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opus college of engineering magazine 2015

Culture Shift

Learning to Lead

On the Front Line

Nurturing an entrepreneurial mindset in engineering students

Proven leaders show students lessons for driving change

Robotics advances into dangerous territories



ENGINE FOR ADDING VALUE I couldn’t be more excited about the message of change and progress on the cover of this issue of Marquette Engineer magazine. And I hope you’re just as enthusiastic about it by the time you finish reading these pages. Change, of course, is at the core of Marquette’s motto: Be The Difference. It’s a Jesuit conception of transformation that drives us to seek solutions to pressing problems in our


world, to live for others. As Marquette educators, we view it as our highest calling to educate our students to be leaders of this kind of change wherever life takes them after graduation. Engineering, it turns out, is an ideal discipline for creating this kind of change, often in collaboration with partners from other fields. There are a whole host of challenges ranging from the world’s fresh water and clean energy needs to health and human performance where engineering simply must be part of the equation for effective progress to be made. Today’s engineers are forward thinkers, creators, visionaries and change agents — really, all of


these things at once. We are being called to challenge, create and collaborate like never before, all for the benefit of humanity. And we in the Opus College of Engineering embrace these roles. Our vision for our faculty, staff, students and alumni is to be a community of global citizens that, through its leadership and service, will create value for people all over the globe. The story of this vision being realized is written across these pages. We are helping students adopt a more entrepreneurial approach to engineering through curricular changes and hackathons conducted with corporate partners (page 10). Alumni in high-level engineering roles are hosting students at their workplaces through our novel E-Lead program, giving the future engineers invaluable opportunities to observe leadership in action (page 14). Whether it’s through advances in robotics (page 18), innovative student and faculty research (pages 8 and 22–27), abounding partnerships in the MARVL Visualization Lab (page 2), a new role in Milwaukee’s Global Water Center (page 28) or student-led engineering efforts that improve people’s lives, there is no shortage of examples of engineering at Marquette being the difference in positive ways. Engineering as an engine for change — and an engine for adding value. Thank you for everything you do to make this vital work possible. Dr. Kristina Ropella Opus Dean Opus College of Engineering

ON THE ROAD Join Opus Dean Kristina Ropella as she meets with fellow Marquette engineering alumni and parents in various cities this year. Ropella will provide updates on the college and share her vision for its future at stops in Chicago; St. Louis; Naples, Fla.; Scottsdale, Ariz.; Silicon Valley, Calif.; Minneapolis/St. Paul; and Milwaukee. Contact Jill Ott for more information on tour dates:

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MARVL brings research to life.

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The latest Opus College news in brief.

The college looks to nurture an entrepreneurial mindset in engineering students.

Proven leaders show students the necessary lessons to drive change.

 rofessors and alumni P advance robotics into dangerous territories.



A special section highlighting how our researchers are discovering innovative solutions to the world’s greatest concerns.



OPUS DEAN Dr. Kristina Ropella

ENGINEERING HALL 1637 W. Wisconsin Ave.

EDITORIAL TEAM Sarah Painter Koziol (lead) with Jessica Bulgrin, Becky Dubin Jenkins, Stephen Filmanowicz and Jennifer Russell

OLIN ENGINEERING CENTER 1515 W. Wisconsin Ave. P.O. Box 1881 Milwaukee, Wis. 53201-1881 414.288.6000

ART DIRECTION TEAM Karen Parr (lead) with Sharon Grace

Marquette Engineer is published for colleagues, alumni and friends of the college. Feedback and story ideas are appreciated. Please email Cover illustration by Patrick Castro

/MarquetteEngineering /marquette_opus_engineering marquette university opus college of engineering

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In the lower level of Engineering Hall, just a simple classroom sign lets you know you’ve arrived at the university’s visualization lab. What lies beyond this inconspicuous entryway is hardly one-dimensional. MARVL — the Marquette University Visualization Lab — is a two-room facility designed for university members and area industries to create 3D, visually immersive content. Research suggests that immersive experiences in realistic environments, like those created in MARVL, promote critical thinking and active learning and improve decision-making and performance. Simply put, 3D technology engages audiences. Since it opened in 2014, MARVL has successfully collaborated with several industry specialists on a variety of projects. The potential for new projects seems limitless.

VIEWABLE DIMENSIONS V Width: 18’ 6” V Height: 9’ 3” V Depth: 9’ 3” V Provides nearly 4K resolution on the front wall and a resolution of 15.7 megapixels V Surround sound V Seating for 30

Watch a video on the making of an immersive spinning class in Marquette’s Visualization Lab at

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VISUAL ARTS A 3D reproduction of Madonna of Port Lligat, a Salvador Dalí painting in the Haggerty Museum of Art collection, was created to give viewers a more in-depth experience. Though the painting is not always present at the Haggerty, audiences can walk through a virtual art museum that boasts a room-sized, multidimensional version of the masterpiece.



The research of Dr. Ting Lin, assistant professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering, is aiming to improve building design to withstand earthquake movement. Lin’s data, imported into MARVL, demonstrates how fast a seismic wave travels from an epicenter to a chosen mapped location and how that wave affects a simulated interior environment.

v PERFORMING ARTS MARVL was used for two university theatre productions. In Edward Albee’s The Zoo Story, the lab recreated New York’s Central Park to be the backdrop of the play. The scenery that appeared and morphed throughout the play was generated and controlled by computers as actors performed on the lab’s “stage.”


COMPUTATIONAL FLUID DYNAMICS Dr. John LaDisa, director of MARVL and associate professor of biomedical engineering, has used computational fluid dynamics to solve problems involving fluid flow. With data from a real patient’s MRI, LaDisa created 3D animations of atherosclerotic and coronary arteries in which fluids of various colors move in harmony with the audible human heartbeat.

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A grant from the National Science Foundation will pave the way for cleaner drinking water for generations to come. Driving that effort are the Opus College’s Dr. Brooke Mayer, P.E., and Dr. Patrick McNamara, Eng ’06, both assistant professors of civil, construction and environmental engineering, and Dr. Daniel Zitomer, P.E., BCEE, professor and director of the Water Quality Center. The team, with Mayer as its lead, will measure the potential of using electrocoagulation to treat pollutants in drinking water, with an emphasis on mechanisms by which contaminants are mitigated. Electrocoagulation involves passing electrical currents through electrodes in water. The current can stimulate oxidation/reduction reactions, which can chemically transform contaminants and release metal ions, which form particles big enough to be physically separated. It’s a single-treatment process, potentially making it more efficient than comparable combinations of processes. “Unlike some conventional processes, no chemicals have to be added to the system during electrocoagulation, which simplifies operational aspects,” Mayer says. The researchers will look at the effectiveness of this method in treating viruses and estrogens in water, which can come from wastewater or exist naturally. These contaminants are not regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency but are on the organization’s Contaminant Candidate List, which includes contaminants targeted for priority research. The research results will be valuable in making future regulatory decisions. Working alongside the three principal investigators, two Marquette doctoral students are focused on specific elements: Emily Gorsalitz is investigating estrogenic pollutants, and Joseph Heffron is working on virus experiments. The research team also includes Dr. Yu Yang, a postdoctoral research associate. Project findings will be presented to the National Science Foundation and Water Equipment and Policy Industry/University Collaborative Research Center. Results will be featured in journal articles and at conferences, and the findings will also be most relevant for regulatory agencies. —Wyatt Massey

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Dr. Joseph Schimmels, Eng ’81, associate dean for research and professor of mechanical engineering, was inducted into the National Academy of Inventors for his outstanding contributions to innovation. Election is an exclusive professional distinction for academic inventors who are nominated by their peers and chosen by the academy’s selection committee. The academy recognizes innovation in areas such as patents and licensing, discovery and technology, significant impact on society, and support and enhancement of innovation. “In addition to his own work, Dr. Schimmels has been instrumental in advancing and expanding the faculty research efforts within the Opus College of Engineering, as well as serving as an exceptional mentor of student innovators,” says Dr. Jeanne Hossenlopp, vice president for research and innovation. Schimmels authored five accepted patents and has a sixth in the works. His most recent patents helped create a bionic ankle that is more responsive to users. Rather than using motors, Schimmels’ design uses springs and gravity to give the prosthesis its power. Some other patents support Schimmels’ interest in developing robots that are more compliant and responsive to humans. (See related story on page 18.)


