Page 1

Volume 10, No.1 March 2011

A Magazine for Alumni and Friends of the T.J. Smull College of Engineering

Inspiring Our Future


A Message from the Dean of the College of Engineering As engineering and computer science educators, the faculty in ONU’s T.J. Smull College of Engineering strive every day to inspire our students to realize the full potential of their education so that, when they graduate, they can go forward and contribute to society’s needs. In my five years as dean of the College of Engineering, I am struck by the passion and commitment that our students bring to campus every fall in their pursuit of engineering or computer science degrees. Their passion must have come from someone – a father or mother, a teacher, a family friend. I remember vividly that my passion for engineering came from a longing to contribute to NASA’s space program, and I was fortunate enough to realize this dream. In many cases, today’s generation of engineering and computer science students are inspired by high school teachers who have encouraged them to consider an intellectually challenging education that can best prepare them for the future. Increasingly, middle schools and high schools weave engineering principles into the classroom in hopes of inspiring students to pursue careers in one of the engineering disciplines. This spring, ONU’s College of Engineering is pleased to announce the formation of a new engineering education major, which will be offered in fall 2011. The program’s overall intent is to develop engineers who also are teachers, and to allow these engineering educators to go directly to the source and impact the formation of young engineers in middle schools and high schools. The engineering education program at ONU is one of the first in the nation and promises to change the way in which we inspire students to consider careers in engineering. In some ways, the engineering education major brings us back to the roots of Ohio Northern University. The University was first formed by Henry Solomon Lehr as a teacher’s college, and, 140 years later, the newest major offered at ONU will help prepare a new generation of engineering educators. The college continues to provide innovative curricula to our engineering and computer science students through unique employment programs and a summer camp designed to encourage young girls to become active in the fields of engineering, mathematics and science. In all of these instances, we rely heavily on our vibrant alumni community to support and foster these opportunities. I remain deeply indebted to the alumni of the T.J. Smull College of Engineering and all that they do to advance the work of the college.

Eric Baumgartner, Dean of the College of Engineering

11 Spring

table of

Campus Contacts


Dr. Eric Baumgartner Dean of Engineering Voice: 419-772-2372 E-mail:







Unexpected careers in engineering The field of engineering


Talking with an ‘imagineer’












SMULL TALK Publication of the T.J. Smull College of Engineering

For four consecutive years, ONU’s College of Engineering has

at Ohio Northern University, Ada, Ohio.

been ranked as one of the nation’s top 50 undergraduate


engineering schools in U.S. News & World Report, America’s Best Colleges 2010.

Professor Thomas Zechman Assistant Dean Voice: 419-772-2698 E-mail: Dr. Jonathan Smalley, BSCE ’71 Chair, Civil Engineering Voice: 419-772-2377 E-mail: Dr. Khalid Al-Olimat Chair, Electrical & Computer Engineering and Computer Science Voice: 419-772-1849 E-mail: Dr. John-David Yoder Chair, Mechanical Engineering Voice: 419-772-2385 E-mail: Dr. Ken Reid Director of Freshman Engineering Voice: 419-772-2383 E-mail: Professor Laurie (Kahl) Laird, BSME ’86 Director of Corporate and Alumni Relations Voice: 419-772-2421 E-mail:

The New Engineering Education Major



Smull Talk

The T.J. Smull College of Engineering has always been on the leading edge of the engineering profession; now, the college is poised to revolutionize engineering education. A new degree of education Competition in the global market is fierce. Global economies – not to mention American society itself – depend on science, technology and engineering. The problem is, at the elementary and high school levels, the American school system seems to be falling behind in engineering education. In fact, a lot of American children have no idea what engineering is really about. “Today’s young elementary students miss out on an entire field of education, and that’s engineering. It’s a field that students, and most teachers, don’t even understand,” says Ken Reid, director of freshman engineering and associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at ONU. In fact, a study commissioned by the American Society for Quality found that, while students find their teachers knowledgeable about math and science, they do a poor job discussing STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) careers or encouraging students to pursue them. “Today’s teachers are apt to discredit engineering by lumping it in with math and science,” Reid continues. “But it is so much more; it’s a creative and innovative field unlike any other that children are exposed to.” “Connecting K-12 engineering with collegelevel engineering requires a certain type of teacher, one who understands and appreciates engineering,” Reid continues. To help create this new type of teacher, ONU’s College of Engineering has developed a new major: the bachelor’s degree in engineering education. “This major will enable us to introduce into school systems teachers who have an inherent appreciation of engineering and the ability to integrate math and science along with engineering analysis and design into the classroom,” says Eric Baumgartner, dean of the College of Engineering. ONU’s engineering education program is one of the first of its kind in the United

States. Students in the program will receive a foundation in engineering, mathematics and education. With coursework and in-class teaching experiences, the program gives students all the necessary qualifications to be licensed as secondary math teachers in Ohio. In addition, its graduates will be prepared to enter engineering graduate school, corporate sales or training, or even careers with science and technology museums. The four-year degree program begins with a foundation of engineering classes and continues with a four-course concentration in a specific area of engineering, such as robotics, infrastructure or computers. The plan of study meets ABET-accreditation requirements and will be submitted for accreditation once there are graduates of the program (a requirement of accreditation). The College of Engineering is currently admitting students for fall 2011. ONU’s program aims to produce elementary and high school teachers who have an accurate perception of engineering as a profession.

