Past OPTIONS Participant to Serve as Mentor-in-Residence for High School Girls
Posted: May 20, 2013
Kelsey Smith, a 2006 OPTIONS for High School Girls summer camp participant, will serve as mentor-in-residence for girls attending this year’s OPTIONS experience, which explores the vast career possibilities in engineering and computer science.
Smith, a resident of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio, will provide guidance and advice to this year’s OPTIONS for High School Girls attendees as well as teaching.
Smith, a Montana native, learned about OPTIONS through the Internet and attended the program before her junior year of high school. She credits the experience for deepening her understanding and interest in the diverse career opportunities in engineering.
“OPTIONS gave me incredible exposure to the different fields of engineering and the roles that women play in them. Being in an all-girls camp gave me the confidence to ask questions and explore more about the ‘how,’” Smith said. “There were so many opportunities offered – we were able to visit a wide range of plants and factories, and really see the in-depth functioning of different systems. In addition, I met some amazing women mentors.”
Smith graduated from high school in Bigfork, Montana, in 2008. There, she received varsity letters in soccer, track, and cheerleading; held leadership positions as speech and debate team captain, student council vice president, and newspaper editor-in-chief; and played first-chair flute.
Smith graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in 2012, where she majored in behavioral science with minors in Arabic and Spanish. Upon graduation from the Academy, Smith was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Air Force. She currently attends the Air Force Institute of Technology and is studying engineering management – human factors engineering. After graduation in 2014, Smith plans to work as a researcher in the Air Force.
Openings are still available in both OPTIONS for High School Girls, June 9-14, and OPTIONS for Middle School Girls, June 16-20. Thanks to the Alcoa Foundation, a limited number of scholarships are available for girls from Vanderburgh and Warrick counties. Attendees are welcome from all states and counties.
For more information, please contact Tina Newman, OPTIONS program coordinator in the University of Evansville’s College of Engineering and Computer Science, at 812-488-2651.
Robert Morse Awarded Prestigious Fulbright Scholarship
Posted: May 15, 2013
Robert Morse, professor of computer science, has been awarded a prestigious Fulbright Scholarship to spend the Spring 2014 semester in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
From February 1 through July 15, 2014, Morse will split his time between teaching and research at the University of Ljubljana. He will teach a graduate-level course on his specialty, computational algebra, and collaborate with local mathematicians on two research projects.
“I’m honored to be selected for the Fulbright and look forward to returning to Slovenia after visiting and presenting my research there in 2012,” Morse said. “My activities abroad will enhance my professional growth and challenge me mathematically as I will be providing computational expertise to several mathematicians at the University of Ljubljana in support of their research.”
“My work as a Fulbright scholar also will benefit UE’s vision and strategic plan by extending the University’s global reach and making deeper connections abroad,” Morse added, “and it will provide the groundwork for possible future student interaction between the University of Evansville and the University of Ljubljana.”
“At the University of Evansville, we’re very proud and excited for Dr. Morse,” said John Mosbo, senior vice president for academic affairs. “The Fulbright Scholarship is among the most prestigious and competitive in higher education, and Dr. Morse’s successful application for the award demonstrates that the University of Evansville’s faculty is truly world-class.”
Morse came to the University of Evansville in 1998 after a 12-year career designing avionics software for IBM Corporation’s Federal Systems Division. He is the co-editor of two books on computational algebra and is author of several peer-reviewed publications in mathematics. Morse holds a PhD and Master of Arts in mathematics from the State University of New York at Binghamton, as well as a Bachelor of Science in computer science from The Pennsylvania State University.
Morse’s previous honors include the University of Evansville’s Global Scholar Award from the Institute for Global Enterprise, Sadelle and Sydney Berger Award for Scholarly Activity, and Dean’s Teaching Award for the College of Engineering and Computer Science. He also has served as a visiting professor at the National University of Ireland in Galway (funded by a Marie Curie Transfer of Knowledge grant from the European Union) and received an Outstanding Technical Achievement Award from IBM Corporation.
