Engineering Makes a World of Difference
Vol. 4 No. 1 – Spring 2021
Faculty Research

Dr. Kevin White, Chair of the Civil, Coastal, & Environmental Engineering Department will lead a pilot program funded with a $710,000 grant from Columbia World Projects to address wastewater treatment in the rural Black Belt of Alabama. The project aims to demonstrate that better wastewater treatment systems can yield health, economic, and environmental benefits for rural communities in the United States and around the world.

Dr. Saeed Latif and a group of engineering students are preparing to explore space with a satellite project called SWARM-EX. The plan is to launch three identical CubeSatsminiaturized, light-weight, and low-cost satellitesto form a small constellation orbiting around the Earth.
Drs. Bret Webb and Stephanie Smallegan are currently working on research focusing on coastal resiliency. Many investigators are focusing their work on resilience of specific things or infrastructure categories. Such a singular focus, while often necessary, fails to account for interdependancies between the dependent components or groups within a coastal community on a barrier island. We believe that systems thinking, and a systems engineering approach, are needed in order to describe resilience to coastal hazards more completely and in a way that addresses the inherent uncertainly of our future climate.
Fall 2020 marks the second year of work for the Alabama Advanced Solvents Cluster (AASC) which is led by the South Alabama Ionic Liquids Laboratory (SAILL). SAILL is made up of faculty from the Chemical Engineering and Chemistry departments at the University of South Alabama and AASC includes faculty researchers from the University of Alabama, Tuskegee University, and the University of North Alabama. Dr. Kevin West, USA Professor of Chemical Engineering, is the scientific lead on the project on which Associate Professor Christy Wheeler West, and Assistant Professor Brooks Rabideau are senior personnel. The cluster was formed in 2019 following a two-year, $2.7 million EPSCoR award from the Department of Energy. For the full article, see SAILL.
Faculty in the News
Congratulations to Dr. Christy Wheeler-West for receiving the Andy and Carol Denny National Alumni Excellence in Teaching Award for 2020. This award acknowledges the central role of teaching at USA by recognizing faculty for their outstanding teaching contributions.
Dr. Christy West is an Associate Professor in the Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering Department.

Congratulations to Dr. Shenghua Wu, Assistant Professor in the Civil, Coastal, & Environmental Engineering Department, for being chosen as a member of the inaugural class of USA Faculty Fellows in Community Engagement for the 2020-2021 academic year!

Dr. R.C. Woods, Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Affairs, has been appointed a member of the Ethics and Member Conduct Committee of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) starting January 2021. This international committee advises the IEEE Board of Directors on ethics policy and concerns and makes recommendations that will promote ethical behavior by IEEE members.
Dr. Huyla Kirkici, Professor and Chair of the Electrical & Computer Engineering Department, has been elected to serve on the IEEE-HKN Governing Board to serve a three year term starting January 1, 2021. IEEE Eta Kappa Nu (IEEE-HKN) is the honor society of IEEE (electrical, electronics, and related engineering), and promotes excellence in the profession and in education with ideals of scholarship, character, and attitude. The overall governance of IEEE-HKN is the responsibility of the Board of Governers, a volunteer organization of IEEE-HKN members that have prominent positions in academia and industry.
Congratulations to Dr. Kevin West, Professor in the Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering Department.

Each year, Tau Beta Pi recognizes one of our engineering professors as Professor of the Year. This year's winner has clearly made an impression in his department and in the College overall. Students who are familiar with this year's awardee say he is easily one of the best professors they have studied under and he has a deep understanding of and passion for the subject material. He does an excellent job of explaining and helping students understand difficult content across many areas of academics from difficult course work like thermodynamics to innovative and exciting student research including oxygen generation on the International Space Station. All those who have studied under this professor, will certainly be able to cite similar instances where he exceeded students' expectations.
Steven Klepac,
Tau Beta Pi Student Chapter
President 2020-2021
Thank you for your years of service!

Dr. Lanier Cauley, Associate Professor, MABE Department40 Years of Service
Mrs. Debra Armistead, Financial Operations Specialist15 Years of Service
Mrs. Nani Perez Uribe, Supervisor of Student Services/Advising5 Years of Service
Students in the News
Congratulations to the graduating class of 2020! This past year has been unique and the College of Engineering wants to wish you all the best of luck on your endeavors. Please stay in touch with us!
Madison Grace (Junior) and Rachel Chai (Graduate), both students in the Civil, Coastal, and Environmental Engineering Department were both selected by the Alabama Chapter of the Air & Waste Management Association (A&WMA) to both receive an environmental scholarship. The scholarship was established to support and recognize outstanding students with futures in air and waste management and studying in ABET accredited engineering programs in the state of Alabama. Madison Grace is completing her Junior year in the BSCE program and Rachel Chai will be completing her first year in the MSCE program.

Lauren McDaniel, a recent graduate, was showcased in the "Student Spotlight" of The Bridge publication of IEEE-HKN. Lauren double-majored in electrical and computer engineering while attending South, completing both major requirements in four years.
Melanie Lim, Senior and double major in the Electrical & Computer Engineering Department, was awarded the Sigma Xi Scientific Honor Society's Outstanding Poster Award for her undergraduate research under Dr. Na Gong, W. Nicholson Associate Professor in the ECE Department. Melanie's research focused on mobile devices. Her poster is titled, "Designing Differentially Private Deep Learning on Mobile Devices."
Congratulations to our innovative engineering graduate students, Bryant Baldwin and Rachel Chai, after being first in the 2020 Coastal Pitch Competition hosted by the Melton Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation last November. They built and presented a prototype "Model TA" to mitigate littering on roadways. The Melton Center hosts annual pitch competitions to give students the opportunity to win seed money and in-kind services to help them start their business.
Save the Dates
Wednesday, Feb. 24th - Friday, Feb. 26th: Annual Career Fair hosted by the Society of Women Engineers. Details TBA
Interested in reserving a virtual spot? Contact Nani Perez Uribe at

Friday, April 16, 2021: 15th Annual College of Engineering Alumni Society Golf Tournament at Robert Trent JonesMagnolia Groves
Host an Information Session
We are currently looking for guest speakers interested in sharing their engineering experiences with our current students as well as companies interested in discussing what they are looking for in future employees. Currently all meetings are scheduled virtually through Zoom.

Please contact Nani Perez Uribe at for more information.
College of Engineering Alumni Polos
College of Engineering Alumni polos are currently for sale! If you're interested in ordering a polo, orders can be placed and paid for online: Alumni Polo Order. We have several sizes and colors in stock. If we don't have your size or preferred color, the next order will go out in the Spring. All proceeds go towards the College of Engineering Alumni Society Scholarship. Polos are priced at $39.50 (shipping/handling included).

The polos are crafted using performance material and are offered in men's and women's sizes in the following colors: Black, Charcoal Grey, Navy Blue, Red, and White. Below is an example of a red polo with the USA alumni logo.
College of Engineering
150 Student Services Dr., Shelby Hall 2114
Mobile, AL 36688