/// COUNTDOWN TO LAUNCH: CubeSat liftoff set for fall 2016

The countdown to Marquette’s first enterprise into space has begun as students work to complete a mini-satellite they fondly named Golden Eagle One. As part of the CubeSat Project developed by CalPoly and Stanford universities to give other universities opportunities to access space, the project is helping students develop the skills and experience needed to succeed in aerospace engineering. Weighing fewer than 3 pounds, Golden Eagle One will be powered by solar panels that extend once it’s launched into space. Students designed their CubeSat to accomplish two objectives: collect and transmit photos to earth from an onboard camera and test the reliability of special computer codes used in space. With guidance from Dr. Dean Jeutter, P.E., professor of biomedical engineering, several graduate and undergraduate students have been working in teams to move the project forward after starting it in 2012. To ensure the CubeSat is space worthy, however, the team moved the original launch date from this fall to November 2016. The physical satellite structure has been designed and will be manufactured and tested by an external company. The majority of work remaining is related to software development, including ensuring that the satellite communicates with the team’s mission control room. “Everything is finally coming together,” says senior Nick Haraus, president of the Marquette Spacecraft Engineering team. “Though there is still plenty of work to do, it is exciting to see the team’s hard work paying off.”

PROFESSOR HONORED WITH 40 UNDER 40 AWARD Dr. John LaDisa, Jr., associate professor of biomedical engineering, was a 2015 recipient of the Milwaukee Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 award, highlighting professionals in the Milwaukee community younger than 40 who are making an impact and destined to be leaders in their fields. LaDisa, Eng ’99, Grad ’01, ’04, is director of the Marquette Visualization Lab and was honored for his innovative research and development of the lab, including his own research on pediatric cardiovascular disease (see related MARVL story on page 2). In addition to his coronary disease research that he has translated into an immersive virtual reality experience for students, colleagues and device developers, LaDisa seeks to fully use MARVL’s capabilities by encouraging collaboration with other university and industry partners. “It’s a cross-campus initiative that brings people together. I hope we can keep reaching across the city to other institutions as well,” he says. “I hope we increase the number of users and that every hour of the day is booked with different applications.” The Milwaukee Business Journal has honored Milwaukee’s up-and-coming leaders for 22 years. —Jessica Bulgrin

FEDERLE NAMED EDUCATOR OF THE YEAR The Daily Reporter, a Milwaukee-based news publication for the construction, real estate and business industries, named Dr. Mark Federle, P.E., CPC, its Educator of the Year. Federle, professor and McShane Chair in Construction Engineering and Management, and associate dean for academic affairs, was recognized for shaping Marquette’s construction engineering and management degree program, which was accredited by the ABET in fall 2013. The award was one of 22 presented by the publication as part of its 2014 Newsmakers of the Year series. The honorees, including individuals and organizations, were recognized for their outstanding achievements in the construction industry and impact on the building community. Federle is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the college’s construction engineering and management program, including shaping the curriculum, teaching courses, advising students, and working with industry to keep the curriculum current with industry practices and secure student co-op opportunities. The undergraduate program complements Marquette’s well-established master’s and doctoral degrees in construction management and educates students as professional engineers with the necessary skills in business, communication and law.

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A unique intrauniversity partnership supporting good works

Throughout the college, faculty and students are collaborating on projects to solve real-world problems. This past spring, three of these worthy efforts got a boost from a partnership with the Diederich College of Communication through crowdfunding, an emerging way to support projects and campaigns using online fundraising platforms such as Indiegogo. For his Social Media Analytics course, Tim Cigelske, Comm ’04, adjunct professor of communication and Marquette’s director of social media, asked his students to select a cause to support and build a crowdfunding campaign around it. As the name suggests, crowdfunding taps the power of the Internet and social media to reach new funders whose donations — even small ones — can add up. For Cigelske, the power of the exercise was its ability to involve students in meaningful projects with measurable results. In this case, the beneficiaries were grateful partners in engineering and the people they touch with their socially minded efforts. Read on. — Katharine Miller




Background: Marquette’s EWB chapter has sent student engineering teams to work with volunteers in Guatemala to help villages in need of electricity and vehicle and pedestrian bridges.

Background: Marquette’s Humanoid Engineering and Intelligent Robotics Lab again participated in the annual RoboCup tournament, which pits studentdesigned robot soccer teams from around the world against each other. Last year, Marquette’s team was the only U.S. representative.

Background: Refined by successive teams of seniors and under the direction of Dr. Lars Olson, the human-powered nebulizer provides respiratory medical treatment to patients in the developing world who lack electricity and access to proper medical care, particularly in Central America. There are 14 nebulizers in El Salvador and plans to bring them to Guatemala.

Challenge and response: The campaign aimed to help teams build a pedestrian bridge over the Patio Bol River near Xepepen so 400 residents normally stranded by flooding have access to health care, education and work. It raised $1,370 toward the $1,500 per-student cost for travel, food, shelter, and building tools and supplies. Outcome: Crowdfunding resources allowed two additional students to join the original 10 team members. The bridge opened June 10, 2015.

Challenge and response: As a follow-up to a crowdfunding campaign that raised more than $6,000 to send students to last year’s tournament in Brazil, this year’s crowdfunding project helped the HEIR team raise $1,190 for travel expenses, registration fees and construction of a second robot for the 2015 RoboCup in July in Hefei, China. Outcome: Four students brought their robots to the tournament.

Read more about the crowdfunding campaigns and the causes they supported at

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Challenge and response: Senior students, alumni and others at Marquette campaigned to expand device reach to other Central American countries, raising $5,180 for the cost of assembling and shipping nebulizers to Guatemala. Outcome: Twenty HPNs will be delivered to Guatemala’s Tecpán region this fall.



A specialized thermometer can receive temperature values while nursing students are working on mannequin patients in the Sim Lab.

STUDENT DEVELOPERS: Dan Tournoux, Eng ’15; junior Joe Ebel; Jerome Kolf, Eng ’15; Matt Mesko, Eng ’15; Tommy Fandel, Eng ’15.

CAPSTONE PROJECT FILLS NURSING STUDENTS’ NEEDS As part of their clinical simulations, Marquette College of Nursing students evaluate and treat high-tech mannequins in a variety of medical scenarios. The mannequins can talk, perspire, breathe and even give birth. What they can’t do is project a body temperature readable by an ordinary thermometer. That’s where Opus College of Engineering students stepped in, one team of which spent last year working collaboratively with staff of the Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare Center for Clinical Simulation to build a specialized thermometer for use in its high-tech simulation laboratory. Team B36 was given a budget of $1,300 to design and build this thermometer as part of its senior year capstone project, the goal of which is to develop a technology-based solution to a real-life problem in industry or the community or on Marquette’s campus. In a process that emulates the work of professional engineers in the industry, the team first met with the staff at the simulation lab before creating a product design. “We had meetings, we toured the facilities and we found out how simulation staff can run simulations for a control room,” says former B36 team member Tommy Fandel, Eng ’15.

