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Engineering Service-Learning Project Receives National Recognition By Sherry Squires

sustainability, assessment of student learning and level of real world experience. FUSE stood out as exemplary in these areas, as well as demonstrating an ease of replication for other universities interested in implementing service-learning for engineering undergraduates.

Boise State University’s First Undergraduate Service Learning Experience (FUSE): Real-World Adaptive Engineering Design course is one of 29 exemplar programs throughout the United States to be featured in a new National Academy of Engineering publication, “Infusing Real World Experiences into Engineering Education.”

FUSE, a service-learning section of Introduction to Engineering (ENGR 120), was developed and managed by Boise State freshman engineering coordinator Carol Sevier. FUSE is a projectbased lab course that pairs first-year engineering students with community members with disabilities. The teams work together to modify or adapt technology to fit their needs. Students create design options, evaluate their designs and create prototypes of the most viable technology given the client’s need, the cost and the project schedule.

FUSE was chosen from a pool of 95 programs nominated by deans, chairs, or faculty, and assessed based on creativity, innovation, attention to diversity, anticipated vs. actual outcomes,

Students build relationships and work closely with community partners while meeting the objectives of the program: to discover the creativity, challenge and rewards in solving an engineering problem; to apply critical thinking and problemsolving skills using the engineering design process; to identify, analyze and solve a problem from the community; to practice the skills necessary to be a successful engineer including project management skills, working on a multidisciplinary team and communicating within a project team with instructors, clients, community partners and industry experts; to contribute to the community; and to better understand themselves, including their strengths and weaknesses, by reflection upon these experiences. More information about the FUSE program can be found on the FUSE website.

Instructional and Performance Technology Gets New Name By Kathleen Tuck

After 25 years, the Instructional and Performance Technology (IPT) department in the College of Engineering is changing its name. Beginning in August 2013, the name of the department will be Organizational Performance and Workplace Learning (OPWL). At the same time, the name of the department’s certificate in Human Performance Technology (HPT) is changing to Workplace Performance Improvement (WPI).

These changes follow the recommendation from a 2011 external review to create a new department name that “embraces the present and future scope of the department and that is understandable to a wide audience of scholars and practitioners.” The new name better represents the department’s emphasis on learning in workplace settings and its focus on learning as one alternative for improving performance in organizations. It also better represents the kind of work that graduates do after completing their degree or certificate.

While the department name will be new, the department curriculum will be unchanged. Degree and certificate requirements will be the same, course

content and delivery will be the same, and the department’s commitment to high-quality online professional education will be the same.

From the Dean’s Desk The latest generation to enter the workforce has been a recent topic of discussion in the news. Articles in Forbes and the Washington Post, among others, have described Millennials (those born between 1981 and 2000) in terms of both optimism and concern. Analysts have mulled over how this generation will reinvent the workplace into one that is more flexible and less rigidly structured, more about watching performance, and less about watching the time clock. Equally intriguing is the sense that Millennials want to stand out, to be special, to make a difference.

According to the Pew Research Center, Millennials will likely be “the most educated generation in American history” ( What does this mean to us, here at the College of Engineering? Our enrollment numbers give us a clue. Over the past four years, our undergraduate student enrollment has grown from 1,450 in Fall 2009, to over 2,100 in Fall 2012. The enrollment in Mechanical & Biomedical Engineering alone has nearly doubled, from just over 300 in the fall of 2009, to nearly 600 this past fall. What is drawing this latest generation of students to engineering? Neil Howe and William Strauss, researchers on generational change, observed that Millennials believe they can take on world problems that previous generations have been unable to solve. (Millennials Go to College, 2003). This observation offers us some insight into our growing enrollment. Engineering majors are magnets for students looking for a career where he or she has a shot at making a tangible difference in the world. Consider what is included within the somewhat generic-sounding field of mechanical engineering: robotics, vehicles, aeronautics, space exploration, advanced energy systems, biotechnology, even climate modeling. These are big, bold fields with exciting opportunities and challenges, where individuals and teams have a real chance to make big changes in a lifetime.

