2008-2009 News Archive

IBE/ISE Student takes a lead in Campus Wide Food Drive

IBE/ISE student Jim Paolino, ’09, along with the Junior Inter-Fraternity Council and the Junior Pan-Hellenic Council, organized a successful campus wide food drive during the 2008 holiday season. Students, faculty and staff were encouraged to drop off non-perishable items in buildings across the university.

The sinking economy is a regular on the front page across the country and around the world. Unfortunately, due to this crisis, donations for non-profits have slimmed down drastically. This included the South Bethlehem Neighborhood Center, which were in desperate need of food to fill their pantry. Luckily, with the help of Lehigh University and the general community, their pantry was filled for the holiday season.

"Their pantry is the size of this office," said Paolino, referring to ISE’s department office in the Mohler Lab. "After we dropped off the food to the neighborhood center, it was filled."

Student Presentations Plug into the Health Field

If you know anyone that has arthritis, you know how difficult it can be to perform certain tasks, especially with your hands. This includes everyday activity such as plugging electronics into sockets. Seven Lehigh Seniors of the IBE Capstone Project course presented their answer to this problem with the MPlug. This team was one out of several senior teams that presented their projects at the end of the 2008 Fall Semester.

"The presentation is the final exam for this course," said teaching assistant Daniel Scansaroli. "They work with real startup companies to develop a comprehensive business and technical solution for a product that will be introduced to the marketplace."

A normal household appliance plug, such as for a lamp, has a small plug that may cause difficulty gripping and plugging in and out of the outlet for someone with arthritis. The MPlug team designed a larger plastic handle so it would be easier to grab for someone with arthritis. The team used magnets to connect the plug to the outlet so it could generate an electrical current. By the use of the larger handle and the magnets, it made it easier for someone with arthritis to plug in and unplug household objects.

The team was graded by not only their professors and peers, but by a panel of experts from the field. The team was graded on their overall communication of the project, problem and solution identification, business context and the ability to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the project.

"As a former student in the program, teaching IBE has allowed me to see the value of the program from an entirely different angle," comments Jeremy Walsh, a teaching assistant for the course. "Helping the teams incorporate the program's teachings into their own projects has been a challenge. As we always say, 'there is no one right answer, ever.' Conveying the process to each student, understanding their individual concerns, and working to bring each of them along for a ride is sometimes difficult."

Other projects in the past years have helped to solve problems for organizations in numerous industries on both the business and technical side. Some of these projects included an in-shoe pressure sensing system for diabetic patients suffering from neuropathy, an automated blending system for large kitchens, a hedging/investment program for companies who want to save on gas prices and new applications for existing technology companies using RFID, ceramic filters, and magnetic motors.

"The main concept that I learned from this project, is that you really just need to get out into the field to find your answers," said Jason Ackerman, '09, a member of the MPlug team. "It also taught me that you need to be able to justify and defend everything you say."

First Year Students making a Splash in the Lab

The Introduction to Engineering Practice class, led by Dr. Keith Gardiner, is in the process of building a hovercraft in the Mohler Lab. The ultimate goal of this project is to build a full working hovercraft in the next two years. Students constructed different part of the hover craft including the thrust duct, hull and rudders. The hovercraft will be continued to be built over the 2009 spring semester.

Seniors Highlight their OPC Course

Students in Dr. Keith Gardiner's Organizational Planning & Control, (OPC) course were asked to write their thoughts in a one page news release. The students were asked to discuss their experience about the class and what they felt was appealing to them.
The class focused on current events relating to the environment, economy, foreign affairs, and other present topics. By discussing these topics in class, students learned how companies' large and small, and other projects function. As part of this project, students got creative in designing and writing their press releases.

"This course teaches valuable project management skills," states Kaila Deutsch in her article. "It also encourages students to take an active role in understanding what's going on in their world."

Focus Points for President Obama

Students in Dr. Keith Gardiner's Organizational Planning & Control (OPC), fall 2008 class were asked what President Barack Obama's focus should be on. Out of 49 students that were surveyed, these were their top answers.

