Black & Veatch Engineer Speaks to CE 321 Students (Structural Analysis)

On September 16, students in the CE 321 class (‘Structural Analysis’ taught by Dr. ZhiQiang Chen, Assistant Professor in Civil Engineering) had a break from their routine schedule and enjoyed a great speech from a practicing engineer. Mr. Wey-Jen Lee, a licensed Structural Engineer at Black & Veatch talked to the students using 14 years of experience in designing numerous power plants, buildings, and foundations. The talk has given students a general and case-based description of the  roles of computer-aid analysis, code-based design, and structural engineers in modern industrial structures and infrastructure projects. This talk and similar open lecture series for Dr. Chen’s classes in Structural Engineering are a long-term effort that aims to establish a mutually beneficial relationship between Kansas City’s design industries and our in-training structural engineers at UMKC.

Jianfei (Max) Chen Receives SGS Grant for Dissertation Research and a Travel Grant to NSF-funded GENI Workshop

Jianfei (Max) Chen, a doctoral student in Electrical and Computer Engineering, was selected for receiving the UMKC School of Graduate Studies (SGS) research grant. He was awarded $6500 for his research project titled “Robotic Aerial-Imaging and Ground-Sensing Network”. In addition, Max just received a travel grant and traveled to Chicago, IL, for attending the 2015 GENI ( Regional Workshop at Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) from September 18 to 19. Max has been working with Dr. ZhiQiang Chen, Assistant Professor at the UMKC School of Computing and Engineering, on developing a novel UAV-based wireless sensing network, which aims to provide robotic aerial imaging and ground-based networked sensing in one platform for enhancing the current practice of infrastructure health and natural hazard monitoring and condition assessment.

National STEM Spotlight Shines on Kansas City – region chosen as STEM ecosystem

SCE is thrilled that the KC STEM Alliance has been chosen as one of 27 communities to pilot the national STEM Ecosystems Initiative and looks forward to helping this project achieve its goals.   KC STEM Alliance Executive Director Laura Loyacono noted, “This award is a reflection of the collaborative nature of our community and our organization, which will be recognized at a kick off at the White House in November.”  Below is just a brief component of the national announcement, which can be viewed here.

(September 1, 2015 – Washington, DC) –The STEM Funders Network (SFN) announced today that Kansas City’s ecosySTEM KC is one of the 27 communities selected to pilot the national STEM Ecosystems Initiative. This project, built on over a decade of research into successful STEM collaborations seeks to nurture and scale effective science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) learning opportunities for all young people. Kansas City’s selection is a demonstration of their existing progress in developing a strong STEM community and recognition of the commitment to continue this work.


Partnership promotes studies and careers in healthcare and biosecurity

SCE is a proud collaborator on the $2.5 million KC HealthTracks project grant from the US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health National Workforce Diversity Pipeline.  A major goal of the KC HealthTracks project is to promote a pipeline into biomedical sciences careers for low-income and minority students .  According to the UMKC Today article Introducing KC HealthTracks, “The University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Nursing and Health Studies and the School of Computing and Engineering, working with community partners including KC STEM Alliance and seven school districts, received a five-year grant for $2.5 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health National Workforce Diversity Pipeline.”

NSPE President Tim Austin, P.E., F.NSPE, Visits UMKC

UMKC and SCE were honored to meet with National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) president Tim Austin, P.E., F.NSPE, on September 17, 2015.  SCE administrators including Dean Kevin Truman, SCE Department Chairs and our Missouri Society of Professional Engineers (MSPE) student chapter faculty advisor, Dr. Faisal Khan, met with Tim Austin and his delegation of MSPE Western Chapter officers in the morning.  President Austin was also introduced to MSPE student chapter officers President Dakota McGilton, Vice President Michael “Cody” Miller and Treasurer Angelique Gilbert.  Especially enjoyable for SCE students was a “Pizza with the President” luncheon meeting where  students learned more about professional engineering licensure straight from President Austin.  Additionally, 14 MSPE student chapter members, 4 faculty and MSPE staff advisor Jane Vogl attended the dinner/presentation at the Grand Street Café on the Plaza.