Student Success Starts with Financial Confidence By Mary Rutherford

For many Boise State students, the uncertainty of how to afford college is a barrier that separates dreams from reality. Today, scholarships and financial aid are critical pieces to the education puzzle. You can make a difference in making someone’s dream come true by contributing to theCollege of Engineering (COEN) Scholarship Fund. There is no more pressing need at Boise State University than funding for scholarships.

Scholarships ensure that the best and most deserving students become and remain Broncos, that they have the means to reach their goals and that they succeed to their fullest ability. In short, scholarships change lives.

Financial concerns are the top reason students leave Boise State before earning their degree. Others, including local students who identify closely with Boise State and want to become Broncos, are lured to other universities by scholarship offers that Boise State cannot match at present. And many, who may be unlikely to leave the area for financial or cultural reasons, opt out of college altogether due to their inability to pay.

Many of these students would become and remain Boise State students and, ultimately, Boise State graduates if more scholarship dollars were available. Boise State must compete to recruit and retain the best and most deserving students no matter their background or area of study. Private gifts are an irreplaceable element of that effort.

Last year, only one quarter of highly qualified (COEN) students received scholarships, simply because there weren’t enough funds available to make awards. We want to change that by doubling the amount of scholarships available for future engineering students. Please consider making a contribution to the COEN Scholarship Fund. For more information about establishing a COEN scholarship, or contributing to an existing scholarship, please contact: Mary Rutherford, Director of Development, via email, or by phone 208-426-2022.

By giving in support of Boise State scholarships, you help students reach for their dreams. You also demonstrate and teach future Broncos what it means to be part of the Bronco family. Boise State strives to be the school of choice for students who need or want a scholarship, and will compete for the best, most deserving students.

As future Boise State graduates and successful alumni, their loyalty and pride as Broncos reinforces the foundation for our university’s bright future and enrich its traditions for generations to come.

Jelly the Labrador

And students and faculty in the College of Engineering aren’t limiting themselves to what happens in the classroom. Our desire to achieve motivates us to find innovative ways to apply our knowledge and sense of discovery in extracurricular clubs. Student clubs are designing, building and flying remotely piloted aircraft, building and racing “mini Baja” dune buggies, and building the world’s fastest vehicle that runs on vegetable oil.

In engineering, the ability to solve world problems is not just imagined – it’s within reach. When we think about the characteristics of the Millennial generation, and wonder about our growing enrollment, maybe we’re asking ourselves the wrong question. Instead of wondering how we grew to 2,100 students, maybe we should be asking ourselves, why do we only have 2,100 students?

Amy Moll

Dean and Professor College of Engineering


College of Engineering Newsletter | Spring 2013

Jelly the Labrador joined the College of Engineering (and Bronco Nation) on Dec. 12. Currently 5 months old, she is a puppy-in-training from Canine Companions for Independence (CCI), which provides highly trained assistance dogs for children and adults with disabilities, free of charge. Jelly is being raised by Amy Moll, dean of the College of Engineering, and Bill Knowlton, professor of materials science and engineering. She is the third puppy they have raised for CCI. Kamela and Marita, their first two puppies, are both breeders for CCI and are Jelly’s mother and grandmother, respectively. Jelly will be attending Boise State until May 2014, when she will return to CCI for advanced training.

Amit Jain

COEN Faculty in Action Tony Marker and Rebecca Mirsky

Tony Marker, associate professor in Instructional & Performance Technology, and Rebecca Mirsky, associate professor in Construction Management, presented a session on sustainability for the 8th annual Boise Safety Fest of the Great Northwest, held Jan. 22-25. Their session was one of 66 different classes offered over the four-day conference, and was included by popular request. Participants included contractors, construction and general industry professionals, professional technical educators and others interested in improving the safety performance of their business.

