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am happy to share this issue of Parks Today with you. I know in the pages that follow you will see all the hard work that our faculty, students and staff contribute to make Saint Louis University’s Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology so great. Our mission is to form technically proficient and socially responsible engineering and aviation innovators and leaders for the world. Rooted in Jesuit, Catholic principles, our college has a rich history of educating engineers and aviators who have gone on to become world-renowned professionals. In this issue of the magazine you’ll see the hard work that Mike Swartwout has accomplished with his students in the Space Systems Research Lab in giving them an opportunity to “touch space.” You will also see the forward-thinking research that our students do in the Tinker Lab – whether they are printing models of pediatric hearts in the 3-D printer to help SLUCare surgeons repair children’s unhealthy hearts, or creating a part for a new quad copter (drone). Our students are touching projects that will advance humanity. We have also added new faculty to our College and new airplanes to our fleet. We are proud that the personalized learning and growth that our students experience with our top-notch faculty provides the expertise, training, and professional development needed to help our students discover and achieve their future goals. It has been an honor for me to serve as the interim dean of Parks College since last June. I have the utmost confidence in Michelle Sabick as she takes the helm of the College this July. Please join me in supporting her and her efforts to take Parks College to the next level. Lastly, I want to thank you for your ongoing support of Parks College as we continue preparing students to make a positive difference in the world. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at Wishing you all the best,

Steven W. Buckner, Ph.D. interim dean

PARKS today

SPRING 2016 Vol. 86, Issue 1 EDITOR


Mike Bauhof Christine Hoffmann Elizabeth Holzer Beth Lauver PHOTOGR APHY

Steve Dolan Kevin Lowder





Nikole Frietsch ON THE COVER

3-D PRINTING Technology is driving collaboration and saving lives.

3D printed pediatric Heart created on SLU’s Objet Printer Parks Today is published by Saint Louis University. Opinions expressed in Parks Today are those of the individual authors and not necessarily those of the University administration. Unsolicited manuscripts and photographs are welcome but will be returned only if accompanied by a stamped, self-addressed envelope. Letters to the editor must be signed, and letters not intended for publication should indicate that fact. The editor reserves the right to edit all items. Address all mail to Parks Today, McDonnell Douglas Hall, 3450 Lindell Blvd., St. Louis, Mo. 63103. We accept email at and fax submissions at (314) 977-8403. Address fax submissions to Editor, Parks Today. Postmaster: Send address changes to Parks Today, Saint Louis University, 3450 Lindell Blvd., St. Louis, Mo. 63103. This issue of Parks Today was printed by the Printing Source.


SPACE SYSTEMS Students learn the space business firsthand.

NEW PLANES SLU purchases two new Cirrus SR20 aircraft.



Worldwide circulation: 12,000

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© 2016, Saint Louis University All rights reserved.

NEWS AND NOTES SLU Honors Gene Kranz National Engineering Education Initiative New Dean Announcement Faculty Awarded NSF Grant First Concrete Canoe Competition

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9 NEW FACULTY  Parks College Welcomes Three New Faculty 16 RANCH CALL Class Notes Alumni Merit Award Winners In Memoriam



SLU Honors Alumnus Gene Kranz at 2015 Graduation Ceremony


ormer dean, Theodosios Alexander, Sc.D., honored Gene Kranz, who received his B.S. in Aeronautical Engineering in 1954, with the “Parks College Ambassador of Leadership and Service” award. Kranz was given this honor for his lifetime of service not only to the aerospace engineering and aviation industries, but for his selfless work inspiring young people to become leaders as well as supporting national science, technology, engineering and math initiatives. Kranz’s most well-known claims to fame are his role as NASA Flight Director for both the Apollo 11 (first manned-moon landing) and Apollo 13 missions (the mission that Kranz turned from feared disaster to spectacular recovery while the whole world was watching the unfolding drama). Kranz was also honored at the Saint Louis University Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 16, where he received an honorary doctorate.

Kranz (center) receives honorary doctorate at SLU’s commencement from SLU President Dr. Fred P. Pestello (left) and Joseph Conran, chairman of SLU’s Board of Trustees.



Interim Dean Buckner (seated, right) signs agreement with Trans States Airlines.

aint Louis University’s Parks College has joined ExpressJet’s Airline Pilot Pathway Program (AP3), which will provide a clear pathway for students to a career as a pilot at ExpressJet. ExpressJet partners with top universities and flight schools to provide students a highly structured path through school, building hours as a CFI, to a career at ExpressJet, and then on to a major airline. Also, SLU signed a Pilot Pipeline Program partnership agreement with Envoy Air, part of the American Airlines Group. The program will guarantee students an interview with Envoy upon completion of the flight science program and flight certificates and ratings (CFI, CFII and MEI).

SLU has also signed an Aviation Career Pipeline Interview agreement with Republic Airways Holdings that will guarantee participating SLU students an interview with the airline upon completion of the degree program. Most recently, SLU was chosen by Trans States Airlines for their Aviators Program. This is another pipeline program that will give participating students and graduates access to training with the airline and give them nonpilot employee badges along with expedited entry to Trans States as a pilot. Further, after building their hours as a CFI and successful completion of the Trans States New Hire Initial Training, participants will be eligible to receive a $10,000 tuition reimbursement.

SLU Part of National Engineering Education Initiative


aint Louis University’s Parks College is among more than 120 U.S. engineering schools leading a transformative movement in engineering education announced at the White House Monday, March 23, 2015. A letter of commitment from the engineering deans to President Barack Obama announced plans to educate a new generation of engineers expressly equipped to tackle some of the most pressing issues facing society in the 21st century. These “Grand Challenges” were identified through initiatives such as the White House Strategy for American Innovation, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) Grand Challenges for Engineering and the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. Together, the schools plan to graduate more than 20,000 formally recognized “Grand Challenge Engineers” over the next decade.


