Category: CMS-Engineering & Physics

The Department of Engineering and Physics Holds Annual Engineering Workshop Academy

Media Contact: Chloe Hrdlicka, Marketing and Development Coordinator, UCO College of Mathematics and Sciences, 405-597-2740, chrdlicka@uco.eduhand fixing circuit board

The Department of Engineering and Physics Holds Annual Engineering Workshop Academy

From June 7th-18th 2021, the Department of Engineering and Physics in the College of Mathematics and Sciences held the 5th annual Engineering Workshop Academy. Dr. Ait moussa and Dr. Alsbou gathered 30 middle school students from central Oklahoma together to learn basic engineering skills.

Dr. Ait moussa and Dr. Alsbou teach the 8th, 9th and 10th-grade students how to use a program to build a bridge modeled electronically before they complete the paper and wood version, which is then tested to see if it performs how it was intended. The students also learn how to maximize profit with excel, learn how to work with circuits and 3D printers, have exposure to Engineering 3-D modeling programs. This group of 30 students participated in different contests throughout the week to test their new skills.

The academy is set up to communicate to the students that “the only difference between where you are and where you want to be is the steps you haven’t taken yet” (Dawson, 2021:online). students building wooden bridges

Ait moussa hires five graduate students to help teach alongside the professors. The program is sponsored by an annual grant from the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education which allows the students to attend at no cost. The first graduating class of engineering program students began college last fall, and we have four of those students attending UCO.

For more information about the Engineering Workshop academy, contact Abdellah Ait Moussa Ph.D.

For more information about the Department of Engineering and Physics, visit


Cutline: University of Central Oklahoma Department of Engineering and Physics welcomes Oklahoma middle school students to partake in Engineering Workshop Academy.

Portable Intelligent Driver’s Health Monitoring System for Safety on the Road

This past year, Dr. Nesreen Alsbou, Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, was awarded U.S. Patent No. 10,912,509 titled “Portable Intelligent Driver’s Health Monitoring System for Safety on the Road.” Dr. Alsbou is the Electrical Engineering Program Coordinator and Director of UCO’s Internet-of-Things (IoT) Laboratory.

The majority of traffic accidents that involve commercial trucks result from factors related to the driver’s behavior and health.  These may include fatigue, attention deficit, health issues, or simply poor driving habits. Systems currently exist that warn drivers when they are exhibiting potentially hazardous behaviors such as lane departures or imminent collisions. While these smart technologies are more widely available in newer automobiles, commercial trucks generally do not use them or have minimal technology for that purpose. When warning systems are available, they only alert the driver of the errant vehicle.

Dr. Alsbou’s driver alert system, while originally developed for commercial trucking, is portable and adjustable to fit any vehicle, including a passenger car. It monitors a driver’s attention, health, and operating behavior and provides notifications to the driver about potential problems. What makes it unique is that it also has the capability of notifying surrounding vehicles when a vehicle operates abnormally.

Students worked with Dr. Alsbou in her IoT lab on multiple projects in the area of smart vehicles, vehicle-to-vehicle communication, and safety on the road through STLR, RCSA, and Senior Design. Students include Michael Nolan, Giang Dao, Skyler Moore, Mohamed Afify, Michael Van Der Veldt, Amjad Barghouthi, Mohamed Keblawi, and others. Students presented their work in local, regional, national, and international engineering conferences. Dr. Alsbou encouraged and supported her senior design student Erin Drewke to be in a team with business and marketing students to develop a business plan and submit it for the Love’s Entrepreneurs Cup Businesses Plan Competition in Spring 2020.

This was the first patent awarded to the IoT Laboratory. Dr. Alsbou continues to work with students, local companies, and hospitals on projects. Her work is focused on the Internet of Things, Smart Vehicles, Smart Homes, and Smart Devices. She recently filed a second patent application, currently under review, related to an intelligent device that gives caregivers real-time feedback when providing CPR.

Student Highlight: Mukesh Tumbapo and Matthew Henry

Two Engineering Physics Master’s Recipients Present Research on Phosphorene and Silicene:

Mukesh Tumbapo and Matthew Henry both completed Master’s degrees in Engineering – Physics last December. Their research was conducted under the direction of UCO Associate Professor Dr. Benjamin Tayo. Ever since the isolation and controlled exploration of the two-dimensional (2D) crystal graphene was made possible (leading to the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2010), the scientific community has taken great interest in the possibilities graphene offers for new approaches to DNA sequencing. Despite several major advances, sequencing DNA using graphene has not yet been demonstrated. One of the major hindrances is the hydrophobic nature of graphene’s surface which causes DNA bases to stick to its surface. Matthew and Mukesh have demonstrated, using computational studies, that phosphorene and silicene are promising alternatives to graphene.

Binding energy (in electron-volt) for GNP, PNP, and SNP.

The above figure from their work shows that binding energies of the 4 DNA bases Guanine (G), Adenine (A), Cytosine (C), and Thymine (T) for interaction with graphene nanopore (GNP) are much higher than those for phosphorene nanopore (PNP) and silicene nanopore (SNP). This shows a minimal tendency for bases to stick on phosphorene and silicene, compared to graphene.  Hence the problem of DNA bases sticking to graphene’s surface is not expected for phosphorene and silicone. These results were presented at three national conferences and at two regional conferences, and are also the subject of a manuscript that has been accepted for publication in the journal AIP Advances.

Matthew accepted a position as a Systems Engineer at Boeing, and Mukesh is considering whether to move into the industry or continue his studies in pursuit of a doctorate.

Featured Faculty- Dr. Weldon Wilson Retires After 29 Years of Service to UCO

Dr. Weldon Wilson, professor, and longtime graduate coordinator is retiring at the end of this semester after 29 years at UCO. Dr. Wilson earned a bachelor’s degree in physics in 1973 and a doctorate in physics in 1980, both from Oklahoma State University. Prior to coming to UCO, Dr. Wilson served on the faculty of the University of Central Florida, as well as working a number of years in energy research for both Occidental Oil and Gas Company and Cities Service Oil Company.
Dr. Wilson’s skills and experience in the energy industry proved most beneficial when he served as coordinator for the department’s senior engineering design capstone experience. Dr. Wilson has also served as assistant chair and was crucial in the initial ABET accreditation of the department’s engineering physics and biomedical engineering programs. He has been a key contributor in nearly every one of the department’s improvement initiatives since his arrival at UCO. His thoughtful analysis and ability to push discussion outside of conventional thought patterns will be sorely missed.
While Dr. Wilson will no longer be with us full-time, he plans to continue teaching as an adjunct, and we will certainly continue to pester him for his valuable input on department initiatives moving forward.

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.