Nevada Engineering Spring 2021
Nevada Engineering | Spring 2021
The stories of the students and faculty in the College of Engineering who are making a world of difference through their research, outreach and service.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Greetings from Dean Manos Maragakis
On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. In the year that followed, every facet of life has been touched by the pandemic, from the way we work to the way we eat, where we live and how we share traditions with our loved ones. To say nothing of how we teach and learn.
In the midst of the ensuing uncertainty and fear, I was proud of the immediate response of the members of the College of Engineering. Within days, they began harnessing their skills and resources to help in the unprecedented fight. They used 3D printers to produce personal protective equipment for distribution in our hospitals and care facilities. They discovered new ways to deliver a globally competitive computer science and engineering education, and as a result, we continued to provide our students with opportunities to pursue world-changing research.
In this issue of Nevada Engineering, we highlight the many projects from the College that helped us understand and address the challenges of COVID-19. From wastewater analysis to determine the spread of the virus to novel machine learning approaches to predict its future proliferation, from tests for the virus that provide results within 30 seconds to the development of new techniques to sanitize surfaces, the research our students and faculty produced in the last year will have a lasting impact.
The research produced in the past year, though, is only part of the story. In this year unlike any other, I am grateful to every person in the College. Through their hard work and dedication, we have not only adapted but thrived. We took our advising online, offered tutoring through Zoom, continued to support K-12 students through our outreach programs, connected students with employers through virtual career fairs, delivered our Innovation Day to showcase senior projects online, and most of all, maintained the engineering spirit that drives innovation and creativity to solve the most difficult and pressing problems. Every person had to find new ways to contribute in all areas of our operations, and their successes are countless. As a result, for the second year in a row, all of our ranking-eligible graduate programs were ranked by U.S. News & World Report, and for the tenth year in a row, the College itself was ranked.
As we look forward to a brighter day, it is apparent that the College of Engineering at the University of Nevada, Reno has been strengthened by this challenge. We have maintained our breadth of research, our high standard of scholarship and our personalized world-class mentorship. In fact, in this challenging year, we have had enough good news to share with the world to distribute two issues of the magazine—a first for us. I am deeply impressed but not at all surprised by the response of our students, faculty and staff. This issue of the magazine reflects their commitment to the future and their ability to overcome any obstacle they may face.
Dean, College of Engineering
University of Nevada, Reno
2021 Innovation Day goes virtual
Each year, all engineering graduating seniors work in teams on senior capstone projects. Together, they design solutions to real-world problems. From idea to prototype, the process allows students to draw on four years’ worth of engineering coursework to bring theory to life. One of Dean Manos Maragakis’s original visions for the College when he took office, the annual Innovation Day is a showcase of their hard work.
To keep this important tradition alive while respecting gathering guidelines, this year’s event went virtual. Pictured here is Biomedical Engineering Team 14 (Victoria Defilippi, Casey O'Brien, Sarita Brown, and Nolan Larza), working in the new William N. Pennington Engineering Building on their project, Luna.
Working within COVID protocols, the Society of Women Engineers connects students with industry
On February 17, the University’s chapter of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) connected 65 students with 11 companies through its annual Evening with Industry (EWI) event. As a result of the virtual delivery of this year’s event and the outreach efforts of the Society of Women Engineers, for the first time ever, students from Truckee Meadows Community College, Western Nevada College, and the University of Nevada Las Vegas were also able to participate. SWE President Victoria Defilippi and EWI Coordinators Lily Raymond and Mackenzie Santor-Vaz organized the event.
Natalie Little delivered the keynote address and said of the event, "UNR SWE did a fantastic job of pulling together their members and hosting this amazing networking event."
Sierra Nevada Corporation forgoes holiday and year-end meetings, donates to College of Engineering
Donations were made based on Sierra Nevada Corporation employee recommendations.
Janet Napolitano discusses DHS during COVID-19 at College of Engineering's 2020 Distinguished Lecture Series
The former Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security described the current challenges facing the country and offered a hopeful closing remark.
