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A CELEBRATION OF THEN, NOW, AND THE FUTURE

HERFF COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING • UNIVERSITY OF MEMPHIS

HERFF AT 50

A GOLDEN ERA IN ENGINEERING

GEARED UP FOR THE FUTURE

A TALK WITH FACULTY AND STUDENTS OF HERFF


LETTER FROM THE DEAN ENGINEERING SUCCESS IN THIS, OUR 50TH ANNIVERSARY YEAR, I look back in amazement at the accomplishments of the Herff College of Engineering. In a relatively short amount of time, our College of Engineering has become a major research hub offering bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in various engineering disciplines. As our academic programs evolved and strengthened, so did a commitment to a culture of innovation. One that continues today at Herff. We are at an important phase in our history, as we transition from being known as a strong, well-respected engineering program regionally to an engineering college that is nationally and internationally recognized. We have always had a tradition of excellence in preparing graduates to contribute to society. Take a look at the section of this magazine featuring alumni who have made a broad impact on our world and you will see living examples of the power of a Herff education. Our vision at 50 is to push even further. We have completed a strategic plan that will guide our growth over the next ten years, and I am pleased to tell you that advancements in achieving our goals are already taking place. For example, as part of this plan, an increased focus on student services and a newly implemented merit scholarship program helped increase the enrollment of our first-

time, full-time freshman class by 26.7% over last year’s cohort and 24% of these students have an impressive ACT score of 30 or above. Growing our undergraduate program is the heart of our plan, and we are uniquely positioned in a geographic area that will allow us to do just that. West Tennessee drastically under-produces bachelor’s degrees in engineering and technology at a rate that is approximately 67% below the national average. Many high-achieving students in West Tennessee are not pursuing engineering majors. We at Herff are committed to changing this trend. Herff has always been a powerhouse of innovative people, developing ideas and new technologies that transform the world of tomorrow. It is our privilege to contribute to society by educating and preparing graduates for careers that improve the quality of life for everyone. Today we celebrate the past five decades and the momentum that has fueled our distinguished past, all the while knowing that the best is truly yet to come.


HERFF

TABLE OF CONTENTS STAY INFORMED Herff College of Engineering 201 Engineering Administration Bldg Memphis, TN 38152 Phone: (901) 678-2171 Fax: (901) 678-4180 Web: Engr.memphis.edu Facebook: Herff College of Engineering YouTube: HerffCollegeUofM

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ENGINEERING SUCCESS

Herff has always been a powerhouse of innovative people. Our vision at 50 is to push even further.

THEN The five decades that have passed are filled with impressive problem solvers who have changed humanity in countless ways.

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Herff’s 50 year journey at the University of Memphis is chronicled in these pages.

Students and faculty come to Herff from all over, but share one common attribute: huge potential to impact society.

Situated in one of America’s most creative cities and a hub to many booming industries, Herff combines the best attributes of an engineering education.

TIMELINE

NOW

FUTURE

HERFF AT 50 • A GOLDEN ERA OF ENGINEERING • 1


50 YEARS STRONG AND ONLY GETTING BETTER

FROM ITS FOUNDING IN 1964, Herff has been devoted to influencing the world. Early on, we became one of the region’s strongest think tanks for future engineers. Today we have achieved national notoriety in many areas of expertise—from biomedical innovations to nanotechnology to transportation efficiencies. Research funding has climbed to exciting levels and our growth has been tremendous. The five decades that have passed are filled with impressive people who graduated from the Herff College of Engineering and went out into the world to solve problems and change humanity in countless ways.

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Across town, Herbert Herff, an American philanthropist originally from Indiana, lived with his wife Minnie. They loved Memphis and had already helped our city become home to the first blood bank in the entire south in 1938. Their foundation then became the first in the area to provide funding to fight sickle cell anemia. Fortunately for the U of M, their attentions then turned to higher education. They made a major gift to the University to start a master’s degree program in engineering. Four years later, an undergraduate program was added and the entire engineering school was named Herff College of Engineering. Between the Herff’s generosity and Dean Kellogg’s vision, a tradition of excellence was set in motion. Students and faculty come to Herff from all over, but they share one common attribute: huge potential to impact society, and they never disappoint. There’s no stopping a Herff grad. We applaud these achievements and celebrate the strength of our growing Herff community.

THE 1960s IT ALL BEGINS THE YEAR WAS 1964 and Memphis State University, as it was known then, had begun offering engineering classes in newly constructed E.C. Ball Hall. Dean Frederic Kellogg had been heavily recruited and arrived on campus with a strong vision to transform a technology school into a premier engineering program.

Many of our graduates use their technical training in engineering as a stepping stone to fulfill passions in other professional areas. Take Dennis Chomicki (’69), who has the mind of engineer, but the heart of a public servant. Dennis was attending Memphis State the year the engineering program was founded. He was originally from Yonkers, New York and went home during the summers to earn money to attend college. “I drove a delivery truck by day to pay for my tuition and worked the night shift at an auto assembly plant to cover the cost of room and board.” He graduated from Herff in 1969 and taught some, then took an industry job, then taught some more. He struggled to find where


THEN DENNIS CHOMICKI SERVED IN THE SECRET SERVICE PROTECTING PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN, VICE PRESIDENT AL GORE AND HEADING UP SECURITY DETAILS FOR VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY.

he belonged, until a chance opportunity landed him the perfect job to merge his engineering skills with a strong desire to serve the public. “The D.C. area was recruiting police officers, I filled out an

application to work for the White House Police and saw another application sitting there to work for the U.S. Secret Service, so I filled it out. In February 1976, I entered the Secret Service.”

From there Dennis held high-profile positions, including protecting President Ronald Reagan, Vice President Al Gore and heading up a protective detail for Vice President Dick Cheney. “You do all this planning and work diligently on preparing for something to happen—planning multiple routes for getting to the hospital—so when a crisis comes, everyone does the right thing.” That planning was tested when VP Cheney had a heart attack. Dennis was on the scene and says, “Everything worked out well. We did the right thing.” After retiring from the Secret Service, the Department of Labor Inspector General came calling, asking him to design the protec-

“YOU DO ALL THIS PLANNING AND WORK DILIGENTLY ON PREPARING FOR SOMETHING TO HAPPEN—PLANNING MULTIPLE ROUTES FOR GETTING TO THE HOSPITAL—SO WHEN A CRISIS COMES, EVERYONE DOES THE RIGHT THING.”

tive detail for the U.S. Secretary of Labor. He put together the team that created the manuals that provide critical protection protocols. Not only did Dennis’ college years give him the skills and knowledge to have a remarkable career in government work, it was also the time when he met the love of his life. He and his wife June have been married since November 1969. “My wife and I started dating while I was still a student at Herff. I wasn’t a brain trust. Having fun was a big part of my formula, but I buckled down and hit the books in my junior and senior years. After graduation, I got my diploma then landed the next big prize: June became my bride.”

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HOWARD BERNBAUM RETIRED AT AGE 65 FROM A REMARKABLE ENGINEERING CAREER AT WESTINGHOUSE, PRATT & WHITNEY, STATE TECHNICAL INSTITUTE, PRC, LOCKHEED, SCIENCE APPLICATION INTERNATIONAL, GENERAL DYNAMICS AND INET.

