Still Time for Tailgating around Brevard Hall

Sponsorships available for next season's home football games

Students, alumni, faculty and friends of the University of Mississippi School of Engineering enjoy tailgating in the Circle in front of Brevard Hall. Submitted photo by Ryan Upshaw.

As if life is not grand enough in the world of Ole Miss Engineering, during the fall semester, there is an added element of football, free food, outstanding student organizations, wonderful alumni, faculty and staff, friends and prospective students all converging on a premier real estate spot on the Circle.

Multiple red and blue tents provide cover for the Brevard Hall School of Engineering tailgate! The event is complete with big-screen game coverage and plenty of live color commentary. It’s always a fun and memorable game-day Saturday when spending it with your engineering friends at the tent or just stopping by on your way to the game.

Master chef/engineering professor Greg Easson continues the tradition of serving a few hundred of our closest friends who come to the tent for some of the finest game-day food available on campus.

“It was very cool to come to the engineering tent for the South Alabama game,” said David Prather, a high school senior from Oxford. “The food was great, and I got to talk to several engineering students and even the dean.”

Ryan Upshaw, assistant dean for student services, organizes student participation to cover football season.

“We can’t thank Dr. Easson enough for all the work he does to make sure each game is a win for engineering,” Upshaw said. “We’re probably enjoying a winning record of about 70-0 at this point!”

Two generous sponsors for the School of Engineering tailgate tent claimed their dates for the 2017 season. The Asset Co. of Canton is sponsoring the Nov. 11 game along with its tailgate host, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, or IEEE, chapter. And BorgWarner of Water Valley sponsored the Oct. 21 game along with its host, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, or AIChE, chapter. 

If you would like to be a $1,000 sponsor next year, please email marni@olemiss.edu. We would be happy to hang a banner with your name on it.

Alumni and friends, join us anytime. Thank you to all of our student organizations for helping make football season special in the School of Engineering, including AIChE, IEEE, the Engineering Student Body, Engineers Without Borders, Society of Women Engineers, Tau Beta Pi and American Society of Civil Engineers.

Hotty Toddy from Brevard Hall!

Engineering Students Take Study USA Intersession Course in New York City

Civil engineering professor guides class to close-up of bridges, sites in the Big Apple

Christopher Mullen (center) stands with his students in front of the area where the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers once stood. Submitted photo

During May 2017 intersession, seven University of Mississippi civil engineering students ventured to New York City as enrollees of a new course titled “Bridges of New York.” The first offering proved to be an adventure in many respects for all involved.

“The idea for the course grew out of a bridge engineering course I taught the year before,” said Chris Mullen, UM associate professor of civil engineering. “I’d worked in Manhattan a number of years before beginning my academic career and thought that my excitement about the topic would be best shared and explored firsthand.”

Participant Tennant Duckworth agreed, finding it “a wonderful experience both in terms of academic knowledge and life experience.”

“Walking around the city helped to reinforce the topics covered in class,” he said. “Meeting with the various professionals and professors living and working in New York City was a great experience to gather a greater idea of the scope of the projects.”

The course was structured through a proposal submitted to UM’s Study USA program. After the idea was approved, a detailed agenda was mapped out with program director Laura Antonow, who had received her M.F.A. degree at Parsons School of Design in New York.

“It was decided to spend three days on campus preparing for the trip and a full week in New York City,” Mullen said. “While the focus would be on site visits to major bridges, time would be spent meeting with engineering professionals, with a number of museum visits and tours to provide cultural exposure.”

Before traveling, the class met for four hours each of the three days on campus to review structural engineering concepts related to bridge analysis, design, technology and maintenance. Textbook and assigned reading selections provided historical context and details of individual bridges, some of which the students visited.

UM engineering students listen as professor Andrew Smyth (right) gives them an overview of the Carleton Laboratory at Columbia University. Submitted photo

A variety of technical assignments were given including research on travel times to traverse multimodal transportation routes, design calculations for main cables of suspension bridges, live loads for locomotives, and influence lines for shear and moment in beam girders.

“After traveling on their own the night before, the class literally hit the ground running the first day,” Mullen said. “The class departed the hotel at 9 a.m., caught a subway from Grand Central Terminal to Brooklyn Bridge station, walked the milelong trek on the bike/pedestrian promenade across the bridge and down to Brooklyn Bridge Park and caught another subway that passed through a tunnel under the East River back to Manhattan.”

