Category Archives: Technology and Computer Science

Dept. of Construction Management Gains Reaccreditation

The College’s Department of Construction Management was recently reaccredited for another six years by the American Council for Construction Education (ACCE). In order to receive reaccreditation, the department had to meet 20 student learning outcomes, which was a new process required by ACCE.

“Previously, the accreditation process was prescriptive-based,” said Dr. Syed Ahmed, department chair. “We, along with a few other universities, were the forerunners of the new outcomes-based approach, and it showed our students are learning what they need to succeed.”

Ahmed said receiving the new accreditation also reflects numerous, positive approaches the department is taking. “Our curriculum is current. Our faculty is qualified. We excel at self assessing. And, our facilities are up-to-date,” he added.

The College of Engineering and Technology's Department of Construction Management was recently reaccredited. (Photo by Jay Clark)

The College of Engineering and Technology’s Department of Construction Management was recently reaccredited. (Photo by Jay Clark)

The reaccreditation has come at a good time. Ahmed sees the construction industry rebounding after a slump around 2006, which resulted in a drop in enrollment. Today, he sees an increase in enrollment across all universities due to growth in commercial and residential construction.

“The construction industry needs more students like our department is producing,” says Ahmed. “Our employment levels are excellent.”

In the spring of 2017, the department graduated 42 students. Of those students, 88 percent have landed a job. Dr. Ahmed is quick to point out that these students will also have a chance to make an exceptional salary upon graduation from college. Over the past 36 months, 62 percent of starting salaries for those with a bachelor’s degree in construction management have a range of $50,000 – $65,000 (and up). The national average is just over $54,000.

“Our students are serving a critical need for the construction industry,” added Ahmed.

As the construction industry grows, along with the demands for college to produce qualified talent, the need for additional faculty also grows.

“It’s a good problem to have,” said Ahmed. “We just need to make sure we can match our high level of student enrollment with the increased need for faculty in the department.”

 

 

-by Michael Rudd, University Communication

 

College of Engineering and Technology Graduates First Environmental Engineering Students

Last week’s College of Engineering and Technology graduation ceremonies saw a couple of momentous occasions. First, the College’s Department of Engineering graduated its 500th student! Secondly, three students were the first to graduate with a concentration in environmental engineering.

Matthew Edwards, Brian Garrett and Troy Puryear came to the program two years ago and then this past Friday, they became a part of college history.

However, the impetus for this program started when the College wanted to add another engineering concentration almost five years ago. The goal was to create opportunities that would complement the needs of eastern North Carolina.

Pictured, from left to right: Instructor Jeff Foeller, Troy Puryear, Matthew Edwards and Asst. Professor Randall Etheridge, Ph.D. Puryear and Edwards are two of the first three graduates to receive an engineering degree with a concentration in environmental engineering. (contributed photo)

Pictured, from left to right: Instructor Jeff Foeller, Troy Puryear, Matthew Edwards and Asst. Professor Randall Etheridge, Ph.D. Puryear and Edwards are two of the first three graduates to receive an engineering degree with a concentration in environmental engineering. (contributed photo)

“We sat down internally and asked what’s going to make a good environmental engineer for this area,” said Jeff Foeller, an Instructor with College and one of the architects of the original curriculum. “We have a lot of water and lot of coastline. Therefore, we knew the program should have a water concentration.”

So, the department mapped out the classes, got the curriculum approved and classes were then made available.

Puryear, who is from Greenville, says this concentration appealed to him because he, “wanted the opportunity to work hands-on, in the field; rather than always indoors or in an office.” Puryear is currently an intern at a local firm and has hopes to continue with that firm as a full-time employee.

Along with the intimacy of the program, Edwards chose the environmental concentration because, “my uncle is an environmental engineer, and I’m able to work both outside and inside.” Edwards has accepted a position with an engineering firm in Raleigh.

Though only three graduated in this first group, Foeller expects to double that number over the next year. The goal is to sustain a program that can handle one or two dozen students a year.