“I’ve designed a lot of pretty neat stuff,” he explains, “from nuclear reactors to liquid rocket pumps, radiation hardened mechanisms, launch support equipment for NASA’s Shuttle, doodads for my 37 foot cutter sailboat that wound up featured in boating magazines. I have published two books of short stories that are available on Amazon and Kindle. I was licensed in two states as a professional engineer. I’m a Life Member Senior Navigator in the United States Power Squadrons® and was tapped for Order of the Arrow while an adult leader in Boy Scouts of America, but other people have accomplished the same things, so I look at myself as an ordinary kind of guy.” Ordinary Howard is not. He is among Herff’s first to graduate from the master’s program and living proof that from here you can go anywhere. First an associate professor of engineering, then recruited into the Space Shuttle Program as a contractor’s lead engineer at Kennedy Space Center

PHOTO // GENE VLAHOVIC

Also on campus in the 1960s was Howard Bernbaum (‘72). He had already earned a BBA and BS in mechanical engineering from the University of Miami and was ready to add to those credentials. “My basic philosophy is to do your best and then go on to the next thing,” Howard says. That thing turned out to be a Herff master’s degree that then led him down some rather amazing paths.

in Florida, turned business owner, turned published author, turned recreational sailor. Howard remembers his time at Memphis State well, especially the collaboration and support that to him was unlike any other college campus. He was very close to his mentor, Dr. William Amminger, professor of mechanical engineering, with whom he co-authored “Centrifrugal Pump Performance Prediction” (1973). After working for the Planning Research Corporation at the Kennedy Space Center, Westinghouse, Pratt & Whitney, State Technical Institute, Lockheed, Science Application

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International, General Dynamics and INET among others, Howard decided to retire at the age of 65— exchanging the expansive world of engineering for sailing on the open seas. A boat enthusiast since the age of 8, Howard’s many sailing adventures have taken him as far as the Bahamas and Bermuda. These days he mostly spends his time writing from Merritt Island, Fla., where he lives with Rhoda, his wife of 64 glorious years. Howard reflects, “As a young engineer starting out, I thought our development was rapid. Compared to the current world, we were standing still, although we provid-

ed the foundation for many of the current developments. I mourn not the past, but the future I will not see.” Well said, Howard. Well said.

THE 1970s INSPIRED BY THE POSSIBLE Entering the 1970s was a time of great excitement at Herff with the completion of our $6.5M engineering complex facing Central Avenue. Enrollment had grown to 351 undergrads and 76 in our graduate program. Accreditation was achieved in civil, electrical and mechanical engineering and engineering technology undergraduate programs by 1970.


THEN “THE MATERIAL WAS SO DIFFICULT, MY FRIENDS AND I DIDN’T THINK WE WOULD EVER FIGURE IT OUT, BUT DR. AMMINGER SHOWED US HOW TO STUDY TO LEARN, NOT TO JUST STUDY TO MAKE A GRADE.”

By the mid 1970s, Arif Shakeel (’77) had arrived in the United States seeking a degree in mechanical engineering from Memphis State. “I was a big, wideeyed kid who was actually scared out of my mind because I knew nothing about American culture. I have been in the United States for 40 years now and I am still blown

away by the greatness of this nation.” When asked what he enjoyed most about Memphis State, Arif didn’t know where to begin.

under their wings. People of every color embraced me and judged me on my ability, my intelligence, and not the color of my skin.”

“That is a nine-hour answer. It was unbelievable. It has been the highlight of my life to date. Everything impressed me. Dr. Ray, Dr. Amminger and so many others took me

While a student, Arif wrote over 100 letters to his mother back home. “I was learning to be disciplined, to work hard, but most of all to be sincere about giving back

to society. If you are not inspired every day of your life, there is no point. My professors taught me to be inspired and then go out and do something about it.” Arif recalls first entering Dr. William Amminger’s class and thinking he was done for. “The material was so difficult, my friends and I didn’t think we would ever figure it out, but Dr. Amminger showed us how to study to learn, not to just study to make a grade. Week by week, Dr. Amminger was able to break the material down for us.” Early in his career, Arif served as a defense contractor at Western Gear in Lynwood, Calif., while

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ARIF SHAKEEL’S HERFF DEGREE PREPARED HIM WELL, INCLUDING GOING ALL THE WAY TO THE CEO DESK OF WESTERN DIGITAL CORP., ONE OF THE LARGEST MANUFACTURERS OF HARD DISK DRIVES WITH A REPUTATION WORLDWIDE FOR STORING DATA SECURELY.

also achieving an MBA from Pepperdine University in 1981. He then moved on to work for hard disk drive manufacturer Pertec Peripherals Corp. in Northridge, Calif. Ultimately, he landed in Lake Forest, Calif., at Western Digital Corporation. He is too modest to say this, but the business transformation he led at Western Digital is a great American business success story. When he came on board, the division was losing money fast. All of the other divisions at the company were the stars, not his. What Arif is happy

to share is that it took amazing teamwork to turn it around. “The people around me were brilliant. Together, and all by ourselves, we believed we could make the impossible happen. Before we knew it, we were not only the division creating the most revenue and getting the most attention at the company, but we had become the most profitable in the world. I am very proud of that team.” Arif is now retired, and that once-little division he had the guts to lead is the second largest manufacturer of hard disk drives

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in the world. Arif feels blessed beyond measure to have such a wonderful career and life, but he feels even more deeply that the biggest rewards in this world come from creating a way for others to have a wonderful life. He enjoyed his time as President and CEO because, as he puts it, “I was proud to be a part of something that allowed others to make better lives for themselves. The company’s success meant personal success for my employees and their families. That is what drives me more than anything. Giving back.”

THE 1980s LIVING A VISION By the 1980s, the momentum was building for Herff to fully realize its vision as a premier program with the inauguration of the PhD program by fall 1987 and the establishment of a biomedical engineering department in 1988. Also in 1988, enrollment had climbed to 1,406 in the undergrad program and 158 in the graduate program. Around this time, an ambitious and focused young woman entered the engineering program at Memphis State


THEN University. Dr. Emma GarrisonAlexander (’83) walked on to campus, sat down with an advisor, listened, and decided—without an ounce of hesitation—that electrical engineering would be her future. Very few college freshmen can make that claim, but Emma never once wavered from that dream. At Herff, we like to say that big things come from Memphis, and with a newly-minted electrical engineering diploma in hand, Emma certainly delivered on that promise. The NSA (National Security Agency) recruited her in her senior year at Memphis State and her first professional title was

electronic engineer. She quickly rose through the agency in many leadership roles, including deputy counterterrorism and senior operations officer. She left the NSA in 2009 for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) where she assumed responsibility for all aspects of cybersecurity and information assurance—directing everything from engineering infrastructure to a budget of over $400 million to strategic planning and more.

TSA CHIEF INFORMATION OFFICER AND ASSISTANT ADMINISTRATOR IN THE IT OFFICE EMMA GARRISON-ALEXANDER RETIRED IN 2013, ENDING A TREMENDOUS 30 YEAR CAREER IN GOVERNMENT WORK.