“We want our teachers to understand that engineering is more than just math and science. It’s so much more,” says Reid. “When we have teachers accurately encouraging their students to discover what engineering is all about – dimensions of creativity, innovation, impact on society and an entrepreneurial mindset – then we’re going to have totally different prospective students knocking on our door,” Baumgartner says. The reception by high schools has been very positive. Baumgartner had informal discussions with superintendents across Ohio, and all were incredibly excited about the long-term effect the degree could have on their STEM programs. “This degree has the potential to be transformational to our educational system,” says Jeffrey McClellan, BS ’98, principal of the MC2STEM High School in Cleveland. “Engineers have a unique approach to solving problems, and our students need to be taught from that perspective. When these skills are systematically applied in the classroom, students will be more prepared to compete in the 21st century.” “This degree really goes back to the roots of our institution,” Baumgartner says. “Ohio Northern started in 1871 as a school for teachers, and now we have come full circle, educating teachers to take the passion of engineering back out into the classrooms.” Smull Talk


Spreading their love of Northern

By day, Fritz Kucklick, BSME ’69, is president of IMT Consulting in Cassopolis, Mich. His company provides engineering, management and litigation support to complex manufacturing and industrial machinery matters. “What this means is that I spend a good deal of my time working for attorneys and their clients as an expert witness to help resolve lawsuits,” he says. “I also work for large corporations as a consultant to streamline operations, to help launch international operations, or to create design improvements to improve productivity in existing manufacturing operations.” When away from the consulting biz, Kucklick assumes the persona of someone much different: college recruiter. Specifically, he recruits for Ohio Northern University. During the spring 2010 meeting of the College of Engineering Advisory Board, which Kucklick chairs, a plea was made for alumni to help with student recruitment. “During that spring meeting, the Board proposed an action plan with the objective being to boost ONU’s enrollment,” Kucklick says. 6

Smull Talk

Subsequently, ONU’s Office of Admissions sent e-mails to alumni, seeking volunteers for the fall 2010 recruitment efforts at college fairs. Hearing the call, Kucklick and his wife, Chris (Murdock), BA ’70, decided to pitch in. They became Alumni B.E.A.R.S. (Alumni Building Energetic Alumni Resources for Students).

Recruiting for the college and University, at college fairs or otherwise, is an activity that Kucklick urges other alumni to take on, too. “Attending college recruiting fairs is easy and fun, and, in our case, we were able to introduce ONU to hundreds of prospective students who would normally not be aware of ONU or its programs.”

“The University provided an extensive list of college recruiting fairs in Michigan and Indiana. We realized that the fairs didn’t each require a major time commitment, so we picked ones that were to be held within an hour’s drive of our home. Admissions then sent us a comprehensive kit, which included ONU brochures, a catalog, applications, a display table banner, and some other materials, along with display and other suggestions, all packaged in a convenient rolling carrying case.”

For information about recruiting for the College of Engineering through the Alumni / Admissions B.E.A.R.S. program, please contact Sarah Prasher, BSME ’05, assistant director of alumni affairs, at

In 2010, the Kucklicks participated in five college fairs. “That number was easy to accommodate in our schedules, and we expect to do at least that many in the future,” he says. The couple sees their college fair participation as a way to give back – and give thanks – to Ohio Northern. “Chris and I have had fantastic careers and lives together, at least partly fueled by our ONU educations,” Kucklick says.

Pearls of wisdom

Camp GEMS makes ENGINEERING, math and science cool for girls Stacy McClelland was once a typical middle school girl. She liked math and science but had no clue about the career possibilities in those fields. “Since I didn’t want to be a doctor, nurse or lawyer, I thought being a teacher was the only option I had left,” she recalls. Then, a school counselor in McClelland’s hometown of Lorain, Ohio, handed her a brochure about Camp GEMS (Girls in Engineering, Math and Science) at Ohio Northern University. A summer experience geared toward seventh- and eighthgrade girls, Camp GEMS exposes girls to engineering, math and science. McClelland couldn’t afford to attend, but a local foundation awarded her a scholarship. McClelland says the four-day camp “opened her eyes” and changed her future course. “Suddenly, I had tons of options to explore that I had never known existed,” she says. “I realized that engineering wasn’t a single subject, that there were all kinds of different branches. It was one of those ‘ah-ha’ moments when things made more sense.” Inspired by Camp GEMS, McClelland applied herself to the study of math and science in high school. She ultimately decided to attend Ohio Northern where today she is a firstyear student majoring in civil engineering and international studies. She dreams of someday working as an engineer for an international organization that helps people in underdeveloped countries. McClelland’s story could have ended differently, says Laurie (Kahl) Laird, BSME ’86, assistant professor of mechanical engineering

and director of Camp GEMS. Middle school is a pivotal period for girls who excel in math and science, she explains, and most become discouraged and choose a different direction by high school. Statistics back up Laird’s claim. Females make up just 20 percent of the students in undergraduate engineering programs across the country. In the engineering fields, women occupy only 11 percent of the jobs, according to the National Science Foundation. Laird offers two explanations for the lack of women in engineering. Adults, unaware of their deeply rooted stereotypes, may inadvertently steer young women away from math and science, she says. “Even innocent comments, like ‘Wow, I can’t believe you can do this; it is so hard,’ can influence someone’s attitude.” Second, she believes the field of engineering suffers from an image problem. “Most people don’t know what engineers actually do. They think engineers sit behind a desk every day and solve problems,” she says. “In reality, engineers help people and have an impact on every area of our lives.” Camp GEMS presents engineering as a dynamic field where women can make a difference. The first camp, the brainchild of Dr. F. Lee Grismore, BSEE ’58, professor of electrical and computer engineering who retired in 2001, took place in 1996 with around 20 participants. Fifteen years later, 60 to 70 girls attend the camp each summer, most from Ohio, but some from places as far flung as Louisiana and Germany. American Association of University Women (AAUW) branches across the state have been instrumental in marketing the camp and sponsoring young women to attend. The camp is designed to be fun and motivating, says Laird. Under the direction

of ONU professors, the girls engage in a variety of hands-on learning activities, such as soldering LED lights to a circuit board, compounding lip balm, and building windmills with Tinkertoys. They also are given free time to swim, bowl and enjoy the atmosphere of a college campus. ONU engineering students – many of them alumni of Camp GEMS – serve as camp counselors. Amy Murray, a senior electrical engineering major and camp counselor from Botkins, Ohio, says she enjoys being a role model and answering questions. “Camp GEMS, in no small way, helped me to plan my future,” she explains. “I want other girls to have the same experience I had when I was their age. As a counselor, I get to help them grow and learn.” At Camp GEMS, girls also discover that there are other girls out there who share their interests. “It is a confirmation that it’s OK to like math and science as a girl and that you are not alone,” says McClelland. “I think all the girls leave camp feeling more confident.” Jennifer Sycks, BSEE ’96, a project manager at Dayton Power and Light, has helped out with the camp since its inception. Over the years, she has witnessed many young women blossom at the camp. “Many of the girls begin to think about what classes they may want to take in high school to prepare them for college or a career in a science-related field.” Some campers, like Murray and McClelland, end up returning to ONU as college students. The friendly staff, close relationships and beautiful campus create a lasting impression. “During high school, I visited a lot of college campuses, but none could compete with the welcoming experience I remembered from Camp GEMS,” says McClelland. “In the end, it was the close knit community and sense of belonging that led me back to ONU.” Smull Talk


unexpected careers in engineering Putting engineering in play Like many people, Ken Schnacke, BSME ’72, grew up dreaming of one day playing in the big leagues.