The group then listened to an hourlong presentation by young bridge project engineers in the offices of WAI, a major consulting firm located on Wall Street, caught yet another subway to Times Square, walked a half mile to Pier 83, took a one-and-a-half-hour Hudson and East River cruise on the Circle Line multilevel vessel around Lower Manhattan, passed under three historic East River suspension bridges, reversed their walk back to Times Square, passed the Port Authority bus terminal and returned to Grand Central Terminal and the hotel.

“The entire first day, they walked a total of over 20,000 steps in one day, according to one student’s fitness tracker,” Mullen said.

After the first day, the rest of the week flew by. The class became experts in subway travel by the third day and were able to enjoy many sites on their own at the end of each day including a number of museums.

The second day was a bit more relaxed and included a morning tour of the One World Observatory at the top of the Freedom Tower, which afforded views of all of Manhattan, the Hudson and East rivers, and the New York Bay, as well as the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, the newly completed Oculus and World Trade Center Transportation Hub, and the Tribeca Bridge.

“Visits to the George Washington and Tappan Zee bridges were spread over subsequent days,” Mullen said. “On route to the GWB, the class visited the main campus of Columbia University and received a guided tour of the Carleton Laboratory inside the

UM civil engineering professor Christopher Mullen (center) shares a moment with the project manager for the replacement of the Tappan Zee Bridge. Submitted photo

multistory engineering building.

The tour was led by a civil engineering professor who explained details of a unique test apparatus for a full-scale bridge cable, a moderate scale shake table he used for his research, and a loading machine capable of applying nearly a million pounds of force to bridge components.”

After lunch at Chelsea Market, the class traveled by chartered van to the New York Thruway Authority project office for the new New York (now Mario Cuomo) Bridge that carries Thruway traffic along a 3.2-mile crossing of the Hudson River. Weather prohibited access to the actual construction site, but the class saw a detailed presentation of the complete design and construction of the bridge including novel cost-saving techniques for prefabrication of deck and piers, delivery by river, and installation by dedicated derrick barge moored at the site.

“The final day was capped by a relaxed breakfast at the Princeton Club,” Mullen said. “Those who did (not) have morning flights were treated to an informal discussion with a world-class structural engineering expert who asked them some very challenging questions relating to the future of the profession.”

 

13 Engineering Students Named Brevard, Adler Scholars

Freshmen hail from four states and represent several majors

Dean Alex Cheng (back row, left) meets with Brevard and Adler scholars (front row, from left): Haley Watts, Kelly Bates, Nayan Chawla; (back row, from left): Bryce Little, Laine Keel and William Guy. Submitted photo by Ryan Upshaw

Thirteen University of Mississippi students have been named recipients of major scholarships in the School of Engineering this fall.

Representing Mississippi, Alabama, Illinois and Tennessee, they are this year’s Brevard and John G. Adler scholars. This exceptional group of students posted an average ACT score of 33.4 and an average 3.92 high school grade-point average.

“We are pleased to welcome these outstanding students into the School of Engineering,” Dean Alex Cheng said. “We are also thankful for the generous support of our donors who make it possible for us to award these scholarships and attract the best and brightest students to the university.”

A graduate of West Lauderdale High School, Kelly Bates is one of this year’s recipients of the Brevard Engineering Scholarship. After being recruited by universities such as Yale, Vanderbilt and Harvard, she chose to pursue a degree in biomedical engineering at Ole Miss and accepted membership in the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College.

“I was completely humbled,” she said. “I never expected to receive something like this, and it just solidified my decision that Ole Miss would help me thrive, grow and experience the most as a college student.”

Bates, a native of Collinsville, earned the title of STAR student and valedictorian. Named one of Mississippi’s U.S. Presidential Scholars, she participated in the UM Summer College for High School Students engineering program. She served as president of the National Honor Society and on the Youth Ambassador Council for the Mississippi Children’s Museum.

She hopes to get involved in undergraduate research experiences early on in her college career as she prepares to attend medical school.

“The research opportunities here along with the close-knit community makes it the best of both worlds,” Bates said. “Where else can you work in an R1 rated lab where the professor knows you by name and wants to help you learn and grow?”

