2009 Engineering Achievements

* A K-State student chemical engineering design team has earned its sixth top-10 finish in the eight consecutive years that it has participated in the American Institute of Chemical Engineers' National ChemE-Car Competition. The ChemE-Car Team placed sixth at the recent national competition in Nashville, Tenn. Dec. 2009

* For the 15th year in a row, K-State's student chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers has been recognized as one of the best in the nation with the institute's Outstanding Chapter Award. According to Walter Walawender, adviser to the chapter and professor of chemical engineering at K-State, the award is limited to just 10 percent of the institute's chapters and is based on the professionalism, participation and service of the chapter in the previous academic year. The K-State chapter is among 15 chapters that received the honor this year. Nov. 2009

* Noel Schulz, K-State's first lady and Paslay professor of electrical and computer engineering, has been elected to lead the IEEE Power & Energy Society, a worldwide, non-profit association of more than 24,000 individuals engaged in the electric power energy industry. In January, Noel Schulz will begin a six year term with two years as president-elect; two as president (2012-2013); and two years as past president. Nov. 2009

* The bioprocessing team at K-State's Advanced Manufacturing Institute in collaboration with the Kansas Environmental Management Associates, has developed a new patented process for recovering excess phosphorus from feedlot waste streams to create a slow release granule fertilizer. A patent application has been published for "Fluidized Bed Precipitator With Optimized Solids Settling And Solids Handling Features For Use In Recovering Phosphorus From Wastewater." The new process will protect the environment while assisting feedlot operators and farmers. Nov. 2009

* K-State's student chapter of the Associated General Contractors was recently selected as the second-best collegiate group in the nation by the Associated General Contractors of America for its philanthropic work. The 125-member K-State chapter received the award specifically for its construction of a memorial to commemorate the victims of the tornado that ravaged the Kansas community of Chapman in June 2008. In addition to the recognition, the student chapter received $750 from the Associated General Contractors of America in honor of the 750 man-hours invested in building the memorial. Oct. 2009

* Engineering Extension Services in the College of Engineering at Kansas State University, as a partner in the Midwest Universities Radon Consortium, has assumed the administration of national radon services and projects, formerly provided by the National Safety Council for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In 1989, K-State partnered with the University of Minnesota, forming the Midwest Universities Radon Consortium that has since served as an EPA regional radon training center for Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska. In the same year, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment contracted with K-State to form the Kansas Radon Program to provide public radon-related services for the state. Since that time, the program has provided design and delivery of educational programs and hands-on radon reduction and measurement training, as well a serving as an information source for radon issues in homes and public buildings. The program's new responsibilities will include conducting the national radon poster contest and staffing national radon hotlines, as well as handling referrals to state radon programs, radon test kit coupons, radon mitigation promotions and other outreach activities. Sept. 2009

* The K-State Pollution Prevention Institute's intern program has received the Most Valuable Pollution Prevention Program award, also called the MVP2 award, from the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable as the best pollution prevention project/program. The award is presented based on a program's innovation, measurable results, its transferability to different regions and different organizations, and other factors. The institute piloted its intern program in 2006. Offered in the summer, the program links top-level engineering and environmental sciences students from K-State and other schools with participating businesses and industries to research energy efficiency/pollution prevention projects. The program has helped to identify major source reduction opportunities, resulting in significant environmental improvements and cost savings, according to Nancy Larson, institute director. Projects have resulted in savings of more than 28 million kilowatt hours of electricity, 107.5 million gallons of water, 4,150 tons of waste and more than $5 million in operating or disposal costs. Sept. 2009

