News & Recognition

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College Celebrates Chemical Engineering Laboratory Renovation

University of Kentucky engineering students have a new laboratory space. A renovation of the Chemical Engineering Unit Operations Laboratory in the basement of the F. Paul Anderson Tower will accommodate the recent increase in undergraduate chemical engineering class sizes.

Over the past year, the laboratory underwent a full renovation, including upgrades of the utilities, lighting, lab benches and floor. The overall size of the lab increased by 30 percent, and a number of new experimental modules were added.

“The undergraduate laboratory experience in engineering is one of the most formative elements of the curriculum, as our students are called upon to apply and extend classroom knowledge, function effectively in teams and grapple with observations and data sets that don’t always come out textbook perfect,” said Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering Chair Douglass Kalika.

The renovation of the lab was made possible by financial gifts from engineering alumni Michael Marberry and the late S.J. “Sam” Whalen. The flooring was donated by alumnus Rick Crouch, whose company, Desco Coatings, specializes in the highest quality of technical surfacing.

Juniors and seniors use the facility to conduct experiments that explore the core concepts of fluid flow, heat and mass transfer, reaction engineering and separations, and range from traditional operations, such as distillation to bioprocessing and membrane separation technology.

“Outstanding facilities breed creativity and collaboration,” said UK College of Engineering Interim Dean Larry Holloway at the lab’s dedication. “They are critical for attracting the best faculty and students to our program, as well as allowing our faculty, staff and students to achieve their fullest potential.”

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Doing Good: There’s an App for That

Last fall, computer engineering junior Bill Miller and economics and computer science sophomore Genghis Goodman took first place honors in JPMorgan

Chase & Co.’s Code For Good Hackathon in Columbus, Ohio. The event gives students across the nation a chance to develop innovative technology solutions for non-pro t organizations and learn from expert instruction.

The pair of UK students, along with two other teammates from the University of Maryland and Ohio State, were intrigued by the challenge Feeding America posed. The organization is the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization with a network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs across the nation.

Feeding America asked teams to increase use of its fundraising programs and inform people of hunger issues and statistics in America. Teams were tasked with doing this while keeping users in a “gameified” experience. In only 24 hours, Miller and his team developed an innovative app and their concept of “The Grain.”

The app incentivizes people to learn about hunger and buy certain products where a percentage of the sale would go to Feeding America. App users grow grains of stalk based on their activities—reading articles or watching informative videos, sharing on social media, completing a daily hunger quiz, donating directly and contributing donations through certain products purchased at the store.

JPMorgan Chase employees will now work to expand or complete the app for the organization. Someday, the UK students’ work may be on the App Store, helping Feeding America continue its impact on more than 46 million people each year.

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Yu Wins National Science Foundation CAREER Award

University of Kentucky computer science assistant professor Tingting Yu has received a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation. The CAREER Award is one of the “most prestigious awards in support of the early career-development activities of those teacher-scholars who most effectively integrate research and education within the context of the mission of their organization,” according to NSF. Yu’s submission was titled “Testing Evolving Complex Software Systems.”

Modern computer systems span a wide range of domains, ranging from consumer electronics to safety- critical systems. These systems evolve rapidly because the competition for market share pushes developers to come up with new features or improve capabilities over existing ones. Software developers must ensure that changes do not cause any unintended impact to the existing quality of the systems. Yu’s research is to create a novel regression testing framework that can be applied to real-world complex software systems throughout their lifetimes to help software developers assess whether changes have adversely affected system behavior. The associated education agenda of this research paves the way for teaching that crosses traditional boundaries among multicore computing, embedded systems and software engineering.

Yu earned her Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska- Lincoln. She joined the Department of Computer Science in 2014.

In Other News

  • NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Ben Rhodes (pictured above) visited the University of Kentucky campus on January 28, 2017 to meet with the UK Solar Car and Formula Kentucky racing teams. Rhodes, a Louisville native, even took a turn behind the wheel as the weather permitted taking the vehicles outside.
  • The Kentucky Science and Engineering Foundation has made Associate Dean for Administration and Academic A airs and Gill Eminent Professor Kimberly Ward Anderson a member of their inaugural class of Fellows. The honor “recognizes distinguished persons who have made significant contributions to the advancement of excellence in science and engineering in Kentucky, thereby helping to foster an innovation-based entrepreneurial culture in the Commonwealth.”
  • Jennifer Doerge and Laura Letellier were selected as the Institution Faculty/Staff “Of the Month” from the National Residence Hall Honorary (NRHH). NRHH is an organization consisting of the top 1% of student leaders who live on the UK campus. Every month, university community members can submit nominations and a winner is chosen by the NRHH members. Doerge is a freshman advisor who also serves as director of advising. Letellier is a First-Year Engineering program faculty member.
  • Kentucky Industrial Assessment Center received the Industrial Assessment Center Center of Excellence award. KIAC sends teams of faculty members and engineering students to conduct plant assessments and make recommendations for potential savings. Through Department of Energy funding, the assessments are conducted entirely free of charge.
  • Computer science major Steven Liu was one of 850 undergraduate students from 359 colleges and universities across the United States selected to receive the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship. The scholarship offers grants for undergraduate students in the United States to pursue academic studies or career-oriented internships abroad. Liu, a Lexington native, received $4,000 to complete the Nagoya University exchange program in Japan.
  • Jordan Garcia and Tyler Stoffel, mechanical engineering students in the University of Kentucky College of Engineering Paducah Campus, were selected to present their research at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research April 6-8 at the University of Memphis.
  • Jonathan Wenk, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, was named to the SEC Faculty Travel program, which provides support for selected individuals to collaborate with colleagues at other SEC member institutions.
  • The UK Mining Safety Team, rescUKats, placed first in the Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration’s Eastern Collegiate Mine Rescue Contest Competition held at the Buchanan Mine Rescue facility in Buchanan County, Virg., last October.