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SUU Valedictorian: Reaching New Heights Table of Contents: SUU Valedictorian Reaching New Heights Leading the Way in Undergraduate Research A Fishy Explanation of Your Family Tree Stopping Cervical Cancer in India Technical T-Birds Take the Competition by Storm MSC Aerospace Presents “Wheels Up Award” to SUU Engineering Departments Join Forces to Further Education Siemens grants $36 Million in Software to SUU Cyber Security Boot Camp Tests Top Talent COSE Advancing Southern Utah Girls through STEM Girls Going Digital at SUU Intel Partnership Reaching the Rising Generation with Robots SUU TECS Summer Camp Helps Launch Young Minds into Future

It takes precise accuracy and dedication to hurtle yourself through the air with just a long pole-vaulting stick and pad to ensure a safe landing. But for Erin Stone, an athlete from Cour d’Alene, Idaho, flying is second nature. But it’s not just pole-vaulting that Stone has dedicated herself to; in the classroom she continued to score high numbers, ultimately winning the title of valedictorian for Southern Utah University’s Class of 2015. Putting her heart and soul into each athletic competition and school project, this biology major maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout college while competing on two collegiate sports teams – gymnastics and track and field. One may wonder how she did it, balancing practices and homework, and still getting phenomenal grades. Stone attributes her successes to time management, saying, “School always comes first to me. I go to school, I go to practice, and then the first thing I do is homework. Always.” Her methods served her well - Stone was invited to interview at every one of the 11 physical therapy schools she applied to and has chosen to continue her studies at Eastern Washington University. “I’ve wanted to be a physical therapist for a long time,” says Stone, “As an athlete I’ve certainly had my fair share of injuries (torn hip, broken wrist, broken elbow, etc.) and I think that has largely shaped my choice.” Standing out amongst other applicants while applying for physical therapy schools, Stone showed impressive academic dedication on her applications through her involvement with SUU’s Honors Program and will be graduating with University Honors last May. The title of her honors thesis was “Impact of Cultural Immersion Trips on Pre-Health Students at Southern Utah University.” Stone, a self-proclaimed introvert, says her time at SUU has helped her to grow, not only intellectually, but also as an individual. “I now feel completely independent and capable – like I can do anything in life.” Recalling her undergraduate experience, Stone remarked how thankful she was for the encouragement she found from friends, coaches, professors, and family, especially from her mom. “I never felt pressure to be the best,” Stone relayed. “I just knew I was expected to do my best and that has made all the difference.” When asked what words of advice she has to offer to incoming freshmen, Stone smiled, “I would tell them to just go for it! Decide to be dedicated stick with it and you’ll go far.”

Events on the Horizon


Walter Maxwell Gibson College of Science and Engineering

Leading the Way in Undergraduate Research

“We hope that our research will influence future grading practices of not only chemistry courses, but all academic courses,” he said.

Bronson Weaver stood with his research behind him and readied himself for the hundreds of students that would be pouring in to learn about the many research projects coming from the Walter Maxwell Gibson College of Science & Engineering (WMG COSE).

He said of his project, “I am gaining knowledge and skills that most students don’t get until they are in their graduate program.”

At large institutions, research is reserved mainly for graduate students, but at Southern Utah University, professors put a focus on giving their undergraduate students research experience in the classroom and in the field. WMG COSE highlighted these exemplary students during their annual Research Symposium. One being Weaver, whose research was brought to life by a question that peaked his curiosity while taking a general chemistry class: what makes chemistry challenging and what obstacles do students encounter while enrolled in general chemistry?

Riley Taylor, a senior Biology major, used the opportunity to conduct research with a group of students and faculty members. The group examined the ecological impact of two species of invasive turtles found in the Virgin River Basin.

Both Taylor and Weaver agree that faculty mentors have greatly improved their experience with undergraduate research at SUU. “It is reassuring that these professors are highly qualified professionals; we relied heavily upon their experience from past projects and publications,” Weaver said. Weaver and Taylor exemplify numerous WMG COSE students, from all disciplines, who receive personal attention from professors through research, and become greater students, leaders and lifelong learners in the process.

From that question, Weaver worked with other students and a professor to analyze questions in chemistry homework, midterms and quizzes to ultimately gain insight into what makes chemistry difficult.

