2016 Features

Engineering Living Learning Community filled with excited students

Friends and families help incoming freshmen move into the Engineering Living Learning Community on August 16.There was an air of excitement as 112 fresh faced students moved in last Tuesday to Louisville Hall as part of the Engineering Living Learning Community. Joined by their families, the students had a mad dash to set their rooms up in preparation for the first days of class. While many already call Kentucky home, some traveled from out of state all for the opportunity to enroll in one of the Speed School’s programs at the University of Louisville.

According to Julie Bruns, an incoming student from Campbellsville, KY, “I wanted to stay in state, mostly because of cost. The University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville were the only schools I looked into. Speed felt right. They were very welcoming. They wanted me to find my place. That’s pretty much it. The industrial program. It’s the feeling that I got from being here.”

Every student has their own motivations for attending the Speed School, they are united in the sense of community that the ELLC inspires. Incoming freshman Garret McGrady says, “I’m hoping I have a supportive community. It’s going to be nice living with someone that has the same homework. A comradery is what I’m looking for.”

The ELLC offers opportunities both to build relationships with their contemporaries and to network with future industry professionals, and includes peer mentors, program veterans, to help acclimate freshmen to the rigors of their course studies. For many it was hard to say where their time at the Speed School would lead, with post-graduate interests ranging from industrial manufacturing to toy and video game production. The prevailing sentiment among students polled is that regardless of their pursuits the Speed School is the course to success.

Academic Advisor Kim Sherman, who oversees the program, sees the ELLC as equally benefiting both the student body and the faculty/staff. She says, “It’s a really unique way to maintain and establish and to develop the advisor student relationship. I got to know a lot of my students a lot better than I would sitting in an office. I got to have fun and attend the programs with them. It’s not just about the students socializing, but that they get to socialize with the staff as well.”

That sentiment that the program is a great starting point in helping to build community is prevalent among the students in the ELLC. Trent Lyons, an incoming freshman from Murray, KY, says, “I’m going to follow the path that I think will work. I felt that speed school offered a well balanced curriculum. That will ultimately lead you to a good career. the ELLC is a great way to start on the right foot, to get to know people, and make the transition to college easier.”

View more photos from move-in day album on our Facebook page.

Team of engineering students create "flying" machine for Red Bull Flugtag

Speed School students create Angry Louie to compete in the Red Bull Flugtag.The Red Bull Flugtag competition is Aug. 27 at Waterfront Park in Louisville, and the Cardinals are ready to fly. The team of engineering students, five mechanical and one civil, is comprised of Russell Whittaker, David Campbell, Josh Scudder, Joseph Siebert, Remington Jarrell, and pilot Brittany Jarrell, has spent the last several weeks working on Angry Louie, their bird that they plan to launch Saturday between 11 a.m. and 4p.m.

The rules are simple enough. No elastic springs, no motors. There are weight constraints. The cart and the apparatus need to be under 400 lbs. Outside of that, there are safety concerns that need to be met that pertain to the well-being of the pilot.

Angry Louie weighs in at 70 lbs., and is held together with PVC and polystyrene spars, glued together with plumbing adhesive. The goal is to launch from a pier into the river, with distance as a primary measure. While the team hopes to go far, not every team sees the Flugtag in the same way.

According to Whittaker, “Not everyone takes it serious in trying to make it fly. There is one team from a vineyard making one that looks like a wine bottle.”

In addition to the design restrictions, judging is sub-divided by a few aesthetic qualifications. Whittaker explains of the individual categories, “One is creativity, one is distance and one is the skit. Some kind of song and dance presentation before we push it off the platform.”

The Flugtag competition is entirely extracurricular and the team have assembled their craft in their free time, primarily between the summer and fall semesters. Despite the lack of academic incentive –there is no credit offered for this project- the team has their own motivations.

Campbell keeps it simple. He believes, “Part of it is just that it’s fun.”

Scudder adds, “Sink or swim it’ll be fun to watch it go off the ledge. When I got the phone call it was that we were going to build a glider to fly out into the river.

The team have employed fundamentals, specifically engineering methodology to the task, as well as their individual professional experiences. None of the team have any direct background in this sort of design work.

“Our biggest challenge has been indecision. None of us has any experience in this. We read some articles we read some books. We tried to make decisions as best we could. Of course we all have classes as well and they are very demanding. Time has been a bit of an issue,” says Scudder.

Whittaker adds, “Really that’s been it. The indecision of our design. Once we knew what we wanted to do and had our design.”

Tarasevich balances training for Rio Olympics and studying to be an engineer

by Syd Bishop

Grigory Tarasevich has many talents. A native of Omsk, Siberia, Tarasevich is in his senior year at the University of Louisville Speed School, where he studies Mechanical Engineering. He balances his time at the University with his responsibilities on the swim team. In fact, you may recognize Tarasevich as having recently participated in the 2016 Olympics as part of the Russian Swim Team, a lifelong goal realized this summer in Brazil.

“I’ve always wanted to be an engineer. All my focus was on getting an engineering degree. Swimming was how I got to the US. The reason I came here is because I can do school and sports, which I couldn’t do in Russia. There is not that much time for practicing. Here I can have a flexible schedule. The coaches are pretty understanding in these situations, especially in engineering,” he says.