The Fulbright Program, founded in 1946 and sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, offers grants for U.S. citizens to study, teach, and conduct research abroad, and for non-U.S. citizens to come to the United States. Each year, the program awards approximately 800 highly competitive, merit-based grants for U.S. scholars and professionals. Past Fulbright Scholars include recipients of 43 Nobel Prizes, 81 Pulitzer Prizes, 28 MacArthur Foundation Awards, and 16 U.S. Presidential Medals of Honor.
UE Seniors Win High Honors in Robotics Competitions
Posted: April 9, 2013
Two teams of University of Evansville senior engineering students earned awards at robotics competitions this past weekend. Jordan Stoltz and Eric Whitney, both of Evansville, won first place in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) SoutheastCon Hardware Competition in Jacksonville, Florida, while Lucas Phillips of Gentryville, Indiana, and Dan Scheller of Evansville placed second and were the top-finishing collegiate team in the senior division of the Trinity College Fire Fighting Robot Competition in Hartford, Connecticut.
Both robots were designed and built as students’ senior capstone projects at UE. Whitney, Phillips, and Scheller are electrical engineering majors, and Stoltz is majoring in computer engineering.
“The University of Evansville’s outstanding performance in these competitions proves that our engineering program is truly among the best in the nation,” said Mark Randall, the faculty advisor for both teams and a UE instructor of electrical engineering. “As these students prepare to graduate next month, I’m confident the skills and experiences they gained from these projects will serve them well in their future careers.”
At the IEEE SoutheastCon Hardware Competition, which took place April 5-6, Stoltz and Whitney competed against 51 teams that represented universities such as Duke University, The Citadel, Virginia Tech, and Clemson University. Stoltz and Whitney received an $800 cash prize and trophy for their first-place finish.
The IEEE SoutheastCon Hardware Competition required that robots simulate the sorting of containers and packages at a port, picking up different colored and sized boxes and sorting them for shipping by rail, sea, or air. Teams were scored based on the number of packages their robot picked up and correctly sorted during a specified time period.
To increase the difficulty of the competition, the “air” dock was located on the top of a ramp with no edges. If the robot was able to deliver these blocks, a large bonus was awarded. UE’s “Lefty,” named for the way it picked up blocks on its left side, was the only robot in the competition to successfully deliver packages to this area of the track.
“This project was one of the most difficult challenges I’ve ever seen students undertake, so I’m incredibly proud to see Jordan and Eric earn national recognition for their work,” Randall said.
In the Trinity College Fire Fighting Robot Competition, held April 6-7, teams were scored on the time it takes an autonomous robot to navigate a maze, locate a burning candle, and extinguish the flame. UE’s Phillips and Scheller competed against 48 teams from around the nation and worldwide, including teams from Brazil and Indonesia.
In addition to a second-place finish in the senior division (open to college students and above), UE’s entry — dubbed the “Great White Buffalo” for its boxy, white appearance — won the $500 cash prize Versa Valve challenge for achieving the best score while using a Versa Valve, a type of directional control valve.
EECS Competitions Update
Posted: February 18, 2013
Over the next two months, seniors in EECS will be busy preparing four entries for intercollegiate competitions in April. There are two teams preparing entries for the Fire Fighting Robot competition at Trinity College in Connecticut. Dan Sheller and Lucas Philips have a working robot created largely on a 3D printer that is getting around the maze. Kendra Norris and Ariel Cockerman (pictured) have a complete platform and are working on software. Eric Whitney and Jordan Stoltz have an entry for the IEEE Southeastcon hardware competition (in Jacksonville, FL, this year) that looks very promising. Their entry also was created largely on a 3D printer. Jared Wagoner and Ben Heidegger are preparing an entry for a new contest this year called the "Robo-Waiter", also at Trinity Collge at the same time as the Fire Fighting Robot competition. They have their sensors all completed and tested and are finishing the robot base.