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Engineering Faculty Awarded Grants for Multiple Disciplines Cox

Luna Sabick

SLU Names Michelle Sabick New Dean of Parks College


ichelle Sabick, Ph.D., has been named the next dean of Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology at Saint Louis University (SLU). Her appointment is effective July 1, 2016. Sabick is currently the chair of the department of biomedical engineering in Parks College — a role she has held since July 1, 2014. Prior to that, she served as chair of the department of mechanical and biomedical engineering at Boise State University in Idaho. Throughout her career, Sabick has been passionate about improving the ways that universities deliver engineering education to students. She has been highly involved in efforts to transform teaching practices at both SLU and Boise State, where she infused classroom lectures with more interactive and hands-on learning experiences. Sabick succeeds Steven Buckner, Ph.D., who has served as the interim dean of Parks College since June 2015. Buckner is a professor of chemistry at the University and the former chair of SLU’s chemistry department.




arks’ faculty members are innovators who boast impressive research and use principles of engineering to solve real-life problems. With more than $6M awarded each year in grants, our faculty bring their research into the classroom to better their teachings to our undergraduate and graduate students. Civil engineering faculty members Amanda Cox, Ph.D., and Ronaldo Luna, Ph.D., were awarded $100,000 from the Missouri Department of Transportation to explore the usage of erosion control blankets (ECBs) and establish a matrix tool that will determine the appropriate ECBs to use on Missouri construction sites. Biomedical engineering assistant professor, Scott Sell, Ph.D., hopes to find a treatment for chronic pressure ulcers through his two-year grant from the University of Missouri Spinal Cord Injury Research Program awarded for $219,000. Sell is also working with fellow biomedical engineering assistant professor, Silviya Zustiak, Ph.D. to develop a project on vascular graft development for upper-level students across multiple disciplines through a topical grant from The Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network (KEEN).



ndrew Hall, D.Sc., Assistant Professor in biomedical engineering (BME), and Kirubahara Vaheesan, M.D., Director of Interventional Radiology, were awarded grant money from Siemens Medical Solutions to research techniques to better image and navigate catheters to the tiny arteries in the prostate. This research sets out to establish an optimized imaging Hall (left) and Vaheesan and navigation protocol which could significantly reduce the procedure time required to identify the path and also eliminate paths leading to non-target embolization. Optimization could also reduce patient radiation dose and contrast dose. Hall plans to accomplish this improved imaging through the iterative evaluation of patient imaging data as well as custom-built, 3D printed models of vascular anatomy. Vaheesan and his team will then translate this to human imaging protocols, with the goal to perform embolization procedures with less patient exposure to radiation and more effective treatment.




organ Elliott, 2015 graduate of the biomedical engineering program, received the prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. In the fall, she began her studies toward a doctorate at Johns Hopkins University. The purpose of the NSF Graduate Research Elliott Fellowship Program (GRFP) is to help ensure the vitality and diversity of the scientific and engineering workforce of the United States. The program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees in science and engineering. The GRFP provides three years of support for the graduate education of individuals who have demonstrated their potential for significant achievements in science and engineering. While at SLU, Morgan was at the top of her class and also received the Oliver L. Parks award at the Parks College pre-commencement ceremony on May 15, 2015.



ivil engineering senior Melissa Marks has received a prestigious scholarship from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). Marks has been involved with ASCE since her freshman year at Saint Louis University. Marks has held numerous leadership Marks positions in SLU’s ASCE chapter, including secretary, concrete canoe mix design team captain and president. During her presidency, the SLU ASCE chapter received a letter of Honorable Mention from the national organization for its outstanding activities in 2014 and the chapter competed in its first concrete canoe competition in the school’s history. Additionally, Marks lead the concrete canoe team as captain.


I Colletti

n April 2015, aerospace engineering student Christopher Colletti was awarded the Dr. Albert Einstein Supernova Award by the National Boy Scouts of America. Colletti is one of the first to receive this award since its inception four years ago. The Einstein Supernova award requires a proposal for a new nova award and then spending approximately 100 hours on a research topic. For this, Colletti worked with aerospace engineering assistant professor, Ray LeBeau, Ph.D. conducting research on the possibility for a glider mission on Saturn’s moon Titan, using a code to analyze potential mission lengths and ground distance for various weight and size configurations. Upon completion, his work was sent to a national committee and ultimately approved for his receipt of the award.

Parks Professor Jenna Gorlewicz Awarded $150,000 NSF Grant for Research to Benefit Visually Impaired Students


enna Gorlewicz, Ph.D., assistant professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering, was awarded $150,000 by the National Science Foundation for her research, “Ushering in a New Paradigm of Real-Time Tactile Graphics for Visually Impaired Students.” Her work introduces a new type of tactile learning for blind and visually Gorlewicz impaired (BVI) students, especially in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Historically, BVI students have been at a significant disadvantage compared to their sighted peers. Gorlewicz and her team are introducing the idea of “seeing graphics” through touch, and specifically, vibrations. By using commercially available touchscreen technology, her group is introducing software that converts an image into something that can not only be seen, but also felt through vibrations and heard through various sounds.

This type of technology represents a significant paradigm shift in tactile graphics, but has the potential to be a game-changer in making STEM fields more accessible for BVI students. Additionally, for her work in broadening accessibility of STEM in K-12 education, Gorlewicz was invited to participate in an NSF-supported “Next Generation STEM Learning for ALL forum to discuss the most important areas of STEM education last November in Washington, D.C. If successful, Gorlewicz hopes to continue her findings in phase two of the grant. This would be a $750,000 endeavor that would further incorporate the technology into classrooms across the country. Gorlewicz in her lab with students.