Other Brevard scholars include Nayan Chawla of Cleveland, William Guy of Saltillo, Baylee Howard of Corinth, Bryce Little of Clinton, Laine Keel of Lucedale and Jennifer Myers of Raymond.

Chawla was named a STAR student and National Merit Finalist at the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science. He served as a student government senator and member of the physics club, mock trial team and Technology Student Association. He plans to study computer science as a member of the Honors College.

Salutatorian at Saltillo High School, Guy served as vice president and president of the student council, junior class president, senior class secretary and attended Mississippi Boys State. He was also a member of the Scholars Bowl and math and science teams. He plans to study electrical engineering as part of the Honors College. He will also be a member of the Chancellor’s Leadership Class.

Corinth High School’s STAR student, Howard earned the title of salutatorian and was named to the Hall of Fame. She served as student council vice president and was a member of the Mayor’s Youth Council and Junior Leadership Alcorn. She received various honors at state-level math and science competitions. She will pursue a degree in biomedical engineering as part of the Honors College.

A National Merit Finalist, Little earned the rank of Eagle Scout at Clinton High School. Ranked eighth in his class, he participated in the Tech Jackson Computer Coding Competition and was named Model United Nations Outstanding Diplomat. He attended Mississippi Boys State and participated in the Clinton Chamber of Commerce Youth Leadership Committee. He will study biomedical engineering as part of the Honors College.

Keel was ranked third in his class at George County High School. He attended the APEX Leadership Summit at Ole Miss and received numerous academic awards. He was captain of the quiz bowl team and president of the mathematics club. He will study biomedical engineering as part of the Honors College.

Myers was named STAR student and valedictorian at Hillcrest Christian School. She served as vice president of the National Honor Society and editor of the yearbook. She played varsity soccer for four years and has volunteered as a youth soccer coach. She plans to study biomedical engineering as part of the Honors College.

Receiving the Adler scholarship sealed the deal for Jake Noll of Columbia, Illinois, to enroll at the university.

“This scholarship was the final push in my decision to choose Ole Miss as my future home,” he said. “Thanks to this generous scholarship, I will be coming out of college debt free. This lifts a huge weight off of my shoulders and allows me to focus entirely on my studies.”

Noll graduated as valedictorian of Columbia High School. An Eagle Scout, he served as vice president of the National Honor Society and captain of the cross-country team. He was also a member of student council and the scholastic bowl. He will study chemical engineering as part of the Honors College.

“I toured many schools across the country. I found what was missing once I toured Ole Miss and visited its engineering department, Noll said. “What Ole Miss had that other schools lacked was this: personal connection and belonging. At Ole Miss, I felt that I would be a name and not a number.”

He hopes to work in the area of alternative energy or the aerospace industry, and he would like to further his education in materials engineering after graduation.

This year’s other Adler scholars are Charles Gilliland of Memphis, Tennessee, Elizabeth McCutcheon of Hartselle, Alabama, Ashton Murrah of Corinth, Samuel Plash of Mobile, Alabama, and Haley Watts of Hattiesburg.

Gilliland was a National Merit Commended Scholar at Memphis University School. Listed on the faculty honor roll, he was captain of the cross-country team. He has worked with the Memphis Research Group as an intern in security research analysis and database management. He will study computer science as part of the Provost Scholars program.

McCutcheon earned the status of valedictorian and AP Scholar with Distinction at Hartselle High School. She also participated in the UM “Heads in the Game” summer research program. She served as senior class president, HHS ambassador and attended Alabama Girls State. She will study biomedical engineering as part of the Honors College.

A National Merit Commended student, Murrah was ranked third in her class at Corinth High School and chosen for the Hall of Fame. She was a member of Junior Leadership Alcorn and the Mayor’s Youth Council. She was also a student council representative and captain of the cheerleading squad. She will pursue a degree in biomedical engineering as part of the Honors College.

A National Merit Finalist, Plash served as student body president and was named valedictorian at UMS-Wright Preparatory School. He served as class president for two years and was captain of the football team. He received various academic awards including the Edward C. Greene scholarship for the top student in the junior class. He will pursue a degree in civil engineering as part of the Honors College. Plash will also be a member of the Ole Miss football team.

