Student and Faculty Achievements 2013

Spartan engineering students continue to achieve tremendous accomplishments both in- and outside of the classroom.

  • Five College of Engineering students earned Board of Trustees awards for their high academic achievements – each graduating with a 4.0 GPA. Matthew Witmer (mechanical engineering) was honored in December 2012, and Thomas Gartner, (applied engineering sciences and a member of the Honors College); Mark Holzhauer (electrical engineering); Brandon Waterloo (computer science) were honored in April. Craig Miller, Jr. (mechanical engineering) was honored in December.

  • Rose Bowl bound student athlete Mike Sadler, was not only one of 10 semifinalists for the 2013 Ray Guy Award, which honors the nation's top punter, but is the first Spartan in MSU football history to earn both Academic All-Big Ten and Academic All-America honors three years running. Mike graduated with a 3.97 GPA in applied engineering in May. He is currently pursuing his PhD in economics.

  • In addition, seven other College of Engineering students have earned Academic All-Big Ten honors as student-athletes with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. They are: Men’s Cross Country team members Ben Carruthers (Sr., Mechanical Engineering) and Drake Veitenheimer (Sr., Civil Engineering); Women’s Cross Country teammates Lindsay Clark (Jr., Mechanical Engineering), Emma Drenth, (Sr., Mechanical Engineering), Katie Landwehr (Jr., Mechanical Engineering), and Julia Otwell (Sr., Biosystems Engineering); and Women’s Soccer player Lisa Vogel ( Jr., Applied Engineering Sciences).

  • Sam Leitkam, PhD student of Tamara Reid Bush, assistant professor of Mechanical Engineering, was a finalist for the PhD research competition for the American Society of Mechanical Engineering Bioengineering Division.

  • In March, Computer Science seniors Phil Getzen, Ryan Tempas and Adam Proschek, together with hospitality business senior Benny Ebert-Zavos and marketing senior Josh Leider took first prize at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive national Student Startup Madness Tournament with their fitness app, TempoRun.

  • The MSU Steel Bridge team took first place in ASCE regional competition and advanced to national competition in Seattle. The MSU Concrete Canoe team took third place.

  • Kyle Watts, a senior majoring in mechanical engineering was elected president of the National Association of Engineering Student Councils. Joe Savage, a junior majoring in mechanical engineering, was named vice president for communications.

  • Caroline Williams,a senior in civil engineering, received a 2013 ASCE Student Leadership Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers. In February she was also selected as one of the 2013 New Faces of Civil Engineering - College Edition.

  • Computer Science sophomore Spencer Ottarson, and his former Williamston High School classmate, Julie Xu, were among students honored by President Obama at the White House Science Fair for their invention of a rip tide warning device.

  • The Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI) awarded a Daniel P. Jenny Research Fellowship to graduate student Amirpasha Peyvandi under the direction of Parviz Soroushian, professor of civil and environmental engineering, for research in “Use of Graphite Nanoplatelets Toward the Enhancement of the Efficiency, Service Life and Economy of Precast/Prestressed Concrete Products.”

  • The MSU Formula SAE team had a Top 10 finish at Michigan International Speedway, placing ninth out of 120 teams from around the world that competed in this SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) Collegiate Design Series event in May.

  • College of Engineering seniors Mairin Chesney (Computer Science & Engineering) and Audrey Mabiza (Chemical Engineering & Materials Science) were among 10 students named to MSU's 2013-14 Homecoming Court.

  • Mairin Chesney also won third place in the 2013 Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Student Research Competition, an international contest intended to promote research and find the best Computer Science student-researchers in the world. ACM is the world’s largest computer science organization.

  • A service learning tech project proposed by Computer Science senior Kaitlin Davis was awarded a $25,000 grant from the Ford Motor Company Fund to build an app for energy conservation learning for high school students.

  • Mechanical Engineering sophomore Steve Price was a contestant on the national television show America’s Got Talent, making it to the quarterfinal round with his Rube Goldberg Machines.

