IEDEC2014 Keynote Speeches


Integrating Modular chemical Engineering Projects Across the Curriculum

Noah Malmstadt Noah Malmstadt
University of Southern California

Noah Malmstadt University of Southern California

A key desired outcome of an engineering education is the capacity for students to engage with tasks that represent the real work of professional engineers; tasks that integrate many domains of knowledge, that extend over periods much longer than the typical homework assignment or study session, and that have endpoints that may not be obvious from the outset. In the traditional Chemical Engineering curriculum, such tasks are often reserved for the senior design project. More complete integration of design projects throughout the curriculum could better prepare students for their professional lives. This integration also represents a challenge, however, as course hours are already crowded with the fundamentals that must serve as the basis for any project work. To facilitate engagement with project-scope tasks across the curriculum, we have designed modular unit operation simulation projects that can completed as a set of "bite-sized" tasks throughout a semester. Project modules are assigned as open-ended tasks in conjunction with the introduction of relevant course material. Pre-defined portions of each module are worked on in-class in a "flipped classroom", team-based model. Modules are integrated into a complete project assignment at the end of the semester. Continuity throughout the curriculum is possible via code reuse--for instance, equation of state code developed in a thermodynamics class can be applied to simulations of vapor-liquid equilibrium processes in a separations class.


About Noah Malmstadt

Noah Malmstadt is an assistant professor at the University of Southern California. He received a BS in Chemical Engineering from Caltech and a PhD in Bioengineering from the University of Washington. Following postdoctoral work at UCLA, he joined the Mork Family Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at USC in 2007. He teaches numerical methods to freshman, a sophomore class on separation processes, and an advanced undergraduate/introductory graduate class on polymer engineering. His research focuses on synthetic cell membrane systems and multiphase microfluidic strategies for nanofabrication. He is the recipient of a 2012 Office of Naval Research Young Investigator award.

The Role of Computer Science in Engineering Education

Mark Sherriff Mark Sherriff
University of Virginia

Mark SherriffUniversity of Virginia

Introductory Computer Science courses can be a challenge for engineering schools. In many schools, CS1 is a required course in the engineering core. However, the stakeholders in the course (CS faculty, engineering faculty, and students) often disagree about what the course should focus on. Where CS1 is part of both a CS and general engineering curriculum, should it focus on fundamental concepts in programming, on tools needed in various engineering disciplines, or on something else entirely? Can the same course serve as the intro course for computing majors while also providing the broad computational problem solving skills that the rest of the engineering school needs? In this talk, I'll describe some of the challenges CS faculty face in meeting the needs of all the stakeholders. I'll discuss how faculty try to meet these challenges at various schools around the country, some with more success than others. I'll also share some ideas on how engineering and CS faculty can better coordinate their efforts to improve how our students learn and utilize computing tools.

About Mark Sherriff

Mark Sherriff is an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Virginia. His introductory Computer Science course draws over 1000 students a year, from both the School of Engineering and the College of Arts and Sciences. Sherriff's other teaching interests include web services, mobile technology, and computer game design. His research interests are primarily in CS education and engineering education in general. In 2010, he received the Hartfield-Jefferson Scholars Teaching Prize, the highest teaching award in the School of Engineering at UVa. Since then, he has received four other teaching awards from UVa student groups. He received his PhD in 2007 from NC State University.

Do Engineering: Unleashing the Next Generation of System Designers

Zachary Nelson Zachary Nelson
National Instruments

Zachary Nelson National Instruments

The engineers of tomorrow will need to design increasingly complex systems to meet the demands of a rapidly changing technological landscape. We must continue to address the challenges of recruitment and retention to prepare students for these system design challenges. Through partnerships with universities, learn about innovative programs designed to inspire students to pursue engineering degrees, incorporate practical experiences throughout the curriculum, and equip them with the skills and knowledge to be successful in industry and research. In this presentation, we will provide an overview of the programs and innovative technologies that are emerging to meet today's education challenges.

About Zachary Nelson

Zachary Nelson is the Americas academic program manager for National Instruments, where he works with educators and researchers to encourage the adoption of NI tools. He is an advisory board member for the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of California, Berkeley, and the Manufacturing, Industrial, and Mechanical Engineering Department at Oregon State University. He started his career with National Instruments in 2000 as an applications engineer and spent the majority of his career pioneering how NI collaborates with educational institutions around the world. Zach holds a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the University of Washington in Seattle.

Big Countries, Small Data, SMART Connectedness

Michael D Wilson –Purdue University

Michael D Wilson Michael D Wilson
Purdue University

A University-Industry (U-I) hybrid paradigm is stimulating project management endeavors. Professors Jimmy Gandhi (Cal State) and Michael Wilson (Purdue University) fuses both in-classroom and real-world projects using Interactive White Boards. Using a "microMooc" with partner SMART, Inc. opens educators, students, and engineering professionals to optimize models, algorithms, and CAD / Apps over an open environment; a sister university in Russia, Don State, hopes to mirror the process. All efforts use a sociometer to drive data capture. In the lab, the information is dissected using network science and concept inventories. The penultimate goal is to measure the impact of technology, cultural perception, and the advent of engineering education in order to maximize U-I potential.

