identical to the operator’s chair on the rig. You sit in the chair, and you see what you would actually be seeing if you were operating the rig. You are able to start the drill motors, start drilling, monitor crushers, depth … everything is identical.” Which brings us back to the original idea, Black says, that such authentic, hands-on experience makes abstractions come to life. Because OU is one of only a few places in the world with such advanced equipment, OU engineers will have more competitive degrees when they graduate and will be better equipped to drive the industry they inherit, Dean Landers says.

Winter 2012


The Rawl Practice Facility Bringing it all together The technical triumphs of the Rawl center are evident from the ground up. In a corridor linking the drilling simulator to other parts of the center, coordinator Black stops and points above to exposed structural columns and beams and electrical, air and data conduits. He calls the concept “engineering in action.” “It went into the building,” Black says. “The building itself exposes all the engineering. Usually, these features would be closed off so you can’t see what’s going on. We say, ‘Hey, here’s the engineering that goes into every building that you’ve ever set foot in.’ It’s a neat feature we’ve built into the design.” Beyond the project bays lie offices, conference rooms and general meeting areas in the Archie and Linda Dunham Leadership Center, where students congregate and scheme new ideas, and major engineering clubs meet and have offices. “Every engineering student is automatically a member of the Engineers’ Club. That office is here,” he says, indicating a glassed-in room. “There is this community space where they can come and open the doors to their office and pull out their stuff, rearrange the furniture and have a meeting. We have a projector they can use to project on the wall. They can put up a power point or a CAD model to work on it and talk to people about it.” One of the larger rooms has tables that can be configured for different needs, or even broken down and stowed. That room is often used for University outreach to public school students, elementary through senior high. Black says workshops and summer camps help kids get exposure to engineering concepts early on. That all these assets converge under one roof is the unique gift offered by the practice center, Landers says. “It combines all the resources for the product realization process with the

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intersecting process of professional realization,” Landers says. “As the students progress, they are making these connections between learning and doing, and they are participating in organizational activities, and leadership training. When they graduate, they understand the product realization that we talk about, but they also understand what it means to be a professional, and how to lead in their community and in their profession. That’s what makes this building unique.” Black says an additional benefit comes to bear within the walls of the practice center — one he had not realized at the outset, because nothing like it had yet existed in OU’s engineering curriculum. Having all the engineering disciplines working under one roof made it possible: interdisciplinary teamwork. “Convenience is one thing, but it’s about community. You see all the teams who were once separated from one another are now in one place.” He says proximity and building projects together do more than drive home the points made in a classroom. The Rawl Practice Facility creates a kinship that was never there before. “They used to make jabs about each other behind their backs,” Black says. “They are all working together now. Someone working on a project will be stuck on something and look over to the next bay, and go, ‘Hey, what do you think about this?’ It’s good to see the teamwork. It’s something that I never really thought about, but it makes sense. When you put everybody in the same area, you get that team spirit.” Freelance writer Ben Fenwick also is marketing and public relations director at Rose State College in Midwest City, Okla.; he lives in Norman. © 2011 Sooner Magazine, reprinted with permission.

Lawrence G. Rawl (1928 - 2005)

Lawrence G. Rawl earned his bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering from rhe University of Oklahoma in 1951 and began a long professional career with Exxon, now ExxonMobil Corporation. Based first in Houston, then New York City, he took assignments of increasing responsibility internationally with Exxon USA and Esso Europe Inc., where he was elected executive vice president and director in 1978. Returning to New York, he was elected senior vice president and director of Exxon Corporation in 1980, president in 1985, and chairman and CEO in 1987, a post he held until his retirement in 1993. In addition to his many leadership positions in charitable and professional organizations, he was a member of the OU College of Engineering Board of Visitors. He was inducted into the college’s Distinguished Graduates Society in 1992 and awarded an OU Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters degree in 1993. In 1995, he established the Lawrence G. Rawl Engineering Scholarship at OU. Rawl perpetuated his philanthropic interests with the establishment of a private foundation in 2000, a legacy being carried on by his family. The LGR Foundation made a major gift to the Engineering Practice Facility in his memory. ExxonMobil Corporation’s $5 million commitment for the facility’s construction also honors Rawl, who died at the age of 76.


Drilling Rig Simulator By Larry R. Grillot

Dean and Lester A. Day Family Chair, Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy You can’t learn engineering just sitting in a classroom. Employers expect students to be prepared to handle real-life situations, not to spout theory. The University of Oklahoma provides an environment in engineering education that emphasizes a hands-on experience for students. One of the key assets in this effort is a state-of-the art, interactive Drilling Rig Simulator. The National Oilwell Varco Drilling Simulator, which imitates the Noble Danny Adkins ultra deepwater rig, is a unique and valuable tool for students studying petroleum and geological engineering, including multidisciplinary activities involving such other disciplines as mechanical and civil engineering and computer science. Our goal is to use the NOV Drilling Simulator to focus on experiential learning, where OU students will be able to get a better idea of how the concepts they are learning in the classroom will be applied on the job. Sometimes this is accomplished by using the NOV Drilling Simulator as laboratory support for classroom instruction. The Simulator also can be used for special projects that focus on specific and perhaps more complex technical concepts. The NOV Drilling Simulator provides students with the opportunity to sit in one of three chairs (complete with joysticks and monitors) just like they would occupy on a real rig: driller, assistant driller and pipe-handler. In their respective roles, each student essentially performs all the functions that would be conducted on the actual rig. This includes not only “moving steel,” “making hole,” “running in and out of the hole,” etc., but also lets students gain a more practical understanding of technical issues such as rock properties, downhole pressure, bit penetration rates and many other engineering concepts.

The overall objective is to put all of this together into a focused educational environment that uses different drilling scenarios to help students understand what is actually happening in the subsurface, leading to a better understanding of overall rock properties and behavior. This in turn should lead to improved well construction, better understanding of materials required for modern drilling, and an increased ability to better respond to unanticipated situations during drilling. Another positive benefit to students the Drilling Simulator provides is a practical introduction to safety. A hands-on education is one of the best, if not the best, ways to begin developing the proper safety culture in prospective engineers, a culture that will hopefully stay with them throughout their careers.

The Drilling Simulator was made available by a generous gift from National Oilwell Varco. The simulator is up and running in the newly dedicated ExxonMobil Lawrence G. Rawl Engineering Practice Facility. The new building was designed with the specific purpose of providing a place for undergraduate engineering students to put into practice what they learn in the classroom and is where new educational concepts in engineering are introduced and implemented. The REPF serves as the home base for many competitive teams including Sooner Racing, Sooner Powered Vehicle, and Concrete Canoe. The NOV Drilling Simulator is one example of how this concept is working, by providing the solution to simulated problems so real problems can be avoided.

Larry Grillot, dean of the Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy, sits in one of three of the National Oilwell Varco Drilling Simulator chairs that imitate real equipment found on an offshore platform site.

Winter 2012


Student Update


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is for students in the College of Engineering. They continue to inspire and amaze us. 1) Logan Klein, a junior computer engineering major from Dallas; Carly Young, a senior aerospace engineering major from Paris, Ark.; and Hanna Schoelen, a senior industrial engineering major from Norman 2) Kyle Olson, a civil engineering and economics major and German minor from Mustang, who received a one-year scholarship to study at the University of Stuttgart; he currently serves OU students in his role as Ambassador for German Opportunity 3) Laura Brunson, a doctoral student in the School of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science, the recipient of the 2011 EPA Science to Achieve Results Fellowship for research on safe drinking water with a focus on the Rift Valley area of Ethiopia 4) Moises Martinez, a mechanical engineering major from Mustang, the 2011-12 Outstanding Senior for the College of Engineering (pictured with President Boren during an awards presentation) 5) Ceara Parks, a senior civil engineering major from Monroeville, Pa., who as a member of the Society of Women Engineers traveled to Chicago to participate in the annual National conference in October, placing first in the Schlumberger Stilettos to Steeltoes essay competition 6) Industrial engineering students who were part of a team responsible for reverseengineering a dinosaur at the unveiling of the junior Apatasaurus at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History - from left, Aimee Dilley, Zac Garcia and Emily Kraus.

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Thank YOU

A Note of Thanks

The OU Concrete Canoe team placed 1st in regionals and 12th overall at the American Society for Civil Engineers’ National Concrete Canoe Competition June 16 through 18 in Evansville, Ind.

Dean Landers, I’m one of the co-captains on the concrete canoe team, and I thought you might want to hear how much the ExxonMobil Lawrence G. Rawl Engineering Practice Facility helped our team this year. Two years ago, in 2008 to 2009, the canoe team was less than 10 members, but since moving to the REPF, we’ve grown to over 40, spanning across seven different engineering majors and two non-engineering majors. Being able to have meetings and work on the canoe from planning to completion at a central building on campus benefited us greatly. Coming into the year, the other two captains and I decided we needed to focus on recruitment to get our membership up to be able to compete at a national level. However, after the first few meetings, it became clear that the building was doing most of the work for us. We were able to switch our focus to our actual project, which allowed us to take first place at regionals and qualify for nationals. Working in the same space as other teams also fostered a sense of unity and is pushing all the teams to be more successful. While our team is extremely different from the others in the REPF, we still benefit from being in close proximity

to other competition teams. A few days before our competition, we needed a way to seal our canoe without smearing any of the stain we applied. The Sooner Powered Vehicle team, who were getting ready for a competition of their own, was quick to help. One of their team members helped us acquire a spray gun courtesy of the Design, Build, Fly team, allowing us to effectively seal our canoe without messing up the design. Also, whenever our team needed anything, Mike Black, Engineering practice coordinator and competition coach, who is still learning about the versatility of concrete, was quick to offer his support, but he stayed hands-off to ensure it is a true student project. Moving into the REPF in January of 2010, it was apparent how little the competition teams communicated with one another. Only a year later, a member from another team is always in someone else’s bay talking about what they’re working on and looking for ways to improve both teams. I only expect this to grow and help improve the teams. I personally did not realize how lucky we were as a team to have a space like this until regionals this year. It’s been a full year since we hosted regionals

May 5, 2011

(300 plus students from 14 universities), but every time I talked to someone who attended last year, they brought up the REPF. A year later, it was still the talk of the competition. I had a 20-minute conversation with the faculty adviser from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, our main rival, and he could not stop talking about how amazing the building is. He went on to say that since last year’s competition, SIUE is discussing building a facility similar to ours to allow for a centralized workspace and collaboration between the teams. It is now obvious how much of an impact the ExxonMobil Lawrence G. Rawl Engineering Practice Facility is having, and I look forward to seeing the continued growth of The University of Oklahoma competition teams for years to come. On behalf of the Concrete Canoe Team, I wanted to say thank you for providing us a one of a kind facility to complete our project.