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Four SLU Students Named Epicenter University Innovation Fellows


kshit Kalantri, Christine Maida, Aaron Phu and Krusha Shah have been named University Innovation Fellows by the National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter), joining 151 other students from 47 higher education institutions. The University Innovation Fellows program empowers students to become agents of change at their schools. Fellows work to ensure that their peers gain the knowledge, skills and attitudes required to compete in the economy of the future and make a positive impact on the world. Individual Fellows as well as institutional teams of Fellows are sponsored by faculty and administrators and selected through an application process twice annually. Following acceptance into the program, schools fund the students to go through six weeks of online training and travel to the University Innovation Fellows Annual Meetup in Silicon Valley. Throughout the year, they take part in events and conferences across the country and have opportunities to learn from one another, Epicenter mentors, and leaders in academia and industry.

Above: Mallik (holding plaque) with IEEE members. Below: Mallik

Parks Faculty and Students Receive IEEE Awards in Back-to-Back Years

I ASCE Students participate in the competition.



n April 2015, SLU’s chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) competed in the Mid-Continent Conference at the University of Kansas. The chapter placed well in the concrete canoe and steel bridge competitions. This was the first year the chapter competed in the concrete canoe competition. In that competition, the SLU placed fifth out of 13 teams and placed second in presentation and fourth in final product - quite a feat for the first time ever competing. SLU’s steel bridge held the most weight ever in four years of competing. The bridge held approximately 1860 pounds before hitting the vertical deflection limit. SLU’s chapter is rising to success quickly. The chapter is currently ranked third in the nation and has only been in existence for three years. In fact, the chapter was recognized by the national ASCE organization with a letter of honorable mention for its outstanding activities as recorded in the 2014 Chapter annual report. The national organization praised SLU for its enthusiasm and hard work. The students and faculty advisors are thrilled.

n December 2014, more than 20 Parks College students joined Professor and Chair, H.S. Mallik, Ph.D. and other faculty at the Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) winter social. During the event, Mallik was named Outstanding Section Member for his consistent efforts to assist the St. Louis section. This prestigious award is given to one person annually and selected among approximately 1500 members in the section. The SLU student branch’s ION Newsletter team was also recognized for their outstanding contributions. Then, in December 2015, the chapter received three awards at the same event. The event was sponsored by the IEEE St. Louis section and held at the Engineers’ Club of St. Louis. Senior electrical engineering student, Joanna Lou received the Outstanding IEEE Student Member Award, the student chapter received Outstanding IEEE Student Branch and Associate Professor Roobik Gharabagi, Ph.D. received the honor of Outstanding IEEE Educator.


Leading to Collaboration ucked inside the dramatic passages of interactive classrooms and dynamic workspaces that make up McDonnell Douglas Hall, there is an unassuming room known as the “Tinker Lab.” Here, two 3-D printers have opened up tremendous opportunities for Parks students and faculty to collaborate with peers from other fields across the university.


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Funded by the Kern Family Foundation – Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network (KEEN), the lab is available to graduate students and students in the iScholars (Innovative Scholars) program, which promotes the entrepreneurial approach to learning across campus. The goal is to engage students in various roles and activities, including community outreach, innovation leadership, creative thinking and entrepreneurial projects. Because the iScholars study a variety of academic disciplines, the printers are used for both coursework and extracurricular projects. Each printer has its own properties and materials: — The Frotus 250mc Stratasys 3-D printer is a Fused Deposition Method (FDM) machine. It melts the material from solid plastics and fuses them together after printing. It is used to make models that meet structural requirements and prototypes of fully functional products. — The Objet 3-D printer is a polyjet and can print plastic (Photopolymer) on a highly accurate micro level. Ultraviolet light hardens the object layer by layer. This additive manufacturing process precisely deposits photopolymer, which is instantly cured using ultraviolet light. It works in a similar fashion to standard inkjet printers: The printed object is cured when the process is completed. But unlike a standard inkjet, the Objet has a wide variety of material options. Sridhar Condoor, Ph.D., professor and chair of the aerospace and mechanical engineering department, sees the greatest potential

for the equipment in the medical field. In fact, the Objet has already been used a number of times by the Saint Louis University School of Medicine to create models of body parts for surgical planning. In one case, a 13-year-old had a heart condition in which her aorta was not properly developed and her right ventricle was dangerously large. A three-dimensional print of her heart, based on scans provided by her doctors, allowed her doctor to better plan for her surgery. Based on success stories like this one, Dr. Condoor said he would like to “get into medical product design. Some opportunities are in progress, and we are eager to help others.” Dr. Condoor expressed hope about working with the cardiology, neurology and orthopedic departments in SLU’s School of Medicine. “We’re developing a very collaborative partnership with all of the doctors in these departments. We’ve started working on some projects which we hope come to successful outcomes soon.” The chair of the neurology department already unveiled some of the models resulting from the collaboration at a conference in Dubai. Parks faculty members have also found uses for the printers that provide for collaborations among the College’s various disciplines. In fact, aerospace engineering faculty are creating models of items they prepare for flight. The printers also have been used to test materials for, and shapes of, drones. Graduate student Vignan Thanugundla sees

The 3-D organs are printed on a Stratasys Objet Eden 260VS printer in the Tinker Lab in McDonnell Douglas Hall. The printer works by using resin or another durable material to create the organ, layer-by-layer.


Dr. Condoor (center) believes the Tinker Lab offers a range of opportunities to collaborate with School of Medicine faculty, Dr. Nadeem Parkar (right) and Dr. Wilson King, on prototypes as well as implantable components to replace human organs.