  • Mechanical Engineering junior Laura Gumpper produced the winning entry in the 2013 Education Abroad Video Contest by the MSU Office of Education Abroad.

  • Logan Matthews, a spring graduate in chemical engineering, currently working on his PhD at Princeton, won first place in the American Institute of Chemical Engineers Individual Student Design Competition – marking the fourth consecutive year that an MSU Chemical Engineer has won the individual competition.

  • Computer Science senior Jon Bauer is part of a group of MSU students that have developed “Carbon Cash,” a web and smartphone app that will help monitor how much electricity university buildings are using. Carbon Cash is a finalist for the Michigan Collegiate Innovation Prize.

Many of our faculty members were recognized this year for their significant academic, research, and distinguished career service accomplishments. Among them:

  • Department of Computer Science and Engineering University Distinguished Professor Anil Jain received the 2013 Most Cited Paper Award from Pattern Recognition Letters for the article "Data clustering: 50 years beyond K-means", Pattern Recognition Letters, vol. 31, no. 8, pp. 651-666, June 2010. He joins a very exclusive group of top researchers who have reached the 100,000 citations milestone, according to Google Scholar.

  • Richard Lunt, assistant professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, received a National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award for his work to develop transparent photovoltaics (PVs) to harvest solar energy in new ways.

  • Tim Whitehead, assistant professor of Chemical Engineering & Materials Science, and Biosystems & Agricultural Engineering received the prestigious National Science Foundation CAREER Award to support his work in devising optimized proteins that will enable microbes to convert cellulosic biomass to next-generation fuels and value-added chemicals.

  • Jason D. Nicholas, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, received an NSF CAREER award in August that will support his research to reduce operating temperatures, improve performance, lower costs and extend the operational lifetime of Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFCs).

  • Bruce Dale, professor of chemical engineering and materials science and AgBioResearch scientist, was named one of the Top 100 People in Bioenergy for 2012-13, as voted by the readers of Biofuels Digest and the Digest editorial board. Dale makes the list for the third year. At number 22 this year, he is the top-ranked academic in the group.

  • Bruce Dale and Fang Peng, professor in electrical engineering, were among the nine MSU faculty members named as MSU University Distinguished Professors in 2013.

  • MSU Distinguished Faculty Awards were presented to Dennis Miller, a professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Sciences; and Edward Rothwell, a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. A Teacher-Scholar Award was presented to Jeff Sakamoto, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science.

  • Mechanical Engineering Professor John Foss was elected a fellow of the American Physical Society.

  • Venkatesh Kodur, professor of civil and environmental engineering, was elected as Fellow of the Structural Engineering Institute (SEI).

  • Guoming “George” Zhu, associate professor of mechanical engineering and electrical and computing engineering, was named a fellow of SAE International, a global association of more than 128,000 engineers and related technical experts in the aerospace, automotive and commercial-vehicle industries.

  • Susan Masten, professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, was awarded the 2013 Chi Epsilon Excellence in Teaching Award - Great Lakes District.

  • Laura Dillon, professor of Computer Science and Engineering, received the Outstanding Achievement and Advocacy Award (OAA) in the area of Outstanding Achievement in Education by the faculty of the Department of Computer Science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

  • Arun Ross, associate professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, was awarded the first edition of the IAPR Young Biometric Investigator Award. The award is presented to an outstanding scientist in the area of biometrics who is under the age of 40.

  • Susan Masten, professor of civil and environmental engineering, was selected to receive the 2013 Lyman A. Ripperton Environmental Educator Award (selected by the Board of Directors of the Air & Waste Management Association).

  • Charles Owens was among winners of the MSU 2013 AT&T Faculty-Staff Award Competition in Instructional Technology as “Best Enhanced” for the custom app that teaches app development in his CSE476 class.

  • Katy Luchini Colbry, director for Graduate Recruiting for the College of Engineering, won a best paper award, which was presented at the ASEE National Conference in Atlanta.

  • Bernadette Friedrich, director of Student Advancement, was named the first recipient of the national Triangle Fraternity Outstanding Advisor Award.