Jason Kilpatrick

Civil Engineering, Class of 2012 ASCE President Concrete Canoe Co-Captain

Winter 2012






Mechanical Engineering Major Electrical Engineering Minor

Beau’s photo courtesy of Ty Russell/OU Athletics Communications.

BETHANY Industrial Engineering Major

Bethany’s photo courtesy of Will Patterson.

Beau and Bethany Gerber B

eau and Bethany Gerber have more in common than a last name. Nearly two years separate the brother and sister duo from Winfield, Kan. Following in the tradition of their mother, uncles and aunt, they chose to attend the University of Oklahoma. Beau is majoring in mechanical engineering and minoring in electrical engineering, while Bethany’s major is industrial engineering.

Beau and Bethany Gerber, siblings from Winfield, Kan., study engineering at OU


eau Gerber knows the way to the Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. He has been going to OU football games since he was in the seventh grade. Becoming a student-athlete was a natural progression. He joined the Sooner basketball team as a walk-on in 2006, and his efforts would result in an invitation from Coach Capel and an athletic scholarship for his remaining three years on the court. During the 2009-10 season, he was selected as a first-team Academic All-Big 12. Beau is a mechanical engineering major and is finishing his minor in electrical engineering. He will graduate in May 2011. Beau has always taken his role as a big brother seriously; he may have pestered Bethany on occasion, but no one else had better cause his little sister any trouble. After graduation, Beau plans to work in the oil and gas industry. Eventually, he hopes to pursue a career in electronics and sound technology.

B and Bethany Gerber have more in Beau common than a last name. Nearly two years separate the brother and sister duo from Winfield, Kan. Following in the tradition of their mother, uncles and aunt, they chose to attend the University of Oklahoma. Beau is majoring in mechanical engineering and minoring in electrical engineering, while Bethany’s major is industrial engineering. ethany Gerber is accustomed to having her big brother nearby, so making the familiar trip south to Norman was a given. Her family heritage and the College of Engineering’s excellent industrial engineering program coupled with a scholarship offer didn’t hurt either.

As children, Beau and Bethany’s parents taught them to be giving, a lesson Bethany took to heart. She gave her big brother a bloody nose and stitches in his chin, unintentionally of course. The siblings have enjoyed many vacations with their grandparents over the years, adventuring throughout the United States. They enjoyed scuba diving, white-water rafting, fly fishing and a helicopter ride to the top of Mt. McKinley. Bethany, a junior industrial engineering major, took the spring 2010 semester off to prepare for the Miss USA pageant, representing her Miss Kansas crown. She placed in the top 15 in May. She is a member of the Tri-Delt Sorority and works in the OU Scholars Program in the Honors College.

The Gerber siblings will tell you that their adventures in education at the University of Oklahoma have been their best shared experience yet. Having a brother who is also an engineering major has given Bethany access to his tutoring services in Calculus 1-4, Physics I-II, Differential Equations and Engineering Statistics. Both Beau and Bethany agree that the best thing about OU is each other - and the fact that they are brother and sister, and 2010-2011 best friends too, makes it all the more special.

Beau Gerber knows the way to the Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. He has been going to OU football games since he was in the seventh grade. Becoming a student-athlete was a natural progression. He joined the Sooner basketball team as a walk-on in 2006, and his efforts would result in an invitation from then Coach Capel and an athletic scholarship for his remaining three years on the court. During the 2009-10 season, he was selected as a first-team Academic All-Big 12. He graduated in May 2011.

scholarship offer didn’t hurt either. As children, Beau and Bethany’s parents taught them to be giving, a lesson Bethany took to heart. She gave her big brother a bloody nose and stitches in his chin — unintentionally, of course. The siblings have enjoyed many vacations with their grandparents over the years, adventuring throughout the United States. They enjoyed scuba diving, white-water rafting, fly fishing and a helicopter ride to the top of Mt. McKinley. Bethany took the spring 2010 semester off to prepare for the Miss USA pageant, representing her Miss Kansas crown. She placed in the top 15 in May. She is a member of the Tri-Delt Sorority and works in the OU Scholars Program in the Honors College. The Gerber siblings will tell you that their adventures in education at the University of Oklahoma have been their best shared experience yet. Having a brother who is also an engineering major has given Bethany access to his tutoring services in Calculus 1-4, Physics I-II, Differential Equations and Engineering Statistics. Both Beau and Bethany agree that the best thing about OU is each other – and the fact that they are brother and sister, and best friends too, makes it all the more special.

Bethany Gerber is accustomed to having her big brother nearby, so making the familiar trip south to Norman was a given. Her family heritage and the College of Engineering’s excellent industrial engineering program coupled with a

26 Evolve

Chavez was encouraged to apply as a Student Ambassador last summer while working at the DOE’s Los Alamos National Laboratory, where she was involved in building a computational model for assessing and rebuilding the telecommunications infrastructure after a major disaster interrupts operations. Chavez considers the experience in Los Alamos “not just a career changer but a life changer.” She was impressed by the level of the DOE’s expertise, facilities and knowledge coupled with their pursuit of qualified individuals with diverse backgrounds that include not only engineering students but also those from business, law, physics, program management and foreign affairs, to name a few. In 2008, after the plant where Chavez worked for 10 years closed, she applied and was accepted as a doctoral student in general engineering. “Chriss’ commitment to pursuing her doctorate in engineering in the area of disaster recovery of telecommunications systems is commendable,” says Pramode Verma, adviser and director of telecommunications and professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at OU-Tulsa. “Chriss brings a rich and diversified reallife experience, having held positions with the U.S. military, Texas Instruments, Raytheon, and the Ford Motor Co. Chriss is a natural leader, a team player, and enthusiastic about her work at the University of Oklahoma,” he said.

Beau has always taken his role as a big brother seriously; he may have pestered Bethany on occasion, but no one else had better cause his little sister any trouble. In the future, Beau plans to work in the oil and gas industry. Eventually, he hopes to pursue a career in electronics and acoustical technology.

Engineering’s Telecommunications program in Tulsa, will work to expand the DOE’s presence on campus and connect student jobseekers with DOE job and internship opportunities.

Christella Chavez A University of Oklahoma engineering graduate student has been selected to serve as the first Department of Energy Student Ambassador from OU. Christella Chavez, a doctoral student in the OU School of Electrical and Computer

“She is an outstanding student who earned her bachelor’s degree from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point,” said Musharraf Zaman, associate dean for Research and Graduate Studies. “We are proud of her service as a representative on our campus for the Department of Energy.”

Student UPDATE As a DOE Ambassador, Chavez will promote job opportunities, internships and fellowships.

Eddie Shimp University of Oklahoma honors student Eddie Shimp of McAlester was named a 2011 Goldwater Scholar. His selection brings to 31 the number of OU students named to that honor since 1995 and places OU in the top ranks of universities nationally. The prestigious scholarships are awarded on the basis of potential and intent to pursue careers in mathematics, the natural sciences or engineering. “The entire university congratulates Eddie Shimp on this signal honor,” said OU President David L. Boren. “His selection continues OU’s national prominence in the selection of Goldwater Scholars in math and science.” Shimp holds a 4.0 grade-point average and is a pursuing a degree in chemical engineering with an emphasis on biotechnology and a minor in mathematics. Currently working with David Schmidtke, director of the OU

For more information on what students have accomplished, visit and click on In the News.

Bioengineering Center and associate professor of chemical, biological and materials engineering, Shimp has worked for a year on projects that deal with cell adhesion in the blood stream. This work can help with the prevention of blood cell clotting in vessels and potentially provide a method by which pharmaceuticals could more easily target certain parts of the body. His plans this summer include preparing for an accelerated master’s degree program and continuing his current lab research. He plans to pursue a master’s degree in bioengineering, followed by a doctorate in biomedical engineering. His career plans include conducting research and teaching at the university level. While at OU, Shimp has been awarded the OU Regents’ Scholarship, the College of Engineering Program of Excellence Scholarship, the School of Chemical, Biological and Materials Engineering Program of Excellence Scholarship, and the Robert C. Byrd Scholarship. He also has received an Undergraduate Research Fellowship and the PACE Award recognizing freshmen for outstanding achievement. Additionally, he was named Outstanding Sophomore in Chemical Engineering and the Housing Center Student Association’s Outstanding Student Representative. Shimp has served the Housing Student Center Association as vice president and as General Counsel chair.

Guillermo Morales OU Aerospace Engineering senior Guillermo Morales interned at NASA, Langley, last summer, concluding with a presentation of his research findings. Based on his performance, he was invited to return for a subsequent NASA internship this summer. Morales recognizes the value of this research experience and the industry opportunities and connections that have resulted. Morales is a member of the Omega Delta Phi Fraternity, Xi Chapter, an Multicultural Engineering Program scholar, a National Science Foundation Okla. Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Scholar and a Sooner Engineering Education Scholar from Oklahoma City.

Also during this time at OU, Shimp has served as a delegate at the regional and national levels of the National Association of College and University Residence Halls Leadership Conference. Currently a Sooner Scout, Shimp is a member of the Engineers’ Club and the E-1 Club and has performed with the OU Symphony Band. The national scholarship competition is conducted by the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program. The scholarships cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year.

Bradley Pirtle Apollo astronaut Charlie Duke presented University of Oklahoma student Bradley Pirtle with a $10,000 scholarship from

Winter 2012


Student Update the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation during a public presentation Sept. 28 in the ExxonMobil Lawrence G. Rawl Engineering Practice Facility. While on campus, Duke shared his experiences of walking on the Moon during Apollo 16, in addition to presenting the award. “Bradley is a clear leader in computer engineering at the University of Oklahoma,” said Duke. “He is a prime example of everything an Astronaut Scholar is supposed to be: intelligent, perseverant and destined for greatness. I am honored to have the opportunity to present this award to such a worthy OU student.” Pirtle is a senior majoring in computer engineering. Fascinated with robots from a young age, Pirtle quickly transitioned into learning programming languages in his spare time. His current interest is in artificial intelligence with a focus on data mining. In his spare time, Pirtle tutors calculus students and sharpens his culinary skills. After graduation, he plans to pursue a doctorate in computer science, with the hope of being employed by a government agency or laboratory where his work will ultimately better humankind.

From left: Sofia Alegre, Computer Science; Kelsey Raus, Chemical Engineering; Professor Robert Nairn, Civil Engineering and Environmental Science; Dillon Carroll, Engineering Physics; Aissata Cisse, Environmental Engineering; Travis Montgomery, Petroleum Engineering; and Rachel Rogers, Engineering Physics.