She devoted 30 years of her life to government work in top leadership positions at the NSA and the TSA in information technology

“IT WAS SUCH AN HONOR AND A BLESSING TO SPEND MY ENTIRE CAREER PROTECTING OUR COUNTRY, OUR CITIZENS, OUR NATION’S LEADERS, AND OUR SOLDIERS ... MY MOTHER SHOWED ME HOW TO BE SUCCESSFUL IN SPITE OF ADVERSITY, AND I LEARNED FROM MY FATHER THAT GENDER DOES NOT MATTER. HE TAUGHT ME THAT A WOMAN CAN BE AND DO WHATEVER SHE CHOOSES IN THIS WORLD.”

and signals intelligence. “It was such an honor and a blessing to spend my entire career protecting our country, our citizens, our nation’s leaders, and our soldiers.” But Emma is quick to say that the key to her life’s success has been the support of her family, friends and her faith in God. “My mother showed me how to be successful in spite of adversity, and I learned from my father that gender does not matter. He taught me that a woman can be and do whatever she chooses in this world.”

Homeland Security. She directed services for over 60,000 employees at 450 federalized airports and 23 international locations.

She recently retired from the TSA after serving as chief information officer and assistant administrator for IT under the Department of

Emma feels that the skills she gained from her time at Herff started it all, “My electrical engineering degree was foundational.

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at Herff. Emma reflects that after taking theories into the lab to apply them in a realistic manner, the Herff professors then asked students to write about it in a formalized report that really made you think and sell your ideas, not just report findings. Her background in engineering also proved immensely valuable when she was no longer in a lab, but had moved into leadership roles. “My degree and the handson experiences in my background really helped me relate to the people doing the work. There was an instant affinity between us because even though I was at the top, I also had an engineering background. That gave me instant credibility with them. I was one of them—an engineer at the core.”

It is the type of degree that exposes you to different types of work. You know if you go into a field, like accounting, it can be very limiting. Not engineering. It gave me a breadth of opportunities that never limited my career choices.”

much of what set her up for success began at Herff, “Dr. Halford insisted that we learn to write. He stressed the importance of knowing how to write in a technical field. Those communication skills were essential to me later in life.”

As a leader at both the NSA and the TSA, Emma remembers that so

Some engineering programs focus on results; the numbers, but not

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Even with such a high profile career, Emma made time for other things in her life that mattered. She became an ordained minister, started her own personal ministry that helps individuals in financial crisis, and alongside her husband Garrett raised 4 children. Now in retirement, she is still giving back as the program chair for Cybersecurity and Assistant Collegiate Professor at the University of Maryland University College (UMUC). She also mentors individuals ranging from entry level employees to senior executives in a variety of professions, and is an executive coach and consultant in cybersecurity and information technology.

She offers incoming freshman this meaningful advice, “Your college years are a special time that you don’t get back. If you have the luxury to not work, don’t. What’s the hurry? You have 50+ years to work once you graduate. Work will be there forever, but your college life is a unique time. Enjoy it.” Two of Emma’s nephews, Roger Leake, Jr. and Jamario Houston, followed in her footsteps by attending Herff and majoring in electrical and computer engineering.

THE 1990s A BRAND IS BORN By the 1990s Memphis was enjoying a renaissance movement. Beale Street was alive again. Development downtown was booming, including plans to build a new sports arena eventually known as the FedEx Forum, home to Tiger basketball. Memphis pride wasn’t just back, it was resurging to new levels, and the University that shares this city’s name was doing some rebranding of its own. After years of being Memphis State University, we changed our name to the University of Memphis. At Herff, this decade saw the first doctoral degree awarded in May 1990 and the establishment of our Ground Water Institute in 1992. In 1996 the joint graduate and doctoral program in biomedical engineering was established between the U of M and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, with the first PhD awarded in 1997.


THEN KATHRYN AND JAMES SIMPSON (BOTH ’99) SHARE THEIR TIGER PRIDE WITH THEIR TWO YOUNG SONS.

Also in this decade, two young Herff students became crazy for all things Herff, and then fell crazy in love with one another. The Simpsons—James from Munford, Tenn., and Kathryn from Clarksville, Tenn., (both ‘99), were recruited out of their respective high schools to attend the Herff College of Engineering. “U of M made a great impression,” Kathryn says. “My dad went to Vanderbilt and they offered me a scholarship, too, but Memphis did a better job than any other college at recruitment. I felt really special. The U of M came to my high school and held an exclusive event in Nashville just for scholarship re-

cipients.” James remembers, “U of M did the right amount of recruiting. I was kind of being pestered by another school. One day they called to ask me if I had made up my mind and that pesky phone call pushed me to blurt out ‘yes,’ but the answer was Herff!” The Herff program is intimate, so the two classmates bumped into one another quite a bit that first year on campus, but the real chemistry between them took hold the summer before they were sophomores. They recall studying together a lot, “It was nice because there weren’t any bad feelings that we wouldn’t see each other. We were both in the same groove. We

could sit side-by-side while doing an immense amount of work. We were really independent individuals, but could be together to study, even in those upper years when we no longer had the same classes.” After Herff, they both pursued graduate degrees at Rice University. Kathryn achieved a PhD in bioengineering and accepted a position at Medtronic in 2004— bringing the young couple back to Memphis. With a focus in environmental engineering, James took a position as senior design engineer for the City of Memphis. “I am the main person responsible for the creation and management of the City’s drainage master plan

program which will eventually spawn a series of capital improvement projects designed to relieve flooding concerns in Memphis.” Not a practicing engineer, Kathryn took a different path, “I realized in grad school that I liked writing and synthesizing information from different places. My Herff internship had been with Medtronic and I knew it was the perfect place to use those communication skills.” Kathryn started as a clinical submissions writer, but soon moved to the regulatory group and is now director of a team overseeing new and existing products in Medtronic’s spinal portfolio. “I don’t directly use a lot of the technical skills I learned at Herff, but my time there taught me to think, solve problems and speak the technical language which is invaluable to my career today.” As if life wasn’t busy enough building accomplished careers, these two also have the hard work of raising a family. Their two young sons are all about the Memphis Tigers. Kathryn beams, “My youngest wants to sleep in his Tiger jersey every night and the oldest is learning the fight song.” Look out, Herff. A pair of Simpson dynamo brothers could be on campus in about 15 years.

THE 2000s AND BEYOND STILL GROWING It was Y2K. A whole new millennium. Dean Richard Warder (1994

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– 2012) was in his sixth year of leading Herff College of Engineering and was focused heavily on our reputation as a program where professors build up future engineers, while at the same time creating new and robust programs in key research areas—like the Center for Advanced Sensors in 2005 and the Intermodal Freight Transportation Institute in 2007. The University at large had grown into a major research institution and was quickly gaining recognition for having one of the finest internship programs in the nation. Being situated in one of America’s most creative cities and a hub to many booming industries, Herff combines the best attributes of an engineering education: rigor, intimate size, location, diversity, and research depth. Herff is where students can bring their intellect and passions and leave with a dream résumé. In the engineering world, we see our fair share of big thinkers. There are a lot of smart people in this business—but not all smart people have the discipline to work hard and have an even stronger desire to give back. You will find that rare combination in Roberto Young (’02, ’03). He came to the U of M on a football scholarship, recruited by Rip Scherer. He was juggling workouts, team travel and games with the rigors of seeking two separate engineering degrees in under five years.

