Dean's September 2019 Newsletter
Letter from the Dean
All University of Idaho College of Engineering students participate in hands-on experiences that are skill-centered and highly collaborative, connecting students to industry leaders across the state and nationally known faculty on campus.
Many of these experiences also give students a much-needed financial infusion, helping them succeed in their college careers and graduate with a high-paying job and less debt.
U of I’s Cooperative Education (Co-op) program is a prime example of our college’s commitment to giving students real-world experience directly related to their major and a chance to make a lasting impact at the companies they serve. Students participate in six-month sessions of employment with a company, normally during their junior year.
With the last year in review, our college has partnered with eight companies across the state of Idaho and beyond. Students on both the Moscow and Coeur d’Alene campuses and across several engineering disciplines have had the opportunity to gain the experience of professional engineering practice while earning over $20,000 during a six-month session.
Though the College of Engineering played a significant role in starting the co-op initiative, administration of the program has been turned over to U of I Career Services as we expand the number of students involved and make this opportunity available to students in other colleges at U of I.
Rachel Otto, our college’s Career Liaison, has done a great job this past year building awareness of the program. It’s my pleasure to announce longtime Career Services employee John Mangiantini will now take over as the Director of Cooperative Education at U of I.
Mangiantini joined U of I in 2014. He holds a master's in athletic administration and a Bachelor of Arts in sport management/marketing from Washington State University.
It is my personal goal to see that every undergraduate student in the College of Engineering has the opportunity to gain professional practice through either research experience, a summer internship, or a Co-op session. A Co-op session will have the greatest impact on our students, making them immediately productive in industry and helping them financially while they are earning their degree. John has the background to make this goal a reality.
Several summer Co-op students presented on their experiences in front of a crowd of interested students just last month in the John C. Wahl thinkTANK on the Moscow campus and in Coeur d’Alene.
Mechanical engineering senior Alex Kiss spent his summer at international automotive parts supplier BorgWarner, doing stress test simulations and working with database tools.
“Companies can afford to let a Co-op student fully explore a particular route,” Kiss said. “You learn both technical and soft skills. It wasn’t like with a regular internship, where I was there for a short time and no one at the company will remember me.”
Of the participants so far, 100% of Co-op students say the mentorship they received during their experience was very strong and they’re very likely to recommend the Co-op program to a friend.
The Idaho STEM Action Center provided initial funding to the Co-op program to help the first three cohorts of students in 2018 and 2019. Now the Idaho Workforce Development Council has provided $420,000 toward further development of the program and expanding it across the U of I campus.
Future program goals for the next year include growing student and industry participation by 20% and developing a 1-credit Co-op prep course by spring 2020.
Learn more about the Co-op on the university’s new program website, explore employer resources and view testimonials from recent students who have completed the program.
Dean, College of Engineering
Computer science senior Taegan Williams is one of just 3 students in Idaho to be named a U.S. Cyber FastTrack finalist!
He was awarded $22,000 toward an Undergraduate Certificate in Applied CyberSecurity from the SANS Technology Institute, the world’s largest information security training and certification company. With more than 13,000 initial competitors on the program, U of I is one of 63 colleges in 28 states that had finalists.
Engineering Associate Professor Bryn Martin and a team of undergrad and graduate students will soon be making travel plans for research at NASA's :envihab facility in Germany.
Martin's research proposal on Spaceflight Associated Neuro-ocular Syndrome (SANS) was selected for funding through NASA's Human Research Program, working to answer questions about astronaut health and performance for future long-duration missions to the moon and to Mars.
SANS is a condition of the eye associated with long-duration space travel. Studies have shown astronauts return with significant eye damage, including decreased near vision, globe flattening, optic disc edema, and retinal nerve fiber layer thickening.
Subjects in the NASA study will undergo 30 days of bed rest in conditions comparable to space flight at a six-degree head-down tilt commonly used to model weightlessness. This will mimic microgravity, giving researchers a way to study the effects of pressure on astronauts' eyes in space.
MRI data will be collected before, during and after bed rest. These MRI measurements will be used to create 3D models of the eyes that are used to quantify changes in eye structure alongside other variables.
Engineering students Kaitlyn Lindholm, Anson Lunstrum, Devin Richards and Holly Terrill have just returned from London, after representing U of I and earning top placement in the student competition at the Global Grand Challenges Summit, jointly organized by the National Academy of Engineering (NAE).
Students were put into interdisciplinary teams and given six hours to come up with a business plan to solve one of two prompts involving measures to sustain a world of 10 billion people or using artificial intelligence to change the world for the better.
Lindholm and her team placed in the top four of 50 teams competing overall for their business plan for an over-the-counter method of self-diagnosing irritable bowel syndrome.
“It feels a bit daunting to represent U of I globally,” said Lindholm. “But it is also a great honor to demonstrate the great things that have come out of the state of Idaho at the college level.”