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From left: Miguel Ortiz, OU Industrial and Systems Engineering graduate and engineer for the Center for Shape Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing in Norman; Daniel Jones, Botany graduate student; Aimee Jones, ISE master’s student and SEAM intern; Emily Kraus, ISE MBA student and SEAM intern; Zac Garcia, ISE graduate and SEAM engineer; Shivakumar Raman, ISE professor and director of SEAM; Sloan McNulty, junior MIS major and SEAM painter; Binil Starly, ISE professor; Christopher Swiderski, ISE junior and SEAM intern; and Niklos Bosnyak, ISE junior and SEAM intern.

Sooners Without Borders

Reverse Engineering a Dinosaur

In May 2011, six Sooners Without Borders students and OU School of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science faculty member Robert Nairn made a project implementation trip to Potosi, Bolivia. In this desert environment with an elevation of 16,000 feet, crucial water resources have been rendered unusable by nearly five centuries of precious and base metals mining. Partnering with personnel from Engineers in Action, the Universidad de Autonoma Tomas Frias, St. Francis University, Norman Rotary clubs and local indigenous communities, the team installed open limestone channels to address acidic discharges from abandoned mines. The limestone channels will benefit approximately 8,500 people living downstream by providing safer irrigation water. These students recently presented their work at the October 2011 OU International Water Technologies for Emerging Regions Conference held in Norman.

Students from the School of Industrial and Systems Engineering under the guidance of professors Binil Starly and Shivakumar Raman joined forces with paleontologists from the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History to reverse-engineer missing bones from a junior Apatasaurus. With only 15 percent of the junior Apatasaurus bones available, a team of students and faculty working together with engineers at the Center for Shape Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing were able to provide a solution. Using specialized equipment, including a non-contact laser scanner, they were able to use existing adult Apatasaurus bones to digitally imitate the adolescent dinosaur. The scanned image generated a virtual point cloud model from which a 3D printer was employed to produce the missing bones. The team provided an overview of the project during the museum unveiling on Oct. 14.

Student UPDATE

Summer Programs Promote Having Fun in Engineering The College of Engineering at the University of Oklahoma hosted four innovative programs this summer through the Williams Student Services Center, aimed at showing fun and real ways to apply science and math in solving societal problems and attracting high school and middle school students into the engineering field. With only 9 percent of today’s practicing engineers being women and less than 10 percent who belong to underrepresented minority groups, the College of Engineering recognizes the need and great potential of a diverse field of engineers. All four summer camps were geared toward ethnically diverse students, but all applicants were considered regardless of ethnicity and were encouraged to apply.

and explore OU’s campus. BP Engineering Academy ran June 12 through 18. The academy presented a unique opportunity for young men, entering their sophomore, junior or senior year, to practice real-world engineering skills in design, manufacturing and electronics with instruction by OU engineering professors. The students had full access to OU’s engineering facilities and labs that incorporated the fields of mechanical, electrical and civil engineering.

“Summer engineering programs introduce young adults to the diverse world of engineering.” — Associate Dean Simin Pulat

The first program, Shell Passport to Engineering, introduced seventh and eighth graders to a variety of engineering disciplines June 6 through 9. Participants explored and learned how engineers are creating energy solutions, including solar power and battery-powered electronics. The program helped students gain greater understanding and awareness about engineering and how it affects their lives and improves the world around them. BP DEVAS (Discovering Engineering Via Adventure in Science) took place June 12 through 18. The BP DEVAS Camp is sponsored by energy company BP and gave sophomore, junior and senior women the chance to interact with practicing female engineers, gain active engineering experience through team projects, visit various engineering facilities in Oklahoma

Thanks to the Williams Companies, young women entering seventh or eighth grade were invited on a four-day exploration of math, science and technology with Williams Engineering GLAMS (Girls Learning and Applying Math and Science) June 20 through 23. This introduction to engineering allowed students to practice hands-on design projects while learning how female engineers are improving the world through gadgets, beauty products and cures for diseases. AT&T Summer Bridge Program The Summer Bridge Program, sponsored by AT&T, ran July 2 to 30. The fourweek residential (on-campus) program prepares incoming freshman students for success in college-level Calculus 1 and other core competencies, including general chemistry. Included in the camp is “Experiencing College Life as an Engineer,” an OU acclimation course specifically tailored to prepare students for their academic journey as an engineering student. To learn about summer 2012 camp opportunities, please visit


BP Engineering Academy

AT&T Summer Bridge

Williams Engineering GLAMS

Winter 2012


Tar Creek Superfund Site

Water Restoration Effort

OU Researchers Work to Restore Tar Creek’s Water 30 Evolve

Research SNAPSHOT Restoring water quality in the Tar Creek watershed, which contains a massive amount of pollution from past mining activities, is the goal of a team of researchers led by Robert Nairn of the University of Oklahoma’s College of Engineering. “Changes in mine water quality and advances in technology have allowed us to design and construct a passive water treatment system that requires little maintenance,” said Nairn, whose team removes more than 133,000 pounds of iron, zinc, lead, cadmium and other minerals from the Tar Creek mine water each year. “I directed $6 million in initial funding, which University of Oklahoma students and researchers used to begin the passive treatment program,” said Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe. “These water treatment programs have achieved great success. Dr. Nairn’s work was recognized for cleaning up 20 percent of the contaminants that enter Tar Creek,” Inhofe continued. “Dr. Nairn has demonstrated that he is an expert in water research, and I intend to work with him and our partners at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to continue Dr. Nairn’s impressive and costeffective work at Tar Creek.”

The passive treatment system involves creating a series of 10 ponds for the water to pass through. As the water moves through each specifically designed pond, a natural chemical or biological process occurs to remove certain metals or minerals. The system, which is powered by the sun, wind and gravity, only needs to be checked once every three months, so very little labor costs are involved. “When the water reaches the last pond, it has gone from a bright orange metal-rich solution to clear water,” Nairn said. To complete the cycle, Nairn is examining ways to reuse the metals captured in some of the ponds. “We would like to be able to take this a step further and not just clean up the water, but be able to actually recycle the materials recovered,” he said. While seeking funding to continue the project, Nairn and his team move forward with regular monitoring and the establishment of an on-site internship program for students at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College, supported by the City of Commerce and Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma. “I remain hopeful that someday we’ll be able to restore the water in the Tar Creek watershed,” Nairn said.

Tar Creek Timeline •

• •

• • •

• • • •

1891 - Lead-zinc mining begins in Oklahoma Territory near Peoria 1908 - Mining sites opened in Commerce 1914 - The Picher Field, destined to be the world’s largest lead-zinc mining field, is discovered 1926 - Highest production occurred; Ottawa County became world’s largest source of lead and zinc 1941 - 1945 - Tri-State District supplied 45% of lead and 50% of zinc used by the U.S. in World War II 1950 - Mining begins to slow down 1970 - Last mines closes and dewatering pumps turned off 1979 - First record of contaminated mine water discharging to the surface near Commerce 1981 - Tar Creek proposed for first EPA National Priorities List 1983 - EPA designates Tar Creek a Superfund Site 1984 - Work begins on first Operable Unit 1998 - OU faculty and staff begin work at Tar Creek with a focus on water quality 2004 - The State of Oklahoma enacted the federally funded Oklahoma Plan for Tar Creek 2006 - Most of the Oklahoma Plan funds reallocated to a relocation program due to risk of land subsidence 2008 - First passive treatment system completed at site of initial mine water discharges near Commerce

The first passive mine water treatment system in the Tri-State Mining District effectively addresses over 200,000 gallons per day of water contaminated with iron, zinc, lead, cadmium and arsenic.

Winter 2012


Faculty NEWS Faculty Tar Creek Update John E. Fagan Inducted Into Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame October, 2010 Fagan joined the College of Engineering in 1975. He received his doctorate in electrical engineering from the University of Texas in 1977. Prior to earning his Ph.D, Fagan worked in the avionics industry and served his country as a captain in the U.S. Air Force. Since he joined the OU faculty, he has been responsible for creating many innovative programs of design-based and hands-on learning for students of all engineering disciplines at all levels. Thirty years of learning experiences have produced many nationally and internationally recognized and first-place OU student teams in the areas of solar power and alternative energy transportation technologies. And many of his students have brought recognition to the university and the state of Oklahoma. For 34 years, he has produced a record of teaching and scholarship excellence. Fagan holds the University of Oklahoma’s highest recognition for teaching excellence, the David Ross Boyd Professorship. He also has earned a multitude of teaching and research awards, including the UOSA Award for Outstanding Teaching and Academic Performance (1987, 1992, 1998), the Brandon H. Griffin Award for Outstanding Teaching and Advising (1979, 1980, 1989, 1990, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000), and the Samuel Noble Presidential Professorship for outstanding teaching and scholarship. While maintaining the highest of teaching standards, Fagan has compiled an impressive record of scholarly research achievement, including the prestigious IEEE Award for Outstanding Technical Contribution in 1981 and the IEEE Outstanding Achievement Award three times. He has published 54 papers and obtained over $30 million of external funding in the areas of energy and aviation research. Fagan has been awarded 14 U.S. and international patents, with four additional patents pending.

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Charles W. Bert III Inducted Into Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame, October 2011 Bert spent 41 years teaching in the College of Engineering and, on two occasions, directed its School of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, for a combined 11 years. He retired from OU in 2004. Students of aerospace engineering and composite materials construction have been uplifted by the teaching and publications of Bert, who has left an unparalleled record of achievement. Born in Pennsylvania, Bert earned bachelors and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from Pennsylvania State University, and a doctorate in 1961 from Ohio State University. He then became an associate professor at the University of Oklahoma, where he taught and conducted research for the next 40 years, rising to the director of Aerospace, Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering. His work on composite materials earned him an international reputation in the field; he authored or co-authored 205 papers in refereed journals, published one monograph, edited three books and produced 13 book chapters. He mentored 26 Ph.D. and over 40 M.S. students. He served as the president of the American Academy of Mechanics. For this record, Bert has received countless honors. He was named George Lynn Cross Research Professor at OU and has been elected as Fellow to seven organizations, including the American Academy of Mechanics, American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the Society for Experimental Mechanics, American Society for Composites, and Society of Engineering Science. The American Society of Mechanical Engineers elected him to Life member status in 1995.

