Monthly Archives: November 2012

CE422 Reinforced Concrete Design lab featured on YouTube

Each fall, our Reinforced Concrete Design Lab provides our civil engineering students hand’s on experiences in the design, construction and testing of concrete beams. This year the experience was captured and posted to YouTube by civil engineering senior Scott Jackson. Scott’s lab mate civil engineering senior Antonio Sanchez described the insights they obtained from the experience. “By going through the entire process from making the forms to pouring the concrete, we learned to appreciate the procedure that goes into making a designed beam become real. The testing also allowed us to experience what we’ve been looking at in our books with regards to the different types of cracks that may appear on the concrete beam throughout its service life and analyze the causes of why they appear. It is a very useful experience to have when contrasted to the constant classroom environment.”

Scott shot the video to show it “to others who post SolidWorks and CAD designing projects online” and to capture and share with classmates, family and friends the work he and his classmates have done on projects like this one. Featured in the video is CE422 Reinforced Concrete Design Professor Ganesh Thiagarajan, GTA Gunjan Shetye and civil engineering students Scott Jackson, Antonio Sanchez and Brandon Sisk as the class is divided into 5-6 small groups with each laboratory group responsible for the construction of one of the several beams that will be tested. The student projects are designed to give students insight into the fundamental concepts and effects of reinforcement in concrete flexural members, specifically 1) flexural behavior in terms of reinforcement ratios and its effect on ductility and 2) shear behavior and the role of shear reinforcement (stirrups). The beam shown in the video was one of three different types constructed by the class with each type differing in the amount of steel that was placed to resist the tension forces when pressure loads were applied. Deflection was measured and calculations were based on 150 lbs/cf. We think it’s safe to say, “Beam us up, Engineer Scott”.

SCE ASHRAE members tour Veolia Energy Plant

UMKC’s Student Chapter of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) toured the Veolia Kansas City District Energy Plant on Monday, November 5, 2012, as guests of the Kansas City ASHRAE Chapter. The Veolia Plant, originally built by KCP&L, currently produces 1.3M pounds per hour of steam and 10,650 tons of chilled water capacity with a distribution network of 6.5 miles of steam pipes and 2.0 miles of chilled water pipes, serving approximately 60 customers in Kansas City’s Central Business District.


Pictured from left to right are Vincent Joseph Nolan (UMKC ASHRAE Student Chapter President), Dr. Bryan R. Becker, P.E. (ASHRAE Faculty Advisor), Gabriel De Oliveira Barbosa, Vinicius Santos Neiva, and Timothy Michael Williams (ASHRAE student members).

Jerry Richardson awarded 2011 NHI Instructor of Excellence Award

Professor Jerry Richardson received the Instructor of Excellence Award for 2011 from the National Highway Institute (NHI) for the THIRD consecutive year. The award is based on consistently high evaluation scores in the classroom (4.5 or above on a 5-point scale), a demonstrated commitment to the adult learning philosophy and for maintaining the highest standard of quality for transportation training. Only the top trainers receive this award each year. 2011 was a phenomenal year as 66 trainers (out of over 300 trainers) nationwide received this award in 2011with 300-400 different classes offered. Dr. Richardson is a certified instructor for NHI courses regarding river engineering, hydraulics and scour.


The multidisciplinary UMKC Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) student chapter has a new name, ENACTUS. The announcement about the national SIFE name change that will affect all SIFE student chapters in the world came at the team’s annual celebration on October 30th. As their faculty advisor Cary Clark explained, a review of the current name found that “the SIFE name and brand did not effectively express this to the general public on a global basis, and the name did not translate well in all cultures.” Because of this a national decision was made and SIFE will be known henceforth as ENACTUS. “Enactus articulates entrepreneurship, action, and commitment from a worldwide collection of students,” Clark said. “It is a name that proactively articulates the core values of the organization. It is a name that has a shared meaning around the world.” Several School of Computing and Engineering students have participated in ENACTUS over the past few years. A highlight for those participating in ENACTUS has been the opportunity to go to China. Since 2009, the multidisciplinary team has taken its entrepreneurial skills to China, where they have helped Chinese students interested in studying in the U.S. learn about the culture and education process.

Dr. Masud Chowdhury Named Chief Coordinator & UMKC PI for Phase II SBIR Grant

Congratulations are in order for Dr. Masud Chowdhury! He will serve as the Principal Investigator (PI) of UMKC and Chief Coordinator on a team of researchers from Northwestern University, Michigan Molecular Institute, UMKC and Digital Optics Technologies on a $750,000 AFOSR Phase II SBIR grant that was recently funded.

Their project, the Next Generation Nano-electronic Circuit Elements Using Graphene Nano Ribbons, will investigate the potentials of using nanotechnology for the development of graphene based integrated circuits for future computing, communication and electronics applications. As integrated circuits technologies scale down to nanometer dimensions, conventional semiconductor devices and metal wires are approaching their fundamental physical and material limits. Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) and other federal agencies are actively looking to introduce radical alternatives for the design of the next generation circuits and systems. One of the potential directions for future electronics industry is the adoption of nanotechnology using different forms of graphene. Dr. Chowdhury’s team has been investigating two forms of graphene – carbon nanotube (CNT) and graphene nanoribbon (GNR) for nanoscale integrated circuits. The project, which is based Dr. Masud Chowdhury’s prior work, will involve material experts from MMI, nanofabrication team from Northwestern and theoretical research groups from UMKC and DOT. Dr. Chowdhury will coordinate the overall effort.

