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Fall/Winter 2007


Program Update Issue


Status Reports from the EME Program Officers - page 8

Alumni and Friends Update .........4 Faculty News ...............................6 Program Updates ........................8 New Faces.................................12 Student Voice ............................14

From The Department Head

Dear Alumni and Friends, Winter has returned to Happy Valley, and we are preparing for a busy 2008. If there is one word to describe the state of Energy and Mineral Engineering right now – it is growth. We are growing in terms of programs of study, faculty members, number of students, and number of opportunities to connect and share with our alumni and friends. Enrollment numbers are the highest we’ve seen in years. Currently EME has the highest enrollment in the College with over 350 undergraduate students and over 100 graduate students in the department. Even our newest major, Energy Engineering, which premiered this fall, already has a handful of new students. Our undergraduate enrollment is 230% over the enrollment in the fall of 2003. We have also welcomed six new faculty members to the department. Larry Grayson is the new George H., Jr., and Anne B. Deike Chair and Undergraduate Program Officer in Mining Engineering. Larry came to us from the University of Missouri, Rolla, where he made great strides for their mining program, and he is already doing the same for us. Dr. Jamal Rostami also joined the department after time in both industry and academia to teach primarily in the Mining Engineering program. Drs. Seth Blumsack and Fan Zhang are new additions to EME with a focus in Energy Policy and Economics, and they will both teach primarily in the Energy Business and CONNECTION is a publication of the Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences at Penn State. Submissions for future issues are welcome and can be sent to: CONNECTION NEWSLETTER 116 Hosler Building Penn State University University Park, PA 16802-5000 or by e-mail to: Editorial Director: Yaw Yeboah, Writer/Editor: Rachel Altemus, Pub. Design Assistant: Anna Morrison,

Finance program. Dr. Yongsheng Chen just arrived in the department in November. His research interests focus on bioenergy, catalytic conversion of biomass, and nanomaterials for energy applications, and he will teach primarily in the new Energy Engineering program. Our last new faculty addition is Dr. Jeff rey Brownson, whose research interests involve solar energy and environmental technology. A major part of Jeff rey’s responsibility is to serve as the new departmental recruiter for all our programs. Within weeks of his arrival in the department he was leading student and family tours and visiting Fort Valley State University in Georgia to recruit students for the 3-2 program in Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering. He also travels to high school recruiting events and is working on strategies to raise our visibility to the next potential generation of engineers, scientists, and energy industry professionals. You’ll find profiles of our new additions on page 12. While six new faculty members is a good accomplishment in less than a year, we’re not done yet! We have five more new positions on the horizon this coming year, including at least two new hires in petroleum and natural gas engineering. Stay tuned for more new introductions in the next issue. Our students have been busy this fall interviewing with the companies that visit the department each year seeking interns and full-time employees. EME students are in ever greater demand in the energy industry. The students have also been active in their professional societies. Over 30 students attended the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) annual meeting in Anaheim where they competed in the PetroBowl again this year. A group of Mining Engineering students will be attending the Society for Metallurgy and Exploration (SME) meeting in February, and we plan to take a group of students to the American Chemical Society (ACS) meeting in New Orleans next April. We hope to see you at our alumni and friends receptions at each of these meetings too! It has been an exciting fall full of new arrivals and fresh starts. We look forward to another successful year in 2008! Best wishes for your new year,

U.Ed. EMS 08-37 This publication is available in alternative media on request. Penn State is committed to affirmative action, equal opportunity, and the diversity of its workforce. 2

Yaw Yeboah EME Department Head

From The Dean

An Open Letter to the EMS Community on the Future of Energy and Mineral Engineering in the College by William E. Easterling, Dean, EMS

In a time of leadership change in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences (EMS), questions naturally arise concerning the new dean’s commitment to traditional strengths and programs, willingness to promote the broad interests of the College, and charting of new directions intended to keep the College at the cutting edge. The College is steeped in a century-old tradition of excellence in energy and mining, earth, and materials sciences and engineering. It has trained the world’s leading thinkers in those areas whether they work in industry, government, or academia. The College derives its power, prestige, and distinguished service to science and society from the combined strengths of all of those areas. If any one of them slips, the College is weakened immeasurably. I write to you to provide assurance of my commitment to promote all of the College’s departments and institutes, but especially my commitment to the alumni, students, staff, faculty, and programs in our proud Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering (EME). I do this now because the Department has undergone a series of transformations in recent years, the most recent having occurred earlier this year with the renaming of the Department. The College’s excellence in mining engineering is as old as the College itself, dating to the 1890s. The history of petroleum began in Pennsylvania and petroleum engineering has also been a long-standing strength of the College. The dedication of the College to providing the best education and research in all aspects of energy and minerals, spanning extraction, conversion, utilization, and economics has been an enduring trait in recent decades under the leadership of Deans Steidle, Hosler, Dutton, and Barron. Even during the lean enrollment years of the late 1980s and 1990s, when most other universities were drastically cutting and, in some cases, shutting down petroleum and mining departments, the College invested to grow energy programs. Now, in the early years of the 21st century, as energy security has become a grand global challenge, the College is in an excellent position to lead Penn State toward becoming the world’s premier energy university. That, very simply, is my vision and goal. I am fully aware of the differing views among our alumni on whether or not to keep EME whole or divide it into separate departments that would assemble petroleum and natural gas, mining, and industrial health and safety into one department, and fuel science, energy business and finance, and energy and geoenvironmental engineering into the other. Although the decision to maintain one EME department was made prior to my watch, I support that decision. Let me be clear on why I believe it to be in the best long-term interests of the Department and the College to maintain all of the elements of energy Connection

and mineral engineering in one department: 1.