EECS Teams Place Second and Third in Programming Contest
Posted: November 6, 2012
Two teams from the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department competed in the ACM Mid-Central Regional Programming Contest held on Saturday, November 3. The contest is conducted at nine sites simultaneously with a total 151 teams competing this year. The Evansville Team A of Mason Blankenship, Allison Deford, and Kyle Singer placed 2nd out of 14 teams at the Murray State University site and 30th overall in the region. The Evansville Team 1 of Melanie Conn, McIntyre Watts, and Dustan Zenthoefer placed 3rd at the site and 34th overall in the region. Blankenship and Singer are senior computer science majors. Zenthoefer is a senior computer engineering major. Conn, Deford, and Watts are junior computer science majors. Computer science professor Dr. Don Roberts coached the teams.
In this contest, teams of three students were given five hours to solve eight problems. The team that solves the most problems wins the contest with ties broken by a scoring system that rewards speed and accuracy. Both of the Evansville teams solved five problems as did the winner of the site. The overall first and second places in the region were won by teams from the University of Chicago, both of which solved all eight problems. The third place team from the University of Illinois solved seven problems.
Undergraduate Research Conference Features Dr. James McLurkin
Posted: October 18, 2012
The ninth annual Math, Engineering, and Science undergraduate research CONference (MESCON) will take place on Saturday, March 23, 2013 in Koch Center on the UE campus. This year's conference is being co-chaired by Dr. Dick Blandford and Dr. Deborah Hwang, and will feature Dr. James McLurkin as the keynote speaker. Dr. McLurkin is well known for his research and presentations on swarm robotics. He has appeared on the PBS science show Nova and has demonstrated his swarm of robots at the Indianapolis Children's Museum. Dr. McLurkin was the winner of the 2003 Lemelson-MIT Prize and has a PhD from MIT. He is a former lead scientist at iRobot Corporation, and he currently is a computer science professor at Rice University in Houston, TX.
MESCON is a forum for presentation of undergraduate research in which student papers are presented and judged by faculty, and monetary awards are given for the best papers in each area. Abstract deadlines for this year's conference is January 26, 2013. For more information, see http://csserver.evansville.edu/mescon.
MESCON is sponsored by CIHOLAS, Inc., of Evansville, Indiana.
Notable EECS Student Activities
Posted: October 17, 2012
Kendra Norris and Ariel Cockerman are the first all-women team from UE to compete in the fire-fighting robot contest at Trinity College in Connecticut. Both Kendra and Ariel are seniors in electrical engineering. In addition, Kendra did an internship at Crane Naval Base this summer and while Ariel spent the summer working for a local power company.
Kepra McBrayer spent the summer doing a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) at the University of Maine in Orono. Kepra is a senior in electrical engineering on the biomedical option. She is doing a senior project in conjunction with the Biology Department designing a programmable environmental monitor for small animals, and she currently is working with geckos. Kepra will graduate in May and will be going on to graduate school in biomedical engineering.
Alexandra Statham spent 8 weeks in Japan this summer. She spent the summer studying the Japanese language at Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University (APU) in Beppu, Oita, which is a city on the southern island of Japan, and traveling independently to Kyoto, Nara, and Tokyo. Alexandra is a senior computer science major with a minor in Japanese. She will be graduating in May and would like to work in Japan some time in the future.
Kyle Singer spent 5 weeks in Japan and South Korea with a study abroad program sponsored by the University of Evansville. After sightseeing in Japan, he spent a month studying the Korean language and culture at the Ewha Womens University in Seoul. On field trips and on weekends, Kyle visited various areas of Seoul, other parts of Korea, and spent his last weekend on vacation with a Korean family. Kyle is a senior computer science major and will graduate in May. He is planning to teach English in South Korea for a few years before applying to graduate school in computer science.
