Dean's Newsletter October 2017
MESSAGE FROM THE DEAN
We were very happy to welcome U of I Dads to campus this past weekend and to celebrate a Vandal football victory, but it was also a weekend that capped a series of important college events. Notably, we welcomed close to 200 visitors to the Innovation Den, the new home of our Computer Science Department in Coeur d’Alene. I was there to help cut the ribbon with the Coeur d'Alene Chamber of Commerce and talked to a wide variety of visitors from current and prospective students, to members of the Coeur d’Alene tech community to a local Cub Scout pack, who came to see Baxter our 300 pound robot. By all measures the open house for our Computer Science program in Coeur d’ Alene was a great successes and I look forward to building the program to serve the needs of the region’s growing tech sector and economy. It is also great to support the North Idaho College and U of I’s Coeur d'Alene Center.
This past week we also welcomed eight new members to our Academy of Engineers and several existing members as they spent time on the Moscow campus for the Class of 2017 induction ceremony. It is always a fun time of year to catch up with Academy members, show them around campus and give them updates on what our students, faculty and departments are working on. This was the second year that members of our Academy of Engineers served as judges for the Grand Challenge Scholars Pitch event. Fourteen students in the UI Grand Challenge Scholars program made their case to Academy members by presenting projects involving hands-on research, global experience, entrepreneurship, interdisciplinary studies and service learning. Judges’ votes determined where students ranked in one of three award categories, platinum, gold and silver. Congratulations to our platinum award winners: Jackie Martinez, Chemical Engineering, Allison Ellingson, Electrical Engineering, Gabryel Conley, Biological Engineering and Louise Nicole Yu, Chemical Engineering. All of the students presenting did amazingly well, and in total $30,000 is being awarded to support their grand challenge work. Below in this newsletter we have highlighted the work of two students who won at last year’s pitch event Tavara Freeman and Jackie Martinez (a two-time winner), I encourage you to read about these innovative and intelligent students. I wouldn’t be surprised that if one day they return to campus to be inducted into the academy.
Finally, I want to mention this year’s Women in Engineering Day. We welcomed 80 high achieving students from around Idaho and Washington to participate in a day long workshop designed to introduce students to academic and career options in engineering and computer science. Events like Women in Engineering Day and the efforts of our current U of I chapter of the Society of Women Engineers and the support of alumni and donors like Lisa and Bruce Grow are vital to help us increase the number of women students in engineering. We have made this one of our top priorities and have set the ambitious goal of tripling the number of women students by 2025 in our strategic plan and I know we can make this happen; we have to.
Larry A. Stauffer
Dean, College of Engineering