The programs within the department focus on energy – production (Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering, Mining Engineering, Energy Engineering), processing (Mineral Processing, Dr. William Easterling Energy Engineering), and utilization (Energy Engineering); and the associated environmental (Environmental Systems Engineering), health and safety (Industrial Health and Safety) and management (Energy Business and Finance) issues. The trend in industry is to integrate and consolidate into strong energy companies rather than separated, small production, processing, and utilization companies. Last Fall, the University’s Energy Task Force was advised by chief technical officers from more than a dozen companies (including Shell, Chevron, Schlumberger, Consol, ConocoPhillips, and Siemens) that they need students trained in depth in their disciplines but with a broad grasp of other facets of the industry, including business and economics.


The Department’s programs complement each other and provide synergy that promotes efficient and effective use of resources. For example, course integration is possible that allows each program to retain the courses that are unique to the degree but eliminates duplication of courses that all of the programs require, such as engineering evaluation, fluid mechanics, and thermodynamics. This improves the student enrollment numbers in individual classes and relieves faculty teaching loads.


A single department facilitates strong interaction between faculty and students across the programs. Collaborative research and teaching have become the predominant funding model of major government agencies, foundations, and industries. This is seen, for example, with research by EME faculty on the synthesis of biofuels with fossil fuels to achieve maximum engine performance. The single department provides a unique opportunity to address nonrenewable (oil, coal and natural gas) and sustainable/renewable

Continued on page 5 3

Alumni and Friends

Energy Business and Finance Course Connects Students with Alumni As the fall 2007 semester closes out, so does another successful round of the EM SC 401 guest alumni speaker series. A unique element of the Energy Business and Finance program since its inception in 2002, this series is an innovative tool that brings alumni and students together through lectures and joint projects. Offered as part of the EM SC 401 course on strategic corporate finance for the earth, energy, and materials industries, it takes what could be a typical 400-level course in corporate finance and turns it into an experience that brings Wall Street straight into the classroom. For in this EBF capstone course, students not only learn about the financial issues corporations deal with in the realm of earth science business, they also have the opportunity to hear about it first-hand from distinguished professionals in the world of corporate finance. And that, according to EBF program officer and professor Andrew N. Kleit, is what makes the alumni speaker series invaluable to the educational process. “Alumni speakers bring critical real world experience to our students and help them better understand what types of jobs they would be interested in,” explained Kleit. EBF senior Joe Snook agrees. “I enjoyed the presentations by alumni… [because] they help us understand what types of jobs are out there, the problems encountered at these occupations, and the skills needed for these positions.” This semester’s alumni speakers included Fred Demler (’76, B.S., ’80, Ph.D., Mineral Economics) of Man Financial, Kevin Rudd (’83, B.S., Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering) of Curtis Financial Group, Shelley Corman (’85, B.S., Mineral Lee Brennan discusses his class project with Economics) of Transwestern EM SC 401 students. Pipeline, and Lee Brennan (’70, B.S., Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering) of JPMorgan Chase Bank. Drawing on their own personal experiences, each lecturer presented the class with real life examples that demonstrated how corporations make financial decisions. “My goal was to provide the students with an understanding of the process used by a financial institution in determining where it will allocate its capital… [and] to convey the difference in evaluating equity versus debt,” said Brennan. The end of these guest speakers’ presentations marks only the beginning of their interaction with EBF, EME, and other EMS students. In addition to being invited to speak for one class period, these alumni also serve as project leaders to an assigned group of 4

Alumni guest speaker Fred Demler (middle) with Professor Andrew Kleit (left) and Instructor H. Dean Bunnell (right)

students from the class. Here’s how it works. Before visiting campus, the alumni are asked to devise a hypothetical scenario for their students to analyze and make financial conclusions about, much in the same way a company would do when making financial decisions. For example, students might be asked to examine the profitability of a new electricity power plant as well as the means for acquiring the financing for its formation. Then, once the alumni come to University Park and hand out their challenge, they work together with their student groups by offering guidance, advice, and answers to questions via telephone, email, and videoconferencing for the duration of the project. “This really made me realize how classroom projects can be applied to the real world,” said Lauren Bell, a senior majoring in Meteorology. “I felt that instead of just working for a grade I was actually performing quality work for a business.” “Students like the alumni projects because they have the opportunity to work on “real world” issues or problems,” added H. Dean Bunnell, EM SC 401 course instructor. “The projects give them the opportunity to do research - analysis - and make recommendations as they would in a typical corporate environment. On the other side of the coin, alumni get to see the skills and capabilities of the Energy Business and Finance majors.” Beyond the scope of the classroom, the EM SC 401 alumni speaker series has another added benefit. “[I enjoyed] reconnecting with the

faculty and students,” said Rudd. And that connection with alumni is something that is highly valued throughout the College of EMS. “Professor Kleit has developed an exciting window into the real world for students as seen through the eyes of successful EMS alumni,” said Dr. Bill Easterling, Dean of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. “Not only do the students get first hand glimpses of what might lie ahead for them, but our alumni become a vital part of the EMS educational community. This is a model for others to follow.” If you are interested in participating as a guest alumni speaker for the EM SC 401 class, please contact Dr. Kleit at

An Open Letter...

Continued from page 3

energy options (solar, wind, biomass, geothermal), as well as the technology and social science (policy and economic) aspects of energy in a comprehensive and complementary manner. 4.

A single department protects individual programs that experience periodic enrollment declines (and spikes) and other contraction/expansion problems. The economies of scale of a single department administrative structure allow more costeffective management of resources including maintaining well-equipped state-of-the-art laboratories and other spaces.


The faculty of EME overwhelmingly endorse the concept of a single department now that its structure and name more closely reflect the scope of expertise and interests of its constituents. There is renewed enthusiasm and excitement among the EME faculty.