A Fishy Explanation of Your Family Tree Former PBS Host, Neil Shubin, journeyed thousands of years back in history to observe the human body and its relationship to fish during his Southern Utah University February 2015 Convocation. Shubin, professor of organismal biology and anatomy at University of Chicago, spoke on Your Inner Fish: A Journey through the 3.5 Billion Year History of the Human Body, which is also the name of his 2008 award-winning book.

Stopping Cervical Cancer in India Dr. Rajan Dewar is a biomedical engineer, affiliate faculty member at Harvard Divinity School and a pathologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. Dewar spoke to SUU Walter Maxwell Gibson College of Science and Engineering students at the April 2015 Center for Applied Research and Advanced Technology (CARAT) Seminar. His presentation addressed the burden of the high cervical cancer rates in India. Approximately 75,000 women die every year. Dewar stated that he believes this tragedy is wholly preventable.

2015–2016 Newsletter • Volume XV


Technical T-Birds Take Competition By Storm Going National with Their Skills Four Thunderbirds flew to Louisville, Kentucky, in June 2015 to show off their technical knowledge and ability at the SkillsUSA National Competition, where they competed for title as the brightest engineering students in the nation. University students from every state in the country flocked to the event in hopes of bringing home national recognition. Beyond bragging rights, national winners were awarded prizes, some totaling over $15,000, according to Professor Dave Ward, advisor to the Southern Utah University SkillsUSA Chapter. In order to qualify to compete on this prestigious level, students must have won gold medals at their state SkillsUSA competitions, beating out engineering students from every other university in the state. SUU Computer Science major Nathan Coats placed first in the National Computer Programming category. Coats worked diligently alongside his professors and advisors to prepare for the heightened competition. “I work as a Web Developer and spend a significant amount of time honing my programming skills,” said Coats, “However, the national computer programming competition was in a different programming language which I had to learn as fast as possible.” Bruce Smalley, an Engineering Electronics Technology major, took first in the state in the National Electronics Technology category. To win the state title, Smalley completed a written, theory-based test and given a schematic with parts to assemble a current amplifier on demand in front of the judges. He stated he went into the national competition feeling confident, ready to “once more demonstrate the skills [he had] obtained while at SUU.” To win the gold medal, Smalley passed the National Certified Electronics Technician Exam and was able to solder and breadboard circuit boards in his timed competition.


The challenges were designed and administered by successful industry leaders across the United States, such as Caterpillar, Toyota, Harley Davidson, and companies representing boat and airplane manufacturing and computer programing. Bowen Wang and Wenhao Yi, two international SUU Engineering Electronics Technology majors from China, brought home state gold in the Team Mechatronics category. The duo was required to adjust and test an automated machine system, as well as troubleshoot and repair a faulty machine system as judges observed. “It’s basically what we will really be doing in our industry in the future,” Wang explained.

First Year – First Place The Department of Computer Science & Information Systems (CSIS) students are secure in their future after bringing home a first-place finish at the Western Regional 2015 Rocky Mountain Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition in Denver, Colorado in February. Eight T-Birds worked as a group to protect their computer network against real-world cyber threats that were infiltrating their self-created health system. This first-time win for the SUU team sent the students to the 2015 National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (NCCDC) in San Antonio, Texas in April. Alex Rodriguez-Vargas, a junior studying Computer Science from Bavaria, Germany, explained that this well-earned win came for each student after dedicating a year of personal research, to prepare for their first appearance in the regional cyber competition. The team’s faculty advisor and CSIS Department Chair Rob Robertson, stated that this competition not only gave students a medal but it would also lead to internships, graduate school and careers.

Walter Maxwell Gibson College of Science and Engineering

“With national companies sponsoring these events our students are getting a spotlight thrown at them,” Robertson said. “Already [the regional] competition has led one student to an acceptance at Carnegie Mellon University and more will filter through while at the national competition.” It’s not just the acceptance letters that pushed these students to compete, however. Rodriquez-Vargas pronounced it was proving that SUU is a superior institution for science minded students. “My team’s dedication to their area of study and recent success proves that our T-Birds are just as smart and technically savvy as any competing student team in the Rocky Mountain region,” he remarked. “It is my dream to prove that our school can produce CSIS students that are just as deserving of special job opportunities as any other CSIS graduate in the nation. This competition will do just that.”

Going into the competition not knowing what to expect, the students learned much - both from administrators of the competition and from the opposing team members assigned to wreak havoc on their scenario networks. Students also had the opportunity to network with competition sponsors and hiring managers and learn of the great opportunities in the field of cyber security. The team is planning on and looks forward to returning to Nationals next year.