His interest piqued, Schnacke attended Major League Baseball’s winter meetings in December 1975, looking for work.

“I was kind of a frustrated athlete that was not very good,” he says. “I always said that I peaked when I was about 16.”

“I came home very discouraged,” he remembers. “There were no job opportunities, no offers.”

My engineering degree taught me how to be analytical, It taught me how to attack problems and solve them.

“Everyone thought I had a great job, but I didn’t think I had a great job. I just couldn’t see myself doing that for very long.” That’s when baseball came calling. “I had done some broadcasting work when I was at Ohio Northern, and while I was in Columbus working for the EPA, I did commentary on WDLR for the U.S. Armed Forces Softball Championships, which was carried on Armed Forces Radio throughout the world. That kind of got my baseball appetite going again.” 8

Smull Talk

Huntington Park went on to win a number of accolades in 2009, including the 2009 Ballpark Of The Year Award,’s Ballpark of the Year, and the 2009 Ballpark Digest Ballpark of the Year Award. “We wanted to build a ballpark that didn’t have a lot of the same components that they were putting in all the other ballparks,” he says. “We wanted it to be distinctly different and unique. And we achieved that.” To cap off the Clippers’ recent success, the team won the Triple-A National Championship in 2010. For Schnacke, it all began at Ohio Northern’s College of Engineering. So how exactly does an engineering education launch a career in the baseball front office?

So, Schnacke began his career like any other graduate of the College of Engineering: He worked as an engineer. He started with HPM in Mount Gilead, Ohio, before moving on to the Division of Air Pollution Control with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency in Columbus. While there, he found himself in charge of 20 engineers and eight administrative personnel.

“The architects were very surprised to have a baseball president and general manager that could read blueprints and understand everything that was going on,” he says. “Being able to take this site and make the entire ballpark fit, and get in most everything that we wanted, it certainly was helped by engineering.”

“My high school advisor said to me, ‘Ken, go to college and take the most difficult courses you can. The more you challenge yourself in college, and the more technical knowledge you have, the easier it will be to take any type of job that you may want.’ And he was right.” Then, in February 1976, the Amarillo Gold Sox in Amarillo, Texas, offered Schnacke a job as the team’s business manager. “I was down there for 10 days before the group that owned the Amarillo team decided to buy an independent team under the guidance of Minor League Baseball. So, we bought a team.” That team was the Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings, based in Harlingen, Texas. It was 1976, and Schnacke had finally found his career in baseball. He spent a season in Harlingen before joining the Columbus Clippers as an administrative assistant in November 1976. He hasn’t looked back. Today, he’s the club’s president and general manager. In 2009, the Clippers unveiled Huntington Park. During its design and construction, Schnacke, thanks to his engineering background, contributed much more than is typically expected from a baseball general manager.

“My engineering degree taught me how to be analytical,” Schnacke continues. “It taught me how to attack problems and solve them. It was a very good background.” While assembling this engineering background, Schnacke gained a bit of Northern infamy for his part in a chemistry lab explosion during his senior year. “We were doing experiments in the lab, and I was titrating hydrochloric acid onto steel. I was kind of in a hurry, and I titrated the acid too fast. I knew I had a problem, I knew it was going to explode, and I yelled at everyone to get out of the lab. They all ran for cover, and the whole thing exploded and shot acid all over the walls. It was a brand new lab in the brand new engineering building; it had only been open for a week or so.” “Professor Henry Horldt, who was probably my favorite professor at ONU, said, ‘Mr. Schnacke, we have to graduate you. We can’t afford to be painting the lab all the time!’”

Talking with an ‘imagineer’ Michael Tschanz, BSEE ’84, manager, simulation and analysis, design and engineering, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Fla.

working on Countdown to Extinction (now known as Dinosaur), developing code for the vehicle’s embedded processor. Eventually, I developed simulations of rides, and a team was formed to address detailed ride systems analyses.

Can you briefly describe your roles and responsibilities? I lead a team of simulation and analysis engineers that constructs detailed physics, controls, and math models of Disney-themed attractions. Describe your career path after graduation from Ohio Northern. How did you end up at Disney World? I graduated with a degree in electrical engineering from Northern and immediately went to work for the Defense and Electronics division of Texas Instruments (TI). After working in the test group to gain experience, I eventually worked on detailed mathematical models of aerospace guidance systems. TI’s TAGER program allowed me to complete my master’s degree in electrical engineering while I was a full-time employee. I worked with a number of very bright and supportive people at TI, and I probably would have stayed with the company until I retired. However, the division was purchased by Raytheon, and I felt if I was going to make a move to another company, it was likely the best time to do so. A fellow engineer at TI had a name of someone that worked for Disney and suggested I apply there. Disney had always intrigued me because of my background in music as well as engineering. I sent them a résumé, and a year later, I was

