Reinemann-Goss Returns to Alma Mater as Faculty Member

Accomplished alumna is newest assistant professor in burgeoning biomedical engineering program

Nikki Reinemann-Goss, a 2012 UM alumna, returns to her alma mater as assistant professor of chemical engineering in the new biomedical engineering program. Submitted photo

Even before Dana Nicole “Nikki” Reinemann-Goss graduated from the University of Mississippi, she sensed that one day she would return to her alma mater – not as a student but as a faculty member.

Starting Aug. 17, the university’s 13th Barry M. Goldwater Scholar will be an assistant professor of chemical engineering in conjunction with the university’s new biomedical engineering program.

“I applied for this position for a number of reasons,” said Reinemann-Goss, who earned bachelor’s degrees in chemical engineering and chemistry from UM in 2013 and her Ph.D. in chemical and biomolecular engineering from Vanderbilt University last May. “The prospect of building the new biomedical engineering program at Ole Miss from the ground up was an exciting opportunity I could not pass up. In addition, I would be able to return to my home state and alma mater to pursue exciting scientific areas.”

Reinemann-Goss’ research interests include probing the intersection of biology, physics and engineering by investigating higher-level cytoskeletal architecture and its constituent motor proteins.

“These are important for vital life processes such as cell division and motility,” the Batesville native said. “We can start probing how cell environmental factors or potential cancer drugs alter a certain cellular system and thus potentially make more effective therapies in the future.”

Starting this fall, Reinemann-Goss will teach a course, Biological Transport, for juniors. Her short-term goals include being effective in the classroom, establishing a biomolecular engineering lab and being a mentor to the BME students. Her long-term goals are helping the BME department develop its final curriculum, involving students more heavily in research across campus and publishing results (from both undergraduate and graduate students) in high-impact journals.

“I plan on achieving these goals by really getting to know my students and recruiting them early to work in the lab,” Reinemann-Goss said. “By obtaining and retaining students starting in their sophomore (or even freshman) year, they have time to develop really substantial experimental results that are publication worthy by their junior or senior year.”

Reinemann-Goss said to be an author on a journal article as an undergraduate is quite an accomplishment and could help foster love for continuing down the research track.

“Even if they ultimately don’t chose that path, this experience would be invaluable in applying for national scholarships, graduate school or medical school,” she said. “At the end of the day, I want to help my students be as successful for their chosen career path as they can be.”

Hiring Reinemann-Goss was a ‘rare opportunity,’ said Dwight Waddell, associate professor of electrical engineering and the BME program’s director.

“Not only is she incredibly qualified having graduated with her Ph.D. from a prestigious biomedical engineering program at Vanderbilt, she comes to us already attuned to life at Ole Miss and Oxford,” Waddell said. “Dr. Reinemann-Goss has expertise in biomolecular engineering, which will be immediately put to use through a shared research agenda with multiple departments on campus including biochemistry, biomolecular sciences in the School of Pharmacy as well as chemical engineering. We are thrilled to have her back, and we hope it still feels like home.”

Reinemann-Goss’ former professors recalled her academic achievements and dedication.

“I had the privilege to mentor Nikki from her first day in college,” said Nathan Hammer, associate professor of chemistry. “Because of her dedication and unique aptitude in chemistry, I recruited her to work in my research group.

“From day one in the lab, her natural abilities to perform high-level science were evident. She developed her research project on her own without any assistance and has operated on the level of a graduate student for the past few years. She’s a brilliant young scientist who has a bright future ahead of her. Her success is due not only to her intelligence and aptitude for science but also her unparalleled work ethic.”

Charles L. “Chuck” Hussey, chair emeritus and professor emeritus of chemistry and biochemistry, echoed those sentiments.

“Nikki is a multidimensional, exceptionally talented student,” said Hussey, now associate dean for research and graduate education in UM’s College of Liberal Arts. “She sees and understands concepts that most of her peers may never understand. We are very lucky that she chose to seek a degree in chemistry with us. She is destined for a great career in science or engineering.”

A Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College alumna, Reinemann-Goss also held memberships in Phi Kappa Phi, Tau Beta Pi, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and American Chemical Society. Conducting research under the supervision of Hammer, she presented at the 242nd national meeting of the American Chemical Society and the 41st International Conference on Environmental Systems of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Her extracurricular activities included serving in the Society of Women Engineers and the university’s chapter of Engineers Without Borders, and playing trumpet in the Pride of the South marching band.

In addition to having been a Goldwater Scholar, Reinemann-Goss’ said her most gratifying personal achievement was to receive a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.

“Receiving this funding allowed me to pursue the research path I wanted throughout graduate school and thus helped shape and build my scientific toolbox that I plan to use at Ole Miss,” she said.

She was also involved in the Engineering Ambassadors Network at Vanderbilt.

“Through this organization, I co-coordinated an Engineering Day at Vanderbilt for local eighth-grade students who come from low-income, high-risk environments to expose them to a variety of engineering disciplines,” Reinemann-Goss said. “They chose three disciplines and then performed related hands-on activities led by graduate students. Seeing their confidence in themselves and in STEM work grow throughout the day was an outstanding experience.”

