Winter 2011/2012

Udpa's Update

Designing the Engineer of Tomorrow

The College of Engineering remains committed to designing the engineer of tomorrow. But what should the blueprint look like? What attributes should we be looking for in the engineer of tomorrow?   Read more

News From the College

Corporate Sponsorships Help Design the Engineer of Tomorrow

Consumers Energy and GE are partnering with MSU’s College of Engineering to ensure that the next generation of engineers will be ready to address tomorrow’s critical challenges. They are the first two corporate sponsors in MSU’s new Engineering Theme Partnership program, an initiative of the Engineering Residential Experience (ERE) and first-year engineering programs.
Read more about the Consumers Energy partnership
Read more about the GE collaboration

Hand-Held Device Offers Opportunities for Low-Cost Diagnosis of Diseases and Pathogens

Syed Hashsham, a professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, has led the development of a low-cost, hand-held device that can perform genetic analysis using smartphone technology. Called the Gene-Z device, it is capable of quantifying cancer markers as well as instantly identifying diseases attacking crops and plants. In addition, the device can be used to screen for dozens of pathogens in food, animals, and humans and is also being developed to diagnose routine tuberculosis and drug-resistant TB, determine HIV virus levels during treatment, and monitor overall antibiotic resistance. 
Read more

Technology for Detecting Altered Fingerprints Developed at MSU, Licensed to Biometrics Company

If you believe that fingerprints are a sure-fire way to verify an individual’s identity, think again. The widespread use of fingerprint recognition systems today—at border crossings and during screenings for security access or employment background checks—has prompted a growing number of individuals to disfigure or surgically change their fingerprints so they can mask their identities. Anil Jain, University Distinguished Professor of computer science and engineering, along with his research team, has developed a novel technique that can help law enforcement and border control officials detect these altered fingerprints automatically. Read more

MSU Receives Motorola Solutions Foundation Innovation Generation Grant to Support Middle and High School Robotics Programs

For the fifth consecutive year, the College of Engineering received funding from the Motorola Solutions Foundation, the charitable arm of Motorola Solutions, Inc. A $50,000 Innovation Generation grant supports MSU’s Spartan Middle and High School Robotics Program—Beyond FLL (FIRST LEGO League). The Spartan Middle and High School VEX Robotics and FIRST LEGO League programs currently engage 250 middle school and high school students with a continuum of innovative engineering experiences, mentoring, and collaboration with MSU’s College of Engineering students. This new funding will allow the program to expand engineering outreach efforts into the Detroit and West Michigan schools. Read more

Student News & Accomplishments

Design Day Showcases Special Bicycle and Other Innovations by Spartan Engineers

A single mom—along with her two special-needs boys—will sure look sweet upon the seat of a bicycle built for . . . three? Thanks to a team of Michigan State University engineering students, Gina Ried and her two sons, Nathan and Dakota, will soon be pedaling around Lansing on their new bicycle. This project, along with several others, was on display during MSU’s College of Engineering Design Day on December 9. Read more

MSU Women in Computing Receives Funding for Girl Scout Workshop

The MSU Women in Computing (WIC) program received the Return Path Student Seed Fund grant from the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) to help fund a Girl Scout Workshop on October 29. Each fall and spring semester, WIC members teach about 30 local-area Girl Scouts and their troop leaders basic programming, as well as how to create a web page using HTML. Funding from NCWIT and Return Path allowed MSU WIC to offer a new activity this semester—creating e-textiles (smart fabrics that enable computing, digital components, and electronics to be embedded in them). Read more

Alumni & Development News

Message from Joe Gentile, Engineering Alumni Association Board Chair

Communicating with our alumni community of more than 25,000 men and women worldwide is a huge challenge—even with the availability of tools such as e-mail, Facebook, LinkedIn, smartphones, and iPads and other tablets that complement printed material. With this issue of e-Currents, we are beginning a survey of Spartan engineers to determine individual preferences for receiving information from the college. Read more.

Electrical Engineering Alum Develops Radar System for Seeing through Walls

Greg Charvat (BS ’02, MS ’03, PhD ’07), MSU electrical engineering alumnus and researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Lincoln Laboratory, along with fellow researcher John Peabody, has created radar technology using microwaves that can “see” through concrete walls. The device has powerful implications for military operations, especially “urban combat situations.” Charvat notes that the original prototype of this system was made for his MSU PhD dissertation in the summer of 2007. Read more


Kristin Zimmerman (BS ’87, Mechanical Engineering; MS ’90, PhD ’93, Engineering Mechanics) is manager of advanced technology infrastructure at General Motors. A mechanical engineer with a pilot’s license, Zimmerman originally had her sights set on working in the space program. But a change in career trajectory instead has taken her around the world and back, as she works to help recharge Michigan’s automotive industry through energy efficiency. She credits her Michigan State education, and her ability to problem-solve in any situation, with giving her the flexibility to pursue new areas in her field and to make a contribution to the world. Zimmerman was recently featured in an MSU Spartan Saga. View the Spartan Saga

Photo by Kurt Stepnitz


January 20

Deadline for Claud R. Erickson Distinguished Alumni Award nominations

February 25

VEX Robotics

June 26-28

Grandparents University


Christina Chan Elected to American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering

Christina Chan, professor of chemical engineering, was elected to the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) College of Fellows for her pioneering work in applying bioinformatics and systems biology techniques to understanding cellular processes dysregulated by fatty acids.

Volodymyr Tarabara Receives Prestigious Award for Innovative Water Quality Research

Volodymyr Tarabara, associate professor of environmental engineering, received the Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) Paul L. Busch Award, the largest prize for a research project that could lead to more available potable water in arid climates. Tarabara will use his award to validate innovative concepts that could lead to the widespread use of multifunctional membranes for a range of processes including the reduction or removal of halogens, nitrogen compounds, and salt.

Venkatesh Kodur Elected to Indian National Academy of Engineering

Venkatesh K. R. Kodur, professor of civil and environmental engineering and director of MSU’s Center for Structural Fire Engineering and Diagnostics, has been elected to the Indian National Academy of Engineering (INAE), which includes India's most distinguished engineers, engineer-scientists, and technologists.

Tonghun Lee Winner of PECASE Award

Tonghun Lee, associate professor of mechanical engineering, has been recognized by the White House with a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). The PECASE Award is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their research careers.

S. Patrick Walton Chosen to Participate in National Academy of Engineering Symposium

S. Patrick Walton, an associate professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, was among 65 of the nation's most innovative young engineering educators selected to take part in the National Academy of Engineering's third Frontiers of Engineering Education (FOEE) symposium in November.

Betty Cheng Named to Editorial Board of ACM Journal

Betty H. C. Cheng, professor of computer science and engineering, has been named to the editorial board of the ACM Transactions on Autonomous and Adaptive Systems.

Renfu Lu Receives Penn State Outstanding Alumni Award

Renfu Lu, adjunct professor in the Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, received a 2011 Outstanding Alumni Award from his alma mater, Penn State.

Class Notes

Read about College of Engineering alumni accomplishments, awards, and updates.

Make a gift to the college

To give to the College of Engineering, contact Stephen Bates, Senior Director of Development and Alumni Relations, at or (517) 355-8339.

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