Engineering Monthly July 2022

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Oregon State University

College of Engineering | Engineering Monthly, July 2022

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

Last month, Oregon State University’s board of trustees announced the university’s next president. I am thrilled that Dr. Jayathi Y. Murthy, a national engineering leader in higher education, was selected.

A member of the National Academy of Engineering, Dr. Murthy will join Oregon State from UCLA, where she has served as the Ronald and Valerie Sugar Dean of the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science since January 2016. I’ve worked with Dr. Murthy for years as part of the PAC-12 engineering deans network. I believe she has the critical experience and vision to lead our institution and continue building on our university’s tremendous momentum.

Go Beavs!


Tyler Radniecki

More COVID than we think

Oregon State’s TRACE wastewater sampling project suggests that the new coronavirus omicron variant BA.2 is silently causing far more infections than are showing up in state testing numbers. “If you are seeing very large signals in your community, that might change your behaviors or the risk you’re willing to take,” said TRACE researcher Tyler Radniecki, associate professor of environmental engineering. Learn more …


Making the cut

Joe Davidson, assistant professor of robotics, along with colleagues at Washington State University and Carnegie Mellon University recently took to a cherry orchard to test their tree-pruning robot, which employs algorithms to analyze tree systems and make pruning decisions and is equipped with hardware that can navigate the canopy to make the cuts. Learn more …


Sunrise over Oregon State campus

Record Fulbright cohort

Three College of Engineering faculty members — Stephen Good, associate professor of water resources engineering; Greg Rorrer, professor of chemical engineering; and Melissa Santala, associate professor of materials science — are part of Oregon State’s record-breaking contingent of nine Fulbright Scholars for the 2022-23 academic year. Learn more …

AAAS logo

AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow

Kyle Niemeyer, associate professor of mechanical engineering and the Welty Faculty Fellow, has been named a 2022-23 AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow, with a placement at the Department of Energy's Advanced Manufacturing Office. Learn more …

David Hurwitz

Best paper at road safety conference

A group of Oregon State researchers, led by David Hurwitz, professor of transportation engineering and director of the Kiewit Center for Infrastructure and Transportation Research, won the best paper award for researchers at the 8th Road Safety & Simulation International Conference in June. Co-authors include Hisham Jashami, assistant professor (senior research), and students Ivan Sinkus, Yujun Liu, and Douglas Cobb (graduated 2020). Learn more ... 

Illustration of nerves inside of a brain inside of a tech graphic

Not sentient yet

Thomas Dietterich, distinguished professor emeritus of computer science, recently weighed in on claims by a Google engineer that one of the company’s chatbots had achieved sentience. "I think our definitions of what is alive will change as we continue to build systems over the next 10 to 100 years," Dietterich said. Learn more …


Subisha Sundaram

Creating communities within COE

Through her roles as a student ambassador, Center for Diversity and Inclusion intern, and Engineering Student Council president, radiation health physics student Subisha Sundaram is passionate about supporting women and helping people of color in STEM. Learn more …

Dmytro Shabanov (left) and Harry Herzberg looking at a tablet

Student develops learning app

Harry Herzberg (right), computer science undergraduate student, is winning entrepreneurship awards as part of the team developing Alerty, a mobile app to help students — especially those with ADHD — perform better in class. Learn more …

Stephen Ramsey and Amy Glen sitting and talking

Student advances directly to Ph.D. program

An undergraduate research experience led Amy Glen from enrolling in Oregon State's online postbaccalaureate degree program in computer science directly to a Ph.D. program with Stephen Ramsey, associate professor of computer science and biomedical sciences, even before she completed her bachelor's degree. Learn more …

Brian Muhich

Outstanding honors thesis

Chemical engineering student Brian Muhich is the recipient of the 2022 Honors College outstanding thesis award in the engineering category. Learn more …

Marine Energy Team

Marine energy team places 2nd in national competition

Congratulations to the Oregon State team for taking second place in the Department of Energy’s Marine Energy Collegiate Competition! Seventeen teams from five countries competed — each developing a market research–supported business plan, pitching their concept to a panel of judges and investors, building and testing their device, and engaging in community outreach. Learn more …


Railway with no trains

Protecting rail networks against climate change

Haizhong Wang, associate professor of transportation engineering, is the Oregon State lead on a $4.6 million grant from the Federal Railroad Administration to develop strategies for safeguarding the nation’s rail networks from climate change. Robert Bertini, head of the School of Civil and Construction Engineering, is co-PI. San José State University is the lead institution on the project. Learn more …

Hoover Dam

Updating the grid to work with renewable energy

Oregon State researchers are part of an $8 million Department of Energy effort to update and improve the operation of the nation’s hydroelectric generation systems, many of which are roughly a century old. Ted Brekken, professor of electrical and computer engineering, will lead the university’s $1.9 million portion of the project, along with co-principal investigators Eduardo Cotilla-Sanchez, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, and Yue Cao, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering. Learn more …

Rakesh Bobba

Protecting the grid against cyber-physical threats

Rakesh Bobba, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, is part of a team developing a scalable, physics-informed and artificial intelligence-enabled cyber-physical intrusion-response solution for electric power utilities. The lead institution on the grant is Texas A&M University. Learn more …


Crystal hanging art piece in CBEE building

Interim CBEE head announced

Greg Herman, professor of chemical engineering, completed his service as head of the School of Chemical, Biological, and Environmental Engineering on June 30 and will resume full-time research and teaching duties. Brian Woods, professor of nuclear science and engineering, has been appointed interim CBEE school head while the search for a new permanent head proceeds. Woods will also continue as head of the School of Nuclear Science and Engineering. Woods' appointment as CBEE interim school head became effective July 1. 

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