Udpa’s Update

Photo of Satish UdpaAs one calendar year comes to a close and another begins, I'd like to take a moment to reflect on some of the college's recent highlights.

One of the highlights of every fall and spring semester is Design Day. Now coming up on its 19th year, Design Day features a cross-section of students ranging from our graduating seniors to our first-year students, with participation by middle school and high school students from across the state as well.

The most recent Design Day, held December 7 at the MSU Union Building, certainly upheld all expectations.

During fall semester, 418 MSU engineering students participated in Design Day as part of 101 teams; 32 teams took part in the senior capstone projects; 27 companies—20 of them Michigan-based—sponsored our senior capstone design projects.

First-year engineering students also displayed their innovations at Design Day. One team spent the semester working on a project for Peckham Industries, a nonprofit, vocational rehabilitation organization. The students designed and built an interactive interface for a large display wall for exhibiting artwork created by Peckham clients. It includes an application for mobile devices that will provide information about the artwork that's on display at the facility. The students have decided that they want to continue working with Peckham during spring semester, as an independent study, to advance the project to the next level.

Other first-year students worked with MSU's Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities (RCPD). Projects included a cell phone mount for a local woman's wheelchair, and teaching aids for an MSU computer science student who is blind.

Participating in hands-on design projects were 172 students from grades 7 through 12, along with 20 teachers. This group included 100 students from underrepresented groups, 80-90 young women, and 15-20 prospective admitted women mentored by women engineering students.

Other recent highlights:

In August, Robert Bosch LLC became a corporate sponsor in our theme partnership program, in support of our first-year program—the CoRe (Cornerstone and Residential) Experience.

In October, several women in the College of Engineering—faculty and students—were recognized at the 2012 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, the largest and most diverse convening of technical women in the world.

Also in October, two of our alumni were honored during the MSU Alumni Association's Grand Awards gala; William Demmer received a Distinguished Alumni Award and Henry Balanon received a Distinguished Young Alumni Award.

In November, MSU received a grant from USAID to establish MSU's new Global Center for Food Systems Innovation (GCFSI). The center will receive up to $25 million throughout five years. Ajit Srivastava, chairperson of MSU's Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, is co-director of GCFSI.

Neeraj Buch, professor of civil and environmental engineering (CEE), completed his first semester as chairperson of the CEE department.

Several of our faculty members recently received prestigious awards and honors: Richard Lunt won an NSF CAREER Award, Prem Chahal received a DARPA Young Faculty Award, and Matt Mutka and John Verboncoeur were elevated to IEEE fellow status.

We are partnering with MSU's Broad College of Business and the College of Natural Science to offer a master of science in business analytics; the program launched in January.

Read about the many accomplishments of our faculty, staff, students, and alumni in this issue of e-Currents.

Best wishes for a prosperous 2013.

Read Dean Udpa's complete year-end message here.