Reinemann-Goss is married to Timothy Goss, a band director for the South Panola School District in Batesville. The couple has a son, Will, who starts first grade this fall. Her hobbies include spending time with her family and playing trumpet in local ensembles and at church.

 

 

Wade Stinson’s Unwavering Support Helps Engineering Students

Civil engineering alumnus's most recent donation funds student scholarship

Wade Stinson (BSCE 78) has been a faithful donor to the UM School of Engineering since his graduation. Submitted photo

By the time Wade Stinson (BSCE 78) received his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, he had already decided he would be a lifelong supporter of the University of Mississippi. Forty years later, the Memphis, Tennessee, native is still generously giving financial assistance to his beloved alma mater.

“I’ve always felt it was important for me to give back to Ole Miss engineering,” Stinson said. “In the early years, my contributions were fairly meager as I was just beginning my career. As soon as I was in a position to give more, I joined the Woods Order. After fulfilling my initial Woods Order pledge, I have continued to give at a similar level.”

Most recently, Stinson donated $25,000 to fund a scholarship for a deserving undergraduate civil engineering student in need of financial assistance. Stinson said he realizes that not everyone is as fortunate as he was.

“I earned several scholarships and my parents paid for my college education, so I only worked during the summers to earn spending money,” he said. “I had a roommate and good friend who was not as fortunate and worked several jobs while taking a full course load in civil engineering. I observed firsthand how difficult it could be to work your way through college.

“By establishing this scholarship, I hope to ease the burden for a deserving student like my former roommate.”

Stinson’s ongoing generosity is greatly appreciated, said Denson Hollis, UM Foundation development officer for the School of Engineering.

“For four decades, Wade Stinson has proven a faithful and generous benefactor of Ole Miss engineering,” Hollis said. “The School of Engineering in general and the Department of Civil Engineering in particular are deeply grateful to him for his gifts and his valuable counsel as a member of the Engineering Alumni Advisory Board.”

Stinson’s journey to the university began as a teenager following his family to Oxford to attend college basketball games.

“My dad received his engineering degree from the University of Tennessee,” Stinson said. “Since we lived in Memphis, he would frequently take me to Oxford to see his Vols play basketball. As we all know, once you’ve seen the Ole Miss campus, nothing else quite compares.”

When he was a senior in high school, Stinson went to Oxford and met with School of Engineering Dean Karl Brenkert and Department of Civil Engineering chair and professor Sam DeLeeuw.

“I was always pretty good in math and science, so CE was somewhat of a natural choice for me,” Stinson said. “Meeting with these two extraordinary gentlemen and educators sealed the deal for me, and I made the decision to attend Ole Miss. It’s a decision I’ve never regretted.”

After graduation, Stinson spent a nearly 40-year career in the electric, natural gas and water utility industry. The first 27 years, he worked for Memphis Light, Gas & Water eventually becoming its vice president of construction and maintenance. After retiring from MLGW in 2005, Stinson joined City Utilities of Springfield, Missouri, where he worked over 12 years as operations executive. He retired in September 2017 and now works part time as a consultant in the energy industry.

“Ole Miss provided me with an excellent technical engineering education, without a doubt,” Stinson said. “My time at Ole Miss also helped prepare me for future leadership roles, which proved invaluable in my career. We learned teamwork from working in groups on various projects.”

As an undergraduate, Stinson served in leadership roles through organizations such as Tau Beta Pi, Chi Epsilon and the American Society of Civil Engineers student chapter. He considers being selected to serve as chairman of the board for the American Public Gas Association as his most significant professional accomplishment.

“APGA is the nationwide association for municipal and community-owned natural gas utilities and has over 700 members in 37 states,” Stinson said. “After serving on the APGA board for several years, I was elected chairman in 2012. This was a very busy yet rewarding year as my duties included meeting with members of Congress, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Department of Energy.”

Stinson and his wife, Christy, live in Olive Branch. The couple has two adult children and four grandchildren. In addition to keeping up with the grandkids, he enjoys golf, traveling and attending Ole Miss sporting events.

“Some of our favorite travel destinations are the California wine country, Hilton Head and the Gulf Coast beaches,” Stinson said. “I recently rejoined the Engineers’ Club of Memphis, which has allowed me to reconnect with many friends and former colleagues. I also have more time to spend on physical fitness and try to work out frequently at the DeSoto Athletic Club.”

 

Dan Gailey Is Wired for the Future

Electrical engineering alumnus is founder and CEO of Synapse AI

Dan Gailey, founder and CEO of Synapse AI, earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Mississippi. Submitted photo

Like an electrical circuit that makes connections and produces and transfers power, Dan Gailey (BSEE 10) has found a way to do something similar with data.

As founder and CEO of Synapse AI, a decentralized network and marketplace for programmatic access to data and machine learning models, the University of Mississippi alumnus has formed lucrative and powerful partnerships with clients around the globe.

“I’ve had opportunities to work in various startups, venture capital and at Make: magazine,” said the Houston, Texas, native who migrated with his family to Tupelo. “I’m most proud of all the teams I’ve had a chance to know and work with, and the products we’ve launched together. Each venture is a new baby that takes significant love, support and care to grow through good times and bad.”

