Lehigh Engineers
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Defying gravity

The launch trajectory of the common housefly sends students on a wild ride, courtesy of NASA’s Microgravity U.
See the YouTube video >


Lean and green

DOE grant bolsters Lehigh's training of engineers focused on energy efficiency in manufacturing and related areas.


A smarter approach

Jan. 20 workshop on advanced electricity networks to examine interrelated flows of wattage, information, and money.

Lehigh panel on importance of mentoring to women in engineering helps kick off a yearlong celebration of 40 years of women at Lehigh. See the photo album >

Lehigh launches innovative one-year Master’s program in technical entrepreneurship… A midwinter’s “journey into new venture creation,” courtesy of LehighSiliconValley.

What’s it like to be a 1st Year Lehigh Engineer? Find out on Facebook!

MORE STORIES: Student Success | Faculty & Programs | Alumni
In the News   Dean's Note

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Great son of Lehigh
Lee Iacocca ‘45
returns to campus to announce the new Lee Iacocca International Internships program, garnering coverage from The Morning Call, The Express-Times, WFMZ-69, and the Brown and White.

Professor Israel Wachs’ NSF-supported collaboration with colleagues at Stevens Institute of Technology seeks to provide improved processing of natural gas.

According to Forbes.com, Lehigh’s Computer Science and Business program prepares graduates for “the more customer-focused leadership roles of tomorrow.”

Lehigh MatSci bests Yale in Ceramics Tech competition …CAMN researchers shed light on root cause of “liquid metal embrittlement.”

ATLSS founder Dr. John Fisher is called upon to assess “mind-boggling” infrastructure development in China.


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Dear Lehigh Engineers,

S. David Wu
S. David Wu
Dean and
Iacocca Professor

With the holiday season upon us, I’d like to extend to you and your family the warmest regards. Reflecting on the year, 2011 has been a year of great success for Lehigh Engineering – growing enrollments, excellent faculty and student …

Read more >



View the online magazine >

Dean's Note

WuDear Lehigh Engineers,

With the holiday season upon us, I’d like to extend to you and your family the warmest regards. Reflecting on the year, 2011 has been one of great success for Lehigh Engineering – growing enrollments, excellent faculty and student achievements, innovative new programs in technical entrepreneurship and healthcare systems, and a newly endowed scholarship for international internships, just to name a few.

We continue to focus our research and teaching on topics of pressing societal need, as exemplified by two important events. On November 17th of this year, we co-hosted a panel on “Marcellus Shale Science & Technology Issues.” The panel consisted of experts from academia, government, consulting firms, and industry; lively discussions on technical, infrastructural, as well as social issues were addressed. Looking forward to January 20, 2012, we are co-hosting a “research cluster” workshop that addresses future research needs in advanced electricity networks. The workshop, entitled “Toward the Smart Grid,” will bring together experts from Lehigh, Cornell, UC-Davis, Rutgers, and Cisco Systems to discuss the implications of integrated electricity, information, and financial networks. The workshop is open to all members of the campus and community. 

The latest issue of the Resolve magazine is also available in print and online, with a review of breakthroughs in Lehigh nanotechnology research, among other stories; if you’d like to be added to the mailing list, please send an email to lehigh.engineers@lehigh.edu with the words “Resolve mailing request” in the subject heading.

Please drop me a line with your feedback, and thank you as always for your support of Lehigh Engineering.

Best regards,
dean's signature
S. David Wu, Dean and Iacocca Professor
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Student Success

This summer, the Lehigh Microgravity team traveled to Houston, Texas, to study how houseflies travel in zero gravity. Amos Ambler ’14 and Luke Yoder, Evan Mucasey, Greg DiMaggio, Alec Clark and Edward Stilson, all of the Class of 2011, performed research aboard NASA aircraft in near-weightless conditions as part of NASA’s Microgravity University. Accompanying the team was Robert Thodal, a graduate student in mechanical engineering. “We wanted to look at the initial learning curve the housefly goes through as it experiences microgravity and how it modifies its flight trajectory to cope with changing conditions,” Ambler said. “Professor Grenestedt saw this as an opportunity to work on an intriguing project while getting the chance to fly in zero gravity,” Ambler said. “We took the idea of the housefly and ran with it.” Check out the YouTube video.