We face a generation gap in the mining and energy sector labor forces that is troubling. From the late 1980s until the end of the 20th century, price stagnation in primary industries curtailed the demand for energy, mining and mineral engineers, hence student enrollments declined. That effectively created a missing generation of workers. There are strong signs that the impending energy challenges are not likely to be short-lived as in the past. Rather, we are in a long-term “space race” for energy security that justifies long-term investment in EMS faculty, programs, and infrastructure in order to recruit and graduate the very best energy and mining engineers. EME undergraduate enrollments are on the rise. They increased by 233% during the period 2003-2007. The Department now has the highest enrollment in the College. Four of the five majors experienced growth during that time—only Industrial Health and Safety declined. Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering increased 70%, Energy Business and Finance increased 60% (since 2006, its first year in EME), Environmental Systems Engineering increased 36%, Mining Engineering increased 35%, and Industrial Health and Safety declined 54%. George H. and Anne B. Deike Professor Larry Grayson was hired this past summer to lead the mining engineering program, and a mining engineer ( Jamal Rostami) was added to the faculty. In response to industry needs and requests, we plan to change the IHS program into an Environmental Health and Safety Engineering option within the Environmental Systems Engineering degree program. Graduates will get health and safety as well as environmental training and will enjoy the benefits of an ABET accredited engineering degree. These positive trends are partly the result of strong outreach efforts by EME, including the recent hiring of a new faculty member with responsibilities for recruiting students into all of the EME programs. Connection

Reductions in Commonwealth funding to Penn State combined with escalating costs have forced the implementation of a five-year budget recycling program that requires each College to return 1% per year of its permanent dollars to the University. This has placed a great strain on programs in every EMS department. While many deans might respond to these strains by taking a “hold the line” stand, I believe that this is the time to be visionary and aggressive, to initiate bold programs, and not to sit back and hope for the best. To that end, I have planned and am now implementing a major new energy strategy for EMS, designed to propel the College into even greater international prominence in energy. We will need your help to realize this ambitious strategy. A key piece of my energy strategy has been the development of a “Clean Carbon Energy” initiative that was established through intensive discussions this past summer involving all EMS departments and institutes and the Departments of Chemical Engineering and Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering in the College of Engineering. To launch the initiative, College of Engineering Dean David Wormley and I jointly submitted proposals to the Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment for six new positions in clean coal technology, four of which were from EMS. In addition, proposals for another three EMS positions are planned for the next two years. Clearly, with enrollments on the rise, we are moving to fortify our strengths. I have recently learned that EMS received all four positions, three of which will go into EME in clean coal technology. These three new coalfocused positions add to the two previous EME new hires in energy economics this past summer. And I assure you that as enrollments continue to rise in other areas of the Department, I will work to bring in new faculty in those areas as well. I am committed to making the investments necessary for balanced growth in the Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering. The directions EME is heading are exciting and its leadership has my unqualified vote of confidence. The University just signed a fiveyear $17.5 million strategic alliance with Chevron Corporation to Penn State President Graham Spanier with Donald develop liquid Paul of Chevron cementing the new alliance fuels from coal. The College is the leader of the alliance and there is mutual interest to expand to other areas. EME was approached by ConocoPhillips this year to partner in the awarding of an Energy Prize to be given to pathbreaking researchers each year. Looking to the future of EME, I believe that it is essential that we proceed in close partnership with our alumni. I am grateful for the advice and funding that alumni have provided to the College and the Department of EME. While it may not always be possible or prudent for the Department to follow all of the advice offered by our alumni, we have an obligation to weigh it carefully and respond thoughtfully. Your support will be particularly important during the upcoming ABET accreditation review process. We have an excellent opportunity to transform EME into the world’s gold standard for research and education in energy and mining engineering. The best years of the Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering lie just ahead. 5

Faculty News

An Update From The Faculty We are pleased to share with you some personal messages and updates from EME faculty members on their recent news and accomplishments. It is with great pleasure that I take again the opportunity to wish you all the best for the next year to come. This year has been another positive year for our students: our enrollment numbers maintain a positive trend in PNGE and across the board in our department, and our students continue to graduate with multiple employment offers. On a more personal level, I just finished my third year as an Assistant Professor in our department last August. I continue to be in charge of our graduate courses in natural gas engineering (PNG 530) and advanced hydrocarbon thermodynamics (PNG 520), and our undergraduate course and lab in petroleum surface production (PNG 480 and PNG 482). My research group continues to grow, and we continue to explore the area of natural gas engineering both for reservoir and production applications. Two more of my graduate advisees have joined the ranks of our alumni: Mr. Austin W. Mann III (from Indiana, PA) and Dr. Suntichai Silpngarmlert (from Thailand, co-advised with Dr. T. Ertekin). My heartfelt thanks to Austin and Suntichai for their contributions, scientific curiosity, and insights. I thank our alumni at large for the support and their pride in our program, department, and College. I enjoyed seeing many of you at the alumni reception at this fall’s SPE meeting in Anaheim. I encourage you to write (lfay@ and keep in touch. I am ready to answer your questions, and receive your comments or ideas. Happy Holidays!

Cummins’ board, on the subject of biodiesel fuels and combustion, and (4) I received an invitation to speak at the International Biodiesel Congress in Vienna, Austria. We are receiving generous funding from a number of sponsors and have many exciting initiatives in advanced fuels and combustion. André L. Boehman

Greetings to all alums and particularly IHS graduates! I am happy to have this chance to provide a quick update on teaching, research, and service activities. I continue to teach the IHS core-courses Industrial Ventilation, Industrial Hygiene Measurements, Industrial Hygiene and Toxicology, and Industrial Health and Safety Seminar. This fall I enjoyed teaching a new course for me, IHS 450 Environmental Health and Safety. In addition to my usual IHS core-courses, I will be teaching a full section (100 students) of the General Education course EGEE 110 Safety Science this spring. I currently supervise several graduate students including Ph.D. candidate Ming-I Lin from Industrial Engineering who is working on a NIOSH-funded project related to developing a physiologically based sampling pump for exposure assessment. Bob Joseph Pullampally recently completed his M.S. thesis (Spring 2007), which examined the effect of dermal absorption of solvent vapors on the measurement of respirator workplace protection factors. Jim Gazza, who is a fulltime IHS professional pursuing an M.S. degree part-time, continues his research characterizing ozone concentrations in a bottled water processing facility.

