Dean's December 2019 Newsletter
Our college welcomed more than 100 new graduates into its ranks this past weekend. This winter’s commencement brings the university's all-time totals to 122,848 graduates and 131,315 degrees.
Our graduates are moving on to fantastic job opportunities with leading industry, including Micron, Idaho National Laboratories, JUB Engineers and more.
It’s exciting to look back on the major successes these students have accomplished during their time at U of I. The future looks bright, and a congratulations is in order for each and every one.
Two Join Idaho’s Only Grand Challenge Scholars
Congrats to graduates from our Grand Challenge Scholars Program, Kenny Sheffler and Tyler Siegford.
Our college is among a select group of engineering schools nationwide that together plan to graduate more than 20,000 formally recognized Grand Challenge Engineers over the next decade.
The Grand Challenge Scholars Program (GCSP) is the only program of its kind in Idaho and the Pacific Northwest, preparing undergraduates to tackle the toughest challenges of the 21st century as established by the National Academy of Engineering.
Students develop entrepreneurial skills, connect to a vibrant, multidisciplinary community, and expand their knowledge of issues facing our society.
Kenny Sheffler is a founding member of team Trash2Gas, U of I’s award-winning research team focused on bringing anaerobic digestion, the process of breaking down organic material without oxygen, into K-12 classrooms on the Palouse. The team was selected by the National Academy of Engineers to compete in London during the Global Grand Challenges Summit this fall and has been awarded more than $20K in funding so far.
For his senior capstone design project, Kenny designed the initial controls to allow new U of I Steam Plant turbines to provide power to select buildings in the event of a blackout. This microgrid would allow U of I to easily integrate renewable sources on campus.
Kenny has accepted a full-time position in Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories’ Denver office. In his role as an associate project engineer in power protection, he will assist with research and projects involving the protection of electrical equipment from outages and other fluctuations in power supply that could compromise performance or safety.
University of Idaho College of Science biochemistry major Tyler Siegford has worked with a number of faculty mentors and collaboratively with Washington State University’s Garner Research Group on synthetic glycosylation technology that could revolutionize protein therapeutics.
His research has helped optimize recombinant protein production procedures for the U of I biological engineering labs for years to come. He also built and tested a novel resin linker that can be used to make large proteins chemically.
Tyler earned a total of $13,620 in research funding along the way, including a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship and IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence Fellowship. He has also presented his research at national and regional conferences.
Tyler has decided to apply to dental schools and is studying for the MCAT this winter.
David E. Whitehead, professional engineer and CEO of Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories in Pullman, Washington, received his honorary doctorate from the U of I Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering last weekend.
David has actively advanced partnerships between SEL and higher education, including more than 30 years of partnership with the University of Idaho.
He played a key role in creating the SEL Endowed Chair in Power Engineering, U of I’s first fully-endowed faculty chair position, and he is currently working with our college to provide more avenues to help students gain hands-on experience and graduate with less debt.
When David was hired at SEL in 1994, he was employee No. 124. Now the 35-year-old Pullman-based company employs over 5,100 people worldwide. Of those employees, more than 300 are U of I alumni and 50 are Vandal interns!
Commencement always adds an extra element of joy to the holiday season. These stories of success add to the anticipation of the New Year and the new achievements yet to come. Happy holidays and Happy New Year. See you in 2020!
Dean, College of Engineering
Three of our students, Shelby Linafelter, Kenny Sheffler and Sophia Theodossiou, recently received Alumni Awards for Excellence.
Their mentors, electrical engineering professor Herbert Hess and biological engineering assistant professor Nathan Schiele were also recognized.
Awards are given through the University of Idaho Alumni Association to recognize and encourage excellence in all forms at the academic level.
U of I Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering Professor Emeritus Dean Edwards has been named a 2019 National Academy of Inventors Fellow!
Edwards worked at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory for 10 years, conducting research that would later provide the basis for General Motors’ first electric vehicle, the EV1, as well as the Tesla electric vehicle.
Four Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering students Lance Carr (not pictured), Christine Page, Kenny Sheffler and Nikki Tran are Power & Energy Society Scholarship Plus Initiative recipients.
Established by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the initiative recognizes electrical engineering students who exhibit high academic standards and extracurricular commitments who are committed to exploring the power and energy field.
Students apply each year and receive $2,000 annually for their first two years. Page is a winner three years running and will receive $3,000 this year. One hundred and thirty-five scholarship recipients were selected from the 326 applications.
From AI to Cybersecurity
Computer engineering junior Cameron Williams works with team on latest Polymorphic Game Studio development
Eluding torpedo-launching enemies and metal-eating fish is a difficult endeavor thanks to artificial intelligence developed by computer engineering junior Cameron Williams.
Williams spent the summer working for U of I’s in-house video game studio Polymorphic Game Studio on their latest development Pakicetus, tentatively set to release this spring.
“I got into engineering to make something that people would enjoy and to contribute something good to the world,” Williams said, and video games are one way to do that.
Another way, is keeping the world safe from cyber attack.
Williams recently joined U of I's CyberCorps: Scholarship for Service (SFS) program. Funded through the National Science Foundation (NSF), the program covers tuition and fees for students interested in learning more about cybersecurity and how to fight cybercrime and cyberterrorism.
Mechanical engineering students presented their gravity cars in our Intro to Mechanical Engineering class last week.
Under specific material and construction limits, students designed their cars using mostly simple office and shop supplies. Cars were tested on their ability to stop at a specific distance as well as for overall distance traveled.
The freshman introductory class focuses on sound engineering design to produce better results. Learning objectives include teamwork and organization as well as technical topics.
Save the Date
March 2020 – Women in Engineering Exploration – Ninth and 10th-grade students are invited to learn more about STEM and college life by participating in hands-on activities, meeting female engineering professionals and exploring campus. Registration opens in January 2020.
May 1, 2020 – Engineering Design EXPO 2020 – The University of Idaho Engineering Design EXPO welcomes young learners, industry leaders and community members to experience the many ways U of I students are making a difference and solving real-world problems.