  1. Economy, finance, deficit etc.
  2. Cabinet selection
  3. War in Iraq, troop withdrawal
  4. Auto industry bail-out
  5. Immigration & border controls
  6. Bipartisanship, Congress etc.
  7. Lack of Blackberry

ISE Students create Golf Course Simulation

Twelve students from the Integrated Learning Experience class designed and created a potential golf course for Lehigh's Goodman Campus. Two ISE students, Brendan Van Ackeren, '09 and Allison Grese, '09, created the computerized simulation of the golf course. The goal of the simulation was to determine the various logistics of the course layout.

"The group consisted of business students, civil and industrial engineers. Our goal was to analyze the costs and projected usage of various course designs to identify a course that could be self-sustaining while appealing to our target market," mentions Van Ackeren, who was also named to the 11th annual Football Championship Subdivision Athletics Directors Association Academic All-Star Team. "Based on our projections and pricing strategy, our recommended course, which consisted of 9 holes (2 par 4s, 2 par 4s, and 2 par 5s) and 3 basic learning holes for beginner golfers, appeared to have enough revenue to cover its annual costs."

The ILE course is designed for students from other majors to do research projects. This class allows students to get real-world, team-oriented learning experiences and to apply economic analysis in evaluating the costs and benefits of newly proposed or renovations and expansions and existing athletic facilities.

"I gained out of this was a practical application of the simulation program. I took a simulation class last spring, but it wasn't necessarily real-life because all the numbers, etc. were given to you in some way," said Grese, from Mount Airy, MD. "We had to build the simulation entirely from scratch with our own knowledge and assumptions about the game of golf."

ISE Staff members awarded the 2008 Tradition of Excellence Award


Graduate Coordinator, Rita Frey and Department Coordinator, Kathy Rambo were both awarded the 2008 Tradition of Excellence Award on Monday, December 22nd, 2008. Both staff members were nominated by Dr. Mikell Groover.

“It was great surprise to be nominated for this award and an honor to actually receive it,” comments Frey, a staff member at Lehigh for the past 19 years. “I appreciate the nominator, Mikell Groover, for taking his time and thoughts to make this happen. I also want to thank the selection committee for their choice.” 

Frey and Rambo were judged by the Tradition of Excellence committee on their character, job performance and team focused contribution. The award is given to an individual or team that demonstrates outstanding behaviors or produce exceptional results, either within a single department or across the university.

“I nominated Kathy and Rita last spring because they are great support staff people,” said Dr. Mikell Groover.  “The major project that made me want to nominate them was when we were conducting our search last Fall and Spring for a visiting assistant professor. I was chair of the search committee and Kathy and Rita were very supportive of the process. Search committees require a lot of staff support (scheduling, arrangements, hotel stays, reimbursements, etc.). I thought they went above and beyond the call of duty. This award provided the perfect vehicle to give them recognition.”

“I was really surprised to receive the award,” said Rambo, a 30 year staff member. “It's very nice to be acknowledged for the little things that you do. I thanked Mikell for his thoughtfulness in nominating us and told him it was an awesome start to the holidays!”

Senior ISE student named to the Academic All Star Team brendan van ackeren

Brendan Van Ackeren, '09, was named to the 11th annual Football Championship Subdivision Athletics Directors Association Academic All-Star Team. He is one of 43 students to be chosen for the team and the only student named from the Patriot League.

"I am honored to be recognized among such a select group of student athletes," said team captain Van Ackeren. "I think that it is just a testament to the quality of the educators and coaches we have here at Lehigh."

Student nominees were required to have at least a 3.20 GPA in undergraduate study and have been a starter or key player with legitimate athletic credentials. The nominees must have reached his second year of athletic and academic standing, have completed a minimum of one full academic year at the nominated institution and participated in 50 percent of the games played at his designated position.

"Time management is the usual cliché, but it been the key to allowing me to manage everything that I have going on," replies Van Ackeren about balancing athletics, academics and community service. "Football provided me with a good structure because there are certain windows of time that you know must be delegated to each aspect of your life. I have also worked hard to prioritize my commitments and determine which of my activities need the bulk of my time and attention at any given time."

Van Ackeren is a native from Bethlehem, PA and a graduate of Liberty High School. He has been on the Dean's list since starting at Lehigh and is a member of Career Services Peer Educator, Student Athlete Mentor Organization, the C.O.A.C.H. program, and the Student Athlete Executive Committee. As part of the Integrated Learning Experience class this past fall, Van Ackeren along with ISE senior Allison Grese, created a computerized simulation a potential golf course on Lehigh's Goodman campus. After graduation, Van Ackeren will be a consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers in their Advisory branch and will be working at the company headquarters in New York City.