Telecommunications Program Celebrates 10 Year Anniversary, April 2011 By Pramode Verma The University of Oklahoma – Tulsa Director Telecommunications Engineering

A decade is but a short span in the life of an academic program. Even so, it is significant in foretelling what the future may hold. This 10-year anniversary of our program is, possibly, a moment to pause and reflect on the past, yet decisively plan for the measured steps that a fast-growing field like telecommunications demands in order to attain distinction as an entity in its own right. The University of Oklahoma College of Engineering is one of the few institutions in the United States that offers an advanced degree in telecommunications. The recognition that telecommunications is an academic discipline is an appropriate validation for many telecommunications professionals. The program’s focus has been on developing leaders who can make technically driven decisions for the telecommunications industry and function as academic researchers in this rapidly growing field. Our contributions to date, as demonstrated through the creation of intellectual property, peer-reviewed academic research and publication of advanced-level textbooks, point to an optimistic beginning. Creation of a new program in an academic setting is no small task. The vetting process of such an endeavor is tempered with assessment from a wide variety of perspectives. We are grateful for the leadership and commitment of those involved. We dedicated these celebrations to our esteemed graduates and graduates yet-to-be. It is through them that we express our gratitude and reaffirm our commitment to the community in which we live and work, and of which we are an integral part.

Faculty FacultyUPDATE NEWS AME Director Farrokh Mistree Receives ASME Design Award For his lifelong dedication and contribution to the engineering design community and to design education, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers has honored AME Director Farrokh Mistree with the Ruth and Joel Spira Outstanding Design Educator Award. According to ASME, the annual award, which was established in 1998, “recognizes a person who exemplifies the best in furthering engineering design education through vision, interactions with students and industry, scholarship and impact on the next generation of engineers, and a person whose action serves as a role model for other educators to emulate.” “I love being a professor. To be recognized by my colleagues for something I love doing is both humbling and simply awesome,” said Mistree. As LA Comp Chair and director of the School of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering since 2009, Mistree continues to impact students in engineering design fields. He has taught at universities around the world, including the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he was the founding director of the Systems Realization Laboratory, and the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. Mistree has spent his career pursuing his passion: to have fun in defining the emerging discipline of complex systems; in defining new education paradigms anchored in competency-based education that encourages students to pursue careers in academia; and in providing an opportunity for highly motivated and talented people to learn how to define and achieve their dreams. As an ardent educator, researcher, technical leader, adviser and mentor, Mistree has inspired countless students to study engineering design and, more importantly, to learn how to learn.

Amy Cerato Receives Recognition from the University of Massachussetts Amherst In celebration of her significant efforts and inspiring successes, the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UMass Amherst recognized Amy Cerato with the Oustanding Junior Alumni Award on Nov. 5. Cerato is an assistant professor in the School of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science at OU. She earned a master’s in civil engineering in 2001 and a master’s in geology in 2004 from UMass Amherst. Prior awards include Junior Faculty Research Program Award, NSF Career Award, Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, and Casagrande Award.

Faculty Awards Spring 2011 Provost’s Outstanding Academic Advising Award Chad Davis, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering Vice President for Research Awards for Outstanding Research Impact Sesh Commuri, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Chris Ramseyer Serves as Lead Structural Engineer on SkyDance Bridge The new pedestrian bridge in Oklahoma City, inspired by the state bird, the scissortailed flycatcher, has spread its wings across the new Interstate 40 near Robinson Avenue. The bridge is expected to be completed in late spring. Ramseyer, an assistant professor in the School of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science at OU, has been involved with the project from its beginning in 2008, serving as the lead structural engineer. Working with Hans Butzer, an associate professor of Architecture and Urban Design at OU, as members of the Oklahoma City-based design consortium S-X-L, Ramseyer has enjoyed seeing the project move from being a part of the national competition with 16 teams, to winning the competition and moving the project from concept to reality. Butzer is the co-designer of the Oklahoma City National Memorial. Not only is Ramseyer proud to have given back to the state and city where he has lived most of his life, he appreciates the benefit this experience brings to his students. From Civil Engineering Materials to Structural Analysis to Structural Design with Steel and Concrete to Bridge Engineering, students in his classes better understand the real challenges facing a design engineer.

Innovator Award Patrick McCann, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering Regents’ Award for Superior Teaching Deborah A. Trytten, School of Computer Science Regents’ Award for Superior Research and Creative Activity Alberto Striolo, School of Chemical, Biological and Materials Engineering

Winter 2012


Alumni Spotlight

Perseverance Pays Off Seabees is a “cute” name. It’s also an accurate name, for the Seabees are the worker bees of the U.S. Navy. Its slogan is “We Build, We Fight!” Those aren’t just words. The Seabees, also known as NAVFAC, have been building and fighting since 1942, which often means building with one hand and fighting with the other, for NAVFAC often builds in war zones, where enemy forces try to destroy the NAVFAC bases, bridges and airfields. NAVFAC summarizes its purpose as the shore expeditionary mission and it’s an assemblage of 22,000 Civil Engineer Corps officers, civilians, and contractors. Commander Machelle Vieux, a 1992 industrial engineering graduate from OU and Southwest public works officer for Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., is a role model. However, Vieux is no ordinary engineer. She’s the NAVFAC “Southwest Military Engineer of the Year” for 2011, and a Bronze Star hangs on her uniform. Vieux explains, “A Bronze Star is a medal awarded for action taken in a hostile environment. When I was in Iraq, we did $2 billion of construction helping the Iraqi Ministry of Defense and the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior to become a self-sustaining state. As they were trying to establish their own military for their own national defense, they needed bases to operate from. I helped build the infrastructure. The area where I worked was very much under attack.” However, away from the field, Vieux fielded a different type of challenge. “I had a retiree who was in naval service before women were allowed to serve in combat zones. He said, ‘Is that a Bronze Star?’ He questioned me pretty harshly about

34 Evolve

that. Finally, he said, ‘You don’t see many women with a Bronze Star’.” And how did Vieux reply? With matter-offact humility, she said, “I never thought of it that way.” Still stateside, Vieux’s responsibilities remain challenging. “I take care of the city of NAS Lemoore, which includes an airport, hospital, housing and barracks. It’s $2 billion worth of infrastructure.” And she has advice for young women engineers concerning multibilliondollar challenges. “Don’t be afraid. Just remember that perseverance pays off. Being afraid and being intimidated is a quality that I see in many young women. They’re smart, but they’ll say, ‘I want to be a dental assistant or a nurse,’ and I say, ‘Why not be the doctor? Why not be the engineer? Why not be the dentist?’ Go for the gusto.” Vieux also has advice for women who want to be Navy engineers. “I’ve been here 19 years. I’ve seen that people succeed with confidence, perseverance and integrity. You have a mission and that’s to make others successful. You have to have the confidence to take care of others and to build the best-quality facility. Through that confidence, you’ll make the mission successful.” Vieux’s advice to go for the gusto comes from a lifetime of challenges. “I used to be incredibly shy,” she recalls. “When I was in high school, I had a counselor say, ‘You’re really good in math. You should try engineering.’ Others said that engineering is difficult and that I’d have to go to a huge university and that I’d get lost. I thought if they don’t think I can do it, it made me mad. I wanted to prove them wrong. It became my own internal challenge.”

And the challenges keep coming. “I’m very small. I’m 5 foot tall and 115 pounds,” she remarks. “People look at me when I walk into the room and they see a small Asian lady and I can tell that they want to dismiss me. I’m not going to let them do that. The young ladies just need to realize that it’s okay not to know. It’s not OK to not try. Give it a shot. Shoot for the stars. Don’t shirk back because you’re afraid. Young ladies don’t go to the front of the line because not enough people say, ‘Become an engineer.’ Traditional female roles are fine, but there are young women out there who can do so much more.” And Vieux has done so much more, here and abroad. As the NAVFAC “Southwest Military Engineer of the Year” for 2011, she also is in the running for the “Federal Military Engineer of the Year.” With so many accolades, this mother of a 14-yearold son is especially proud of taking care of other people’s sons and daughters. “Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, we’re building the Child Development Center in Lemoore,” she reports. “It’s about 16,000 square feet of additional space that will provide child care for 100 children and infants in a pretty isolated area. This area has doubledigit unemployment, about 15-17 percent, but building it provided employment during the construction, plus additional jobs for daycare providers,” she concludes. © 2010 Woman Engineer, reprinted with permission.

“Why not be the doctor? Why not be the engineer? Why not be the dentist? Go for the gusto.” — Machelle Vieux


Q&A with Aaron Beese Bachelor’s of Science, Mechanical Engineering, 2003

By Sarah Warren

Aaron Beese’s sense of adventure has paved the way for a life of adventure within the field of mechanical engineering. While an honors student in the School of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, Beese helped found AME’s first Human Powered Vehicle team and created a single-wheeled bicycle cargo trailer that accompanied him on a bicycle trip from Virginia to Alaska for his honors thesis. In 2009, after a year of marriage, Beese and his wife, Laura (Music Education, 2005), quit their jobs and began the adventure of a lifetime: a trek on a semi-recumbent tandem bicycle to the centroid, or geographic center, of every state in the United States. With a few states still to go, they’ve now settled down in Oregon, where Beese is a design engineer for Burley Design. How has your education in AME made you successful in your career? The biggest contributors were the opportunities I had for hands-on design projects. When building the trailer for my honors thesis, the design and analysis aspect of the project was made possible by Dr. Chang’s CAD/FEA courses. Billy Mays and the machine shop guys

gave extensive guidance during the fabrication stage. Working on the first Sooner Powered Vehicle team was the most comprehensive, most challenging and most fun work I did during my undergraduate education. What were some of the high points of your trip to the centroid of every state? Many times, our quest for the geographic center took us into the lives of the people who lived or worked at the center. In Missouri and Kansas, the center was on a farm that had been in one family for over a century; in both places we met four generations of the family who still lived and worked the farm. Rhode Island was the only state (so far) whose center was indoors: it was inside a small independent music store, where we spent several hours chatting with the owner and his wife. In Delaware, the family living nearest to the center invited us to stay all day so that we could take part in their large family crab bake that evening; in the morning, they took us to the nearby plant where space suits and blimps are made. Our plan was for a two-year journey, with two breaks during the winters. I saw an alumni profile in the College of

Engineering alumni magazine about petroleum engineering alumna, Claire Wilson, who runs a coffee farm on the big island of Hawaii. After some correspondence, Claire agreed to employ Laura and me as part-time coffee pickers. The time in Hawaii was one of the most special parts of our trip, and it was all made possible by the the generosity of a fellow alumna. How far have you and Laura traveled together? We’ve biked 45 states and 17,000 miles. We feel like we’ve experienced more together in a few years than many people do in a lifetime. What advice would you give to an AME student who has interests he or she is trying to tie into engineering? I think the most important thing is to take a proactive role in shaping your own education. The degree curriculum is a framework, but your education will be much richer if you fill it out and make it your own. In my experience, the people at OU were eager to allow students to tailor their studies toward their interests, and if you can propose a plan, they are happy to help you find a way to implement that plan.