“What we found most important was the wireless range because we need to establish connectivity between the control room and device,” says Matt Mesko, Eng ’15, another member of B36. The team successfully constructed an operational thermometer for real student use in the simulation lab. In addition to benefitting the College of Nursing, these capstone projects — considered such valuable learning experiences that they’re required in the curriculum at all accredited U.S. engineering colleges — give engineering students an opportunity to translate their course work into real-world problem-solving. So says Dr. Jay Goldberg, P.E., director of the Healthcare Technologies Management Program and clinical professor of biomedical engineering. “This is their chance to take what they’ve learned previously and actually apply it to a real problem instead of just solving a problem in the back of the book,” he says. —Jonathon McHugh

Jerome Kolf, Eng ’15, and Mary Paquette, Nurs ’82, Grad ’03, College of Nursing.

Photos by Kevin Pauly

The team built a product that looks similar to the center’s current thermometers, but this one can receive predetermined temperature values — for example, 101 degrees in a scenario in which the patient has a fever. The data comes from an instructor’s computer in the control room via Bluetooth technology when the nursing student places it in the mannequin’s mouth. Early on, the team identified that ensuring a solid Bluetooth connection was critical to the project’s success.

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Photo by John Sibilski


UNDERGRADUATES GETTING A LEG UP WITH RESEARCH Timothy Pawlicki quickly recognized the biggest issue he had to overcome to help elderly patients while working at a Milwaukee-area senior living facility. “The No. 1 problem we faced was keeping people busy, and how do we get people outside, especially in the winter months?” he says. “It’s better for them if they aren’t cooped up in a living room all day.” Solving that issue led to a series of events that culminated in Pawlicki, Alex Barrington and Michael Barrowclift, all seniors, undertaking an undergraduate research project in the Opus College. The trio developed a system that allows elderly people to exercise in a portable, large virtual-reality unit that simulates an outdoor experience. “It gives the feeling of being outside,” says Barrington, who is the project manager. “We’re using scenery so people can exercise without having to go to the Grand Canyon, for example.”

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After the patients exercise, the student researchers plan to use galvanic skin response tests to determine stress levels. They also hope to determine through their research — one of 38 projects that received funding from the university’s first strategic innovation fund — if anxiety and depression among seniors lessen after using their virtual-reality exercise system.

Above: Sophomore Elise Hahn appreciates the hands-on learning she receives while conducting research in the Thermofluid Science and Energy Applications Lab with her project adviser, Dr. John Borg (not shown).

There has been a large increase in the college’s undergraduate research fellowship positions thanks to support from the GHR and Opus foundations, both resources connected to Gerald Rauenhorst, Eng ’51, the college’s namesake. The research opportunities are a great way for students to receive acclaim as experienced and competitive scholars, and they can give them a leg up on other graduates when it comes time for finding a job.

/// “It’s a great way for students to broaden their educational opportunities,” says Dr. John Borg, P.E., the college’s director of undergraduate research and associate professor of mechanical engineering. “It also helps the college increase its overall research activities.” This year, there are 17 projects being conducted by 19 students. Each project receives a $5,000 stipend and gives the undergraduates valuable experience that would be difficult to get elsewhere in the working world, including establishing meaningful relationships with graduate students and faculty, developing marketable career skills, and deepening their academic experience. “It makes students think out of the box,” Borg says. “We think of it like a farm team for graduate students.” Dr. Patrick McNamara, assistant professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering, says the work that many students are doing is cutting edge. “They are working on things we don’t know the answer to yet,” he says. And it’s significantly different than the work students do in class, says Dr. John LaDisa, Jr., associate professor of biomedical engineering and director of the Marquette University Visualization Lab. “Students can take the next step and contribute to a worldly event that they can’t do in the classroom,” he says. Melinda Choi, a senior who is researching the effects of common antimicrobials on pure culture methanogens, says the opportunity for undergraduate research has been the highlight of her time at Marquette. “You are able to learn so much more beyond the classroom, and you can explore topics that are specific to your interests,” she says. “For me, attending lectures is not my optimal learning style. I'm more of an observational and visual learner, so I am better able to understand a concept by observing it in an experiment.” The program is growing steadily as students continue with summer research, working alongside graduate students in the college’s labs. “Undergraduate participation helps generate more interest in the research programs,” says McNamara, who is Choi’s project adviser. “Research can bring textbooks to life.” —Joseph DiGiovanni

Jake Stefan, John McDermott, Billie Jean Shukle Smith, Paul Weinewuth

Alumni National Awards presented to engineering’s finest Congratulations to the 2015 Opus College of Engineering Alumni National Award recipients: // Young Alumnus of the Year Jake Stefan, Eng ’99, is vice

president of ARCO Design/Build, a national industrial construction firm based in Atlanta. He was honored for his professional achievements, volunteerism and fundraising efforts. // Distinguished Alumnus of the Year John McDermott,

Eng ’80, is senior vice president of global sales and marketing at Rockwell Automation in Milwaukee. His team delivers automation solutions that help customers drive productivity. // B illie Jean Shukle Smith, Eng ’ 89, a partner at

Michael Best & Friedrich in Milwaukee, received the Service Award for helping innovators, designers and inventors protect their intellectual property. // Paul Weinewuth, Eng ’86, who received the Entrepreneurial

Award, co-founded Avionos, a Chicago-based digital consulting firm that specializes in the customer experience. Nominations for next year’s awards can be submitted by clicking the “Nominate an Alum” button at Nominations can also be sent to Jill Ott, engagement director in University Advancement, at

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Illustration by Patrick Castro

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At their core, engineers are problem-solvers. Modern-day pioneers, they design and build solutions to explore new frontiers, from the microscopic to the cosmic. They imagine and develop tools to accomplish tasks grand and routine. Engineers are technically savvy but creative — analytical dreamers. Much of the same could be said of entrepreneurs. But, for all their similarities, many engineers don’t think of themselves as such. The Opus College of Engineering wants that to change.

On a dreary day in early November, 85 engineering students walked into Engineering Hall and were given 12 hours to identify a problem that senior citizens face and design a solution. This vague assignment kicked off the college’s first hackathon, sponsored by Milwaukee-based Direct Supply, an equipment, service and technology provider for the elder care industry. Teams of undergraduate and graduate students from all engineering disciplines worked with Direct Supply representatives and a panel of senior citizens, including some Marquette alumni, to create solutions that included in-home assistive technologies, social apps, facial recognition and memory-assistive algorithms, home security systems, and medication management devices. A design challenge on the surface, it’s also the first step in any good entrepreneurial process, according to Laura Lindemann, Eng ’00, the college’s director of industry relations. “Engineers, like entrepreneurs, should be starting with that problem identification,” she says. “It was great to have this open-ended challenge where our students could decide what problem

they needed to solve and then solve it. And the students enjoyed using their skills to tackle a real business problem.” That realism is key, Lindemann points out. “This isn’t fake. It’s not just a simulation or a recruiting tool,” she says. “Besides, students are savvy. They don’t want you to script something with an answer. This sort of competition, in real time, mirrors the business environment. Students respond to that.” Entrepreneurism truly came to life during the competition’s judging stage and in the weeks after the competition, says Justin Smith, Eng ’03, Direct Supply engineering manager. “Teams had to present their ideas to a panel of industry experts and potential investors. They had to not only explain why their idea was valuable but also how they were going to manufacture, market and ultimately sell their product,” he says. In the end, a graduate student team and another team composed of freshmen tied for first place, and neither one is finished yet.

