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Winter/Spring 2013 ETM Newsletter

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Dear Alumni, Students and Friends,

Welcome to the Winter/Spring Oregon Tech College of Engineering, Technology and Management newsletter. We’re excited to share with you news about applied research, events, innovations, and upgrades in our college.

Oregon Tech is proud that our professors maintain their relationships with industry partners and bring that real-world experience to the classroom. Our students are immersed in the culture of their field from day one at Oregon Tech, so that when they graduate they hit the ground running. We think those themes are evident in the articles in this newsletter.

Learn more about Oregon Tech and the College of Engineering, Technology and Management at www.oit.edu/etm.

Charlie Jones, Ph.D.
Dean, College of Engineering, Technology, and Management
Oregon Institute of Technology

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Oregon Tech Offers Optics Program in Response to Local Industry Demand

More than 1,200 new laser/optics technicians and engineers are needed per year in the US and only 230 students graduate with that specialty. Oregon Tech is addressing this shortage with its new optoelectronics focus within the electrical engineering degree program. This is the only program of its kind in the state of Oregon.


"This is a great time in optoelectronics," says Scott Prahl, Program Director of Optoelectronics at Oregon Tech. "Historically, optics has been prohibitively expensive, but prices have dropped 1000-fold over the last decade. Now offering a lab to students with the best technologies including lasers and floating tables makes optoelectronics education more accessible."

Optoelectronics is the study and application of electronic devices that source, detect and control light, usually considered a sub-field of photonics. The application of this field is far reaching, from consumer electronics to military and industrial uses.

"More than 90 Oregon companies now hire engineers to incorporate lasers, camera lenses, etc. into their products,"says Christina Crespo, Electrical Engineering and Renewable Energy Department Chair at Oregon Tech. "These companies often must recruit from outside Oregon. Many of them have already expressed an interest in hiring optoelectronics interns from our program."

The Oregon Tech optoelectronics program is rigorous. Each class is paired with a specific laboratory that offers direct experience allowing students to actually implement what they learn. The curriculum was designed to allow graduates to be useful immediately at companies hiring these engineers.

Oregon Tech students studying in the optics program may also take advantage of a 4+1 BS/MS program in partnership with the University of Oregon, where students complete their BS degree in engineering at Oregon Tech, followed by a one-year master’s internship program offered by the University of Oregon. The program connects students to one-year paid internships in a variety of high-tech industries including solar, semiconductor and optics. Upon completion of this program, students also receive an MS degree in Applied Physics or Chemistry from The University of Oregon. Most 4+1 interns can expect to earn between $2,000 and $5,400 per month during the course of their internship. Students in this area are also often hired before graduation and end up with a higher than average starting salary.

To learn more about Oregon Tech's optoelectronics option in the electrical engineering program, contact Dr. Scott Prahl at 503.821.1250 or by e-mail at scott.prahl@oit.edu.

SMS STEM Partnership

South Metro-Salem STEM Partnership

Mentor Graphics Corporation hosted an Industry Outreach Breakfast on behalf of the South Metro-Salem STEM Education Partners on January 11, 2013 at the company’s Wilsonville headquarters. The coalition of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Partners, organized by Oregon Institute of Technology (Oregon Tech) and Oregon FIRST Robotics, is building collaboration among regional school districts, community colleges and universities, community organizations and businesses, to catalyze Oregon students to achieve STEM degrees and certificates by increasing the access, excitement and engagement of students in STEM courses and experiential learning.

Featured speakers at the Industry Outreach Breakfast were U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley, Mentor Graphics CEO, Walden C. Rhines, State Representative Chris Harker, Garmin AT Project Engineer, Craig Hudson, along with Paul Sale from Mentor Graphics, and Hilda Rosselli, Deputy Director for College and Career Readiness for the Oregon Education Investment Board.

"Mentor Graphics has been a strong supporter of STEM education for many years," said Walden C. Rhines, Mentor Graphics Chairman and CEO. "High technology industry has been the largest contributor to high paying jobs in Oregon in recent years but companies like Mentor Graphics are limited by the availability of a technologically educated workforce. It is essential to motivate and provide resources for students of all ages to explore science and technology to the fullest extent of their interest."

The South Metro-Salem STEM Partnership’s Industry Outreach Breakfast gave local companies an opportunity to learn about the STEM Partnership and to get involved in helping their local schools understand their employment needs around STEM aptitudes, and to determine ways to help schools achieve their educational goals.

The South Metro-Salem STEM Partnership is composed of 12 regional school districts, two community colleges, three universities, five community programs like FIRST Robotics and Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum, and several technology companies, such as Mentor Graphics, Garmin and Intel.

Signatory Partners include Amity, Canby, Gladstone, Lake Oswego, McMinnville, Molalla River, North Clackamas, Oregon City Salem-Keizer, Tigard-Tualatin, West Linn-Wilsonville, Woodburn School Districts, Chemeketa and Clackamas Community Colleges, Oregon Institute of Technology, Pacific University, Western Oregon University, FIRST Robotics, Project Lead the Way, Mad Science, Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum, and private sector employers Garmin AT, Intel and Mentor Graphics.

The partners have decided to work together to raise the achievement of students at all grade levels within their districts by providing teachers with professional development in project-based learning, linking private sector community resources with school needs, and providing more opportunities for students to get dual high school-college credits in science, technology, engineering and math.

For further information contact: Lita Colligan, Associate Vice President, Oregon Tech 503.821.1247  lita.colligan@oit.edu; or visit www.oit.edu/STEM.