Southern Utah University’s Department of Computer Science & Information Systems provides programs in computer science and information systems with courses that bring students first-hand experience with their degree, such as the Cyber Defense Club. The team of CSIS students competed at the National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition in April. Although not placing in the top three they represented SUU in top form.

2015–2016 Newsletter • Volume XV


Departments Join Forces to Further Education The Departments of Integrated Engineering and Engineering Technology/Construction Management have joined forces to increase educational opportunities for their students: they have merged together to form the Southern Utah University Walter Maxwell Gibson College of Science and Engineering (WMG COSE) Department of Engineering and Technology. The two departments have functioned as one in the past. When they operated independently, they still shared staff, faculty and curriculum. Recombining into a single department, according to engineering professor and Associate Department Chair Dr. Matthew Roberts, will allow facility to consolidate resources, thus providing a better value for students without increasing student cost. WMG COSE Dean Dr. Robert L. Eves explained: “When the two departments operated independently, there were two department chairs, each receiving reassigned time to complete their administrative duties. Budgets were being split between the two departments, and some duplication of resources was occurring.” The departmental merger eliminates those duplications. In addition to saving resources, the change will make more classes available to students. “Because there will now only be a chair and an associate chair,” Eves stated, “there is an increased capacity to teach one additional course each semester.” The change will also result in more cross-curriculum coordination. “Students from the engineering and technology programs take many of the same classes,” Roberts said, “This [return to one department] will help us to better coordinate faculty efforts and provide a better education for our students.” Roberts continued, “I’m looking forward to working with the technology faculty to improve the learning experience for all of our students.”


Walter Maxwell Gibson College of Science and Engineering

MSC Aerospace Presents “Wheels Up Award” to SUU Engineering MSC Aerospace awarded their annual “Wheels Up Award” to Southern Utah University’s Integrated Engineering and Engineering Technology Departments in March 2015. “Wheels Up” is a term commonly used in the aviation industry indicating the point when a plane is fully airborne. MSC Aerospace gives the “Wheels Up Award” each year to a community member or organization that has contributed to the advancement and success of the aviation industry. In 2014, MSC Aerospace’s subsidiary, SyberJet Aircraft, partnered with SUU’s Engineering and Engineering Technology Departments to create 21 engineering internships. Over the course of the summer, SUU interns created CAD designs for over 1000 parts that will be used on the SJ30 aircraft. This hire three of those interns into permanent positions.

and CAD systems in support of the program. “We appreciate SUU, their Engineering and Engineering Technology departments, and SUU’s IT department for helping to make that internship opportunity possible,” said Chuck Taylor, President of SyberJet. Due to the success and interest, the summer internship program has been continued. Walter Maxwell Gibson College of Science and Engineering Dean Robert L. Eves said, “Southern Utah University’s very founding is based on strong academic and community cooperation. The University and its component parts, including the Walter Maxwell Gibson College of Science and Engineering, exist to serve this community. We value our longstanding partnership with MSC Aerospace. They provide scholarship and internship support to the University and its programs, and we will strive to meet their needs in the future. The mission of higher education is to improve the quality of life for students and the community. Thanks to MSC Aerospace for a great partnership that contributes to a great quality of life.” “We are fortunate to have such a terrific program here at SUU to pull talent from,” said SyberJet President, Chuck Taylor. “SUU has been a great partner and we look forward to continuing that partnership”.

In support of SUU agreed to let the interns use SUU facilities

Siemens grants $36 Million in Software to SUU The Southern Utah University Walter Maxwell Gibson College of Science and Engineering announced it received an in-kind software grant from Siemens PLM Software, with a commercial value of $36,939,570. The in-kind grant gives students access to the same technology that companies around the world depend on every day to develop innovative products in a wide variety of industries including automotive, aerospace, machinery, shipbuilding, high-tech electronics and many more.

Siemens PLM Software is a leading global provider of product lifecycle management (PLM) software and services with 7 million licensed seats and more than 71,000 customers worldwide, delivering open solutions to help its customers make smarter decisions that result in better products. The in-kind grant for Southern Utah University includes Siemens PLM Software’s NXTM software, a leading integrated solution for computer-aided design, manufacturing and engineering (CAD/CAM/CAE).

Graduates with this type of software training are highly-recruited candidates for advanced technology jobs.

