Monthly Archives: April 2011

2011 SCE Alumni Achievement Award presented to Len Rodman

SCE congratulates Len Rodman, Chairman, President and CEO of Black & Veatch, a global engineering, consulting, and construction company. Mr. Rodman was honored at UMKC’s Celebration 2011 luncheon presentation on April 27th at the Intercontinental Hotel as our UMKC School of Computing and Engineering 2011 Alumni Achievement Award Recipient. The annual event honors outstanding alums, one from each UMKC School. Following the luncheon, Mr. Rodman visited with Kevin Truman, SCE’s dean, and was presented with a copy of his alumni plaque.  The original was hung on SCE’s Distinguished Alumni Wall.

Since 2000 Mr. Rodman has led Black & Veatch, which is on the Forbes 500 list of largest US private companies. Under his leadership the company has experienced substantial growth and expansion in global markets. He is responsible for Black & Veatch’s engineering, construction, and related business activities in the energy, water, and information market sectors worldwide. Mr. Rodman has been recognized as the Power Elite, Ingram’s Magazine, 2000, 2003, & 2005.

Mr. Rodman is an active supporter of educational initiatives in the Kansas City area, serving as a member of the Board of Trustees and the Community / Legislative Affairs Committee of the University of Missouri – Kansas City, as well as the Board of Advisors of the University of Kansas – Edwards Campus. He is also on the Iowa State ECIAC (Engineering College Industrial Advisory Consul). He has been Director of ALLETE Inc. Mr. Rodman has served on the Board of INROADS, a minority based organization that helps to transition high school students through college and into productive business careers. His Professional Registrations include Kansas, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio; Diplomat, American Academy of Environmental Engineers; Professional Associations ASCE, AWWA, MSPE, NSPE, and WEF. He graduated with a Master of Science in Environmental Engineering in 1978 from the former coordinated engineering program between UMKC and MU which merged with the UMKC computer science department to form UMKC’s School of Computing and Engineering.

UMKC IEEE Team travels to Baton Rouge, LA for 2011 Region 5 Business Meeting and Student Competitions

The UMKC-IEEE Robotics Team participated in the Annual IEEE Region 5 Business Meeting and Student Competitions which were held in Baton Rouge, LA on April 15-17, 2011. The student competitions featured a variety activities ranging from paper presentations, poster contests, circuit design competition, ethics competition, to the popular robotics competition and an SPAC (Student Professional Awareness Conference) students could arrive earlier to participate in the 3rd Annual Green Technology Conference which preceded the competitions by two days and included technical seminars on current and emerging topics related specifically to the development and use of Green Technologies. The Robotics Team’s nine members worked hard over the Fall semester and into the Spring semester to design and build an autonomous robot that had to perform a predetermined task simulating the harvest and delivery of energy—an interesting and challenging problem in this modern era of the quest for energy independence.

 The competition consisted of three 5 minute rounds of which a robot had three sources of “energy” to harvest from using a wide choice of storage techniques. After harvesting this energy, the student teams had to do some work with it by powering a small motor which raised a flag 12 inches. The team from UMKC proceeded to the second round where a hardware malfunction unfortunately prevented qualification for the third round. Over the years the UMKC Robotics Team’s designs have improved and a noticeable difference can be seen in the evolution of the robots that have been built. The team learned a lot and was able to interact with teams from other universities and share ideas.

 A total of 33 teams showed up for the robotics competition and nine teams for the circuits design competition. Of the 33 robotics teams only 15 were able to complete the course. The next IEEE Region 5 Annual Green Technologies Conference and Student Competitions will be held April 19-22, 2012 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. UMKC’s Robotics Team is planning on registering two robotics teams and also have a team in the circuit design competition. This year the team learned a lot from their mistakes and hopes to improve their performance tremendously next year. The rules will be released in October.

UMKC SCE & MWSU team up on dual engineering degree program

Kevin Truman, Dean of the School of Computing and Engineering (SCE),  and Whitney Molloy, SCE’s Director of Student Affairs, met with Missouri Western State University (MWSU)  officials, including MWSU’s President Robert Vartabedian, to sign a dual degree program agreement on Thursday, April 28, 2011.  Students from MWSU will now have the opportunity to complete an engineering degree in either civil, electrical computer or mechanical engineering in five years.  For more details, see .

SCE Welcomes Dr. Amber Rath-Stern, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering

SCE welcomes Dr. Amber Rath-Stern, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering. She holds a joint appointment with the Civil and Mechanical Engineering Department in the School of Computing and Engineering and the Oral Biology Department in the School of Dentistry. Dr. Stern received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering from UNCCharlotte and Virginia Tech, respectively. Her early research centered on human injury tolerances and associated risk factors in automobile crashes. She went on to earn her Doctoral degree in Biomedical Engineering from the Virginia Tech – Wake Forest School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences, followed by a postdoctoral appointment at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine. Dr. Stern’s current research focuses on the ability of bone cells to sense and respond to strain. Dr. Stern is a two-time recipient of the IBMS/ASBMR Alice L. Jee Memorial Young Investigator Award, a Collegiate Inventors Competition

Finalist, and an American Society of Mechanical Engineers Graduate Teaching Fellow. Dr. Stern has published numerous scholarly articles as well as presented her research at international meetings.