Through his profession, Gailey has met many makers from all over the world. Based in San Francisco, California, since he graduated, he spends most of his time in Europe and Asia traveling and working.

“My responsibilities are helping to move everyone forward through uncertainty to discovery as fast as possible to build something that has never existed before and making sense of everything while maintaining vision,” Gailey said.

The AI expert’s journey to worldwide success began when he decided to attend the university.

“My family suggested I check out Ole Miss, which I did,” he said. “I really enjoyed the culture, food and environment in and around the campus. I also met some smart and fun people that I really enjoyed spending my time with.”

Among Gailey’s favorite electrical engineering courses were Circuits, taught by associate professor Elliott Hutchcraft, labs taught by adjunct instructor Matt Inman and any class taught by associate professor Richard Gordon.

“Elliott really worked to make complicated topics more approachable,” Gailey said. “Richard was great because he is basically a super genius that knew all the answers to any questions we had. Matt’s labs were always wonderful because he really knew how to inspire everyone to work together and converge on solutions as a team.”

Inman recalled that Gailey was an excellent and innovative student.

“Dan showed a mix of maturity, excitement and inquisitiveness that helped bring others along to interacting in class. From the first day, he exuded that sort of entrepreneurial creativity and was never going to be content without leaving his mark on the world, finding his niche and making his name be known.”

During his junior year in electrical engineering, Gailey learned how to balance challenging workloads under significant time constraints. He also became fearless in leading, planning, prioritizing and delivering results-driven outcomes. The most significant lesson for Gailey was learning how to do all of that as part of a team.

“Ole Miss brought together some of the best and brightest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing, working and growing with,” he said. “For that, I’m grateful.”

Gailey’s family includes his mother, Angie Gailey, and brother Patrick Lee Gailey, both of Tupelo.

His spare moments are spent creating art, visiting museums, hanging out at hacker/maker spaces, experiencing new cultures and people, prototyping with electronics, reading science fiction and thinking about artificial general intelligence, or AGI.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alumnus Paul Whitfield Murrill Dies

Chemical engineering graduate was chancellor at Louisiana State University

Paul W. Murrill, a University of Mississippi engineering alumnus who served as chancellor at Louisiana State University for several years, passed recently. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – Paul Whitfield Murrill, a University of Mississippi alumnus who served many years as chancellor at Louisiana State University, died April 2 at his home in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He was 83.

Murrill was fondly remembered by a UM alumnus who knew him.

“Dr. Murrill received numerous accolades for his academic and business proficiency, all of which are certainly well deserved,” said Norman Jones, a 1970 civil engineering graduate who met the deceased through the church both attended. “His sincere and genuine people skills, however, are more difficult to describe. Regardless of the occasion or who was present, he was able to put his audience at ease and explain things in a manner that not only showed his expertise of the subject matter, but which also demonstrated his innate ability to connect with people on a personal level.”

Murrill’s humility, generosity of time and resources, and his kindness and compassion for others are qualities that Jones said he will always cherish.

“He was truly a remarkable gentleman, and I am honored to have known him,” he said.

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Murrill grew up in Hinds County, Mississippi, after his family moved there. A lifelong learner, his early education began in a one-room school in Pocahontas, then continued in the public schools of Clinton, from which he graduated in 1952. Receiving a Navy ROTC scholarship, he began his college education at UM, graduating magna cum laude with a degree in chemical engineering in 1956.

While at the university, Murrill met his wife, Nancy Hoover Williams, of Lexington. Upon graduation, he received his commission as an ensign in the U.S. Navy and spent the next three years as a naval officer aboard USS Valley Forge. Thus began a lifelong love for the Navy and the sea. He was initially machine division officer in charge of Valley Forge’s engine rooms, but always in search of a challenge, he requested and received permission from the captain to train for officer of the deck – underway, a position that was conferred upon him in 1958. He was later promoted from ensign to lieutenant (junior grade).

After discharge from the Navy, Murrill and Williams married in May 1959, and were married for 59 years. Murrill had a brief career as a chemical engineer at Columbia-Southern (PPG) in Lake Charles, Louisiana, but soon pursued higher education in chemical engineering. Encouraged by a mentor at UM, he attended LSU where he completed his master’s degree and then his Ph.D in 1963. Murrill was hired initially by LSU as an interim professor, but his natural leadership ability and intellect led to his being hired for a full-time position as professor in the chemical engineering department. He was named head of that department, then dean of academic affairs and provost of the university soon thereafter.

In 1974, at only age 39, Murrill was named chancellor of the Baton Rouge campus and served in that capacity until 1981. During that time, he was the 21st living American to be named a distinguished member of Phi Kappa Phi honor society, and in 1978, Change magazine named him one of the top 100 educators in the country. Under his leadership, LSU applied for and was granted a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa and became the 13th university to be named a Sea Grant institution.