Winter 2012


CoE EVENTS formed by the Alumni Association selects the award recipients from nominations made by alumni, friends, and OU faculty and staff. Each year’s recipients receive a plaque and their names are engraved on a permanent plaque in Oklahoma Memorial Union.

Marcos Stocco Ten exceptional University of Oklahoma alumni and friends received a Regents’ Alumni Award for their dedication and service to OU in a ceremony on May 13 on the Norman campus. Presented by the OU Board of Regents and OU Alumni Association, the Regents’ Alumni Award honors the important roles of OU alumni and supporters to the life of the university. A committee

Before graduating from OU in 1998 with bachelor’s degrees in computer science and philosophy, Marcos Stocco was an active member of numerous on-campus organizations, including the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, Hispanic American Student Association, Triangle Fraternity, Students for the Exploration and Development of Space, and the Multicultural Engineering Program. He now serves as a flight controller/Attitude and Pointing Officer with United Space Alliance, a subcontractor of NASA, in Mission Control at Johnson Space Center. He has supported numerous missions for space shuttles and the International Space Station, leading several missions during the past 10 years and garnering numerous awards for his leadership and technical contributions. Among these, in

October 2010 he was recognized with a Space Flight Awareness Award, one of the highest honors that NASA confers on Operations personnel. Stocco is active in several organizations, serving on the National Council for Triangle Fraternity and on the alumni board of directors and corporation board for the OU chapter of the fraternity. He also continues to serve the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers with the Texas Bay Area Chapter, and has served as president, vice president, and on the executive board as past president emeritus. He has been an alumni recruitment volunteer at OU since 2004, and is a generous supporter of multiple areas at the university, including the Engineering Dean’s Discretionary Fund; scholarships in the College of Engineering; the Multicultural Engineering Program; the School of Computer Science; Devon Energy Hall; the President’s Associates Program; the OU Opera Guild; the OU Club of Houston; the OU Club of Latino Alumni and friends; and the OU Alumni Association.

Celia Morris Phillips Celia Morris Phillips recently donated a banner to the College of Engineering that her father purchased as a freshman engineering student. Franklin Morris received his bachelor’s degree in architectural engineering in 1926 from OU. He purchased this banner during his freshman year. Morris went on to teach at OU and helped design many buildings on the OU campus and many homes in Norman. Celia Morris Phillips’ OU connection runs in the family,as her daughter is a professor at OU. Her father, Franklin, is pictured on the wall behind her.

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Ceila Morris Phillips holds up the banner her father, Franklin Morris, purchased as a freshman in the early 1920s.



February 19-25, 2012

The College of Engineering celebrates National Engineers Week with annual activities. To learn more, please visit the website at Road Rallye, Sunday, Reaves Park, 2 p.m. Quiz Bowl, Monday, REPF 200, 4 p.m.

NEW! Ice Cream Social Friday, Devon Energy Hall Atrium, 2-4 p.m.

Games Tournament, Monday, Willoughby Lounge,

LKOT Fireout

Stress E-liminator Day, Tuesday, REPF 200, 2-4 p.m.

Fluid Dynamics Lab

6:30 p.m.

Engineers Got Talent, Tuesday, Jim Thorpe Multicultural Center, 6:30-9:30 p.m.

Blood Drive, Wednesday, REPF 200, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. Casino Night, Wednesday, Willoughby Lounge, 7 p.m. E-Olympics, Thursday, REPF/Devon Energy Hall Lawn, 3-5 p.m.

Friday, Carson/Felgar Lawn, 5:22 p.m. Friday, O’Connell’s on Campus Corner, 6:30-11 p.m.

Banquet Saturday, Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, 6 p.m.

Week-Long Events Canned Food Drive

Vote for E-Week Royalty

Winter 2012


Sam Wilson Lecture Series

Pros for Africa

Roy Williams, co-founder and former Oklahoma football player, and OU graduate student, Damon Webster, speak about a recent trip to Uganda

Roy Williams, former OU and NFL football player, is a co-founder of Pros For Africa.

With an introduction by OU football head coach Bob Stoops, former Sooner and NFL football player Roy Williams discussed his recent Pros for Africa trip April 14, at the Donald W. Reynolds Performing Arts Center on the University of Oklahoma Norman campus. A panel of business leaders and students who spent their spring break in Uganda, alongside Williams, talked about their experience providing disadvantaged children with food, water, clothing and medicine. Williams co-founded Pros for Africa in 2009 to focus on African children in need. The organization partnered this year with Sooners Without Borders, the OU Water Center and the OU College of Engineering to volunteer in a local medical clinic, distribute food and test nearby water wells for contamination.

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Damon Webster, a graduate student representing the School of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science at OU, volunteered to travel to Uganda to spend his spring break helping others as part of a contingent with Pros for Africa. “One afternoon, I worked for a few hours alongside several athletes, assisting the Feed the Children program. We met a little boy named Innocent, who was the happiest kid in the world, despite the fact that he was abandoned as a baby, born without hands and with one leg shorter than the other. Spending time with him was by far the highlight of my trip. I will never forget him,” said Webster. Webster’s civil engineering background gave him the necessary tools and knowledge to help with several engineering-related projects. The primary

reason for his visit was to test the nearby water wells, originally built by Water4 Foundation, a nonprofit organization from Edmond that helps provide clean water with low-cost materials available locally. Webster said he was not surprised to find the 12 wells he tested to be free of bacteria and unsafe levels of arsenic and fluoride. The wells’ tactical placement and design make them less susceptible to contamination. “The pumps are protected in concrete and they have a hand pump that retrieves the water from its protected environment,” Webster said. “They are also strategically placed away from slopes where runoff can contaminate the well.” Webster and the other PFA volunteers dug a water well, laid the foundation for a local school, fed 2,500 people, assisted

CoE EVENTS in fitting more than 2,000 people with hearing aids, treated more than 2,000 people between the Gulu and Atiak medical clinics and handed out more than 500 T-shirts and 250 water straws to children in desperate need. Pros for Africa was founded in 2009 to focus on African children in need. In addition to supplying material necessities, PFA looks to provide the children of Africa with a little hope, help and love – Oklahoma style. The co-founders of PFA include Reggie Whitten, Bill Horn, Jay Mitchel, Jared Mitchel, Adrian Peterson, Tommie Harris, Roy Williams and Mark Clayton.

Pros for Africa • Founded in 2009 by Reggie Whitten, Bill Horn, Jay Mitchel, Jared Mitchel, Adrian Peterson, Tommie Harris, Roy Williams and Mark Clayton. • Our Mission: “Connecting Professionals Of All Fields With The Children Of Africa” • The purpose of PFA is to enable professionals of all fields to share what they know, have and create with the children of Africa in order to provide them with access to clean water, quality health care, justice and education. • Partnered with Sooners Without Borders, the OU Water Center and the OU College of Engineering in 2011 to volunteer in a local medical clinic, distribute food and test nearby water wells for contamination.

Damon Webster (center) with participants of Cornerstone Development, a school program that brings girls from diverse tribes and regions of Uganda together, to foster leadership and collaboration.

Sam Wilson Lecture Series The Sam Wilson Lecture Series is named in honor of Sam A. Wilson, a 1953 chemical engineering honors graduate. While an OU student, Wilson served as president of the Engineers Club, was voted Big Man on Campus, was selected as one of the top 10 senior men and was named to three engineering honor societies (Tau Beta Pi, Sigma Tau and Alpha Chi Sigma). Following service as an engineering officer in the U. S. Navy, he went on to earn a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard University in 1957. In 1963, Wilson founded Wilson Oxygen and Supply Company, located in Austin, Texas, starting with two employees. Today, the company has more than 100 employees located in seven Texas cities and is one of the largest independent industrial gas companies in the United States. In 1989, Wilson was honored by the university as a recipient of the Regents’ Alumni Award. His contributions to the engineering college and the university include endowment of the Sam A. Wilson Memorial Scholarship in honor of his father, an OU Physical Plant employee from 1932 until his death in 1956. In 1993, he was elected to the College of Engineering’s Distinguished Graduates Society. In 1997, he established the Sam A. Wilson Professorship in Chemical Engineering.

Winter 2012


Sam Wilson Lecture Series

Paul McEuen Cornell physicist and author of best-selling thriller, Spiral, presents lecture - The Future of Small

Paul McEuen stands in front of Nielsen Hall, where he spent many hours working on his bachelor’s degree in engineering physics from the University of Oklahoma.

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CoE EVENTS Paul McEuen was the Sam Wilson Lecturer, providing two talks. He was introduced by Jeanette Jones, professor in Medical Mycology and director of the Center for Biomedical, Behavioral and Environmental Health Research at Alabama A&M University. The first of the Sam Wilson Lectures was delivered Oct. 31 in the ExxonMobil Lawrence G. Rawl Engineering Practice Facility. The lecture, titled Nano Carbon: From Solar Cells to Atomic Drums, investigated carbon and its many forms, from precious diamond to lowly graphite. Surprisingly, it is the latter that is the most prized by nanoscientists. Graphene, a single layer of graphite, is the first truly 2D material. It is incredibly strong and robust, in spite of being only a single atom thick. Equally fascinating are carbon nanotubes -- nanometerdiameter cylinders of graphene. These make great 1D transistors, diodes, and even nanoguitar strings. In this talk, McEuen discussed some of his colleague’s experiments on these remarkable materials, from measurements of nextgeneration nanotube photovoltaics to playing a graphene drum that is one atom thick. The second lecture was held in the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communications Ethics and Excellence Foundation Auditorium on the OU Norman campus.

The talk, titled The Future of Small, explored the ever-shrinking integrated circuit, which has been the dominant driver of technological progress. The next 50 years, according to McEuen, promise even bigger changes as miniaturization and nanotechnology invade other areas of our lives, from health care to energy. McEuen examined why small is so big and speculated how nano will change our lives, both for good and for ill. He also took a brief detour into the world of fiction and discussed how a full-time scientist ended up moonlighting as a thriller writer. Jeanette Jones is a native of Fort Valley, Ga., and has provided more than 33 years of committed and dedicated service to Alabama A&M University in various capacities as the first female vice president of the university and the first female vice president for research and development, former president of the Faculty Senate and faculty trustee on the University Board of Trustees. She currently holds the position of professor in Medical Mycology and director of the Center for Biomedical, Behavioral and Environmental Health Research. In 1992, she was appointed to the prestigious U.S. Army Science Board by the U.S. Secretary of the Army, Togo West. She served on the board until 1998, holding a top secret security clearance. In 2004, she was reappointed as a member of the Army Science Board under Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey.