Terrill’s team placed in the top 10 for their plan to boost the structural integrity of bricks using recycled plastic.
All four world travelers are all part of team Trash2Gas, the Grand Challenge Scholars Program team working to bring sustainability and energy education to sixth through 12th-grade classrooms on the Palouse.
View more photos of the GCSP competition on Facebook and Instagram.
About 50 middle school students from Vallivue Middle School visited the U of I Boise last month to learn about the science of whitewater and sediment and participate in hands-on activities.
Students visited the StreamLab, a the large-scale sediment flume that allows researchers to physically model headwater streams and mountain rivers with unique scalable and computer-controlled instrumentation.
Over the summer, Heidi Maimer, a teacher from Vallivue Middle School, spent five weeks and 200 hours working with researchers in the StreamLab.
Her work was part of an externship program launched by the U of I College of Engineering’s Center for Ecohydraulics Research (CER) over the summer to better connect education to careers.
The pilot program was created by the Idaho Workforce Development Council and STEM Action Center, both under the office of Idaho Gov. Brad Little.
Maimer and her students also toured the Boise Whitewater Park. Extensive research was done in the StreamLab to model and study waves as part of the 1/2 mile phase two of the Boise River park.
View more photos on Facebook.
WISE, Vandal Tech Talk in CDA
Prospective students, faculty, staff and industry partners convene in CDA for eventful week
The College of Engineering at University of Idaho Coeur d’Alene has had an eventful October, capping off a very successful Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) conference and the first Vandal Tech Talk, focusing on North Idaho innovation and the growth and next steps for the Computer Science in CDA program.
About 150 young women from 14 North Idaho high schools convened at North Idaho College last week for hands-on activities during the WISE two-day conference. Students participated in civil and mechanical engineering design competitions, learned about steganography and other computer science topics, and mingled with current U of I Engineering Ambassadors.
The event was hosted by our college in collaboration with University of Idaho Coeur d'Alene and the University of Idaho College of Science. View photos on Facebook and Instagram.
U of I Coeur d’Alene also hosted its first Vandal Tech Talk. Engineering alumni, faculty and staff heard from Coeur d’Alene computer science students, Co-op participants and senior capstone students. Conversation included undergraduate research, entrepreneurship and connection to local industry. Featured alumni speaker Bryan Riga shared insight on how Idaho Forest Group is using technology, particularly drones and robots, to better monitor forest health and also improve the production process.
Three nuclear and mechanical engineering doctoral students, James Derrill Richards, Amey Shigrekar and Kevin Joe Terrill, are among 12 students nationwide to be awarded Idaho National Laboratory (INL) Graduate Fellowships. Recipients of the competitive fellowship receive full tuition and fees from U of I during their first three years of graduate school. INL covers tuition, fees and a $60,000 annual salary during the final two years of their doctoral research, which will be conducted at INL.
"These awards are a statement to the effectiveness of U of I's relationship with INL," said Richard Christensen, U of I Idaho Falls director of nuclear engineering. "All three students will be working with INL on cutting-edge research."
Donor Spotlight: Richard T Jacobsen and Bonnie L. Jacobsen Undergraduate Research Assistantship Endowment
A new addition to this newsletter, this section will be used to highlight donors to the College of Engineering and the initiatives they care about most.
Made possible through an endowment established by Bonnie Jacobsen, family, friends and colleagues, a new engineering undergraduate research assistantship has been established in honor of past College of Engineering professor, chair and dean Richard T Jacobsen, who passed away in August.
Jacobsen earned a Bachelor of Science from the U of I in 1963 and a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 1965. While a graduate student at U of I, Jacobsen taught courses in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. After completing his doctorate, he joined U of I and climbed through the academic ranks to professor, chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, associate dean of research, and later, dean of the College of Engineering from 1990 to 1999. From 1999 to 2005, under the management of Bechtel BWXT Idaho LLC, Jacobsen was chief scientist and concurrently served as deputy and associate laboratory director at Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory, now Idaho National Laboratories in Idaho Falls.
While at the U of I, Jacobsen was responsible for more than $12 million in grants and contracts. Most of the awards were for research on the thermophysical properties of various fluids and mixtures.
The Richard T Jacobsen and Bonnie L. Jacobsen Scholars in Engineering award will be available each year to provide students the opportunity to work with a faculty mentor as a paid research assistant. Students will work with individual professors, assisting in faculty-driven scholarly projects and gaining invaluable experience in the methods of original research.
Upcoming Engineering Events
Oct. 18 – Women in Engineering Day – 11th- and 12th-grade students are invited to participate in this free workshop to introduce students to career options in engineering and computer science.
Oct. 25 – Academy of Engineers Class of 2019 Induction Ceremony
Oct. 25 – Grand Challenge Scholars Program Pitch Event – Students pitch projects that address the 14 NAE Grand Challenges and secure funding for their ideas.