Murrill oversaw the implementation of Title IX for women’s athletics at LSU and during the country’s bicentennial (1976) he launched a special project, “The Native Flora of Louisiana,” with botanical artist Margaret Stones executing the watercolor drawings. He was a member of 13 honorary and professional societies, including the LSU and Ole Miss alumni halls of fame. He wrote and edited many books, including seminal texts on process theory, which are still in use today.

In 2003, the Instrument Society of America named him one of the 50 most influential people in history in the fields of automation, instrumentation and control technologies. Murrill retired from LSU in 1981 and began an accomplished career in the corporate world. As a testament to his abilities, he was asked to and served on the boards of 27 publicly traded corporations regulated by the SEC. He was chief executive officer of Gulf States Utilities and continued on that board after it was acquired by Entergy Corp. He served as lead director of the board of Tidewater Inc., which named an offshore supply ship the Paul W. Murrill in his honor.

His corporate career also included serving on the boards of Piccadilly Inc, Foxboro Corp. (Massachusetts), Zygo Corp. (Connecticut) and the Baton Rouge Water Co. From 1979 to 1997, he was an adviser to the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Laboratory at Oak Ridge. He served on numerous nonprofit boards and foundations, including the Baton Rouge Food Bank and two years as chairman of the board of the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady.

Murrill was an ordained deacon at University Baptist Church, which he and his wife joined in 1960, and over the years he taught various ages in Sunday school. He had many and varying interests: early lighting, fishing and gardening, to name a few, but none so important to him as his family and religion. Of his many accomplishments, the most important was that he was humble, kind, ever-loving and compassionate. During his later years, he taught a Sunday school class of his peers (some older, some younger), and this was a most meaningful experience for him.

For six years, until January of this year, he wrote a newsletter he called “The Peep,” which began with his class and expanded to include a wide range of devoted friends in various parts of the country, who he greeted weekly as “my fellow pilgrims.”

Murrill was preceded in death by his parents, Horace and Grace Murrill, and a son Paul Whitfield Murrill Jr. He is survived by his wife, Nancy; son John (Elizabeth) of Baton Rouge; son Britt (Kasey) of Baton Rouge; daughter-in-law, Andrea, of Baton Rouge, and grandchildren, Parham, Baker, Paul, James Henry, Alexander, Boyd, Anna Grace, Gray and Mary Elizabeth Murrill, all of Baton Rouge, as well as two step-grandchildren, Ben Shea of Los Angeles and Ava Vasquez of Baton Rouge.

Information for this article came from Murrill’s obituary published in The Advocate in Baton Rouge.

 

A Vision for Engineering Education

Estate gift awards scholarships to transfer students majoring in engineering at Ole Miss

The Vassar Hemphill Estate left a generous gift to the UM School of Engineering for student scholarships. Submitted photo

A recent major gift bequeathed to the University of Mississippi School of Engineering will honor an esteemed graduate while providing financial assistance to students transferring to Ole Miss.

The School of Engineering established the Vassar D. Hemphill Jr. Memorial Scholarship Endowment with a gift of $138,400 from Hemphill’s estate. Recipients will be full-time transfer students majoring in engineering at Ole Miss.

Hemphill died at age 91 in July 2016 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

“We are extremely grateful to Mr. Hemphill for his foresight in planning a gift that will benefit students within the School of Engineering,” said Alex Cheng, dean of engineering. “When our alumni want to give back in return for the education they’ve received here, it speaks volumes about the Ole Miss experience.”

A native of Greenwood, Mississippi, Hemphill was a member of Sigma Chi fraternity and graduated from the university in 1949 with a bachelor’s degree in engineering administration. His career path includes employment at B.F. Goodrich, Dixie Steel and Leopards Interiors.

Prior to college, Hemphill served in the Philippines under Gen. Douglas MacArthur during World War II.

Vassar Hemphill (left) with his mother, Adele Barnwell Hemphill, and brother Simpson Hemphill. Submitted photo

In this article published in the Tuscaloosa News, Hemphill’s friends say he possessed encyclopedic knowledge about antique cars, old silver and camellias. His passion for car racing, golf, books, dancing and music remained prominent throughout his life. Additionally, trains, fine food and parties always made him happy, but most of all, he loved his adopted hometown of Tuscaloosa, the Mississippi Delta and being surrounded by close friends.

With a keen interest in historic preservation, Hemphill was a director emeritus of the Tuscaloosa County Preservation Society and a generous benefactor of the Jemison-Van de Graaff Mansion. He also was a co-founder of the Friends of WVAL and a longtime member of the Phoenix Club.

Hemphill and his wife, Adele, attended Christ Episcopal Church in Tuscaloosa.

“Planned gifts like Mr. Hemphill’s are so important to the welfare of our great university,” said Sandra Guest, vice president of the UM Foundation. “His gift will enable generations of students to reach their higher education goals and hopefully, one day, they will return the favor and the cycle will continue.”

For information on including the University of Mississippi in long-term estate and financial plans, alumni and friends can visit www.umfoundation.planmylegacy.org or contact Sandra Guest, UM Foundation vice president, at 662-915-5208 or sguest@olemiss.edu.