2015–2016 Newsletter • Volume XV


Cyber Security Cyber Security Boot Camp Tests Top Talent In today’s high-tech world, sensitive information and cyber infrastructures are a common way of life. As technology increases so does the need for security to protect it. According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, “There are about 1,000 security people in the US who have the specialized security skills to operate effectively in cyberspace. We need 10,000 to 30,000.” That’s where the US Cyber Challenge (USCC) and the Walter Maxwell Gibson College of Science and Engineering (WMG COSE) seek to make the difference. USCC’s mission is to “significantly reduce the shortage in today’s cyber workforce by serving as the premier program to identify, attract, recruit and place the next generation of cybersecurity professionals. USCC’s goal is to find 10,000 of America’s best and brightest to fill the ranks of cybersecurity professionals where their skills can be of the greatest value to the nation.” To help USCC reach that goal, WMG COSE hosted the Western Regional Cyber Security Boot Camp in July 2015. Top talent from around the nation and locally learned from top cyber security executives and began creating a network of connections to help them discover and develop their cyber security skills. Attendees to the invitation-only camp were selected based in part on their scores from Cyber Quests, an online competition offered through the USCC in April 2015 that drew more than 1,300 registrants from almost 600 schools nationwide. Among students attending the Camp were three of SUU’s 2015 first place champion Cyber Defense Club Team at the Rocky Mountain Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition in March 2015. Shaun Stapley, senior Information Systems major and Cyber Defense Club Team member, said that the camp was an extension to what they learn in SUU’s classrooms. Stapley stated that the camp provided him with better knowledge of computer forensics, very applicable to his intended career. The week long boot camp began with an educational roundtable discussion with top cybersecurity executives from around the nation. Following the discussions, the students participated in daily workshops where they learned Windows memory forensics, RF hacking, reverse engineering malware, and pen testing.


The camp concluded with cyber securities’ version of “Capture the Flag.” During the competition, attendees applied their cyber security skills and knowledge they learned throughout the week to hack computer software while their opponents defended the cyber-attacks. The camp set a new national record for points scored during the competition. Leon Trappett, head of IT Security at the Bank of Utah was impressed with the results. “On Friday, we saw a talented group of individuals participate in a challenging virtual competition to demonstrate how capable they are at defending our nation against cyber threats,” he said. The Western Regional Cyber Security Boot Camp will return to SUU in July 2016.

Intel Partnership Intel has selected Southern Utah University’s Computer Science and Information Systems Department to partner with in developing software for mobile devices. Intel has donated multiple devices that are Android and Windows based. We are excited for this partnership, as it provides students in our programs with devices they can test their software on, which will further engage our students in the learning process.

Walter Maxwell Gibson College of Science and Engineering

COSE Advancing Southern Utah Girls through CSIS The idea that boys are better than girls in science has persisted throughout history. Even today, a mere 14 percent of teenage girls want to become scientists, and are statistically less likely to pursue STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) majors. Seventy five young women in Southern Utah and Dr. Shalini Kesar, professor of Computer Science and Information Systems, are changing those statistics. Accompanied by their families and educators, female high school students gathered in SUU’s Gilbert Great Hall to celebrate their academic and technological achievements at the second annual National Center for Women in Information Technology (NCWIT) Aspirations in Computing Award ceremony. The national award honors young women who are active and interested in computing and technology and encourages them to pursue their passions. Through this awards program, young women are able to pursue their dreams and come in contact with those that can help them maintain and grow their interest in computing. The program’s ability to raise visibility for possibilities in science and technology among girls is showing positive results. Of the 10 high school graduates from the 2014 competition, 8 are now continuing their education at SUU. Karen Miller, now an SUU student, received a national NCWIT Aspirations in Computing Award in 2013. At the age of 7, Miller was inspired by her dad’s interest in computers and film and began learning basic computer coding. “Technology is so interesting to me because it has evolved so drastically over time,” she said. “Receiving the award allowed me to network and gain guidance from STEM professionals that will help me in my future career.”

Girls Go Digital at SUU The SUU Walter Maxwell Gibson College of Science and Engineering broke new ground in Summer 2015. The college hosted Dixie State University’s Computer and Information Technology Department, offering the first annual SUU Girls Go Digital Summer Day Camp. Girls Go Digital is a program to provide opportunities for girls ages 8-18 to learn more about computers, programming, technology and design. Twenty-nine young women participated in Girls Go Digital. Each of the classes were based on the skills “Hack,” “Code,” “Design,” and “Make,” and were tailored to meet the abilities of the different age groups. The girls learned about the physical components of computers, and how to program a computer. These classes blended the world of technology with craft projects or activities that taught the basics: robotics engineering, electronic circuits and digital design.

