You are on page 1of 15



Volume VIII / 2019

60 Years of

Since its
founding in 1959,
UTA’s College
of Engineering has
graduated more than
34,000 students and
seen plenty of change


02 Dispatch Keeping the

03 Lab Notes Lights On

04 Faculty Focus Alumni from
06 Research News the College of
08 Classroom are helping power
20 Beyond the Lab North Texas through
22 Class Notes their work at local
energy companies
From the archives:
Electrical engineering
24 Re-Engineered
students solve a
circuit problem


Peter E. Crouch
s e n i o r a s s o c i at e d e a n
f o r a c a d e m i c a f fa i r s
Lynn Peterson

A Lot Can Happen a s s o c i at e d e a n f o r

g r a d u at e a f fa i r s
Erick Jones

in 60 Years a s s o c i at e d e a n f o r r e s e a r c h
Gautam Das

O National Academy Members

a s s i s ta n t d e a n f o r
ur College of Engineering began its s t u d e n t a f fa i r s
J. Carter Tiernan
existence in fall 1959. It wasn’t very

senior direc tor
big, but through the vision and will o f c o m m u n i c at i o n s
and marketing
of Wendell Nedderman, who passed away Jeremy Agor
his year, the College of Engi-
in May at age 97, UTA Engineering quickly neering increased its stature
direc tor of
marketing services as a research powerhouse with
made a name for itself.
Tracey Faulkinbury the addition of three mem-
For the last 60 years, the College of bers of the National Academy
Engineering has contributed greatly to the OFFICE OF UNIVERSITY of Engineering (NAE). UTA now has
local workforce and economy. Our alumni ADVANCEMENT six national academy members, four of
executive Direc tor of whom are College of Engineering faculty,
have led major corporations, flown to space, m e d i a r e l at i o n s a n d and has reached a critical benchmark to
c o m m u n i c at i o n s
started successful companies, and made Jeff Carlton achieve Tier One status in Texas.
an impact in many areas of our lives. UTA editorial direc tor
Membership in the NAE is among
engineers have a reputation for hitting the Jessica Bridges the highest professional distinctions
awarded to engineers. It honors profes-
ground running, rolling up their sleeves, and getting the job done. That’s a designerS
Brody Price and Melissa George sionals who have made outstanding and
hard-earned reputation, and a credit to all who have studied here and to the innovative contributions to the research,
outstanding faculty who have ensured that students acquired the skills and Herb Booth practice, education, or advancement of
knowledge necessary to become successful in the real world. engineering.
Dereje Agonafer, Jenkins Garrett Pro-
We have many commemorative events planned this year, and you’ll see
fessor in the Department of Mechanical
60th anniversary logos on campus and in our communications throughout and Aerospace Engineering, was elected
the year. I hope that you will return to campus to see the transformation that UTA Engineer is published annu- to the NAE earlier this year. He was one
ally by the Division of University
has occurred here and will join us for a celebratory banquet in February. Advancement. Reproduction of only two faculty from Texas univer-
in whole or part without writ- sities selected to the 2019 class, which From left: Dereje Agonafer was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in February; NAE
This issue of UTA Engineer focuses largely on the past, but I assure you ten permission is prohibited. members Surendra Shah and James Coleman joined the College of Engineering this year
totaled 86 national and 18 foreign mem-
there’s plenty to be excited about now and in the future. On the strength of The comments and opinions
expressed in this magazine do not bers. Dr. Agonafer’s research focuses on ty Research Initiative and $1 million from the University’s research strength in the
engineering researchers, the University met all of the benchmarks for ac- necessarily represent those of computer-aided electro/thermo/mechan- the UT System Science and Technology area. He has served as the Erik Jonsson
The University of Texas at Arling- ical design and modeling of electronic Acquisition and Retention program. Distinguished Chair in Electrical Engi-
cessing the state’s National Research University Fund for the first time last ton or the staff of UTA Engineer.
Copyright 2019, The University of equipment. He joined UTA in 1999 after Dr. Shah is world-renowned for his neering at UT Dallas since 2013. Before
year, and once we reach them again this year, we will have access to millions
Texas at Arlington. UTA does not a stellar career at IBM, and his continued research on cement-based materials, that, he was the Intel Alumni Endowed
of dollars in research funding, which we can use to hire additional top facul- discriminate on the basis of race, collaboration with industry leaders has with a focus on fiber-reinforced compos- Chair of Electrical and Computer En-
color, national origin, religion,
ty, build new laboratory space, and continue to make breakthroughs in areas age, gender, sexual orientation, furthered the impact of his work. His ites, nondestructive evaluation, transport gineering at the University of Illinois
such as health care, photonics, aerospace, and more. disabilities, genetic information, most recent research has been on data properties, processing, rheology, nan- at Urbana-Champaign for 31 years and
and/or veteran status in the edu- center cooling and 3D packaging/cooling, otechnology, and the use of solid waste course director of the Integrated Circuits
As we celebrate 60 years of Maverick engineers, we acknowledge the ef- cational programs or activities
it operates. For more info, visit in partnership with some of the biggest materials. He is a leading authority in Fabrication Laboratory. He also worked at
forts and contributions of those who came before and we look forward to the For info regarding names in industry. nanomaterial applications to concrete. Rockwell International and Bell Labs.
possibilities ahead. Title IX, visit Surendra Shah joined the college in Finally, James Coleman arrived on The college’s fourth NAE member,
College of Engineering February as a Presidential Distinguished campus in September as a Presidential Kenneth Reifsnider, is a Presidential Dis-
UTA Box 19019
Arlington, TX 76019 Professor and director of the new Center Distinguished Professor of Photonics in tinguished Professor in the Mechanical
for Advanced Construction Materials. His the Electrical Engineering Department. and Aerospace Engineering Department
Peter E. Crouch 817-272-3682 recruitment was supported by almost He is an internationally known expert in and heads the Institute for Predictive
DE A N, C OL L E G E OF E N GI N E E R I N G $2 million from the Governor’s Universi- photonics technologies and will add to Performance Methodologies at UTARI.