The Vassar D. Hemphill Jr. Memorial Scholarship Endowment is open to gifts from individuals and organizations. To contribute, send checks with the endowment name noted in the memo line to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655; visit www.umfoundation.com/makeagift; or contact Denson Hollis at dhollis@olemiss.edu or 662-915-5092.

 

UM Chemical Engineering Alumna Named Chairman, President of BP America

Susan Dio assumes leadership position May 1

Susan Dio, a University of Mississippi chemical engineering alumna, is the new CEO of BP America Inc. Submitted photo

As of May 1, the new head of BP America Inc. will be a University of Mississippi chemical engineering alumna.

Susan Dio has been appointed BP America’s chairman and president, making her BP’s chief representative in the United States. She will succeed John Mingé, who will move to chair a National Petroleum Council study of carbon capture utilization and storage technologies. Mingé will retire from BP in March 2019.

“It will be a great honor to represent BP in the U.S., which is home to some of our most important operations anywhere in the world,” Dio said. “I look forward to telling our story and meeting with BP employees all across the country.”

A fellow alumna remembers Dio as an excellent role model who set the bar high and helped other female chemical engineering graduates from UM who were looking to begin their careers in the oil and gas industry.

“I was a freshman her senior year and have very clear memories of her sitting at the (Delta Gamma sorority house) dining room table studying late into the night,” said Lisa Wadlington, global manager of chemical sales at Chevron Oronite Co. in Houston, Texas. “I would ask her what her future career plans were, which professors to avoid and all the usual questions.”

As it turns out, her interactions with Dio had a significant impact on Wadlington’s career.

“Susan worked offshore as a roustabout one summer for Mobil Oil, and my dream was to do the same,” Wadlington said. “When I expressed to Susan my goal, she provided me with the name of her contact, and he hired me. To this day, that summer is one of my favorite work experiences.”

Bob Dudley, BP group chief executive, said, “Susan’s breadth of operational and commercial experience gained with BP around the world — including leading our global shipping business, running a major refinery and managing a chemical plant — make her ideally suited for the key role of representing BP in the U.S. The U.S is a vital part of BP — we have invested more than $100 billion here since 2005. All our businesses, from exploration to refining to renewable energies, operate at scale in the U.S., and together they make up the largest portfolio of businesses we have anywhere in the world.”

A chemical engineer by training, Dio became chief executive of BP Shipping in 2015, with responsibility for moving 200 million tons of oil, gas and products around the world each year. Responding to the demands of a changing energy marketplace, she reset the organization’s strategy and oversaw the recent renewal of the BP fleet, including the commissioning and delivery of 26 highly efficient new tankers.

Over the course of her 33-year career with BP and heritage companies, Dio also has held senior commercial and operating roles in the U.S., U.K. and Australia.

“The engineering education I received at Ole Miss served as the foundation of my career,” Dio said. “I’m grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had — including the opportunity to mentor many of BP’s future leaders — and I can’t wait to join the team at BP America.”

 

 

Lawrence Anderson, Third African-American to Graduate from UM Engineering School, Reflects on Achievements

Electrical engineering alumnus has enjoyed long, successful career in paper, pulp industry

Lawrence (Larry) Anderson received his electrical engineering degree from the University of Mississippi in 1972. Submitted photo

Lawrence (Larry) Anderson (BSEE 72) has successfully navigated a career in manufacturing operations and both domestic and international sales with multinational companies. Retired since 2013, the Jackson native quickly credits much of his career accomplishments to his personal growth while earning an electrical engineering degree at the University of Mississippi.

Fifty years ago, Anderson was one of a handful of African-American students on campus following the integration of the institution by James Meredith six years earlier. Attending the university wasn’t a decision he immediately embraced, but he became the third African-American to graduate from the School of Engineering.

Why Ole Miss?

“During the civil rights era, I was encouraged to attend the university after a recruiter visited Brinkley High School,” he said. “I enrolled with five students from my segregated senior class. Dr. Donald Cole (UM assistant provost and associate professor of mathematics) was a classmate of mine.”

A friend since childhood, Cole said that he and Anderson were like ‘peas in a pod’ who would either excel together or fail together.

“We were not only classmates; we were friends who always enjoyed each other’s company,” Cole said. “Lawrence was always the ‘smart one’ in the group who set the pace for the rest. We complemented one another and helped each other in those difficult classes.”

Cole said Anderson was a hard worker who would never give up, and he was not surprised by his friend’s success.

“He learned from every mistake, every subtle error and every mishap,” he said. “He was excellent at studying and performing under pressure and meeting deadlines. … His calm demeanor always provided rational decisions even in heated situations. We have remained friends over the years and, to this day, I appreciate the excellent advice that he renders.”

Anderson said he remembers his Ole Miss professors liked to give homework but were supportive.

“The entire staff was supportive of minority students, including Dean (Frank) Anderson,” he said. “Considering what other minority students faced in other schools at the university, the engineering school stood out as very receptive.”

Anderson said he chose electrical engineering as his major because he had an uncle who was an engineer for Lockheed Martin in California. His math background and aptitude proved to be a good match. When he graduated, he was also commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Army.