This past February, Allison DeFord, a computer science sophomore from Lafayette, IN, and Dr. Deborah Hwang, associate professor of computer science, attended InWIC (Indiana Celebration of Women in Computing) at Canyon Inn, McCormick's Creek State Park, Spencer, IN. InWIC is a small, regional conference for undergraduate and graduate women students in computing and their advisors. The program included two outstanding young women keynote speakers who are doing interesting computing research, talks on cutting-edge technical issues and on social issues of relevance to undergraduate and graduate women in computing, and a poster competition.
(updated October 26, 2012)
EECS Faculty Publish Textbooks and Papers
Posted: October 16, 2012
Dr. Dick Blandford and Dr. John Parr have published a textbook titled Introduction to Digital Signal Processing. Digital Signal Processing (DSP) is a mainstay course in electrical engineering programs and is a required course in the junior year at UE. The book was published in July, 2012 by Prentice-Hall. The book concentrates on digital filters and their design and implementation and has introductory chapters are wavelets and two-dimensional signal processing. Dr. Parr is an emeritus professor of electrical engineering at UE and has published a best-selling textbook on linear systems and another on control systems. Dr. Blandford published a book titled Digital Filter Analyzer in 1987, and the current book on DSP is his first textbook.
Dr. Robert Morse published the paper Two Generator p-groups of Nilpotency Class 2 and Their Conjugacy Classes with coauthors A. Ahmad, A. Magidin in the Hungarian mathematical journal Publicationes Mathematicae Debrecen. Dr. Morse is a professor of computer science.
Dr. Christina Howe published the paper General Education:Key for Success for an Entrepreneurial Engineering Career with coauthors Dr. Owe Peterson and Dr. David Kent of Milwaukee School of Engineering, and Dr. Mary Vollaro of Western New England University. The paper was presented at the National ASEE Conference in San Antonio in June, 2012. Dr. Howe is a computer engineering graduate of UE (2003) and has a PhD in EE from Vanderbilt University.
OPTIONS Program Receives $30,000 Grant from Alcoa Foundation
Posted: September 24, 2012
The University of Evansville is proud to announce that it has received a $30,000 grant from the Alcoa Foundation in support of OPTIONS, a summer program that introduces middle and high school students to the vast career possibilities in engineering and computer science.
The grant will provide scholarships for middle and high school girls to attend OPTIONS in 2013 and 2014, opening up STEM opportunities (science, technology, engineering, and math) to a population that is underrepresented in these career fields. Scholarships will also be available to OPTIONS graduates who enroll in a four-year degree program at UE.
During OPTIONS programs, students stay on UE’s campus in a residence hall, complete hands-on projects, take classes taught by UE faculty members, and meet local professional women in the engineering and computer science fields.
“We started OPTIONS for High School Girls in 1992 — and OPTIONS for Middle School Girls in 2004 — as residential summer programs to help young women with an aptitude for math and science learn about the exciting career opportunities in engineering and computer science,” said Phil Gerhart, dean of UE’s College of Engineering and Computer Science. “Today, we’re very grateful to the Alcoa Foundation for providing scholarship support to this program, which will allow a greater number of talented, motivated young women to experience OPTIONS.”
“Alcoa Warrick Operations is excited to be able to help support this program through the plant’s annual allocation from the Alcoa Foundation,” said Royce Haws, the location manager for the Primary Metals Division at Warrick Operations. “Most of our community investments from the Foundation are focused on education, recognizing that changes in the economy require upgraded skills that will help keep Warrick Operations globally competitive — investments in science, technology, engineering, and math are a key community and business need.”
The University of Evansville wishes to thank the Alcoa Foundation for its generous support of OPTIONS, in addition to other programs and projects at UE. Past Alcoa Foundation grants to the University of Evansville have supported the development of the LEED-certified Ridgway University Center, development of TWICE (the Tri-State Women in Computing and Engineering professional network), student scholarships, and the community-wide RecycleMania initiative.
For more information on OPTIONS, please visit options.evansville.edu or contact the College of Engineering and Computer Science at 812-488-2651.