Category: CMS-Engineering & Physics

Dr. Gang Xu’s Research Continues after U.S. Dept. of Energy Grant

In summer 2019, Dr. Gang Xu received funding from the U.S. Department of Energy for his proposal, “Flagella-Driven Cellular Motility, Transport, & Biomixing: Computational Studies.”  The funding provided Dr. Xu and two of his former research assistants, Erin Drewke and Joseph Wagner, with full support to spend 10 weeks working at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab in Berkeley, California.  There they worked with Drs. Ann Almgren and Johannes Blaschke in its Center for Computational Sciences and Engineering to develop a novel simulation capability based on combining state-of-the-art algorithms with empirical models for beating flagella and swimming cells. The new codes are ideally suitable for high-performance computing resources such as those at the Berkeley Lab and also UCO. The results will improve the understanding on the hydrodynamic impacts of flagellar beating and flagella-actuated cell swimming, and provide biophysical and mechanistic basis for development of novel microfluidic and biofuel devices. This experience paved the way for continued collaboration and expanded Dr. Xu’s research capacity.  Erin, a 2020 UCO biomedical engineering graduate, is pursuing her Ph.D. in biomedical engineering at the University of Arkansas. Joseph, a prospective 2021 mechanical engineering graduate, is planning to pursue a Ph.D.

Dr. Adnan Al-Ibadi, Ms. Maria Bostwick, and Dr. Sezin Kadioglu Shift to Continuing Positions

While Dr. Adnan Al-Ibadi, Ms. Maria Bostwick, and Dr. Sezin Kadioglu have taught for the Engineering and Physics department for several years, each held temporary positions that were funded on a year-to-year basis. This fall, the College of Mathematics and Science was able to shift them into permanently funded positions making it much easier to plan and implement our class schedules from one semester to the next. Each faculty member will continue to contribute to the growth and development of the program in the areas they have occupied since coming to the University of Central Oklahoma, as well as supporting the department’s service courses.

Dr. Al-Ibadi earned a Ph.D. in Petroleum Engineering from the University of Oklahoma in 2014. Since UCO does not offer a petroleum degree, he has been providing support for our Mechanical Engineering program. He was particularly helpful when Dr. Morshed Khandaker went on sabbatical last year. His greatest impact, however, has been in providing support for the ME instructional labs. This fall, he took on the role of Director of Mechanical Engineering Laboratories.

Ms. Bostwick holds her Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and two Master of Science degrees, one in Software Engineering and the other in Electronics and Information System Engineering. With this expertise, she will continue in her role as the primary instructor in our Engineering Computing course and will help guide and develop the curriculum in conjunction with our other computational faculty.

Dr. Kadioglu holds a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering and works with the college’s Professional Science Master’s program. In the department, her background supports both our Computational Methods in Engineering course and several upper-level Mechanical Engineering courses. This fall, she will take on the responsibilities of Director of Mechanical Engineering Advisement, which will help with ME course transfers.

ABET Accreditation

Normally, we use this space to provide information regarding one of our students or alumni. Instead, this semester we wanted to share some good news about the ABET accreditation of our engineering programs, which took place this past year. Our department had four programs up for accreditation:

BS in Mechanical Engineering (ME)
BS in Electrical Engineering (EE)
BS in Biomedical Engineering (BME)
BS in Engineering Physics (EP)

The ABET review cycle is 6-years. The EP and BME programs were last reviewed and accredited in 2013-14, and they came up for review again in the 2019-20 cycle, along with our new ME and EE degrees. About two weeks ago, we received notice that all of our programs were accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) with no deficiencies, weaknesses, or concerns. We had to resolve a few issues that popped up during the site visit last fall.  We would like to extend a grateful thank you to the many alumni and Industrial Advisory Board members who pitched in to help.

As a faculty, we believe that one of the strengths of our program is the interdisciplinary interaction on projects up to and including senior design. One of the issues that came up in the ABET review involved making sure that interdisciplinary senior design projects had an appropriate amount of content for each of the engineering disciplines represented in the project. Our solution was to add additional content advisors on these projects. For example, if a project requires two EE students and one ME student, and the primary advisor is an EE faculty member, then an additional ME content advisor will now be assigned to make sure that there is suitable content for the ME student. The ME content advisor will also assess the ME student’s contributions to the project.

Dr. Benjamin Tayo Joins the Engineering and Physics Faculty

Benjamin TayoDr. Benjamin Tayo joined the faculty in Fall 2019 as an Associate Professor working in the areas of Computational Materials Science and Condensed Matter Physics. He earned his PhD in Computational Material Science from Lehigh University, his M.S. in Condensed Matter Physics from the University of Trieste (Italy), and his B.S. in Physics and Computer Science from the University of Buea in Cameroon. As the only faculty member in the department to have earned degrees on three separate continents, Dr. Tayo brings a wealth of experience to the department. He served previously as a tenured Associate Professor at Pittsburg State University in Kansas where he established an interdisciplinary research program that led to his mentoring of 5 M.S. projects, several undergraduate research projects, 8 refereed journal articles, 22 conference presentations, and 7 invited talks. Dr. Tayo’s computational research will provide collaborative opportunities with faculty in each engineering discipline, while also supporting the college’s Professional Science Master’s program. He has already begun working with several students on undergraduate research projects and senior design projects. We are very excited to have Dr. Tayo as a member of our faculty.

Joseph Dwerlkotte Graduates with Three Degrees

For most students, earning a degree and getting a job is sufficiently challenging to occupy their time. This past December, Joseph Dwerlkotte graduated with a BS in Mechanical Engineering, a BS in Electrical Engineering, and (if that were not enough) a BS in Engineering Physics. A product of Jones, Oklahoma, Joseph worked with Merik Aston, Josh Branscum, Colten Hutson, and Taylor Stow on a senior design capstone project to design and fabricate an assembly jig for the restoration of vintage Funk B85C Airplanes. He also did undergraduate research work on CAD modeling of a microwave imaging device to safely detect breast cancer. He did a summer internship with DJ Engineering in 2018 and is currently a Systems II Engineer with Boeing here in Oklahoma City.

Other students recently earning more than one degree are Mohamad Keblawi (EE/BME), Abby Magee (EE/BME), Andrew Matli (EE/ME), and Blake Obr (EE/ME). Several of our current students are also working on double degrees. They are in good company.

Oklahoma Academy of Science Meets on UCO Campus

OAS Poster Session in STEM BuildingThe 108th Annual Technical Meeting of the Oklahoma Academy of Science was held on the campus of the University of Central Oklahoma on November 8. The meeting was attended by approximately 350 science faculty and university students representing 21 colleges and universities from across the state, making it the largest meeting ever of this organization. During the course of this conference 80 oral presentations and 97 poster presentations were given. Luncheon speaker Dr. John Barthell, UCO Provost, described some of his research experiences with bees and the values of bees to society. Dr. David Bass and Dr. Chad King served as meeting co-coordinators while UCO’s Office of Academic Affairs and the College of Mathematics & Science co-hosted this conference. For information about OAS, check out the Academy’s web site at: http://www.oklahomaacademyofscience.org/.