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The freshman team, which received pro bono patent work from local law firm Michael Best & Friedrich, will continue working on its interactive device design. Direct Supply was so impressed with the graduate team’s mechanical device that it will run the concept through its corporate incubator, the Innovation Center, with hopes of manufacturing it. BEYOND THE ‘OBEDIENT ENGINEER’ Though companies like Direct Supply are putting students through their problem-solving paces, Dr. Jay Goldberg, P.E., wants to change the way students think about engineering. Director of the healthcare technologies management program and a clinical professor of biomedical engineering, he is working to create what he calls a “culture of entrepreneurship” in the college. Recognizing that a culture shift is no small task, Goldberg and others in the college set out to join the Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network, or KEEN, a collaborative network of engineering schools that seeks to instill an entrepreneurial mindset in undergraduates. As a member, Marquette receives funding from KEEN to educate faculty about how to make changes to courses and curricula, and college faculty participate in daylong seminars, webinars, regional meetings, and other networking and thought-sharing events. “The network itself is a wealth of resources,” Goldberg says. “We can tap into best practices from other institutions, and vice versa, so we all don’t have to reinvent the wheel.” Infusing this mindset throughout the curriculum gets students thinking entrepreneurially from day one and throughout their college careers — and that prepares them for how business works, says Goldberg, who worked for various medical device companies before joining academia. “There was a time when it was OK for engineers to just focus on design. They didn’t even let engineers out in the field,” he explains. “Now, the more successful companies have their engineers working with customers so they can see firsthand what the problems are and then solve them through design. As engineering educators, we must go beyond the ‘obedient engineer’ who simply focuses on the technical issues without understanding the customers’ needs.” Though “entrepreneurship” often suggests starting businesses, Goldberg cautions that pushing students toward startups isn’t the goal. “Teaching students to start companies when they graduate is not the focus. It’s about the mindset,” he says.






Mark Gehring, Eng ’86, agrees. A serial entrepreneur who is co-founder and chief strategy officer for the oncology imaging analytics firm HealthMyne, he regularly speaks with Marquette engineering classes and echoes Goldberg’s approach. “I think it’s great that engineering students are being exposed to business aspects early on,” he says. “It’s another tool to learn how a company operates. It doesn’t mean you need to launch a startup after school. These are skills that are valuable in any organization.” THE ENGINEER ENTREPRENEURS “If you can’t find 10 people who will give you $100, or 100 people to give you $10, you don’t have a market fit.” That’s how Devin Turner, Eng ’14, talks now. The co-founder and CEO of FocalCast didn’t always have such business savvy, despite knowing early on that he wanted to start a company. Only a few years ago, he and business partner and chief technology officer Charlie Beckwith, Eng ’14, were tech-focused students planning the senior design project that became FocalCast. Today, their company, a mobile app that allows users to wirelessly present PowerPoints from their tablet or smartphone directly to a display device, is at the competitive Capital Innovators incubator in St. Louis. They’re making deals with the likes of Nestlé Purina and looking to raise $500,000 to expand the team. Though Turner gained some business experience as an undergraduate while working in the aerospace sector, and Beckwith learned on the job at a large, publicly traded company, both admit they absorbed a lot about business and entrepreneurship as the business evolved. So, like Gehring, they applaud the college for integrating the entrepreneurial mindset and skills throughout the undergraduate experience. For engineering students who, like them, want to launch a company, a culture of entrepreneurship provides a running start. “We were very product focused, concerned with the technology and how it works,” Beckwith explains. “High tech and ‘neat’ don’t mean viable business,” Turner adds. They know that now. After all, they’re problem-solvers, analytical dreamers who — in an engineering-driven company — built a culture of entrepreneurship.

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LEARNING TO LEAD Traveling halfway across the country to spend the day with a team leader and sitting in a high-level NASA project strategy meeting could have been an intimidating experience for an undergraduate engineering student. Instead of feeling lost, though, Jessica Willard walked away with confidence:

I can do this.

“I was honestly so blown away by how much of what I have learned at Marquette helped me understand these meetings,” she says. “It made me feel like I could participate in this meeting. It was really cool.” As a junior in the Opus College of Engineering’s E-Lead program, Willard traveled to Pasadena, Calif., to spend a day shadowing Katie Weiss, Eng ’01, a senior flight software engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

During her junior year, Jessica Willard traveled to Pasadena, Calif., to spend a day learning leadership lessons from Katie Weiss, Eng ’01, a senior flight software engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Shadowing Marquette alumni who are industry leaders in the field of engineering is one of the key components of E-Lead, a program combining courses and real-world experiences to help students develop leadership expertise to complement the traditional technical side of an engineering education. The idea is to give students a taste of what it takes to lead a team, inspire value-focused innovation and get them thinking about everything they’ll need to do to become a team leader themselves someday — and succeed at it when they get there. “They see the interaction we have in a collaborative engineering environment,” Weiss says. “It was really good for them to see that. Because one of the things you don’t really get exposure to as a student is: What do engineers actually do on a day-to-day basis? They got to see what it is we really do and that it is a team effort.” Students apply to the three-year E-Lead program early in their sophomore year; about 20 new students are accepted every year. The application process includes an essay in which students describe their leadership aspirations and discuss a leadership philosophy, theory, skill, trait or behavior that they would like to explore further. A selection committee of industry leaders, faculty and staff selects qualified candidates and invites them for individual interviews.

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Photo by John Sibilski

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Engineers have the privilege of innovating solutions that create value for people around the globe.

The ability of engineers to have an impact is profoundly influenced by their leadership skills. — Dr. Kristina Ropella Opus Dean of the Opus College of Engineering

Photo by John Sibilski

“Engineers have the privilege of innovating solutions that create value for people around the globe,” says Dr. Kristina Ropella, Eng ’85, Opus Dean of the Opus College of Engineering. “The ability of engineers to have an impact is profoundly influenced by their leadership skills. We designed E-Lead to intentionally immerse engineering students in leadership development that is focused on people and change and aligns with the Jesuit ethos of servant leadership. We give our students plenty of opportunity to observe, reflect on and practice authentic, servant leadership in a rapidly changing, increasingly complex world.” Willard’s trip to NASA, for example, gave her a front-row seat to see the value Weiss adds to the agency’s important work through her ability to guide and persuade her team and her superiors. At one meeting, Weiss effectively convinced members of her team to move forward with a project that they had previously planned to continue discussing in a future meeting. At another, Willard witnessed the aerospace software engineer counseling upper leadership about the risks associated with a change of platforms, leading them to avoid a decision that would have impacted her entire team. “Katie taught me that leadership in engineering isn’t simply being technical or just having soft skills,” Willard says. “I got to see her navigate a conversation, consolidate ideas, and then reiterate them to the team in a manner that was clear and concise. Being a leader is having the ability to influence and inspire teammates to move an entire project in a healthy direction.”

Tell team leaders what they need to hear, not what they want to hear.

A LADDER TO LEADERSHIP E-Lead begins in the fall semester of sophomore year, when interested candidates take a course called Professional Development for Engineers while applying to the program. Once accepted, they attend orientation programs in preparation for the following spring semester, in which they take a Foundations of Leadership and Individual Development course, attend Marquette’s campus-based session of the Institute — a partnership with LeaderShape Inc., a nonprofit based in Champaign, Ill. — and give a presentation to the E-Lead advisory board. The program continues junior year, when students take more leadership-oriented classes in addition to their co-op or research experiences. They also do a leader-shadow experience, with each student spending full days with two different alumni in executive leadership positions outside the student’s engineering specialty. Often, these experiences involve traveling

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away from Milwaukee — but not always, as Marquette President Michael R. Lovell is involved in the program. President Lovell, a mechanical engineer, hosted a pair of students for leadership shadowing experiences in fall 2014, giving them a daylong, firsthand look at what it takes to lead a Jesuit university. Throughout the program, E-Lead students are encouraged to practice leadership through work or service, read leadership books and articles, communicate with mentors, and share their knowledge, skills and experiences with other Marquette students. The only cost for students to participate in E-Lead is textbooks; even travel expenses are paid for, mostly through donations to the program. “This is definitely bringing more aspects of the working world to my eyes,” says senior Nick Haraus, another member of E-Lead. “I’m getting to the point where I should be looking for jobs, transitioning from internships to what I am going to be doing for the rest of my life. If anything, this program is pulling my attention away from solely focusing on the technical aspects of what I’m going to be doing.”

Build a sense of trust between you and the rest of your team.