A multimillion-dollar grant from the National Science Foundation will help K-State train new Ph.D. students in developing the technology and policies needed for sustainable biorefining. K-State has received a five-year grant of nearly $3.2 million from the foundation's Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship program, known as IGERT, for the project "From Crops to Commuting: Integrating the Social, Technological and Agricultural Aspects of Renewable and Sustainable Biorefining," or ISTAR. Principal investigator is K-State's Mary Rezac, professor of chemical engineering. Co-principal investigators are Peter Pfromm, professor of chemical engineering; Jeffrey Peterson, associate professor of agricultural economics; and Kyle Douglas-Mankin, professor of biological and agricultural engineering. The project will prepare new doctoral students to have a comprehensive perspective on the biorefining industry through an integrated, interdisciplinary graduate program for achieving transformative advances in the development of next-generation biorefineries. Sept. 2009

* K-State's Douglas McGregor, professor of mechanical and nuclear engineering, and his team of researchers designed and developed a microstructured semiconductor neutron detector that was awarded a 2009 R&D 100 award. The award is sponsored by R&D Magazine and recognizes the 100 most technologically significant new products of the year introduced into the marketplace. Sept. 2009

* Robert Wolf, an associate professor of biological and agricultural engineering, has been named a 2009 Fellow of the American Association of Pesticide Safety Educators. Fellow is the highest recognition bestowed by the association. Individuals are nominated because of their superior achievement in research, education, public service, personal achievement and recognition. Wolf, also an extension specialist, is a nationally recognized expert on pesticide application technology. His research program has included the evaluation of sprayer technology to determine best practices to improve coverage and minimize spray drift. His contributions to drift mitigation programming and training have been paralleled by a 25 percent reduction of drift incidents over the past decade. Sept. 2009

* James Goddard, K-State professor of architectural engineering and construction science, has been named vice president and president-elect of the American Council for Construction Education. The council is the accrediting agency for the more than 80 construction management programs in the United States, Canada and Australia. After serving a two-year term as vice president, Goddard will serve as president of the council from 2011-2013, with another term as past-president to follow. Goddard teaches and coordinates the university's construction science and management program and has advised a number of award-winning construction management teams, the K-State student chapter of Associated General Contractors and Sigma Lambda Chi, the international construction science honor society at K-State. Aug. 2009

* Julia Keen, an assistant professor in the College of Engineering's department of architectural engineering and construction science, has received the 2009 Outstanding Teaching Award from the Midwest Section of the American Society of Engineering Education. The award, given by each section of the association, recognizes outstanding classroom performance by teachers of engineering and engineering technology students. Candidates must be from ABET/CEAB-accredited engineering or engineering technology programs. The awards committee cited Keen for creating a foundation of industry-based concepts and problem-solving skills in her classes, creating valued-added education for her students and the K-State architectural engineering and construction science programs. Additionally, the committee noted that her efforts are drawing acclaim from the programs' stakeholder industries and from both her current and former students, and that she has set a high measure for teaching at K-State and for the society's Midwest Section. Aug. 2009

* For the third year in a row, K-State won first place in the Agricultural Robotics Student Design Competition sponsored by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers. K-State has won the competition every year since it was started in 2007, according to Naiqian Zhang, K-State professor of biological and agricultural engineering and faculty adviser to the K-State team, the Robocat Rebels. This year, the student teams were challenged to build robotic vehicles that navigate an artificial forest, detect existing trees, and wirelessly transmit the detection result to a display unit. The robots also had to meet certain size specifications. The competition was June 21-24 in Reno, Nev., at the society's international meeting. In the competition, teams are judged on the total performance of their robots, including accuracy and speed in tree detection. The elegance in robot design also was judged, and each team had to make a presentation and submit a report. Among eight participating teams, K-State was the only team to receive perfect scores in all areas. July 2009

* Joseph Harner, professor and interim head of K-State's department of biological and agricultural engineering, has received the Henry Giese Structures and Environment Award from the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers. Harner, who also is an Extension engineer in grain and livestock systems, was honored for his distinguished accomplishments ad contributions in the design and development of engineering practices for grain handling, storage and livestock systems. Harner has been internationally recognized for his efforts involving improved grain storage, handling and processing technology, and for improved animal production and waste management systems. July 2009