A resin heart created using the Objet printer.

his work in the Tinker Lab as “career changing.” His experience with the printers adds significantly to his qualifications professionally. Beyond opportunities for personal growth, Thanugundla said he sees that the printers and their potential applications will benefit society. “I look at these machines as more than technology,” he said. “I look at this as something to help people to survive.” Having worked on the modeling projects with doctors prepping for major surgery, he has seen the patients coming out in a better state because the doctors are more fully prepared. For Thanugundla, this lab presents the kind of opportunity that reflects the “true value of the Jesuit education from Saint Louis University.” And this opportunity to work with the printers and these types of projects is unique among graduate programs. “Professors here have been very helpful,” said Thanugundla. “There is interaction across disciplines, and their doors are always open to help. Dr. Condoor says you can learn anything from


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Google, but here we get a real education. I like to think of it as a soulfully sound education.” The iScholars students also focus on caring for others. Two years ago, they were invited to participate in the Rice Global Health Challenge at a Tinker Camp. Their effort extended through spring of 2015 as they worked to develop a product that would resolve an issue with dispensing perishable vaccines in developing countries. The goal was to improve upon a cooler developed by the Gates Foundation for dispensing vaccines. The problem with the Gates Foundation’s initial cooler was that care providers had to open and close it at each remote location they visited. Every time the cooler was opened, it exposed the vaccines to heat, ruining them and thereby denying entire villages the access to these vital medicines. Through the Tinker Lab, the Parks iScholars students developed a cooler in which vaccines in vials or bottles could be loaded and dispensed with rotating wheels, similar to a gumball machine or drinking straw dispenser. As of now, the Parks cooler has not been commercially developed, but this experience demonstrates the important

Vignan Thanugundla, Parks graduate student

opportunities available to the students and the potential positive outcomes that the Tinker Lab and its equipment can provide.

I look at these machines as more than technology. I look at this as something to help people to survive. THANUGUNDIA

Though the department has not advertised the use of the printers, word of its capabilities has spread, particularly as a number of businesses have requested prototypes for products. The department does charge private corporations for the use of printers and staff time. Corporations also are working with the department on student projects. Parks students recently participated in the design of a new product with General Electric. “GE was very happy with the results that came about in the course of just one semester,” Condoor said, adding that he hoped the collaboration will open the door for additional similar opportunities. As for what is next for the Tinker Lab, graduate student Aaron Phu sees the potential to work with doctors to produce implants for surgery and testing purposes. For 3-D printing, the next steps would be affordable printers that can output metal materials. Of course, whatever comes next will no doubt involve more than a little tinkering. The good news is – Parks students have just the place for that.


PARKS COLLEGE WELCOMES THREE NEW FACULTY MEMBERS. In Fall 2015, Saint Louis University’s Parks College welcomed two new assistant professors, Chris Carroll, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Civil Engineering Department and Jenna Gorlewicz, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering Carroll Department. Carroll received his B.S. and M.S. from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) and received his Ph.D. in CEE from Virginia Tech, where he was a Cunningham-Via Fellow and College of Engineering Dean’s Teaching Fellow. Dr. Carroll was a faculty member at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette from 2009 to 2015, where he initiated and directed the structural engineering laboratory. He joined the faculty at SLU in the fall of 2015. Dr. Carroll’s experimental research interests include reinforced and prestressed concrete structures. His educational research interests include the use of problem and project-based learning in the classroom at the university and secondary school levels. He has also co-hosted five documentaries in conjunction with the History, Science and Discovery channels focused on topics ranging from Cold War nuclear Gorlewicz bunkers to engineering in ancient Rome and Egypt. Carroll received a 2016 award from the American Concrete Institute. Gorlewicz received her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering (ME) at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) before pursuing her Ph.D. in ME at Vanderbilt University. At Vanderbilt, she worked in the Medical

Engineering and Discovery (MED) Lab, where she was a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Fellow and a Vanderbilt Educational Research Fellow. In 2013, Dr. Gorlewicz returned to SIUE as a faculty member in ME. In the fall of 2015, she joined the faculty in the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering at Saint Louis University, where she directs the Intelligent Mechatronic, Haptic, and Robotic Systems (IMeHRS) Lab. Her research interests are in haptic and human-machine interfaces, medical devices and robotics, educational technologies, entrepreneurship, and engineering education. She is also the founder and president of ViTAL, an educational software start-up. In late 2015, Gorlewicz received $150,000 NSF grant to potentially help visually-impaired students, especially in STEM fields. Additionally, in February 2016, Parks College welcomed Koyal Garg, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Biomedical Engineering Department. Garg completed her graduate work at Virginia Commonwealth University; receiving M.S. and Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering. The primary motive of her research is to deGarg velop novel regenerative therapies for injury, aging or disease-associated alterations in biological functions of tissues/organs. During her doctoral tenure, her research focused on testing the relationship between the structural properties of vascular grafts and a favorable macrophage phenotype response. At the US Army Institute of Surgical Research, Garg worked on the pre-clinical development and testing of biomaterial and pharmaceutical interventions for improving skeletal muscle regeneration and force production after traumatic volumetric muscle loss injuries. She continued her research work as a post-doctoral scholar at the Beckman Institute of Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she developed and tested electrical stimulation, laminin and stem cell based regenerative therapies for the protection of skeletal muscle mass and function from injury and aging.


o t e c n a h C A Parks College Space Systems Research Laboratory gives students the chance to learn the space systems business firsthand.


Students await the launch of Argus in the McDonnell Douglas Hall Rotunda.


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A SORT OF ENDING – WITH PIZZA n some ways, this was a typical gathering of college students. There was pizza, free-flowing conversation, and eyes glued to computer screens. Still in every other respect, this was a unique opportunity, indeed. For one thing, those eyes were not locked in an epic cyber game or a heart-stopping action film. Rather, these were Parks College students concentrating on the real and the right now as they discovered for themselves if they had the right stuff. This gathering was the culmination of nearly three years of work – of discussion, of speculation and yes, of pizza – in the Space Systems Research Laboratory (SSRL). Together, they conceived, contemplated and constructed Argus, a small satellite about the size of an old-school toaster. And now it is well after 9 p.m. on Tuesday, November 3, 2015, and Argus was prepared to fly as a part of the ORS-4 Mission on the inaugural voyage of the Super-Strypi rocket based in Hawaii. Anticipation was high, and expectations higher.