Describe your experiences with ONU interns. Jeffrey Wiley, BSME ’07, was the first ONU intern that worked on our team. He was originally a cast member in the Disney College Program. After a year as an intern, we hired him as a full-time cast member. He was one of the first new members of the team and was instrumental in the design and testing of the recent enhancements at Walt Disney World Space Mountain. He has also made breakthroughs in software testing and integration. I do not have any interns from ONU right now, but Alicia Hathaway [a senior electrical engineering major from Fostoria, Ohio] will be returning in the summer. All of the ONU interns and alumni have been excellent employees, both from a technical and character perspective. Our team’s ONU students and alumni have been a key part to our department’s success. Are you working with any other ONU alumni, and what advantages have you discovered in this working arrangement? Patrick McNaull, BSME ’08, is on the simulation and analysis team as a contractor. He is working on new business initiatives that involve animated figures and optimization algorithms. Alicia Hathaway was an intern

with us last year and will be interning with us again in the summer. Alicia has also been a great addition to the team. I informed Jeff Wiley when he was interning that we needed additional assistance. He told me he would contact Laurie Laird [assistant professor of mechanical engineering and ONU’s director of corporate & alumni relations] and let us know we were looking for someone. After some discussion about possible candidates, we offered Alicia the position. We expect to continue the close ties with ONU as the team continues to grow. The team is being built from the ground up, and ONU continues to deliver excellent personnel. What attracts you to working with ONU students and alumni? ONU students are well trained in core engineering fundamentals. I don’t need to worry about whether the students completed differential equations or dynamics. It is part of the curriculum, and I know ONU considers these and other base courses critical to a student’s success. The students also possess strong work ethics and character traits. These are all essential in the development of a successful engineering team. What would you say to other ONU alumni to convince them to hire or work with ONU graduates or students? Hiring ONU alumni is not only good for the school, but will strengthen your team. These young engineers have worked hard to complete a challenging program and are well prepared to become outstanding employees. Smull Talk


TOPS IN OHIO He never saw it coming, but Chris Carry, BSCE ’02, has been named Ohio’s 2010 Young Engineer of the Year by the Ohio Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE). Carry says that the honor was unexpected, primarily because he never viewed himself as the type of person who would win such an award. “I was involved in a lot of things at Ohio Northern,” he says. “I was on student council and the track team and those types of things. My activity level was very high, so I was never the tremendous student that had a 4.0 GPA in college. “So, receiving this award is humbling because I always had the notion that, to earn those awards, you had to be a straight-A student. And I was never that.”

from client interaction to budgets to subcontractors to our own field personnel.” Although he has “always liked construction,” Carry questions whether he would have graduated with an engineering degree had he enrolled at a different university. He credits his career path to a trio of Northern civil engineering professors: Dr. Subhi Bazlamit, Dr. Bruce Berdanier and Dr. Jonathan Smalley, BSCE ’71. “Dr. Bazlamit, Dr. Berdanier and Dr. Smalley were all very good at recognizing where your strengths were and where your weaknesses were. They just really knew their students, and that’s a great credit to them as educators,” Carry says. “If I didn’t have that

students. “He basically made a phone call and got me my first job interview with Hull & Associates,” Carry says. “I worked at Hull for two summers and then went to work there full-time after graduation.” Carry was with Hull for the next four years. In December 2006, he transitioned from consulting and design into construction, working for a smaller general contractor for about three years. In 2009, he joined Miller Brothers, and he’s been there since.

The personal attention that’s given at Ohio Northern is really one of its greatest attributes. Chris Carry, BSCE ’02

To Carry’s credit, the OSPE Honor Awards Committee uses more than just educational and collegiate achievements in selecting its Young Engineer of the Year. The committee also reviews a candidate’s professional and technical society activities, civic and humanitarian activities, continuing competence, and engineering achievements. As project manager and estimator with Miller Brothers Construction in Archbold, Ohio, Carry handles everything from estimating and preparing bids to managing projects through to completion. “It’s really a cradleto-grave interaction with a project. And that encompasses all aspects of management, 10

Smull Talk

personal attention, helping me understand what was being taught and how to apply it, I don’t know that I would have graduated in engineering.” The faculty in the College of Engineering not only kept Carry on the path while in school, but also pointed him in the right direction leading up to graduation. Bazlamit worked with Hull & Associates Inc. while pursuing his Ph.D. and had developed a good working relationship with John Hull, BSCE ’75, the company’s president. One day, Carry asked Bazlamit if he knew of any internship opportunities for engineering

Today, Carry is involved with two highprofile projects on opposite sides of Ohio, both for the Ohio Turnpike Commission. The first is service plaza No. 1, which is about 20 miles away from the Indiana line. The second is service plaza No. 8, which is about four miles from the Pennsylvania line. “I’ve got both ends of the state covered, as far as the turnpike goes,” he says. Away from the office (and the turnpike), Carry concentrates on his family. He lives in Perrysburg, Ohio, with his wife, Melissa, and their two children, Jacob, 2, and Molly, 1. While Carry is honored to be an OSPE Young Engineer of the Year, he views his son as one of the largest highlights in his life. Born three months premature and weighing 2 pounds, 2 ounces, Jacob serves as an inspiration. “A lot of days, he’s the motivation to do the best you can because sometimes I think you can take for granted what life really is. That’s not to take anything away from my daughter – she’s wonderful, too – but Jacob will always have that special place in my heart knowing what he went through.”

Kyle Simmons, a senior mechanical engineering major from North Lawrence, Ohio, received an on-campus internship in summer 2010 to help establish a robotic work cell in the mechanical engineering controls lab. The Innovation Fund gave me the opportunity to work alongside several professors, pursue my interest in robotics, and stay in Ada to bond and condition with my football teammates. Being able to stay in Ada over the summer was very important to me, and without the summer research opportunity provided by the Innovation Fund, I don’t know if that would have been possible.