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THEN ROBERTO IS GRATEFUL FOR HIS ENGINEERING CAREER BECAUSE IT ALLOWED HIM TO LEARN A CRAFT AND FOCUS ON THE BIGGER PICTURE IN LIFE—GIVING BACK. HERE HE’S PICTURED WITH HIS BROTHER, DARRICK, WITH WHOM HE STARTED A REAL ESTATE COMPANY THAT TURNS DILAPIDATED HOUSING INTO REAL ASSETS WITHIN THE COMMUNITY.

“I STILL HAVE MY RAMBO LUNCH BOX WITH MY NAME WRITTEN ON IT AND THE ADDRESS FROM THE HOUSING PROJECT WHERE I GREW UP IN ST. LOUIS. I KEEP THAT LUNCH BOX AS A SIGN, A SIGNAL, THAT EVERY DAY YOU MUST PUT ON YOUR HARD HAT, LACE UP YOUR BOOTS AND GO TO WORK. MY MOM AND DAD TAUGHT ME THE VIRTUES OF HARD WORK.”

“It was never a matter of if, but how. I was one determined young man. I was strictly business. My teammates were blown away by my discipline, and they knew that it would pay off for me someday,” reflects Roberto. He lived by the motto: Work Hard, Play Hard. He did both equally well, thus, achieving balance throughout his time at U of M. He had his head down and was focused on achieving a BS in electrical engineering by 2002 and

a BS in computer engineering by 2003 so he could finish before his football scholarship was over. The only free time he allowed himself was on Saturday nights. He was self-regimented, but Roberto says it was fun to him and he wouldn’t trade it for the world. “You know I was just brought up that way—to be determined and driven—and in large measure I owe my success to the values instilled in me as a kid: God, family, community. That is everything.” Roberto graduated, magna cum laude no less, and was immediately tapped by Boeing where his talent shined as an engineer in Phantom Works— Boeing’s Research and Development Division dedicated to bringing highly secure, cutting-edge technology to market. “Back in 1999-2000 it was all top secret, but we were developing the drones that are making technology headlines today. It was cool to have such a unique experience as a freshly minted engineer being a part of that R&D.” Not too much later he fulfilled another dream by earning his MBA from Harvard Business School. Even after all those successes, Roberto had more to give. He and his brother saw blight within their community (St. Louis) and took action to bring about positive change. “At that moment we decided not to just talk about it, but be about it.”

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Together they started One Touch Real Estate Management to turn dilapidated properties into more affordable, premium housing options for some of the staggering 12 million families in the United States who spend 50% or more of their

monthly net income on rent. They now have two such properties in St. Louis and six in the Atlanta area. Today, Roberto lives in Atlanta with his wife Victoria and son Roberto, Jr., where he is a business develop-

ment professional with NCR in retail technology, and his heart remains close to the values engrained in him as a child. “I still have my Rambo lunch box with my name written on it and the address from the housing project where I grew up in St. Louis.

AT WRIGHT MEDICAL TECHNOLOGY BASED IN MEMPHIS, TN, JESSICA SHEMWELL DESIGNED AN IMPLANT IN HER FIRST YEAR OF EMPLOYMENT AFTER GRADUATING FROM HERFF. BY YEAR TWO, HER DESIGN WAS IMPLANTED INTO A PATIENT.

I keep that lunch box as a sign, a signal, that every day you must put on your hard hat, lace up your boots and go to work. My mom and dad taught me the virtues of hard work.” Taking risks. Aiming high. Falling down. Getting back up. Rising to the challenge. Giving back. That’s what leaders do, and Herff grads tend to develop their own unique definition of leadership. Jessica Shemwell (‘12) is the kind that does not march in lock-step with

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anyone. “What really attracted me to engineering was that it gave me so many options, but I struggled and felt so different from my peers. They were some of the smartest people I have ever met, while I was mid average.” Feeling different from her classmates, Jessica wasn’t sure of her future. “Even going into my senior year, I didn’t think I would end up being an engineer. It often felt like I wasn’t excelling. While many of my peers loathed group projects, I was an extrovert who loved them.” Jessica collaborated with two engineers from Wright Medical Technology on her senior project and that’s when she knew there was a place for someone like her in engineering. She explains, “I realized that engineering is what you make of it. They showed me that they work with others almost daily and have fun; they aren’t nailed down to a desk, but getting their hands dirty in a test lab, and I was sold.” After graduating in 2012 in biomedical engineering, Jessica took a position back at the place that gave her the confidence to stick with it, Wright Medical Technology, as an associate product development engineer. In her first year she designed an implant. In her second year, it was implanted in a patient. “Every day I am privileged to work with some of the best engineers in the world. The products we make impact so many lives. What I am designing today will change a person’s life within the next year. It never ceases to amaze me what we


THEN ships. When I wanted to give up on engineering, my U of M advisor, Kathy Atkinson, wouldn’t let me. It took almost two years, but I turned my grades around and landed the Herff Scholarship. It was like getting a second chance.” Jessica makes it a priority to give back as one way of thanking the people that were there for her when she needed help. “I hope one day to provide a scholarship to students who have experienced tragic events while pursuing an engineering degree. Until that day comes, I support students in need through monthly giving to Herff. My monthly gift not only supports Herff scholarships, but it supports the college in other aspects that I am passionate about.”

THE HERFF LEGACY RECHARGED

will come up with next.” Jessica says that she didn’t get where she is today without the help of others, and the staff and faculty of Herff quickly come to mind. “My senior design course led by Drs. Haggard and Williams prepared me the most for my current job. We were split into teams and paired with engineers from companies in the Memphis area. Each group was diversified based on personality and leadership styles.” Because her GPA was lower than most her peers, Jessica felt

that she was always a long shot for landing a coveted CO-OP or internship spot. By designing this project based on personality strengths, her professors found a way for all students to shine. And shine she did, in spite of some serious setbacks. “Life threw me a few curve balls in college. I lost my grandmother my freshman year and ten months later my father lost his battle with pancreatic cancer. My academics suffered significantly and I lost my scholar-

Driving Herff College of Engineering to even bigger and better things is Dr. Richard Sweigard who joined us as dean in 2013 after serving as associate dean at the University of Kentucky. He is the bridge between our past, our present and the promise of our future. In Dr. Sweigard, the faculty and staff feel recharged about what lies ahead and are moved by his strong leadership. Prior to working at Kentucky, Dean Sweigard also taught at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale and Pennsylvania State University. He holds a BS in civil engineering from Drexel University, an MA in geology from Penn State, and a PhD in mining engineering, also from Penn State.

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6 LOOKING BACK. MOVING FORWARD. 14 • A GOLDEN ERA OF ENGINEERING • HERFF AT 50

On February 7, 1964, the Tennessee State Board of Education accepted a resolution authorizing then Memphis State University to accept a gift from Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Herff to establish a master’s degree program in engineering science. In May 1965, the Board approved an undergraduate engineering program—and so began the Herff College of Engineering.