* Ray Yunk, associate professor of architectural engineering and construction science at K-State, is the first university faculty member in the world to be certified as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional in building design and construction. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design professional credentialing program was developed to encourage green building professionals to maintain and advance their knowledge and expertise. Yunk's certification means he has met the advanced level standard for professionals participating in the design and construction phases of high-performance, healthful, durable, affordable, and environmentally sound commercial, institutional and high-rise residential buildings. July 2009

* A team of K-State architectural engineering students was a first-place winner in the 2009 Student Design Competition sponsored by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers. The K-State team took the title in the systems selection category. The competition featured student teams from across the U.S. and the world. K-State has now claimed first or second in the competition four times in the last five years, including a first-place finish in 2007. Team members included James Newman, senior in architectural engineering; Kelly Griffith, senior in architectural engineering,; Darren Rottinghaus, May 2009 bachelor's graduate in architectural engineering; and Phil Podlasek, May 2009 bachelor's graduate in architectural engineering. Faculty advisers were Fred Hasler and Julia Keen, both assistant professors of architectural engineering and construction science. July 2009

* NASA is recognizing K-State engineers and their colleagues for developing wireless technology aimed at the search for water -- and ultimately life -- on Mars. The Mars Proximity Micro Transceiver team received NASA's Group Achievement Award for "outstanding innovation in the design and prototyping of a highly miniaturized, in situ, communications transceiver for use in future NASA missions." The award recognizes outstanding accomplishment through the coordination of many individual efforts that contribute substantially to the NASA mission. Bill Kuhn, professor of electrical and computer engineering, led the effort at K-State. The development was supported by K-State's Electronics Design Laboratory, a multidisciplinary research lab directed by Tim Sobering. June 2009

* For the 11th time in the contest's 12 year history, K-State's Quarter-Scale Tractor Team finished in the top three of the International Quarter-Scale Tractor Competition, sponsored by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers. The team took second place in this year's competition, May 29-31, in Peoria, Ill. The K-State team finished first in the written report category, first in sound for the quietest tractor, first in Campbell Scientific activities and fourth in oral report. June 2009

* David Soldan, professor of electrical and computer engineering, has received the 2009 Meritorious Service Award from the American Society of Engineering Educators' Electrical and Computer Engineering Division. The award honors Soldan's past service to the organization and his contributions to the field of electrical and computer engineering. Soldan is a Fellow and active member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. He is also the faculty adviser to K-State's chapter of Eta Kappa Nu and is the trustee of K-State's Amateur Radio Club. June 2009

* Ruth Douglas Miller, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at K-State, received an award for Outstanding Leadership in the Application of Wind for Schools from the U.S. Department of Energy's Wind Powering America program. Miller is director of the Kansas Wind Applications Center at K-State. The center helps place wind turbines for educational purposes at schools across Kansas. Miller also researches where to site turbines and the applications of wind energy, such as studying how to best integrate it into the power grid. May 2009

* Tim Weninger, research associate in computer science at K-State, received a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship. The honor provides three years of funding for graduate studies and includes a $30,000 annual stipend and payment of tuition and fees. The fellowship recognizes and support students who, as they start graduate school, have already begun to demonstrate their potential to be future leaders in fields related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Weninger has served as a research associate in K-State's Laboratory for Knowledge Discovery in Databases under the direction of William Hsu, associate professor of computer and information sciences. His current research focuses on using and developing computer programs that make sense of unstructured textual data. May 2009

* Four K-State students earned national honors from Tau Beta Pi, the national engineering honor society. Derek Woodman, senior in computer engineering, has received a $10,000 graduate fellowship while Stacey Ahern, Andrew Harris and Katerina Voigt have each received $2,000 undergraduate scholarships. Ahern and Harris are both seniors in industrial engineering; Voigt is a junior in chemical engineering. April 2009