“As we’re growing in the East and developing more land, the need for environmental engineers will increase,” said Foeller.

 

 

-by Michael Rudd, University Communication

Five ECU Students Receive Scholarships from TiMOTION

Thanks to a company that “believes strongly in moving toward a better future,” five engineering students from the College of Engineering and Technology are each the recipient of a $1,000 scholarship.

Pictured, from left to right: Patricia Malcolm, Basel Abdelfattah and Laith Damreh. All three are biomedical engineering students who each received a scholarship from TiMOTION. (contributed photos)

Pictured, from left to right: Patricia Malcolm, Basel Abdelfattah and Laith Damreh. All three are biomedical engineering students who each received a scholarship from TiMOTION. (contributed photos)

In a recent news release, Taiwan’s TiMOTION and its North American Subsidiary awarded these scholarships, which will benefit full-time students of high academic standing who are enrolled in engineering programs. The company considers these awards an investment in the engineers of tomorrow.

Scholarship recipients include:

  • Basel Abdelfattah
  • Laith Damreh
  • Travis Harrison
  • Jamie LoScalzo
  • Patricia Malcolm

All five students are from North Carolina

Junior Jamie LoScalzo is a recipient of a $1,000 scholarship from TiMOTION.

Junior Jamie LoScalzo is a recipient of a $1,000 scholarship from TiMOTION.

Junior Jamie LoScalzo is from New Bern, and she’s currently president of the Dean’s Student Leadership Advisory Council for the College of Engineering and Technology. About the scholarship, she said, “this award helps to alleviate my financial concerns for next semester, and will allow me to focus on my coursework, as well as my extracurricular activities within the college.”

Laith Damreh, a junior from Raleigh, echoed LoScalzo. “This opportunity is very helpful because, with the scholarship, I can work less so I can focus more on my academics.”

Goldsboro’s Malcolm knew from an early age that paying for her education would fall squarely on her shoulders. “My parents told me from a very early age that they would not pay for my college education and that I would be responsible for it myself,” she said. “Getting this scholarship will allow me to continue pursuing my education goals.”

Abdelfattah is from Greenville. Like the other ECU scholarship recipients, this scholarship will have an impact. “It’s motivation for me to work diligently for academic success,” said Abdelfattah. “The scholarship will help lessen the impact of my tuition costs.”

As part of this funding, TiMOTION said it will provide “products for classroom learning and projects.”

TiMOTION is an industry-leading provider of electric linear actuators worldwide.

IEEE Installs New Honors Chapter at ECU

The College of Engineering and Technology recently witnessed history. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)-Eta Kappa Nu (HKN) Mu Lambda Chapter was recently installed at the college. The new chapter, as part of its ceremonies, also inducted three area professionals and seven engineering students as its charter members.

The IEEE HKN Mu Lambda Chapter charter members include:

  1. Bryan Barrera, senior
  2. Davis Harrison, junior
  3. Dean Lamonica, senior
  4. Michael David Soule, senior
  5. Keith Hill, engineering & facilities manager, Fresenius Kabi USA
  6. Ethan Thomas, electrical engineer, Edgecombe Martin Corporation
  7. Ricky Castles, assistant professor, Department of Engineering, College of Engineering and Technology, ECU

Charter chapter officers include:

  1. William F. Clukey Jr, secretary and treasurer
  2. Karl Durancik, vice president
  3. David Leake, president

Jim Conrad, IEEE Region 3 director and a UNC-Charlotte professor, officiated the installation. Dr. Jason Yao, associate professor in the College of Engineering and Technology, will be the chapter’s adviser.