SCE supporter & student sells company he co-founded to Microsoft

Eleven years ago Steve Dispensa co-founded Phonefactor which quickly became a leader in multifactor authentication (MFA) solutions. A gifted computer scientist, Steve found the undergraduate and graduate coursework he took from several SCE computer science faculty provided him the theoretical and technical knowledge he needed as the Chief Technical Officer for Phonefactor. The innovation and significance of Phonefactor’s work in authentication solutions was internationally recognized when Microsoft announced it had acquired Phonefactor on October 4, 2012. As the announcement explained, “The acquisition of PhoneFactor will help Microsoft bring effective and easy-to-use multifactor authentication to our cloud services and on-premises applications,” said Bharat Shah, corporate vice president, Server and Tools Division for Microsoft. “In addition, PhoneFactor’s solutions will help Microsoft customers, partners and developers enhance the security of almost any authentication scenario.” Steve serves on our SCE undergraduate computer science degree advisory board, providing SCE input and feedback on its computer science programs from an industry perspective. More about Phonefactor’s acquisition can be found here.

SCE Scholarship Students Give Thanks To Their Donors

“Without your generosity, we couldn’t educate some of what I consider to be the best and brightest students in the Kansas City region, the nation, and the world,” said Dean Kevin Truman as he thanked the donors attending the 2012 SCE Scholarship Luncheon which brought together SCE’s scholarship donors and their student scholars. Connecting our donors and students gave our SCE student scholars the opportunity to express their appreciation to their donors. Donors learned firsthand how their support helps our SCE computer science and engineering students and the impact it has on their scholarship students’ lives and careers. Student speaker, Kelsey Knoche, electrical and computer engineering senior, captured the hearts of all attending with her personal story of how important this support has been for her.

Christopher Kinzel, P.E. of HDR, a Kansas City engineering company, talked about the long-term benefits Kansas City engineering and computer science firms realize by supporting and encouraging the next generation of engineers, information technologists and computer scientists. He noted there are many ways companies and individuals can help. HDR endowed the HDR Scholarship in 2007 and it provides an internship opportunity.

This year, four newly endowed scholarships were recognized at the luncheon and their donors honored for their generosity and commitment to our computer science and engineering students. They are the 1) Bayer Scholarship; 2) Black & Veatch Scholarship; 3) Dave Hermance Memorial Scholarship sponsored by Toyota Motor Sales USA and 4) The Chandra Scholarship Fund. Minda Mason, SCE Director of Major Gifts, noted that SCE awarded 8 new scholarships this year and that these 4 newly endowed scholarships will continue to support deserving students in perpetuity.

SCE appreciates greatly all our scholarship donors. Thank you! We are proud of our scholars and appreciate how they are often our campus leaders, serving in key roles in student government, participating in community service and raising the level of academic performance in our classrooms.

SCE Student Returns from NASA Summer Internship

SCE electrical and computer engineering senior, Cristina Ortiz, returned to SCE this fall after spending 10 weeks doing research as a NASA intern. Ortiz was selected for a 10-week internship at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration John H. Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field in Cleveland Ohio, named in honor of retired astronaut and former U. S. Senator John Glenn. She was accepted through the Motivating Undergraduates in Science and Technology – MUST – program, which provides opportunities for students to participate in research or experiential learning under a mentor at a NASA location. Ortiz spent the summer at NASA in the research department, working on tribology – the study of friction, wear and lubrication. She worked on a spiral orbit tribometer, learning to simulate a ball bearing. For more information about her experience, see the full University News article.

MRIGlobal Presents Engineering Scholarship to UMKC-Rockhurst University Program

MRIGlobal today announced an award of a $1,000 scholarship to support the inaugural year of the Rockhurst University collaboration with the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Computing and Engineering.

The scholarship was presented to Nicholas Engler, a sophomore majoring in civil engineering at Rockhurst. Engler, a native of Springfield, Missouri, is completing his engineering coursework at UMKC, and expects to graduate in 2015 with a degree from Rockhurst University.

“We applaud all efforts to meet the nation’s demand for engineers,” said Michael F. Helmstetter, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer, “and we especially salute this demonstration of public-private collaboration to produce engineers in our neighborhood. We hope to benefit from home-grown engineers who’d like a career with MRIGlobal.”

This is the first year for the unique program, a win-win for the two universities. The program allows Rockhurst to support students who have an interest in engineering and computer science, and it allows UMKC to expand its existing programs in those fields. UMKC offers the only engineering program in Kansas City accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.

“Sharing resources with UMKC allows our students to achieve their dream of majoring in engineering or computer science while still receiving the benefits of a Jesuit education, said Rockhurst University President the Rev. Thomas B. Curran. “With our nearly adjacent locations, this solution offers convenience as well as a high-quality education.”

“We’re grateful to MRIGlobal for this expression of support for this joint program,” said UMKC Chancellor Leo E. Morton. “We created this program to create a synergy that will enliven the learning communities on both sides of Troost Avenue, and once again, MRIGlobal is proving to be an excellent neighbor and strong supporter of vitally important STEM initiatives.”

“We invite our colleagues in Kansas City engineering and computer science technology firms to join us in supporting UMKC and Rockhurst in developing the next generation of engineers,” Helmstetter said.

Professor Brian Hare Discusses Voting Online With 41 Action NEWS

We just might be ready to try online voting in 2020. SCE Teaching Professor Brian Hare discussed with 41 Action NEWS the various hurdles that must be cleared to make online voting an option. Until online voting applications can keep your vote secret, verify the voter’s eligibility to vote, prevent voters from being intimated to vote in a certain way and guarantee the count is accurate, online voting cannot be considered as an option. With this in mind, Professor Brian Hare thought the technology might be ready by 2020 for some trial runs.