“Graduating with a degree from Ole Miss went far beyond giving me the technical skills to compete in the workplace,” Anderson said. “I developed the soft skills and EQ (emotional intelligence) needed to work in a changing and competitive social environment. Both sets of skills continue to serve me well.”

After graduating from college, Anderson spent two years on active duty at Fort Belvoir and Fort Hood. He was hired by Procter and Gamble Cellulose after leaving the military. At P&G’s Perry, Florida, facility, he held a series of operational and manufacturing roles. Each role was unique in that he was the first African-American supervisor for which the mill employees had ever worked.

He got a chance to move closer to home in Memphis, where he was responsible for the development of maintenance systems for four plant locations and also became superintendent of the cotton linter pulp mill operations.

He moved into sales as the first African-American sales manager for P&G and established a solid reputation as he became highly proficient in both domestic and international sales and marketing. He effectively marketed and launched Champion International Paper’s first wet lap product line and was recognized by executive leadership for strategic excellence in sales in the company’s annual report.

As an international sales manager for Buckeye Cellulose, Anderson developed the business case for Buckeye to purchase a cotton linter mill in Brazil. He also was the specialty fiber sales manager for South America and Asia. He later worked as a senior sales manager for Weyerhaeuser, where he was the global account manager for Procter and Gamble, the largest account for the company.

Anderson retired as the director of technical services for the pulp business at Weyerhaeuser Co. in Federal Way, Washington. In this role, he was responsible for leading a global team of technical representatives that represented both customer and manufacturing interests and supported research and development of new products.

He also retired from the Army Reserve Corps of Engineers as a lieutenant colonel.

“My military experience was invaluable in my leadership development and personal success,” he said.

Reflecting on his professional achievements, Anderson said two stand out in his mind as the most fulfilling.

“Being inducted into the Eta Kappa Nu electrical engineering honor society is definitely at the top of my list,” Anderson said. “Considering the bumpy journey and environment that was present at Ole Miss from 1968 through 1972, this recognition appeared to be an improbable achievement.”

“Second, was being hired as the first African-American pulp sales manager with national and international accounts,” he said. “Being in a position on private planes to facilitate discussions with senior executives from several companies was a ‘pinch myself’ moment. For sure, I was a long way from Kansas.”

Anderson is married to Dorothy Anderson, a Vanderbilt University alumna with an Ed.D. degree in human development counseling. She is a licensed certified mental health counselor and supervisor. Anderson has two sons: Lawrence, a University of Memphis graduate with a degree in computer science; and Kofi, a 2004 Ole Miss graduate with a bachelor’s degree in English who earned his Ed.D. from Seattle University. His daughter, Erica, is deceased.

Anderson named golfing, boating and Rotary as his leisure and volunteer activities. He has also served on the UM School of Engineering Alumni Advisory Board.

For more information about the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of Mississippi, visit https://engineering.olemiss.edu/electrical/.

 

 

 

Colby Kimmel Named Mississippi Engineering Society’s 2018 Young Engineer of the Year

UM civil engineering alumna works as project manager at Mississippi Department of Transportation

UM civil engineering alumna Colby Kimmel (right) receives the MES Young Engineer of the Year Award from her supervisor, Richard Pittman, MDOT roadway project engineer. Submitted photo

Much like the roads she helps design, Colby Willis Kimmel (BSCE 08) goes the extra mile.

The University of Mississippi civil engineering alumna’s efforts have been noticed. Most recently, the project manager in roadway design at the Mississippi Department of Transportation was recognized by the Mississippi Engineering Society of the National Society of  Professional Engineers as the 2018 Young Engineer of the Year.

The award recognizes an MES member, age 35 years or younger, who has advanced the profession; exhibited technical competence, high character and integrity; developed improved member attitudes toward the profession; and contributed to public service outside his or her professional career.

“It is one of the most rewarding events of my life,” Kimmel said. “I work with so many talented young engineers in both the public and private sectors. To be recognized among this group is truly an honor.”

Ole Miss engineering is a family tradition.

“My father received his B.S.C.E. from Ole Miss in 1980, and my mother earned her Juris Doctor from the UM law school in 2002,” she said. “Growing up in Grenada, I naturally visited Ole Miss a few times, especially with my mother being in law school while I was in high school. She loved to take us to Ajax Diner on the Square.”

Spending time on campus and on the Square made the university an obvious choice for Kimmel.

“And what better place to get an engineering degree than the place where my dad got his,” she said.

As an undergraduate, Kimmel took several classes related to transportation under Waheed Uddin, professor of civil engineering and director of UM’s Center for Advanced Infrastructure Technology. Uddin’s classes allowed Kimmel the opportunity to visit a variety of places to get a glimpse of the “real world.”

“We took trips to the airport, an asphalt plant, a traffic management center and much more,” Kimmel said. “I also really enjoyed my senior design class with Dr. (Christopher) Mullen. We worked on creating a green hospital following the requirements in place for a hospital to be LEED certified.”

Uddin and Mullen said they remember Kimmel as one of their best students.