After a short intro to “Sustainability 101,” Marker shared a framework and tips for creating a sustainable business, including several local case studies. Mirsky followed with an overview of sustainability reporting using the framework designed by the Global Reporting Initiative.

The annual Safety Fest of the Great Northwest was hosted this year by the URS Corporation, the Boise area and Region 10 offices of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Idaho Associated General Contractors (AGC), the State of Idaho’s Division of Professional Technical Education, the University of Washington, and Idaho’s OSHA Consultation Program at Boise State.

More information about the Safety Fest is available at

Linda Huglin

In the current issue of Performance Improvement Quarterly (PIQ), the article, “Content Analysis of the 20 most influential HPT articles,” identifies work by Instructional & Performance Technology assistant professor Linda Huglin. Her 2009 article is titled “HPT roots and branches: Analyzing over 45 years of the field’s own citations: Part 1,” Performance Improvement Quarterly, 21(4), 95-115.

Idaho Technology: Boise Code Camp poised to make an impact in tech community

A critical part of building a vibrant technology community is providing opportunities for professionals to engage, learn and collaborate. Because the computer science industry moves so quickly, the entire community benefits when knowledge is shared. That's why Boise Code Camp's free technical training event provides great value to software developers in the Treasure Valley.

This year's Boise Code Camp will be hosted by the computer science department in the College of Engineering at Boise State University and is organized by a group of tech professionals led by Scott Nichols.

Code Camps were created to provide training on software development and industry trends. Each one follows a universal set of guidelines intended to make the event accessible, engaging and community-run.

This year's Boise Code Camp will be the seventh annual such event in the community. Boise Code Camp offers a full day of sessions on topics that include agile practices, cloud computing, database fundamentals and networking advances.

Workshops are carefully coordinated to guarantee that each Code Camp will offer quality content to software developers of all levels of expertise. Boise Code Camp 2013 will feature a special track taught by seniors from Meridian Tech School. This track will introduce basic programming to children as young as 8 years old, which creates a great opportunity to engage future computer science professionals.

Boise Code Camp helps to create a stronger Idaho workforce. In a post-recession economy, it's financially difficult for many smaller Idaho companies to send their employees to larger, more expensive conferences, so Boise Code Camp provides a free, high-quality solution. Additionally, the conference offers a supportive venue for individual consultants and companies to demonstrate their subject-matter expertise. With the high costs of out-of-state recruiting, shining a spotlight on local talent helps Idaho companies connect with qualified professionals. Continued on back page

Darryl Butt Named Distinguished Professor

Darryl Butt, Professor, Materials Science and Engineering has been designated Distinguished Professor, one of the highest honors that can be accorded to a faculty member. The title recognizes distinguished achievement in the combined areas of teaching, research and public service and is reserved for a small number of faculty who have made major contributions to their academic disciplines.

Distinguished professors are expected to make special contributions to the intellectual advancement of their home departments and colleges, as

well as to Boise State as a whole. In addition to recognition, the Boise State University Distinguished Professorship includes a stipend to support scholarly activities.

Darryl Butt is nationally and internationally recognized as one of the leading materials scientists working in the area of materials for extreme environments and energy studies. Butt established the Materials Corrosion and Environmental Effects Laboratory at Los Alamos National laboratory. He became the project leader for weapons dismantlement and fissile materials transparency and oversaw the Russian-U.S. lab-to-lab technical interactions in nuclear non-proliferation. He has mentored 34 graduate students and maintained an active research program, bringing in $6 million as PI and $4 million as co-PI. His publication record is outstanding, with 180 peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters and proceedings. He has served as chair for the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and as associate director for the Center for Advanced Energy Studies, among many other noteworthy accomplishments since joining the faculty at Boise State in 2005. College of Engineering Newsletter | Spring 2013



Boise State grad inspires ‘Curiosity’ seekers By Rebecca Mirsky

The following day, Isla, a 28-year-old systems engineer with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) in Pasadena, California, spoke informally with students interested in learning more about his journey from electrical engineering undergraduate to NASA engineer. Isla also met with members of this year’s Microgravity team to share his experiences as 2009 team leader. This is the fifth year that a multidisciplinary team of Boise State students have had a project accepted by NASA’s Microgravity University where they will design, fabricate, fly and evaluate their own reduced gravity experiment. The Microgravity projects are some of the most unique and challenging experiences available to undergraduate students at Boise State, and have been wildly successful – Boise State student projects have been selected to take part in Flight Day activities five years in a row.

