Volume 03  | Spring 2017
Our inaugural Alumni Awards Banquet is coming up on April 14, 2017.  This has led me to think more deeply about the importance of alumni to any department, college, or university.  Although not everyone who reads this letter is an alum of our program, I am going to address the rest of this message to the alumni of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering.

Faculty and staff are of course vital to any department, but the students (past, current, and future) should be the focus of each of the Department’s programs and all of our planning.  It is your success that validates our program.  Your reputation for being resourceful, innovative, and productive in your engineering career serves as a positive reflection on the effectiveness of our program. Your accomplishments enhance the reputation of our program and create greater employment opportunities for future graduates.

Alumni also help to sustain the Department and College through “giving back,” which typically takes the form of volunteerism (e.g., serving on the department’s Advisory Council or coming back to give a seminar to the current students) or philanthropy (e.g., donating lab equipment or financially supporting the Department).   

You may not know it but alumni participation is a key factor in the rankings of the College and our two universities (Florida A&M University and Florida State University).  This is because an active alumni base is a strong indicator that past graduates feel that they have had a quality educational experience.

I apologize that we have not done more to communicate with you and involve you in our programs over the years. In our formative growth stages as a department and college, we focused primarily on developing our educational and research programs and could have done more to establish better lines of communication with our alumni. We are in the process of rectifying this and building a stronger community going forward.  If you want to know how you might get involved, please do not hesitate to contact me ( ecollins@eng.famu.fsu.edu ).

Emmanuel Collins
John H. Seely Professor of Mechanical Engineering & Department Chair
New material holds promise to create more flexible, efficient technologies

An organic-inorganic hybrid material may be the future for more efficient technologies that can generate electricity from either light or heat or devices that emit light from electricity.

FAMU-FSU College of Engineering Assistant Professor Shangchao Lin has published a new paper in the journal ACS Nano that predicts how an organic-inorganic hybrid material called organometal halide perovskites could be more mechanically flexible than existing silicon and other inorganic materials used for solar cells, thermoelectric devices and light-emitting diodes.

In a separate study, Lin found that they might be more energy efficient as well. 

“We’re addressing this from a theoretical perspective,” Lin said. “Nobody has really looked at the mechanical and thermal properties of this new material and how it could be used.”

Through mathematical simulations, Lin found that organic-inorganic hybrid perovskites should be extremely malleable and flexible. Although plenty of researchers have looked at perovskites for energy technologies, they did not think they were viable for certain devices because of their crystal structure. Scientists thought they would shatter if used for something like a solar panel.

Read more here

Mechanical Engineering professor Farrukh Alvi accepts position as Interim Associate Dean for Research

Dean J. Murray Gibson has announced that Dr. Farrukh Alvi has agreed to serve as the Interim Associate Dean for Research at the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering, effective December 2nd, 2016. Dr. Alvi is currently the Don Fuqua Eminent Scholar and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the college, and the Director of FCAAP. He is a world-leading experimentalist in the field of aerodynamics, with a unique expertise in the development and implementation of micro-fluidic actuators for flow control. His work is both fundamentally ground-breaking and of significant practical implication, for example in noise and flow separation control for transportation and energy applications. He established the FCAAP with an $11M grant from the State of Florida. Dr. Alvi will relinquish his role as Director of FCAAP as soon as reasonably possible.

"I believe that with the current leadership and the strategic planning that is underway, our College is poised to move to the next level - especially in research and graduate education. I am grateful for this opportunity to assist our very creative and motivated faculty and students in getting there" said Dr. Alvi.

Read more here.

 FAMU on the RISE… Engineering professors awarded first CREST-RISE award

FAMU-FSU College of Engineering professors, Tarik Dickens and Hui Wang, with the Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering, and Carl Moore, with the Department of Mechanical Engineering, have been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Historically Black Colleges and Universities Research Infrastructure for Science and Engineering (HBCU-RISE) award to develop research in advanced manufacturing utilizing biomimetic robotics. HBCU-RISE activity within the major Centers of Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST) program supports the development of research capabilities at HBCUs that offer doctoral degrees in science and engineering. This competitive national grant, worth over $958,673 is the first one awarded to FAMU, and one of only two ever awarded in the entire state of Florida.

Their research involves high performance additive manufacturing of composite structures via reconfigurable cyber-physical robotic systems. “The question we are trying to answer, is what will 21st century manufacturing look like? We are especially exploring biomimetic and high-throughput prototypes for additive manufacturing systems. Our cutting-edge research will help our students gain the skills needed for commercial and defense careers of the future,” remarked Dickens.

Read more here.

Mechanical Engineering's Dr. Steven Van Sciver awarded the prestigious Samuel C. Collins Award

In 1965, Dr. Samuel C. Collins of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology received an award named in his honor. The award was established and presented by the Cryogenic Engineering Conference--a preeminent event in the field of cryogenics (the study of the production and behavior of materials at very low temperature) —to honor Samuel C. Collins' accomplishments in the field. It has since been awarded only seventeen times to scholars of cryogenics who have greatly influenced the field, and the latest awardee is the Mechanical Engineering Department's very own Dr. Steven Van Sciver.