LEADERSHIP IN ACTION Haraus spent a day shadowing Fred Darlington, Eng ’81, vice president of space and airborne systems at Raytheon in Tampa, Fla. Haraus wants to go into aerospace engineering, so touring the Raytheon facility was a treat but not his biggest takeaway. “One of the key pieces of advice I got from Mr. Darlington was that, as a leader, he wants all his team members to tell him what he needs to hear, not what he wants to hear,” Haraus says. “That begins by building a sense of trust between you and the rest of your team so you can be honest and open with one another.” From Darlington, Haraus also learned how a wise leader knows when to pass a task to another qualified employee, even when he knows he could do it himself. “As a leader, your team will function best if you can identify your members’ strengths and cater to those to complete a job most efficiently. When each member can operate at his or her best, the whole team can progress effectively,” he says. Junior Justin Hauter shadowed David Frazee, Grad ’85, vice president and general manager of 3M Digital Oral Care, and Bill Stemper, Eng ’77, president of Comcast Business Services, as part of his E-Lead experience. “Before this experience, my only industry experience had been lifeguarding and class projects, which made it hard to convince a company I was the guy for their job,” Hauter says. “After the shadow, I had gained not only behind-the-scenes experience but the confidence that I understood enough of the process to be a part of it. When I went into interviews, I didn’t have to purport confidence. I was genuinely knowledgeable, and it paid off!” Adds senior Marisa Filter: “E-Lead gives me such a head start on other students who are looking for jobs upon graduation. I learned so much about myself and leadership in general. I have a much clearer picture of myself in five years because of these host experiences. I cannot thank Marquette and E-Lead enough for this opportunity.” To young engineering students considering E-Lead, Willard has one piece of advice: “I would say it’s a mistake if you don’t apply.” Learn more about the companies where E-Lead students learn valuable leadership lessons at

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Through research, product deployment, and innovative educational programs, Opus College faculty and alumni are developing roles for robots in some of life’s challenging situations. BY ERIK GUNN

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It may seem like a long way from vacuuming a living room to helping control deadly nuclear power plant radiation. But when three reactors in Japan’s Fukushima power plant went into meltdown in 2011 after a powerful tsunami triggered by an earthquake, the Tokyo Electrical Power Co. got help from the company that manufactures the Roomba — the self-powered, robotic vacuum cleaner from the iRobot Corp. To be sure, it wasn’t a phalanx of Roombas that iRobot sent over to Japan. Although that’s what the Bedford, Mass.-based company is best known for, an important part of its overall business is in robots primarily designed for use in war zones, public safety arenas and disaster response, says iRobot executive Tim Trainer, Eng ’79. Soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq first used iRobot defense and security robots to find and disarm hidden explosive devices or move them out of harm’s way. Given these robots’ success in dangerous environments, it was natural for the company to consider how it could help with the Fukushima catastrophe. Considering questions like that is a big part of Trainer’s job at iRobot, for which he is a vice president in the company’s defense and security business unit. Trainer’s primary assignment is to oversee international sales outside North America, where his preparation positions him to win new business by helping clients find crucial tasks that are better suited to robots than humans. “I’ve got an understanding of what it takes to develop technology,” he says. “It really is translating the customer needs into the technical capabilities that we can deliver.” He credits his Marquette education with giving him “a very solid technical base” and nurturing his ability to adapt to new technologies. Trainer’s work on the frontier where robots are deployed into the increasingly challenging terrain of wars, public safety, natural disasters and industrial accidents highlights the roles Marquette engineers are playing in the expanding world of robotics. It’s not just alumni driving these advances. Dr. Joseph Schimmels, Eng ’81, associate dean for research and professor of mechanical engineering, is working to address a robotics design challenge that, coincidentally, became especially obvious in post-quake Fukushima. Robots typically perform best in unconstrained environments such as automotive spray painting and spot welding lines where they’re free of tight spaces and human contact, Schimmels explains. In situations such as Fukushima, some robots (not the iRobot devices) struggled with tasks such as navigating hallways and turning shut-off valves. Supported by a $750,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, Schimmels’ research design innovations intend to make robots respond with more human-like flexibility when encountering obstacles in such confines.

Still other Marquette engineering professors have turned to robotics to address problems related to human performance limitations. Dr. Robert Scheidt, Eng ’89, professor of biomedical engineering, is using a simple robotic device as part of his research into how the brain controls movement, particularly when a person has sensory and motor impairments, such as a stroke patient. Drs. Brian Schmit, Eng ’88, professor of biomedical engineering, and Allison Hyngstrom, associate professor in the Department of Physical Therapy, are testing robotics-based systems intended to help assess the range of motion and other capabilities of people with spinal cord injuries, strokes and multiple sclerosis. Dr. Andrew Williams, Grad ’95, the faculty founder of the innovative Humanoid Engineering and Intelligent Robotics Lab at Marquette, is using humanoid robots to cooperate intuitively with humans, including programming that encourages obese children to exercise. He is a recognized leader in bringing robotics education to women and underrepresented minorities. (See related sidebar.) LIFESAVERS Trainer was managing operations at iRobot in 2011 when the earthquake struck off Japan’s Pacific coast. Fortuitously, an iRobot sales team was in Singapore at the time. “They just happened to be talking to a Japanese self-defense force general showing the technology that we had available,” he says. “The tsunami hit, and we knew there was significant devastation. The general said, ‘This technology seems ideal for the search and rescue and recovery efforts.’ ” As word got back to Bedford, the company’s internal email system was alive with chatter about how the company could help. “We have an incredibly unique work environment,” Trainer says. “There are some very dedicated roboticists who really got into this field because of the good it can do.” Less than a week after the quake, iRobot sent some of the company’s military systems and a team to Japan: two 710 Kobra and two 510 models, along with some modified hardware and programming. The equipment was primarily used to accurately map radiation levels inside the contaminated plant. Cameras delivered detailed visuals to crews outside. Some of those helped assess structural integrity inside the building. Modifications were made for the unprecedented environment in which the machines were operating. This included treatment of camera lenses to prevent fogging in the severe humidity and the incorporation of industrial vacuums to remove radioactive debris. The locomotion treads on the robots — designed mainly for climbing stairs and maneuvering over rocks and sand — were modified to enable enhanced stair-climbing capabilities.

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For Trainer, who had a 30-year career as a U.S. Navy pilot after graduating from Marquette, moving to private industry by joining iRobot allowed him to catch a new technological wave. His years in the service coincided with “phenomenal growth” in aviation technology, and, he says, “I think we’re seeing the same thing in robotics.” A NEED FOR MORE HUMAN-LIKE ROBOTS Meanwhile, back on campus, Schimmels is delving into the opposite end of the technology development cycle. For years, he and his graduate students, as well as other colleagues, have collaborated on what might seem to be the most basic questions robotics pose: how to actually control and manipulate the selfpropelled machines in the first place. It’s much more complex than it seems.

Translating those differences to a mechanical robot arm is extraordinarily challenging. For one thing, the high redundancy of the human body — many of our joints do similar things — helps explain how we can control our actions so precisely. Making a similar robotic system with that degree of redundancy is complicated. “Robots are very good at moving around in free space,” Schimmels says. “That’s why a properly programmed robot can do such things as spot welding in a factory quite effectively.”

Photo courtesy of iRobot

People can calibrate their movements, picking up delicate glass very gently and picking up a heavy rock with a firm grip or a squirming kitten firmly, yet gently, enough not to crush him or her.

Tim Trainer’s wor k on the new frontier where robots are deployed into the increasingly challenging terrain of wars, natural disasters and industrial accidents highlights the roles Marquette engineers are playing in the expanding world of robotics.