 received a four-year, $498,000 Dr. Makedon says. “It provides

grant to redesign abstractions in a great showcase of the serious
virtualized systems to improve work and science being done at
Leader efficiency. Abstractions are used
to hide capacity in computer
UTA and in the region and helps
motivate others to recognize the
Sharareh “Sherri” Kermansha- systems by removing less im- work of more women.”
chi, an assistant professor in the portant details to attend to other, Makedon joined the college
Department of Civil Engineering, more pertinent ones. One type of in 2006 as chair of the Computer
won the 2018 Design-Build In- abstraction—virtualization—is a Science and Engineering Depart-
stitute of America (DBIA) Distin- key component of cloud comput- ment, a position she held until
guished Leadership Award in the ing and has changed how com- 2014. She has secured more than
faculty category. puter systems use resources by $9.3 million in research fund-
Design-build is a fast-growing allowing multiple virtual com- ing as principal investigator or
movement and popular method puter architectures and systems co-investigator during her tenure
used to deliver construction proj- to run off of a single physical at UTA, and nearly $15 million in
ects in the United States. It saves machine. National her career.
time and money by encouraging
innovation and collaboration
Kyungsuk Yum of the Ma-
terials Science and Engineering
Academy of “We are proud to have Dr.
Makedon on our faculty,” Dean
and allowing the designing and Department received a five-year, Engineering Peter Crouch says. “She has an
building of construction projects
to occur on the same timeline.
$500,000 grant to design and
develop bioinspired 3D mate-
members outstanding record of discov-
ery and her research is aimed Fillia Makedon is
“It is a great honor to receive rials with programmed shapes at making a real difference in a winner of the
Dallas Business
such a prestigious award from and motions. The research could the lives of people who can Journal’s Women
DBIA,” Dr. Kermanshachi says. transform the way soft engi- benefit greatly from assistive in Technology
“The implementation of the de- neering systems or devices are technologies.” Award

sign-build delivery method will designed and fabricated, with po-

continue to grow in the construc- tential applications in bioinspired
tion industry. This system not soft robotics, biomedical devices,
only minimizes project risks, re- tissue engineering, and artificial
duces overall costs, and improves muscles, which are soft materials
execution timeline, but it also that change their shapes or move
enhances workforce productivity in response to external signals as
and optimizes performance effi- our muscles do.
ciency. The design-build delivery
method is a logical movement
that will shape the future of the 
Woman in
construction industry.”

Raihan Honored Kermanshachi is a certified

Design-Build Professional. She

was awarded the DBIA fellowship
assel raihan, mechanical engineering assistant professor and in 2017. Fillia Makedon, a Jenkins Garrett
Professor in the Computer Science
researcher at the Institute for Predictive Performance Method- and Engineering Department and
ologies at the UTA Research Institute, is a recipient of the Young  a leader in machine learning and

assistive technologies, was among
Professionals Emerging Leadership Award from the Society for the Ad- 25 women named by the Dallas
vancement of Material and Process Engineering. His work focuses on Winners Business Journal as winners in the
sixth annual Women in Technol-
non-destructive evaluation of the material state of composites and ad- Two engineering faculty were ogy Awards.
hesively bonded structures. He is also working to develop multifunctional recently honored with National “The Women in Technolo-
Science Foundation Faculty Early gy Award is a great honor that
composite materials that can be placed inside composite structures and Career Development Program, or demonstrates the vision and ap-
harvest energy from vibrations, as well as provide information about the CAREER, Awards. preciation of the Dallas business
Jia Rao of the Computer Sci- community for women working
internal condition of the structure. ence and Engineering Department in information technology,”


Northwestern University. They reattach the pelvic floor muscles SPOTLIGHT

Damage Detection
have designed a device that will before they detach completely,
rely solely on waveguides and thus preventing further tearing
optical cavities, so there are no while the body repairs the affect-

metal or electronic parts to rust or ed muscles.
interfere with signals. The optical “If a prolapse is detected early, aiying Huang, a professor of mechanical and aerospace en-
elements will be absorbed into we can glue the edges togeth-
gineering, is using two grants worth nearly $900,000 from the
the body after a period of time, er while they are still partially
eliminating the need for further attached and prevent further Department of Defense to monitor the structural health of Navy
surgeries. damage,” Dr. Hong says. “The
ships and detect when and where damage happens. She is attempting to
“With our National Science adhesive will allow the body to
Foundation grant, we can explore rejuvenate naturally, so there will design ultrasound transducers that can be glued to ships’ hulls to detect
making the device commercial- be fewer complications and far
and monitor material degradation. Additionally, she will investigate the
ly available, as well as identify less discomfort for the patient.”
other areas in which it could be use of optical fibers as ultrasound waveguides to create sensor networks
used, such as understanding brain
that can detect damage within a ship’s hull. “Structural health monitoring
activity and functions through 
is a growing technology because of its potential to provide substantial
monitoring,” Zhou says.

benefits in safety, operational costs, and design,” Dr. Huang says.

 Small Farmers
Women’s Small- and mid-scale farmers
and ranchers in Texas often face

Health challenges in getting their prod-

ucts to the market due to inef-
Vaginal prolapse is a condition ficient and costly shipping and
that affects almost 3% of Amer- storage options.
ican women in which the pelvic Caroline Krejci, an assis-
floor muscles weaken and tear, tant professor in the Industrial,
allowing the vagina to stretch or Manufacturing, and Systems
expand and protrude on sur- Engineering Department, is ex-
rounding organs and structures. ploring how to solve this problem
Bioengineering Associate through collaborative transporta-
Professor Yi Hong is using a $1.6 tion and aggregation, which she
million grant from the National believes can open avenues for cost
Weidong Zhou’s  in the brain, then absorbed by Institutes of Health to develop
implantable savings and easier delivery.

