18 SCE Students & 2 Faculty Tour USACE ERDC Laboratories in Vicksburg, MS

Providing SCE students educational enhancement and career development opportunities are key missions of both our UMKC Missouri Society of Professional Engineers (MSPE) and our UMKC Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) student chapters. This Spring Break they teamed up to provide their members an astonishing opportunity, a travel expense paid trip to tour the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Engineering Research Development Center in Vicksburg, MS on Monday, March 25 followed by a visit to the Lower Mississippi River Museum and participation at the Vicksburg SAME Post luncheon and presentation on Tuesday, March 26. Accompanying the students on the trip were civil engineering faculty Dr. Ceki Halmen and Dr. ZhiQiang Chen, MSPE Student Chapter Vice President Sean Rivers and MSPE Student Chapter staff advisor Jane Vogl. Funding was provided by the MSPE Student Chapter, the SCE Student Council, the UMKC Office of Student Involvement, the SCE Alumni Board, and the Greater Kansas City Post of the Society of American Military Engineers. Dean Kevin Truman, SAME student chapter faculty advisor, and Jane Vogl helped to arrange the trip.

The very worthwhile ERDC visit started with a warm welcome from ERDC Geotechnical and Structures Laboratory Director Dr. David Pittman. Dr. Pittman and his team provided SCE students information on careers at USACE and ERDC. He encouraged students to investigate the USACE for career possibilities as job opportunities become available. Students then visited each of the four state-of-the art laboratories open for public touring. With tremendous enthusiasm researchers at each laboratory discussed their work, how they conducted their research and shared some of their results. Because much of ERDC’s research is classified, especially the research intended to support and enable the warfighter, SCE students were left to ponder just exactly what was going on the dozens of building they did not visit within the complex. See the USACE ERDC overview fact sheet and the Media Fact Sheet about ERDC laboratories to obtain a perspective on the size and scope of ERDC’s work and mission.

Highlights of the ERDC tour included 1) viewing the 1-55 ft scale model of the McNary Lock and Dam and hearing about the research into lock and dam designs that are able to co-exist with local fish populations; 2) driving a barge in a simulated lock and dam; 3) experiencing and interacting with a simulation of driving a ship in San Francisco bay; 4) visiting the Hazardous Waste Research Center where research into removing lead from soil was described along with research into removing pollutants from sediments; 5) learning how ERDC utilizes an incredibly powerful centrifuge to conduct blast research; and 6) viewing 3-D simulations of research data and experiments in the Information Technology Laboratory.

Due to a happy coincidence, the Vicksburg Post of The Society of American Military Engineers monthly luncheon/presentation was the day after the ERDC tour. SCE students and faculty received a fantastic welcome, enjoyed a great lunch and found the presentation on weather trends extremely informative. After the luncheon, Colonel Kevin Wilson of ERDC and Colonel Jeffrey Eckstein of the USACE Vicksburg District talked with students encouraging them to excellence in their studies and their careers.

The Vicksburg trip is one of several professional trips being taken by SCE students this March and April. The UMKC National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) Student Chapter members are participating in the NSBE 2013 Annual Convention in Indianapolis, IN and the UMKC IEEE Student Chapter members are participating in the IEEE Robotics Competition in Denver, CO.

Eta Kappa Nu and the UMKC Robotics Team Makes Electricity & Circuits Fun for Middle Schoolers

Benjamin Franklin wrote “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” He would be proud of the six UMKC students from our engineering honor society Eta Kappa Nu and the UMKC Robotics Team. On January 25, 2013 they travelled to Osage Trails Middle School in the Fort Osage School District in Independence, MO to teach electricity and circuits and demonstrate a robot. Starting at 7:15 a.m. and finishing at 2:30 p.m., the students along with their advisor, Debby Dilks, taught six class periods. They demonstrated sound traveling through laser light beams, static electricity, robot programming and provided hands-on experience using snap circuit kits. Over 375 students participated though out the day. The UMKC students – Kelsey Knoche, Matt Mohler, Ariel Muthyala, Eddie Pogosov, Victor Skulavik, Sarah Withee – left Osage Trails knowing old Ben was right.