Watts represented the Mississippi School for Math and Science at the Lott Leadership Institute in summer 2016. She served as an MSMS emissary and was a member of the student government association and mock trial team. She participated in university research in an epidemiology lab. She will pursue a degree in biomedical engineering as part of the Honors College.

 

 

 

 

NCCHE Software System Provides Real-Time Solutions during Floods

Cutting-edge technology used to predict flows and estimate consequences when dams, levees fail

Members of the National Center for Computational Hydroscience and Engineering research team collaborate on the latest user request on the DSS-WISE Lite software the team created for dam and levee failure projections. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – A cutting-edge software program developed by scientists at the University of Mississippi is proving beneficial in dam- and levee-breach flood predictions and preparations across the country.

Researchers at UM’s National Center for Computational Hydroscience and Engineering created DSS-WISE Lite, a web-based, automated and fully geographic information systems-integrated, two-dimensional dam- and levee-break flood modeling and mapping system.

With resolutions from 20 feet to 200 feet, the free system is being accessed by users from the Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters, 10 FEMA regional offices, stakeholder federal agencies and state dam safety offices.

“Since its startup 10 months ago, the system handled more than 1,800 simulations,” said Mustafa Altinakar, NCCHE director and research professor. “There are currently 200 users from all over the U.S., and the number of users is growing fast.”

By using the web-based system, vetted users can easily set up and run simulations of varying scenarios in the event of a dam or levee failure and obtain outcomes. The results, including fully GIS-compatible maps, are being returned to the user within a half-hour in 73 percent of the cases and within two hours in 90 percent of the cases.

“The challenge is to get these calculations in real time in order to best facilitate emergency action plans,” Altinakar said. “This is a truly unique system. There’s no system like this anywhere else in the world.”

An example of the system’s use is when a steady barrage of storms in early 2017 resulted in serious damage to the Lake Oroville spillways north of Sacramento, California, which included a concrete failure on the lower chute of the gated flood control spillway. The California Department of Water Resources used DSS-WISE Lite extensively during the incident to generate emergency flood mapping so it could prepare appropriate emergency response plans. 

NCCHE is partnering with Argonne National Laboratory in the U.S. Department of Energy to add a new module to the DSS-WISE Lite system for estimating potential human consequences of dam- or levee-break floods. This new module provides population-at-risk and loss-of-life analyses – based on the USBR method – and flood-risk mapping.

“This system is so well designed that you don’t have to be an expert engineer in order to set it up and run it,” said Marcus McGrath, a research associate at NCCHE. “It literally won’t let you make a mistake.”

Computational models forecasting the effects of flooding on Texas should various categories of hurricanes strike played a major role in dealing with Hurricane Harvey and several earlier disaster forecasts.

“The system can compute many different dam- and levee-failures scenarios very quickly,” said Vijay Ramalingam, NCCHE research scientist. “It has proven to have the necessary computational speed to serve during actual emergencies.”

Because DSW-WISE Lite involves multiple web connections, the research scientists carry out frequent penetration tests to prevent cyber attacks. The system also is designed to suspend computations and then resume them in event of electrical power outages on campus.

“Our team conducts tabletop exercises and teaches short courses on how to use the system,” said Paul Smith, coordinator of computing facilities at NCCHE. “So far, we have four different locations scheduled for courses in 2018.”

With the 2017 hurricane season already having produced Harvey, Irma, Jose and Maria in the past few months, Altinakar and his team have been assisting various federal and state agencies by running emergency simulations and responding to technical questions.

“Our team is truly dedicated,” Altinakar said. “Whenever we receive a call for our help, we respond on the dot, knowing that accurate and timely information yielded by the system can literally save lives.”

Two Engineering Freshmen Named Stamps Foundation Scholars

Harrison McKinnis of Madison and Robert Wasson of Jackson among 2017 recipients of prestigious academic honor

Ryan Upshaw (left), assistant dean, welcomes 2017 Stamps Foundation scholars Robert Wasson of Jackson and Harrison McKinnis of Madison to the UM School of Engineering. Submitted photo

Two outstanding engineering freshmen at the University of Mississippi are among recipients of the Stamps Foundation Scholarship.