Paul McEuen received his bachelor’s degree in engineering physics at the University of Oklahoma in 1985 and his doctoral degree in applied physics at Yale University in 1991. After postdoctoral work at MIT from 1990 to 1991, he became a professor at the University of California, Berkeley. In 2001, he moved to Cornell University, where he currently is the Goldwin Smith Professor of Physics. He is one of the world experts on carbon nanotubes and was recently inducted into the prestigious National Academy of Sciences. His research focuses on such nanomaterials as carbon nanotubes and graphene, applications of nanostuctures in chemistry and biology, and the fabrication of machines at the nanoscale. He has received numerous awards for his research, including the Agilent Technologies Europhysics Prize, a Packard Fellowship and a Presidential Young Investigator Award.

The Sam Wilson Lectures are available for viewing on the College of Engineering’s YouTube Channel. Tom Landers, Jeanette Jones and Paul McEuen walk through the ExxonMobil Lawrence G. Rawl Engineering Practice Facility.

Winter 2012


Giving Update


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Giving is an attribute shared by College of Engineering alumni and friends. Some recent demonstrations of generosity are pictured above: 1) Alan and Shelly Armstrong hosted an inaugural reception Sept. 22 for the new J. H. Felgar Society at their Tulsa home 2) Roger Harrison shakes hands with Abbott Sparks, whose estate gift established the Jean Wheeler Sparks and Baxter Abbott Sparks Breast Cancer Research Fund 3) The Sam Wilson Lecture Series sponsored Pros for Africa April 14 featuring Roy Williams, Reggie Whitten and a special introduction by Coach Bob Stoops 4) Michael Turner was inducted into the Seed Sower Society on Feb. 15, 2011, for his gifts totalling in excess of $1 million 5) Ray Collins visited the team room named in his honor in the Devon Energy Hall 6) Madelaine Pfau and Charles Jones were inducted into the Seed Sower Society in fall 2010 in Dallas. 7) Sam and Sonia Wilson attended the fall 2011 Sam Wilson Lecture Series featuring physicist and novelist Paul McEuen 8) Bob Hughes poses with granddaughter Kelsey, a sophomore at OU, and grandson Preston, a fall 2012 incoming freshman 9) Bill Parker and his wife, Gayle (not pictured) hosted the second Felgar Society event in their Frisco, Texas home (looking on is senior electrical engineering student David Vreeland) 10) ExxonMobil’s Truman Bell and Jill Hughes at the OU/Texas reception in October 2011.

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Sooners Investing in the Future Introducing the J. H. Felgar Society

Program support:

This new donor society, named after the college’s beloved dean, who served from 1909 to 1937, recognizes the firm foundation he helped build in partnership with generous supporters like you.

• Summer outreach camps to encourage middle and high school students to study engineering

Experiential learning opportunities: By making a five-year commitment of $2,500 and above, you will ensure our students have the following: • Field experiences to expose them to social entrepreneurship and technology innovations • Student team equipment and travel to regional, national and international competitions • Multicultural engineering programs that recruit and support under-represented and first-generation engineering students • Study abroad scholarships for students without family resources to help with travel expenses

• Professional development training for students that includes resumé preparation and interviewing workshops The OU College of Engineering does more than educate engineers. Thanks to the dedication and support of our alumni, donors and friends, both individuals and corporations, we have been hard at work to foster a culture of excellence in teaching, research and service. The College of Engineering continues to enjoy growth and success in increased enrollment, the academic strength of our students and continued expansion of our teaching, research and service initiatives. Our student teams are competing at a high level, which makes us all proud. Our engineering practice and collaborative spaces are a showcase to the community and to prospective students.

Ask yourself the following questions: • Do you believe in the College of Engineering? • Do you want our students to enjoy the very best in technical academic resources? • Do you appreciate your engineering degree? • Would you like to be part of a unique group of alumni and friends who support the college? • Do you want to attend special events which celebrate the success of your college? If you answered yes to any of the questions, then we invite you to become an inaugural member of the J. H. Felgar Society. If you would like additional information on the J. H. Felgar Society, please contact Jill Q. Hughes at or (405) 325-5217.

Laboratory renovations: • To ensure all students have first-class facilities in Felgar Hall, Carson Engineering Center, Engineering Lab and the Sarkeys Energy Center

Faculty support: • Recruitment and retention resources to hire and retain outstanding teachers, mentors and researchers

James H. Felgar, Dean of the College of Engineering from 1909 to 1937.

Winter 2012


DGS Inductees McCall and Bork Inducted Into Distinguished Graduates Society

Robert McCall Robert McCall grew up in Norman

but went to high school in Oklahoma City so that he could work the night shift at Tinker Air Force Base. After high school, he enlisted in the Navy, spending several months training to be an electronic technician and going to submarine school. He was stationed at Midway Island, where he was assigned to the USS Hawkbill. McCall majored in petroleum engineering and earned a bachelor’s degree in 1951 and a master’s degree in 1952. He accepted a job with Texaco and from 1952 to 1960 was given a series of field assignments in Oklahoma, Kansas, Illinois and Texas. He moved to Midland, Texas, where he served as district petroleum engineer. In 1968, he was promoted to chief petroleum engineer for Texaco in Houston. In 1969, McCall was transferred to Texaco’s New York headquarters as a member of the company’s Strategic Planning Group. McCall was part of a team sent to Libya to negotiate an agreeable settlement for crude oil. After weeks of work, their efforts were unsuccessful and the oil companies were nationalized. McCall remained in the New York office and became assistant general manager, followed by general manager of

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Texaco’s Eastern Hemisphere Producing Department. In 1977, he was named a Texaco vice president. During his 10 years in New York, he traveled extensively to such countries as Indonesia, China, Norway, the U.K., Libya and Ethiopia. In 1980, McCall became senior vice president in charge of exploration and production throughout the United States and in 1983, he was named Executive Vice President of Texaco USA. He retired in 1987.

Walter Bork is a 1951 OU petroleum

engineering graduate. His education prepared him for an adventurous career that began in West Texas with Gulf Oil and culminated in New York City. where he served the Mobil Corp. until his retirement in 1991. Bork served two years in the U.S. Army. He trained recruits at Fort Belvoir, Va., and served as company commander in Korea with a division of the Engineer Pipeline Co. Following his distinctive service in the military, Bork started his career with Mobil at a refinery in Buffalo, N.Y. After five years, he was transferred to Mobil’s headquarters in New York City, where he would spend the majority of his career in the manufacturing and supply side of the company.

Walter Bork His work ethic and dedication to Mobil did not go unnoticed. Bork would rise in rank, serving as general manager of corporate supply and distribution. He was responsible for the oversight of crude and product distribution to Mobil affiliates worldwide. As crude producing areas were nationalized, Bork would provide leadership in fairly distributing the limited crude supply. He was elected to the Mobil Corporate Board, where he served as vice president. Bork has shared his experience and expertise with the College of Engineering for 21 years, serving as a member of the Board of Visitors. In 1990, the College of Engineering established the Distinguished Graduates Society to honor our most accomplished alumni. Selection is based upon prominent and distinguished professional or technical achievement, notable public service, outstanding contribution to and support of education, honors of election in organizations, and other contributions to the engineering profession. If you would like to nominate a deserving CoE alum for DGS consideration, please contact Tricia Tramel by email at or by phone at 405.325.4211.

Giving Update

BP Partners With the School of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science to Create Air Quality Course Civil Engineering and Environmental Science took the initiative to develop a course with technical input provided by BP, one of the world’s largest energy companies and employers of environmental students at OU. Terry Adamson, Regulatory Compliance and Environmental director for BP’s North America Gas Operations, stated “When contacted by Dr. Knox at OU’s School of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science, we embraced the opportunity to provide quality input and grant funding during course development that would truly prepare students to work in the field of air quality management not only in the energy sector but other industries as well.” The School of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science has two “environmental” undergraduate degree programs: environmental engineering (EnvE) and environmental science (ES). The content of undergraduate engineering degree programs is dictated by the program criteria for each discipline issued by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. The ABET Program Criteria for “environmental engineering” includes the following: The program must prepare graduates to have an introductory level of knowledge of environmental issues associated with air, land and water systems and be able to critically analyze and interpret data in more than one major environmental engineering focus area, e.g., air, water, land, environmental health. The undergraduate ES program has no governing board such as ABET, but constituencies of the program have directly conveyed a need for graduates

Instructors Evelyn Wilke and Michael Webb meet with students enrolled in the Air Quality course.

to be better trained in air quality management. Air quality issues are covered only briefly in the EnvE and ES curricula in two courses: Environmental Transport and Fate Processes and Hazardous and Solid Waste Management. The sparse coverage of air quality in the EnvE curriculum has created a challenge for EnvE students on the air quality questions included in the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) examination. More class coverage of the ES curriculum is needed to improve students’ perfomance/progress during their professional internships with employers. Robert Knox, director of the School of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science, said, “This is an extraordinary effort by BP. Their support for the new air

quality course shows their commitment both to protecting the environment and to supporting the University of Oklahoma.” The course is taught through a combination of lectures, reading assignments, applied homework assignments, field trips, guest speakers and a project to be developed throughout the semester. Spring 2012 enrollment is 28 and includes students from civil engineering, environmental engineering, environmental science, chemical engineering, and mechanical engineering. Instructors for the class are Michael Webb of Star Environmental, LLC, and Evelyn Wilke of One World Resource, LLC.

Winter 2012


Giving Update

Reddy Graduate Student Travel Fellowship – an Investment in the Future Reddy — The initial seeds of friendship

and collegiality were formed between two engineering colleagues from 1975 to 1980. These seeds recently translated into a generous $15,000 gift to establish the Aruna and J.N. Reddy Graduate Student Travel Fellowship in the School of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Oklahoma. In 1975, Charles W. Bert, director of what was then known as the School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering, welcomed J.N. Reddy and his wife, Aruna, to the Norman campus. Reddy would begin in the school as an assistant professor, and in 1978, would be promoted to associate professor, before departing in 1980 for a post as professor at the Viriginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Va. From there, Reddy would travel south to College Station, where he has spent the past 19 years investing himself and his career at Texas A&M, currently serving as a Regents Professor and holder of the Oscar S. Wyatt Endowed Chair in Mechanical Engineering. If you ask J.N. Reddy what prompted his generous gift to OU’s School of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, he will tell you he wants to give back to those places that are so intricately woven into his

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Sparks Support of Breast Cancer Research Hits Close to Home

own personal success. “When my good friend, S.R. Gollahalli, director of AME from 2001-09, mentioned the need to help graduate students attend conferences, present their research and network with fellow engineers, it just made good sense,” Reddy related. “After all, it’s really about giving graduate students every opportunity to succeed. We all reap the rewards of engineers serving in areas such as petrochemical, energy, transportation, communication and aerospace.” The School of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering matched the initial $15,000 gift. Proceeds from the endowment began benefiting AME graduate students in the fall of 2011. Reddy received his bachelor of engineering degree from Osmania University (India) and his master’s degree from Oklahoma State University, both in mechanical engineering, and his doctorate in engineering mechanics from the University of Alabama. He previously served on faculties at OU and Virginia Tech before coming to Texas A&M in 1992. Aruna Reddy has dedicated her life to the family, supporting her husband in his pursuit of professional excellence and joining with him to help relatives in India pursue their goals of higher education.