The transition from Russia was in some ways difficult. Despite a remarkable grasp of the English language, Tarasevich was concerned that something may get lost in translation, which is partially why he chose the University, as he had a friend in coach Vlad Polyakov. He explains, “The first semester was really hard, because I was taking English, basic courses, then I got to engineering and it’s all the same language: math.”

His interest in swimming came early. He explains, “I have always been a swimmer. My father was a swim coach, so I kind of had no choice. I started swimming when I was six and competing from 7 years old, and from there it kind of up scaled. There are things that I like in it. So is the same with everything. It’s a mixed sort of thing.”

It was only recently that he realized that his efforts may take him further than he’d ever expected. He admits, “That has been my goal for the past year, I would say. At first, I wasn’t thinking about it that much. I went to the World’s Championships in 2015 in Kazan. From there, I thought maybe I could be one of those guys that go and compete and do things. I started preparing for it, and my coaches and teammates started encouraging me. I got into that mindset that ‘there ain’t no rest of the wicked.’ For swimming, it’s the top event, you can’t go higher.”

While he didn’t quite meet his personal goals, Tarasevich placed ninth in the semi-finals, while the Russian relay team came in fourth, making him one of the best swimmers in the world. He says, “It was a lot of fun. Just a different country. I’d never been to Brazil. Some of my teammates and some former students of UofL. Being on the TV and competing with people that I saw on television when I was young is just something different.”

Continuing he adds, “There are all kinds of some sports there, some finish earlier, some finish later. For the most part, you are just there, focused on one thing: eat, sleep, swim. When you’re done, I guess a little bit of partying wouldn’t hurt. Definitely it feels like a big party to everyone else, but for athletes we’re really focused on something. I didn’t really see Rio until like the 7th day. You can’t walk that extra mile when you have to focus on the task at hand; the whole world is watching you.”

Swimming is an enormous part of his life, and one that takes a lot of time to properly commit. Tarasevich says, “We have two practices a day and weights. I wake up at 5 a.m. I have breakfast then. We have practice from 6 to 7:40. Sometimes I have class at 8. If I don’t have class, I go straight to weights. Then I go to breakfast. If I’m lucky I get a nap, then classes, classes, classes. Then we have practice from 2:30 to 4:30. There is also some extra work, so I’m done at 5. Then dinner, homework, if I’m alive at that point. To sleep usually around 9:30 or 10, but sometimes possibly later.”

Between his rigorous practice and academic regiment, Tarasevich has had to work out to maintain a consistent schedule. He says, “I went to Russian trials in April. That was rough. It was before finals for two and half weeks. I went to Russia to adjust to the time change. I talked to my professors to make up or reschedule. It was quite stressful. I can’t do it every year. But still, it’s a bit, when you come back and there is this mountain of work, you’re like ‘oh my god.’ In the second half of the year, ACC week, I miss a week. I left for Russian Nationals, I miss two and a half weeks. So far it’s been good. I’m holding a 3.5 GPA.”

He has had to sacrifice a lot to meet the needs of his training. He admits, “I realize that there is literally no time in my schedule to dedicate to research. I’m a little bit off my co-op program. I can’t commit to a job and have the swimming. I have one more year of eligibility to perform at the expected level, my best. So, I can’t really stop practicing, nor I can’t say ‘Okay boss, I’m going to go swim.’ But one thing is that swimming is usually not an age sport. Very rarely you swim past 30, but engineering will always stay with me. I can use my whole potential in that.”

Still, he hopes to continue his education as time allows. Ideally he has designs to make things that change the world we live in. He says, “Honestly, I’m really in this position now that everything works out well, everything is working out in school and in swimming, so I’m going to see what I can do. Maybe train for Tokyo in 2020. Then do some Master’s, keeping my mind in shape. Then finding a job that I want. I was thinking about outer space. I was looking at Space X. I have a couple of friends that I met through swimming that work in this field and they said there was a few companies that hire young engineers.”

Love of math and science drove Steinbach-Rankins to career in engineering research and teaching

A relatively new face in the Department of Bioengineering, Dr. Jill Marie Steinbach-Rankins is focused on her research. Growing up a love for math and science, she needed to focus those interests into something tangible. An engineer, her father helped direct those efforts into an approachable goal.

“It was a challenge limiting down. I had a lot of jobs that had an indirect way of helping people," said Steinbach-Rankins. "Maybe a cliché answer was something with a direct health impact. Once I started reading more it greatly interested me in my PhD.”

She continues adding, “If you have an engineering background, it’s like how can we make something. For me, I need to see the whole picture. How can we make something from the ground up?”

Dr. Steinbach-Rankins started off with an undergrad in Material science from the University of Illinois. She worked on her master’s degree at Arizona State, which she received in Materials Science Engineering. She worked on her post-doc at Yale researching cancer treatments. Currently her research is on the development of nano-particles and electro spun fibers as delivery platforms to help fight the spread of STI’s.

After the completion of her master’s, she went straight into the work force, but never quite settled. She recalls, “I gave my career a good look, I was doing computer programming, and I considered what did I want to go into work every day to do. I switched to bio engineering as my PhD. My PhD project was to develop peptides, biomacromolecules, to develop these peptides to better target brain tumor cells, relative to normal healthy cells in the brain. I did some math modeling.”

Prior to her move to the state, Steinbach-Rankins found herself in the area vacationing along the bourbon trail where she developed an appreciation for Kentucky. She kept that in mind when looking for a full time position, which ultimately led to the Speed School.