Harrison McKinnis of Madison and Robert Wasson of Jackson, will major in chemical engineering and be members of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College. McKinnis will also participate in the Haley Barbour Center for Manufacturing Excellence. Both are also members of the Chancellor’s Leadership Class.

With its partner universities, the Stamps Foundation seeks students who demonstrate academic merit, strong leadership potential and exceptional character. Through the foundation, students have access to funding to engage in internships, undergraduate research or other professional development activities. Potential Stamps scholars are invited to campus for a special weekend visit to get an in-depth look at the university’s academic programs as well as opportunities to interact with campus administrators and current students.

“Harrison and Robert are shining examples of the outstanding students that the Stamps scholarship has helped Ole Miss attract over the past few years,” said Ryan Upshaw, assistant dean for student services for the School of Engineering. “I look forward to their contributions to our academic program and the university as a whole.”

McKinnis said he is grateful to be considered for the scholarship.

“I felt that every candidate was worthy of the scholarship, and I was shocked to find out I was chosen,” he said. “At that point, my college decision process ended, and I knew that I had found my new home, one that wants to support me just as I want to support it.”

McKinnis also noted that his visits to campus were a major factor in his decision to enroll at the university and in the School of Engineering.

“I found that the University of Mississippi had a chemical engineering program that would challenge me academically but also support me in finding opportunities to advance in my professional and personal lives,” said McKinnis, who was named salutatorian and STAR student at Madison Central High School.

A National Merit Finalist and AP Scholar with Honor, he scored a perfect 36 on the ACT. Named Mr. Madison Central High School, McKinnis was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame and received highest average honors in 18 subjects. He was also a member of the MCHS Engineering Academy for three years.

Beyond academic excellence, McKinnis was also a top leader at Madison Central. He served as co-president of the MCHS Student Government Association after serving as class treasurer for two years. He also served as a junior ambassador for the Chamber of Commerce, Madison County Youth Leadership ambassador and represented his school at the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Conference.

McKinnis was also a student-athlete as a member of the MCHS soccer team. In the community, he has given time to a variety of organizations including the Mississippi Food Network, American Cancer Society and Soccer Kids Camp.

He hopes to participate in a co-op or internship with an engineering firm at some point in his undergraduate education to gain the experience and knowledge to become a professional engineer. McKinnis is considering entering the practice of chemical engineering or pursuing further education upon graduation.

Like McKinnis, Wasson’s academic and leadership record afforded him various college options. However, it was the personal attention he received during his visits to campus that helped him decide to attend Ole Miss.

“After touring many other engineering departments nationwide, I decided to attend Ole Miss because it felt the most like home,” he said. “The Ole Miss chemical engineering department was a welcoming environment that I knew would provide me with the opportunities to have one-on-one contact with professors and other opportunities not available at other institutions. Additionally, Ole Miss encourages its engineers to be involved outside of the classroom and to pursue other interests.”

Wasson was also excited to learn that he had been named a recipient of the Stamps scholarship and ready to take advantage of the unique opportunities the award offers.

“When I learned of my selection as a Stamps Scholar, I was deeply humbled and honored to be chosen out of such a competitive field full of great applicants,” he said. “I then realized the tremendous charge I had been given to do great things with such an amazing opportunity.”

Wasson was salutatorian at Jackson Preparatory School. A National Merit Finalist and STAR student, he scored a 36 on the ACT as well. Wasson was featured in Portico Magazine’s “25 Students Who Will Change The World” edition and the Jackson Free Press “Amazing Teen” issue in 2016.

During summer 2015, Wasson spent time on the Ole Miss campus participating in the Heads in the Game summer research program through the School of Engineering, where he conducted research on concussions in student-athletes. In 2016, he was selected to participate in the Trent Lott Leadership Institute at UM, where he took courses in political science and speech as well as traveled to Washington, D.C.

Active in the community, Wasson earned Eagle Scout status and volunteered with the Youth Ambassador Council for the Mississippi Children’s Museum as well as Batson Children’s Hospital. He was also a part of Youth Leadership Jackson and attended Mississippi Boys State. He served on the senior advisory board for Jackson Prep’s Global Leadership Institute and as a member of the Prep Patriot League, the school’s student ambassador program. He was also a student-athlete on the cross-country team.