Luis F. Ayala H.

2007 has been a wonderful year for our research activities and our students’ accomplishments in the Diesel Combustion and Emissions Laboratory at the Energy Institute and EME. We received recognition for our research accomplishments through several channels: (1) a paper published in 2005 in Energy & Fuels and written by Fuel Science doctoral graduate Dr. Juhun Song (presently a post-doctoral fellow at Argonne National Laboratory) was recognized as being in the top five most cited papers in the journal from 2005, (2) another paper written by Dr. Juhun Song which appeared in print in late 2006 was at the top of the list for the most accessed papers in the prestigious journal Combustion & Flame in the first quarter of 2007, (3) I received invitations to speak at a meeting of Cummins Engine Company’s Science and Technical Advisory Council, which reports directly to 6

In addition to this year’s teaching and research activities , I have enjoyed participating in a review of the NIOSH Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing Research program as a member of a National Academies of Science committee. I also continue to serve on the Editorial Review Board of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, and have recently participated in an ABET site visit to complete training as an Industrial Hygiene Program Evaluator. Bill Groves

This semester I had the chance to take a group of mining students to visit a limestone quarry owned by Hanson Aggregates in Milton, PA. These trips into the field are valuable experiences for our students and provide them with an important perspective to complement the classroom experience. A recent graduate contacted me Prof. Kecojevic with mining students not long ago to praise these other on tour at Hanson Aggregates components of his Penn State education. We are doing more than simply teaching information; we are shaping minds to deal with professional challenges and challenges of the human condition. This year I also completed a sponsored project on a novel approach to risk assessment of equipment-related fatal incidents in mining. I continue to be active as an Associate Editor for the Mining Engineering and the SME Transactions. I have also been involved to a great extent in the International Committee for Mine Planning and Equipment Selection (MPES), International Committee on Computer Applications in the Minerals Industries (CAMI), APCOM International Council, Membership Development Committee of Society of Mining Professors, and SME Environmental Health and Safety Committee. Vladislav Kecojevic

Under a $2.4 million research grant designated from DOE’s Nuclear Energy Research Initiative (NERI), Penn State is leading a consortium over a three-year period that will investigate thermochemical hydrogen production. Other members of the consortium include Argonne National Laboratory, University of South Carolina and Tulane University. I am proud to be serving as Director of this new consortium. The objective of our research—“Advanced Electrochemical Technologies for Hydrogen Production by Alternative Thermochemical Cycles”—is to establish the most efficient technologies for hydrogen production that are compatible with nuclear-generated heat sources. It has been an exciting fall and promises to be equally so in the coming year. Serguei Lvov

First of all let me wish you all a very happy and prosperous new year. I wanted to share with you that I could reach out to and personally teach over 2000 students this year on energy related subjects. It has been a pleasure to teach in class, online, and hybrid (blended learning) classes. Our research group has grown to about seven graduate students working on various topics such as oxy-fuel combustion, behavior of various density and size coal particles during entrained flow gasification, gasification, Connection

and gasification of coal and biomass blends. We are also exploring the use of microwaves for biomass gasification and bio oil production. I was honored to be selected by the students to serve on the Penn State Faculty Homecoming Court this year. Sarma Pisupati Currently I teach two courses: Chemistry of Fuels, which I’ve been doing for about the last four years after having previously taught it in the late 80s-mid 90s; and an entirely new course, Energy Conversion Processes (EME 451), which will be offered for the first time in Spring 08. The Jet Fuel program, which we’ve kept alive one way or another since 1989, will come to an end in 2008 or 09, in terms of our research. A start-up company in Johnstown, Vanguard Energy, is working to raise funds to commercialize PSU’s coal-to-liquids technology. Anticipating the end of “jet fuels as we know it,” I have begun a new research program in coal gasification, with support from Sasol in South Africa. This involves the biggest piece of experimental equipment I’ve ever had access to: an actual operating gasifier in Sasol’s Secunda coal-to-liquids plant. Because it’s a little hard to see how we could move the gasifier, this work results in my spending two twomonth periods per year in South Africa, with a courtesy appointment as a visiting professor at North-West University and financial support from Sasol. I am able to co-direct Ph.D. students in gasification and have good access to Sasol R&D and the Secunda plant. I expect that this African connection will develop into significant further opportunities for the faculty and student exchanges (in both directions), graduate student and postdoc recruiting, and marketing our EME courses in Africa. We are already getting South African graduate students into the department, and have one of our Energy and Fuels Engineering option students doing a semester at North-West. Harold Schobert

General Education Update During the past seven years the general education program in EME has grown by leaps and bounds; a reflection of the growing interest in energy. With the use of active learning components and highly interactive course materials, the Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering has established a very successful general education program. The department is educating more than 4,000 non-science and engineering students every year about energy related issues. EME has moved from being the lowest Student Credit Hour generator in the College in 2001 to now being the highest Student Credit Hour generator in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. The chart to the right shows enrollment in EMEtaught general education classes for the past nine years. 7

Program Updates: Energy Business and Finance & Energy Engineering From The Program Officer - EBF Dear Alumni and Friends, This year, we welcomed to the department two new EBF professors, Seth Blumsack and Fan Zhang, and threw them immediately into the fire, teaching students, writing papers, and helping to determine the course of the EBF program. Andrew Kleit, Professor of Energy and Environmental Economics, and EBF Program Officer

