Dean's October 2019 Newsletter
Letter from the Dean
Busy months like October are fantastic reminders of how proud we all should be to be part of the University of Idaho College of Engineering.
We had a successful Women in Engineering Day for 11th and 12th grade students this month, part of our commitment to diversity and inclusion. High school students interacted with current engineering students and faculty, toured campus and learned about engineering design through a hands-on project to build a prosthetic leg.
That same weekend, we welcomed hundreds of alumni to campus for Homecoming. In addition to an impressive football win over Idaho State University, the Vandal Marching Band’s halftime show was particularly epic thanks again to the work of our students.
This is the eighth year of ongoing collaboration between the band and our computer science and mechanical engineering departments. In celebration of the band’s 100th anniversary this year, our college designed and built 150 percussion triangles that light up when played, part of a half-year collaboration that took the efforts of three U of I colleges. Read more on this achievement later in this newsletter.
Our U of I Academy of Engineers also inducted its 2019 class this month, adding five eminent engineers, some U of I alumni, who are deeply connected to Idaho’s strong legacy of global engineering impact.
Each class sets the standard for future Academy of Engineers inductees as we recognize the national and international contributions they have made as citizens and engineers.
Our Academy members serve as role models for our students and graduates and help to encourage them to fully use their U of I education and personal talents to make the world a better place.
Each year, we are honored to recognize their personal contributions to engineering achievement, leadership, education, and service to the profession and advancement of society.
Our Academy of Engineers Class of 2019 includes:
Read more about the achievements of these accomplished individuals on the Academy of Engineers website.
This year’s Inductees joined existing members of the academy to serve as judges for the college’s fourth annual Grand Challenge Scholars Program Pitch Event. Students pitch their research ideas to Academy members for a chance to earn funding toward their projects. Read more about GCSP students and their projects in this newsletter.
Dean, College of Engineering
Ten engineering students earned a total of $15,000 during the fourth annual Grand Challenge Scholars Program (GCSP) Pitch Event.
The Grand Challenge Scholars Program is the only undergraduate program of its kind in Idaho, preparing students to take on the biggest engineering challenges of the 21st century, as established by the National Academy of Engineering.
Students pitch their challenge projects to an assembly of judges made up of faculty, alumni and members of the U of I Academy of Engineers.
The 2019 GCSP Pitch Event winners are:
Gary Dau Scholar
Nick Pancheri - Sophomore, Biological Engineering
Lola Bangudu - Sophomore, Biological Engineering
Jordan Ommanney - Sophomore, Biological Engineering
Isabell Strawn - Junior, Biological Engineering
Bishal Thapa - Senior, Biological Engineering and Agricultural Education
Camille Eddy - Senior, Mechanical Engineering
Sebastian Garcia - Junior, Mechanical Engineering
Devin Richards - Junior, Civil Engineering
Annika Esau - Junior, Computer Science and Psychology
Kate Seegmiller - Senior, Mechanical Engineering
Design, Build, Celebrate
U of I cross-college and campus collaboration brings 150 LED triangles to Vandal Marching Band’s 100th anniversary halftime performance
The University of Idaho Vandal Marching Band didn't settle for 100 candles on its birthday cake. The band’s 100th anniversary included loud music, lots of dancing and bright lights — about 1,125 LEDs to be exact.
The band’s Homecoming football game performance included 150 new percussion triangles that light up when played, an engineering and design feat from a half a year’s worth of collaboration among four U of I colleges and hundreds of volunteers.
Read about the summer mechanical engineering and computer science students spent prototyping a triangle and view photos of the engineering design process on Facebook.
Women in Engineering Day 2019
Eleventh and 12th-grade students tour campus and learn about engineering and computer science degrees and careers
Zombies invaded Women in Engineering Day this year. Teams of 11th and 12th grade women designed and tested prosthetic legs needed to help them survive a hypothetical zombie apocalypse scenario.
Teams designed their prosthesis using specific starting material and limited additional resources and monetary means, similar to how engineers design for individuals while working within constraints.
Only 13% of engineers in the workforce are women, and our annual Women in Engineering Day is designed to change that statistic. View more photos on Facebook.
Support for WIE day comes from the Micron Technology Foundation and the Idaho STEM Action Center.
Civil Engineering Student Wins Boise Startup Week Pitch Competition
Devin Richards earns additional funding toward entrepreneurial Grand Challenge team
Civil engineering junior Devin Richards tied for third place in the Boise Startup Week Pitch Competition, earning $500 for his engineering research team's business plan to bring sustainability and energy education to sixth- through 12th-grade students on the Palouse.
Boise Startup Week is Idaho's largest event focused on giving students an opportunity to connect with employers in the Boise area and learn from professionals in technology and startup sectors.
Richards' pitch is part of his work with U of I College of Engineering entrepreneurial research team Trash2Gas, working to bring anaerobic digestion into local classrooms.
3D Printing Process to Revolutionize Modular Construction
Engineering students and faculty part of $1M research project
Engineering students and faculty are part of a cross-collaborative effort to develop a 3D printing process for the sustainable manufacturing of modular wall, floor and roof panels made from locally sourced Idaho wood.
Funded under a $1 million grant from the Higher Education Research Council and Idaho Global Entrepreneurial Mission, the project is expected to positively impact Idaho's fast-growing construction industry.
Recent mechanical engineering graduate student Conal Thie and chemical engineering graduate student Berlinda Orji will interface with the U of I College of Art and Architecture and College of Natural Resources on the three-year project. Work will be overseen by mechanical engineering assistant professor and faculty advisor Michael Maughan.
Donor Spotlight: Sheila Janssen-Klages ’53 and Karl Klages ’52
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.
In 1931, Allen S. Janssen ’30, ’33, ‘37 began his teaching career at the University of Idaho and quickly became a mentor and leader, serving as dean of the College of Engineering from 1946 to 1967. When the Idaho Board of Regents renamed the engineering building the Allen S. Janssen Engineering Building in 1972, he became an icon.
Around the same time his colleagues, professors Cal Warnick and Jim Martin, came together with a group of donors to start the Allen S. Janssen Scholarship Endowment, cementing his legacy as a catalyst for engineering excellence for generations of U of I engineering students to come.
“He always emphasized ‘learning the fundamentals.’ That was a big part of the U of I engineering program. He recommended that all of his students receive ‘professional engineer’ status. He knew how important that was to their careers.” Sheila Janssen-Klages ’53
“He always emphasized ‘learning the fundamentals,’” Janssen-Klages said. “That was a big part of the U of I engineering program. He recommended that all of his students receive ‘professional engineer’ status. He knew how important that was to their careers.”
Since the inception of the Allen S. Janssen Scholarship Endowment, Janssen’s daughter, Sheila Janssen-Klages ’53, along with her husband Karl Klages ’52 and brother Alfred Janssen, have looked for any and every opportunity to invest in U of I students through the endowment, while also encouraging friends and family to participate.
Save the Date
Dec. 14 – Fall Commencement
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.