INNOVATION FUND The College of Engineering’s Innovation Fund makes a difference in the lives of ONU students every day. This fund provides for the highest priorities of the college, which can cover a broad range of immediate needs and opportunities. For students, the fund has supported attendance at conferences and symposiums, field trips, student competitions, global experiences and other experiential learning programs. For faculty, it has assisted with summer research funding. Gifts to the College of Engineering Innovation Fund empower our faculty and students to pursue the academic, career and research development that positively impacts the student-engineering experience. For more information about giving to the Innovation Fund, please contact Jacqueline Daley-Perrin, director of development for the College of Engineering, at or 419-772-2390. Smull Talk



Tom Zechman Zechman is easy to “ Professor talk to, and he’s always there for you when you need him. ” Matt Pierce, BSCE ’10, field engineer, Turner Construction, Columbus, Ohio

Tom Zechman – the new assistant dean in charge of recruitment and retention – is an ideal ambassador for the Smull College of Engineering. He’s passionate about the field of engineering and committed to helping students succeed. His motto: attract students with exceptional potential, ensure they get an exceptional education, and help them find exceptional jobs. Before coming to ONU, Zechman was the director of public works for the city of Piqua, Ohio, for 24 years. He also taught at Edison Community College (Piqua) for seven years before his civil service career. “I had long wanted to return to higher education,” he says. “I love the classroom. It’s a chance to pass on what I’ve learned to the next generation.” Zechman came to ONU as a visiting professor of civil engineering in 2008, and two years later he was appointed assistant dean of academic and student affairs. In this position, he coordinates visitation days for prospective students and their parents, meeting with them one-on-one to answer questions and show them around campus. He’s responsible for student retention, taking a special interest in students who may be struggling 12

Smull Talk

academically or with personal issues. He oversees the special needs of international students. He continues to teach civil engineering courses, and he serves as advisor to ONU’s student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers. His job keeps him hopping; but Zechman enjoys every minute of it. He’s a people person and his unabashed enthusiasm for engineering is catching. “Engineers make a difference to mankind,” he says, simply. “There is nothing you touch that an engineer didn’t have a hand in creating.” Zechman’s students are drawn to his genuine personality and openness. He encourages his students to ask questions and come to him with their problems. “Students don’t care what you know until they know that you care,” he says. “His door is always open,” says Abigail Mogren, a junior mechanical engineering major from Grove City, Ohio. “And he loves when students stop by, even just to say hi. He is always willing to help, whether it is a recommendation letter or help with homework.”

In the classroom, Zechman stresses problemsolving and ethics. When a student doesn’t understand a concept, he works with him or her individually “until the light bulb comes on.” He fondly recalls a former professor who took the time to help him. “The time he spent with me made a difference, not just for that class, but for the rest of my educational career,” he says. Zechman continues to be amazed by the academic ability and diverse interests of ONU students. Last year, he traveled to a remote village in Kenya with three senior engineering students who had designed a solar water heating and storm water harvesting system for the local health care clinic. “It was typical of ONU in that it was atypical. ”ONU students are doing so many incredible things here and around the world,” he adds. Zechman received his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Southern Methodist University in Texas and his master’s degree in engineering from the University of Dayton. He and his wife, Linda, live in Piqua and have four daughters. Two daughters are civil engineers and two are educators. Zechman is active in his church and in city government.

ENGINEERING NEWS John Estell co-authors article about new ‘Pledge of the Computing Professional’

Dr. John Estell, Ohio Northern professor of computer engineering and computer science, and Dr. Ken Christensen of the University of South Florida have co-authored “The Need for a New Graduation Rite of Passage,” which appeared in the February 2011 issue of Communications of the ACM, the flagship publication of the Association for Computing Machinery. In the article, Estell and Christensen present the case for forming a new organization dedicated to establishing a standardized rite-of-passage ceremony for students graduating in the computing sciences. Similar to the ring ceremony employed by the Order of the Engineer, this new organization, the Pledge of the Computing Professional, is solely intended to publicly promote and recognize the ethical and moral behavior in graduates of computing-related degree programs as they transition to careers of service to society. Both Ohio Northern University and the University of South Florida have experimented with this concept since 2007, and both will hold their first pledge ceremonies in May 2011.

Ken Reid receives grant from National Science Foundation Dr. Ken Reid, director of freshman engineering and associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, received a $63,062 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to examine the current state of first-year engineering courses. Reid will lead a steering committee of engineering professors from prominent universities across the country who teach first-year programs. This committee will develop an Imen-Delphi procedure to collect data from a wide variety of professors nationwide with the goal of establishing classification models of first-year engineering courses according to expected outcomes and assessment methods. The data and analysis will be used to develop a white paper that lays the groundwork for a workshop to be held at ONU to determine what needs to be developed for first-year engineering classification and assessment tools. ONU professors receive grant to develop water-sampling watercraft Dr. John-David Yoder, associate professor of mechanical engineering, Dr. Robert Verb, associate professor of biology, and Dr. Leslie A. Riley, assistant professor of biological sciences, received a $10,000 research grant to design, build and test a watercraft capable of autonomously sampling water quality on Ohio lakes. A team of Ohio Northern engineering and biology students, advised by faculty from both areas, will be responsible for creating and testing the device. The craft will be tested on Grand Lake St. Mary’s, which has recently been the site of cyanobacterial bloom. Yoder serves as principal investigator for this research. The project was inspired by the work of Dr. Cedric Pradalier and his students at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH), where Yoder visited and spoke during his recent sabbatical.

Srinivasa Vemuru receives engineering grant from National Science Foundation

Dr. Srinivasa Vemuru, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, will use a $23,112 grant from the National Science Foundation to establish a laboratory at the T.J. Smull College of Engineering for the development of computationally intensive algorithms and the use of commercial CAD tools for testing digital and analog VLSI, FPGAs and advanced semiconductor devices. Titled “Digital/VLSI Test and Reliable Computing Research Laboratory,” Vemuru’s research project is a collaborative effort with the University of Toledo. ONU student and faculty researchers will also have remote and physical access to facilities at the University of Toledo, where a computational and testing facility is being set up. NCIIA grant received ONU received a $19,500 course and program grant from the National College Inventors & Innovators Alliance (NCIIA) to support “Cross-disciplinary Development Teams to Make Students’ Ideas Real,” a project aimed at advancing the entrepreneurial mindset at Ohio Northern University.

