Dear Voiland College Faculty and Staff,

Happy New Year!

2017 certainly flew by, and 2018 is now already upon us.   With the merger of the School of Design and Construction’s Interior Design and Landscape Architecture programs into our college, 4650 undergraduate students and a record 736 graduate students started their year off in the Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture.

As we start a new semester, I wanted to highlight a few of the many, many activities our staff, faculty, and students have been a part of that continue to make the Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture a great place to learn, teach, and work.

We kicked the year off with not one, but two celebrations!

  • On August 15, WSU Everett cut the ribbon on its new building, which houses mechanical, electrical and software engineering degree programs.
  • On August 21, WSU and Olympic College celebrated the opening of its newest engineering teaching facility on Olympic College’s Bremerton campus.

Our generous donors continue to make major impacts on the lives of our students:

  • WSU’s power engineering program created the Edmund O. Schweitzer III Chair in Power Apparatus and Systems in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, thanks to gifts totaling $1.5 million from Edmund and Beatriz Schweitzer, and the employee owners of Pullman-based Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories.
  • On September 20, we announced the creation of the Alexandra Navrotsky Institute for Experimental Thermodynamics, made possible by a $1 million gift from Alexandra Navrotsky, Distinguished Interdisciplinary Professor of Ceramic, Earth and Environmental Materials Chemistry at University of California-Davis.
  • RH2 Engineering gave $25,000 to support graduate fellowships in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the purchase of new equipment in the Environmental Teaching Labs.
  • Dick and Shellie Silliman gave $10,000 for general support of the Construction Management program and to support two students who will receive Silliman Estimating scholarships.
  • Frederic and AnnaBelle Emery gave $25,000 to the Emery Scholarship Endowment in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
  • A $10,000 IRA rollover gift from Camas, Washington’s Bob (’68) and Gail Hitchcock is now supporting the Construction Management Student Excellence Fund, which helps students participate in regional and national student competitions.

Our students are thriving in student competitions:

  • A WSU student team consisting of Tucker Jones, David Chun, Frederick Stidhams, Kelli Young,  Collin Schweikl, and faculty coach David Gunderson won the Design-Build Institute of America’s 2017 national student competition.
  • Mechanical engineering undergrad Parth Chandak and his team finished in first place in this year’s WSU Global Case Competition.
  • Misganaw Demissie received a Best Poster Award at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students.
  • Several chemical engineering students attended the National AIChE Conference in Minneapolis, MN. Ali Alkarni won the Scale Up Essay Contest; Kitana Kaiphanliam, took first place in the Poster Competition – Education Category; Claire Severin won the Freshman Recognition Award; Taylan Swift won the Donald F. Othmer Sophomore Academic Excellence Award; and WSU’s Chem-E-Car Team, represented by Claire Severin, Bardya Banihashemi, Ali Alkarni, and Gabriel Cofield, finished 25th.
  • Civil engineering post-doc student Erin Hananwon the Elizabeth Sulzman Junior Scientist Outstanding Paper Award from the Ecological Society of America.
  • Ph. D. student Mohammadreza Maddipour Farrokhifard won the Power Systems Research Center’s (PSERC) Best Project Poster Award at PSERC’s Semi-Annual Industry-University Meeting in Arizona.

As always, our faculty are very productive and influential:

  • Professor Yuehe Lin made Clarivate Analytics’ listof scientists whose research has the most influence worldwide in their fields of expertise.
  • Professor Susmita Bose was named as a fellow to the National Academy of Inventors.
  • Assistant professor Ali Mehrizi-Sani received the prestigious Mac E. Van Valkenburg Early Career Teaching Award from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ Education Society.
  • Professor Cornelius Ivory was named part of a new $12.5 million National Nuclear Security Administration Center of Excellence teamstudying how nanoscale nuclear materials react in various chemical environments.
  • A team of WSU scientists, including professor Diane Cook, landed a $1.77 million grant to research how “smart-home” technology can monitor the health and safety of senior citizens from afar.
  • A research team led by Haluk Beyenal, the Paul Hohenschuh Distinguished Professor in the Gene and Linda Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering, was recently awarded the TechConnect Defense Innovation Award at this year’s Defense Innovation Technology AccelerationChallenges summit for their invention of an electrochemical scaffold to combat drug-resistant bacterial wound infections.
  • The journal Science published a paper from a research group led by professor Yong Wang, which highlighted the team’s creation of a catalyst capable of reducing pollutants at the lower temperatures expected in advanced engines.
  • The journal Nature Communicationspublished a paper co-authored by professor Cornelius Ivory relating to a novel method for concentrating DNA in microfluidic devices.
  • Kevin T. Gray, Arda Gozen, and Vikram Yadama were among the Office of Research’s 2018 Commercialization Gap Fund award winners.
  • Bob Duncan, Scott Lewis and Bonny Onuike were among WSU’s 2017 Safety Award winners.

As we get settled into the second semester, I look forward learning about the exciting people and projects within Voiland College and continuing to discover new ways to optimize the impact the college can have on the lives of its community.  One of my goals goal is to ensure that every new freshman or transfer student is welcomed to our college and supported to their full potential.  In this regard, we’re working to increase the first year retention rates and five-year graduation rates within Voiland College.

At the graduate level, you can expect to see new international master’s students joining our ranks.  WSU’s collaboration with the INTO program is resulting in new students pursuing degrees in Architecture, EE, CS, and ME (with the prospect of students joining other programs in the future).  Just this month, about a dozen students joined programs in Pullman and another 20 are starting in these programs at WSU-Vancouver.  The WSU-Pullman students are seeking non-thesis master’s degrees.  The Vancouver students will complete theses on the way to their master’s degrees. The INTO financial model rewards Voiland College for providing education for these new students.  Our leadership is examining how to balance this opportunity (and its revenue potential) with our other commitments.

Lastly, I’m excited to begin the process of refreshing the Voiland College Precinct Plan to ensure that our teaching and research spaces support our Drive to 25 goals.  As you may know, Voiland College has a large portfolio of space but much of it is in need of improvement.  Our efforts in recruiting and retaining students, staff, and faculty will be markedly improved with more modern spaces.  Over the course of the next semesters, you’ll have a chance to provide input on what these new spaces might include.  I’m working with a broad cross-section of individuals to ensure that we can secure the resources needed to make these plans a reality.  Stay tuned!

Thanks for all that you do to make the Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture a success.  Keep up the good work and remember to share your success with the Voiland College communication team (VCEA.News@wsu.edu) to ensure that we’re telling your story.

Have a great 2018!

Dean Mary Rezac's signature

Mary Rezac, Dean
Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture
mary.rezac@wsu.edu