Sparks — Roger Harrison, Jr., professor in the School of Chemical, Biological and Materials Engineering, welcomed family friend and research supporter Abbott Sparks, to campus in April 2011. Sparks’ estate gift established the Jean Wheeler Sparks and Baxter Abbott Sparks Breast Cancer Research Fund.

Sparks’ gift of $250,000 honors his late wife, Jean, who battled breast cancer for seven years. During this time, both he and his wife discovered the promising research being conducted in genetic testing. Sparks calls his gift “small in terms of medical research.” Referring to Harrison’s research, he stated, “We can hope that OU’s announcement [of this gift] will encourage others to give to his endeavors.” Harrison is humbled by the generous support of his father’s friend. “Indeed, this significant gift will enable me to continue research on finding a cure for breast cancer, that still kills 40,000 American women annually.” The Sparks and Harrison families have been connected since the late 1930s when Abbott and Roger Sr. were roommates and fraternity brothers at OU. Their children have followed their example, forming lifelong friendships.

Giving Update

Have Questions? Contact Us. Introducing Brandon Brooks, the newest member of the Development Team The Board of Visitors helped fund a new development position to assist in the rollout of a new donor society - the James H. Felgar Society. Thanks to private support, the college is thrilled to welcome Brooks to the development team. (405) 325-6971

Brooks came to OU as a freshman from Houston. He embraced the student experience, serving as president of the University of Oklahoma Student Association. After earning his bachelor’s degree in public administration, he joined the staff of the President’s Office as director of the President’s Action Line. His most recent post was director of Diversity and Recruitment Programs.

Jill Q. Hughes

Tricia Tramel

Executive Director of Development (405) 325-5217

Hughes returned to the College of Engineering in the fall of 2010 to serve as the executive director of development after spending three years working on university-wide fundraising priorities and co-founding the OU Women’s Philanthropy Network. Hughes travels across the United States visiting with engineering alumni and friends to secure major gifts.

Director of the Annual Fund (405) 325-4211



Tramel is a familiar face to many, as she has served the College of Engineering 20 years, facilitating annual giving, coordinating Board of Visitors’ meetings, planning college-related events, and assisting alumni and friends in initiating scholarship agreements, planned gifts and other donorrelated activities.


1) Alumni Carl Baerst, Chuck Schultz, Jerry Lindsey and Sooner Great Joe Washington joined Development Director Jill Hughes for the annual Sooners in the Desert golf tournament at Indian Wells, Calif. Feb. 2011. 2) Brooks visits with alumni Marilyn Culp and Mike Spraker at the Tulsa Felgar Society reception, 3) Retired Engineering Dean John Francis with John and Jane Kenney at the Sept. 3 REPF Open House 4) Jill Hughes and Dean Tom Landers visit with WaTER Center co-director Yang Hong at the October International WaTER Conference banquet.

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In Memoriam Johnnie William Bennett, 81, died June 17, 2011, in Greenville, S.C. He was born Oct. 31, 1929, in Snyder, Okla. Bennett served in the U.S. Air Force from 1951 to 1955 as senior radar repairman. Following honorable discharge, he graduated with a B.S. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Oklahoma, and continued his studies with graduate courses at Johns Hopkins University. During his 50-year career, he worked as assistant project engineer at Bendix Corp., senior engineer at Lockheed Aircraft Corp., lead engineer at Northrop Corp., program manager at Pan Am World Services, business development manager at J.A. Jones Co., project manager at Harbert International Services, project manager at Burns & Roe Group, and manager of new business development at Day & Zimmermann. James Watkins Berry, Sr., 89, of Summerville, S.C., passed away Nov. 15, 2011, after a long battle with Alzheimer’s Disease. Berry was born May 5, 1922, in Birmingham, Ala. He graduated from Port Washington High School, Long Island, N.Y., in 1940. In 1942 he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps and served as gunnery instructor, flight engineer and bombardier on B-26 aircraft in the European theater until 1945. He received the Presidential Unit Citation as well as the Air Medal plus 6-oak leaf clusters. After the war, he attended Centenary College in Shreveport, La., and OU, majoring in mechanical engineering. Berry was employed by Lockheed-Georgia Co. in Marietta, Ga., for 18 years, serving in a number of positions, including engineering planning coordinator for nuclear reactor manufacturing. He was transferred to Charleston in 1963 as administrative service supervisor and in 1964 was promoted to plant manager. Later he worked for Avco Lycoming, was vice president of Environmental Systems Development Corp. and was purchasing manager for American Development Corp. James O. Folsom Jr., 63, died Nov. 15, 2011. He was born Aug. 13, 1948. Folsom graduated from Plainview High School, East Central University in Ada and the University of Oklahoma, where he received his M.S. degree in environmental science from the School of Civil Engineering. He worked for Federal OSHA as a compliance officer and The Williams Cos. before starting his own consulting firm in 1987. He served multiple terms on the executive board and as president for both the Tulsa chapter of the American Society of Safety Engineers and the Oklahoma Chapter of the American Industrial Hygiene Association. He also served as administrator of the management division of the national ASSE. He was awarded the Safety Professional of the Year award for the local, regional and management division of ASSE. He also received the volunteer of the year award from the Oklahoma Safety Council.

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Norris Aldredge “NAG” Griffith, 85, passed away on July 28, 2011. He was born on Nov. 30, 1925, in Muskogee. After high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served with the 100th Infantry Division, 397th Regiment, Company G, during World War II, where he was severely injured in the battle of Bitche, France. He was awarded the Purple Heart as well as both the Bronze and Silver Stars. After a lengthy recovery and physical therapy, he returned to Oklahoma in 1946 and began his college-level studies. He earned a number of degrees, including bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mathematics, engineering and business from the OU and Oklahoma State University and, finally, completing a doctoral program at OU. His professional career included numerous engineering and managerial positions with several industrial and governmental organizations, including Western Electric, the U.S. Air Force, the U.S Postal Service and the Federal Aviation Administration, but it wasn’t until he landed his first college instructor position that he found his true calling. As an instructor and professor at numerous institutions of higher education, including Northeastern State University and Phillips University in Oklahoma and at Jackson State University in Tennessee, he touched the lives of many students. J. Lynn Helms, 86, of Westport, Conn., died Dec. 11, 2011. Born on March 1, 1925 in DeQueen, Ark., Helms grew up in Norman and earned a degree in aeronautical engineering at OU. After ROTC training, he joined the Marine Corps as a second lieutenant. He later became a Navy test pilot and was decorated for his service during the Korean War. He once told an interviewer how a jet he was testing for McDonnell Douglas went out of control at 52,000 feet. He did not panic, and by 12,000 feet had figured out what to do. “You can think your way out of most problems,” he said. In 1956, he embarked on a career in the defense industry as a design engineer. He climbed the ranks at North American Aviation and Bendix before becoming president of the Norden Division of the United Air Craft Corp. in 1970. In 1974, he was named president of Piper Aircraft, rising to chairman in 1978. Helms had a reputation as a decisive, technically brilliant aviation industry executive who led a number of companies out of financial straits, including Piper Aircraft, which he ran for six years. A former test pilot, he was the first FAA chief in a decade capable of designing an airplane that could fly. Several months into his tenure, in August 1981, more than 12,000 members of the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization, known as PATCO, walked off the job after contract negotiations stalled over the union’s call for a reduced workweek and higher pay. Helms served as the head of the Federal Aviation Administration, and carried out President Reagan’s order to fire more than 11,000

In MEMORIAM striking air traffic controllers and oversaw efforts to keep airlines flying during the crisis. Helms resigned his FAA post a few days before Christmas in 1983. In accepting Helms’ resignation from the FAA, Reagan cited his handling of the strike as “your best accomplishment.” Gordon E. Hillhouse, 85, of Audubon, Pa., passed away on Nov. 19, 2010. Gordon was a native of Okla. Born on Feb. 27, 1925 in Barnsdall, Okla., Gordon was a World War II Army veteran, serving as an infantry sergeant and receiving numerous honors, including two Bronze Service Stars. He attended Purdue University, OU and graduate school at Harvard University. Hillhouse began working for Barnsdall/Sunray DX Oil Company in 1949, which later merged with Sun Co. In 1972, he was named president of Sun Oil International, and two years later became director and executive vice president of Sun Co. Hillhouse enjoyed a rewarding 37-year career with Sun Co. and retired in July 1986.

Walter D. Manz, 81, died on Oct. 11, 2010 at Cedarfield Retirement Community in Richmond, Va. Despite living with severe rheumatoid arthritis since young adulthood, Manz led an immensely fulfilling and productive life with many accomplishments. Born in Huntington, W.Va., on Oct. 26, 1928, he attended 27 different elementary schools across the United States, as his father moved frequently to open new oil refineries. As a young man, Manz was active in the Boy Scouts and achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. He graduated from Duncan High School in 1946. He went on to graduate from OU in 1951 with a B.S. degree in chemical engineering. His entire career was spent working for the Mobil Oil Corp., first in Beaumont, Texas, and later in New York City and Fairfax, Va. At Mobil, he was an early pioneer in the use of point-of-sale technology that led to today’s widespread use of credit and debit cards at the gas pump.