“Colby was one of a select group of junior and senior students who excelled in CE courses and were responsible and dependable students,” Uddin said. “After her graduation, Colby worked full time as CAIT research associate for an aviation research project funded by the National Academy of Sciences’ ACRP (Airport Cooperative Research Program) and Federal Aviation Administration. She contributed immensely to the successful completion of this national project, where we pioneered the accuracy evaluation and use of the airborne LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) remote-sensing survey for obstruction-free airspace in and around airports.”

Kimmel spent several semesters working at CAIT. Through these experiences, she learned about working for clients, meeting deadlines, managing time, budgets and reporting data. The senior design class permitted Kimmel and her classmates to work with civil engineers in the real world and apply their knowledge to an actual project. It also provided interview experience by requiring them to present their projects and then answer questions posed by a panel.

“I knew Colby as Catherine Willis during her stay here,” Mullen said. “I really came to know her abilities through group project activity she engaged in during the capstone design sequence I led at the time. She proved capable both individually and as a team player, receiving A’s in both semesters.”

While grateful for the Young Engineer Award, Kimmel said serving on the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Subcommittee on Design, Joint Technical Committee for Non-Motorized Transportation is her most fulfilling achievement.

“My interest in this began with a class on designing pedestrian facilities for the disabled community,” she said. “Since then, we have updated our standards in Mississippi as well as worked to educate other engineers, contractors, designers, inspectors, etc., on the importance of making sure our facilities are accessible to all.”

Being selected for this national committee has allowed Kimmel to expand her knowledge, work with representatives from other states and aid in the development of design criteria and guidelines.

“This issue impacts more people than most of us realize, and I have had the pleasure of meeting some of these people while teaching classes throughout the state,” Kimmel said. “It is truly fulfilling to be able to see the positive impact you are having within a community and for individuals.”

Uddin said that he is proud of Kimmel’s professional achievements, which culminated in her being honored as Young Engineer of the Year.

“Colby’s expertise in geospatial analysis and GeoMedia Pro software was instrumental, besides the world-class civil engineering education at Ole Miss in securing her a job for (an) EIT (engineer-in-training) position in the highway design division of the Mississippi DOT,” he said. “She has been a licensed PE for several years and recruited many Ole Miss CE alumni who work in the MDOT highway design division.”

Mullen agreed.

“I am especially glad to see that she has excelled in her work at MDOT, where leadership and teamwork are valued highly along with technical competence,” he said. “Her involvement in ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers) is additional proof of both her leadership skills as well as her commitment to professional service.”

Kimmel and her husband, Chris, have two sons: Barrett and Jack. Her favorite leisure activities include reading and being active in the Northminster Baptist Church in Jackson.

For more about the Mississippi Engineering Society, go to http://www.msengsoc.org/. For more information about the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Mississippi, visit https://engineering.olemiss.edu/civil/. For additional information about the Center for Advanced Infrastructure Technology, visit http://www.olemiss.edu/projects/cait/home/.

Mechanical Engineering Alumnus Shows He’s a Team Player

Justin Carrillo works for US Army Corps of ERDC in Vicksburg

Mechanical engineering alumnus Justin Carrillo is part of an award-winning division at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Economic Research and Development Center in Vicksburg. Submitted photo

Five years ago, Justin Carrillo (BSME 13) was only beginning his career as a professional engineer. Today, the University of Mississippi alumnus works as a research mechanical engineer and is one of the award-winning team members in the Geotechnical and Structures Laboratory at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center in Vicksburg.

“The U.S. Army ERDC Award for Outstanding Team Effort is one of the most fulfilling achievements in my professional career,” Carrillo said. “Personally, the best measure of success of any organization is the ability of teams to work together to accomplish overall objectives and goals of an organization. I firmly believe a successful team is greater than the sum of its parts. This award highlights the most important goal of my career.”

A Raymond native, Carillo decided to attend UM for several reasons.

“First, I had family members that graduated from Ole Miss as well as family that was currently attending Ole Miss at the time,” he said. “Second, the trips that were taken to view the engineering program made a big difference in deciding to be involved in Ole Miss’ engineering program and thus lead me to attending Ole Miss.

“Lastly, the amount of opportunities that Ole Miss provided both in and outside of the classroom played a major role.”

As an undergraduate, Carrillo gained practical experience by participating in the Student Temporary Employment Program at ERDC and in Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society. He graduated magna cum laude.

“My favorite professors were Dr. Jeffrey Roux, Dr. Tyrus McCarty, Dr. Ellen Lackey, Dr. Alexander Yakovlev and Dr. James Chambers,” Carrillo said. “All of the professors listed were without a doubt passionate, although expressed in different ways, about teaching and devoted to the success of their students even beyond the classroom. They were the professors in my eyes that made the biggest difference in the future of their students.”

Carrillo’s favorite engineering courses typically required heavy use of mathematics or use of some form of programming.

Arunachalam Rajendran, chair and professor of mechanical engineering, said he knew Carrillo would have a successful career one day.

“Justin graduated in the top 5 percent of his class in terms of overall GPA, with a unique talent to excel in all academic studies, including undergraduate research,” Rajendran said. “As I always believed that Justin would pursue his graduate degree, he is obtaining his master’s degree from the Purdue University under ERDC sponsorship. I am indeed very proud of our graduates like Justin who always bring laurels to Ole Miss as alumni.”