TIMELINE

6070809000 THE 60s @ HERFF

THE 70s @ HERFF

THE 80s @ HERFF

THE 90s @ HERFF

THE 2000s @ HERFF

Feb. 7, 1964 Memphis State University is authorized to accept a gift of $100,000 from Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Herff to start a master’s degree program in engineering science Fall 1964 Engineering courses begin at Memphis State University 1964 – 1969 Dr. Frederic Kellogg serves as dean 1964 E.C. Ball Hall, first home for engineering courses, is constructed May 1965 State Board approves an undergraduate engineering program 1965 Name is changed to the Herff School of Engineering, and later becomes the Herff College of Engineering in 1968 1967 Chao Wathabhanieh of Thailand is the first to receive an engineering degree

1970 New engineering building is completed 1970 Enrollment is 351 undergraduate and 76 graduate 1971 The civil engineering, electrical engineering, electronics engineering technology and manufacturing engineering technology undergraduate programs are first accredited 1971 The College moves into its three-building, $6.5 million complex on Central Avenue 1973 Mechanical engineering undergraduate program is first accredited 1977 Engineering technology is first accredited

Fall 1988 enrollment explodes to 1,406 undergraduate and 158 graduate September 1987 The PhD program is inaugurated 1988 Biomedical engineering department is established

May 1990 First doctoral degree is awarded 1992 Ground Water Institute is established July 1996 Joint graduate program in biomedical engineering is established between the University of Memphis and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center 1997 The first biomedical engineering PhD is awarded to Amy DeJongh Curry June 1999 BS in computer engineering is approved by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission

July 2005 PhD in computer engineering is approved 2005 Center for Advanced Sensors is established 2007 Intermodal Freight Transportation Institute is established 2009 Undergraduate programs for computer engineering and biomedical engineering are accredited

@ U OF M 1960 Dr. Cecil C. Humphreys named acting president of the University 1960 Freshman J. Wayne “Greasy” Johnson dons tiger costume as first mascot

@ U OF M 1972 Bengal Tiger cub named TOM attends first game as official mascot (MSU vs. U of Cincinnati home football game) 1974 University Honors program established 1974 Speech and drama department produces musical Hair

@ U OF M 1980 High Water Records record label is founded at the University 1983 Early Scholars Program begins attracting high school seniors with high GPAs 1984 Memphis State becomes one of the few public colleges nationally with all three ROTC branches

@ U OF M 1991 Men’s Tiger basketball begins inaugural season at the Pyramid, Tomb of Doom 1992 TOM the tiger dies at the Memphis Zoo after 19 years as mascot 1992 TOM II is introduced 1994 Memphis State University becomes the University of Memphis 1995 U of M joins Conference USA

@ U OF M 2001 Dr. Shirley Raines is named the 11th president of the University, the first woman to hold the position 2003 Tiger football plays in the first bowl game in 32 years, defeating North Texas at the New Orleans Bowl 27-17 2004 Men’s Tiger basketball moves to the FedEx Forum

HERFF AT 50 • A GOLDEN ERA OF ENGINEERING • 15


PORTRAITS OF RIGOR SHAPING THE FUTURE OF ENGINEERING TODAY

GETTING HANDS-ON WITH STEM RESEARCH MEET BLAKE HOWELL. Blake came to the U of M undecided, but was quickly drawn to Herff because of the smaller classes and direct interaction with professors. But what really lit him up was the chance to do undergrad research. “I was able to do everything from formulating my own hypothesis to interpreting the data and writing a research paper. It was an invaluable experience that gave me insight into the vast world of STEM research.” He participated in research that concentrated in data mining and machine learning to identify fraudulent sellers or spammers online. “Getting hands-on experience in STEM research challenged me to learn about a relatively new and very important field.” And Blake

16 • A GOLDEN ERA OF ENGINEERING • HERFF AT 50

got a real feeling for what it means to be an engineer. The research opportunities at Herff give students the kind of skills that you just can’t get in a classroom setting alone. Blake graduated in 2014 with a dual major in electrical and computer engineering major.

LEARNING TO SET THE BAR HIGH AND GO FOR IT MEET PATRICE THOMAS. Patrice was first introduced to Herff in high school when she attended a Girls Experiencing Engineering (GEE) camp at the U of M. Her emotional connection with Herff started that week, but even she had no idea how close she would become to the faculty here. “Anyone can teach, but few genuinely care.” Patrice feels that Herff is more than a school; it’s a family. “I hon-


NOW estly don’t know where I would be if my mentor hadn’t invested in me the way she did. I learned so much from her, not only in the classroom, but about life in general.” Her faculty advisor and former professor played a monumental role in helping her choose her major and area of concentration, but it is her advisor’s compassion to see students succeed that Patrice thinks is truly special. “Her optimistic outlook is always uplifting. She motivated me to strive for exceptionally high standards and meet challenges that never before did I think I could reach.” Patrice graduated in 2014 with a degree in civil engineering.

DISCOVERING THE FAST TRACK TO A DREAM JOB MEET CHIU YAN. After Chiu made the decision to go for an Accelerated Bachelor’s to Master’s degree at Herff, it was full steam ahead. His undergrad years were loaded with unique experiences. “As an undergrad, I worked in a team to understand the mechanism of pneumatic parts and incorporated them into the design of a pneumatic nutcracker. Teamwork was critical to this project.” Chiu feels Herff prepared him well for the real world. “I held an internship at Smith & Nephew and learned that in the real workplace it is very

“I HAVE HAD EXPOSURE TO AMAZING RESEARCH... THAT’S PRETTY POWERFUL TO SAY I HAD A HAND IN IMPROVING REAL LIVES.” unlikely to work alone on a project. As I know from Herff, teams can be challenging, but you get a better product in the end.” Chiu continued to find himself engaged in teams as he sought his master’s at Herff. Making close connections with other big thinkers on projects leads to huge innovations and that is exactly why Chiu stayed in Memphis for graduate school. “Through the internship program at Herff I explored different fields within my major and developed a greater understanding of what I really wanted after graduation.” Chiu graduated in 2014 with an emphasis in mechanical engineering.

HERFF AT 50 • A GOLDEN ERA OF ENGINEERING • 17


Fortune 500 company before I even graduated.” Darius is proof that a Herff education can open some incredible doors. “When you are at Herff, it won’t come easy, but the journey and the people you meet will change your life forever.” Darius graduated in 2014 with a major in engineering technology.

