Question of the Month

Should we integrate public policy issues into the engineering curriculum, and if so, how should we do it?

I look forward to hearing from you,     
Dean Jim Aylor      

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Engineering Undergrad Brings a Passion for Problem-Solving to Student Council

When Jalen Ross won the office of Student Council president, he asked Dana Elzey, associate professor of materials science and engineering, for his thoughts on effective leadership. “What he said to me was that he thinks some of the most effective leaders are effective because they ask the right questions,” Ross said. “That concept has stuck with me.” A systems engineering major (with a minor in engineering business and politics), Ross says that “student council is all about, whatever problems there are, seeing what you can do about them, … figuring out what you can change and what you can fix. It’s a very engineering concept — you define problems and you fix them.” (More)

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U.Va. Engineering Professor Barry Johnson to Lead NSF Division

The National Science Foundation has selected engineering Professor Barry W. Johnson as director of the Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships of the Directorate for Engineering. Johnson, who began his term at NSF on March 16, has served since 2006 as senior associate dean for U.Va.’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, where he is also the L.A. Lacy Distinguished Professor of Engineering. Johnson “brings an exceptional combination of experiences in engineering research, academic-industry partnerships, entrepreneurship and innovation,” said Pramod Khargonekar, NSF assistant director for engineering. (More)

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Two U.Va. Third-Year Students Tapped for Goldwater Scholarships

Catherine Henry, a third-year biomedical engineering major, Beckman Scholar and Rodman Scholar, president of Tau Beta Pi and member of the Dance Marathon Fundraising Committee, was one of two students at U.Va. awarded Goldwater Scholarships from the Goldwater Foundation. She is also the lead inventor on a patent for a method and device for cleaning a tool called an intramedullary reamer, and she presented research at the Seventh World Congress of Biomechanics and 2015 BMES Annual Meeting. (More)

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$4 Million Partnership with Max Planck Society Targets Energy Research

The University of Virginia has formed a partnership with MAXNET Energy, a new initiative of Germany’s Max Planck Society, to advance research on new, renewable, environmentally friendly and economical energy sources. Eight U.Va. research groups from four departments — chemistry, chemical engineering, mechanical and aerospace engineering and materials science and engineering — will work collaboratively on developing processes for the clean and efficient production of energy as well, as on improved energy storage and distribution systems. Professor Robert Davis is the co-director of U.Va.’s side of the partnership. (More)

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Technology Leaders Program Shapes Well-Rounded Engineers

In Lecturer Greg Lewin’s Intro to Electromechanical Systems class this spring, second-year students have turned simple miniature greenhouses from IKEA into high-tech units that can be remotely heated or cooled simply by entering new temperatures into a website. It’s the kind of complex system that combines multiple engineering disciplines, and the students building the system belong to the Engineering School’s Technology Leaders Program. The program, which accepts second-year students majoring in electrical, computer, mechanical or systems engineering, has seen rapid growth since it was launched in 2008 with 13 students. This year’s group of 35 second-years is the largest yet. (More)

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Professor Jason Kerrigan — Determined to Improve Auto Safety

On any given day, Jason Kerrigan may be found examining crash-test dummies, reviewing test data and documenting injuries. On another day, he is pressing the “go” button and crashing a car inside the voluminous lab where he works. And on yet another day, he’s imparting what he’s learned to students in the classroom. Kerrigan, assistant professor in U.Va.’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, works at U.Va.’s Center for Applied Biomechanics, where he designs car-crash simulators and studies injuries that result from crashes in order to help determine how to improve automotive safety. The current focus of his research is rollover crashes, which occur less than 2 percent of the time in the United States but account for one-third of road traffic fatalities, Kerrigan says. (More)