Smull Talk


STUDENT ACCOMPLISHMENTS Engineers (SAE) “Backwoods Baja,” race in Arkansaw, Wis., on Saturday, Oct. 23, 2010. Hosted by the University of WisconsinStout, the event consisted of two two-hour endurance races on a short motocross-style track. The freshman team, driving car No. 80, was plagued by drive-train problems throughout the race and finished 12th out of 25. ONU’s other entry, No. 41, finished second in a group of 25 after staying on course through all 184 laps.

The owner of new wheelchair ramp poses with William Wolfgang, BSCE ’10, Justin Stone, BSCE ’10, and Sarah Massella, a junior civil engineering major from Bridgeville, Pa.

Students build wheelchair ramps In fall 2009, the Ohio Iota Chapter of Tau Beta Pi, the engineering honor society, at Ohio Northern University became aware of the need for two wheelchair ramps in the local community. One of the ramps was for a wheelchair-bound gentleman in the village of Ada who had not been out of his home in two years. The other ramp would give wheelchair-bound individuals better access to a local Christian community center. The cost for these two projects was around $700. The chapter applied for and received a grant from the Executive Committee of the Tau Beta Pi Greater Interest in Government Fund to support this cost. Each project brought its own challenges. The one for the gentleman required an 18-foot ramp and a 4-foot square deck attached to his house. Because of the project’s size, Tau Beta Pi requested the help of the ONU chapter of ASCE (American Society for Civil Engineers). Members of both Tau Beta Pi and ASCE worked together to design and construct the deck and ramp. To allow time for the concrete to set, digging the foundation and placing the posts took place about a week before the construction,which then took place on a Friday and Saturday in spring 2010. 14

Smull Talk

The second wheelchair ramp was much smaller in size, only 6 feet long, but had to be built so that it could be moved to a closet when not in use. This ramp was built by Tau Beta Pi members who met on a Saturday to cut pieces and build the ramp. It was then moved to the center and set in place. The center’s director also requested that a grab bar be installed in one of the bathrooms, so the group completed this task when they delivered the ramp.

Sponsored by the SAE, the Baja competition simulates real-world engineering projects and related challenges. In it, teams must design and build an off-road vehicle that can survive rough terrain. The competition involves the planning and manufacturing tasks associated with producing a new project for the consumer industry market. Students must act as a team not only to design, build and race the vehicle but also to generate financial support for the project. Team 80 was comprised of Peter Minidis, a freshman mechanical engineering major from North Royalton, Ohio, Ryan O’Connor, a freshman mechanical engineering major from Mason, Ohio, Paul Towery, a freshman mechanical engineering major from Columbus, Ohio, Sam Weldon, a freshman mechanical engineering major from Litchfield, Ohio, and Caleb Helms, a freshman civil engineering major from Findlay, Ohio. Team 41 was comprised of Matt Tomasko, a senior construction management major from Valley View, Ohio, Sean Rutt, a sophomore mechanical engineering major from Apple Creek, Ohio, Brandon Anspach, a junior mechanical engineering major from Rawson, Ohio, James Grigsby, a senior mechanical engineering major from Spencerville, Ohio, and Colin Bayman, a sophomore mechanical engineering major from Urbana, Ohio.

Kanti L. Shah student chapter of ASCE Honored Engineering students win big at Backwoods Baja competition Two teams of Ohio Northern University engineering students garnered top-20 finishes in the regional Society of Automotive

The ONU student chapter of ASCE received the 2010 Distinguished Chapter Award for Region 3. They also received a national Letter of Recognition for Service, and Christopher Senesi, BSCE ’10, received a Special Project Leadership Award from ASCE.

Designing an autoclave for use in Masara, Kenya All engineering and computer science majors at Ohio Northern University are required to complete a yearlong senior capstone project, where students take a project from idea to implementation. One multidisciplinary group, consisting of mechanical and electrical engineering students, traveled around the world to obtain information for their project. In summer 2010, the team met with Dr. Bonyo Bonyo, a native of Masara, Kenya, and now a family doctor in Akron, Ohio. He told them that the clinic he runs in Masara had a need for an autoclave (a device used to sterilize medical instruments). The team decided to take on this project as their senior capstone project. ONU’s micromouse team members, from left, are Neal Shine, a senior electrical engineering major from Lima, Ohio, Robert Milos, a senior computer engineering major from Kettering, Ohio, Allan Hall, a senior electrical engineering major from Springboro, Ohio, Tyler Bednarz, a sophomore electrical engineering major from Canton, Ohio, and Kyle See, a sophomore computer engineering major from Lucasville, Ohio.

Micromouse team wins regional competition Ohio Northern engineering students placed first among 13 universities at the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Region 2 Micromouse Competition at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pa., in April 2010.

activity. Through participation in such activities, students learn cooperation, teamwork, time management, responsibility, problem solving and communication.

At the end of November 2010, the team traveled to Masara, which allowed them to observe the environment in which their autoclave would be used, research available materials, maintenance and care options, and work out design details. Jamie Raines, a senior mechanical engineering major from Ada, Ohio, kept a diary while in Masara, which can be viewed at node/32484

The competition is a challenging and popular competition in which teams construct an autonomous robotic “mouse” that navigates to the center of a random maze from a specified corner in the shortest amount of time possible. The members of the ONU micromouse team are Allan Hall, a senior electrical engineering major from Springboro, Ohio, Robert Milos, a senior computer engineering major from Kettering, Ohio, Neal Shine, a senior electrical engineering major from Lima, Ohio, Kyle See, a sophomore computer engineering major from Lucasville, Ohio, and Tyler Bednarz, a sophomore electrical engineering major from Canton, Ohio. The faculty advisor for the team is Dr. Khalid Al-Olimat, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering. The students built the mouse from scratch as an IEEE student chapter extracurricular

Proudly displaying ONU’s flag with their new friends are Kyle Kindle, a senior mechanical engineering major from Ada, Ohio, Julia Kropp, a senior electrical engineering major from Aurora, Ohio, Dr. Jed Marquart, BSME ’80, professor of mechanical engineering, Jamie Raines, a senior mechanical engineering major from Ada, Ohio, Garrett Maple, a senior mechanical engineering major from Lexington, S.C., and Zach Rouch, a senior mechanical engineering major from Ada, Ohio. Smull Talk


STUDENT ACCOMPLISHMENTS New Engineering Student Organization For the past two years, students in the firstyear project course (GE 106) have designed devices that help improve the lives of people living in impoverished populations. This summer, for the first time, students will attempt to implement some of their designs in remote barrios in the Dominican Republic through a new College of Engineering group called Freshmen Without Borders (FWB). In summer 2010, Dr. Ken Reid, director of freshman engineering and associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, traveled on a medical mission trip with another newly formed student group, Northern Without Borders. Fortytwo students, faculty and friends of ONU worked with Solid Rock Missions to operate 15 remote medical clinics in areas around San Juan de la Maguana in the Dominican Republic. Many engineering projects were discovered, and plans for a subgroup of Northern Without Borders, called Freshmen Without Borders, were developed. Student members of FWB will focus on implementing engineering projects and presenting their results and discoveries to next year’s class of first-year engineers.