E-Week UMKC SCE Career Fair HUGE Success

SCE students looking for a job or internship have no difficulty accessing potential employers. The UMKC STEM Career Fair, held during E-Week on February 20, 2013, attracted 46 employers. Our SCE students arrived with resumes in hand and dressed for success. Several companies including Black & Veatch, Honeywell and Mueller Industries followed up with on campus interview sessions. Representing many of the companies at the fair were UMKC SCE alums glad to be back on campus talking to the next generation of SCE STEM professionals. SCE is sure that the STEM Career Fair will result in the hire of several SCE May 2013 graduates. The fair is organized by the SCE Office of Student Affairs Director Whitney Molloy and UMKC Career Services Associate Director Beth Medley.

3rd Annual STEM Career Fair attendees included: ABC Laboratories, Inc., ARCO National – KC, Army ROTC, Avventis Inc., BE Aerospace Inc., Black & Veatch, Celeritas Technologies, Cerner Corporation, CertTech, Codero Hosting, Corporate Risk Solutions, Inc., Dimensional Innovations, DST Systems, Emerson / ERS, Enercon Services, Inc.., Environmental Works, Inc., Garmin International, GBA, Herzog, HNTB, Honeywell, IBM, INROADS, Inc,, KANA Software, Kansas Army National Guard, Kansas City Power & Light (KCP&L), Kiewit Energy Group, Missouri Department of Transportation, Mueller Industries, Inc., National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), Office of Administration, State of Missouri, Olsson Associates, Perceptive Software, RBC Medical Innovations, Sega Inc., Service Management Group, Sporting Innovations, Sprint, SPX Cooling Technologies, Inc., Target Stores and Distribution, Tradebot Systems, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, UMB, United States Air Force, University of Central Missouri and WireCo WorldGroup.

John Kevern Recognized for Outstanding Activities as Faculty Advisor to UMKC ASCE Student Chapter

Assistant Professor John Kevern has received a Certificate of Commendation for outstanding activities as Faculty Advisor for the UMKC American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Student Chapter. He was nominated by the UMKC ASCE Student Chapter officers to be commended for his outstanding work and dedication as a faculty advisor in 2011. The ASCE Student Chapter was also honored for their activities in 2011. Congratulations Dr. Kevern and our UMKC ASCE Student Chapter!

ASCE Selects Ganesh Thiagarajan as a 2012 Outstanding Reviewer

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has selected Associate Professor Ganesh Thiagarajan as an ASCE 2012 Outstanding Reviewer. The congratulations letter from ASCE noted, “The reputation that the journal has achieved in no small way reflects the impressive quality of the efforts of our reviewers.” SCE is proud of our faculty’s service to their profession and congratulates Dr. Thiagarajan on being selected. George Voyiadjis, editor of ASCE’s Journal of Nanomechanics and Micromechanics, recommended Dr. Thiagarajan for this honor.

UMKC recognized as an ACI Excellent University

UMKC has been recognized by the American Concrete Institute (ACI) as an ACI Excellent University. Only 16 universities received this award in 2012! The congratulations letter from ACI notes that the award “was initiated to recognize universities that have participated in ACI-related activities.” CE faculty Ceki Halmen, John Kevern and Ganesh Thiagarajan are ACI student chapter faculty advisors. The ACI student chapter received awards at the ACI Missouri Concrete Conference in April 2012 and has been very active throughout the year.

2013 E-Week Blood Drive Breaks Past Records

Despite a blizzard which cancelled classes during E-Week 2013, the E-week Blood Drive sponsored by Engineers without Borders (EWB) and Missouri Society of Professional Engineers (MSPE/NSPE) student organizations was a huge success. Seventy (70) units of blood were collected by the Community Blood Center (CBC) resulting in the 5th annual E-Week drive exceeding past records. Congratulations and a huge thank you to our donors and supporters – they are the ones that made this drive rock! The 70 units donated far surpassed the CBC’s goals for our drive (60 units) and we increased the amount of blood collected from last year by 7% (65 units collected in 2012, 59 units in 2011 and 38 in 2010). With 96 potential donors we exceeded the previous 2012 record of 91 potential donors and with 40 first time donors we nearly tied the 2011 record of 43 first time donors. Each year, the E-week blood drive is coordinated by Jane Vogl who volunteers as the SCE site coordinator for the CBC and is the staff advisor to the MSPE student chapter. Jane says it is her favorite volunteer activity because “it is so heart-warming to see the students, faculty and staff turn out to save lives.”