Our undergraduate enrollment has grown to 151 students, up from 100 last spring. The major has a new option in Global Information Sciences, and we have proposed an option in Energy Systems. As we do every term, we had several distinguished speakers come to our capstone class, EM SC 401, to speak to students and help direct student projects. You can read more about the guest speaker program in the article on page 4. We are currently working very hard to get our graduate option in Energy Management and Policy within the Energy and Mineral Engineering graduate program off the ground. Our goal is to combine energy economics and energy engineering in a program that will help society deal with the difficult issues in this area. We hope to begin admitting students for Fall 2008 in the next few months. We look forward to another exciting year! Andrew Kleit

From The Program Officer - EN ENG Dear Alumni and Friends, We are very excited about the new major in Energy Engineering. This subject area is hot, and the major is growing at a faster rate than we expected. This program is the latest addition to the department, just added in Fall of 2007, and the incoming students did not know about this major until the year had already begun. Still about 8-10 students have enrolled or are taking classes to get into the major. We hope to report 8

Kevin Rudd (top photo) and Shelley Corman (bottom photo) engage students as guest lecturers in the EM SC 401 capstone course

more in our next edition. We look forward to the next year and the continuing growth of this new program! Best wishes for the new year, Sarma

Dr. Sarma Pisupati, Program Officer, Energy Engineering

Program Updates: Environmental Systems Engineering & Industrial Health and Safety From The Program Officer - ENVSE Dear Alumni and Friends,

Mku (Thaddeus) Ityokumbul, Program Officer, Environmental Systems Engineering

I was recently appointed the Program Officer for Environmental Systems Engineering to replace Dr. Mark S. Klima who became the Associate Department Head. Even though Dr. Klima is no longer the program officer, he continues to serve as the faculty advisor to the student chapter of the Society of Environmental Systems Engineering (SESE).

From The Program Officer - I H S Dear Alumni and Friends, We are undergoing some changes in the Industrial Health and Safety Program in an effort to stream line operations and help to make the department more efficient. Many of the companies that have been contributing to the program and have been hiring our graduates have been asking that the students get more training in environmental engineering. In support of this request, we have decided to Joel Haight, Program Officer, Industrial Health and Safety absorb the IHS program into the Environmental Systems Engineering program and offer an option in Environmental Health and Safety Engineering under that major. Our approach is modeled after the Chemical Engineering Department’s options offerings. Beginning in the spring semester 2009, we hope to officially offer this option. While some of the health and safety courses will be combined to meet the credit limitations of the Environmental Systems Engineering major, students will essentially be receiving the same safety training - although all of the courses will now be taught Connection

The enrollment in the ENVSE program is currently at 74, and in the 2007/2008 academic year, twelve incoming freshmen declared their major to be ENVSE. Our graduates continue to receive employment with Fortune 500 companies. We are currently preparing for ABET accreditation of our program in the 2008/2009 academic year. We have also been working with the Industrial Health and Safety faculty on some proposed integration, which you’ll read about in Joel Haight’s entry below. In addition to serving as the program officer, I have been appointed Associate Director with the Alliance for Earth Sciences, Engineering, and Development in Africa (AESEDA) - so it has been a busy year! Best regards, Thaddeus

as engineering courses. We are excited about this new option and our students will benefit greatly from additional environmental training as well from receiving an engineering degree. A relatively new course offering in Safety Science (a general education elective) has really gained in popularity as we are now getting a sustained 100 students per semester in the course. Our major safety courses have attracted more and more students from other departments over the last two years, and we are now seeing enrollments of 20 – 35 students in some of them. These are students from the other engineering disciplines who have seen the value of training in some of the health and safety fields. Some examples are the fire protection engineering course with enrollments of more than 30 students the last two years, and the program management course has attracted enrollments over 20 students per semester. Our health and safety research has been and continues to be funded by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC) and through several industry grants. We currently have in the department six graduate students either working towards a graduate degree in the health and safety option or being funded through health and safety related research grants. All the best, Joel 9

Program Updates: Mining Engineering

From The Program Officer - MNG E This year, Drs. Grayson and Rostami joined the department as faculty members in the Mining Engineering program, thereby gaining new impetus in a newly named department, now the Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering. At this new enhancement, the starting point for undergraduate enrollment is 23, and four graduate students are on-board. These numbers are destined to grow. The real excitement for any program, and the department for that matter, comes from the students. At last year’s SME meeting, the Penn State Student Chapter won the Outstanding Student Chapter award, which is reflective of both good leadership and enthusiasm for the program and the industry. Speaking of awards, Matt Mowry, the SME Student Chapter President, received a scholarship award from the SMEPittsburgh Section, which he received at the Joint Annual Meeting of the Pittsburgh Coal Mining Institute of America and SMEPittsburgh Section (see picture on the right). Among numerous student activities in the Fall Semester 2007, Mr. William Francart, MSHA, made an excellent presentation on the Aracoma Alma Mine fire investigative report (see picture below). Interestingly, the students are now pursuing establishment of a team to participate in the International Intercollegiate Mining Competition (Mucking Competition) in March 2008, which will serve to build even Mr. William Francart, MSHA, with Mining more enthusiasm and Engineeing students following his presentation on camaraderie among the Aracoma Alma Mine fire investigative report our students. R. Larry Grayson, Program Officer, Mining Engineering