“I thought that it was a really strong bio-engineering department. Beyond that I could envision, one of our big projects is to treat against HIV. There were some people in the pharmacology department that worked on that and I could kind of see myself as being a part of it,” says Steinbach-Rankins enumerating her reasons for joining the faculty here.

In the interim time, she has remained busy teaching, refining her research, and seeking grants from a variety of sources. In specific, her research focuses on a multi-purpose platform delivery to combat sexually transmitted infections primarily as it relates to electro spun fibers, which may offer a prudent solution to a growing STI problem.

She says, “We’ve worked on fabricating what are called electro spun fibers. If you’re looking at administering something, nano-particles could have downfalls, compared to leading technologies out there, they may leak out, but they do have advantages. The idea is that nano-particles would be good at navigating that, but what if you have someone that wants to deliver something discreetly. The advantage is that these particles are like powder, but the electro spun fibers would be more like a tampon type device.”

In addition to her research into the prevention of safer and more user-friendly delivery systems against STIs, Dr. Steinbach-Rankins has employed her research broadly, including cancer fighting applications, and to help research a solution that helps prevent bio-film formation. Along with Dr. Dumuth has the practical application of helping improve dental health.

She balances her research with her responsibilities as an educator, which she appreciates in a number of ways. She says, “I have two extremes, which is a 101 Intro to Bio-Engineering course and an advanced graduate class. I really like it when I see students excited about a final design project. I’m teaching an advanced class now at the PhD level. I really do like it, because there is more interaction you can have with the students. It’s a small enough class that you can get to know them.”

She adds, “I think my big thing is amidst everything, I like mentoring the most. Being in speed we have a lot of undergraduates that are interested in research. I have a student that came in as a freshman and is now a senior. It’s great to see students grow.”

Amini and team awarded grant to continue efforts to improve on MRI technology for imaging blood flow

Amini and team awarded grant to continue efforts to improve on MRI technology for imaging blood flow

MJ Negahdar, Ph.D., (left) and Amir Amini, Ph.D., (right) of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

This August, Dr. Amir Amini and his team were awarded a two-year grant totaling $450,000 by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute through the Exploratory Bioengineering Research Grant Mechanism. Since 2006, Dr. Amini has been a member of the faculty in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, where he currently serves as the endowed chair in Bioimaging. His work primarily deals with magnetic resonance imaging techniques for imaging heart related diseases, so as best to diagnose a problem. His research team consists of Drs. MJ Negahdar, Marcus F. Stoddard, Glenn A. Hirsch, Rita Coram, and includes research staff from the VA hospital including Dr. Michael Kendrick and Rita Longaker.

Their receipt of their current award is a substantial achievement. Dr. Amini says, “Of all the proposals that were submitted to the National Institutes of Health, maybe only 10% are funded for this mechanism. There are other mechanisms that are not as competitive. In this case, we were able to compete successfully with the best of the best, so to speak, and so it’s very gratifying. We knew we were doing good work and set the bar high. It was a reaffirmation to know that we were doing nationally competitive research.”

“It’s a very competitive grant, the first one of its kind to Speed School. To get this grant, we competed against Harvard, Yale, MIT, the top ten schools essentially. We received a two percentile score, which is basically a slam dunk,” he adds.

The grant is part of their study, which can have a wide array of imaging applications. Dr. Amini explains that in specific, “What it entails is development of new MRI methods for imaging cardiovascular disease. There is a specific disease called Aortic Valve Stenosis, which is a narrowing of the aortic valve of the heart. Currently the modality to diagnose this disease is ultrasound. We have been able to develop novel MRI methods. As part of this study we will continue the technology development of that method to further improve the methodology and then also we will apply the method to patients with severe disease of the aortic valve prior to them going into surgery.”

“How do you diagnose the problem? One significant problem is who really needs an intervention? Who do you take to surgery? Who do you send to surgery? That’s not an easy question and with current methods up to quite a large number, in as many as 30% of patients with severe AS, the current technologies with Ultrasound are inconclusive. With 30% of the people, you’re rolling the dice,” says Dr. Amini as to some of the challenges that his team has to overcome.

He continues, “There are other ways that you can make that determination, from say symptoms or if the patient has a critically painful chest pain. But really for 30%, they can’t really say does this patient really need surgery. Ultrasound is versatile but not definitive. Really what we’re after is on that group. You ask why we look after people with severe AS (Aortic Stenosis) and it’s partially for that reason, because we want the doctors to make a more informed decision on who goes off to surgery.”

In the past, funding opportunities, as well as resources have been limited, but Dr. Amini and his team worked hard to overcome those obstacles. He says, “We only have scans on the weekends at the hospital. During the week, the scanner is only used on clinical scans. For a while, when we were here we didn’t have access to scanners at all. I teach during the week and research on the weekend. Everyone worked very hard to make this happen. It didn’t happen by accident. It’s been challenging to line up all the resources that we need, but I think we’re in a good place now.”

Amini’s lab also has substantial experience and expertise in quantitative imaging and image analysis methods in Cancer, Cardiovascular, and CNS applications, garnering several patents, numerous publications, and upwards of 4000 citations by other groups Learn more about Dr. Amini and his research.

Annual Fall Career Fair Plays Matchmaker for Students, Employers

Annual Fall Career Fair Plays Matchmaker for Students, Employers

Engineering students visit with company representatives who are seeking to hire cooperative education students, part-time and full-time employees.