The Mu Lambda Chapter of IEEE’s Honor Society, Eta Kappa Nu, was recently installed at ECU’s College of Engineering and Technology. Participating in the ceremonies were (left to right), Dr. Jason Yao (chapter advisor), Dr. David White (college dean), Dr. Hayden Griffin (Dept. of Engineering chair), Jim Conrad (IEEE Region 3 director), Karl Durancik (chapter vice president), David Leake (chapter president) and William Clukey, Jr. (chapter secretary and treasurer). (contributed photo)

The Mu Lambda Chapter of IEEE’s Honor Society, Eta Kappa Nu, was recently installed at ECU’s College of Engineering and Technology. Participating in the ceremonies were (left to right), Dr. Jason Yao (chapter advisor), Dr. David White (college dean), Dr. Hayden Griffin (Dept. of Engineering chair), Jim Conrad (IEEE Region 3 director), Karl Durancik (chapter vice president), David Leake (chapter president) and William Clukey, Jr. (chapter secretary and treasurer). (contributed photo)

According to IEEE’s website, IEEE-Eta Kappa Nu (IEEE-HKN), the honor society of IEEE, is dedicated to encouraging and recognizing individual excellence in education and meritorious work, in professional practice, and in any of the areas within the IEEE-designated fields of interest.

Yao sees the Mu Lambda chapter as a way for its student members, who are juniors and seniors majoring in electrical engineering, to connect and network with professionals who can pass along their insights and experiences.

“These professional individuals will be great resources that students can approach for career-related advice,” said Yao. “It is also our hope that by inducting successful professionals in the electrical engineering-related fields, we create a body of role models for future students.”

Though Mu Lambda’s mission is still being defined, Leake does see the chapter focusing on and promoting industry awareness. He also is thinking about the legacy this chapter will hold for future members.

I hope to see the Mu Lambda chapter become an integral part of the East Carolina University engineering community,” said Leake. “The chapter should promote integrity in engineering, research in current engineering issues, and continuous pursuit of engineering excellence through community involvement and academic endeavors. The Mu Lambda chapter will represent the best up-and-coming engineers at ECU.”

The new chapter does not replace the student chapter of IEEE, which was started in 2013 and whose first president was charter Mu Lambda inductee Thomas. Mu Lambda will serve mainly as the recognition arm of the current student chapter and will assist it with regular activities, guest speakers and competitions.

 

 

-by Michael Rudd, University Communication

Computer Sciences and Business Students Participate in Hackathon

Between 9 p.m. Feb. 23 and 8 a.m. Feb. 24, 16 students from the College of Engineering and Technology (CET), the College of Business (COB) and other University colleges came together to help launch a company.

The College of Business’ Student Technology Center hosted a hackathon where these students created a website, or what they call a web store, for gamers, musicians, writers, artists, etc., to sell their content.

Computer Sciences Senior Patrick Luy, left, works with Samuel Carraway, computer sciences, junior, on a business model canvas during the hackathon. (photos by Michael Rudd)

Computer Sciences Senior Patrick Luy, left, works with Samuel Carraway, computer sciences, junior, on a business model canvas during the hackathon.
(Photos by Michael Rudd)

“I was working on a project in my spare time,” said Samuel Carraway, a CET junior from Chapel Hill. “I wanted to make it a reality.”

Carraway said he participated in two hackathons off campus and that’s where the idea germinated to have a hackathon at the University. He presented the idea to the recently formed student organization, EPIC or Empowering Pioneers through Innovative Culture, which includes students from all over the University who have an entrepreneurial spirit.

To help cultivate that spirit, COB’s Miller School of Entrepreneurship and instructor David Mayo oversaw that hackathon’s proceedings. Though these types of events are usually software intensive, Mayo believes it’s important to have a business component, as well.

“This hackathon not only produced a product, but we also came out with a business model that makes that product useful for the owner and the customer,” said Mayo.  “Entrepreneurship acts as a bridge for that innovation.”

We liked this collaborative atmosphere and having people from different majors and backgrounds come together,” said CET senior and EPIC co-president, Magus Pereira. “The hackathon was a good experience.”

The Feb. 23 & 24 hackathon included students from both the College of Engineering and Technology and the College of Business.