TAKING BIG CHANCES THAT TURN INTO BIG REWARDS MEET DARIUS HANKINS. There was a moment when Darius thought engineering might be too tough for him. At Herff, the rigor is real and students work hard. During that pivotal time, Darius was supported by

his faculty advisor to push through. “At the midpoint of the semester, I was riding the fence between a C and D. He was always there telling me to push a little more. I ended up finishing the class with an A.” Darius learned to take a chance on himself, and the end rewards couldn’t be sweeter. “I landed a cool internship in downtown Memphis because of the diverse skills I gained at Herff. Then I was offered a fulltime position at another Memphis

18 • A GOLDEN ERA OF ENGINEERING • HERFF AT 50

SPARKING IDEAS THAT CHANGE LIVES MEET ELIZABETH DUNCAN. Elizabeth knew that her love for biomedical engineering could take off by attending the University located in the city internationally known as a biomed and biotech hub. “Right now I am working on growing mesenchymal stem cells. My advisor also taught me how to subculture cells.” Elizabeth has parlayed her Herff education into two highly soughtafter internships with medical device giants located in Memphis, Wright Medical and Medtronic. Elizabeth handles a full engineering workload while learning to be a student leader. “I am the honors student council president and vice president of Alpha Epsilon Delta at the University of Memphis, the national health preprofessional honor society.” At Herff, students can balance their engineering aspirations with other interests. Like Elizabeth, they can explore whatever their hearts are pulling them to do. “I have had exposure to amazing research at Herff, like a fibroblast study that could very well open the door to better wound healing options for people who suffer from Diabetes. That’s pretty powerful to say I had a hand in improving real lives.” Elizabeth will graduate in 2015 with a degree in biomedical engineering.


NOW

THE HEART OF THE HERFF EXPERIENCE: RESEARCH-FOCUSED FACULTY

AT THE HEART of what makes Herff a standout engineering program are faculty members that are dedicated to their research and to the success of the students they mentor. At Herff, students learn by doing. Every day, students find themselves working right alongside faculty—engaged in meaningful and practical experiences—and drawing immense inspiration from the passionate work and powerful research taking place at Herff.

ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING & COMPUTER ENGINEERING IMAGING THE DEPTHS OF THE MICRO-NANO WORLD

They are developing computational techniques that work in combination with the newly engineered microscope system to produce significantly improved microscope images. For centuries, the microscope has been a vital instrument, but it only allowed scientists to see a limited amount of information. Drs. Preza and King and the students involved in research under their supervision, are radically changing the way we image the micro-nano scale of the world. The leading-edge instruments and software they are developing, will allow scientists to observe and study phenomena not previously visible or accessible to instruments. By using high-performance computing with optical

microscopy they are producing 3D images of living samples that are thicker than the current state-ofthe-art samples, such as tissue, and capturing dynamic cellular processes in high resolution. The life-changing benefits from their work are limitless and increasingly critical because many biological and biomedical applications require the ability to visualize living specimens at higher resolution and in new ways that provide important information not available in the past. But for these faculty members, the real reward is in mentoring graduate and undergraduate research assistants and inspiring another generation of thinkers to seek knowledge that creates possibilities with no limits.

DR. CHRYSANTHE PREZA is the principal investigator of the Computational Imaging Research Laboratory (CIRL), whose transformative ideas in imaging science are benefiting the world of imaging science. Dr. Preza secured a $750,000 instrument development grant from the National Science Foundation and teamed up with Dr. Sharon King, a research associate at CIRL, to develop a new system by modifying the traditional microscope to generate more information than ever before.

HERFF AT 50 • A GOLDEN ERA OF ENGINEERING • 19


THE IMPACT OF A POWER PLAYER Every day, most Americans take their power usage for granted. Truth is, it takes some serious brains to keep grids running properly. What a jolt it would be to society if blackouts, or even brownouts, became a normal occurrence. DR. HASAN ALI is a true power player in this industry that means so much to our daily lifestyle. As an assistant professor in the electrical and computer engineering department, Dr. Ali heads up the Electric Power and Energy Systems (EPES) Research Laboratory which is focused on the smart grid and renewable energy systems. Linking together stability, reliability, sustainability, security and quality, his team is discovering new ways to run a smooth electric power grid while avoiding instability and deterioration of power. Current research is aimed at exploring new methods based on intelligent controllers to augment stability and power quality of smart grids and micro-grid systems. His research students are studying various modeling and simulations of micro-grid systems, including wind turbine generators, photovoltaic systems, fuel cell systems, and various energy storage systems. The impressive work of Dr. Ali is helping to improve power network stability and quality, and maintaining desired consumer levels for power, voltage and frequency.

20 • A GOLDEN ERA OF ENGINEERING • HERFF AT 50

MECHANICAL ENGINEERING FUELING NASA’S WAY TO THE MOON, MARS AND BEYOND You could say that DR. JEFF MARCHETTA’s research ambitions are out of this world. Or at least they will take mankind there. His NASA-sponsored research project at Herff is developing and testing new technologies to manage and store liquid fuels in low-gravity environments, so that humans will one day be able to travel to and establish colonies on the Moon, Mars and beyond. The study of low gravity fluid physics is crucial to the next generation of manned space missions. Dr. Marchetta is making a major contribution to the space community by researching the behavior of extremely low temperature, or cryogenic, liquids such as liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen in outer space and how to handle them. Liquid hydrogen is a propellant for rockets, so Dr. Marchetta is collaborating with Dr. Firouseh Sabri, associate professor in the U of M department of physics, to develop polymer-based liquid cryogenic containers that could be used for long-term missions to distant destinations in outer space. Together with scientists and engineers from the Marshall Space Flight Center,


NOW the Kennedy Space Center, and NASA Glenn Space Center, Drs. Marchetta and Sabri are testing prototypes of models of containers designed right here on the University of Memphis campus.

A THOUGHTLEADER IN BIOFUELS DR. SRIKANT GIR likes to talk about biofuels. Why? Because he is an agent for change that sees a not-too-far-off future in which our nation’s dependence on fossil fuels will be reduced at least somewhat, by biofuels. After securing a $500,000 grant from the Department of Energy (DOE), Dr. Gir and a team of collaborators were able to continue work on developing a micro-biofuel refinery that takes waste products like vegetable oil from fryers, animal fat, and energy crops like camelina oil, and processes them into biodiesel. Dr. Gir knows that the Memphis region is rich in biomass (energy crops) and his vision is to set up several small regional refineries located where the waste is generated, or on the farms where the energy crops are grown and convert into fuel for the local economy. More than just creating renewable fuel, Dr. Gir will open a workforce training center in partnership with regional community colleges—the first one of its kind in the Mid-South—to train people seeking stable jobs for employment in the process industry.

AT HERFF, GIVING STUDENTS HANDS-ON EXPERIENCE IS A POINT OF PRIDE. STUDENTS AND FACULTY IN THE LAB COLLABORATE WITH OTHER U OF M DEPARTMENTS TO PROVIDE CRITICAL ANSWERS AND INSIGHTFUL RESEARCH. ENGINEERING TECHNOLOGY HANDS-ON TIMES 650,000 At Herff, giving students hands-on experience is a point of pride. DR. KEVIN BERISSO in our engineering technology department has taken that to a whole new level, landing a significant donation of more than 650,000 Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags from retail tech giant Checkpoint Systems. This gift enables students to realistically experience and

experiment with Ultra High Frequency (UHF) RFID technology, and conduct large scale exercises involving thousands of simultaneous tag reads to look for ways to improve retail supply chain visibility. Dr. Berisso is the director of the AutoID Lab and his expertise is in helping industries choose the best technology for their specific business needs. Rather than focusing on one technology, students and faculty in the lab collaborate with other U of M departments to provide critical answers and insightful research to companies with complex business problems involving automatic identification technologies, including

HERFF AT 50 • A GOLDEN ERA OF ENGINEERING • 21


ipation in science and technology via a number of robotics-based programs. DANIEL KOHN, ROBERT HEWITT and TOM BANNING have been supporting the high school level FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC®) teams in the Memphis area for the past 6 years with a number of events including the World Wide Kickoff and workshops for teams during the build season. Additionally, Tom Banning and Daniel Kohn support the FIRST Lego League® (FLL) program, aimed at middle school students and are also the FLL® West TN Partners responsible for the FLL® West TN Championship.