Better Brain
optical probe the body. If successful, the device a new method of treating the Possible solutions include
could increase would increase patient comfort condition. UTA’s Kytai Nguyen, farmers banding together to fill

patient comfort during recovery and lessen the Liping Tang, and Jun Liao, and UT
and lessen the risk a truck and bring down shipping
of complications risk of complications. Southwestern urologist Phillippe costs, or sharing warehousing
When physicians treat patients Dr. Zhou is working on the Zimmern are co-investigators on space.
with traumatic brain injuries or project with John Rogers, a world the project. “We want to help family farms
brain disorders, they often must leader in the field of bioresorb- The team is developing a and ranches figure out how to
insert a device to monitor inter- able/biodegradable electronics at strong, bioactive bioadhesive to transport their products to cus-
cranial pressure, temperature, tomers throughout their respec-
and other functions. But current tive regions, but the long-term

technology is rigid and bulky, goal is to connect them and build
made with electronics that can a network of producers across the
interfere with other devices, and
must eventually be surgically tenured/tenure- state, to leverage regional vari-
ations in growing seasons and
Weidong Zhou, a Distinguished
track faculty products,” Dr. Krejci explains.
“It’s a balance between efficiency
University Professor in electrical
engineering, is developing an
hired in the last and the social aspect of making

alternative option: an implantable four years sure that farmers can earn a liv-
ing and thrive.”
optical probe that can be inserted


 disciplines. Both were the first Kuriakose, a bioengineering

UTA students to ever receive their student, was awarded a pre-doc-
respective awards. NUMBER WISE toral fellowship from the Nation-

Leaders in Osmanson’s fellowship comes
from the Semiconductor Research It took only al Institutes of Health that will
support her research into a new,

Cybersecurity Corporation, in partnership with

Texas Instruments. With its
minimally invasive treatment for
peripheral artery disease.
A team featuring computer sci- funding, she will pursue research “This award gives me my first
ence and engineering students involving microelectronics pack- taste of independent success as a
Aaditya Purani and Jonathon aging, with a specific focus on researcher,” she says. “Being able
Kirkpatrick finished sixth in the electromigration. to work with my own funding
world at the cybersecurity Cap-
ture the Flag finals during Cyber
“This is a very competitive
fellowship,” says Osmanson, who
years for gives me confidence and a sense
of what it will be like to act as a
Security Awareness Weekend
(CSAW). They were members of a
is studying materials science and engineering principal investigator throughout
engineering. “It’s humbling that my career.”
team called DefCon-UA (DCUA) they selected me. I’m hoping to enrollment
that also included students from
UT Dallas and UT Austin.
work in the microelectronics in-
dustry after I earn my degree, and to grow from Brandon Griffin
led a team of
4,000 to 7,000
CSAW is the largest stu-
Senior Design
I know that what I learn through seniors that
dent-run cybersecurity event in this fellowship will be put to good built a treadmill

With Real-Life
the world and features interna- use in my career.” for wheelchair
tional competitions, workshops, athletes

and industry events. It is hosted

by New York University. Applications
DCUA finished ahead of MIT’s The eight-time national cham-
TechSec, Arizona State Univer- pion UTA Movin’ Mavs wheel-
sity’s pwndevil, and Carnegie chair basketball team might be
Mellon University’s Plaid Par- getting even better soon, thanks
liament of Pwning, all of which to some ingenuity among me-
are world-famous cybersecurity chanical engineering students.
teams. Purani finished second on For their senior design project, a
the individual scoreboard. team comprising Brandon Griffin,
“I’ve been doing cybersecurity Antonio Araujo, Matthew McCor-
for a long time, and I like that mick, Matthew Niestroy, Jason
SPOTLIGHT capture the flag competitions Gulledge, and Chad Goodlow built

Building a Bio Drone

allow you to break into real ma- a treadmill that can be used by
chines and practice your hacking athletes in wheelchairs. A group

skills ethically without breaking of electrical engineering students
any laws,” Purani says. is also building an interface for
team of students from the departments of Bioengineering,
Kirkpatrick agrees: “It’s about digital readouts of work per-
Computer Science and Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and knowing how to attack so you can formed by the machine’s users.
defend. This was my first com- The idea for the project started
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering competed in the U.S.
petition, and it taught me that with Movin’ Mavs Coach Doug
Army’s inaugural HBCU/MI Design Competition last April. For the event, security is a necessity because Garner, who wanted something
anything can be vulnerable.” that would give his players a good
they had to engineer biologically based parts from biocellulose, which
workout and measure how much
they then used to build an unmanned aerial vehicle that could take off, effort they were expending.
 “It shows how important even
navigate around a course, and return for a landing. “We jumped at the
senior design projects are,” says
opportunity to compete, because it offered a chance for our students to Griffin, the team leader. “When

collaborate to solve a problem that Army engineers are working on right Fellowships we can help someone in a practi-
cal, real-life way, that’s what it’s
now,” says Professor David Wetz, one of the team’s faculty advisers. “The College of Engineering doctoral all about.”
students Allison Osmanson and Garner said the device also
students learned a lot about the engineering process, innovation, and
Aneetta Kuriakose recently earned could potentially be used in the
working together across disciplines to create a solution.” prestigious fellowships in their therapy sector.


60 Years of Engineers
From humble beginnings, UTA’s College of
Engineering has grown into the respected
institution it is today. Along the way, its students
and faculty have contributed greatly to technology,
exploration, and the pursuit of knowledge.