Wasson hopes to take full advantage of the opportunities available to him via the Stamps scholarship and plans to attend medical school after graduation.

 

 

Computer Science Student Wins Quip Diversity Technology Scholarship

Blake Lewis visited organization's San Francisco offices in August

Blake Lewis of Ocean Springs, a senior computer and information science major, has received a Quip Diversity in Technology Scholarship. Submitted photo by Ryan Upshaw.

A University of Mississippi engineering student has been awarded the Quip Diversity Tech Scholarship.

Blake Lewis, a senior computer science major with minors in mathematics and sociology, visited software company Quip’s office in San Francisco in August. The scholarship supports students who are underrepresented in STEM fields, particularly computer science, and includes but is not limited to women, African-Americans, Latinos, American Indians, LGBTQ+, first generation, and/or people with disabilities.

The Ocean Springs native heard about the scholarship opportunity via an intradepartmental email.

“Carrie Long, the administrative secretary for our department, sent the email from the Career Center about this program to all the computer science students, and she encouraged any of us eligible to apply,” Lewis said. “So I decided it couldn’t hurt.”

Lewis said visiting Quip was a wonderful experience. The team members not only talked about different topics in computer science with the scholarship recipients, such as design, product engineering and site reliability, but also provided professional advice about career growth and job searching. Lewis had the chance to meet with the CEOs of Quip, Kevin Gibbs and Bret Taylor.

“We learned about some things that Bret and Kevin created while working for other companies like Google Map, Google Suggest and Facebook,” Lewis said. “My favorite part of the day, though, was the panel discussion about diversity in tech.”

He said the biggest takeaway of this panel was that companies must ensure those who are creating the products accurately represent the market they wish to reach in order to create innovative products that are accessible to everyone.

“One of the panelists, Erica Baker, talked a lot about Project Include, which is a company that encourages tech startups to think about diversity and inclusion from the start,” Lewis said. “I think it is important for CS and other engineering students who wish to have a tech startup in the future to know about Project Include and the important work they are doing.”

Lewis has developed a passion for diversity and inclusion since he started at the university. Especially being a community assistant for the Department of Student Housing since his sophomore year of college, he has a more profound understanding about diversity.

“As a CA, I have made it my goal to make freshman residents feel welcome, no matter who they are, and help them get connected to the community,” he said. “On the flip side, I’ve also had to have some tough conversations with residents about diversity and inclusion and how things they say and do can affect people and their access to education.”

Lewis has been serving his second year as vice president of community assistant development for the UM Community Assistant Association and president of the National Residence Hall Honorary. He is also an active member of the UM Pride Network.

Outside the classroom, he has served as an ACUHO-I (Association of College and University Housing Officers International) intern at Montana State University Billings, and been an intern at the same institution’s Diversity Center.

He plans to do his senior project for the housing department this year. Deeply influenced by his experience as a CA, Lewis also would like to pursue a master’s degree in higher education/student affairs and hopes to get a graduate assistantship as a hall director for a residence hall while he is getting his master’s.

“Quip’s staff was very diverse, and it was amazing to meet successful queer computer scientists,” he said. “I would definitely encourage other people at Ole Miss to apply.”

 

 

 

 

 

Engineering Fall Enrollment Includes Inaugural Biomedical Engineering Class

New admission standard expected to ensure higher quality of students, help underprepared students succeed

New School of Engineering students attend the Engineering Freshmen Convocation. Submitted photo by Ryan Upshaw

The Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering program at the University of Mississippi is off to a successful start. Approved last November by the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning, the inaugural class consists of 37 new freshmen and 17 internal transfers.

“The new freshmen have an average ACT score of almost 31 (30.9) and GPA of 3.92,” said Alex Cheng, dean of the School of Engineering. “Seventy-three percent of them have at least a 30 on the ACT. We anticipate a great success for the program.”

This fall also marks the first time the engineering school raised its admission requirements to reorganize the student body and better develop underprepared students. Incoming freshmen in every UM engineering degree program except general engineering are required to have an ACT math score of 25 and high school GPA of 3.00 to be admitted. Students with an ACT of 22-24 and a GPA of 2.80-3.00 are admitted to the general engineering program.