Throughout the questions and discussion about his most exciting and challenging experiences, Dan's message came through loud and clear for all the budding robot designers and programmers out there: It’s not all rockets and lasers! To make big projects happen, teams need a lot of expertise in a lot of different fields, and team members need to know how to talk and work together. The best engineers may be experts in their own fields, but they also know something about the other disciplines they work with. They are good listeners and know how to communicate complex ideas to an interdisciplinary audience.

This point is echoed by electrical engineering graduate student Matthew Dolan, who was in the audience for Isla’s talk. Dolan was part of the 2012 Microgravity team, and is advising this year’s team members. Microgravity projects require a big time commitment; team members spend about 10 to 15 hours a week outside of regular classwork to assemble the 85-page project proposal according to Dolan. “Your proposal is reviewed by physicists, engineers, biologists – every discipline that may be a part of your project. You have to make it clear that you understand how the pieces fit together.”

Isla had just finished his junior year at Boise State when he had a chance to experience first hand just what it was like to work with a diverse team of engineers and scientists. Even before joining the 2009 Microgravity team, Isla spent a summer interning with JPL, an opportunity made possible and funded by the Idaho Space Grant Consortium. At the time, he didn’t realize that he was actually involved in a 10-week interview for what would later become his full time job. At JPL, Isla has been immersed in discovery, working first on building the dictionary of commands for the rover, then joining the assembly, test, launch and operation team, and now a member of the entry, descent and landing team.

Alfredo Bravo Iniguez is a senior electrical engineering student who also interned at JPL. Bravo Iniguez also attended Isla’s talk and spoke about


College of Engineering Newsletter | Spring 2013

Photo credit: Thomas Oetzell

Dan Isla is not what you would call an adrenaline junkie, but he knows what it’s like to go from fear to exhilaration in a matter of minutes. On August 5th, Dan was in the surface operations room of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL), anxiously watching what would turn out to be the picture perfect landing of the Mars Curiosity Rover. Three months later, this Boise State grad described the watershed moment, and the events leading up to it, for a rapt audience at the IEEE Boise Computer Society banquet, held in the Student Union Barnwell Room. Isla’s talk, titled “From BSU to Mars: An alumnus’s experience working on NASA’s most complex spacecraft ever sent to the Red Planet,” attracted the highest attendance in the banquet’s history. Isla drew the audience into the excitement and tension of the rover’s landing by showing NASA’s video, “Challenges of Getting to Mars: Curiosity's Seven Minutes of Terror.”

how the internship got him hooked on NASA. “I got to meet Dan at JPL and talk to him while I was there last summer,” he said. “It was exciting to actually be at the landing party watching mission control when Curiosity touched down. And we got to see all the daily updates of the rover before they were made public.” Originally interested in physics, Bravo Iniguez thought he’d give electrical engineering a try since his dad is an electrical engineer. His experience at JPL is now steering him to specialize in digital image processing, and he is currently exploring a number of graduate programs.