60 Years of Engineers
Eight deans have led the College of Engineering Institute and, in 2012, the UTA Research Institute.
since Nedderman: Andrew Salis (1969-81), John There was another ribbon-cutting in 2001 with
Rouse (1981-87), John McElroy (1987-96), J. Ronald the opening of the Nanotechnology Research and
ince its founding in 1959, The Univer- Bailey (1996-2000), Bill Carroll (2000-2011), Jean Teaching Facility, which became the Shimadzu
sity of Texas at Arlington’s College of Pierre Bardet (2012-13), Khosrow Behbehani (2013- Institute Nanotechnology Research Center in 2013.
16), and Peter Crouch, who joined the college in 2016. In 2008, the Civil Engineering Laboratory Building
Engineering has been home to thou- The first engineering bachelor’s degrees were opened on the west side of campus, while the Engi-
conferred to 23 electrical and mechanical engineer- neering Research Building debuted in 2011, providing
sands of engineering students wanting to he held until his retirement in 1992. ing graduates in 1961. The first woman to earn an much-needed office and laboratory space for the
Dr. Nedderman worked tirelessly engineering bachelor’s degree was Thurba Higgins in Computer Science and Engineering and Bioengineer-
make their mark on the world, which they to build the School of Engineering. He 1964 (electrical engineering); the first woman to earn ing departments. At the same time, significant ren-
successfully gained approval from the
have done repeatedly. More than 34,000 Texas Higher Education Coordinating
a master’s degree was Juliet Hancock-Russey in 1969 ovations were completed and a third floor was added
(mechanical and aerospace engineering); and the first to the Engineering Laboratory Building. In 2018, the
have earned engineering degrees at UTA, Board to add graduate programs in 1966 woman to earn a doctorate was Judith Corley in 1979 Science & Engineering Innovation & Research (SEIR)
and saw all five undergraduate programs (civil engineering). building opened on the south end of campus.
and with enrollment rapidly growing, new receive accreditation by 1968. In the early Enrollment in the early years was around 1,500
years of the graduate program, students were students. By 1980, it had doubled to 3,000, but took Who We Are From the archives:
programs being added, and record-breaking mostly practicing engineers who were looking another 21 years to reach 4,000 students. Just five The UTA of 2019 places a great emphasis on diversity. Engineering
to advance in their careers by taking master’s students
research funding rolling in, the college is courses at night. Once the doctoral program was
years later, however, enrollment soared past 7,000 It is a Hispanic-Serving Institution, which is reflected congregate
and continues to grow today. The college strives to in the College of Engineering’s student body. Last fall, between classes
poised to become an education and research added in 1969, the college began building a solid reach 10,000 students by 2020.
reputation for research as well.
powerhouse as it enters its next decade. “The advent of the graduate program, and the Building Boom
deliberate fashion in which Dr. Nedderman and Jack In the early years, the College of Engineering was
Woolf [former Arlington State College president] located in Woolf Hall, which it shared with the
Early Years approached it, were some of the biggest factors in the departments of Foreign Languages and Business
When Arlington State College (later UTA) was ele- college’s success,” said Kent Lawrence, a professor Administration. There were about 10 classrooms on
vated to senior-college status in 1959, the transition of aerospace engineering who joined the faculty in the second floor, each with seven rows of seven desks
included the creation of a new School of Engineering 1961 and has worked at UTA for all but three years and chairs bolted to the floor.
offering five baccalaureate degrees: aeronautical (lat- since then. “Many of our graduate students were That began to change in 1985, when UTA start-
er changed to aerospace), civil, electrical, industrial, inclined to research and were good at it. The money ed building infrastructure to support the growth of
and mechanical engineering. Wendell Nedderman, research grants brought in allowed us to do things the college. That year, UT System approved nearly
a professor of civil engineering at Texas A&M, was we couldn’t before. A lot of our early faculty came $40 million for the construction of two new build-
hired as the founding dean and held that position from high-profile research institutions around the ings—Nedderman Hall and the Aerospace Research
until 1969. He would go on to serve as vice president country, and Drs. Woolf and Nedderman pursued and Building—as well as a total renovation of Woolf Hall.
for research and graduate affairs (1967-68), graduate hired faculty from top schools such as MIT and Cal One year later, a $10 million gift from the Fort Worth
school administrator (1967-69), and vice president Tech. It was extremely forward-thinking of them to Chamber Foundation and Newell & Newell Develop-
for academic affairs (1968-72). In 1972 he became hire that way, because it gave our college as broad a ers created the Advanced Robotics Research Institute,
acting president, and in 1974, president, a position view of research as possible.” later renamed the Automation & Robotics Research

1959 1961 1966 1967 1968 1969 1971 1981 1986 1987 1996 1997
School of Engineer- First 23 bacca- UTA’s first master’s Penny Lee Carlisle All five extant ■ Andrew Salis First Ph.D. degrees ■ John Rouse Advanced Robotics ■ John McElroy ■ J. Ronald Bailey ■ Kalpana Chawla
ing created laureate degrees degree programs becomes the first baccalaureate de- named dean of conferred named dean of 1984 Research Institute named dean of named dean of (’84 M.S., Aero-
conferred approved, in elec- woman to earn an gree programs are engineering engineering ■ Alumnus Robert (later Automa- engineering engineering space Engineering)
■ Wendell Ned- L. Stewart (’72
derman named ■ First computer, an trical engineering engineering bache- accredited by the Coordinating Board 1979 ■ Formula SAE tion & Robotics Formula SAE team becomes first
and engineering lor’s degree at UTA Engineering Council Judith Corley be- M.S., Aerospace Research Institute) 1991 Indian-born wom-
founding dean IBM 1620, purchased approves Ph.D. pro- team debuts in Engineering) wins eighth nation-
for the computer mechanics of Professional gram in engineering comes first woman Mini Baja com- created Number of UTA al championship an to fly in space
Development to earn an engi- participates in the engineering alumni (she later perishes
1960 science engineering Juliet Hancock- petition and first untethered ■ Groundbreaking
■ Woolf Hall program First master’s de- neering doctoral wins national for Nedderman Hall surpasses 10,000 aboard STS-107
Russey becomes degree at UTA space walks during (Columbia) on Feb.
constructed grees in engineer- first woman to earn championship mission STS-41B and the Aerospace
ing conferred Research Building 1, 2003)
engineering mas- (Challenger)
ter’s degree at UTA