Touch Sp ace

The SSRL team huddled together watching and listening, their collective gaze focused on an actual countdown clock and a video feed speaking COPPER launch to them from that launch pad in the middle of the Pacific Ocean Their conversations percolated with the sort of nervous energy that comes from awaiting result of laborious hours of blood, sweat and tears poured into something of consequence. But rockets, like life, do not necessarily go according to plan, as associate professor and SSRL director Mike Swartwout, Ph.D. knows all too well. In the case of Argus, it was the rocket carrying the small satellite that failed. Even now, it is not exactly clear what happened. But while the cause may be murky, the results were undeniable—Argus, and everything else on board, failed to reach orbit. In truth, happy endings are often hard won in the real world of space. But failure carries its own invaluable lesson. As Swartwout succinctly noted: “Space is hard.” That day, no one knew

that better than the SSRL team, including SLU senior Mary Distler, the lab’s lead systems engineer. “When the rocket failed, it was defeating,” she said. “Dr. Swartwout is always telling us that you have to have thick skin to work in this field. You can work on a project for years and see it literally go up in flames. Something like this also teaches you how to learn from the smaller victories and to grow together as a team.” Known for his passion and cynicism, Swartwout was a bit more philosophical. “It was the first time this group of people had built a rocket. It was the first time this rocket had flown, and it was the first time they used this launch site,” Swartwout said. “Any one of those is 50/50 chance of failure. When you put them all together…” And while the finality of destruction feels like the end of the story, SSRL students know better. For the lesson that Swartwout and other Parks College faculty teach in the SSRL is equally valuable and succinct: “Space is worth it.”


Using CAD (Computer Aided Designs) software, senior Angel Serrano develop the design of the structural components of the satellite.

NOTHING INTRIGUES LIKE ACCESS – AND PIZZA The SSRL grew out of the idea that teaching the next generation of space engineers must move from the classroom into space itself. Classroom projects and assignments offer an integral piece of an engineer’s education. But it is a limited piece – one that Students work needs to be fitted with the opportunity to design, plan and together to test the build real-world projects that could be launched on rockets image system. and hurled into the atmosphere and beyond. The true nature and dynamics of space cannot be replicated within the walls of earthbound classroom projects. One way to look “One way to look at it is that when you are doing a at it is that when classroom project that you know isn’t Denana Vehab, a 2015 alumna in aerospace engineering, the experience of you are doing a going to lead to anything, in some ways the serving as project manager for the SSRL from 2014 to 2015 was an imporpressure is off. Whereas when you have an classroom project tant part of her growth and education at SLU. external customer, you begin to realize that “(The) focus for the SSRL has definitely had a positive impact on my career that you know isn’t this is ‘for real,’” said Swartwout. “With an after Parks,” said Vehab. “I’m currently a systems architecture engineer at going to lead to assignment there is the temptation to say ‘I’ve Northrop Grumman, and my entire job revolves around ensuring we have done enough with this’ versus ‘someone else is end-to-end compliance within our systems. Being able to jump right into anything, in some depending on me to do this right, so I’m going that, and especially as a ‘straight out of college’ new hire, I can deliver on my ways the pressure to do what is needed to do the job regardless of projects and ensure my team stays on track for our deliverables.” how long it takes.’” Among the challenges in creating the SSRL was finding projects that is off. Whereas The lessons learned in the SSRL are not were big enough to provide all the aspects of space systems’ design and when you have an only of the technical variety. Students learn the fabrication, but small enough for a group of undergraduate students to build value of solid project management, teamwork from concept to launch. To that end, the SSRL has focused on CubeSats, external customer, and how to work with internal and external a type of miniaturized satellite for space research made up of multiples of you begin to realize customers, in addition to their classroom work. 10x10x10cm cubic units. These small satellites are small enough that stuthat this is ‘for “The problem is too big for any one person dents can design and build them, and large enough that they can be included to solve, so (for the students) figuring out how in real-world launch projects and at a fraction of the cost of larger satellites. real’. SWART WOUT to best organize themselves and work together NASA’s Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa) and CubeSat to meet deadlines is part of the learning,” said Launch initiative (CSLI) provides opportunities for small satellite payloads Swartwout. “There are communication skills in a couple different directions. built by students to fly on rockets planned for upcoming launches. These They are very often giving reports and presentations to NASA, to the Air Force CubeSats are flown as auxiliary payloads on previously planned missions. and other industry professionals. So they need to understand how do they best The first CubeSat developed in the SSRL was COPPER (SLU-01), which communicate, how do they best express their ideas to those audiences?” launched in November 2013. Unlike Argus, it reached orbit, but unfortuThese lessons — the ability to see the whole picture — offer more than nately, COPPER was never heard from after that point. hands-on configuration and calculation. For Parks College graduates like Argus (SLU-02), which was a collaborative project between the SSRL


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along the sequence,” said Swartwout. “And that gives us as good a chance at continuity as we are going to get with a four-year turnaround.”

Students work to integrate the flight unit. (Photos above and left are of COPPER, which launched in 2013).

and the Institute for Defense and Space Electronics (ISDE) at Vanderbilt University, was the second SSRL incarnation. The next planned mission is COPPER 2, which could launch as early as September 2016. As envisioned, each mission is a building block toward a larger mission: a satellite that would deploy a smaller device with a camera to circle an object in space and then re-attach itself to the larger satellite. Swartwout estimates it could take seven to 10 flights to achieve that larger mission. “We like to have three projects going on at any given time,” said Swartwout. “One that is near launch or launching, one that is in serious development, and one that is maybe three to four years down the road.” Three projects in various stages of development mean that students ideally have the opportunity to touch every part of the process during their careers. It also means they may “work entirely too hard on these projects,” as Swartwout said. That means many late nights, lots of pizza, and a fair amount of goofing off. “Repeatedly working late into the night was definitely not easy, but some of my favorite memories of undergrad were during those times,” said Vehab. “Legend has it that there were once epic games of capture the flag played in the halls of Parks College and excursions in the middle of final’s week involving a telescope and viewings of Saturn and the moon. I mean, when you get a bunch of nerds together, good things happen.” Of course, having a workforce that largely consists of undergraduates also means that the knowledge base of the lab is constantly changing. In the SSRL, this is addressed by having freshmen and sophomores heavily involved with the project closest to launch, sophomores and juniors in the design of the project coming next, and seniors acting as project managers and planning the project furthest on the horizon. “The idea is that as you progress, you’re shifting into the next mission