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IPDCan an engineering student get good grades AND still have a life (LU_Niki, Nov 22)? Is it true that the dining hall serves lobster (LU Max, Sep 29) and that first year students make golf clubs (LU_Yong, Nov. 18), develop smart phone apps (LU_Bryan, Oct 17), and interact with professional biomedical engineers (LU_Madeleine, Nov 11)? And what, exactly, is the turkey trot (LU_Evan and LU_Paarth, Nov 17)? First-year students of Lehigh Engineering have created an innovative Facebook page – Lehigh Engineers - First Year Students - to provide answers to these questions, and many more. Throughout the year, a dozen first-year engineers, sponsored by the Dean’s Office, are blogging about what it's really like in Lehigh classes, labs, and the many activities and clubs that exist around campus. The team also answers questions from high-schoolers and others who are interested in life at Lehigh. ‘Like’ them on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/lehigh.engineers, and check out their story and video in The Brown and White.

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Materials science and engineering students have again swept the annual International Metallographic Competition, winning seven ribbons and anchoring Lehigh’s reputation as one of the world’s top facilities for metallography research. The annual weeklong competition, hosted recently by the International Metallographic Society (IMS) in Nashville, TN, provides a forum for the technical proficiency and artistry of scientists and engineers from around the world. Judges awarded a single undergraduate Lehigh team the top two prizes in the competition, making it the first team ever to win both in the same year. Two other Lehigh teams won second place in their respective categories, another placed third, and another received an honorable mention. The teams were composed of materials science and engineering majors in Mat 206: Processing and Properties of Metal, which is co-taught by Wojciech Misiolek, Loewy Chair in Materials Forming and Processing, and Samuel Lawrence, a research scientist who directs Lehigh’s metallography laboratory.

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IPDHard-earned diplomas in hand, the 2011 graduates of the department of civil and environmental engineering are launching careers at major companies and pursuing advanced degrees at prestigious schools. Check the CEE Web site for profiles from more than 40 students of various degree paths who are embarking on exciting futures in their field.



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According to Forbes.com’s Tom Gillis, “tomorrow’s market leaders will be propelled not just by brilliant technical engineering, but by brilliant, deep, and intuitive understanding of the customer problem.” Programs like Lehigh’s innovative Computer Science and Business (CSB) program, he adds, provide “technical training as well as training in business, marketing, and other non-technical skills, readying them for the more customer-focused leadership roles of tomorrow.”

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Lehigh’s Center for Value Chain Research hosted an early November symposium and networking event for students to learn from industry leaders who have “changed the status quo of supply chain in modern day business practices.” Topics discussed included transportation efficiency, intellectual property and how businesses have adapted to the integration of supply chain management into their business plans. Dirk Schmidt from Bosch Rexroth, Deverl Maserang from Chiquita, and Pete Ruggiero of Crayola presented on their firms’ respective innovations in the field of supply chain management.

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IPDThe LU Eco-Representatives (Eco-Reps) program was established by students two summers ago to teach students residing on campus how to live more sustainably. As part of the Eco-Reps initiative, the University has established a new course entitled Sustainability in Action. Lauren Zell ’12, environmental engineering major and coordinator of the Eco-Reps program, says students in the class decide what they want to learn about. “Student leaders come up with assignments for the course, and the students get to choose what to work on,” says Zell. “It’s ever-changing.” A goal of the course is to teach Eco-Reps about sustainability so they, in turn, can teach other students about being more environmentally active.

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The first full graduating class from Lehigh’s innovative Integrated Degree in Engineering, Arts and Sciences (IDEAS) program is featured in the current issue of Resolve magazine. Jointly administered by the College of Arts and Sciences and the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science, IDEAS is a four-year honors program that allows students to get a bachelor's degree with heavy concentrations in both colleges. “Students in Lehigh’s program are essentially building a product,” says William Best, co-director of IDEAS and professor of practice in electrical and computer engineering. “They’re designing their own degree. We meet with each student every semester to develop a ‘flight plan.’ It is a challenging process for them, but they don't do it alone.”

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Faculty & Programs

A 13-year-old program through which Lehigh engineers help local and regional industries reduce energy consumption has received a five-year competitive grant of $1.37 million from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The grant will enable Lehigh’s DOE Industrial Assessment Center to train 14 graduate and undergraduate students to become energy efficiency experts. The IAC program gives students hands-on experience, direct exposure to manufacturing plants and the opportunity to work with plant managers. The program is led by Alparslan Oztekin, associate professor, and Sudhakar Neti, professor, both of the department of mechanical engineering and mechanics.

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Lehigh has recently launched a new Professional Master’s program in Technical Entrepreneurship, and is currently accepting applications for the 2012 summer semester. The one-year, 30-credit Master’s of Engineering degree helps young entrepreneurs to create, refine, and commercialize intellectual property through the licensing or launching of a new business. Students in the program learn by experiencing the idea-to-venture process in an educational environment that's hard-wired to support the development of novel, innovative and commercially-viable technologies. Learn more about program requirements and curriculum at http://www.lehigh.edu/innovate.