While working as the team leader for Boise State’s first Systems Engineering Educational Discovery (SEED) Microgravity project, Isla’s mentor was astronaut Barbara Morgan, Boise State’s Distinguished Educator in Residence. As Idaho’s own Teacher in Space, Morgan’s mentorship gives added strength to the outreach component of every Microgravity proposal. Outreach efforts have included trips to junior high and elementary schools, presentations for in-service teacher education, help in preparing lesson plans, and events at the Discovery Center of Idaho. Isla’s 2009 flight team participated at the Idaho Capital Scholars that aims to recruit top high school juniors. The flight team used this to help promote engineering at Boise State as well as demonstrate the opportunities that NASA provides to students. Dan Isla’s presentation at the banquet and his follow up Q&A with students connects Boise State and our community to the exciting developments in space exploration and the challenges and rewards of real world research and discovery. As the Curiosity Rover explores the surface of Mars, it’s not just something interesting to watch on television or the Internet. A Boise State grad helped make it happen, and that makes us part of the experience.

in Action Engineering Students Excel in Global Competition By Rebecca Mirsky

Chances are, when someone mentions “extreme challenge,” your first thought is not computer programming. But that’s exactly what Boise State College of Engineering students found themselves in the middle of, along with 1,900 teams from around the world, in last Saturday’s IEEEXtreme 6.0 programming competition.

IEEEXtreme is a global competition where teams of IEEE student members — supported by an IEEE student branch and advised and proctored by an IEEE member — compete in a 24-hour time race against “The IEEE Boise each other and the clock to solve a series of programming challenges.

Boise State’s College of Engineering had four teams compete this year in the Oct. 20 competition, which attracted some of the world’s top up-and-coming programmers. Team Zeal, whose members included Ngoc Luong, Alfredo Bravo Iniguez and Dominic Wayda, finished in the top 20 percent of this elite group.

into parts and calling on their Java programming language and math skills, team members engaged in a marathon coding effort.

What was their biggest challenge? According to senior Luong, it was “staying awake.” Luckily, help was on the way with pizza, sandwiches, snacks and lots of coffee from the IEEE Boise Computer Society to help the team get through the grueling 24 hours.

According to the IEEEXtreme Facebook page, this year’s challenge involved more than 150,000 submissions for the 20 challenge problems.

“I’m happy to see EE and CS majors working on extracurricular activities together,” said Elisa H. Barney Smith, IEEE student club faculty advisor. “To come out in the top 20 percent of a global competition with so many teams and competitors is a huge accomplishment.”

Computer Society is proud to have sponsored the students from Boise State University,”

– Joe Rekiere, IEEE Boise Computer Society chair

Luong said he would highly recommend this competition and has been promoting it on the IEEE club’s website at Other teams that competed this year from the college of engineering include: Team 256, Daniel Lambert

Team Political Engineering, Aaron Brown, Jun Hwang Team RoboPotato, Beverly Chan, Jesse Riggs

The teams used the College of Engineering’s Metageek lab as home base for the competition. Every hour, teams would receive a new problem whose solution required writing a new program. Splitting the problems

Student Takes Top Honor at Atmospheric Chemistry Conference By Sherry Squires

Mechanical engineering major and senior Derek Wade received an award for Best Student Oral Presentation at the 15th Conference on Atmospheric Chemistry at the American Meteorological Society’s 93rd annual meeting in Austin, Texas, Jan. 6-10.

Wade, who is also a veteran and pursuing a minor in applied mathematics, presented a National Science Foundation funded research project he has been working on with mechanical and biomedical engineering faculty member Inanc Senocak. The title of Wade’s presentation was “Multi-Source Atmospheric Dispersion Event Reconstruction Using Bayesian Inference and Composite Model Ranking.

The goal of Wade and Senocak’s research is to develop an algorithm and computer model that would use sensor data to reconstruct the dispersion of hazardous airborne materials into the atmosphere after an accidental or intentional release from multiple sources.

Wade will receive a cash prize and an award certificate from the American Meteorological Society for his achievement.

The full abstract of Wade’s presentation can be viewed at

Computer Science Student to Present at Major Conference By Sherry Squires

James Kress, a senior computer science major, presented a paper titled “A novel graphical user interface for high-efficacy modeling of human perceptual similarity opinions” at the prestigious SPIE Medical Imaging Conference on Feb. 10.

The paper is coauthored with Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Georgia Tourassi, director of the Biomedical Sciences and Engineering Center, and Songhua Xu, a Wigner Fellow in the Computational Sciences and Engineering Division.