"Lehigh University has given me such a positive experience," replies Van Ackeren. "I want to thank all of my teammates, coaches, and professors for helping me throughout my college career." (Photography credited by Specialty Photographi)


Students Receive Doctorates

Congratulations to the follow students who earned their doctorate in 2007 and 2008:

  • Kumar Abhishek defended his dissertation called, "Topics in Mixed Integer Nonlinear Programming," in April 2008. He is currently working as a Senior Analyst in the Enterprise Optimization group for United Airlines in Chicago.
  • Manisra Baramichai defended her dissertation entitled, "Supplier Partnership Establishment under Uncertainties for Agile Organizations," in September 2007.
  • Julie Drzymalski defended her dissertation called, "A Synchronized Supply Chain for a Multi-Echelon, Multi-Stage System," in April 2008. She accepted a position as an assistant professor at Western New England College in Springfield, Massachusetts.
  • Wasu Glankwamdee defended his dissertation called, "Topics in Branch and Bound on Computational Grids," in July 2008. He is currently a research fellow for the Singapore-MIT Alliance in Singapore.
  • Laksana Kamonkan defended her dissertation called, "Designing Menus of Extended Warranty Contracts Under Technological Change and Competition," in June 2007. She is currently working for DTAC, a telecommunications company, in Thailand.
  • Pinar Keles defended her dissertation called, "Evaluating Portfolios of Multi-stage Investment Projects with Approximate Dynamic Programming," in September 2007. She is currently a CDP Engineer for IT Decision Services at Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. in Allentown.
  • Gokhan Metan defended his dissertation called, "Robust and Adaptive Inventory Management: Theory and Algorithms," in April 2008. He is now an Operations Research Analyst for American Airlines in Fort Worth, Texas.
  • Hyong-Mo Jeon defended dissertation called, "Location-Inventory Models with Supply Disruptions," in May 2008. He is currently a research professor at Korea University.
  • Ying Rong defended dissertation titled, "Studying the Impact of Supply Uncertainty on Multi-Echelon Supply Chains," in July 2008. He is currently a post-doc in Department of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research at UC Berkeley.
  • Amanda Schmitt, defended her dissertation called, "Strategic Inventory Management for Supply Chains Subject to Supply Uncertainty," in December 2007. She is currently a post-doc in Center for Transportation and Logistics at MIT.
  • Yan Xu, defended his dissertation called, "Scalable Algorithms for Parallel Tree Search," in October 2007. He is currently working at the SAS Institute in North Carolina developing optimization software.

Doctorate students recognized for high achievements

ISE Ph.D. student, Ban Kawas was named a finalist at the annual IBM Ph.D. Fellowship Competition. The winner will be announced in February 2009. The IBM Ph.D. Fellowship Award is a worldwide competitive program that recognizes extraordinary Ph.D. students in many areas of study and disciplines, which includes computer science, engineering, math, business, management and more. Recipients are selected based on their overall potential for research excellence, the degree to which their technical interests align with those of IBM and their progress to date.

Ban, an international student from Jordan, recently passed her Doctorate general exam for Lehigh in December 2008. Her research on a talk called, "A Log-Robust Optimization Approach to Portfolio Management," was presented at the INFORMS annual meeting in Washington, D.C. this past October, and will be published in the OR Spectrum. Her work is currently being funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation. Ban and Dr. Aurélie Thiele have submitted another paper for publication called, "Short Sales in Log-Robust Portfolio Management."

ISE Ph.D. student, Julio Goez Gutierrez, has accepted the Givens Associate Internship at the Mathematics and Computer Science Division of Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago, Illinois. During the summer of 2009, Julio will be working on a project on Computational Noise in Simulation-based Optimization Problems.

The Mathematics and Computer Science (MCS) Division at Argonne National Laboratory, a key laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy, is developing innovative techniques in numerical computing and computational mathematics. The Givens Associate positions are intended to encourage graduate students who are beginning careers in numerical analysis or computational mathematics. Givens Associates will work actively with MCS scientists designing, analyzing, and implementing numerical and visualization methods.