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IPDJohn W. Fisher, founding director of Lehigh’s ATLSS Center, was one of four Americans invited to Chongqing, China, in September to take part in the International Summit Forum on Bridge and Tunnel Engineering and Commemoration Assembly. John M. Kulicki ’73 Ph.D., president and CEO of Modjeski & Masters in Harrisburg, was also invited. Co-sponsored by the Chinese Academy of Engineering, the forum honored the 115th anniversary of the birth of Mao Yisheng, one of China’s preeminent engineers. Fisher, who was appointed a special technical adviser to the city of Chongqing in 2010, gave an address titled “Fatigue Design Criteria for Welded Bridges in the U.S.” In November, the State of California Department of Transportation named Fisher to an expert panel formed to review the foundation of a new Bay Bridge tower.

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Israel Wachs, the G. Whitney Snyder Professor of chemical engineering, is collaborating with colleagues from the Stevens Institute of Technology toward a more environmentally-friendly production of natural gas. Wachs, working with Dr. Simon Podkolzin of Stevens Institute, is studying the fundamentals of a new catalytic process for converting natural gas into benzene and other easily shippable liquid hydrocarbons over supported molybdenum nanoparticles. Their joint research has recently been awarded a research grant from the National Science Foundation.

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IPDXiaohui “Frank” Zhang is integrating physics, immunology and biology to develop a nanodevice that could provide a new treatment for stroke, thrombosis and atherosclerosis. Zhang, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and mechanics and faculty member in the bioengineering program, leads an interdisciplinary research team that targets cardiovascular disease by focusing on cell communication. The team also studies the transmission of mechanical signals across the cell membrane and monitors the interplay between mechanical signals and biochemical activities. The goal is to develop a mechanically switchable nanodevice for targeted drug therapy.

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In late summer, teachers from all over the Midlantic region visited Lehigh to learn new ways to teach kids science on an ever-shrinking budget. Roughly 17 teachers, mostly from eastern Pennsylvania but some from as far away as Frederick, MD, attended a week-long camp sponsored by Lehigh and the American Society of Materials (ASM). In one lesson, teachers were making plastics using everyday, inexpensive products."Teachers or parents can just go to the grocery store and get these supplies," said Helen Chan, department chair and professor of materials science and engineering. Check out the story and video from WFMZ-TV in Allentown.

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IPDWhy does a solid metal that is engineered for ductility become brittle, often suddenly and with dramatic consequences, in the presence of certain liquid metal impurities? The phenomenon, known as liquid metal embrittlement, or LME, has baffled metallurgists for a century. Now, a team of Lehigh ceramics researchers has shed light on LME by obtaining atomic-scale images of unprecedented resolution of the grain boundaries, or internal interfaces, where LME occurs. In doing so, says Martin Harmer, professor of materials science and engineering, the researchers have achieved the first direct observation in a metal system of a bilayer grain boundary phase transition. The findings were covered by several nanoscience media outlets including Nanowerk, Nanotechnology Now, Science Daily, and Red Orbit.

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The lineup for the 2012 Fazlur R. Khan Distinguished Lecture Series has been announced, bringing academic leaders from around the U.S. to campus to discuss state-of-the-art approaches to structural engineering. On February 17, Ross B. Corotis, Professor of Engineering at University of Colorado, will discuss “Natural Hazard Riosk: Public Perceptions  & Political Perversities.” On March 23, Sharon Woos from University of Texas-Austin, will present on the topic of “Opportunities and Challenges for Infrastructure Monitoring.” Rounding out the speakers is University of Minnesota Professor Emeritus Theodore V. Galambos on April 20, discussing “The Safety of Bridges.” All lectures begin at 4:10p.m. in the Sinclair Laboratory Auditorium. Check the FRK Web site for further details.

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IPDAnand Jagota, professor of chemical engineering and director of Lehigh’s bioengineering program, spent much of the past semester working with colleagues at the INM - Leibniz Institute for New Materials in Saarbrucken, Germany. During his stay at INM, Jagota studied the mechanics of fibrillar structures, the use of structured surfaces to measure surface properties, and electrostatic effects during decohesion of polymeric interfaces.


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Lehigh's research cluster in Integrated Networks for Electricity is organizing a workshop on January 20, 2012, entitled "Toward the Smart Grid: Exploring the flow of electricity, information, and money in advanced power networks." This workshop will bring together experts to discuss the future of electricity networks from each of these perspectives, and the research needed to light the way. It is open to anyone interested in learning about the smart grid's significance to our global future and Lehigh's emerging focus in this interdisciplinary field. Attendance is free, but registration is required. Please see www.lehigh.edu/grid for further details.