While working for the Mobility Systems Branch, Carrillo specialized in the area of high-performance computing for computational modeling of sensors, vehicle-terrain interaction and vehicle dynamics, as well as vehicle and sensor field testing.

He is a principal investigator and work unit manager on various programs related to the off-road performance of manned/unmanned ground vehicles, manned-unmanned teaming, and development of high-performance computer-based simulations for testing and evaluation of autonomous systems through sensor-environment interactions.

Justin Carrillo stands beside two of the vehicles he drives when at work with the Corps of Engineers in Vicksburg. Submitted photo

“My Ole Miss engineering education has given me the academic background that is needed to become successful in my career combined with additional broad-based skills that have played an even bigger role in the success of my career,” said Carrillo, who is working on receiving his master’s degree in computational engineering from Purdue University in 2019. “An Ole Miss engineering education comes with both academic and in-the-field knowledge, communication skills, leadership skills and, most importantly, teamwork skills that are critical for being successful in any career.”

A published author, Carrillo has written articles for numerous professional journals. He holds membership in the International Society for Terrain-Vehicle Systems and has received both the 2015 ERDC Award for Outstanding Team Effort and the 2014 Department of the Army Achievement Medal for Civilian Service.

Carrillo lives in Raymond, with his wife, Carra, and children, Lillian and Walter. When not working, he likes to play baseball, basketball and golf.

 

Dwight Waddell Directs Successful, New Biomedical Engineering Degree Program

With 51 students in the inaugural class, the number of applicants continues to increase

Electrical engineering associate professor Dwight Waddell continues teaching courses while leading UM’s new biomedical engineering degree program. Submitted photo

Years ago, a biomedical engineering degree program in the University of Mississippi School of Engineering was only a dream. But with 51 students accepted into the inaugural class last fall, the dream is now a wonderful reality.

“The word is apparently out,” said Dwight Waddell, BME program director and associate professor of electrical engineering. “Our current BME class has representatives from states across the country. Thirty-seven are new freshmen, and we had a fair number of transfers from other departments on campus after we got started last August.”

The idea and initial work for the new program were initiated by Ramanarayanan “Vish” Viswanathan, chair and professor of electrical engineering, with support from Alex Cheng, engineering dean. Waddell, who was a UM associate professor of health, exercise and recreation management, joined the engineering faculty in 2013 to facilitate program development.

“I was responsible for newly created courses, including Physiology for Biomedical Engineers, Biosignal Analysis, Introduction to Biomedical Engineering and a lab-based course to teach bio-measurement techniques,” said Waddell, who worked with Paul Scovazzo, associate professor of chemical engineering, to launch the emphasis. “Prior to this, I taught courses in biomechanics, electromyography and neuromotor control.”

Waddell said the inaugural class is exceptional.

“In truth, it is a hard curriculum, but the inaugural class was notable in their academic preparation before university,” he said. “The average ACT score and high school GPA of the applicants were quite high, which was very exciting for everyone involved. The students are very proactive. They are hungry.”

Last semester, the charter for UM’s Biomedical Engineering Society student chapter was established.

“It was really two students who did the lion’s share of work getting national approval,” Waddell said. “A big shoutout to BME students Justin Reynolds and Juliana Davis for making it happen and recruiting over 20 inaugural student members. It is an exciting time around here.”

If preliminary fall 2018 enrollment figures are any indication of what’s to be expected, the BME program is just getting started.

“The number of admitted applicants for the upcoming fall term is impressive,” Waddell said. “As of Feb 12, we have already admitted 142 biomedical engineering first-year students. This is a substantial increase in admitted students over the same time last year.”

While Waddell said not all of these students will decide to attend the university, he is confident that the number of incoming students will match and exceed expectations.

“Our number of retained students (admitted versus actual attendees) last year was above 50 percent,” he said. “On our original submission to IHL for approval, we estimated 30 freshmen for the second year, and I am confident we will meet and exceed that number.”

Chairs in both the electrical and chemical engineering departments said Waddell’s leadership has exceeded their expectations.

“Dwight is extremely busy this academic year,” Viswanathan said. “In addition to advising all (biomedical engineering) students, he’s juggling teaching two courses each semester, advising students’ research, conducting a search for two tenure-track faculty positions and serving on several university committees.”

“Dwight has done an outstanding job of moving the BME program forward,” said John O’Haver, chair and professor of chemical engineering. “His passion for the program, for the students, and his ability to work well with the departments that are involved in the program have caused it to progress rapidly and well.”

A former postdoctoral researcher at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Waddell has a master’s and a doctoral degree in biomedical engineering from the University of Texas and a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Louisiana State University.

The Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning Board of Trustees approved the biomedical engineering program in 2016. Biomedical engineering prepares students for rapidly growing opportunities in three primary job markets: biomolecular engineering, biomedical systems engineering and bioinformatics.

For more information about UM’s biomedical engineering program, visit https://engineering.olemiss.edu/biomedical/