Dr. Van Sciver earned his PhD in Condensed Matter Physics at the University of Washington in 1976. He went on to work at the University of Wisconsin as Professor of Nuclear Engineering and Engineering Physics. In 1991, he joined the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering and the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, introducing cryogenics to graduate students as well as integrating the subject into research at the NHMFL.

Read more here.

Mechanical Engineering's Dr. Emmanuel Collins earns Outstanding Aerospace Engineer Award from Purdue University

From the beginning of his achievements as valedictorian of Morehouse College in 1981, to graduating with his PhD in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Purdue University in 1987, to becoming John H. Seely Professor in 2004, Mechanical Engineering’s Dr. Emmanuel Collins boasts a long list of accomplishments and honors. Subsequent to earning his PhD, he went to work for Harris Corporation and while there was awarded an Engineering Achievement Award in 1990 and an Honorary Superior Accomplishment Award by NASA in 1991. More recently, Dr. Collins earned the College of Engineering’s Research Award in 2003, followed by the John H. Seely Professorship in 2004, and in 2015, he was awarded a College-Level Promotion of Education Award at the Black Engineer of the Year Awards Conference.

Adding to his list of awards, Dr. Collins is now the recipient of an Outstanding Aerospace Engineer Award at his graduate education alma mater, Purdue University. The award spotlights alumni of Purdue’s School of Aeronautics and Astronautics who have not only built accomplished careers as engineers, but as a result become representatives of success for Purdue.

Read more here.

Seven mechanical engineering undergrads shine at 2nd Annual Donor Recognition & Scholarship Awards Ceremony
When you major in mechanical engineering, you’re immersing yourself in a field so broad there’s no telling where you’ll end up. Robotics, renewable energy, aerodynamics, materials science, manufacturing, and so much more. With so much to learn, the major is no doubt intense, and a little assistance along the way is always welcome. The Annual Donor Recognition and Scholarship Awards placed the spotlight on some of Engineering’s most hard working undergrads during the 2016-17 ceremony and congratulations go out to seven scholarship recipients from the Department of Mechanical Engineering, FAMU-FSU College of Engineering.

Our scholarship recipients are David Balbuena, Torey Jobe, Aude-Eureka Monde, Hannah Rodgers, Raine Sagramsingh, Nicolas Salazar, and Justin Wawrzyniak. Their reasons for entering the mechanical engineering major are as varied as the major itself, yet they all have one thing in common: passion for the field. Catching up with four of the seven recipients, Hannah Rodgers, winner of the Sharon R. Hames Scholarship comments, “I was inspired to study mechanical engineering because of my fascination in space exploration and the technology that allows humans to do those remarkable things. I wanted to be a part of that.”

Read more here.

Undergraduate co-authors paper pointing way to greater air safety

When you board a plane, you board it with the confidence that it will fly with no problems, right? One of the methods proposed for determining the safety of a plane's structure is the integration of a strain gauge, or device which experiences change in electrical resistance as varying force is applied. In this particular case, one of Mechanical Engineering's undergraduate students, Senior Nicolas Salazar, completed research with Dr. Zhibin Yu and five graduate students from Industrial Engineering, which led to publication of an article about the effectiveness of carbon nanotube-silver nanoparticle composite films as strain gauges.

Nicolas and his colleagues, Dr. Yu, Phong Tran Hoang, Thomas Nolan Porkka, Kunal Joshi, Tao Liu, and Tarik J. Dickens, had their research published September of last year in the journal Nanoscale Research Letters. Their work, entitled "Engineering Crack Formation in Carbon Nanotube-Silver Nanoparticle Composite Films for Sensitive and Durable Piezoresistive Sensors," details the change in electrical conductivity that occurs when carbon nanotube-silver nanoparticle composite films of varying ratios are created.

M.E. alumnus Charlie Sanabria awarded 2016 FSU College of Engineering Graduate Student Leadership Award

Imagine being an undergrad in Mechanical Engineering. Now, imagine having the opportunity to travel to France as an undergrad and delve into the intricacies of revamping one of the largest magnetic systems in the world for the purpose of fusion as an energy source. For Charlie Sanabria, one of Mechanical Engineering's most accomplished undergrads turned Materials Science and Engineering graduate student, this scenario was a reality. As an undergraduate in 2008, Charlie was among five undergraduate research assistants selected to help the ITER organization in France reconstruct their superconducting cables and thus improve their magnetic fusion system. For this and many other accomplishments, Charlie earned the 2016 Florida State University College of Engineering Graduate Student Leadership Award.

Raised in Bogotá, Colombia, Charlie and his family moved to Panamá when he was a teenager, where they discovered the Florida State University-Republic of Panama campus. A pursuit of Mechanical Engineering following enrollment led to graduation from Florida State University in Tallahassee.

Read more here.

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