Enhancing program enrollment is a high priority, and new strategies are being pursued toward that goal. A full-page, color recruitment ad was placed in both The Daily Collegian, and also in The Weekly Collegian, which is distributed to all Commonwealth Campuses. This initial effort was quickly reinforced by a news spot on PBS’ Nightly Business Report, featuring Dr. Kecojevic and SME Student Chapter President Matt Mowry, and an article in the Christian Science Monitor, which appeared in several other newspapers and other electronic media. The primary goal, beyond a broader exposure on campuses, is to excite current students, who are the best recruiters for Mining Engineering. Enthusiasm can be contagious! In another effort to grow enrollments, the faculty and students have reached out to explosives professionals through the annual Drilling & Blasting Conference, Mining students who attended the Joint Annual Meeting which was held on of the Pittsburgh Coal Mining Institute of America and November 1-2 at SME-Pittsburgh Section the Penn Stater. Several students are seeking a Student Chapter of the International Society of Explosive Engineers, and the first steps were taken at the conference. Seeking to expand our presence in the aggregates industry as well, a relationship has been established with Graymont (PA), Inc., which is seeking students for a cooperative work-study program while the program has found a site for hands-on surveying labs as well as a site to prepare for Mucking Competition events. Additionally, negotiations have begun in early stages for strengthening the relationships between the mining programs at University Park and the Fayette campus. Finally, the program has begun participating in the Mining Industry Partnership of Southwest Pennsylvania, which was established under the guidelines of Governor Rendell’s initiative on workforce training and building stronger businesses. This partnership seeks to grow the ranks and skills of Pennsylvania coal miners in order to replace a fast-retiring major human resource. Best Wishes, Larry

Program Updates: Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering

From The Program Officer - PNG E Dear PNGE Alumni: The brilliant colors of the fall of 2007 have left us and we have already received the first snow of the winter season. It felt as if it was just yesterday when we had the last snow of the last winter. As one winter season continues to chase the next one, each year it feels like the time gap between the winters is getting shorter and shorter. In the same way, I think that it was exactly 25 years ago when we started sending this newsletter which feels like as it was only last year. This letter arrives Turgay Ertekin, Program Officer, in your mailbox in a different Petroleum and Natural Gas format under the Department’s Engineering newsletter but it as usual comes from your program and from your program’s faculty so it is not different from the previous ones that you have received. The 2007 year was filled with many changes for your program. First of all, I am pleased to report to you that the PNGE undergraduate enrollment has already reached 100 students and by the end of the forthcoming spring semester, I expect that we will reach around 110 students. I also expect that our undergraduate enrollment will stabilize between 120 and 150. In the graduate program we have more than 30 students studying towards their post-graduate degrees divided almost equally as M.S. and Ph.D. candidates. In the past, we always discussed the cyclic nature of our industry, but this time I do not see the current surge in enrollment as another peak of one of those cycles. I think you will agree with me that what we are experiencing is a reality check on the supply/demand issue and this current level of activity is not temporal but here to stay for an extended period of time. When everything stabilizes, each year, we expect to graduate 20-25 students with B.S. degrees and another 10 to 12 students with M.S. and Ph.D. degrees . We have had another very active recruitment campaign conducted by our industrial partners as more than 15 organizations conducted their on-campus interviews. Our students have been receiving very encouraging news and they are all looking forward to the opportunities to work with you shoulder to shoulder. I am confident that you will be the best role models for our graduates coming in your direction. Connection

At the present time, we are quite busy with our preparations for the fall 2008 ABET visit. If you receive a survey form and if you are asked to provide your assessment of your program’s contributions to your professional development, please do not forget to complete and return the survey to us. Also, we are in the process of formulating some goals in relation with the new capital campaign as organized by the central administration of the University. In this campaign, the development of three endowments for the three instructional laboratories (rock and fluid laboratory, drilling and mud/cement design laboratory and production laboratory) in the program will be our principal goal. If we become successful in this endeavor then we will be able maintain and update our laboratories much more effectively in the future years.

Professors Ertekin and Yeboah with Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering students at this year’s alumni reception at the SPE annual meeting

There is also exciting news on the faculty side as well. First of all I would like inform you that more recently Professor Michael A. Adewumi has been promoted to become a vice provost within the central administration. In his new assignment, Michael will coordinate Penn State’s efforts on international programs. We are very proud of Michael’s achievements and we wish him continued success in his new job. In consideration of two pending retirements, we have also started three searches. As you will see in our advertisements, one of the vacant positions is in the area of drilling/ production engineering and the other positions are at the interface between petroleum engineering and geosciences (formation evaluation Continued on page 15 11

New Faces

New Faculty Members Join EME During the past six months, EME has been pleased to welcome six new faculty members to the department. In July, Dr. R. Larry Grayson accepted the George H. Jr. and Anne B. Deike Chair in Mining Engineering and will further serve as the undergraduate program officer for mining engineering. He and fellow newcomer Dr. Jamal Rostami will both be teaching primarily within the mining engineering curriculum. Drs. Seth Blumsack and Fan Zhang also joined us in July, both of whom will take up the teaching responsibilities for several energy business and finance courses. Rounding out the new faces are Drs. Jeff rey R. S. Brownson and Yongsheng Chen, who will be teaching primarily in the area of energy engineering. Dr. Brownson has also taken on added responsibilities as the department’s recruiter for undergraduate programs. All together, these six new additions have not only strengthened the diversity of expertise within EME, but they will also help the department bring Penn State one step closer to becoming the world’s premier energy university.

Seth Blumsack Assistant Professor Energy and Mineral Engineering 124 Hosler Building University Park, PA 16802-5000 814-863-7597 (Voice) 814-865-3248 (Fax) Education: Ph.D., Engineering and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University, 2006 M.S., Economics, Carnegie Mellon University, 2003 B.A., Mathematics and Economics, Reed College, 1998 Dr. Blumsack’s research lies at the intersection of economics, engineering, and network science, particularly related to regulation and deregulation of the electric power industry. He has published scientific and general-interest papers in electricity market design and pricing, market monitoring, transmission investment, and system planning. His research integrates traditional power-system modeling with economic analysis. He is also conducting research on plug-in hybrid vehicles, integrating renewable energy sources into large electric systems, and cascading failures. At Penn State he teaches undergraduate courses in the Energy Business and Finance program, as well as a 12

course in quantitative policy analysis for Ph.D. students in engineering. He also serves as the faculty advisor for the Energy Business and Finance student society. Before returning to academia, Dr. Blumsack was a consultant and journalist for Economic Insight, Inc., in Portland, Oregon. As a consultant, he performed analysis and gave expert testimony and presentations for a number of public and private clients in the electricity, petroleum, and natural gas industries. As a journalist, he served as a contributing editor for the Energy Market Report and was the editor for Pacific West Oil Data.