 Dr. Stern’s research bridges the fields of mechanical engineering and molecular/cell biology, while focusing on the mechanotransduction of osteocytes. Osteocytes are the most abundant cell type in bone and are responsible for sensing mechanical stress and signaling bone modeling and remodeling. Dr. Stern has examined the effects of an osteocyte’s micro- environment on its biological signaling response through the use of finite element modeling, shear strain applied via fluid flow, and cellular deformation induced by substrate stretching. Through her research, she has been able to show that the mechanical properties of an osteocyte’s microenvironment determine the amount of strain transmitted to the osteocyte. The stiffer the material immediately surrounding the osteocyte is the more attenuated the strain transmitted to the osteocyte becomes. If the environment surrounding an osteocyte is less stiff and/or more porous, the strain transmitted to the osteocyte is amplified. These findings are significant because it has been shown that the material properties of the osteocyte’s microenvironment vary within a single bone as well as between individuals, especially in osteoporotic patients and with increasing age. [Above reprinted from CEMT Newsletter, March 31, 2011, Volume 1, Issue 1]

UMKC SIFE Team Wins at USA Regional Competition

The UMKC SIFE team was named Regional Champion at the SIFE USA Regional Competition held March 26-28 in Chicago. The event is one of 12 SIFE USA Regional Competitions being held across the United States in March and April.   SIFE members are from several different UMKC programs and SCE is proud that several SCE students are SIFE members.   One SCE student was on the Chicago presentation team.   “I am thrilled to have won the regional competition four years in a row,” Sam Walton Fellow Cary Clack said. “We have a strong cadre of talented individuals and a solid portfolio of projects. I knew we were going to win. The presentation team did a fantastic job.” For pictures and more information see the UMatters article and/or the Bloch School news post.

New CE Material Track on target for Fall 2011

Our Civil and Mechanical Engineering Department has developed a new Civil Engineering materials track in the Master’s degree program,   John Kevern,  Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering, developed and will be teaching two new courses for this track in Fall 2011, Pavement Materials, Design, Maintenance, and Rehabilitation and Fundamentals of Geomaterial Characterization.

SCE ECE student has patent pending!

SCE undergraduate electrical computer engineering student, Jorge Colman, has invented a device that allows iphone/ipad users to wirelessly watch and manipulate iphone/ipad applications on their TV set, monitor or projector – play games, video chat, surf the web, watch movies, pictures, and Powerpoint presentations, manipulate anything on an ipad. Currently, he has a patent pending and is now seeking help to finance the final prototype. Learn more and see a video illustrating the prototype’s capabilities here.

Deep Medhi answers Google Fiber questions

On March 30, the entire country watched as Google named its first high-speed broadband network site — Kansas City, Kan. At UMKC — just seven miles east of Google’s national test site.  Deep Medhi, SCE Professor of Computer Science, is also working to make Internet communications better, faster and more personalized. Because of his related research, Medhi answered questions about the #Google Fiber project during an NBC Action News live chat.  Click here to read the chat transcript and click here to view the complete UMKC Press Release.

Dr. Medhi is involved with the Global Environment for Network Innovations (GENI) which was formed to explore the possibility of changing the Internet at its very core. GENI is a multi-site virtual laboratory for network science and engineering research, funded by the National Science Foundation.  As part of this effort, UMKC’s member group, the Great Plains Environment for Network Innovation (GpENI), received a three-year grant worth $462,500. Medhi is trying to devise a programmable network. GpENI partner schools each have their tasks: the University of Nebraska is working on optical networking needed for a programmable network. Kansas State University is working on the end device programmability, and the University of Kansas is devising a new control to connect these pieces.

ZhiQiang Chen works to prevent scour- #1 cause of bridge collapse

Bridge safety is a national topic of discussion today.  SCE’s  ZhiQiang Chen, assistant professor of civil engineering,  has received a $25,900 grant from the University of Missouri Research Board for “Design-oriented Scoured Foundation Modeling for Bridge Performance Analysis”. Slated to receive funding for a year, the project will officially begin during the summer.  “The design, analysis and performance evaluation methods for scoured bridges significantly lag behind in our community,” Chen said. “One of the reviewers of this proposal actually commented that the proposed research is very timely. The long-term goal, beyond this pilot project, is to establish UMKC as a national center focusing on scoured bridge system research.” For more details see the UMKC Press Release.