2015–2016 Newsletter • Volume XV


Reaching the Rising Generation with Robots The Walter Maxwell Gibson College of Science and Engineering (WMG COSE) hosted the Southern Utah University Regional FIRST LEGO League (FLL) Competition in January 2015. FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) and LEGO constructed this worldwide competition. The program inspires innovation and cooperation among students, while teaching computer programming and engineering skills. Since its pilot year in 1998, FLL has grown to more than 17,500 teams competing from 52 countries. Combining classroom learning with modern technology, each young engineer not only discovers how to apply classroom learning to the real world, but also how to communicate and cooperate with others toward a common theme and mission. The theme for 2015 was “World Class” and students explored the future of learning. An accompanying mission was presented to the teams, who then designed and created a robot to help solve the challenge using the LEGO MINDSTORMS technology—a kit that allows anyone to construct and command their own robot, built from high-tech LEGOs. Students were judged based on their skills in creating robots and completing challenges, as well as their team’s success in the FLL’s Core Values, which include learning together, honoring the spirit of friendly competition and having fun. Interest in robotics has been growing in Southern Utah, and the WMG COSE Department of Engineering and Technology is on hand to foster that growth. The 2015-2016 school year will see the first annual FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) competition, in addition to the FLL competition. FTC is designed for students in grades 7-12. The teams of students must use engineering, electrical engineering and computer skills to design, build and program their robots. They then compete with their robots, in an alliance format in head-to-head competition, against other teams.

SUU TECS Summer Camp Helps Launch Young Minds into Future In its third year at Southern Utah University, the TECS (Technology, Engineering, and Computer Science) Summer Camp continues its mission to provide hands-on experiences with technology to bright high school minds across the country. The June 2015 camp brought 81 students together to live on campus and learn from the best tech-savvy professors and industry professionals at SUU. As technology advances at its blistering pace, TECS faculty and staff feel it’s essential that young minds are exposed to as many technological experiences as possible. The goal of the camp is to help teens not only stay up to date with current technology, but also prepare them to make their own contributions to the world. The registration cost of a camp like TECS would usually cost more than $700 per student. However, thanks to the State of Utah Engineering and Computer Science Initiative, SUU was able to provide the camp for only $175 per student. As part of the camp curriculum students were able to choose from four different curriculum tracks which included: Computer Science, Electronics Engineering, CAD/CAM Engineering and Engineering. Students in the Engineering Track were taught by NASA pioneer and SUU Department of Engineering Chair Gary


Walter Maxwell Gibson College of Science and Engineering

Flandro. He taught students the principles of flight and rocketry. He also took the students from classroom to launch pad as they built and launched their own model rockets. “It’s really fun to see it come to a point where they’re doing something they’re enjoying, not just working at a desk,” Flandro said. “They get the connection between what you do on the desk and what is done out in the field. From designing to doing, everyone can find their own niche.” He added assuredly, “These kids are really smart and they will do great things.” Students in other tracks got to create their own Microsoft apps, design printed circuit boards, create sophisticated architecture with CAD programs and experiment with 3D printing. For more information on the TECS Summer Camp and next year’s registration, visit www.suu/cose/summercamp.html.

Events on the Horizon Texpo

September 24, 2015

CARAT Seminar

September 17, 2015

CARAT Seminar

October 15, 2015

WMG COSE Research Symposium CARAT Seminar

November 9, 2015 November 19, 2015

Code Camp

November 2015

Hometown School Presentations *

December 2015

FLL Robotics Competition

January 16, 2016

CARAT Seminar

January 21, 2016

FTC Robotics Competition

February 6, 2016

Engineering Expo Aspirations Award Banquet

February 21, 2016 March (Day TBD)

Science Fair

March 18, 2016


March 31, 2016

Science Olympiad WMG COSE Academic Awards Tech Fair

April 2, 2016 April 13, 2016 April 18-19, 2016

TECS Summer Camp

June 2016

Girls Go Digital Day Camp

June 2016

*Contact Laurel Dodgion at or (435) 865-8090 to request an in-class presentation.

2015–2016 Newsletter • Volume XV


Walter Maxwell Gibson College of Science of Engineering 351 West University Boulevard Cedar City, UT 84720
























COSE Newsletter 2015  

The Walter Maxwell Gibson College of Science and Engineering 2015-2016 newsletter.