Anything that requires more complicated interaction with other objects, turning a crank or putting a key in a lock, for instance, is tougher. “Assembling parts is a hard task for a robot,” he notes. Again, Fukushima offers a clear example, notably the limitations of robotic technology. One thing that has not been possible so far, says Schimmels, is using robotics to close valves inside the radiated area. Robots “can generate force to open a valve that is stuck, but you don’t want to break the valve in doing so,” he says. A robot can’t discern the difference in the type of force that impedes its motion. Forces from friction need to be overcome, whereas forces from geometric conflict need to be accommodated.

Photo by John Sibilski

That’s where Schimmels and his studies of how to calibrate and adjust different levels of stiffness, also referred to as impedance, in robot joints come in. “All of my career has been addressing that,” he says. “How do we design appropriate mechanical impedance for the task?” Toward this goal, Schimmels patented a new robot-joint prototype with programmable impedance. His arched flexure stiffness actuator allows a robot to have lower stiffness in some directions and higher stiffness in others to make the robot safer to use when collaborating with humans and performing constrained manipulation. “A lot of the work is actually theoretical,” he explains. But if they can further refine the use of impedance as a form of robot control, the result could yield anything from robots that can at last close a valve with ease to new approaches to prosthetic limbs, just for starters. 20 // 2015

Dr. Joseph Schimmels is developing new robotics technology to better equip robots to take the place of human workers in dangerous environments.

We Robot: more robotics innovators at Marquette BODY WORKS Collaboration with other institutions like ASU, as well as across disciplines, is a hallmark of research done at Marquette. Drs. Brian Schmit, a biomedical engineering professor, and Allison Hyngstrom, an assistant professor of physical therapy who has a doctorate in neuroscience, are working together on robot-based devices that help recovering stroke patients and others exercise and work various body parts more effectively.

A National Robotics Initiative research grant from the National Science Foundation culminated with a CompuGirls Robot Rally showing the girls’ human-robot interaction social justice projects.

ROBOTICS SCHOOL FOR GIRLS Dr. Andrew Williams, professor of computer and electrical engineering, John P. Raynor, S.J., Distinguished Chair, and director of the Humanoid Engineering and Intelligent Robotics Lab, is at the forefront of robots collaborating with humans in a different way. With a $500,000 National Robotics Initiative research grant from the National Science Foundation, Williams and his colleague at Arizona State University developed a culturally relevant curriculum to teach girls to program humanoid robots, or co-robots, to actually talk with and listen to humans, autonomously. The initiative’s goal is to research the educational aspects of exposing girls from underresourced areas to co-robotics to get them interested in robotics, science, technology, engineering or math careers. The project is a fine complement to the high-profile effort Williams oversaw through which student teams built soccer-playing robots — making Marquette the only U.S. university to compete in the past two Robot World Cups’ Teen-sized Humanoid League in Brazil and China. As future applications for co-robotics are expected to grow in diverse areas such as health care, agriculture, education and advanced manufacturing, the need for more women to enter the profession is even greater. “However, most current K–12 robotics activities are focused on task-based robot-to-robot competitions and electromechanical robots,” Williams says. “These existing robotics programs are struggling to engage girls, particularly those from underrepresented populations.” With ASU engineering majors serving as peer mentors and Williams responsible for the training of high school teachers as instructors, Tempe middle school students are developing co-robot systems with features that allow the robots to interface with girls and other community members. There’s also an emphasis on designing these projects with a social justice component, Williams explains, citing projects tackling cyberbullying, suicide prevention and homelessness. The Intel Foundation provided additional funding to expand the program, and another NSF grant is supporting his development of a scalable business model and prototype to make low-cost humanoid robots so more students around the country can be exposed to the curriculum. “Developing girls as technosocial change agents with technology skills that can be used to improve communities is an important element in engaging girls in technological endeavors,” Williams adds. “That’s what this program is doing, and we’re excited by what we see happening.”

Clinical development of the technology is not imminent, says Hyngstrom, and the focus isn’t on machines that would replace body parts but, rather, on using robotics to analyze patients’ recovery. Though devices are available commercially for use in a similar capacity, Hyngstrom points out that these existing devices are uncomfortable to use for any period of time. The experimental equipment Schmit and Hyngstrom are developing is suited for people with a much wider range of abilities. “I’m always trying to help people move better, and I’m always trying to help people realize how much they can move,” she says.

Collaboration with other institutions is a hallmark of Marquette research.

REVERSE ENGINEERING Dr. Robert Scheidt’s use of robotics is in some ways aimed at even more basic questions. Scheidt’s research involves employing robot devices to offer resistance to movements made by people who have neurological impairments, whether from stroke or other illness. “We use our robots to perturb arm and hand movements to determine how the injured brain responds,” the biomedical engineering professor says.

Dr. Robert Scheidt uses robotics to determine the factors that cause a patient’s sensory and motor deficiencies from disease or injury. This effort helps patients recover and rehabilitate more effectively.

By studying the behavioral and neural responses of people who are subjected to the robot experiments, Scheidt says, his research team is hoping to zero in on the factors contributing to each patient’s sensory and motor deficits. As he puts it, “We’re trying to reverse engineer how the brain controls movement, to see how stroke compromises that control and to engineer new ways to circumvent common sensorimotor deficits.” That, in turn, could improve patients’ quality of life. marquette university opus college of engineering

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The number of research centers constituting the Brittle Bone Disorders Consortium, which received a National Institutes of Health $6.25 million grant. Dr. Gerald Harris, P.E., Grad ’78, ’81, professor of biomedical engineering and director of Marquette’s Orthopaedic Research and Rehabilitation Engineering Center, received $500,000 of that funding. This five-year initiative will focus on understanding and providing better therapeutic options for brittle bone disorder, also known as osteogenesis imperfecta, a congenital disorder that results in fragile bones that break easily and an array of associated non-skeletal symptoms including dental, respiratory and cardiac conditions. Harris will contribute to mobility assessments of participating children living with the disorder.

With nearly 2 million people in the United States living with limb loss, most commonly of the lower leg, Dr. Philip Voglewede, associate professor of mechanical engineering, has plenty of motivation to develop improved prosthetic devices. For a few years, in an effort to design a lower-limb prosthetic ankle device that allows for true normal human gait, Voglewede and his lab colleagues have developed one device that uses a motor and another variation that is passive. Several spinoff projects related to the passive prosthesis have been Voglewede’s focus as of late. One of those projects is a dynamic simulation model of human gait. “To better design the prosthetic device, students in my lab are designing a forward dynamic model of human gait using advanced control techniques,” he explains. “In a nutshell, the model tries to predict how an amputee will respond to any type of prosthesis before actually having to put it on.”


The dynamic simulation of human gait will help doctors complete pre-surgical planning for those with gait abnormalities and help prosthetists and orthetists better prescribe assistive devices.

Improving prosthetic devices Though the passive variation of the ankle prosthetic has been tested on human subjects, a third iteration is in the works and will be tested this fall. Voglewede’s research could eventually help amputees walk more normally and thus become more mobile and active, which, in turn, would improve the longevity and quality of life of this population. This year, Voglewede received the Robert and Mary Gettel Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence, the university’s highest teaching honor.

To better design the prosthetic device, students in my lab are designing a FORWARD DYNAMIC MODEL OF HUMAN GAIT using advanced control techniques. —Dr. Philip Voglewede 22 // 2015

The Opus College of Engineering is transforming engineering education by preparing today’s engineers to be creative problem-solvers. We invite you to read how our professors and programs are seeking THE NEXT SOLUTIONS TO OUR WORLD’S GREATEST CONCERNS, all the while leading the way for the next generation of Marquette engineers.