Speed School's annual fall engineering career fair is scheduled for Thursday, October 6th. The event runs from noon to 4:30 p.m. at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium in the Brown and Williamson Club. Every employer has a booth where they talk about their open opportunities, some employers are hiring full-time, some are hiring co-op. Students will have an opportunity to meet with and engage potential employers in an effort to secure a co-op position.

According to Mary Andrade, interim director of the coop office, and event coordinator, the Fall Career Fair is when the largest group of students seek their co-op. The event is there to help students make the best decision available. She explains, “we do an orientation. We host seminars to help with resumes and interviews. A lot of your bigger companies hire for full-time, and a lot of their decisions are made by Thanksgiving, so if you’re graduating in May, this could be a good opportunity.”

The biggest obstacle to overcome is the scope of the fair. With a 25% increase in employers over the past several years, and a growing student body, finding the right co-op for a student is important, but a challenge Andrade and her team are ready to face. She says, “Typically our issue is not having a space large enough for all the employers to attend. We have a system that we use to manage the event, which allows students to study the employers coming ahead of time.”

The Career Fair is just the first step in the process. Andrade explains, “The day after the career fair, we’ll have all day interviews. I would say probably half of the students will secure their co-op from the career fair. We have only 100 companies that come to the career fair, but we usually have placements with over 200 companies. There will be over 100 other companies on campus interviewing.”

She adds that additionally, “We host on campus interviews daily throughout the fall semester. We’ll have employers consistently on campus doing interviews. Many of those will not attend the career fair. Especially if they’re only hiring 1 or 2. We have only a handful of companies that will hire 10 or more.”

Andrade notes that the co-op placements yield an approximately 30% full-time employment rate post-graduation, largely due to the average size of the employers, which ranges from small to medium. Still, a number of employers will hire here because of the Speed School’s initiatives to make each student work place ready.

“That’s what employers are seeking. We do require our students to stay with the same employer for three rotations. The Speed School brand is depth of experience, not breadth of experience,” says Andrade adding, “I love helping students. They’re laying out their life direction and putting pieces in place to be successful and that’s exciting to be a part of.”

Outstanding Young Engineer in Bioengineering, Samuel Grossman

Outstanding Young Engineer in Bioengineering, Samuel Grossman
Outstanding Young Engineer in Bioengineering, Samuel Grossman
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2016 Professional Award in Chemical Engineering Recipient: Barry S. Stoler, M.D.

2016 Professional Award in Chemical Engineering Recipient: Barry S. Stoler, M.D.
2016 Professional Award in Chemical Engineering Recipient: Barry S. Stoler, M.D.
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Student Council to host leadership summit; regional conference

Student Council to host leadership summit; regional conference

Tyler Poteet, SSSC President

This Saturday and Sunday, November 18th through 19th sees the return of not one, but two conferences to the Belknap Campus, the Engineering Student Councils' 2016 Engineering Leadership Summit and the National Association of Engineering Student Councils Southeast Conference. Organized by Student Council President, Tyler Poteet, both conferences are directed at helping engineers become better leaders.

It’s been a lot of work. As an organizer, Poteet has had to balance his available time against a host of responsibilities including his academic needs and his role on the Student Council. He is the only coordinator for the event, delegating other tasks accordingly to make sure that all of his extra-curricular roles were fulfilled. In addition to organizing the fine details of the event like lodging and meal planning, he also made it a point to return the NAESC Southeast Conference to town, an opportunity missed last year.

“It’s important to point out that we’ve got the Engineering Leadership Conference and the National Association of Engineering Student Councils southeast conference. We were going to host that last year, but a lot of people cancelled. We had already put in the bid for ELS, so I went ahead and just booked more hotel rooms and upped the catering. It’s been good enough that I think it will turn out very well.”

“Leadership is a skill set, not in a little part through student council. I see myself trying to go into some business industry particularly for my own pursuits,” says Poteet.

Poteet believes, “Engineers make good leaders. But maybe they don’t always know how to communicate. A strong focus at the conference is communication and in particular interpersonal communication. Everyone is going to get (a copy of the book) How to Win Friends and Influence People. It’s all about being able to work with people and address a lot of the issues that a lot of the world are dealing with.”

Ultimately, Poteet hopes that engineering students can learn to be more effective communicators, both in their professional lives and in networking new opportunities. To accomplish this goal, Poteet has brought a variety of industry professionals to speak at both conferences who are not your typical representations of engineers in the field. This includes Alan Kleier, former Vice President of Chevron’s Mid-Continent Business Unit, Lieutenant Governor Jenean Hampton, and Fark.com founder Drew Curtis, all of which offer a new perspective on applying engineering skills practically.

He says, “that’s one of the things that I wanted to accomplish with the speakers, I wanted to look outside of the engineering box. This is especially true of NAESC. Most people plan on venturing outside of the engineering world.”

Poteet has a simple metric for the success of the event. He explains, “You may not agree with everything in the book, but overall if they can take away anything to help them communicate and to work with people, then I’d consider the weekend a success.”

Professional Award in Electrical & Computer Engineering presented to Jack B. Huber

Jack B. HuberJack B. Huber was presented the Professional Award in Engineering (PAE) for Electrical and Computer Engineering during the 2016 Speed School Homecoming celebration held October 21 at the Brown Hotel.