Spring Internship & Career Fair
To abide by social distance guidelines, the Spring 2021 College of Engineering Internship & Career Fair went virtual. On Thursday February 25, 47 employers connected with 454 students through 642 one-on-one meetings. Hosted by the College of Engineering's Career Services, the semiannual event is designed to help students transition from the University to fulfilling careers.
Dean Manos Maragakis
“The members of the College of Engineering have responded to the coronavirus pandemic with the singular goal of securing the health of the members of our global community.”
NOTES FROM AN R1 RESEARCH INSTITUTION
$25 Million in 2020
It was another great year for research in the University of Nevada, Reno's College of Engineering. With support from the Engineering Research Office, the faculty in the College of Engineering received $25 million in grant funding for projects designed to improve the world. We are proud to share some of the many highlights from the year in review. While we look back on a successful year, with $16 million in grants from July to December alone, we also look forward to another successful year of advancing knowledge, solving problems and solidifying our reputation as an R1 Research Institution.
New roadside LiDAR sensors help build a safer transportation infrastructure
Engineering researchers have expanded a network of LiDAR sensors to improve traffic efficiency, reduce accidents and facilitate the use of autonomous vehicles.
New tool allows computer scientists to support life scientists
Department of Computer Science and Engineering Assistant Professor Tin Nguyen and his lab have developed software to help life scientists efficiently analyze single-cell data using machine learning.
Collaborative research project with NV Energy gets assistance from University professors
Professors Hanif Livani and Mohammed Ben-Idris of the electrical engineering department will participate.
Floris van Breugel awarded prestigious Air Force Research Laboratory grant
Van Breugel is one of 36 scientists to receive $450,000 through the Air Force's Young Investigator Research Program (YIP) from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR).
CREATE program welcomes second cohort, celebrates successful first year
The NSF-funded program aims to recruit, retain and engage academically talented engineering students through scholarships and academic support services.
Postdoctoral researcher wins international 3-minute thesis video competition
Before receiving her Ph.D. in civil engineering in August, Elif Ecem Baş developed a machine learning algorithm that improves cyber-physical seismic hybrid simulations.
Computer Science student Sara Davis wins Intel SWE Scholarship for engineering research
Sara Davis, a Ph.D. student in Computer Science Engineering, received a scholarship from the Society of Women Engineers for her research in reducing bias in AI systems.
Dean Manos Maragakis
"The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education R1 (or very high research activity) designation is reserved for the highest level of research activity at doctoral institutions. . . . The College of Engineering played a leading role in the University's efforts to attain R1 status, and I want to thank all of our dedicated faculty, students and staff for their significant contributions."
Each year, our Annual Celebration recognizes the accomplishments of our students, faculty and staff. We couldn't be prouder of the dedicated members of our community, like Fall 2020 Senior Scholar Allan Romero.
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"As a Latina engineer, I find my inspiration through other women who have taken risks or leaps of faith in order to find their true happiness and purpose.... My greatest accomplishment has definitely been being a first-generation college graduate. Being a minority woman in a male-dominant field was something I didn’t just want for me, but it was something that I wanted for my parents because they gave me an opportunity that they didn’t have in their lifetime."
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The College of Engineering gratefully acknowledges the support of Nevada Today and Nevada Silver & Blue in making these stories possible. Special thanks to Mike Wolterbeek, Karl Fendelander, Jane Tors, Moses Achoka, Sarah Strang, Isaac Hoops and Nikki Moylan.
The Corporate Partners program at the College of Engineering of the University of Nevada, Reno brings together a select group of companies and firms to collaborate with engineering and computer science educators, researchers and students. The mission of the program is to generate interactions between the College and the Corporate Partners that bridge the gap between theory and practice and bring a competitive edge to the College of Engineering, the partners, the region, the state and the nation.
The College of Engineering is proud to partner with the following companies.