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Oregon State University

College of Engineering | Engineering Monthly, October 2022

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

Last month, Jayathi Y. Murthy officially began her service as Oregon State University’s 16th president. In her inaugural address to the Beaver community, Dr. Murthy said one her top goals as president was increasing access to the remarkable degree programs available at Oregon State. One notable way the university is striving to make an Oregon State education available to learners throughout the state of Oregon and beyond is growing our online programs, which last fall saw a 14% increase in enrollment.

The College of Engineering is doing its part to provide life-changing educational experiences to people around the world with the launch of a handful of new online degree offerings over the past few years, including online Master of Engineering in Computer Science and Master of Science in Computer Science degree programs that kicked off this fall. The college is also doing our best to optimize the online student experience. In collaboration with Oregon State’s Ecampus, last year we launched the Center for Research in Engineering Education Online. The initial cohort of projects focused on making online courses more inclusive, incorporating extended-reality simulations and learning tools into online classes, and gauging differences in how physical and virtual laboratories prepare students for an engineering career. This last project recently received additional funding from the National Science Foundation.

Read on below for more about this project, as well as new research, faculty, student, and alumni achievements, and more.

Go Beavs!


2022 Oregon Stater Awards in white text over a transparent orange circle and blue smoke

2022 Oregon Stater Awards

Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022

Join us for the 24th Oregon Stater Awards, celebrating achievements at the frontiers of engineering, and their profound impact on our profession and our world. Presented by the College of Engineering at Oregon State University, the Oregon Stater Awards honor alumni whose contributions to the field exemplify Oregon State’s leadership over the past 150 years.

This event is open to College of Engineering alumni, friends, industry professionals, faculty, and staff. Event attendance is limited and available on a first-registered, first-served basis. There is no cost to attend.

Register by Nov. 4 at noon.




Cassie the bipedal robot in front of students at Oregon State

Cassie breaks world record in 100-meter dash


Cassie the robot, invented and built by Oregon State spinout company Agility Robotics, recently set a world record for the fastest 100-meter sprint by a bipedal robot, clocking a time of 24.73 seconds at Oregon State’s Whyte Track and Field Center. “This 100-meter result was achieved by a deep collaboration between mechanical hardware design and advanced artificial intelligence for the control of that hardware,” said Alan Fern, professor of computer science. Learn more ... (See also Popular Science, USA Today, Runners World, Tech Crunch, The Verge)

Solar panels against a blue sky

Agrivoltaics project to harvest solar energy from farmland


Chad Higgins, associate professor of biological and ecological engineering, is leading construction of a $1.5 million, 326 kW agrivoltaics project on a 5-acre farm 20 miles south of Portland that will yield crops and solar energy from the same land. “People want to know where to build these projects and how to design the systems to get the greatest return,” Higgins said. Learn more ...


Portland waterfront with trees and buildings with mountains in the distance

Phasing out fossil fuels requires building changes


A new Washington Post opinion piece co-authored by Parichehr Salimifard, assistant professor of architectural engineering and the Culbertson Faculty Scholar, suggests that one of the best ways to phase out fossil fuels is to dramatically reduce the energy needs of the buildings we live and work in. Learn more …

David Hurwitz

Traffic talk

David Hurwitz, professor of transportation engineering and director of the Kiewit Center for Infrastructure and Transportation Research, was recently on a panel with Minnesota’s state traffic engineer and state police chief on a Minnesota Public Radio morning news hour discussion related to speed and increasing traffic fatalities. Learn more …

Kendra Sharp

Gamma ray research


In her role as head of the National Science Foundation Office of International Science and Engineering, Kendra Sharp, professor of mechanical engineering, recently discussed research funded by the NSF and its Czech Republic counterpart investigating the production of gamma rays with high-powered lasers. Learn more …


Bryson Robertson

Going all in on wind power


Bryson Robertson, associate professor of ocean and coastal engineering and director of the Pacific Marine Energy Center, recently weighed in on President Joe Biden’s proposal to deploy up to 15 gigawatts of electricity through floating offshore wind power generating sites by 2035, enough to power 5 million homes. “The status quo won’t get us to where we need to be in a timeline that's tractable in relationship with our climate change challenge,” Robertson said. Learn more ...

Piles of timber framed by hills with large pine trees

Using wood products in construction


The Oregon Mass Timber Coalition was recently awarded $41.4 million in federal funds to advance the use of wood products in construction. Erica Fischer, assistant professor of structural engineering and the John and Jean Loosley Faculty Fellow, will be involved in the development of a fire testing facility, while Raffaele de Amicis, associate professor of computer science, will support smart forestry research. Learn more …


What are you working on, Grace?

Watch Now: What are you working on, Grace?