The award is based on outstanding career performance in engineering, exceptional efforts by an individual to foster the professional development of young engineering college students. exceptional ability in the planning and direction of significant and important projects in technical engineering; and individual contributions to technical engineering knowledge.

Jack was born in 1936, grew up in the West End of Louisville, attended Flaget High School and the University of Louisville. He earned a BEE and ME at Speed School and an MBA at the School of Business.

Jack began his career in the engineering department of Southern Bell in Louisville in 1959. Over a 35 year career in the Telcom industry, Jack led the team that introduced the 11th and 12th buttons (* and #) on the Touchtone telephone, oversaw the development of the first econometric model of demand on the nationwide long distance system, was responsible for the design and implementation of the first commercially available high speed data service in the United States that was provided entirely with fiber optic technology, led the introduction of Geographic Information Systems for spatial analysis of demand and supply for complex data and information services, and introduced scenario planning in the Telcom industry.

After his retirement from BellSouth in 1993, Jack worked with the Global Business Network in Emeryville, California, until 2006, providing scenario and strategic planning support to clients throughout the world.

In 2013 Jack published his book, “The Future of The Mind; the New Mind’s Eye,”  which projects the future evolution of the human mind as a consequence of the intense interaction of the brain and cyberous systems.

Jack has four children and ten grandchildren. He now enjoys life with family and friends in Louisville.


Vic Bhagat honored with Professional Award in Computer Engineering / Computer Science

Vic Bhagat was presented the Professional Award in Engineering (PAE) for Computer Engineering and Computer Science during the 2016 Speed School Homecoming celebration held October 21 at the Brown Hotel.

The award is based on outstanding career performance in engineering, exceptional efforts by an individual to foster the professional development of young engineering college students. exceptional ability in the planning and direction of significant and important projects in technical engineering; and individual contributions to technical engineering knowledge.

Vic Bhagat is Senior Vice President and global CIO of Verizon Enterprise. He joined the company on August 15, 2016. As a member of the Executive Leadership Team, Vic focuses on innovation, product development and technological systems, helping Verizon Enterprise lead digital acceleration with customer-centered solutions. In addition, his team designs and delivers the next-generation of integrated enterprise communications solutions. His role is to engage customers and business leaders to create and enhance the many new solutions Verizon Enterprise plans to bring to market.

Most recently, Vic was Executive Vice President, Enterprise Business Solutions and Chief Information Officer at EMC Corporation. A 30-year industry veteran, Vic joined EMC in January 2013 to lead EMC’s Information Technology, Global Centers of Excellence, Global Business Services and Indirect Procurement organizations. Vic drove technology, services and support to enable EMC to optimize enterprise end-to-end processes; further global sales and R&D relationships in BRIC and emerging countries; delivering world-class services that drove innovation and revenue generation for EMC.

With a 20-year tenure at GE, Vic served as CIO for multiple GE organizations including GE Aviation Services, GE Global Growth and Operations, CNBC, GE Corporate, and GE India and Southeast Asia. Along the way, he drove the company’s IT strategies; built a technology center focused on high-end technology and digital solutions; and fueled GE’s global innovation opening numerous Centers of Excellence focused on Big Data, digital analytics and digital strategies. A global leader, Vic is well known by CEOs & business leaders within and outside technology companies across the world, particularly in Silicon Valley and other hubs of innovation.

Vic earned his Bachelor’s degree in Information Management and Marketing from the University of Louisville and a diploma in Physics and Mathematics from Agra University in India. He previously served on several Advisory Boards including AT&T Utilities & Field Services and Fairfield University’s — School of Software Engineering, and worked closely with University of Connecticut’s School of Business. In 2014 and 2015, Vic was recognized with the prestigious CIO 100 Award for excellence and achievement in IT, Evanta’s Global CIO Top 10 Breakaway Leaders and HMG’s Transformational CIO of the year award.

Samuel Grossman, Outstanding Young Engineer in Bioengineering for 2016

Samuel Grossman was presented the Outstanding Young Engineer Award in Bioengineering (OYE)during the 2015 Speed School Homecoming celebration held October 21 at the Brown Hotel.

The award is based on outstanding career performance in engineering, exceptional efforts by an individual to foster the professional development of young engineering college students. exceptional ability in the planning and direction of significant and important projects in technical engineering; and individual contributions to technical engineering knowledge.

Sam went to Ballard High School in Louisville, KY, and graduated in 2005. In high school, he was active in scouting, and attained the rank of Eagle.  Sam was a member of the first class of the Bioengineering department, earning his B.S. in  2009, and was awarded a master’s degree in 2010.

During his time at UofL, he was an active member of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity, and held office as treasurer and vice president.  Sam completed three semesters of co-op in the Customs and Specials group at DePuy Orthopaedics in Warsaw, Indiana, creating custom implants for patients with unique anatomy or prohibitive allergies.

Upon graduation, he accepted a position in the Surgeon Request Team at DePuy Spine in Raynham, MA, where he created surgeon-specific instruments for spinal surgery. Sam later transitioned to Product Development, and launched Expedium Verse, a comprehensive pedicle screw system for deformity and degenerative indications. In July of 2015, he transitioned to DePuy Synthes Mitek Sports Medicine. Sam is currently the technical lead on the Cruciate Plus and TwistR Retrograde reamer projects, which are used to facilitate ACL and PCL repair in the knee.

Sam currently lives in Providence, RI, along with his girlfriend, Lauren, and their dog, Avery.