P E R P E T U A L M O T I O N – W I T H L AT E-N I G H T B U R G E R S In a sense, change and turnover are the only constants in the SSRL with everevolving missions and an ever-revolving group of students pursing them. But as Swartwout points out, that is the nature of the space industry, where project timelines are often measured in years and decades—rather than weeks and months—and persistence, dedication and hard work are the hallmarks. “I think the best lesson that I have learned, and I think I speak for everyone in the lab, is that hard work pays off,” said senior Nick Mercadante. “There really is no substitute for hard work in this lab. If you do the work, the results will come. If you don’t, it will show.” Recently, Swartwout caught up with a group of SSRL alumni in Los Angeles for a late night dinner of In-N-Out burgers on the beach near LAX. (For a program of its size, an extraordinary number of SSRL alumni work in Southern California for SpaceX.) The SSRL director took the opportunity to ask for some feedback of his own. “There is that question that comes up given our track record, in that our first satellite didn’t work, that our second satellite was on a rocket that blew up,” he said. “Given that, is there a better way to give the students this training experience for maybe less money, less time, less heartache? And I posed that question to that group of alumni on the beach: Am I wasting your time? Is it worth it?” Their response was “yes.” Even though they might work for three years on a project that won’t fly, or one that could blow up, they wanted that experience, Swartwout said. One of the alums on the beach that night was Steve Massey, a 2012 Parks graduate (computer and electrical engineering) who now works as a mission integrator at SpaceX, where the lessons he learned in the SSRL have served him well. “At SLU, I had hands-on experiences that presented me with real-world challenges early in my academic career. These challenges gave me early access to the skills I needed to succeed,” said Massey. “I worked on space-bound hardware early as an undergrad, where I was I think the best able to gain the cross-disciplinary skills I lesson that I have needed to succeed in a high-tech, competitive environment.” learned, and I think The group noted that the hard lessons they I speak for everyone learned at Parks have imbued them with a in the lab, is that similar mixture of the passion and cynicism Swartwout brings to work each day. hard work pays “I can’t help but participate in these off. MERCADANTE things. I enjoy it; it’s a great opportunity and experience, but regular, routine disappointment and failure is an inescapable part of the process,” said Swartwout. “I’ve heard it said that there are a thousand things that can happen when you light a rocket, and only one of them is good. In this business there are so many ways for things to go wrong that generally speaking, you only start believing the people who have gone before you when you’ve made a few of those mistakes.” Space is hard. The distance from St. Louis to Los Angeles is three or four times farther than the altitude of a CubeSat’s orbit. Parks College students and alumni travel both journeys, longing for, as Swartwout puts it, “the chance to touch space.”


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he morning of November 19, 2015, brought a crisp wind that gusted occasionally across the airfield. Under crystal blue skies, senior Chris Wall surveyed the landscape of aircraft before him. It was perfect flying weather, he recalled. But what made the day ideal was the set of keys in his hand, for today was the inaugural flight for one of Saint Louis University’s new Cirrus SR20 aircraft.

“I took up November 247 Papa Charlie,” Wall said. “The purpose of the flight was to familiarize myself with the airplane, to figure out what is can do.” The previous June, the University had purchased the piston-engine, composite monoplanes built by Cirrus Aircraft in Duluth, Minnesota. The additional planes brought SLU’s fleet to 15, including nine Diamond DA-20s, two Piper Seminoles and two Piper Arrows, said Professor Steve Magoc, department chair of aviation sciences. From the start, Wall said he was impressed with the plane’s responsiveness and instrumentation. Once in the cockpit, Wall and flight instructor Colin Bowman (Parks ’12) prepared for takeoff. Their mission was to fly an hour and 15 minutes to Sparta, Illinois, programing the flight and landing to be done on autopilot.

“This plane can do quite a lot,” Wall said. “Once we took off, I started playing with the plane’s autopilot.” As the plane neared Sparta, Wall set up an instrument approach in which the plane controlled its own landing. “It did exactly what it was supposed to do,” he said, “and that was phenomenal.” Wall is not the only one who is excited about the Cirrus SR20s. Junior Nicholas Carter said the Cirrus SR20 aircraft add diversity and flexibility to SLU’s fleet. “These planes add the ability for students to train in instrument flight conditions, which gives more variety in the training and allows us to get hands-on, real-world experiences,” Carter said. Since the beginning of the spring semester, Magoc said that the planes have been used about every 2.5 days by students who have begun flight training in the SR20 aircraft. The duration of each flight averages 2.3 hours, he added. “The new Cirrus SR20 aircraft are looked at by the flight train-

ing staff and students as fantastic training devices,” Magoc said. “The aircraft are certified and equipped with the Cirrus Perspective avionics and autopilots. This level of technology is being used to supplement the instrument pilot flight training that our students receive.” Chief Flight Instructor, Saul Robinson, said the aircraft offer training in skills and procedures that transition students to from “singlepilot to commercial, multi-crew operations.” “The SR20s, with Cirrus Perspective avionics and autopilot, provide a superlative platform for further development of the abilities learned during the students’ instrument education,” he said. “The skills and procedures learned in the SR20 allow for consistency with the Jet Flying Techniques courses conducted in the Paradigm CRJ200 regional jet simulator.” For Magoc, the planes are a resource for students and a source of pride for SLU. “Our goal is to provide a world-class flight training experience and set students up for success in their future careers,” Magoc said. “Integrating Cirrus SR20s into our training fleet is another sign of our commitment to offer the best training environment to our pilots.”