60 Years of Engineers
neering), a member of the college’s Board of Advisors the College of Engineering. Annual research expen-
and a Hall of Achievement honoree. “When you take ditures for the college exceed $35 million, and overall
that step, you have to learn a lot of other skills, like engineering-related research expenditures for the
marketing, sales, and how to read a balance sheet. University are more than $50 million.
Entrepreneurship has all of that.” Moeller endowed a The University reached the milestones necessary
scholarship to assist engineering students who wish to qualify for Texas Tier One status in 2018-19 and
to pursue graduate degrees in business after grad- will begin receiving money from the fund in 2020-
uation. “Business and engineering are joined at the 21 if it reaches those milestones again this year. In
hip. It’s not sufficient to have an engineering solu- addition to research expenditures, one of the mile-
tion unless you have the business savvy to make it stones is faculty excellence, measured in part by
successful.” National Academy of Engineering members, of which
In addition to entrepreneurship, students benefit the college now has four.
from the required senior design capstone courses The college’s rapid growth has produced its share
in each department. Many of these projects receive of headaches, with space at a pre-
funding from outside sources, and some have led to mium and faculty hiring lagging
greater opportunities. For example, Blanco and her
senior design teammates—Christopher Alberts, Kyle
behind enrollment, but a broader
view shows that it is contributing
“UTA has
Godfrey, Andrew Patin, and Chris Grace—along with to a more robust, valuable edu- something
faculty advisers Panos Shiakolas and Pranesh Aswath, cational experience, says Lynn
received a patent for a smart bandage, developed Peterson, senior associate dean for for everyone.
fully at UTA, that allows more efficient healing of academic affairs. “With increased
No matter
From the archive: 23% of engineering students were Hispanic, 21% were Engineer Award, an international honor.
Civil engineering wounds and the delivery of multiple drugs on their enrollment comes an increased
students record white, and 17% were Asian. International students “UTA has something for everyone. No matter your
results during
accounted for 29% of enrollment, with these students
hailing from 70 countries, including 17 in Africa, 14 in
interest, there is a place to belong on campus,” Blan- own time schedules to the wound. The invention
won the American Society for Materials International
ability to relate to the community
and provide more opportunities to
your interest,
co says. “My involvement in SWE has led to a ca-
Asia, 14 in Europe, and 12 in the Middle East. reer-long commitment to mentoring and community Undergraduate Design Competition in 2011. meet the needs of local, state, and there is a
“We got to create something real and useful— national industry. It also allows us
place to belong
Women accounted for 20% of engineering stu- involvement.”
dents and 14% of the faculty, with 16 female tenured/ something that mattered in the world,” Blanco says. to hire high-quality faculty who
Cultivating Entrepreneurialism
tenure-track faculty hired since 2016. One of those
students was Letia Blanco (’11 B.S., Mechanical En- The College of Engineering has a renewed focus on
“We did the whole thing in UTA labs, using UTA ma-
terials, with support from professors, lab managers,
will support research and innova-
tion and help prepare our students on campus.”
gineering). Upon graduation, she helped create the entrepreneurship, helped in large part by a generous and graduate students. After graduation my employer for their future careers.”
Design Your World Conference for girls in partner- donation from an alumnus that created the Maverick at the time, Raytheon, helped us secure a patent. So Much has changed since 1959, but the college’s
ship with UTA and the Society of Women Engineers Entrepreneurship Program and Award Fund, which within a couple years of graduating, we already had commitment to providing a top-quality engineering
(SWE), providing 6,000 girls from 5th grade to high provides $500,000 in funding each year through 2021 our first patent. I credit the support we received from education and innovative, meaningful research has
school—most of them at-risk or from underserved for UTA students who are trying to start companies the College of Engineering with that accomplishment.” not.
communities—with hands-on programming and or bring inventions to market. “To have been here at the beginning and contrib-
career conferences to help them pursue careers in “When I came out of school, engineers either loved Looking to the Future uted to building the program was really something,”
engineering. The conference was recognized with engineering and pursued a career in that, or they UTA is classified as Research-1 “Very High Research Dr. Lawrence says. “From those experiences, we’ve
a SWE Dallas Chapter Gold Chapter Award, and in enjoyed the business side and went into manage- Activity” by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions evolved into a responsive, smooth educational and
October 2018 Blanco received the Distinguished New ment,” says Dick Moeller (’67 B.S., Industrial Engi- of Higher Education, thanks in part to the strength of research institution.” ₪

2001 2006 2008 2009 2012 2013 2015 2016 2018 2019
Nanotechnology Materials science Civil Engineering ■ College of Engi- ■ Jean Pierre Bar- ■ Dr. Behbehani ■ Wendy Okolo ■ Peter Crouch ■ Science & Engi- The country’s only
Research and and engineering Laboratory Build- neering celebrates det named dean of named dean of becomes first Black named dean of neering Innovation university-based,
1998 2000 Teaching Facility program elevated ing opens 50th anniversary engineering engineering woman at UTA to engineering & Research build- arc-heated hyper-
■ Formula SAE ■ Bill Carroll opens to a department with ribbon-cutting earn a doctoral de- ing opens sonic wind tunnel
team wins first named dean of ■ Optical Medical Khosrow Behbe-
Number of alumni Imaging Lab facil- for expanded Engi- hani, Nai Yuen 2014 gree in aerospace 2017 brought online
international engineering 2005 neering Laboratory Enrollment sur- engineering Number of alumni
championship at ■ Department of surpasses 20,000 ity, consisting of Chen, George Kon- Dereje Agonafer
four lab bays oper- Building 2011 draske, and Robert passes 5,000 surpasses 30,000 elected to NAE; NAE
Formula Student Bioengineering ■ Engineering
competition in brought into Col- ated by UTA, opens Magnusson elected members Surendra
at UT Southwestern Research Building to National Acade- Shah and James
England lege of Engineering opens my of Inventors Coleman join


t’s an accepted fact of life for most
North Texans that all one has to do
to power their homes, gadgets, and
other devices is flip a light switch or
press the “on” button. But what’s not
so well known is the role College of
Engineering alumni and researchers
play in creating that peace of mind.
For decades, UTA alumni have helped ensure
that electricity is available to the region’s homes
and businesses through their roles at companies
and organizations such as Oncor Electric Delivery
Corporation, TXU Energy, the North American
Energy Reliability Council (NAERC), Luminant
Energy, and others. The College of
Engineering counts chief operating
“UTA graduates

officers, presidents, vice presidents,
and dozens of directors and manag-
ers of local energy companies among
really stand out for
its alumni, including Jim Greer (’84 their work ethic,
B.S., Electrical Engineering), the
current executive vice president and their ability to
chief operating officer of Oncor, and
Mike Greene (’69 B.S., Mechanical work in teams, and