This work came out of a summer internship Kress did at the lab in the summer of 2012.

College of Engineering Newsletter | Spring 2013


Alumni News Jenny (Harmon) Bush, CE, 2002 Lucas Edward Bush joined me, Ted, and big brother Dylan in November. I also completed my term as ISPE SW Chapter President.

months). To accommodate the new addition to our family we also worked to expand our house building on an extra bedroom/office. All in all there is never a dull moment at the Drake household.

Doug Kellis (MSE 2011), Brian Jaques (ME, 2006) and son, Brandon Chaffin (ME)

Mike Laub, EE, 2002 Family: 3 kids (m/f/m, 8/4/2). Employer: Chicago Bridge and Iron Title: Sr. Electrical Engineer Projects: Cove Point LNG Natural Gas Liquefaction Project (Three 84 MW Frame 7, natural gas turbines)

Jerry Wilson, CE, 2003 Congratulations to Jerry Wilson who has accepted the District 1 Project Development Engineer position at LHTAC Jerry has worked in the D1 Project Development section for ten years

Christian Bramwell, ME, 2004 I'm working for Polaris Ind. out of Spirit Lake Iowa as a Quality Engineer. My current project is the launch of Indian Motorcycle production. Gus Drake, ME, 2007 I still work at POWER Engineers, Inc. In March I will reach my 5 year mark. I do the mechanical design for simple cycle & combined cycle gas turbine plants primarily but occasionally get to work on biomass, CO2 capture, and geothermal plants. I became licensed as a Professional Engineer in the state of Idaho this past April. At home we had a new addition to our family. Julia Ann Drake was born on July 20th. She makes 4 now! Carlie (7), Sarah Jane (4), Grady (3), and then Julia (6


Ryan Van Leuven, CE, 2009 My wife Charly and I are expecting our first child in June. I am working as a Geotechnical Engineer at American Geotechnics in Boise. During 2012, I have been working on a variety of projects including landslide mitigation, pavement design, and bridge foundation design. I am currently performing geotechnical work for the Broadway interchange in Boise. James Carrillo, ME, 2012 Payloads Design Engineer - Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Renton WA

• Prime design engineer for the thermal acoustic insulation system on the new 737MAX • Filed 1 patent on behalf of the Boeing Company

Currently attending the University of Washington to pursue a Masters in Aerospace Engineering Ellen Rabenberg, MSE, Masters 2012, Undergraduate 2010 I am working on failure analysis at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL. Thank you to our alumni that judged at the regional Future City Competition on January 26th

Kevin Kuther (CE 2007), Adrian Mascorro (CE 2005), Harvin Flores (CE 2003)

Pierson Dewit (CE 2002), Mandy Wright (ME 2003)

Shannon Heck, CS, and family

Tim (CE) and Julie (EE) Morgan and family

Matt Brown, CM, and family

Alumni Notes

Great to see alumni and their families at STEM Exploration on Feb 2, 2013!

We want to stay in touch. Please send your updates to Leandra Aburusa-Lete at

R U Following Us? Boise State College of Engineering Alumni

Cody Ravenscroft, ECE group.php?gid=95564512914


Boise State College of Engineering Related Blogs

Harvin Flores (CE 2003)

College of Engineering Newsletter | Spring 2013

Darren Simonson, ME

NSF Awards Boise State Research Team $555,384 for Supercomputing and Visualization Infrastructure by Rebecca Mirsky

Boise State researchers are generating astonishing amounts of data, but often face obstacles when it comes to effectively accessing and analyzing that data. That’s about to change, now that a collaborative group of Boise State University faculty from engineering, biological sciences, geosciences and computer science have received a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to build a new high performance computing and visualization instrument. When the project is completed, researchers across multiple disciplines will have access to vastly improved capabilities for tackling large computational problems.