These planes add the ability for students to train in instrument flight conditions, which gives more variety in the training and allows us to get hands-on, real-world experiences. CARTER


class notes Alexander Berry (Parks ’11) married Laura Buerger (AH ’11) October 4, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. Many SLU graduates were in the wedding party. He completed his master’s at Oklahoma State University and currently works as a trader with Barksdale Capital in Chicago. Theodore Biondo (IT ’65) is retired in Rockford, Ill. where he serves on the Winnebago County Board and writes op-ed columns for the Rockford Register Star. James Boen, III (Parks ’63) retired from the US Army in 1996 and is currently a farmer.

Frank Duda (IT ’58) is retired from McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) and living in the St. Louis area. David Duesterhaus (Parks ’72) retired from the Arnold Engineering Development Complex after 42 years and 33 years of government service. He looks forward to a long retirement with his wife, Debra. Barry Heffner (Parks ’72) retired after 42 years in the construction industry, in various management positions. He plans to enjoy a lot of shooting competitions, hunting and fishing with his best friend and wife, Angie.

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Les Bordelon (IT ’68) retired from his job as Executive Director at Edwards AFB, Calif. His wife, Cheryl Paulsen Bordelon (AS ‘69) is the retired principal of Redlands Adult School. Joseph Childs (IT ’68) was recently elected Membership Vice President of the IEEE Reliability Society. He has worked at Lockheed Martin for 14 years and Texas Instruments for many years before that. Leah Czerniewski (Parks ’12) is a NSF graduate research fellow at Washington University in St. Louis.


PARKS today




Andrew Hesketh (Parks ’74) is celebrating his 34th year with McDonnell Douglas-Boeing. He is currently Senior Manager for all Boeing Test and Evaluation Laboratories in St. Louis, St. Charles, Philadelphia and Mesa, Ariz. Richard Holdener (IT ’62) is the President of the St. Vincent de Paul Conference at St. Albert the Great parish in Sun Prairie, Wis. Richard Jasinski (Parks ’56) retired from Lockheed Martin in 1999. He now promotes the Catholic Men’s Fellowship -That Man Is You! in the Washington Archdiocese.

( ( ( ( ( RANCH C A L L Bryce Knepp (Parks ’14) is one of six Culture Engagement Specialists with Southwest Airlines located at the company’s headquarters in Dallas, Tex. Edwin Kraus (IT ’55) and his wife, Virginia Sue (Compas) celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in June 2015. They have six children, 11 grandchildren and three greatgrandchildren. The couple resides in Fort Collins, Colo. John Lynch (Parks ’95) is a F/A 18 Superhornet pilot stationed at the Naval Safety Center in Norfolk, VA. Thomas Martin (Parks ’85) joined the FAA in 2012 as the technical lead and senior systems engineer in the FAA’s Commercial Space Flight Division after holding various positions at NASA Johnson Space Center. Stephen McCue (Parks ’79) completed his new book “That Was Not On the Itinerary,” published by Page Publishing, Inc. in July 2015. Robert McDaniel (Parks ’73) was inducted into the Illinois Aviation Hall of Fame. He is founding director of AeroCareers, a notfor-profit organization mentoring youth interested in aerospace careers. Eric Meyer (Parks ’14) received a Masters of Engineering from Boston University in May 2015. Robert Moehle (Parks ’10) is the founder of Hook, a smart home hub that connects inexpensive RF devices to Wi-Fi. He is also a flight test engineer with AeroTEC.

Vishal Patel (Parks ’02) is an attorney at Thompson & Knight in Dallas and has been named to Texas Rising Stars 2016, which represents the top 2.5 percent of Texas attorneys who are under 40 or who have been practicing less than 10 years. Leo Tevlin (IT ’49) is a television pioneer and new member of the St. Louis Media Hall of Fame. He was behind the camera for many great moments in St. Louis history going back to the 1950s. Also, he is an amateur radio operator (ham radio) now in his 82nd year as an FCC issued licensee. Bret Tyrey (Parks ’83) retired from McDonnell Douglas/Boeing with 34 years of service as a Flight Mechanic/Inspector/Optical Restoration Specialist. Charles White (Parks ’37) turned 100 on January 31 and is the oldest known Parks College graduate. He is well and living at a retirement home in Spring Valley, Calif. Alden Wilcox (Parks ’51) retired from Textron-Lycoming in 1987 and started an engineering consulting firm, Turbo-Tec, Inc., with another retiree. They dissolved the business in January 2015 and he is now fully retired.

RANCH C A L L ) ) ) ) ) Captions here

2015 Alumni Merit Award Winners


he 2015 Oliver L. Parks Award winner was Jorge Seda (Parks ’69). After Parks, Seda went on to earn a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Cincinnati in 1977. He worked for GE Aviation for nearly 40 years, retiring in 2009. He is a licensed professional engineer Seda in Ohio, has taught engine design courses at GE for 19 years and holds 14 U.S. patents. Additionally, Seda has been heavily involved in Latino/ Hispanic initiatives for 18 years. In fact, he recruited more than 350 Hispanic students to work at GE and has received numerous awards for his work in promoting diversity in the workplace and community.


ichard J. Ward, Jr. (IT ’58) was honored with the Institute of Technology Alumni Merit Award. After graduating from SLU, Ward went on to complete his juris doctor degree from the University of Southern California’s Gould School of Law in 1962. Ward pursued a long career in intellectual property Ward law, at one point even serving as managing partner at Christie, Parker and Hale, an intellectual property firm with locations in Glendale and Irvine, Calif. The Pasadena Bar Association named him Lawyer of the Year in 2005. He has served as a member of the San Marino City Council since 2009. He has also served as president and trustee of the San Marino Schools Foundation.