the Lights
Engineering), retired vice chairman
of Energy Future Holdings Corpora-
their willingness to
tion, Oncor’s parent company. apply for leadership
“I earned a degree in mechanical
engineering, but spent my life in positions.”
the electrical engineering business,”

says Greene. “My degree helped me think and be
diligent in the pursuit of my end goal, along with
honing my engineering skills and problem-solv-
ing capability.”
While serving as the chair of the Electric Reli-
ability Council of Texas (ERCOT), Greene played
a major role in working with the Public Utilities
College of Engineering Commission to write transmission rules that
alumni have a long are still in place today. He served on the ERCOT
board from 1996-98 and 2002-05 and was also a
history of working in the member of the board of trustees and the first chair

energy sector, helping of the NAERC’s chairman’s committee, which

Texans stay powered

and productive.
Illustration by Robert Hanson/Science Source
leadership roles within ERCOT and TXU before Ramtin Madani, an assistant professor in the Research Projects Agency-Energy, or ARPA-E,
taking over as vice president for commercial Electrical Engineering Department, is attempting Grid Optimization Competition, with a share
asset management at Luminant Energy. He is to increase the efficiency and sustainability of of $4 million in prize money at stake for the
now vice president for business development at power delivery by designing new algorithms to top 10 teams. The effort is in collaboration with
Solar Prime, working with retail electric provid- address the challenges presented during pow- Alper Atamturk from the University of Califor-
ers, municipal utilities, co-ops, and commercial er grid optimization. Since nia–Berkeley and Ross Baldick
customers to develop utility-scale solar power upgrading the existing in- “UTA has had a from UT Austin. Their team
solutions and bring them to market. frastructure can be expen- is one of only 18, and the only
sive, academics and industry reputation forever one from Texas, to receive
Recipe for Success experts have shifted efforts
for producing hard- $250,000 in funding for the
There are many more UTA alumni working their toward software moderniza- competition, which is open to
way into leadership roles in Texas’ power in- tion. The importance of this working people any qualified competitor, not
dustry, ready to continue the good work of their topic has been highlighted just those who are funded.
predecessors. recently by the National Acad- who have practical The competition involves
So what’s the secret? Why have UTA alumni emies of Sciences, Engineering, a series of challenges aimed
College of works to ensure that the power grid is reliable been so successful in the power delivery market, and Medicine, along with the business skills. at hastening the development
Engineering and secure.
alumni Jim
Greer and Charles Jenkins, who preceded Greer at On-
and why do they continue to move quickly into
the ranks of leadership? Greer and Greene both
Federal Energy Regulatory
They are willing and evaluation of software
solutions for the future of the
Mike Greene cor, earned a mechanical engineering degree
from UTA in the 1960s and worked for TXU and
point to a common theme: work ethic. Using a $325,000 grant to work and be electric grid, including the
“UTA alumni seem to be ready to come out and from the National Science optimal use of current and
Oncor for more than 40 years before retiring as get to work,” Greer says. “They have a desire to Foundation, Dr. Madani and diligent at doing emerging technologies, the
chief operating officer. He passed away in 2018. use their knowledge and skills. They’re inquis- Associate Professor Ali Davoudi management of dynamic grid
While at TXU, he was a proponent of using wind itive and innovative, and it shows in recruiting are developing massively scal- their jobs. That’s operations, and the manage-
as a renewable energy source and supported the
construction of wind farms in West Texas and the
and how they move up in leadership. UTA grad-
uates really stand out for that work ethic, their
able computational methods
for power system scheduling.
been a major factor ment of emerging distributed
energy resources such as wind
eventual purchase of energy from those farms.
Under his leadership Oncor began the largest
ability to work in teams, and their willingness to Power grid problems can be in UTA’s success turbines, biomass generators,
apply for leadership positions. You look out in the formulated in the language of and rooftop solar units.
infrastructure project in the company’s history: workforce and you can see many people like that, mathematical optimization. in the power- Other energy research un-
the Competitive Renewable Energy Zones project, not just at Oncor, but in other companies as well.” From there, researchers use al- derway in the College of Engi-
which built transmission lines to deliver ener- For Greene, the value of an engineering degree gorithmic tools and techniques delivery industry.” neering includes investigations
gy from the wind farms to various metropolitan factors in, too. “UTA has had a reputation forever from the area of optimization into energy storage and pulsed
areas in the state. Jenkins was also active with for producing hard-working people who have theory to address those issues. power system design by David Wetz, an electrical
NAERC and served on its operating and planning practical business skills,” he says. “They are The much more enhanced optimization al- engineering professor and the college’s director
committees. willing to work and be diligent at doing their jobs. gorithms Madani and Dr. Davoudi are creating of strategic initiatives. He has been involved in
“Looking back, some leaders in this market— That’s been a major factor in UTA’s success in the should improve the efficiency and reliability of extensive collaborative research projects with the
like Mike Greene and Charles Jenkins—had a ma- power-delivery industry.” power grid operations, as they can be used to U.S. Navy in these research areas since 2006.
jor impact on the market structure by creating an address practical, everyday problems related to Mechanical and aerospace engineering Assis-
open platform for new entrants with good ideas Powering Energy Research power, such as enabling operators to incorpo- tant Professor Ankur Jain is looking for ways to
and encouraging innovation,” Greer says. “That’s Helping these alumni bring clean, efficient, and rate further renewable energy sources, which are harness the heat energy lost from automobiles,
why UTA alumni—Mike, Charles, and more reliable energy to Texas is a focus of several highly unpredictable. buildings, and other devices and convert it into
recent graduates—are out there leading and will researchers in the College of Engineering. The Madani is also leading a team in the Advanced energy. Using a highly competitive, $225,000
continue to do so into the future.” technologies they and their students are devel- Early-Concept Grant for Exploratory
John U. Martin, who died in 2018, began oping today will prove crucial for meeting the Research from the National Science
working for the Texas Electric Service Company energy challenges of tomorrow. Foundation, Dr. Jain and his team are
in Fort Worth in 1955 as an electrician helper and “Texas is the leader in the United States by examining the pyroelectric effect—the
student. After graduating from what was then a large factor in renewable energy, and power property of certain materials to pro-
Arlington State College, he began a career span- companies must be able to integrate renewable duce electricity when subjected to a
ning 42 years and ending with his retirement at energy sources,” says Greer. “This requires new temperature that changes with time at
age 60 as executive vice president of TXU in the skill sets and discovery.” the nano scale—and working to devel-
company’s Dallas corporate offices. In traditional power-delivery systems, getting op tools that can convert that tempera-
Similar to Greer, Greene, Jenkins, and Martin, power from one place to another is the main ob- ture change to electrical energy. ₪
Brenda Pulis (’81 B.S., Electrical Engineering) jective. But as society evolves, so does technology,
also rose through the ranks of an energy compa- and while traditional needs such as power deliv-
ny—Oncor—to become a senior vice president. ery and system protection are still important, the
For his part, Shannon Caraway (’95 B.S., ’98 focus is now shifting to sustainability and the use Ramtin Madani (center)
M.E., Electrical Engineering) worked in various of data for greater efficiency. is working to optimize
the power grid