“These students are in Math 125, EDHE 105 and three sections of Introduction to Engineering classes,” Cheng said. “Once they finish Math 125 with a B to qualify for calculus, and have a 2.50 GPA, they will be moved to the department of their choice.”

This new policy has caused a small decline in new freshmen enrollment (337 versus last year’s 349), but the overall quality continues to improve, Cheng said.

“The whole new freshman class has (an average) 27.7 ACT (+0.4), 3.73 GPA, and 35 percent have at least a 30 on the ACT,” he said. “As the underprepared students (start in) general engineering, each department also sees improvement in student quality. We hope that this new admission policy can help us to continue our path to an elite program, (and) at the same time to take a firm control of less-prepared students to make them successful.”

 

 

 

 

Matthew Morrison Wins Excellence in Academic Advising Award

Assistant professor of electrical engineering recognized for support of students

Matthew Morrison, assistant professor of electrical engineering, received the 2017 Excellence in Academic Advising Award during the fall faculty meeting in August. Submitted photo

Over the past three years, Matthew Morrison has advised, encouraged and lent a compassionate ear to hundreds of students at the University of Mississippi. Now they’re putting him up for awards – and he’s winning.

Morrison, assistant professor of electrical engineering, has been honored with one of UM’s 2017 Academic Advising Network’s Excellence in Advising awards. The awards are presented each year to one staff academic adviser and one faculty academic adviser. Sovent Taylor, instructor and assistant director of the Health Professions Advising Office, is the staff recipient.

Advisers are nominated by students, peers and administrators. The award is coordinated through the Academic Advising Network steering committee. The network comprises faculty and staff who have an active role in academic advising on campus.

“I was surprised,” said Morrison, an award-winning teacher and researcher who oversees the department’s emphasis in computer engineering science. “I wasn’t even aware I was nominated. I’m grateful that my efforts were acknowledged by the students and my fellow faculty members.”

Winners of the award were recognized at the fall faculty meeting. They received a stipend from the Office of the Provost, had their names placed on a plaque in Martindale Student Services Center and will represent the University of Mississippi for the National Academic Advising Association regional and national awards. The Center for Student Success and First-Year Experience assists them with the completion of their NACADA nomination packet in late fall.

Morrison said that building on students’ capability and potential goes beyond improving their proficiency in the classroom.

“I work with my students on professionalism, communication skills and developing life plans,” he said.

A University of South Florida alumnus, Morrison started with the Department of Electrical Engineering in 2014. He won the Junior Faculty Research Award from the School of Engineering this year. Advising became a natural career path as he worked with students.

“I made serving as an adviser a priority when I started here at Ole Miss,” he said. “Everything I do in terms of teaching and research – whether it’s how I give homework and exams to how I instruct the Senior Design course – also has a component of developing the student(s) into outstanding engineers beyond just the classroom and their grades.”

In the engineering school, Morrison is known for guiding aspiring engineers through degree paths and toward obtaining a professional engineer license. He’s also known for giving students either the compassion or motivational push needed when the pressures of college become overwhelming.

“From helping you with job applications and giving advice on how to navigate through life’s problems from his experience, he is the definition of an all-complete adviser for any student,” said Demba Komma, the student who nominated Morrison for the award. “He cares about his students and is a very relatable person. He has earned the trust of his students by being readily available to offer help when needed.”

This award marks the second time Morrison has been honored for his work with students. At USF, he won the Provost’s Award for Outstanding Teaching by a Graduate Teaching Assistant. There he implemented many of the teaching methods developed at the Naval Nuclear Power School, which he found engendered greater creativity in students.

Morrison won the Navy Club of the United States Military Excellence Award in U.S. Navy Recruit Training. The award is presented to the graduating recruit who best exemplifies the qualities of enthusiasm, devotion to duty, military appearance and behavior, self-discipline and teamwork.

“I am proud of this award because I realized during boot camp that I have the potential to lead, give to my community and achieve excellence through hard work and dedication,” Morrison said. “Receiving this award marked a significant milestone in my life, and every achievement since has been the result of the same enthusiasm and discipline that I developed in boot camp.”