TOM BANNING AND DANIEL KOHN SUPPORT THE FIRST LEGO LEAGUE® (FLL) PROGRAM, AIMED AT MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS AND ARE ALSO RESPONSIBLE FOR BIOMEDICAL THE FLL® WEST TN ENGINEERING CHAMPIONSHIP.

bar codes, RFID, magnetic stripe and biometrics. In addition to his work in the area of automatic identification, Dr. Berisso is also involved with automation and robotics. In the department’s continued efforts to provide a real-world handson educational experience, the Automation and Robotics Lab has added two Nao humanoid robots, a Rethink Robotics Baxter robot and an additional FANUC LRMate 200iC R30iA robot with integrated

machine vision, three state-of-theart programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and four current generation touch screen human machine interface (HMI) units that have already been integrated into multiple classes. These acquisitions allow our students to not only gain valuable experience in using technologies that they will encounter when they join the workforce, but with the Nao and Baxter robots, they will also have experience with some of the technologies that are shaping the future of the robotics industry.

22 • A GOLDEN ERA OF ENGINEERING • HERFF AT 50

ROBOTICS LEADS TO FUTURE STEM STUDENTS Faculty from the engineering technology department are playing a major role in nurturing the next generation of science and technology leaders in our region by working with FIRST®, a Manchester, NH-based charity that inspires young people’s interest and partic-

BIG MEDICAL IDEAS THAT LEAD TO LIFECHANGING PRODUCTS

Memphis has long been a worldwide leader in many areas, but especially bioscience. Putting Herff on the map in this high-tech field is DR. GARY BOWLIN and his Tissue Template Engineering and Regeneration Laboratory at the University of Memphis. Dr. Bowlin and his team work tirelessly on research in tissue engineering which is leading to products that drastically improve quality of life. Currently Dr. Bowlin is closing in on advancements in cartilage repair.


NOW composition of naturally-derived gelatin, chitin nano-crystals, and medical grade Manuka honey formed into a thin, wafer-like product. The membrane is placed over the hole in the jaw and under the gums to combat infection and allow for enhanced healing so the bone graft placed to regenerate bone and fill the void will be successful. Current biomaterials used as membrane barriers are often difficult to handle, degrade too quickly, and offer no enhanced wound regeneration. Dr. Bowlin and his expert team have engineered a membrane with antibacterial and regenerative properties that naturally and controllably degrades allowing for retention of the bone graft while promoting more rapid closure of the overlying tissue minimizing complications for the patients undergoing these procedures.

For example, rather than patients undergoing a full knee replacement, Dr. Bowlin is optimizing a biodegradable template design geared towards the regeneration of “real cartilage.” In another study, he is working to create a template or “scaffold” that dramatically improves the body’s initial response to an implanted device. This invention manipulates fiber and pore size to drive the immune response towards regeneration and not extended inflammation or rejection.

THE POWER OF COLLABORATION Inspiration for a crazy genius idea might come from one source, but the joy of shaping an idea until it springs to life almost always is the work of a strong team. Even better, is when teams of researchers get along so famously that the grueling hours on a study don’t feel like hard work at all. That’s the Herff way. Take DRS. LINDNER AND PENDLEY, these two are friends outside of the classroom who feel strongly that the work comes together better when you respect one another as brilliant colleagues, and as good friends. DR. BRADFORD PENDLEY, a PhD electrochemist who is also a practicing physician, is an affiliate professor of biomedical engineering who currently practices

Along with Postdoctoral Fellow Dr. Isaac Rodríguez, undergraduate student Allison Fetz, and oral surgeon Dr. Brent Burger, Dr. Bowlin is on the verge of another huge breakthrough in dental implants. When a tooth is extracted or missing (something 40% of our senior population experiences), the closure of the hole left behind is essential to prevent infections and to create the ideal environment for a dental implant placement. The team developed an ideal barrier membrane using a unique

HERFF AT 50 • A GOLDEN ERA OF ENGINEERING • 23


Internal Medicine with Primary Care Specialists in Memphis. DR. ERNO LINDER is the R. Eugene Smith Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Herff who holds a PhD in electrochemistry. Together, they are collaborating to develop chemical sensors for clinical diagnostics and for measurements of ions, small molecules (sodium, potassium, propofol, CO2, etc.) in a variety of biological mediums (serum, plasma, whole blood, urine, tear fluid, etc.). For example, they work together to measure the amount of CO2 levels in urine as a means of reducing severe sepsis mortality. Dr. Lindner, in collaboration with Dr. E. Chaum (UTHSC) and support from the US Army, has developed a sensor for the anesthetic drug propofol, a potent intravenous anesthetic drug, for feedback-controlled anesthesia. In addition to developing new chemical sensors, research performed by Drs. Lindner and Pendley also improves the characteristics of existing sensors by investigating their response mechanism. Chemical sensors, are used every day in hospitals. About the size of the tip of a pen, the sensors are usually located in a desktop instrument in a patient’s hospital room. They are used to read blood samples and determine blood electrolyte levels, which help guide a physician’s course of medical treatment. If the sensors need to be replaced it is essential to get accurate results again as soon as possible, e.g., during surgery. This is where Team Lindner Pendley

24 • A GOLDEN ERA OF ENGINEERING • HERFF AT 50

makes a difference. They are working on an improved sensor that only requires 10 minutes to be replaced and be fully functional. A significant improvement compared to the state of the art, which is about 30 minutes. Reducing the amount of time needed for a physician to get an accurate blood electrolyte reading is crucial. It can be the difference in a faster course of treatment that ultimately saves a life. Both Drs. Lindner and Pendley attribute their successes to the strong collaborative relationships they have developed throughout their careers, with co-workers and learning from professors. That’s why they stress skills, like translational research, to Herff students. When you take basic knowledge and convert it into practical applications to enhance human health and well being, you become a high-potential graduate. Through collaborative problem solving, students don’t just uncover new ways to enhance society, they discover who they are personally and the kind of engineers they want to be.

CIVIL ENGINEERING MEET THE BRAINS BEHIND OPTIMIZATION EXPERTISE DR. CHARLES CAMP is an expert in engineering optimization research, but his passion is in pass-


NOW DR. STEPHANIE IVEY EMBODIES THE HERFF WAY. MORE THAN JUST TEACHING, SHE INSPIRES STUDENTS TO GO OUT AND CHANGE THE WORLD IN LASTING WAYS. ing that knowledge on to graduate students. That eureka moment happens quite a bit in his studies, leading to research and published works that keep Herff in civil engineering headlines. He teamed up with Dr. Andrew Assadollahi to develop methods that utilized innovated bio-inspired optimization algorithms, such as those based on the behavior of ants figuring out a way to get food into their home, to design reinforced concrete structures that not only satisfy all strength and safety requirements specified by building codes but also significantly lower construction costs. Sustainability is also an important consideration in this research as it is looking at ways to reduce the CO2 emissions associated with both construction

materials and fabrication methods. Dr. Camp also collaborated with Dr. Sanaz Saadat to advance performance-based design of steel structures exposed to significant earthquakes by minimizing the impacts of both economic and social losses while providing collapse protection. Dr. Camp and graduate student Mohammad Farshchin are conducting research that is developing methods to monitor, model, and predict the strength of the structures throughout their life-cycle that will ultimately lead to safer bridges for all of us.