In Memoriam Kenneth Rys (Parks ’62)

Vance Shellahamer (Parks ’33)

Harry Liljeblad (Parks ’52)

Merle Williams (Parks ’39)

Robert Roeder (Parks ’52)

Eugene Buerke (IT ’63)

Nicholas Armenis (Parks ’40)

Harry Hasenpflug (IT ’53)

James Finfera (Parks ’63)

Robert Gast (Parks ’40)

August Litteken (Parks ’53)

Dennis Gould (IT ’63)

Witold Monkiewicz (Parks ’40)

James Ryan (Parks ’53)

Francis Latuda (IT ’63)

Robert Raymond (Parks ’40)

Harry Hesidence (Parks ’54)

Robert McBride (Parks ’63)

Carl Wheeler (Parks ’40)

Frederic Weisman (Parks ’54)

Edward Morrison (Parks ’63)

John Lucast (Parks ’41)

Edwin Barnicle (IT ’55)

Eugene Rasmusson (IT ’63)

Robert Mudge (Parks ’41)

Thomas Bauman (Parks ’55)

Donald Roques (Parks ’63)

Robert Short (Parks ’41)

Richard Bredemann (IT ’55)

Charles Stubbs (IT ’63)

James Sunstein (Parks ’41)

Blaise Engelking (Parks ’55)

Frederick Tasch (IT ’63) Richard Figueras (IT ’64)

Charles Wolff (Parks ’42)

David Trampe (IT ’55)

Charles Reniff (Parks ’43)

Clarence Turnis (Parks ’55)

Stanley Fletcher (IT ’64)

John Suomala (Parks ’43)

Larry Geick (Parks ’56)

Daniel Grossman (IT ’64)

Warren Cook (Parks ’47)

John Kennedy (Parks ’56)

Harold Hoyt (IT ’64)

Paul Gentle (Parks ’47)

Thomas Magner (Parks ’56)

Dennis Nickerson (Parks ’64)

Kenneth Horton (Parks ’47)

George Mattern (Parks ’56)

Walter Ream (Parks ’64)

Daniel Kostoff (Parks ’47)

Carl Beritela (Parks ’57)

Willice Crisp (IT ’65)

David MacFiggen (Parks ’47)

Alvaro Espinosa (IT ’57)

Harold Knowles (Parks ’65)

Everett Ness (Parks ’47)

Charles Miller (Parks ’57)

Robert Brown (Parks ’66)

Rudolph Bonapace (Parks ’48)

Andrew Ruddell (Parks ’57)

Thomas FitzGibbon (Parks ’66)

Salvatore DeYoreo (Parks ’48)

David Gillies (Parks ’58)

Robert Munson (IT ’66)

Robert Lints (Parks ’48)

Welton LaChance (Parks ’58)

Gregory Hunolt (IT ’67) James Wagner (Parks ’67)

James Mitchell (Parks ’48)

Francis McCabe (Parks ’58)

Herman Mondschein (IT ’48)

Jerry Meyer (Parks ’58)

Fred Blasberg (IT ’68)

Clarence Wieland (IT ’48)

Richard Mulick (Parks ’58)

William Tenpas (Parks ’68)

Vincent Cavanaugh (IT’49)

John Rottler (IT ’58)

George Craig (IT ’69)

Arthur Cook (Parks ’49)

James Sabaski (Parks ’58)

Anthony Farreh (Parks ’69)

Francis Fennerty (IT’49)

Kenneth Bauman (Parks ’59)

Edward Martin (IT ’69)

Gerald Kohnen (IT’49)

Robert Burgess (Parks ’59)

Joseph Shepherd (Parks ’69)

Donald Silldorff (Parks ’49)

Louis Fuka (IT ’59)

Joseph Weyerich (IT ’69)

Guy Cisco (Parks ’50)

Donald Kozlowski (IT ’59)

William Reiter (Parks ’70)

Jack Crump (IT ’50)

William Lambert (Parks ’59)

Sidney Jacks (IT ’71)

Norbert Dirkers (IT ’50)

Robert Rattini (IT ’59)

Fred Altenbach (Parks ’73)

Aloysius Giehl (IT ’50)

Donald Steffen (IT ’59)

Scott Evans (Parks ’73)

James Hummert (IT ’50)

George Stock (IT ’59)

Thomas Childress (Parks ’76)

Thomas O’Connell (Parks ’50)

Joseph Bloyder (Parks ’60)

Bryce Guenther (Parks ’76)

John Sayer (IT ’50)

James Dailey (IT ’60)

Archie Wood (Parks ’50)

Jeffrey Delaplain (Parks ’60)

Mary (Kennemer) Purdy (Parks ’77)

Jacob Becker (IT ’51)

Martin Henrichs (IT ’60)

Louis Fricke (IT ’51)

Edward Kane (Parks ’61)

Bernard Griesedieck (IT ’51)

Patrick Moran (IT ’61)

William Krummel (IT ’51)

Carl Scheibal (IT ’61)

John Pfeifauf (IT ’51)

Stanley Sweikar (Parks ’61)

Joseph Ryan (Parks ’51)

John Thiruvathukal (IT ’61)

Joseph Stoddard (IT ’51)

Kenneth Tumas (Parks ’61)

Franklin Wilcox (Parks ’51)

Charles Conway (IT ’62)

Walter Wronka (IT ’51)

Thomas Hughes (IT ’62)

John Beetham (Parks ’52)

John Mossinghoff (IT ’62)

William Tonsing (Parks ’77) Kim Crockett (Parks ’82) Mark Von Hatten (Parks ’82) Mark Van Sickle (Parks ’84) Barry Chapman (Parks ’85) Aaron Kim (Parks ’85) Lupe Ruiz (Parks ’87) Vincent Johnson (Parks ’91) Dwayne Glover (Parks ’94) Kevin Roche (Parks ’07)


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Parks Today Spring 2016  
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