Woodrow “Woody” Huddleston, 98, of Pompano Beach, Fla., passed away on Jan. 11, 2011. Born in Ada, Okla., a son, a brother, a student, an athlete, an OU Sooner, a petroleum engineer, a golfer, a naval officer, a husband, a father, a grandfather, a traveler and a gentleman. A man of integrity and dignity. Bernard Tee Johnson, 90, of Charlotte, N.C. passed away on March 14, 2011. Johnson was a native of Oklahoma. He graduated from OU in 1942 with a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering with an aeronautical option. He graduated June 1 and was inducted into the Air Force on June 2, 1942. He served in the experimental Flight Test Department at Wright Field in Dayton, Ohio. Serving the country during World War II, he was stationed in the Pacific with the B-29 bombers of the 20th Air Force on Tinian in the Marianas Islands. He left the service as a major in the Air Force. Johnson joined the Boeing Co. and for 36 years tested and fixed wing airplanes, missiles and helicopters in Seattle, Wichita, Vandenburg Air Force Base and Philadelphia. Ronald D. “Ron” Latta, 71, passed away on Nov, 4, 2011, of heart failure. He was born on Aug. 13, 1940, in Ponca City. He graduated from high school in Raton, N.M. He attended the University of New Mexico and Pueblo (Colo.) Junior College. He graduated from OU in 1965 with a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering. He was a member of honorary engineering societies Tau Beta Pi and Pi Tau Sigma and was a past member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and the American institute of Mining Engineers. He was a registered professional engineer. He moved to Lakeland, Fla., in 1979. He was employed by CF Industries Inc. for 32 years in various engineering and construction management positions. Prior to joining CF in 1972, he worked for Exxon in Texas and Louisiana and for Nipak Inc. in Texas. He retired in 2004.

Bruce Orvis was pictured on the cover of the fall 2011 Evolve with his son-in-law and grandson.

Longtime Tulsa resident Bruce E. Orvis passed away on Jan. 15, 2011 after a short illness. Born in Tulsa on Jan. 18, 1936, Orvis spent his teenage years residing with his family in the Panama Canal Zone. After graduating from Balboa High School in California in 1954, he attended Oklahoma A & M for one year before transferring to OU. Upon graduating with his B.S. degree in civil engineering in January 1964, Orvis accepted a job with the Corps of Engineers Tulsa District working on the Keystone dam.

During Orvis’ career as a civil engineer, he worked in residential, industrial and commercial subdivision design, as well as designing infrastructure. In addition to designing small bridges, Orvis also designed buildings and foundations ranging from small spread footings to massive foundations for compressor stations on natural gas pipelines. He also served for a time as city engineer of Sapulpa, Okla. With all of his accomplishments, however, the most important role in life for Orvis was that of father, grandfather and great-grandfather. William Gale Stewart, 85, died on Sunday, March 21, 2010. Stewart was born May 4, 1924, in Hope, Ark. He graduated from Naples High School in Ark. in 1943 and with an associate’s degree from NTAC in Arlington. In 1944, he joined the U.S. Navy and enrolled in the V-12 program at OU. After World War II, he resumed his college education and graduated in 1948 with a B.S. degree in electrical engineering. After graduation, he worked for TES Co. from 1948-1986. He was an engineer group supervisor, underground section. He was a registered professional engineer of the state of Texas and was given a lifetime membership in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

Winter 2012


In MEMORIAM Lewis H. Watson, 80, passed at his home in Falls Church, Va., on Aug. 24, 2011. Watson served nine years in the Navy during the Korean War era. He first served on carriers as an airman, then five years on the USS Mindoro as an electrical engineer. His last assignment was the Carrier Intrepid. Watson was born in 1931 in Chickasha, the youngest of six children. He graduated from OU in 1960 with a B.S. degree in electrical engineering, later working on the Samos Satellite System. He attended MIT, then American University, after moving to the Washington, D.C., area in 1969 to begin a career in real estate. He later opened his own appraisal firm, Lew Watson and Associates, retiring in 2010. Watson was a Mason with the Chickasha, Okla., Lodge, a member of McLean Post 270 of the American Legion, served on the boards of the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors, the Arlington County Fair, and Alcoholic Rehabilitation Inc., now Phoenix House. He was named Service Club Man of the Year in 1983 by Arlington’s Inter-Service Club Council. Watson was a longtime member of Round Table International, a service club aiding local charities, serving as international president from 2008-2009. Wallace W. “Bud” Wilson, 76, of Norman passed away Feb. 27, 2011. Wilson was born Nov. 8, 1934, at Whittenburg, Texas. A graduate of Duncan High School, Wilson attended OU, majoring in civil engineering. He worked for the Oklahoma Highway Department and Grossman & Keith Engineering, where he served for over 46 years.


Wilson was known for his service to the youth of Norman through the Norman Optimist Club, City of Norman Parks & Recreation, Norman Wrestling Club and AAU Sports. He coached 48 teams of youth sports during his 31 years of coaching. Richard Lee Walton, 82, died Nov. 6, 2010, in Dallas. Walton was born in Oklahoma City, where he graduated from Classen High School. In 1951, he received a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from OU, where he was a member of Beta Theta Pi fraternity and named outstanding ordnance officer for the campus ROTC program. Walton worked for Dow Chemical Co. in Freeport, Texas, before serving with the Army Ordnance Corps in France and Germany. After completing his military service, he attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Texas. After earning his master’s degree in mechanical engineering in 1956 from the University of Texas at Austin, Walton joined the little machine shop his father had purchased after World War II in Oak Cliff. His business, Walton Manufacturing Co., sold its line of stationary bicycles, belt vibrators and roller massage machines to retailers, health spas and gyms around the globe. By the mid-1960s, the company had more than $1 million in sales and had customers across the country, in Europe and in Central and South America. One of Walton’s innovations was a forerunner of today’s StairMaster. He served as a trustee for the Texas Presbyterian Foundation and the Chancellor’s Council of UT Austin. Watson was inducted into UT’s Mechanical Engineering Hall of Fame in 2007.

Spring 2011 Faculty Award

John Antonio School of Computer Science Samuel Cheng School of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Stamatios Kartalopoulos School of Electrical and Computer Engineering Edgar O’Rear School of Chemical, Biological and Materials Engineering

Rong Gan School of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering

Daniel Resasco School of Chemical, Biological and Materials Engineering

Anjan Ghosh School of Electrical and Computer Engineering

James Sluss Jr. School of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Brian Grady School of Chemical, Biological and Materials Engineering

Monte Tull School of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Roger Harrison School of Chemical, Biological and Materials Engineering

Pramode Verma School of Electrical and Computer Engineering

50 Evolve

Class NOTES Jon Bayless, B.S. Electrical Engineering 1964, was inducted into Metroplex Technology Business Council’s Tech Titans Hall of Fame in August. MTBC is the preeminent leader in advancing the success of technology and technology-related enterprises in North Texas. As a general partner of Sevin Rosen Funds, Bayless focuses on early-stage investments and has been a central figure in the creation, funding and success of dozens of companies, especially telecommunications, based in the DFW Metroplex and elsewhere in the state of Texas. His craftsmanship in helping take a fundamental concept and guide it into a successful enterprise is legendary among technology entrepreneurs, nationally and beyond. Aaron Beese, B.S. Mechanical Engineering 2003, was part of a design team that received a prestigious European design award for the Travoy urban bike trailer. The trailer attaches to the rear of the bike at a 45 degree angle and can carry up to 60 pounds. After transport, the bag can fold up into the size of a briefcase, even with bags attached to it. Derek Dippon, P.E., has formed an engineering firm, Re2C, LLC, in Chickasha, Okla. Dippon, a 1996 graduate of the OU College of Engineering with a degree in civil engineering, is specializing in structural design for the firm. Re2C, LLC, was formed to fill the needs for engineering support, specifically in the southern part of Oklahoma. Dippon has 14 years of experience designing complex and simple buildings in Minneapolis, Minn. He was a National Merit Scholar while attending OU, and considers his education to be the key to his success in private practice. Brian Morris, B.S. Mechanical Engineering 1995, was promoted by Cherokee Nation Industries, the manufacturing and distribution division of Cherokee Nation Businesses, to vice president of engineering for the company’s aerospace and defense division. Donald Nash, B.S. Aerospace Engineering 1964, started Nash Ventures, LLC, an aerospace consulting company, in 1996 and has supported numerous aerospace/test range programs to include the F-22 modernizing effort. Nash also served on an advisory board to New Mexico State University to establish an aerospace engineering program at their college of engineering. Albert Pick, B.S. Mechanical Engineering 1945, is a retired doctor, general and orthopedic surgeon. In addition to a rewarding medical career, he was the sports medicine team doctor for the San Fransico Giants Triple-A baseball team. He is an avid tennis player. While a student at OU, he competed in tennis, basketball and heavy weight boxing.

Mary Silva, B.S. Chemical Engineering/ Pre-Med 1986, has been an active member of the safety, health and environmental field for more than 20 years. Last spring, she joined Fairmont Specialty Group, a provider of property and accident, health insurance and surety products, as their senior loss control specialist. In addition to her work in the insurance field, Silva has worked in construction, and in oil and gas safety, most recently as safety manager at the Maryl Group Inc. one of Hawaii’s most prominent residential developers. During her tenure at Castle & Cooke Homes Hawaii, Silva helped the company achieve a 90 percent reduction in the cost of workers’ compensation claims from 2005-2008, along with the reduction in the number of injuries from 123, down to 14. This accomplishment resulted in Silva being selected by the National Association of Home Builders as its 2007 Safety Professional of the Year. David Todd, B.S. Civil Engineering 1987, was recently hired by Oklahoma City to be the new leader of its MAPS office and the point man for the MAPS 3 projects. Todd is on the board of directors of the South Oklahoma City Chamber, is a member of several engineering societies and has participated in other local civic groups. Charlie Stephenson, B.S. Petroleum Engineering 1959, and his wife, Peggy, were inducted into the Hall of Fame of the University of Tulsa’s College of Engineering and Natural Sciences in June 2011 at the Gilcrease Museum. Charlie Stephenson also was named as an OU Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy Trailblazer in November 2011, an award that honors exceptional individuals in the energy industry who blaze a trail for others to follow. Charlie Stephenson founded Vintage Petroleum Inc., the Tulsabased independent energy company that became listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 1990. He served as chairman of the board, president and CEO for Vintage, which grew from three people to more than 750 people with worldwide operations when it was acquired in 2006 by Occidental Petroleum. Today, he serves as co-founder and chairman of the board of the independent oil and gas firm Premier Natural Resources, president of Stephenson Investments Inc., and has leadership roles with two venture capital firms.

Winter 2012


University of Oklahoma College of Engineering 202 W. Boyd St. Carson Engineering Center, Room 107 Norman, OK 73019-1021 ADDRESS SERVICE REQUESTED

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Non-Profit Organization U.S. Postage

PAID University of Oklahoma

Devon Energy Hall, home to the Schools of Computer Science and Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Evolve Winter 2012  

The University of Oklahoma College of Engineering Evolve Winter 2012

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