Barry S. Stoler, M.D. received Professional Award in Chemical Engineering for 2016

Dr. Barry S. Stoler was presented the Professional Award in Engineering (PAE) for Chemical Engineering during the 2016 Speed School Homecoming celebration held October 21 at the Brown Hotel.

The award is based on outstanding career performance in engineering, exceptional efforts by an individual to foster the professional development of young engineering college students. exceptional ability in the planning and direction of significant and important projects in technical engineering; and individual contributions to technical engineering knowledge.

Born and raised in Louisville, Barry attended Atherton High School. He earned a BS in 1961 in Chemical Engineering from Speed School and continued his education at UofL’s School of Medicine where he graduated with honors in 1966.

Prior to going into private practice in Louisville, Dr. Stoler completed residencies at Washington University - Barnes-Jewish Hospital, St. Louis, MO, and the University of Louisville Hospital. He worked for the US Public Health Service Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, GA, and completed a fellowship at UofL’s Department of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine. He has specialized in pulmonary disease, and internal medicine for more than 50 years.

Dr. Stoler is a member of the Kentucky Medical Association, the Southern Medical Association, Jefferson County Medical Society, the American College of Chest Physicians, A.O.A. Honorary Society, Kentucky Thoracic Society, and the American Thoracic Society. He has authored several publications and served as hospital president.

In honor of his father, Dr. Stoler established the Max A. Stoler Memorial Award, which is presented to a graduating Chemical Engineering student with outstanding academic achievement, leadership and integrity at Speed School’s annual Honors & Awards program each April.

Dr. Stoler and his wife, Sandra, have two daughters, Christina and Kim, two sons, Robert and Kevin, two grandchildren, Garrett and Daniel, and a nephew, Max.

Jorge Lanz awarded Professional Award in Civil Engineering

Jorge Lanz was presented the Professional Award in Engineering (PAE) for Civil Engineering during the 2016 Speed School Homecoming celebration held October 21 at the Brown Hotel.

The award is based on outstanding career performance in engineering, exceptional efforts by an individual to foster the professional development of young engineering college students. exceptional ability in the planning and direction of significant and important projects in technical engineering; and individual contributions to technical engineering knowledge.

Jorge was born in Havana, Cuba, but was raised in Colombia as a child and in Ponce, Puerto Rico as an adolescent. In 1973, he came to Louisville, Kentucky with a life-long friend that had studied in Louisville. That same year, Jorge enrolled at the University of Louisville’s Speed School of Engineering and by 1979 had obtained a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Civil Engineering.

Jorge started working for a small local civil engineering and land surveying firm, Jacobi, Toombs, Inc., following graduation in 1977. He became a partner in the firm in 1987 and the firm’s name was changed to Jacobi, Toombs and Lanz, Inc. In 1998, Jorge became the firm’s president and continues in that role to this day. Under Jorge’s direction, the firm has grown from 8 to 45 employees with offices in Louisville, New Albany and Indianapolis, and has expanded its service area through the states of Indiana and Kentucky. Jorge is a licensed professional engineer in the states of Indiana and Kentucky.

Jorge is committed to encouraging and supporting Hispanic and other minority engineering students. He is the past president of GLI’s Hispanic Latino Business Council, and remains a supporter of the University of Louisville’s Foundation, targeting funds in promoting Speed School’s advancement of minority students. He also served on the board of directors of One Southern Indiana, Goodwill Bridge Point Services, and the Community Foundation of Southern Indiana.

In his spare time, Jorge enjoys his 37-year marriage to his wife Teresa, is an avid golfer, enjoys playing music, exercising, supporting UofL sports and spending time with family and friends. Saturday,

Tony Fortwengler awarded Professional Award in Mechanical Engineering

Tony Fortwengler was presented the Professional Award in Engineering (PAE) for Mechanical Engineering during the 2016 Speed School Homecoming celebration held October 21 at the Brown Hotel.

The award is based on outstanding career performance in engineering, exceptional efforts by an individual to foster the professional development of young engineering college students. exceptional ability in the planning and direction of significant and important projects in technical engineering; and individual contributions to technical engineering knowledge.

Tony was born and raised in Louisville, KY, and spent most of his formative years living at 328 Eastern Parkway, a stone’s throw from Speed School. He is a 1961 graduate of St. Xavier High School and earned his B.S.
degree in mechanical engineering from Speed School in 1966.

Upon graduation, he embarked on a 30-year career in sales and systems with IBM in Louisville, Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio. After retirement from IBM and two years of consulting, a client offered him a position as Director of Technical
Infrastructure. Tony spent 12 years with Southwest Gas in Las Vegas, NV, in this position. As Director of Technical Infrastructure, his organization was recognized by CIO magazine as one of the top 100 innovative information technology units in the country.

He returned to Louisville in 2005 and has been involved in a number of community activities. He is a
member of the board of the UofL Alumni Association, and its immediate past president. In honor of his parents,
he and family members have endowed the Fortwengler Family Scholarship Fund at the J.B. Speed School of

Tony and Alice, his wife of 54 years, have three children, 5 grandchildren and one great grandson.

Love in 3D: How grad student Keren Callen engineered an engagement ring

3D Printed Engagement RingKeren Callen is in love. A graduate student in the Mechanical Engineering program, Callen has found a way to blend his passion for engineering with his love for his girlfriend Maddie Mullikin. This weekend, Callen proposed to his girlfriend of three years, seven months, five minutes, and one second ago or 113,187,979 in seconds at the time of this writing, a running calculation that he has readily available, by presenting her a 3D printed ring of his own design.

