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Year in Review: 2015

New construction, leadership and accolades marked a year of major changes for the University of Missouri College of Engineering. Take a look back on some of the highlights from the College in 2015.

New Leadership

The College of Engineering welcomed Elizabeth G. Loboa, its first female dean and 11th overall, in mid-fall with an open forum and reception.

Photo: Elizabeth Loboa talking to Sudarshan Loyalka.

MU Engineering Dean Elizabeth Loboa chats with nuclear engineering Professor Sudarshan Loyalka at a welcoming reception in her honor.

Dean Loboa hit the ground running, spending time with individual faculty members and departments, and it using the first few months of her tenure to get to know the College, its students, alumni and employees, and she has begun to set a strategic plan for the College and determine its longterm goals.

Breaking Ground

The College of Engineering started 2015 with plans underway to break ground on the Lafferre Hall Renovation project. By January, the first phase of the renovation, including preparation and relocating offices and labs, was mostly complete. The construction portion of the project officially broke ground April 18 with a ceremony attended by campus and state leaders.

Panoramic view of the work zone where the 1944 addition once stood.

From the roof of the 2009 addition facing north, this panoramic view shows the construction area where a now-demolished 1944 addition once stood. Notice the Lafferre Hall tower and Switzler Hall bell tower to the right (northeast).

The renovation has continued steadily since the 1935 and 1944 additions to Lafferre Hall were demolished in the spring. The Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering Department offices have relocated to Engineering Building North (the Old Student Health Center), while the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department has temporarily relocated to the Heinkel Building while crews begin updates to the 1892 portion of the building. Completion is scheduled for the Spring 2017 semester.

Keep up with the Lafferre Renovation here.

Women in Engineering Center opens

An anonymous gift was donated at the end of 2014 to open a Women in Engineering Center at the College of Engineering. The mission of the center is to serves as the central location for all activities that support the recruitment of women students into the College of Engineering and their retention until an engineering degree is received. An open house was held in February to introduce the center director and coordinator.

Civil and environmental engineering Professor Kate Trauth, director of the college’s new Women in Engineering Center, introduces center coordinator Jayme Gardner at the center’s launch event in February.

Civil and environmental engineering Professor Kate Trauth, director of the college’s new Women in Engineering Center, introduces center coordinator Jayme Gardner at the center’s launch event in February. Photo by Shelby Kardell

Over the next five years, the center plans to work toward four primary strategic goals, including assessing the climate in the College as it relates to women and other dimensions of diversity, eliminating individual and structural barriers to recruitment, success and retention of women students, and establishing a funding and engagement mechanism for the center to ensure its continued existence, growth and support from alumni and industry.

Moving on: Faculty retirements

At the end of the summer, Mizzou Engineering saw the retirement of several longtime faculty members.

Rick Whelove talking to Monica Frank.

MAE retiring resident instructor Rick Whelove talks to Monica Frank, MU Engineering grants and contracts administrator, at his retirement reception.

Faculty members who retired in 2015 were Tom Marrero (chemical engineering), Gordon Springer (computer science), Sam Kiger and Mark Virkler (civil engineering), Harry Tyrer (electrical engineering), Uee Wan Cho and Rick Whelove (mechanical engineering). The retirements took effect at the end of the summer.

Marrero later passed away in December.

Research benefits College, people

Each year, new research propels the College forward with innovation and achievement. Their research affects people’s daily lives and enironments. For example, civil engineering’s Enos Inniss is tackling an analysis of best stormwater management practices using research gathered in Central Missouri’s Hinkson Creek and watershed.

Reaching the next stage in their research, mechanical engineering professors Qingsong Yu and Hao Li received Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for a dental filling composite material, NovaPro Flow, which they manufactured with the duo’s company, Nanova Biomaterials, Inc.

A dentist injects a filling composite into a tooth.

Hao Li and his company, Nanova Biomaterials, Inc., recently received approval from the Food & Drug Administration to market and sell their nanofiber-reinforced flowable composite, NovaPro Flow, which will be used for dental repairs, namely restoration fillings. Photo courtesy of Nanova Biomaterials, Inc.

Read more about Faculty Research here.

Faculty members garner recognition

A number of faculty members received awards from industry and academic organizations, including several fellowships, which were awarded to Dong Xu and Yuwen Zhang (AAAS Fellows), Shubhra Gangopadhya (NAI Fellow), Sanjeev Khanna (ASME Fellow) and Henry He (IEEE Fellow).

Chad Xing poses with members of his lab in front of some manufacturing equipment.

Chad Xing, a professor in the MU Chemical Engineering Department, put forth a proposal for a project that will develop a process for low-cost production of battery materials for lithium ion batteries and beyond. The DOE’s award of $2,215,560 will allow Xing to develop his proposed manufacturing technology over the course of the next three years. Xing is seen here with members of his lab. Photos by Hannah Sturtecky.

Furthermore, faculty researchers’ grants, totaling in the millions of dollars, continues to bring notoriety to the work output by Mizzou engineers. Chemical engineering Professor Chad Xing recently received more than $2 million from the U.S. Department of Energy for a proposal to develop a process for low-cost production of Li-ion batteries and materials.

Read about all Faculty News here.

The Competitive Streak

Student teams and organizations serve as a way to gain experience and recognition for their members. In December, the SAE Formula car team, Mizzou Racing, traveled to Australia for its first international competition in five years, placing sixth overall at the 2015 Formula SAE Australasia competition.

Mizzou Racing's driver sits in the car with a helmet on.

Mizzou Racing prepares to compete at the 2015 Formula SAE Australasia competition in Melbourne. Photo by Mizzou Racing via Facebook

The Mizzou chapter of the Students for the Exploration and Development of Space took home two awards at a November conference, and Upsilon Pi Epsilon hosted its annual interactive coding experience in October. UPE and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers received Chancellor’s Awards in May. The Mizzou chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers also was tabbed Medium Chapter of the Year, Region V at the organization’s national conference, and Region V also was named top region, making MU’s chapter the “best of the best.”

Keep up with all of the Mizzou Engineering student organizations here.

Student Achievement

Dozens of Mizzou Engineering students receive accolades in 2015. Undergraduate awards include chemical engineering senior Emily Cheng, who received a prestigious Goldwater Scholarship, and mechanical engineering senior Jonathan Jennings, who received the 2015 ASME Charles T. Main Student Section Leadership Gold Medal.

Chris Fitzpatrick poses with his award on a balcony overlooking Roberto Clemente Bridge and PNC Park in Pittsburgh.

Chris Fitzpatrick, a graduate civil engineering student, won the ITS America essay contest, with his piece, “Enhancing Commercial Vehicle Safety and Emissions Reduction by the use of Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communication in Tractor-Trailer Platoons.” For that, he earned $1,500, an expenses-paid trip to the ITS America Annual Meeting and Exposition in Pittsburgh and the opportunity to present his essay during the exposition. Photo courtesy of Chris Fitzpatrick.

Graduate student awards include Chris Fitzpatrick, who won the 2015 Intelligent Transportation Society America Student Essay Competition.



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