 

Electrical Engineering Alumnus Helps Entrepreneurs Succeed

David Aune serves on engineering school's advisory board

David Aune (BSEE 77) is a MOBI Plus instructor in the My Own Business Institute at Santa Clara University’s Leavey School of Business. Submitted photo

David Aune (BSEE 77) has accumulated more than 25 years of management experience. He has led customer-service and marketing operations at large companies, but he said he especially enjoys mentoring startups.

“The hardest and also most gratifying achievements have been working in several startup businesses,” said Aune, an instructor in the Leavey School of Business’ My Own Business Institute, or MOBI, at Santa Clara University. “I am now on a personal mission to give back by helping entrepreneurs succeed. I enjoy sharing lessons about what worked for me and what mistakes I made so entrepreneurs can get started on the right path.”

Reared in Water Valley, Aune went to the University of Mississippi because his mother was an alumna and the university had a strong academic reputation. As a student, his favorite engineering professors included the late Charles E. Smith Sr., chair and professor of electrical engineering, and Roy T. Arnold, professor emeritus of physics and astronomy.

“Dr. Smith listened to me, explained things in a way that I could understand and gave me good advice,” Aune said. “I stay in touch with Dr. Arnold, and we still discuss challenging, unsolved questions.”

Aune is working on a “How to Start a Business” course in partnership with the Center for Employment Training in San Jose, California. In addition to classroom instruction and facilitation, his duties include reviewing applications for the program, designing course syllabi, recruiting relevant guest speakers, reviewing and giving feedback on business plans, and monitoring and helping students progress successfully.

He has been an executive in tech industries, such as Software as a Service, for such companies as AlephCloud, Kaleidescape, ViewCade Solutions, Five Across and Brandsoft. He has served as vice president of marketing and customer support at FileMaker Inc. (formerly Claris Inc.), a software subsidiary of Apple Computer. He has also held technical management positions at Ungermann-Bass and Hewlett-Packard.

Aune and his wife, Glenda (BA 75), reside in Saratoga, California. The couple has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area since he graduated from Ole Miss. His leisure activities include culinary arts.

“My last avocado toast attempt tasted great,” he said. “However, I have not yet perfected a photo of the dish that is ‘Instagram worthy.’”

Administrators in the School of Engineering said they appreciate Aune’s contributions as an alumnus and advisory board member.

“From day one, David showed great interest in our curriculum and the latest tools and laboratories made available to our students,” said Ramanarayanan Viswanathan, chair and professor of electrical engineering. “In his deliberations with our faculty, he brought forth many years of his work experience and provided valuable guidance to the department. He also gave an inspiring talk to (the) dean’s leadership class. It is indeed our fortune that we established contact with one of our early graduates.”

Dawn Wilkins, chair and professor of computer and information science, concurred.

“I’m very excited that David has joined the Engineering Advisory Board,” she said. “Many of our computer science students have aspirations to become entrepreneurs, and David has the passion to encourage them and the knowledge to assist the faculty in guiding the students to be successful entrepreneurs.”

Aune said he credits his Ole Miss engineering education for his career success.

“I developed problem-solving skills, the ability to analyze, diagnose, experiment, test and prove a solution,” he said. “I also learned discipline, to be accurate, pay attention to detail, get the focus right and do the complete job. Finally, I found persistence, being able to make progress one step at a time and don’t give up, especially when you are stuck.”

 

 

 

 

 

Calling All Connections

Alumni, constituents asked to submit suggestions for 2017-18 Ole Miss Engineer

Engineering friends,

I have had the privilege of serving as one of the editors the past few years and more recently as editor-in-chief of Ole Miss Engineer magazine. We are gearing up for the 2017-18 edition now. I so enjoy collecting great articles to share with our alumni, friends, prospective and current students, visitors and university community through this publication of the School of Engineering Dean’s Office. This is definitely one of the most fun things I get to do for the school.

In addition to great new material from departments, you will soon read about news from our research groups, engineering advisory board, Center for Manufacturing Excellence, co-op program and other engineering school entities. We’re considering Ole Miss Engineering connections as the theme for this year’s feature story. And there are many!

If you have a story to share about an interesting connection that led you to Ole Miss Engineering, a great job connection after graduation, classmate connection, even a random “Hotty Toddy” in an airport that led to a connection – we want to hear it! I’ve collected a few stories so far and can’t wait to hear more! 

Please email marni@olemiss.edu and we’ll get connected!