Mission trip attendees, summer 2010


Smull Talk

Approximately 10 first- and second-year students are in the inaugural group of FWB; they are currently raising funds to travel and work in the Dominican over a two-week period in summer 2011. This spring, student teams will again develop devices to help alleviate the effects of poverty as part of their first-year capstone projects. The student members of FWB will judge them and choose those most likely to be successfully implemented. FWB will then develop a plan to implement, considering that the final design must be sustainable in the Dominican culture. They will record their results and present their projects and results to next fall’s class of incoming engineering students.

Engineering honor society honors ONU chapter Ohio Iota, the ONU chapter of the Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society, was honored at the 105th Tau Beta Pi National Convention in King of Prussia, Pa. Ohio Iota received five awards at the convention: the R.C. Matthews Most Outstanding Chapter Honorable Mention, Chapter Project Award, Greater Interest in Government Award, Membership Award, and Secretary’s Commendation. Chapter members attending the convention

included president Lauren Sutherland, a senior electrical engineering major from Findlay, Ohio, corresponding secretary Michael Krak, a senior mechanical engineering major from Senecaville, Ohio, Joint Engineering Council representative Andrew Stephon, a senior computer engineering major from New Philadelphia, Ohio, and advisor Dr. Robert Ward, professor of civil engineering.

Undergraduate research published Two student/faculty papers based on undergraduate research were presented and published during the proceedings of the 2010 ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, which took place in November 2010 in Vancouver, British Columbia. Janet Ondrake, BSME ’10, and Kathleen Lifer, a senior mechanical engineering major from Shelby, Ohio, performed biomedical research using experimental and 2-D and 3-D finite element analysis methods on two devices used to repair a common injury. Their paper, “Single Screw vs. Double Screw Device for Use in Treating Femoral Bone Fractures,” was a joint effort with Dr. Steven P. Haman of the Orthopaedic Institute of Ohio, Dr. Jed Marquart, BSME ’80, professor of mechanical engineering, and Dr. Hui

Shen, assistant professor of mechanical engineering. Nathan Gannon, BSME ’10, performed experiments to study the aging of polymer films with Shen. Their paper is titled “Analysis of the Mechanical Properties of Pristine and Thermally Aged Micro and Nanolayered PC/PMMA Films.” Courtney Hetrick, a sophomore mechanical engineering major from Frazeysburg, Ohio, co-authored a paper with Dr. Ken Reid, director of freshman engineering and associate professor electrical and computer engineering, and Dr. Sue Montenery, assistant professor of nursing, for the 2011 American Society for Engineering Education annual conference. Hetrick will attend the conference in June in Vancouver, British Columbia, and present the paper, “An Innovative Interdisciplinary Student Project: Engineering and Nursing.” The paper is about a project completed by Hetrick and three other mechanical engineering students, Kathleen Lifer, a senior from Shelby, Ohio, Cody Wenrich, a sophomore from Amherst, Ohio, and Anne Druesedow, a sophomore from Sharon Center, Ohio, in which they developed improvements for Noelle, a birthing mannequin used in the nursing laboratory.

The “Wanna Be ONU” team included, from left, Jim Northrup, BSME ’10, Brandon Heyman, BSME ’10, Brent Hiser, BSME ’10, Dr. Michael Rider, BSME ’75, professor of mechanical engineering, Mike Johnson, BSME ’10, Dr. David Mikesell, BSME ’97, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, Russ Taylor, BSME ’10, Kevin Bash, BSME ’10, and Luisa Chinchilla, BSME ’10.

Human Power In their first-ever appearance at the American Society of Mechanical Engineering (ASME) Human Powered Vehicle Challenge, Ohio Northern University engineering students placed third against tough competition. From May 7-9, 2010, the “Wanna Be ONU” team competed in the east division of the three-day event at Central Connecticut State University, placing second in the design category and third overall. ONU finished behind perennial favorite Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Their prototype vehicle received high marks for design, speed, safety and functionality. Team members were Kevin Bash, BSME ’10, Luisa Chinchilla, BSME ’10, Luke Feeney, BSME ’10, Brandon Heyman, BSME ’10, Brent Hiser, BSME ’10, Mike Johnson, BSME ’10, Jim Northrup, BSME ’10, and Russ Taylor, BSME ’10. Each member worked more than 300 hours on the project, including a frantic final week of late nights and early mornings making final touches. ASME says the Human Powered Vehicle Challenge “provides an opportunity for undergraduate and graduate engineering students to demonstrate the application of sound engineering design principles in the

development of sustainable and practical transportation alternatives.” The goal of the competition is to get people thinking about alternative modes of transportation. Practical, everyday applications for such human-powered vehicles might be commuting to work, transporting goods to market or running errands. According to the team, improved materials could make the vehicle lighter and more efficient, and increased weather protection could make the vehicle a real year-round alternative to driving a car short distances.