Callen isn’t sure what the future holds beyond his impending spring graduation, but he knows that he wants Mullikin as part of it. Since his high school graduation, Callen has been a student in one way or another, first in the officer candidate school for the Marine Corps and later at the University of Louisville. He came to the University in 2007, first as a student in the Speed School, before transitioned to marketing, before returning in 2012 to the Speed School; the call for engineering was too strong.

Callen has long studied the science of their relationship. Although he knew that they had good chemistry, Callen had planned for months for the best moment to propose.

“She told me last May that she thought she’d be married by now. When I knew, it was shortly after that. You know what, I’ll never find anyone else in the world that’s going to tell me… I don’t even know how to word that,” says Callen.

He adds, “The mental aspect of it is a complex thing that most engineers don’t get, because it’s not based on logic. Basically everything we do has to be logical, because that’s how the world works.”

Part of his struggle was in finding the right way to express his love, while staying true to his engineering roots. He explains, “I’m not in touch with my emotional side, I figured that spending the amount of time that it took to make this ring and design it would show here that I care. A lot. Enough to spend 5 ½ months working on it. That’s why I did it. I figured that’d be a way I could show my feelings.”

Naturally it was a process. Callen had to determine what kind of ring to create, but needed more data from Mullikin. The two looked at a few rings and after identifying a few qualities that she admired, he went cautiously forward.

“It made me nervous, because I have too many options. I told her that if I get you a ring that you are equally okay with any of these options. I was stuck with emerald cut, modified hexagonal, and marquee cut. So I did my own research. Which ones did I think were the coolest? Obviously I’m into geometric shapes. There are circle cuts, round cuts… all these weird things. I picked the thing that would be most geometric, which would be emerald.”

He continues, “I sat down one day and opened up my computer and I extruded a basic shape on Solid Works. It occurred to me that I should probably take measurements, so when she took off her ring… she wears this one ring constantly, and when she took it off, I took out my calipers and took the dimensions of the ring that she had currently. I used that as my base and I went from there.”

Once he had all the pertinent info and his stylistic decisions were set, he went to work. Gaining help from Joe Vicars in the Rapid Prototyping Center, he designed a mold for the ring, which was then set in gold.

He explains of his process, “The mold is not like a mold out of play dough. The mold is a design. To straight up 3D print in gold would be an astronomical amount of money. People do it, but I can’t do that. I created the plastic version of the ring, so that I had an object to hold, and I sent off all my materials to a place called Shape Ways, a 3D printing website.”

It came down to logistics. An anxious Callen admitted that his plans were thrown off by a scheduling change over the weekend; improvising is an unknown variable. It was critical to get this moment right though, so he recalibrated. On Saturday, Callen proposed to Mullikin on campus on the first floor of the Rapid Prototyping Center, lights strung up that popped the question. Down on one knee, ring in hand, lights in the background, Mullikin said yes.

Everything fell into place. After accepting his proposal, Callen took Mullikin on a tour of the facility, leaving campus to meet up with family and friends to celebrate. Now the wedding planning has begun, and true to his nature, Callen has offered to work with Mullikin to create her own wedding band, an act of collaboration symbolic of their love. 

Building Tomorrow Today: Dr. Roman Yampolskiy on the future of AI

A member of the Computer Engineering and Computer Science faculty, Dr. Roman Yampolskiy works every day to engineer a better tomorrow. He received his doctorate from the University of Buffalo, as the recipient of a four-year National Science Foundation Integrative Graduate Education Research Traineeship as part of the geography program, where he had to employ creativity in framing his dissertation. His research attends to the intersection of Artificial Intelligence and Security, specifically as that relates pattern recognition and AI safety.

Recently appointed a Kentucky Colonel, Dr. Yampolskiy has an impressive list of accomplishments, from more than one hundred peer reviewed published works, to appearances in various media, to his time at the Singularity University, where he is an alumnus. Recently, his work took him to South Korea as an expert for the International Judicial Exchange on the impact of AI in the courtroom.

Like Elon Musk or Stephen Hawking, Dr. Yampolskiy has a measured concern for the future of artificial intelligence. Particularly this is relative to machine learning and the growth of an intellect beyond human capacity. He says, “Right now my main area of interest is, is it possible to control that level of intelligence? If that’s really the case, is it even ethical to pursue this research? Is it a bad idea to get to that level of research?”

“If you have beyond human level intelligence, how do you control it? Early on I proposed having AI ethics boards. We see it with medical science, but it’s never been a case in AI research. In the last year or so, we saw Google implement an ethics board for the Deep Mind. There is another company called Lucid AI, and AGI which has an ethics board and I’m a member of that. A lot of early proposals are being implemented,” says Dr. Yampolskiy.

In a recent paper entitled “How to make a Malevolent AI,” Dr. Yampolskiy turns his attention towards the intentional creation of a malicious intelligence, which poses a threat to the future of cyber security. He says, “The same people that make viruses right now, they’ll do that with AI. There is no one literally looking at that problem. No one considers looking at those issues. I strongly suspect that there is not a universal solution that will actually work.”

He admits it hasn’t always been easy. As a purveyor of emerging technologies, he has had many obstacles to overcome. He admits, “Funding is very difficult for this area of research. Five years ago it was considered science fiction.” 