The $555,384 grant was awarded under NSF’s Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) Program. The funding will be used to build a 32node GPU/CPU cluster with a data storage array and a 5×8 foot tiled display that will be located in a visualization theater setting. GPU computing uses graphics processing units (GPUs) together with conventional central processing units (CPUs) for faster processing of computational science and engineering problems. The GPU/CPU cluster will support parallel computing and rendering, data storage, and highresolution imaging.

“Without supercomputing resources, computational analysis and massive data stores can become more of a burden than a help,” said Inanc Senocak, associate professor of mechanical and biomedical engineering, and the principal investigator on the project. “This new computing cluster will extend our range of exploration in science and engineering projects, and accelerate time-to-results substantially.”

Senocak and co-investigators Peter Müllner (Materials Science and Engineering), Hans-Peter Marshall (Geosciences), Julie Oxford (Biology), and Tim Andersen (Computer Science), have proposed to use the computing cluster to support research projects as diverse as wind energy forecasting, modeling for threat reduction in chemical and biological defense, materials characterization and modeling, snow hydrology and remote sensing, and mechanisms of skeleton development in living systems.

“The benefits of this grant will be felt far beyond Boise State University,” said Amy Moll, dean of the College of Engineering. “The plan is for the parallel computing and visualization cluster to be housed at a facility open to university researchers as well as local technology companies and partners. This advanced cyberinfrastructure resource has the potential for a huge impact on our regional economy.”

Senocak says that the researchers involved in the grant also plan to make this cyberinfrastructure accessible to high-school science, technology, engineering, and math scholars through outreach activities such as handson exercises for modeling and simulation, visualization of earth and space scientific data, and high-resolution imagery.

“If we look beyond the obvious benefits to the researchers, we can only imagine the profound impact this kind of experience might have on the next generation of scientists and engineers,” he added.

This project is supported by the National Science Foundation under Award No. OCI-1229709.

Two Electrical Engineering Students Awarded National Scholarships by Kathleen Tuck

Two electrical and computer engineering (ECE) students have just been awarded scholarships by the IEEE Power and Energy Society (PES). Cody Breckenridge, sophomore, and Adam Hull, junior, were among 228 students at 100 universities selected to receive the awards.

The IEEE PES Scholarship Plus Initiative provides multi-year scholarships and career experience opportunities to qualifying U.S. electrical engineering undergraduate students. As long as the scholar continues to meet renewal standards, he or she will receive up to three years of funding — $2,000 the first year, $2,000 the second year and $3,000 the third year — interspersed with up to two years of valuable, hands-on career experience.

The PES Scholarship Plus Initiative recognizes undergraduate students who have declared a major in electrical and computer engineering, are high achievers with strong GPAs, have distinctive extracurricular commitments, and are committed to exploring the power and energy field.

Both scholarship recipients have managed to achieve outstanding academic records while balancing other commitments. In addition to excelling as a full time student, Hull works full time and is raising three children. Breckenridge is a member of the Idaho Army National Guard and also volunteers for the Wyakin Warrior Foundation, which provides education and professional development services for severely wounded or injured veterans.

STEM Exploration

Thousands of K-12 students like Aria Graham got to experience science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, and have plenty of fun, during STEM Exploration Day at Boise State. Chemistry student Peter Barnes was one of several students and faculty members who helped younger students design bridges, ride Segways, build an edible aquifer, or experience a wind tunnel. About 5,000 visitors attended STEM Exploration Day on Feb. 2nd.

Wankun Sirichotiyakul photo

College of Engineering Newsletter | Spring 2013


College of Engineering Dean: AMY MOLL (208) 426-1153 Associate Dean for Academic Affairs: JANET CALLAHAN (208) 426-1153 Assistant Dean for Research & Infrastructure: REX OXFORD (208) 426-5744 Development Director: MARY RUTHERFORD (208) 426-2022