* The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers named K-State's Susan Nagel, senior in architectural engineering, St. Peters, Mo., as one of its outstanding student members. Nagel was the 2008-2009 president of the K-State chapter of the society, where she also has served as vice president and secretary. She was a recipient of the society's Duane Hanson Society Scholarship and Kansas City Chapter Student Scholarship. April 2009

* The K-State ChemE-Car Team and their car, the Kansas State Beaver, earned first place in the performance competition at the ChemE-Car competition offered at the American Institute of Chemical Engineers' Mid-America Regional, April 3-5, at the University of Missouri at Columbia. A second K-State entry, the Kansas State Chameleon, received second place in presentation competition and received a Process of Safety Award at the competition. Team members include Megan Young, co-captain; Mark McClure; Jordon Groskurth, co-captain; Ben Clubine; Katerina Voigt; Andrew Doll; and Neal Walters. The team's faculty adviser is Walter Walawender, professor of chemical engineering. For the ChemE-Car competition, student teams build a small car powered by a chemical reaction that can be stopped by limiting the reaction or by a separate stopping reaction. The team will now go to the national competition in November at Nashville, Tenn. April 2009

* Tim Weninger, research associate in computer science at K-State, received a 2009 National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship. The award pays for tuition and fees and an average annual stipend of $31,000 for doctoral studies. The fellowship is sponsored by the Office of Naval Research in cooperation with the American Society for Engineering Education. The three-year graduate fellowship has been awarded to just more than 3,000 people throughout the 20 years of the competition's history; it is meant to increase the number and quality of U.S. scientists and engineers trained in disciplines of military importance. Fellows are selected based on demonstrated ability and special aptitude for advanced training in science and engineering. Weninger is a full-time research associate in K-State's Laboratory for Knowledge Discovery in Databases under the direction of William Hsu, associate professor of computer and information sciences. His current research focuses on using and developing computer programs that make sense of unstructured textual data. He will use the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship to pursue a Ph.D. in computer science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. April 2009

* For the second time in the last three years, K-State's Aero Design Team has won first place overall in the regular class event at the annual SAE Aero Design Competition West. This year's competition was March 6-9 in Van Nuys, Calif. K-State was among the 31 teams from around the world participating in the regular class event. The competition challenges engineering students to plan, design, fabricate and test a radio-controlled aircraft that can take off and land while carrying the maximum cargo. The K-State team's biplane, The Purple Berserker, won the regular class competition by lifting a 24.7-pound payload. The team also received first place for its Design Book. March 2009

* Four senior K-State engineering students in construction science and management tied for first place in an international Concrete Construction Competition sponsored by the American Concrete Institute. The team was awarded $300 in prize money and $500 in travel support to attend the American Concrete Institute convention in San Antonio, Texas, to present their problem results and receive the award. This was the seventh competition that the American Concrete Institute Construction Liaison Committee and the American Society of Concrete Contractors have conducted. K-State student teams from the department of architectural engineering and construction science have competed in all seven contests. K-State teams have finished in the top three in six of the seven competitions, including three first place finishes, the most wins by any university in the competition. March 2009

* Three K-State students earned national scholarships from the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers. Kelly Griffith, senior in architectural engineering, Manhattan, has received the Alwin B. Newton Scholarship, a one-year scholarship for $3,000; Sean Kolich, senior in architectural engineering, Olathe, received the Willis H. Carrie Scholarship for $10,000 for one year; and Ann Gregg, graduate student in architectural engineering, Overland Park, has received the Frank M. Coda Scholarship, worth $5,000 for one year. Feb. 2009

* A new brochure for the Advanced Manufacturing Institute made in collaboration with jones huyett Partners, a Topeka-based marketing and advertising firm, has received an Addy award from the American Advertising Federation. The brochure emphasizes the institute's broad spectrum of services and ability to work with businesses of all sizes in a wide variety of markets, including manufacturing, transportation, aerospace, consumer, products, agriculture, food, chemicals, plastics, bioprocessing, equipment and machinery. Feb. 2009

 

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