Computer Systems Engineering Technology Department Offers

Computer Science and math seem like a logical pairing. Todd Breedlove from the Computer Systems Engineering Technology (CSET) Department and Randall Paul of the Math Department have outlined a curriculum map enabling Software Engineering Technology (SET) students to earn a major in Applied Mathematics with only one additional year of schooling. This option is a viable opportunity for many of the SET students and especially valuable for transfer students or those individuals who come into the program with higher math placement scores or additional math credits.

The driving force behind this initiative is based on the needs of industry. The feedback from employers is that the extra math for Software Engineering Technology graduates makes them more adept at their jobs and gives them an advantage in the workforce. From this feedback, Oregon Tech developed a formalized path to make it easier for students to obtain both degrees.

As the Applied Mathematics Department is part of the College of Health, Arts and Sciences, this new joint venture is the first time the Computer Systems Engineering Technology Department has collaborated with on a dual program outside the College of ETM.

Composite Materials Lab

Upgrade to Composite Materials Lab

Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering and Technology (MMET) students are excited about the upgrades happening to the Composite Materials Lab at Oregon Tech.

Plumbing of a large vacuum pump was completed. The vacuum pump distributes vacuum to the composite parts built by the students and has significantly improved the lab capabilities. This vacuum method is used in aerospace, automotive and sporting goods industries to allow higher quality composite components to be made in the lab and simulates a real-world manufacturing environment.

Designed by the graduate students in the department, the lab features a “lean” layout for a more efficient work space. The lab is being wired with drop cords and drop air lines, and outfitted with a safe lockable cabinet for the volatile materials. There is also a freezer for controlling pre-impregnated composite material that is partially cured. Several graduate students are also designing and building a curing oven that will improve the quality of parts built in the lab and more closely mimics a true composite manufacturing experience.

Industry partners have asked MMET to include composite manufacturing courses in the Oregon Tech program. The upgraded lab has helped graduates “talk the talk and walk the walk” in the composites world. With over 50 percent of the components in new aircraft made of composite materials today, Oregon Tech graduates in the aerospace industry are telling us that they have a distinct advantage over their counterparts who have not taken the composites course and worked hands-on in the lab with this new generation of composite materials.

Matthew SleepCivil Engineering Department Update

The Department of Civil Engineering at Oregon Tech is pleased to announce the hiring of a new faculty member, Dr. Matthew Sleep. Dr. Sleep comes to us after finishing his Ph.D. at Virginia Tech. He specializes in Geotechnical Engineering.

Dr. Sleep began his professional career at the University of Mississippi, Ole Miss. There he obtained a Bachelors of Science degree in Geological Engineering. During his undergraduate studies, Dr. Sleep obtained a co-op opportunity with the Nashville District of the Army Corps of Engineers. There he worked on many of the district’s large dam projects including Wolf Creek Dam and Center Hill Dam. Dr. Sleep completed an undergraduate thesis for the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College titled “Spatial Variability of Soil Electrical Conductivity and its Response to Soil Physical Properties.” His work with the Corps lead to a brief stay at the civil consulting firm AMEC. Dr. Sleep then began graduate work at Virginia Tech pursuing a Master’s in Civil Engineering with an emphasis in Geotechnical Engineering.

During his master’s studies, Dr. Sleep had the privilege of working with Dr. J. Michael Duncan as a Virginia Tech Via Scholar. Dr. Sleep completed research projects in dam filter design, levee underseepage and seepage cutoff walls. After his master’s degree, Dr. Sleep stayed at Virginia Tech to work on a Ph.D. with Dr. J. Michael Duncan and Dr. Thomas Brandon. During his tenure at Virginia Tech, Dr. Sleep was able to co-teach Corps of Engineer Prospect short courses in soil strength and slope stability as well as seepage and slope stability.

Dr. Sleep also worked on several independent consulting projects with Dr. J. Michael Duncan while obtaining his Ph.D. These projects included Whittier Narrows Dam in Los Angeles, Wolf Creek Dam in Kentucky, the Bill Young Reservoir in Florida and several other dam and slope stability projects.

Dr. Sleep completed his doctoral dissertation on Transient Seepage Through Levees. Also during his Ph.D. work, Dr. Sleep took part in the Virginia Tech Instructorship program. Graduate pedagogy classes and an opportunity to teach at Virginia Tech lead him to pursue an academic position after graduation.

Dr. Sleep is excited to be teaching at Oregon Tech. The combination of small class sizes, an emphasis on hands-on learning through laboratories, and the focus and determination of the students has made his transition to Oregon Tech very enjoyable.

Learn more about the Civil Engineering Program

Klamath national wildlife refugeGeomatics Department Update

Klamath Marsh National Wildlife Refuge (KMNWR) has requested assistance from the Oregon Tech GIS Service Center to provide background cartographic and GIS analysis for their current restoration work on the KMNWR. The KMNWR is located in northern Klamath County (see map inset) and spans 41,000 acres.

A recent effort led by Faye Weekley of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is focused on the restoration of 10,000 acres of the KMNWR. In this effort local surface water flow will be redirected from the existing channelized flow to a natural meandering channel and anastomosed wetland system to improve hydrological functions similar to historic conditions.

Light detection and ranging (LIDAR) elevation data of the area are being used to analyze the most appropriate paths in which to redirect the flows. This part of the effort is being aided by personnel from the Oregon Tech GIS Service Center and has the potential for serving as the subject for many Geomatics and Environmental Science students.

Analysis thus far has used the LIDAR data to produce stunning 2-D, 3-D, and graphical depictions of the terrain surface.

Learn more about the Geomatics Program