Organizations like the National Science Foundation typically fund established or traditional fields of research, a challenge for someone with one eye towards the future. Still, Dr. Yampolskiy is innovative in the finding funds, looking to alternative routes like crowd sourcing.

He hopes that with additional focus on this field that the prospect of gaining funding will become easier. For example, just this summer the White House had a meeting on cyber security.  “It may take some time for agencies to adjust, but it seems like I’m well positioned to be a leader in that field.”

His pioneering work in the field of artificial intelligence, drew the attention of the South Korean government. There he served as council on the use of artificial in the Korean judiciary system, selected because they read his most recent book, “Artificial Superintelligence: A Futuristic Approach.” He says, “They were very interested in specific chapters in my book. Basically it was partially about robotic rights, but also about containment problems. It was a four-day trip. We had multiple meetings at the supreme court. We had a two-and-a-half-hour press conference.”

He believes their interest in artificial intelligence is at least partially driven by cultural elements unique to Korea. He says, ‘Last year Deep Mind developed a program that played Go. They went to Korea, took on the world champion, and beat him. Seriously. That completely changed the outcome in Korean government. They invested in AI research. They got it as a sign of what’s coming. In Asian culture, game of Go is very fundamental. Playing it well is like mastery of the universe.”

Ultimately, he was tasked with finding a way to employ artificial intelligence in the courtroom. He explains, “They are very advanced on their automation levels. File paperwork, divorces, whatever you want. Like judges. Will they be automated?”

Continuing he adds, “The day I came back, there was a report published that said that using neural networks, that researchers found that they can predict decisions with 75-79% level of accuracy. This is good. Obviously those are specific cases, they had a lot of data to work with. It seems like the progress we’re making will allow this to go to near 100%.”

The concept is not without its own set of concerns. He says, “For some cases, you definitely you would be happy to have this automation, like if you’re waiting on a traffic ticket. But then you have capital punishment cases, and you don’t want to have machines deciding who lives and dies. That’s what I told them.”

Dr. Yampolskiy is an engineer at heart, focusing on the scientific rather than the philosophical.

“Looking at our progress in it, it’s truly exponential. The thing is it takes 60 years to develop anything for it. The question is good, the problem is the rise of AI, consciousness, the rise of Skynet, it has nothing to do with capability. It’s only a question of time before it’s better in all domains. If that’s the definition. Consciousness is not a scientific term. We can talk about capability. That we can measure.”

Graduate Student Samuel Nwosu leads Louisville Chapter of Association for Computing Machinery

Graduate Student Samuel Nwosu leads Louisville Chapter of Association for Computing Machinery

University of Louisville Student Chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery

November 18, 2016

The Association for Computing Machinery offers a sanctuary for anyone interested in computers and computer oriented technology, from video games to programming and everything in between. ACM president Samuel Nwosu wants to bring the organization out into the community. A grad-student, Nwosu found inspiration early on to join the group, starting off lab manager, he worked his way up to vice-president, and now president. After interviewing for Google and Microsoft, Nwosu was inspired to continue his education in a bid to improve his opportunities for future employment. His drive is matched only by his love of the ACM and continuing in the graduate program allowed him the opportunity to serve as president.

“Before my time the ACM was that, going out, doing events, getting high schools involved, doing all these amazing things. We had people in their 70’s doing stuff. We are trying to recapture that. That’s the whole point of my presidency is to lay the framework for that,” says Nwosu.

To achieve those goals, Nwosu and the ACM have organized a series of events over the next several months including the ACM Expo this Saturday, November 19th, Local Hack Day on December 3rd, and the Derbyhacks event February 24th-26th. Each event is aimed at showing off what the ACM can do.

“It’s our attempt at getting us out there to the general Speed School community. We just invite people to look at them. We even have one professor showing off technology in the CECS department. We want to give students the inspiration to work on more stuff. That’s what the ACM did for me.”

Local Hack Day is December 3rd, a precursor event to Derbyhacks in February. Both events feature a host of hack oriented activities, which Nwosu clarifies as more like a Makethon. For example, at a recent hack event, Nwosu developed the Smart Shoe, a FitBit like device that inserts into the sole of a shoe to measure steps throughout the day. The device connects to a smart phone and will ultimately gauge pressure to help monitor actual steps every day and is intended as a diagnostic tool.

His goal is to make each event bigger. He explains of last year’s Derbyhacks that, “We had 60 students attend last year, but we hope to have 200 this year. It’s a good opportunity to meet new people.”

Previous years have included a variety of innovations. Nwosu says of previous entries, “Websites, mobile apps, someone made a device that was designed to help the blind, it would put pressure on your arm when you got to close to the wall. That was a cool hardware hack. At our hackathon people have made robots do cool stuff. I’ve seen a team build a car that you can drive with your mind. You can see anything at a hackathon. Every time I go to one, I’m always blown away by at least one project.”

But the ACM is always open to host new events to show their passion at work. Nwosu says, “In between those events, we have lan parties and hard drive racing, where we just invite students to hang out with us and just have fun. The lan party we have is a mixture of both, people can bring in their computers and play games, but we also have a PS3, an Super Nintendo. This is an event that one of my members suggested. What I understand is that you have a hard drive outside of your computer and you spin them up and they spit out the disc.”

You can get more info at SpeedACM.org, or by following them on Twitter or Facebook.