Civil Engineering Chair: MANDAR KHANAL (208) 426-3743

Computer Science Interim Chair: HAROLD BLACKMAN (208) 426-2283

Construction Management Chair: TONY SONGER (208) 426-3716

Electrical & Computer Engineering Chair: SIN MING LOO (208) 426-2283

Instructional & Performance Technology Chair: DON STEPICH (208) 426-1312

Materials Science & Engineering Chair: PETER MÜLLNER (208) 426-5640

Mechanical & Biomedical Engineering Chair: MICHELLE SABICK (208) 426-4078

Energy literacy guide can help foster real discussion and change By John Gardner

I recently became aware of a new publication from the Department of Energy entitled “Energy Literacy: Essential Principles and Fundamental Concepts for Energy Education.” Available as a free download (search on the Internet for “energy literacy”), this document is the result of a broad coalition led by the Department of Energy and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

In all, 13 federal agencies and 23 science and educational organizations contributed to this comprehensive guide addressing one of the most pivotal issues that affects human society. Regardless of whether you are a student or a Ph.D. researcher in the energy field, you will find something interesting that’s likely to make you think of things in a new light.

One of the most attractive aspects of the document is that its only agenda is to educate. Absent are any alarmist predictions about climate change or horrific economic impacts we might encounter if we abandon fossil fuels. Just the facts, ma’am; but those are plenty scary enough. Let me explain.

The guide describes seven Essential Principles, each elaborated by a few simple statements of fact about energy with the occasional chart or photograph thrown in. Upon reading this guide, you will better understand a variety of important issues. For example, Principle 3 will help you understand why some people choose a vegetarian diet based on the argument that it’s more energy efficient. Principle 5 gives you a clear snapshot of how energy decisions are influenced by economic, political, environmental, and social factors (spoiler alert: government subsidies for fossil fuels outpace those for renewables by a factor of 6 to 1).

But three of the statements in the guide really caught my eye. If you can wrap your head around these, you’ll be far along in understanding why the energy debate is so important. The three statements are: “Earth has limited energy resources,” “Human demand for energy is increasing,” and “Access to energy resources affects quality of life.”

I was certainly aware of all three of these facts and I’ll go so far as to say that none of them are seriously disputed. But I know that I have not really thought about the implications of all three at once. Limited resources, increasing demand, and the desire to improve our lots in life put people and our planet on a collision course of disastrous potential.

Yes, we should celebrate our new-found good fortune of domestic oil and gas production, but know that it too is finite. The end of oil may be 100 years from now or only a few decades, but when it comes, we (humanity) best be ready.

As David MacKay, a Cambridge (U.K.) physicist and leader in the energy literacy movement is fond of saying, we need to have adult conversations about energy. And the only way to do that is if we have an adult understanding of the issues. This energy literacy guide is an awfully good start.

John Gardner, professor of mechanical and biomedical engineering at Boise State University and director of the CAES Energy Efficiency Research Institute, writes a bi-monthly column on issues related to energy for the Idaho Statesman. A version of this column appeared on Sunday, February 10, 2013. Idaho Technology: continued from page 3

Realizing the value of Boise Code Camp, numerous companies and organizations have stepped forward to support our efforts to help the software community, including Acquity Group, Boise State University, Clearwater Analytics, FieldSync, Resource Data Inc., Idaho Technology Council, Armgasys,, Keynetics, Google, Infragistics, Microsoft and Synoptek. Thanks to the generous support of sponsors, Boise Code Camp can not only provide speakers and facilities, but also free breakfast and lunch to attendees.

If you believe in the vision of Boise Code Camp - to create an environment where knowledge is easily and freely shared - there are several ways you can show support. Sponsors are welcome and appreciated. We also encourage prospective speakers and volunteers to contact us through Finally, please spread the word about Boise Code Camp, encourage attendance and support the growth of Idaho's tech community. Boise Code Camp presents a great learning opportunity that empowers our local software developers. Please demonstrate your support of our technology community by joining us March 16 at Boise State University.

Profile for Michele Armstrong

COEN Alumni Newsletter Spring 2013  

College of Engineering Alumni Newsletter Spring 2013.

COEN Alumni Newsletter Spring 2013  

College of Engineering Alumni Newsletter Spring 2013.