ECE Alum Tim Sylvester receives LaunchKC Grant

Alum Tim Sylvester (ECE ’12) company, Integrated Roadways, is one of 10 LaunchKC grant winners just announced this September 2015.  Earlier in 2013 Tim was listed in the ENR Top 20 under 40 .  His company’s recognition by LaunchKC reflects Tim’s active contributions to KC’s entrepreneurial community.

Tim says in Get to know the LaunchKC  winners, “Our smart pavement system provides navigation as a subscription service to enable inexpensive autonomous vehicles.” According to the Kansas City Business Journal Article, LaunchKC launches 10 winners, “to receive the grant, startups must agree to relocate to Kansas City for a minimum of two years. The grant also includes one year of free office space in downtown Kansas City, a Sprint Galaxy phone with one year of free service, industry-specific mentors and other support services. LaunchKC also will help the startups identify follow-on capital and angel investments.”

Emily Collins and Jonathan Parman Receive TBP Scholarships

Emily Collins and Jonathan Parman, both mechanical engineering seniors, have received 2015-2016 Tau Betta Pi (TBP) Scholarships.   Receiving a TBP scholarship is an outstanding achievement as only TBP honor society members can apply and the selection process is competitive.  From the 804 applications received, 261 scholarships were awarded.  The Tau Betta Pi Honor Society recognizes scholastic achievement in all engineering disciplines. Congratulations to Emily and Jonathan and to our UMKC TBP faculty advisors, Dr. Cory Beard and Dr. Deb O’Bannon.

UMKC Places in Top 10 Nationally in Big Beam Contest

Our UMKC SCE Big Beam Team came in 7th nationally this year just behind 6th place MS&T.  UMKC Big Beam faculty advisor Ganesh Thiagarajan notes, “The difference in top places was not very much. We had 48.5 points and would have got 5 more points if our beam had cracked about 1 kip higher! We cracked at 19.5 kips and the minimum was 20 kips for the top spots.”  Civil engineering master’s students Kristen Reynolds and Phanindra Kumar Kosaraju headed up the team and civil engineering master’s student Matt Mulheron provided experimentation and transportation help.  The contest is sponsored by PCI (Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute). Congratulations to all and we hope everyone enjoys the video!  What a beam!

Faculty Receive NSF/TCPP CDER Center Early Adopter Award

Congratulations to our Computer Science Electrical Engineering Department faculty Brian Hare, Mohammad Kuhail, Praveen Rao and Appie Van de Liefvoort for obtaining an Early Adopter Award for their curriculum grant, “Integrating NSF/TCPP curriculum into Undergraduate Courses at University of Missouri-Kansas City”.   There were only 13 awards worldwide for the Fall 2015 competition.  Awesome!

Dr. Fields and Undergrad Daniel McCullough Test Ram-air Parafoil Payload System

Dr. Travis Fields and undergraduate student Daniel McCullough have been developing a ram-air parafoil payload system that can be deployed from both unmanned aircraft and high-powered rockets. Over Labor day weekend, the final high-powered rocket test was conducted in Argonia, Kansas as a part of the Kloudbusters AIRfest rocket event. The 5 lb. payload was deployed at 4,000 feet, where it performed flight maneuvers until reaching the ground. The flight test is a part of a Missouri NASA EPSCoR funded project that seeks to eventually develop a high-altitude (>100,000 ft.) deployed autonomous parafoil vehicle. The envisioned application of the high-altitude parafoil system is for small experiment return from the International Space Station (ISS). The vehicle enables researches to return small experiments without the need for costly rockets. Additionally, the autonomous parafoil system provides the capability of precision landing, eliminating labor intensive recovery efforts.