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College of Engineering | Engineering Monthly, February 2022

From the Dean
Scott A. Ashford, Ph.D., P.E. (California)

In February 2002, we sent out our first engineering monthly newsletter. Among the highlights at the time, our college’s undergraduate enrollment was at a record high 3,100 students and our research awards were around $20 million. The Kelley Engineering Center was in its pre-design phase and set to break ground later that year.


Today, nearly 10,000 students are enrolled in the college, our research awards exceed $64 million, and the Kelley Engineering Center — now home to our nationally recognized computer science program — exemplifies our college’s extraordinary growth since that time.


With the 20th anniversary of our monthly newsletter, I want to celebrate our college’s remarkable success over the last two decades. As you will see, we have updated our newsletter with a new look and feel, and we hope this streamlined redesign better presents these stories to our alumni, faculty, staff, and students. This month, highlights include research related to mapping new climate “normals” and robots and artificial intelligence assisting in agricultural challenges. 


Here’s to the next 20 years of Oregon State engineering excellence.

Go Beavs!



March 8

The Levenspiel Lecture featuring Ivan Williams


Virtual Lecture Series


March 2
V John Mathews, professor of electrical and computer engineering Neuroprostheses for Amputees and Patients with Spinal Cord Injuries

March 9
Chris Daly, professor of geospatial climatology

April 20
Chih-hung Chang, professor of chemical engineering

May 10
Camille Palmer, associate professor of nuclear and radiological engineering




Michael Olsen and team member collecting data from disaster site

Listen now: RAPID reconnaissance 

After a major disaster, hidden amid the rubble and debris are precious clues about the extreme forces structures were subjected to, and exactly what caused them to fail. How can researchers collect this perishable data before it’s swept away? Michael Olsen, professor of geomatics and technical director of the NHERI RAPID Facility, talks about a major effort to get crucial technology into the hands of reconnaissance experts quickly, wherever disaster strikes. Listen now ...

Juile A. Adams

DARPA robot swarm field tests

Julie A. Adams, College of Engineering Dean's Professor, and two doctoral students recently participated in field experiments for DARPA’s OFFensive Swarm-Enabled Tactics program. Experiments included coordinating hundreds of robots for missions in urban areas. Read more ...

Chris Daly with climate normals map

The new 30-year normal

Led by Chris Daly, professor of geospatial climatology, Oregon State’s PRISM Climate Group published new maps of 30-year U.S. climate “normals” showing the area east of the Rockies is getting wetter, the Southwest is getting drier, and temperatures are inching upward. Read more ...

Bunch of red apples

Bringing AI to the orchard

Oregon State University and Washington State University’s new $20 million AgAIDInstitute brings together over 50 engineers and agriculture scientists to apply artificial intelligence expertise to agriculture challenges. Alan Fern, associate professor of computer science, recently talked to Good Fruit Grower magazine about the project. Read more ...



Erica Fischer working on a computer

How to prepare for wildfires

Erica Fischer, assistant professor of structural engineering, recently spoke with the host of public radio’s “On Point,” Meghna Chakrabarti, B.S. civil engineering and environmental engineering ’98, about the need in suburban and urban residential areas to retrofit homes, update development plans, and strengthen regulations to face the growing danger of wildfires. Read more ...

Stephen Redfield

Destined to teach

Stephen Redfield earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science from Oregon State. During his doctoral program, also at Oregon State, he discovered a love for teaching. Redfield now serves as lead instructor for the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science’s online postbaccalaureate program. Read more ...

John Gambatese

Prevention through design

John Gambatese, professor of construction, has been preaching the gospel of “prevention through design” — the effort to identify and abate all possible construction safety hazards — since his days as a graduate student. His message is starting to be heard. Read more ...


Bridger Cook

Eco-friendly energy

Although Bridger Cook is just beginning his graduate studies in mechanical engineering after taking courses through Oregon State’s Accelerated Master’s Platform, he started to prepare years ago, as an energy systems engineering undergraduate at OSU-Cascades in Bend. Read more ...


Robotics Apple Picking Robot Video

Watch now: Giving apple-picking some byte

Alejandro Velasquez Lopez is a doctoral student in robotics. Under the mentorship of Cindy Grimm, professor of robotics, and Joe Davidson, assistant professor of robotics, he developed a “proxy apple” to train an apple-picking robot.

Helena "Lena" Breuer on right and Brian Staes on left

Excellence in transportation

Helena “Lena” Breuer and Brian Staes, doctoral students in transportation engineering at Oregon State, have been awarded Dwight D. Eisenhower Transportation Fellowships by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Breuer is advised by David Hurwitz, professor of transportation engineering, and Staes is advised by Rob Bertini, head of the School of Civil and Construction Engineering. Staes, along with three collaborators, won a 2021 Young First Author Best Paper Award at the annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board. He also recently received the PacTrans UTC Outstanding Student of the Year Award. Read more ...

America Pacheo

Amazon scholarship funds future in cybersecurity

Amazon Web Services issued 40 renewable scholarships last year through its InCommunities program. Computer science undergraduate America Pacheo, one recipient featured on the AWS website, describes what that support means to her and discusses her future career plans. Read more ...


Matthew Hallowell

Remeasuring jobsite safety

Matthew Hallowell, Ph.D. civil engineering ’08, professor of civil engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder and executive director of the Construction Safety Research Alliance, credits former mentor John Gambatese, professor of civil engineering, for providing him with the skills to update the definition of what it means for a construction employer to be considered safe. Read more ...



Hurricane disaster site

Testing the future of climate change

The National Science Foundation awarded a team of researchers, including Pedro Lomónaco, director of the O.H. Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory, $12.8 million to design a national full-scale testing facility capable of wind speeds of up to 200 miles per hour, combined with a water basin to simulate storm surge and wave action. Florida International University is leading the project. Read more ...

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