The Feb. 23 & 24 hackathon included students from both the College of Engineering and Technology and the College of Business.

Along with the new web store, a business plan was also finalized to help the store go to market. Teams of engineering and business students focused on three areas: the building of the website, a Kickstarter campaign, and a business model canvas. Business senior Christopher Rudkowski joined the hackathon and was anxious to take what he’s learned and put it to practical use. He said, “I’ve never been so immersed in a situation where we can get together and make something work.”

Business senior Dakota Votaw had never participated in a hackathon, but he’s glad he joined in this one. “It was a very positive experience for everyone,” he said. “I don’t think anyone left there thinking it was a wasted night.”

 

 

-by Michael Rudd, College of Engineering & Technology

ECU professors ‘rocket back to earth’ during NASA simulation

Three East Carolina University College of Education faculty members spent Jan. 18 at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, learning about simulations for astronaut training and vehicle design.

Daniel Dickerson, Patricia Slagter Van Tryon and Abbie Brown from the Department of Mathematics, Science and Instructional Technology Education toured several NASA project areas: the rapid prototype lab developing and testing controls for the Orion spacecraft; the space vehicle mockup facility that includes full-scale simulations of the International Space Station and Orion; the Human Exploration Research Analog that allows teams to experience spending days and weeks on an isolated space station; and the neutral buoyancy lab containing a massive pool with a replica of a portion of the space station that allows astronauts to practice walking in a weightless environment.

From left to right, ECU faculty members Patricia Slagter Van Tryon, Abbie Brown and Daniel Dickerson stand in front of the Orion vehicle mockup at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. (contributed photo)

From left to right, ECU faculty members Patricia Slagter Van Tryon, Abbie Brown and Daniel Dickerson stand in front of the Orion vehicle mockup at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. (contributed photo)

As part of the visit, Brown and Slagter van Tryon were “rocketed back to earth” through a simulation. Re-entering the earth’s atmosphere – from 200 mph eventually to 20 mph – was made real through intense sound effects and video displays, Brown said.

“We are grateful to the six NASA team leaders who were very generous with their time, providing us with a view of how our country’s astronauts learn to work in space and how space vehicles are designed and developed,” said Brown, professor and interim chair of the department. “It’s something few people get to see at such a detailed level and we are excited to take this information back to our science education and instructional technology students.”

ECU faculty are exploring opportunities for possible collaboration with NASA in the future.

The opportunity to visit NASA came about after Brown attended an Adobe MAX conference last fall and met the creative team developing simulations for NASA astronaut training.

There are approximately 160 graduate students enrolled online in the instructional technology program, which supports K-12 educators, corporate trainers and government and military instructors. For more information, visit http://www.ecu.edu/cs-educ/msite/it/.

 

 

-by Crystal Baity 

ECU professors receive national recognition

Two engineering professors at East Carolina University have received national recognition for their work in the areas of diversity and management.

Dr. Evelyn Brown

Dr. Evelyn Brown

Dr. Evelyn Brown has received the “INSIGHT into Diversity” 2015 Inspiring Women in STEM award while Dr. Gene Dixon won the Bernard R. Sarchet Award from the American Society for Engineering Education.

Brown is one of 100 women recognized by the higher education magazine for achievements that encourage and inspire women to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics or STEM. The magazine will be published in September.

Brown is a charter member of the STEM Girls steering committee, a member of the FIRST Robotics board of directors and faculty advisor for the Society of Women Engineers, National Society of Black Engineers, Engineering Honor Society and Engineering Ambassadors. Brown was the primary investigator on a National Science Foundation grant that secured $540,000 in merit and need-based scholarships for the engineering department. She has spent numerous hours recruiting for the engineering department.

LaKesha Alston Forbes, associate provost of equity and diversity at ECU, nominated Brown for the award with input from Dr. David White, dean of the College of Engineering and Technology.

“Dr. Brown was one of our first hires in engineering and serves as a tremendous role model for our female engineering students and junior faculty,” White said. “She is a great advocate for diversity, particularly in STEM, and she is a tireless supporter of her passionate work for diversity in the STEM fields.”

