Dean's Newsletter August 2018
I always enjoy a new academic year and welcoming a new class of Vandals. Their enthusiasm is infectious and reverberates throughout the college. It is inspiring to hear students recount the transformational experiences of summer internships, research assistantships and studies abroad. Kenny Sheffler, a senior Electrical Engineering major, spent the summer building a small biogas digestor to continue his research project as a Grand Challenge Scholar. Students interned at sites ranging from technology start-ups like SafeGuard Equipment to NASA’s Ames Research Center. Cooper Felton, a senior Civil and Environmental Engineering student, spent the summer as a field engineer intern for Kiewit at the Oroville Spillway Recovery Project. Cooper shared, “This was an amazing opportunity to work on a $650 million dollar project, where I helped manage a foundations crew of nearly 100 laborers and operators. This project is being completed at a rapid pace that only a company like Kiewit can handle.” The quality and extent of hands-on learning experiences at U of I Engineering is a point of pride and distinction for us.
This year, I’m particularly happy to welcome the students back to the college because we have been improving two key student spaces over the summer. Thanks to generous support of donors, we renovated our computer lab in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and also created the new suite of offices for student services. The latter has been a dream of mine for many years because of the positive impact it will have on current and future students. It will serve as a hub for our student support services and STEM outreach activities. In our college, we are known for taking care of students inside and outside the classroom, and having a central area for student services embodies that commitment. I’m eager to see the positive impacts on our students. I’m grateful to the industry partners and donors who have helped make this project a reality, especially Micron, the major sponsor of this project. We plan a grand opening and ribbon cutting reception on Oct. 19, and we hope you can join us in Moscow for this event! More information about this project will be included in my next newsletter.
I’m looking ahead to my seventh year as dean with optimism and enthusiasm. We are poised to provide our students with new level of service and excellence. I have plans to launch a new initiative focused on increasing women in engineering, while also supporting the growth of our other signature programs like the Grand Challenge Scholars Program and senior capstone experience that culminates in EXPO. It’s going to be great year for U of I Engineering and I look forward to many of you being a part of our success.
Larry A. Stauffer
Dean, College of Engineering
Five students studied in Suzhou, China this summer at the Wenzheng College of Soochow University. In addition to their engineering coursework, they learned about the culture and saw many of China’s top historical and cultural landmarks.
Sam Baran, a junior electrical engineering student said, “Getting to spend six weeks in China made for a summer I’ll never forget! I’ve never got to spend an extended time in such a different culture, and it was so interesting to live with Chinese roommates and learn about their different customs and traditions. I also got to experience new and different kinds of beauty exploring the mountains in the national park, Zhangjiajie. It was gorgeous and so different from our mountains in Idaho! I’m so excited for my new Chinese friends to come study at U of I!”
Student Ambassadors Inspire K-12 Students to Pursue Engineering
The College of Engineering student ambassador team, led by Director of Student Services Paulette House, will be starting the 2018-19 academic year with a vital and noticeable presence. The ambassador team has more than tripled its size to include 22 members representing all departments in the College of Engineering! Last year, the team consisted of just seven student ambassadors. Despite its small size and minimal resources, the team helped carry out all on-campus recruitment events and assisted in preparing new engineering students. Drawing upon creativity and concepts they learned in their courses, the ambassadors developed hands-on activities showcasing engineering programs, which they delivered to various K-12 student groups. The team also established expectations and eligibility requirements and a comprehensive plan to recruit and train other engineering ambassadors to share their passion for engineering with others.
This year, the ambassadors will visit 24 high schools in Idaho and Washington and talk to interested students at Career Fairs, STEM events and regional/national engineering competitions. The ambassadors will also share their personal experiences with new students and provide guidance on how to navigate the systems of higher education. Ultimately, the ambassadors not only represent some of the best students our college has to offer, but also inform and inspire others to dream and want more for themselves.
Advisory Board Champions our New Center for Students
One role of the College of Engineering Advisory Board is to advance the college by identifying and acquiring additional financial resources. Advisory Board Chair Ryne Stoker leads with the philosophy of giving back. He often shares the maxim, “Go do well, then do good,” meaning go create your career and life and “do well”, then give back and “do good.” Stoker said when the board was presented with the concept of the student center, “everyone immediately got behind it, seeing the benefit it will provide the students for years to come.”
The board’s support of the new center for student services was essential to the project’s success. With the advisory board backing the project, their philanthropic leadership provided momentum and gave other donors confidence to invest. The combined gifts of several donors have resulted in a beautiful and inspiring new hub for students to access academic support, help finding jobs and internships, financial assistance, and STEM and diversity outreach activities. These services were once spread throughout multiple floors and buildings, making resources difficult for students to find. By bringing together this team, we will help improve our retention and recruiting of students.
We are still accepting gifts for this project and if you’re interested in supporting our students, contact Bobbi Hughes.
Thank you, College of Engineering Advisory Board!
- Tom Bourque, GeoTek
- Shannon Fuchs, Fuchs Consulting Group
- Tim Haener, J-U-B Engineers
- Howard Hooper, HP Inc.
- Paul Huber, Boeing
- Dave Joerger, Idaho Power
- Brent Keeth, Micron
- John Kumm, POWER Engineers
- Amy Lientz, Idaho National Laboratory
- Rod Linja, Keller Associates
- Ken Mays, KMays Technical Services
- Bob Morris, SEL
- John Murphy, Glanbia
- Remy Newcombe, Rainier Patents
- Jeff Osterman, CH2M Hill
- Tom Pfeiffer, Idaho National Laboratory
- Terry Precht, Vergent Products
- Tracy Rolstad, Avista
- Michael Schleich, Itron
- Ryne Stoker, GeoTek