Grace Diehl is a doctoral student in robotics and computer science. She is part of the Human-Machine Teaming Laboratory, where she works on distributed artificial intelligence for swarm robotics and multirobot systems. Grace is advised by Julie A. Adams, the Dean's Professor of computer science. Watch the video ...

Brian Staes

3-time Eisenhower Transportation Fellow


Civil engineering doctoral student Brian Staes recently earned his third Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship. The award will fund his research into how people evacuate areas threatened by natural disasters such as tsunamis, hurricanes, and wildfires. Learn more …

Jonathan Whipple

Ward Wicker win for Whipple


Congratulations to radiation health physics graduate student Jonathan Whipple for being awarded the F. Ward Whicker Scholarship from the Health Physics Society. Learn more …


Andrew Dassonville

Student places second in runway safety competition


Andrew Dassonville was awarded second place in the runway safety category at the 2022 ACRP University Design Competition, which challenges students to create innovative solutions for issues facing airports and the National Airspace System. Kiri Wagstaff, associate research professor of computer science, advised him on the project. Learn more …


Sean Bullock

Students develop electrotherapy tech to improve focus


A group of Oregon State students, including mechanical engineering student Sean Bullock (pictured), electrical and computer engineering student Benjamin Green, and computer science student Escher Wright-Dykhouse, have founded Cortava Neurotechnology to develop transcranial electrotherapy stimulation technology to address memory issues and improve performance. Learn more …


Sydney Forbes - Alumni Profile

Watch Now: Sydney Forbes - Alumni Profile


Sydney Quinton-Cox Forbes, B.S. bioengineering ’17 (left), co-founded Tonsil Tech with fellow alum Jessy Imdieke, B.S. bioengineering ’17, and Daniel Forbes. Their idea for developing a tonsil stone removal tool was sparked by a class assignment when they were seniors. In July 2020, the three partners launched the company in Bend, Oregon. Watch the video (Read more about Tonsil Tech)

Walt Pebley

From freeze-dried food to COVID-19 pill


Walt Pebley, B.S. agricultural engineering ’84, vice president of pharma development and technical innovation at Oregon Freeze Dry, describes the company’s most recent venture: a new research and development facility in Albany for developing and testing an oral COVID-19 vaccine as well as other immunotherapy products. Learn more …

Aparna Shrivastava

The power to do good


Aparna Shrivastava, B.S. mechanical engineering ’11, talks about her role as the first deputy chief climate officer for the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation and representing the United States last year at the COP26 summit in Glasgow, Scotland. Learn more …

Doshna Umma Reddy

Discovering the joys of teaching


Doshna Umma Reddy, who graduated from Oregon State in 2020 with a master’s degree in computer science in the Software Innovation Track, discovered her love for teaching and is now an instructor for the online computer science program. Learn more …


Jason Weiss

Cellulose cement composite as an alternative to lumber


Researchers from Oregon State University recently received $2.5 million from the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy to develop a cellulose cement composite, or C3, to be used as an alternative to lumber in residential and light commercial construction. The project is led by Jason Weiss, professor of infrastructure materials and the Edwards Distinguished Chair in Engineering. Learn more ...

Lab space with two men in white coats, a student pointing on the left and Jeff Nason on the right

CREEdO project lands NSF funding


A project led by Jeff Nason (right), professor of environmental engineering, to explore differences in physical and virtual labs received seed funding last year from Oregon State’s Center for Research in Engineering Education Online (CREEdO). He has now received $200,000 in additional project funding from the National Science Foundation.  Learn more ...

A small black and silver legged robot with red wiring in white sand

Legged robots to aid with planetary research


Cristina Wilson, research associate in robotics, is supporting a three-year, $3 million research project funded by NASA to create legged robots that could more easily glide through icy surfaces, crusted sand, and other difficult-to-navigate environments, significantly enhancing scientists’ abilities to gather information from planetary bodies. The project is led by Feifei Qian of the University of Southern California. Learn more …

Naomi Fitter

Health-enhancing robots


Naomi Fitter, assistant professor of robotics, has received funding from the National Institutes of Health for a project to determine if robots can improve veterans home residents’ health and wellness by engaging them in physical and mental exercise. Learn more …


Oregon State Engineering Alumni Magazine Fall 2022 in white text against a blue and orange nebula

ICYMI: Fall alumni magazine


The Fall 2022 issue of Oregon State Engineering features stories about alumni working on massive projects such as the James Webb Space Telescope and the Panama Canal Expansion, early career awards for four faculty, startup companies launched by alumni and current students, and much more. Learn more …

Tech Tuesday Seminar Series Youtube Playlist

ICYMI: Tech Talks


Check out the EECS Tech Talks from the past two years. Watch the videos ... 



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