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The putative arm-leg blood pressure difference prompting treatment for patients with coarctation of the aorta, a congenital cardiovascular disease characterized by a severe stenosis of the main artery delivering blood from the heart to the rest of the body. CoA affects 5,000 to 8,000 births annually in the United States. Treatment by surgical correction has saved the lives of thousands of children. Unfortunately, many children still have a reduced lifespan from cardiovascular morbidity, mostly because of refractory hypertension. With a $140,000 grant from the American Heart Association, investigators from Marquette, including Dr. John LaDisa, Jr., and the Medical College of Wisconsin will define the extent and underlying processes behind vascular changes that occur from CoA using a new experimental model devoid of complications that often exist clinically. Results from this approach will be used to propose new criteria for surgeries and long-term treatment of CoA patients, likely including a revised pressure difference for when treatment is warranted.


The average factor by which forces must be amplified and applied to a hemiparetic stroke survivor’s less-affected hand before he or she can perceive robotic perturbations. According to Dr. Robert Scheidt, this appears to indicate that even if a stroke appears to impact only one side of the body, the less-involved side is definitely not “unimpaired,” because more force is still needed — compared with non-stroke subjects — before limb motion can be perceived. Scheidt, professor of biomedical engineering, is using robotic technology to evaluate the impact of stroke on sensorimotor control. The results of these tests, which compare true joint position to a subject’s perceived joint position, are helping design new therapies for treating patients in clinical settings. (See related story on page 18).

TRACKING HUMAN MOBILITY: AN INTERDISCIPLINARY PROJECT The new mobility monitor offers the advantage of tracking subjects’ movement without requiring them to be equipped with sensors, as shown here. Co-investigators Dr. Jack Winters, professor of biomedical engineering, and Dr. Kristof Kipp, assistant professor of exercise science in the College of Health Sciences, have been collaborating with Kaliber Imaging on a $500,000 NSF-funded project to develop an autonomous computer vision system to objectively monitor mobility. Winters has provided technical assistance to Kaliber as the company develops the mobility monitor, including 3D algorithms and testing protocol prep work. The monitor uses state-of-the-art hardware and software developments, including existing motion analysis, aerospace technology, and computer game technology. The compact, cost-effective system will track a person’s movement without the need to equip the subject with sensors. As it tracks, it can identify gait problems to correct, which will allow a provider to offer feedback to motivate the patient to follow his or her prescribed treatment. The monitor’s intent is to enhance independent living and reduce fall risk among the elderly and disabled populations. Once complete, the mobility monitor prototype will be tested in a clinical setting, where Winters and Kipp will evaluate its precision and utility. The system will most likely be used by physical therapists, but it has potential in other areas. “Given that the monitor will be able to provide data related to a person’s movement mechanics, some of this data could be used to screen athletes for risk of injury or establish baseline values for healthy athletes to help them return to play if they do get injured,” Kipp adds. “Although athletic performance is not the major focus of the grant, this is an avenue we would like to pursue in the future in collaboration with Marquette’s Athletic Performance Research Center.”

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The recent research of Dr. Stephen Heinrich, professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering, involves the theoretical modeling of vibrating microelectromechanical systems to detect chemical or biological agents in liquids or gases; probe the characteristics of very small substances; and harvest vibration energy. Heinrich spent this past summer as a visiting research scholar in the Initiative d’Excellence program at the Université de Bordeaux. During his two-month appointment, Heinrich derived theoretical models as part of a multidisciplinary project aimed at developing organic-based microdevices, including ones that convert energy from ambient vibrations into useful electrical energy. The program’s goal is to enable internationally recognized scholars to develop innovative collaborative research projects in conjunction with a partnering French institution. “The purpose of microscale ‘energy harvesters’ or ‘energy scavengers’ is to convert ambient vibrational energy into useful electrical energy needed to power, for example, microsensors deployed in hard-to-reach areas,” Heinrich explains. “The idea is that the microsensor can operate autonomously thanks to the small energy harvester that supplies the necessary power. This eliminates the need to replace batteries on a regular basis, which is especially important for remote sensing systems.” Heinrich’s research specifically aims to optimize the harvester’s structural design — its shape, dimensions and materials — to achieve efficient energy harvesters that maximize the electrical power generated per unit volume of the device. How can such technology be used? Heinrich says its applications are relevant today not only in the development of maintenance-free sensing networks but also in the significant energy savings associated with reduced transportation needs for maintenance trips to remote areas. Applications for the new devices are numerous, ranging from medicine to public security, with one example being structural health monitoring of large infrastructures. “The natural vibrations of a bridge from traffic and wind may be converted into energy that can power bridge-mounted microsensors for measuring bridge deformation, temperature, moisture or material degradation,” he adds. “They could provide a critical early warning if structural performance is compromised.”

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The amount of power consumed by the embedded computer in Dr. Henry Medeiros’ autonomous robot compared with the power consumed by a regular desktop computer. Through this computer uses significantly less power, it performs at a comparable speed because of its on-board graphics processing unit. Medeiros, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering who joined the faculty in 2014, uses the computer to run computer-vision algorithms to control a ground robot. Low power consumption is important to extend the battery life of autonomous robots. Medeiros’ research focus is on computer vision; robotic vision; vision for autonomous vehicles; and wireless sensor/camera networks.


MANUFACTURING For every $1 spent in manufacturing, another $1.37 is added to the economy, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis. Manufacturing’s impact is particularly high regionally and nationally — Wisconsin ranks second in the nation for manufacturing employment, and Milwaukee ranks among the largest 50 metro areas for the industry. Dr. Joseph Schimmels, professor of mechanical engineering and associate dean for research, won a 2015 strategic innovation fund award to help establish Marquette’s Center for Flexible Assembly Systems. The center will develop the processes and equipment needed to achieve higher-quality, higher-throughput smart assembly automation systems with the goal of guiding, coordinating and performing pre-competitive research directed toward making manufacturing assembly operations more flexible.

THIRTY DR. LARS OLSON BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING Delivering oxygen to poor regions

The World Health Organization has highlighted the need for better oxygen supplies for environments without electricity. Current commercial oxygen concentrators or delivering tanks are a problem for poor rural regions because they are costly and rely on electricity. Acute respiratory infections, mainly pneumonia, remain the leading cause of death in young children worldwide, according to the WHO, and medical oxygen is often life-saving for these patients. Dr. Lars Olson, associate professor and interim chair of biomedical engineering, who developed and introduced a human-powered nebulizer to impoverished countries where electricity is scarce, is setting his sights on giving the same communities better oxygen supplies. Olson’s anticipated NeOx, or non-electric oxygen system, produces and stores oxygen locally, produced principally by renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and human power. One of 38 projects receiving funding from the university’s first strategic innovation fund, Olson plans to use the grant to help refine the NeOx design and build a robust prototype for testing. His team plans to install the system next year in a rural clinic in Saboba, Ghana, to evaluate its performance and refine the design for mass distribution. “Rather than simply try to fit existing technology from developed countries into poor regions,” he says, “we aim to redesign the entire oxygen delivery system for rural Africa and beyond.”

The approximate percentage of generated electricity consumed in the United States through power electronics such as cell phones, computers, device chargers, appliances and hybrid vehicle electric drives. It is estimated this figure will rise to 80 percent by 2030, highlighting the significant need to increase the efficiency and reliability of power converters while decreasing their volume and costs. Dr. Nathan Weise, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering who joined the faculty in 2014, runs Marquette’s Power Conversion and Renewable Energy Lab, which conducts research at the forefront of power electronics and renewable energy technologies. Ongoing projects include charging interfaces for electric vehicles and ocean wave energy converters.