Civil Engineering Majors Receive Scholarships Three juniors in civil engineering, Michael Abraham from Olmsted Falls, Ohio, Chad Coward from Crestline, Ohio, and Andrea Turnwald from Ottoville, Ohio, received Hot Mix Asphalt scholarships. The scholarships are for $1,000 each. Flexible Pavements of Ohio (FPO) and its member companies, working through the Ohio Asphalt Scholarship Fund, sponsor the scholarships at 10 universities in Ohio that offer courses in asphalt pavement technology. All three ONU recipients are students in Dr. Mohammad Ali Khasawneh’s Transportation II class. Smull Talk


Save the Date! Sept. 10, 2011 A Premier Education: Inspiring Creativity. Supporting Innovation.

Celebrating 40 Years of the Order of the Engineer and 130 Years of Excellence in Engineering Education

I look forward to connecting with fellow classmates, recognizing the College of Engineering for preparing me to be a professional engineer, and engaging with students, faculty and other alums. – Daniel Walker, BSCE ’71

For more information, contact Sarah Prasher, BSME ’05, at 419-772-1943 or


Smull Talk

NEW FACULTY MEMBERS Dr. Gregory Bucks joined the department of electrical & computer engineering and computer science as a visiting assistant professor. Bucks received his Ph.D. in engineering education and his MS in electrical and computer engineering from Purdue University and his BS in electrical engineering from Pennsylvania State University. At ONU, he teaches Circuits 1 and 2 and programming classes. His research interests lie in two main areas: the ways in which computer programming concepts are understood by both novice and expert programmers and design education, especially as it relates to service-learning. He has been active in the engineering education research community through his involvement in Purdue’s Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) program as the head teaching assistant and as a reviewer for the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) and Frontiers in Education conferences and the Advances in Engineering Education journal.

2010-11 Members of the College of Engineering Advisory Board Dr. Donald Campbell BSME ’59, Hon. D. ’98 Retired: Deputy Administrator Special Assistant and Director NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, Ohio Michael Chow, P.E., LEED AP BSEE ’92 Owner/Principal Metro CD Engineering LLC Worthington, Ohio Kevin Freese BSME ’84 President and CEO Bridge Development Group LTD Cleveland, Ohio

Dr. John Obielodan joined the mechanical engineering department as a visiting assistant professor while Dr. Michael Rider, BSME ’75, is on a yearlong sabbatical. Obielodan received his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Utah State University and his Bachelor of Engineering, Mechanical, from the University of Ilorin in Nigeria. During his time at ONU, Obielodan is teaching courses in solid modeling, engineering analysis, dynamics, engineering economics and advanced strength of materials. His research interests include multi-material rapid prototyping; tool, die and mold design; and metal- and polymer-forming processes. Prior to studying in Utah, Obielodan was a principal engineer for the Center for Automotive Design and Development in Nigeria, where he designed stamping tools and component measuring fixtures for automotive body, chassis and suspension components.

Bruce Hollinger BSCE ’75 CEO/President/Co-Founder WiSys LLC Flowery Branch, Ga. Deborah (Green) Houdeshell, P.E. BSCE ’87 Project Manager Stearns & Wheler Akron, Ohio Frederick “Fritz” Kucklick BSME ’69 Engineering, Mgmt and Lit. Consultant IMT Consulting Inc. Cassopolis, Mich. Dr. E.F. Charles LaBerge Professor of the Practice of Electrical Engineering University of Maryland Baltimore County Baltimore, Md.

Susan (Di Nezza) Lettrich BSEE ’85 Director, Performance and Process Improvement FirstEnergy Services Company Akron, Ohio Victor Marone Senior Partner Chesapeake Management Associates Annapolis, Md. Brett S. Mason BSEE ’86 Senior Program Manager Mission Essential Personnel LLC Chantilly, Va.

Additionally, the College of Engineering added a new faculty position this year: the engineer-inresidence. Fully funded by a grant from the American Electric Power Foundation, this threeyear appointment has been accepted by Brian Henderson, who joined the college in February 2011. Henderson’s primary responsibilities will be to provide outreach to companies and industries that wish to receive elements of the advanced energy curriculum that is being developed by the college. Henderson is a registered professional engineer (P.E.) in the state of Ohio and received his BS in civil engineering from the University of Akron. His industrial experience includes more than 25 years in the electric utility industry (18 at American Electric Power). He also has operated a small business and acted as an independent consultant.

Scott McClintock, P.E. BSCE ’86 Vice President EMH&T New Albany, Ohio

Brent Schwartz BSME ’83 VP, Solutions Engineering MetoKote Corporation Lima, Ohio

Neil Naiman, P.E. BSEE ’74 Retired: Manager, Downstream Planning and Strategy Marathon Petroleum Company LLC Findlay, Ohio

Khalil Shuhaibar BSEE ’93 Project Manager Discovery Communications Inc Facility and Infrastructure Engineering Technology & Media Services Silver Spring, Md.

Brenda Reichelderfer BSEE ’80 Retired: Senior Vice President ITT Corporation Nyack, N.Y.

Daniel Walker, P.E. BSCE ’71 Senior Vice President Kokosing Construction Co. Fredericktown, Ohio

Michael Rencheck, P.E. BSEE ’83 President/CEO AREVA NP Inc. Lynchburg, Va.

Smull Talk


College of Engineering 525 S. Main St. Ada, Ohio 45810

Engineering Pathways College of Engineering 525 South Main Street Ada, Ohio 45810

What: A weeklong residential camp that introduces students to civil, computer, electrical and mechanical engineering. Where: Ohio Northern University, Ada, Ohio When: June 19-24, 2011 Who: High school students entering the 10th, 11th, or 12th grade in fall 2011 Cost: $350, which includes room, board and educational materials.Transportation to and from camp is not included. Info: Contact Laurie Laird, director of the camp, at 419-772-2421 or

Camp GEMS (Girls in Engineering, Math and Science) What: A four-day residential engineering, mathematics and science camp Where: Ohio Northern University, Ada, Ohio When: July 17-20, 2011 Who: Girls entering the seventh or eighth grade in fall 2011 Cost: $295, which includes room, board and educational materials.Transportation to and from camp is not included. Info: Visit or contact Laurie Laird, director of the camp, at 419-772-2421 or

SmullTalk March 2011  

The magazine for the T.J. Smull College of Engineering at Ohio Northern University

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you