Brown said she is honored to have been nominated by ECU for the award. “I’m also hopeful that this national recognition will bring attention to ECU and the many good things being accomplished by dedicated faculty in our department, college and university,” she said.

Dr. Gene Dixon

Dr. Gene Dixon

Dixon received a national award named after Bernard R. Sarchet, a founding member and first national president of the American Society for Engineering Management.

The prestigious award is given to an individual who has made significant contributions to the profession and to the engineering management division of the American Society for Engineering Education.

Dixon, who has been at ECU for nine years, oversees all capstone projects required for engineering majors in their senior year. Students work in teams to complete a yearlong project for a local business or industry.

Dixon works closely with industry partners to ensure that ECU students get work experience, leadership and entrepreneurial skills before they graduate. He also helps develop internship and cooperative work opportunities for engineering majors and has written multiple articles and presented at national and international conferences.

“Gene has applied his knowledge of engineering management in his scholarship and his teaching, and we are very fortunate to have him as a colleague,” said Dr. Hayden Griffin, chair of the engineering department at ECU.

 

Gudivada named computer science chair

Dr. Venkat N. Gudivada has been named chairman of the Department of Computer Science in the College of Engineering and Technology at East Carolina University effective July 1.

Guidivada

Guidivada

Gudivada is an educator, researcher and industry practitioner with more than 30 years of experience in data management, information retrieval, machine learning, image and natural language processing, cognitive and high performance computing and personalized eLearning.

Gudivada joins ECU after serving as interim chair and professor of computer science at Marshall University. He previously worked at the University of Michigan, University of Missouri-Rolla (now Missouri University of Science and Technology) and Ohio University. He has extensive financial industry work experience as well.

He has experience developing innovative academic programs, courses and curricula and is proficient in continuous academic quality improvement and program accreditation. He has developed successful approaches to student recruitment, mentoring, engagement and retention. He also has expertise in online course development and delivery, and has won awards for teaching and research.

Gudivada has published more than 80 peer-reviewed articles about his nationally-funded research on search engine optimization, data management systems and big data. He has served on program committees of numerous computer science conferences, delivered keynote presentations at international conferences and served as a guest editor for IEEE Computer Society.

He received doctoral and masters’ degrees in computer science from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He earned a master’s degree in civil/structural engineering from Texas Tech University and a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from JNT University.

Dr. David White, dean of the ECU College of Engineering and Technology, thanked Dr. Karl Abrahamson for his leadership and service during the nearly five years that he served as interim department chair.

ECU student becomes Red Hat Certified Engineer

ECU junior Benjamin Tillett-Wakeley has passed requirements to become a Red Hat Certified Engineer.

Tillett-Wakeley

Tillett-Wakeley

A former film theory major, Benjamin Tillett-Wakeley transferred in fall 2013 into ECU’s information and computer technology program in technology systems in the College of Engineering and Technology.

In December, Tillett-Wakeley became a Red Hat Certified Engineer, which according to the Red Hat website, indicates that he “possesses the additional skills, knowledge, and abilities required of a senior system administrator responsible for Red Hat Enterprises Linux systems.”

Red Hat, based in Raleigh, is a multinational software company providing open-source software products.

Tillett-Wakeley said his interest in Linux, an open computer operating system, inspired him to sit for the certification exam. “The RHCE is a widely-recognized Linux certification and it will benefit me when applying to jobs that require knowledge of Linux,” he said. “The exam was difficult, but I was well-prepared. It’s a bit trickier than other certifications because it’s entirely lab based.”

Tillett-Wakeley is from Kitty Hawk.

“Film-making will always be an interest of mine, but I realized I wanted something that would provide a more stable career,” Tillett-Wakeley said. “I chose ECU because it offers solid courses at a great value. The ICT curriculum is well-designed and offers the types of courses I wanted.”

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