Jeffrey R. S. Brownson Assistant Professor Energy and Mineral Engineering 212 Hosler Building University Park, PA 16802-5000 814- 865-8473 (Voice) 814-865-3248 (Fax) Education: Ph.D., Environmental Chemistry and Technology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 2005 M.S., Geology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 2001 B.S., Geology, University of North Dakota, 1999 Dr. Brownson’s research focuses on materials for solar-electric energy conversion. He has been setting up his laboratory at the Energy Institute with his graduate student, Ramprasad Chandrasekharan, and they are planning work for thin film photovoltaic devices. The department is initiating a brand new Energy Club that will help to mentor our newest students, educate each other about our diverse programs, and serve as a great vehicle for outreach to promote EME for future students. Dr. Brownson is happy to serve as their faculty representative, and has already received a very positive response from the students. At the same time, he is pleased to announce that the Solar Decathlon 2009 will be based in the Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering. He was recently elected the director and principle investigator for the exciting two-year project where students collaborate to design, market, and build a house completely powered by the sun, and is eager for the chance to involve EME students in the project. The previous team (SD2007) placed 4th in the national competition for Penn State’s first attempt, and their goal for SD2009 is placing within

the top three. Dr. Brownson is also looking forward to teaching a new solar energy class with Dr. Semih Eser this spring, so it looks like a busy year ahead in 2008.

Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and for three years managed the merger of the former U.S. Bureau of Mines’ safety-and-health research functions into NIOSH.

Yongsheng Chen Assistant Professor Energy and Mineral Engineering Virginia S. and Philip L. Walker, Jr. Faculty Fellow 155 Hosler Building University Park, PA 16802-5000 814-865-9834 (Voice) 814-865-3248 (Fax)

Grayson has academic experience as professor, department chair, and dean, and is currently the Director of the NIOSH-funded Western Mining Safety and Health Training and Translation Center. In 2006 he chaired the National Mining Association’s multi-partite, independent Mine Safety Technology and Training Commission, which issued a 75-recommendation report that systematically and proactively addressed U.S. coal-mine safety issues. He has given testimony in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate on mine safety and health issues.

Education: Ph.D., Chemical Engineering, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA, 2003 M.S., Physics, Institute of Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China, 1997 B.E., Materials Science and Engineering, Tsinghua University, Bei Dr. Chen has over ten years of experience in materials characterization, including eight years in active catalyst characterization. His current research interests include synthesis and characterization of catalytic materials for energy applications and biofuel production. He worked at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) for three and a half years as a postdoctoral associate, where he developed his interest in using synchrotron techniques (XANES and EXAFS) for in situ catalyst characterization. Afterwards, he had a short appointment with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) as a research associate prior to joining Penn State, where he acquired research interest in renewable energy. Chen has published 14 journal papers.

R. Larry Grayson Professor Energy and Mineral Engineering George H. Jr. and Anne B. Deike Chair in Mining Engineering 103A Hosler Building University Park, PA 16802-5000 814-863-1644 (Voice) 814-865-3248 (Fax) Education: Ph.D., Engineering (Engineering of Mines), West Virginia University, 1986 M.S., Engineering of Mines, West Virginia University, 1981 B.S. (magna cum laude), Engineering of Mines, West Virginia University, 1978 B.A. (summa cum laude), Mathematics, California University, PA, 1974 Dr. Grayson has nine years of experience in underground coal mining as a miner, foreman, mine engineer, and superintendent. After 13 years in academia, he took the position of Associate Director of the Office for Mine Safety and Health Research with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Centers for Connection

Grayson is a registered professional engineer in Missouri, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia and a certified mine foreman and mine examiner in Pennsylvania. He has published 139 technical articles, reports and book chapters, including 46 in peer-reviewed journals. He is a Distinguished Member of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration and has received nine other professional awards as well as eight outstanding teaching awards. Grayson’s current research interests lie in mine safety and health issues, addressing sustainable development principles in mining, and policy aspects of coal’s role in the broad U.S. energy picture.

Jamal Rostami, Ph.D., PE Assistant Professor Energy and Mineral Engineering 102 Hosler Building University Park, PA 16802-5000 814-863-7606 (Voice) 814-865-3248 (Fax) Education: Ph.D., Mining Engineering, Colorado School of Mines, 1997 MSc., Mining Engineering, Colorado School of Mines, 1991 B.Sc., Mining Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, University of Tehran, 1987 Dr. Rostami has over 16 years of experience in design, management, research, and teaching in the field of mining, tunneling, civil infrastructure, and underground construction. He is specialized in advanced and mechanized excavation, tunneling, microtunneling, directional drilling, and mining systems used by the related industry around the world. He has developed computer models for cutter head design and optimization as well as performance analysis of various mining machinery including TBMs, Roadheaders, Shaft and raise boring machines, continuous miners, drum shearers, and road milling machines. He has been involved in projects varying from feasibility study to design, execution, and post construction analysis and claim settlements in the tunneling for urban and highway transportation, water/sewer and generally, infrastructure development, and in underground mining of coal, trona, potash, and hard rock metal mines. He is currently working on research projects including Lunar mining, rock and soil abrasivity and tool life studies, and in TBM application in jointed and fractured rock masses. Continued on page 15 13

Student Voice

SPE Students Sponsor 3rd Annual Golf Outing With Industry Guests Students involved with the Society of Petroleum Engineers are preparing for the 2008 Penn State SPE Golf Outing, an annual event that brings petroleum company representatives to town for technical presentations followed by an afternoon of golf with the students. This coming year’s event is being held on Friday, April 25, 2008 at the Toftrees Resort in State College, just three miles from Penn State’s University Park campus. The event provides networking experiences for the students and a good time for all!