About Michael D Wilson

MICHAEL WILSON is a faculty member in the College of Technology and Ph.D. candidate at Purdue University in the College of Engineering. He earned a Bachelors of Science from the University of Massachusetts and a Masters from the University of Chicago; his broad research interests include Engineering Education, Network Science, and Modeling Human Sociometrics. Professor Wilson may be reached at

Incorporating Quality Management Topics into Entrepreneurship Education

Jimmy Gandhi –California State University, Northridge

Jimmy Gandhi Jimmy Gandhi
California State University, Northridge

Entrepreneurship Education is increasingly becoming an important part of engineering education. However, in most schools the entrepreneurship education is taught in a "traditional manner." Entrepreneurship Education, in most cases, does not include aspects of quality management such as understanding The Voice of The Customer, Quality Function Deployment, Continuous Process Improvement and The Development of Surveys. Based on their experience teaching classes in entrepreneurship, the authors feel these are useful concepts that need to be understood by engineers in order to be better entrepreneurs. In this presentation, the authors will present topics covered in "traditional entrepreneurship education" and then explain how the quality management concepts discussed above could be incorporated into the entrepreneurship curriculum.

About Jimmy Gandhi

Dr. S. Jimmy Gandhi is an assistant professor at California State University, Northridge since Fall 2012. He teaches classes in Entrepreneurship, Quality Management, Lean Manufacturing, Project Management, Systems Engineering and Sustainability, which tie in with his research interests in the fields of quality management, risk management, entrepreneurship and sustainability. Dr. Gandhi has over 35 publications and is an active member of The American Society of Engineering Management (ASEM) and The American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) and also serves on the board of The Global Sourcing Council, where he is the Director of the Sustainability Certification Workshop.

A Rationale for Interdisciplinary Programs that Combine Engineering and the Liberal Arts

Dan LewisSanta Clara University

Dan Lewis Dan Lewis
Santa Clara University

National enrollments in computing and in electrical engineering fell dramatically over the last decade while enrollments in environmental engineering and bioengineering continued to grow. These trends reflect changing values among today's high school graduates who want to improve the human condition. Interdisciplinary programs that blend engineering and technology with the liberal arts not only better prepare students to apply their skills to the needs of society, but such programs help stabilize undergraduate enrollments and faculty staffing needs, improve diversity and gender balance among the student population, and attract under-represented students to careers in high-tech. This talk presents the rationale, design and success of two such interdisciplinary programs – a minor in information technology and society and a degree program that combines the technology and infrastructure of the Web with material from graphic arts, communication, sociology and applied ethics.

About Dan Lewis

Dan Lewis joined Santa Clara University in 1975, helped established its computer engineering department, and served as department chair for 17 years. He established unique co-op and study abroad opportunities that fit within students' normal undergraduate four-year programs, certificate programs for working professionals, an interdisciplinary major in Web Design and Engineering that has increased enrollment diversity, and a minor in Information Technology and Society that became one of the most popular minors on campus. In recent years, Lewis has raised more than $2.5M from NSF and private sources to improve and expand computer science curricula in San Jose high schools.

Failure? What an Opportunity!

Giorgio RigaRiga Analytical Lab, Inc.

Giorgio Riga Giorgio Riga
Riga Analytical Lab, Inc.

In his presentation, Giorgio Riga will try to do an analysis of "failures"; categorizing some of the failures; trying to find out why we fail; how we accept and react to failure; and finally, how to transform failure into success; and while in the process providing some personal guidelines.


About Giorgio Riga

Giorgio Riga holds a degree equivalent to a Master in Electronics from the Istituto Radiotecnico Beltrami Milano (1959) and a Master in Materials Science from California State University at San Jose (1978). He has more than 45 years of experience in the semiconductor industry and has worked in Europe and America. He was employed by: Edisonvolta/CESI (Centro Electrotecnico Sperimentale Italiano), SGS (Societa Generale Semiconduttori), SEMEL (Societa Europea Materiali Elettronici), Sprague Electric and Fairchild Camera and Instrument. At Fairchild, he worked for 14 years in the Linear, Large Scale Integration (LSI), and R&D Divisions. For the last 12 of these years, he was the manager of a central analytical laboratory lending support to the entire corporation. In October of 1982, he founded Riga Analytical Lab, Inc. in Santa Clara, California. The laboratory, with 10 full time employees, offers semiconductor and microelectronic analysis and consulting services. In April of 1991, he founded Macrorepresentation, Inc., a corporation aimed at the manufacture of semiconductor and biological structure scale models. These three dimensional models, which may be disassembled, are utilized for education and legal purposes. He has experience in circuit design, testing, process control, reliability evaluations, material analysis, structure characterizations and failure analysis of semiconductor devices.