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Dr. Patrick McNamara’s research article “The Impacts of Triclosan on Anaerobic Community Structures, Function, and Antimicrobial Resistance,” published in Environmental Science & Technology, was named one of ScienceNews’ top 25 year-in-review stories for 2014. McNamara, an assistant professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering, is studying how microbes have turned pharmaceutical weapons into allies. This year, triclosan, an antimicrobial agent, topped the list of chemical traitors, aiding rather than deterring germs. Leaked from products such as toothpaste and hand soap, low doses of triclosan promote drug resistance in germs that cause difficult-to-treat infections. In the environment, the chemical also can disrupt hormone regulation in some animals, such as fish. Read Dr. McNamara’s article in ScienceNews:

.001 degrees Kelvin The sensitivity of the new disposable paper-based microfluidic thermal sensor designed by Dr. Chung Hoon Lee, associate professor of electrical engineering, is higher than commercially available electrochemical sensors. The sensor measures the heat generated by a few molecules of lead or other contaminants in tiny water samples to reveal contamination levels. The sensor can do the same with glucose in tiny blood samples, potentially serving as a life-saving resource for type-1 diabetics.

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CLEANING WATER, CREATING FUEL Dr. Daniel Zitomer, professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering and director of Marquette’s Water Quality Center, has focused his lab’s research on cleaning municipal and industrial wastewater while converting the waste to renewable energy in the form of biomethane, which can be burned to generate electricity or fuel boilers. “These systems are needed in developed and developing countries to support sustainable development,” he explains. Many municipal and industrial wastewaters are treated using microbes that decompose pollutants. Sometimes the microbes aren’t working to their fullest capacity or are affected by negative environmental conditions, including toxic cleaning chemicals entering the treatment plants. Zitomer’s lab group continues to develop specific microbes that, when added to anaerobic treatment processes, increase the rate and amount of methane produced or help restore upset biological treatment systems. The addition of helpful microbes, called bioaugmentation, can be a great help to industries that treat their wastewater and use the methane as fuel. Zitomer and his group received two patents for their bioaugmentation process and methods to produce and dry the beneficial microbes for easy delivery to facilities producing biomethane. They also have a licensing agreement with a company to apply their concepts. The lab’s latest research involves improving the microbes and production methods so they are more affordable and easily delivered to industrial facilities. “No other researchers are developing bioaugmentation for anaerobic applications to our knowledge,” Zitomer says. “We are leading the way to help develop these techniques.”

TRANSPORTATION & INFRASTRUCTURE DR. CHRISTOPHER FOLEY, P.E. CIVIL, CONSTRUCTION AND ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING Testing structure strength Dr. Christopher Foley and his students have been working with Cubic Designs Inc. of New Berlin, Wis., to study the structural behavior and performance of the company’s mezzanine structural systems for industrial facilities in the manufacturing, warehouse and distribution, and food service industries. Cubic Designs has designed, manufactured and installed its mezzanine systems throughout the United States for nearly 30 years, and its structural engineering team came to Marquette’s Engineering Materials and Structural Testing Laboratory with a desire to evaluate the seismic performance of one of its typical system configurations to more efficiently serve clients in high seismic activity areas. “To our knowledge, this is the first full-scale experimental test of a mezzanine structural system done in the United States,” says Foley, Eng ’86, Grad ’89, ’96, professor and chair of civil, construction and environmental engineering. “The full capabilities of our lab were on display, and we had graduate and undergraduate students participating in the experiment, which provided excellent hands-on learning.”

allow the company to design more economical and safer systems for areas in which there is significant seismic activity. The results also will help the company in its regular and ongoing code compliance processes. With the experimental work completed in January, the team is focusing on publishing research results and a final report for international conferences. Foley has discussed results with the American Institute of Steel Construction committee, on which he sits. “When a structure can be designed so that it uses less material and energy in its fabrication and erection, it serves to reduce energy demands. Subsequently, when a structure is safer and less likely to be catastrophically damaged to the point of collapse during a seismic event, it contributes to the health and well-being of individuals working in these facilities,” he says. “Plus, this project will help improve the technologies used as the basis for the design of these systems.” Mat

The testing gave Cubic Designs valuable information that will lead to a better empirical understanding of its structural systems and

BUILDING BRIDGES The Marquette University Engineers Without Borders student chapter designed and built a 45-foot-span vehicular bridge in the municipality of Joyabaj, Guatemala. The bridge, completed in January, serves the communities of Sechum, Xalaxcoc and Flor Blanca by providing year-round access to schools, markets and hospitals. The design/build team included 11 Opus College of Engineering students; four 2014 Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering alumni; Dr. Mark Federle, P.E., CPC, professor and McShane Chair in Construction Engineering and Management; and nine mentors from the Wisconsin Professional Partners chapter of EWB. The project received the 2015 NCEES Engineering Award for Connecting Professional Practice and Education, a $25,000 award that will likely be used for the construction of a pedestrian bridge, also in the Joyabaj area of Guatemala, that will be student designed this academic year and built in 2016.

Cubic Designs Inc. sought a seismic performance evaluation for one of its typical mezzanine systems from Dr. Christopher Foley and Marquette’s Engineering Materials and Structural Testing Laboratory.


With a 20-story reinforced concrete frame located in Palo Alto, Calif., Dr. Ting Lin and her research partners have demonstrated that Adaptive Incremental Dynamic Analysis produces similar probability of collapse as its Multiple Stripes Analysis counterpart, making AIDA a promising new tool for linking ground motion selection and structural response assessment. Lin’s research lab seeks to improve system reliability and sustainability under multiple hazards, and this includes developing innovative methods, such as AIDA, to improve and measure infrastructure reliability in seismically active regions.

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v Photo by Jesse Lee

Dr. Brooke Mayer, P.E. Assistant professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering


“Our goal here is twofold: to ensure access to a supply of safe, clean drinking water for all people and increase practices that recover value from wastes while maintaining high standards.”

“Collaboration with other researchers at the GWC will expand our knowledge base, stimulate idea generation, and open us up to more ways of defining and solving water-related problems. The new GWC space and specialized equipment expand our teaching and analytical capabilities.”

Dr. Daniel Zitomer, P.E., BCEE Professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering and director of Water Quality Center

IN HIS INAUGURAL ADDRESS, President Michael R. Lovell announced that Marquette is expanding its role in the growing water sector with a significant presence in the Global Water Center in Milwaukee’s Walker’s Point neighborhood. The 100,000-square-foot, seven-story building houses water-related research facilities for universities, existing water-related companies and accelerator space for emerging companies. “This will allow our faculty, staff and students unprecedented opportunities to develop water technologies that will change the world,” President Lovell says. 28 // 2015



“We are bringing together Marquette researchers, industry and the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District to turn our fundamental science into a solution for today’s emerging issues. Specifically, we will be developing a new treatment technology and monitoring process to remove consumer product chemicals from wastewater before they are released into Lake Michigan.”

“I hope to successfully use the space to create new connections with many of the businesses located in the GWC and to help establish Marquette’s presence in the Milwaukee-area water research and technology community. ”

Lee Kimbell, graduate student

Civil, construction and environmental engineering

Dr. Patrick McNamara

Assistant professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering

Marquette has approximately 8,000 square feet of space on the sixth floor, which includes flexible lab space areas, core facilities supporting research, offices and work stations, and collaboration and conferencing space. Space assignments at the GWC will be project based and multidisciplinary. As Marquette strives to be a global leader in water research, the university is taking advantage of the rich water research opportunities in Milwaukee. Take a video tour that outlines the vision behind Marquette’s new space in the Global Water Center at marquette university opus college of engineering

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Non-profit Org. U.S. Postage


Milwaukee, WI Permit No. 628

Marquette University Opus College of Engineering, P.O. Box 1881, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53201-1881 USA

LEARNING TO LEAD. LEADING TO SERVE. Engineers are problem-solvers by nature. In Marquette University’s Opus College of Engineering, we know they can also be great leaders who guide change while serving others. That’s why we offer Engineers in the Lead, or E-Lead, a three-year program concentrated on developing people-focused leaders with the technical skills required to drive innovation. And we do it all in the context of Marquette’s Jesuit tradition. Because when you take the lead, you’re better prepared to Be The Difference.

Engineering Magazine 2015  
Engineering Magazine 2015