INFLUENCING, LEADING AND EMPOWERING DR. STEPHANIE IVEY certainly embodies the Herff way. More than just teaching, she inspires students to go out and change the world in lasting ways. She has distinguished herself as a noted researcher in livability as it relates to the impact of freight on communities and helping them coexist together. In freight-centered communities, like Memphis, her work has resulted in innovative practices—including the development of safer routes to school, neighborhood improvement plans, and improvements in child and pedestrian safety. Through a recent four-year grant by the Federal Highway Administration, Herff’s Intermodal

Freight Transportation Institute will house the Southeast Transportation Workforce Center. Under Dr. Ivey’s leadership, the Center will focus on transportation workforce development by providing access to career opportunities, education and training for those seeking re-entry into the workforce, career transition or career advancement. While all transportation workforce needs will be addressed, particular attention will be given to issues of women in transportation, freight system opportunities, and military/veteran transition into the workplace. Memphis is unique in that more people are employed in the transportation sector here than any other major metropolitan area in the United States. Dr. Ivey is excited about the challenges involved in helping our region develop a sufficient career-ready pipeline of transportation professionals. Dr. Ivey’s work has been acknowledged in Washington DC by Presidential Cabinet members. She was selected as one of fifty to attend a White House roundtable which resulted in local programming, specifically the launch of the Society of Female Transportation Professionals. Over the years she has mentored girls as young as 11 years old through the Girls Experiencing Engineering program, instilling confidence in girls to become interested in career opportunities in science, technology and engineering. Dr. Ivey is making a huge difference, one student at a time.

HERFF AT 50 • A GOLDEN ERA OF ENGINEERING • 25


our findings have resulted in an ambitious new set of priorities for the College. Herff strategized thoughtfully to chart our future, using multiple teams of vested stakeholders, including administration, faculty, FedEx facilitators and key U of M staff members. The result was a strong set of objectives unveiled in our new 2023 Herff Strategic Plan.

NOT JUST BIGGER, BUT BETTER

SETTING AMBITIOUS GOALS FOR ANOTHER 50 YEARS

BUILDING ON OUR PAST TO CREATE A STRONGER FUTURE

26 • A GOLDEN ERA OF ENGINEERING • HERFF AT 50

Since Herff classes first began in 1964, we have excelled in preparing graduates for careers that encompass traditional areas of engineering and technology, but also serve as launching pads to other fields, from running major companies to practicing medicine to teaching. At Herff, students find a level of individualized attention that is rare in much of America’s public higher education. Our culture of close collaboration, friendliness and excellence is driven by an award-winning faculty. As we look back at these strengths, it is also time to build on that foundation towards an even bigger tomorrow. Recently the Herff College of Engineering was immersed in a strategic planning process, and

One of the most important strategies in the plan is undergraduate growth, and the overall goal is to double the number of BS degrees awarded per year to 235 by FY23. (In 2013, we awarded 117 BS degrees.) Also critical is graduate student growth, with an overall goal to double MS degrees to 80 per year and increase PhD degrees 150% to 25 per year by 2023. The plans supporting these objectives are multifaceted and aggressive. We are already seeing notable improvements in undergraduate enrollment. Our 2014 freshman class of first-time, full-time students was up 26.7% over the previous year’s cohort and 24% of those students have an impressive ACT of 30 or above.

THE POWER OF RESEARCH It was clear to the planning team that Herff’s future success is highly dependent on growth in


FUTURE

research, especially since research provides much of the funding that supports graduate students. Expanding our research depth also helps us attract the finest faculty and elevate national prestige. Our ambitious goal is to quadruple annual research expenditures to $25M by 2023. To do that, we will have to increase the level of research funding per faculty member, develop new collaborations within the College, develop new collaborations with other institutions, and innovate sustainable models for research centers. It’s an intimidating objective, but it’s also one that excites the team immensely.

A MAGNET FOR THE FINEST TALENT Herff’s commitment to being a premier program includes strategies to bolster talent management. It is all about attracting the most innovative experts in engineering. We want to maintain the current student to faculty ratio while also growing the size and expertise of the staff. The plans supporting this objective include focusing on private funding to sustain our ratio, expanding the pool of candidates,

HERFF AT 50 • A GOLDEN ERA OF ENGINEERING • 27


FUTURE

HERFF

YOUR ROLE IN THE PLAN

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE 2023 HERFF STRATEGIC PLAN AND HOW YOU CAN BE A PART OF THE HERFF COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING’S FUTURE SUCCESSES, PLEASE GIVE US A CALL OR DROP US A NOTE. WE WOULD LOVE TO TELL YOU MORE ABOUT OUR EXCITING GOALS. Engineering Development Office Herff College of Engineering 901.678.4094 engineeringdevelopment@memphis.edu

HERFF ISN’T JUST GETTING THE JOB DONE; OUR WORK HERE IS IMPRESSIVE. BEING PART OF A MAJOR RESEARCH UNIVERSITY IN A CITY THAT IS A CENTER OF COMMERCE AND CREATIVITY IS EXCITING AND PRESTIGIOUS. increasing the quality of candidates, and increasing the number of endowed chairs and professorships.

THE STRENGTH OF THE HERFF COMMUNITY Our success relies a great deal on generous alumni, friends and supporters who provide the private funding that will carry Herff through the next 50 years. As we enter the final stage of our $5M anniversary campaign, we hope to ensure that private funding remains strong even once this

28 • A GOLDEN ERA OF ENGINEERING • HERFF AT 50

campaign has ended. Workstream teams are developing strategies to maintain funding levels beyond the 50th anniversary campaign and expand capacity from an average of $385K per year to $1.5M per year by FY23.

PAT ON THE BACK Everyone likes to be recognized. A shout out for a job well done. Herff isn’t just getting the job done; our work here is impressive. Being part of a major research university in a city that is a center of commerce

and creativity is exciting and prestigious. The U of M brand and the Herff name are getting recognized nationally more and more every year, but our goal is to significantly increase visibility and reputation. We have set our sights on a Herff ranking in the U.S. News and World Report by FY23. Landing in the rankings is critical to recruitment efforts, especially when it comes to prospective students, faculty and donors. We encourage alumni, partners and the community to stay connected and help support the next generation of Herff engineers.


HERFF COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING

ENGINEERING BRIGHT FUTURES SINCE 1964 For more information visit

www.memphis.edu/herff/50

HERFF AT 50 • A GOLDEN ERA OF ENGINEERING • 3


HERFF COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING

UNIVERSITY OF MEMPHIS UOM590-FY1415/1M5C HOT GRAPHICS

Herff College of Engineering : Spring 2015 Magazine  

The Spring 2015 edition of the University of Memphis Herff College of Engineering Magazine

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