 the National Council of Examin- Richard Margolin’s

Robokind company

ers of Engineering and Surveyors was recognized
Software Engineering PE Licen- by Mechanical

Development sure Exam Committee and is cur- Engineering

rently on UTA’s Computer Science

Director and Engineering Department

Industry Advisory Board and the
Michael James Greene “J.G.” Mc- city of Arlington’s Zoning Board of
Laughlin, a development profes- Adjustments.
sional with more than a decade
of experience, has been named
the College of Engineering’s new 
director of development.
McLaughlin joined UTA in 2018 Award-
as director of development for
university initiatives. Prior to that,
he served as the associate director
of advancement for the University Entrepreneur
of Central Florida Foundation. He Richard Margolin (’10 B.S., Me-
also worked for the Heart of Flor- chanical Engineering) and his
ida United Way and spent time in Dallas-based company, Robokind,
the financial services and radio won an Emerging Technology Engineering) and the nonprofit for more than half a million people.
broadcasting industries. Award in the robotics category organization he founded, Water to “It was apparent to me that
McLaughlin obtained his Bach- from Mechanical Engineering mag- Thrive, have worked for more than the Third World water crisis is an
elor of Science degree in liberal azine. The company was recog- a decade to help communities in engineering issue, but really more
studies from UCF in 2003. He is nized for its robot, Milo, which Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Uganda about finding a way to get capital
a member of the Association of helps children with autism learn gain and maintain access to this resources in place for communi-
Fundraising Professionals and about social skills and emotional essential resource. ties to access aquifers and then
the Council for Advancement and understanding through the Robots In that time, Water to Thrive take ownership of and maintain
Support of Education. 4Autism program. Robokind also has helped with more than 1,000 the system once it’s built,” Mo-
offers Robots4STEM, which teach- projects that provide clean water eller says.
es visual programming through
 Jett, a highly advanced, facially

expressive robot.
“It’s a great honor, and we’re

Named to still wrapping our heads around
it,” Margolin says. “We’re a small

Board company with 22 employees and


Award Winner Computer Science and Engi-

the other winners are Fortune
100-type corporations, so it’s a

neering Department alumnus validation with our customers,
Ademola “Peter” Adejokun (’87 groups we’re talking to about new
endy Okolo (’10 B.S., ’15 Ph.D., Aerospace Engineering), an B.S., Physics; ’90 B.S., Computer programs, and potential investors.
aerospace research engineer at NASA and the first Black wom- Science and Engineering) was I hope people think what we’re
recently appointed to the Texas doing is important because of the
an to earn a doctoral degree in aerospace engineering at UTA, Board of Professional Engineers positive impact it’s having.”
was named the Most Promising Engineer in Government by U.S. Black by Gov. Greg Abbott. The board
licenses qualified engineers and
Engineer Magazine. She is a special emphasis programs manager in the
intelligent systems directorate at Ames Research Center in California.
regulates the practice of profes-
sional engineering.
 engineering alumni
In her speech upon accepting the award, Dr. Okolo said, “I am Nigerian,
Adejokun is a software en- Water to in 60 years
gineer with Lockheed Martin
so I know it takes a village, and because of that village of my family, my Aeronautics Company, a licensed
professional engineer, and a Lack of access to clean water is
friends, my partner, I am here, blessed and thankful.” certified Project Management a continuing problem in Africa.
Professional. He has served on Dick Moeller (’67 B.S., Industrial