3rd Annual Penn State SPE Golf Outing

Event details are provided to the right, and a sign-up form appears on page 16 of this issue for any alumni and friends interested in taking part in the upcoming outing.

Date: Friday, April 25, 2008 Place: Toftrees Resort Toftrees Resort, located three miles from Penn State University has been rated 4 1/2 stars by Golf Digest and is the premier golf resort in Central Pennsylvania. Time: Registration at 10 AM, Lunch at 11 AM

Shotgun Start at 12 PM, Dinner at 6:30 PM Cost: Includes greens fee, cart, lunch, and dinner Attendees of the 2006 SPE Golf Outing

$150 per person $250 with sponsorship of student golfer Reservations: Complete the form on

page 16 and mail to the address below, or send information via email by March 1, 2008 Erica D. Byerly Penn State SPE Golf Outing Chair 115 Hosler Building, University Park, PA 16802 E-mail:; Phone: (724) 859-3463

Other possible events such as technical presentations and industry training courses are being planned for the week of the golf outing. Additional information will be distributed as plans are finalized. 2006 Golf Outing Winners 14

PNGE Update...

Continued from page 11

and carbon sequestration). We genuinely hope that you will help us in identifying and attracting the right individuals for these positions. Clearly, we are in a transition in terms of our faculty and believe that we will be ready to conclude this transition in a seamless manner without sacrificing from the educational objectives of the program and without creating any hardship for our students. The 2007 year in many ways has been an exceptional year for the Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering program. However, we cannot rest on our oars as we must remain vigilant to address our challenges: securing adequate funding for our research programs; providing the best petroleum engineering education for our students, and assisting all students to be successful through completion of their degrees. I am confident that the petroleum engineering program at Penn State with its students, faculty and alumni is positioned well to address these challenges in a most effective manner. This is all I have for this year. I would like to reiterate one more time that you will make us very happy if you stop by our offices and ask us whether we remember you. I am sure you will be pleasantly surprised with our answers. If you cannot make the trip to Penn State, I encourage you to let us know how you think we can improve and how we can include you in our students’ journey to academic excellence. I send my best wishes for a happy and healthy holiday season to you and your loved ones. Thanks for all you do for your program. Happy Trails,

Turgay Ertekin

Undergraduate Enrollment Snapshot We’ve seen a steady increase in student numbers in EME during the past five years. The department now has the highest enrollment in the College with over 350 undergraduate students and over 100 graduate students. Following is a chart showing the undergraduate numbers by program and as a total.


New Faculty...

Continued from page 13

He has been a faculty member in the Mining Engineering Department at the University of Tehran (UT) from 1998 to 2002. He has also been a faculty member in the Mining Engineering Department at the Colorado School of Mines (CSM), Golden Colorado, working as deputy director of Excavation Engineering and Earth Mechanics Institute (EMI) from 1997 to 2000. He has supervised many students in academic institutions from senior design to M.Sc., and Ph.D. thesis works. He has over 50 papers including six peer reviewed papers. He has taught several formal courses at universities and short courses for professional societies. Dr. Rostami is a registered Professional Engineering (PE) with licenses in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. He has been with many consulting companies including Neil and Associates, Brierley Asso, Jenny Engineering, and most recently, Geotechnical Division of Camp, Dresser, Mckee, CDM, an international consulting company. Dr. Rostami is founder and Vice President for the Planning of Iranian Academic Association (IAA) Washington D.C. chapter.

Fan Zhang Assistant Professor Energy Policy and Economics 123 Hosler Building University Park, PA 168025000 814-863-1640 (Voice) 814-865-3248 (Fax) Education: Ph.D., Public Policy, Harvard University, 2007 M.S., Environmental Economics, Planning and Management, Peking University, 2002 B.S., Environmental Science and Computer Science, Zhongshan University, 1999 Fan Zhang joined the Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering as an Assistant Professor in July 2007. Her research focuses on energy and environmental economics and policy. Her recent study investigates the impact of regulatory and market uncertainty on emission permits trading, investment on clean technology, and the prospect of nuclear power industry. She teaches graduate Applied Microeconomics Theory, and will be teaching Energy Economics and Corporate Finance in the spring. Fan received a Ph.D. from Harvard and has worked with the World Bank, OECD, International Energy Agency, Resources for the Future, and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) on a broad range of international and domestic environmental policy issues. She is a recipient of multiple national and international academic awards and fellowships.


Penn State 3rd Annual SPE Golf Outing 4-Person Best Ball Scramble Registration Form Alumni and friends are invited to participate in the SPE Student Chapter Golf Outing on April 25, 2008. We accept all players. We ask that you arrange your own threesome or partial threesome so that we can add one student player to your group. Smaller teams or individual players need not worry; we will make teams up accordingly the day of the event. Please complete and return this form to: Erica Byerly, Penn State SPE Golf Outing Chair, 115 Hosler Building, University Park, PA 16802. Number in Party: ____

Check Names: Enclosed? ___________________________________ _____

Primary Contact Person Information: Name: _______________________________



Phone: _______________________________



Email: _______________________________

Sponsor A Hole

Minimum Donation $500 A sign with your company’s name will be placed at tee box and at registration table/dinner. Company Name: ______________________________________________ Amount of Donation: ___________________________________________ Check Enclosed?:


□ No

If your company is interested in being a sponsor for the beverage cart, or if you are able to provide prizes (such as golf balls with company logo), please contact Erica Byerly, Golf Outing Chair, at (724) 859-3463 or


Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering College of Earth and Mineral Sciences The Pennsylvania State University 110 Hosler Building University Park, PA 16802 Phone: (814) 865-3437


Penn State EME Connection Newsletter, Fall/Winter 2007  
Penn State EME Connection Newsletter, Fall/Winter 2007  

Penn State Energy and Mineral Engineering Newsletter