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Ceramic Tech Today takes gridiron rivalries to the nanoscale, and pitted Lehigh materials scientists against their counterparts at Yale in the publication’s “Materials Football Game of the Week” in early October. The nod went to Lehigh, within a detailed and highly-complimentary review of the department’s offerings. ”Up close and personal describe Lehigh’s department of materials science and engineering,” says the publication. “And, Lehigh’s concept of up close is really up close, like electron microscope close.”

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IPDIn September, five engineering alumnae came back to Lehigh to tell current engineering students about the importance of having a mentor and to give them tips on how to find and work with one. The returning former students joined two engineering professors in a panel discussion that kicked off the 2011-12 campuswide celebration commemorating the 40th anniversary of the admission of undergraduate women to Lehigh. Titled “Engineering Success: The Importance of Mentoring,” the discussion was sponsored by the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science and moderated by Mary Fernandez, chair of the board of directors of MentorNet. Members of the panel were Autumn Bayles ’92, Linda Hendrixson ’06, Elizabeth King ’79, Melissa Rohland ’86 and Julie Shimer ’79G, ’82 Ph.D., along with Sibel Pamukcu, professor of civil and environmental engineering, and Aurelie Thiele, associate professor of industrial and systems engineering.

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Lee Iacocca ’45 returned to campus to launch a challenge grant effort to provide international internships for up to 150 students a year. According to the Lehigh news article, “the new Lee Iacocca International Internships program will help Lehigh students follow in the footsteps of a leader who has done so much for his alma mater, and so much for the world around him.“ Other coverage of Mr. Iacocca’s visit included WFMZ-TV and The Express-Times. Iacocca earned a degree in industrial engineering from Lehigh in 1945, and later studied politics and plastics at Princeton University. In 1985, he led the fundraising effort to obtain what would become the 742-acre Mountaintop Campus from Bethlehem Steel. He is an honorary member of Lehigh’s Board of Trustees and, in 2010, was awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award by Lehigh's Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering.

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Ron Nersesian ’82 was recently promoted to Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at $6.6 billion high-tech manufacturer Agilent Technologies. Nersesian has assumed day-to-day responsibility for Agilent’s three business units: chemical analysis, life sciences, and electronic measurement. Nersesian joined Hewlett-Packard two years after graduating from Lehigh with a B.S. in electrical engineering. He moved to Agilent when it was spun off from H-P in 1999, and has held various management posts over the last three decades. Nersesian was also recently named to the board of directors of Trimble, a firm that specializes in positioning solutions that allow professionals in engineering and construction, surveying, agriculture, fleet management and field service to be more productive.

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IPDIn September, Lehigh entrepreneurs Rick Arlow and Zach Bloom, both of the Class of 2009, were invited to the White House to meet President Barack Obama as part of an announcement of The American Jobs Act. Arlow and Bloom are the innovators behind Lifeserve Innovations, which develops medical devices that help open a patient's airways in emergency situations. With the firm's products, patients receive noninvasive procedures to open their airways that take only 60 seconds to perform, compared to the traditional 10- to 15-minute surgical procedure. LifeServe Innovations is now a sponsor of Lehigh student projects, and Bloom currently serves as Lehigh's entrepreneur-in-residence.

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Len Augustine ’86, former mayor of Vacaville, CA, is again running for office, seeking to represent the 11th district in the state’s assembly. After graduating from Lehigh University with a degree in electrical engineering, Augustine went on to a distinguished career in the Air Force, commanding the 89th Military Airlift Wing at Andrews Air Force Base, which is best known for its role operating and maintaining the Air Force One fleet. Augustine retired as a command pilot with more than 5,000 hours, including 700 combat hours, before entering politics.

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John McGlade ’76, ’80G, addressed the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce in November, saying that “America's ability to compete globally in the future depends on its willingness to invest in education today.” McGlade joined Air Products in 1976 and subsequently held various positions, including both domestic and international assignments. He was named general manager of the Chemical and Process Industries Division in 1994 and vice president of the division in 1996. In 2001, he became general manager and vice president of the Performance Materials Division, and in 2003 assumed role as group vice president for the company’s worldwide chemicals group. He was named President and CEO in August 2006.

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Gregory Kuklinski ’98 has been selected by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) to receive its 2011 Edmund Friedman Young Engineer Award for Professional Achievement. In selecting Greg for this award, the committee particularly noted his work ethic and service to the community. Greg is one of five winners chosen from numerous nominations throughout the U.S. Greg has served in a variety of roles, and currently serves on the Student Chapter Committee and as Practitioner Advisor to the Lehigh University Student Chapter. Greg also submitted all three of the winning photos -- the skylines of Chicago and Pittsburgh, and Niagara’s Rainbow Bridge -- to the ASCE’s “bookmark contest” leading up to the 2012 Engineers Week.

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