1978 1987 Gregory Ropp (B.S., as a senior project 40. He is an associate 1940s
Kelcy Warren (B.S., Ademola “Peter” Ade- Industrial Engineer- manager in the Trans- professor in the Civil Ray Lowry
Civil Engineering) was jokun (B.S., Physics; ’90 ing) was selected as mission and Utilities Engineering Department (’48 B.S., Electri-
appointed to the UT Sys- B.S., Computer Science an associate technical Group. He is based in at Boise State University. cal Engineering) 90,
tem Board of Regents by and Engineering) was fellow by Boeing. The the firm’s Dallas office. March 30, New Smry-
Gov. Greg Abbott. Warren appointed by Gov. Greg Boeing Technical Fellow- 2010 na Beach, Florida.
is chairman and CEO of Abbott to the Texas ship program is a highly 2005 Wendy Okolo (B.S.,
Energy Transfer Partners. Board of Professional selective technical Hari Vasudevan (M.S., ’15 Ph.D., Aerospace 1960s
He serves on the UTA Engineers. Adejokun is a leadership career path. Civil Engineering) was Engineering) gave the Earl Milton Johnson
president’s advisory software engineer with honored as Oncor keynote speech at the (’61 B.S., Engineering) 90,
board and is a member Lockheed Martin Aero- 1995 Electric Delivery’s Rising MavsMeet Convocation March 7, Arlington, Texas.
of the Texas Parks and nautics Company. He Marc Miller, PE (B.S., ’05 Star at the company’s at the beginning of the He worked with NASA
Wildlife Commission. serves on the industry M.S., Civil Engineering) 2018 Supplier Diversi- fall 2019 semester at on the Gemini, Apollo,
advisory board for the is the senior technical ty Awards event. The UTA. A NASA aerospace and Skylab programs.
1985 Computer Science and professional leading ge- company he co-founded, research engineer, Dr.
Tarek Alzien (B.S., Engineering Department. otechnical engineering Think Power Solutions, Okolo earned a doctoral Heinz Joseph Chris-
Industrial Engineering) at Freese and Nichols. was also honored as degree in aerospace tian Wichterich
has been hired as vice 1992 He moved from the the 2018 Edison Elec- engineering from UTA. (’62 B.S., Electrical
president of operations Vidya Ramnath (M.S., firm’s Fort Worth office tric Institute Diverse Engineering) 84, July
Have an item for
for Boomerang Tube Industrial Engineering) to its Atlanta location Business of the Year. 17, Burleson, Texas.
Class Notes? Email
LLC, an oil tubular goods was named Emerson’s in February 2019. for
producer in Houston. president for automa- 2008 possible inclusion 1970s
Previously, he was vice tion solutions business 1999 Bhaskar Chittoori (Ph.D., in the next issue. Frederick William Garza
president of supply in the Middle East and Theo Chan, PE (B.S., ’07 Civil Engineering) was (’71 B.S., Electrical
chain and operations Africa. Emerson is a M.S., Civil Engineering) honored as one of Idaho Engineering) 70, July
for SouthWest Oil- global engineering and rejoined Freese and Business Journal’s 2019 20, Waco, Texas.
field Product Inc. technology company. Nichols in October 2018 Accomplished Under
Sam Herrin
(’77 B.S., Mechanical
Engineering) 64, Feb.
In Memoriam 26, Arlington, Texas.
Wendell Nedderman, who first doctoral degree program, in
Demmie Lee Mosley
founded the College of Engi- engineering.
(’72 B.S., Electrical
neering and later served as UTA He was dean of engineering Engineering) 71, April
president for 20 years, passed (1959-69), vice president for 21, Fort Worth, Texas.
away on May 8. He was 97. research and graduate affairs

Entrepreneur Award
Nedderman arrived on the (1967-68), graduate school ad-
Walter H. Delashmit Jr.
Arlington State College campus ministrator (1967-69), and vice

(’03 Ph.D., Electrical
in 1959, right as it was elevated president for academic affairs Engineering) 74, Feb.
14, Justin, Texas.
hrough a gift from a generous alumnus, the Maverick En-
to senior-college status. He was (1968-72). In 1972 he became
trepreneur Program and Award Fund provides significant
charged with building a school— acting president, and in 1974,
later, college—of engineering, president. Faculty financial support for the entrepreneurial efforts of UTA stu-
beginning with baccalaureate “President Nedderman was an and Staff dents. The program, which began last year and will run through 2021,
programs in aeronautical, civ- inspirational leader, far ahead Robert “Bob”
Marland Johnson
stimulates entrepreneurship by encouraging students to explore and
il, electrical, industrial, and of his times in his vision for UTA,
80, April 4, Oklahoma express their business ideas in a friendly environment. The corner-
mechanical engineering. He and his passion and dedication City. He taught in the
stone of the program is a business pitch competition where students
successfully added UTA’s first to excellence and student suc- Material Science and
master’s degree programs—in cess set the standard and high Engineering Department vie for tens of thousands of dollars in development funds and cash
for 35 years and served
electrical engineering and bar for all those who follow him,”
as associate dean of
awards. Winners in the first round of competition can continue to a
engineering mechanics—and its says President Vistasp Karbhari. the graduate school. second round where they can win even more funding.




B E A M AV E R I C K .

Striking Gold Sustainably Students in the College of Engineering

are gaining the skills and knowledge they

rtisanal and small-scale gold mining Dr. Smits’ team is meeting with need to change the world. Your gift can
residents and local universities to
(ASGM) is a way of life for many small towns get to know the people and find help support them along the way.
out what they want to fix and
in Colombia and Peru, but the decades-old what ideas they believe will and
will not work.
techniques employed by workers may have negative
“This is the first opportunity for
effects on residents’ health and the environment. U.S. researchers and engineering
students to collaborate directly
Kate Smits, an associate pro- scale industrial mining, but about with miners and their com-
fessor of civil engineering, is part 30% of all gold used worldwide munities—in conjunction with
of a team of engineers and social comes from its sources, which Colombian and Peruvian faculty
scientists that is working with leads to deforestation and envi- and students—to understand the
researchers and educators in those ronmental contamination because context of ASGM and develop so-
countries to find ways to increase mercury is used to process the ore. cially and economically appropri-
sustainability and lessen the Instead of going into com- ate socio-technical innovations,”
negative effects of mining without munities and telling them what Smits says. “These are not simply
disrupting the communities’ way to change and how to do things improved technologies and tech-
of life. better—an approach that often niques, but new social organiza-
ASGM is generally character- leads to resistance from the min- tions and networks of people that
ized by simple technologies and ers, whose families have used the make ASGM cleaner, safer, and
lower yields compared to large- same methods for generations— more sustainable.”


Box 19019 Non-profit Org.
Arlington, TX 76019-0019 U.S. Postage
Burlington, VT 05401
Permit No. 19


he country’s only university-based, Professor Luca Maddalena and his team to non-in-
arc-heated hypersonic testing facility for trusively measure the temperature and compo-
thermal protection systems came online sition of the plasma flow occurring within the
for the first time in June. The wind tunnel is locat- wind tunnel, as the tunnel will be heated beyond
ed in UTA's Aerodynamics Research Center and is temperatures that any uncooled physical mea-
one of only five of its kind in the U.S. It will soon surement device placed inside would survive. The
be equipped with a state-of-the-art femtosecond system is so advanced that it has never been used
laser system that will allow aerospace engineering in an arc-jet facility.

You might also like