Santa Clara University


Engineering Blog


  •  Frugal Innovation Report

    Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013

    The School of Engineering's new Frugal Innovation Lab has had a busy and productive year.  Read all about it in the 2012 year end report.

  •  Engineering Students Visit Honduras

    Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012

    SCU's chapter of Engineers Without Borders will provide a Honduran community access to clean water while empowering community members to improve their quality of life. Read about the students' recent trip to begin the initial surveying process.

  •  Solar Decathlon Students Gear Up

    Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012

    For the SCU 2013 Solar Decathlon team, the challenge of building a solar house is testing more than just design and engineering skills. The U.S. Department of Energy’s competition is putting the students in many roles they have never explored.

  •  SCU President Honors Professor Terry Shoup

    Friday, Sep. 21, 2012

    Congratulations to Professor Terry Shoup (mechanical engineering), who recently received the President's Special Recognition Award from Santa Clara University President Michael Engh, S.J. In awarding this distinction, Fr. Engh recognized Shoup as "an outstanding scholar who has served the SCU community with wisdom and a steady guiding hand since 1989 as a faculty member, a senior administrator extraordinaire, and a leader both within and outside of the academy."

    Engh continued, "His 13 years of service as dean of the School of Engineering saw the doubling of both the number of endowed professorships in the School and the number of donors.  He pioneered five “pipeline” programs to encourage underrepresented students to consider the engineering profession.  He created two advisory boards – one for engineering alumni and the other for minority programs – and established a special fund to promote student leadership in the School.  He also oversaw the introduction of the Engineering Study Abroad program in 1990, the construction of the Civil Engineering Strength and Materials Lab in 1995, and the creation of the Mission Control Center in 2000.

    "He helped the School address the emerging field of sustainability by introducing a certificate program in Environmental Engineering in 1993.

    "In 2011, the Silicon Valley Engineering Council inducted him into the Silicon Valley Engineering Hall of Fame, which celebrates the accomplishments of area engineers, technical leaders and scientists.

    "In addition to serving as the engineering dean, he has served as interim dean of the School of Education, Counseling Psychology and Pastoral Ministries, interim vice provost for Enrollment Management, and interim executive director of International Programs.   Most recently he chaired both the successful search for the new dean of the School of Education and Counseling Psychology and the School of Engineering’s Centennial Steering Committee.”

    The School of Engineering and the University are fortunate, indeed, to have the  this scholar and leader in our midst.

  •  U.S. News and World Report Ranks SCU No. 2 in the West

    Thursday, Sep. 13, 2012

    In its annual ranking, “America’s Best Colleges 2013,” U.S. News & World Report ranked Santa Clara University second overall among master’s universities in the West. At 93 percent, SCU has the highest freshman retention rate of all master’s universities. Santa Clara’s average undergraduate graduation rate, 86 percent, was the third highest rate of the 625 master’s universities across the country.

  •  Cisco Networking Event Sept. 26

    Thursday, Sep. 13, 2012

    The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) invites students majoring in CS, COEN, ELEN, MECH, and OMIS to join Cisco for a very special networking event on Wednesday, September 26 from 6:00-8:00 pm in the Benson’s California Mission Room. The event will be set up as round robin networking where groups of students will have 10-minute rotations with professionals across Supply Chain, Sales, and IT. These rotations will give students meaningful insights into Cisco's culture, job functions, and opportunities that are available.

    Interested students should contact Rahul Krishnakumar.

    Flyer (PDF)

  •  Solar Decathlates Launch Website

    Thursday, Aug. 16, 2012

    SCU's 2013 Solar Decathletes are gearing up for competition. Check out their website.

  •  Undergrads Walk Across California

    Monday, Jul. 9, 2012

    Undergraduates Russell Wetherley (mechanical engineering) and Catherine Borst (mechanical engineering) learn about social justice first-hand by taking part in SCU's Walk Across California.

  •  The Ethics of Sustainable Design

    Tuesday, Jul. 3, 2012

    It takes more than engineering knowledge to complete a Senior Design project. Read one team's account of their experience here.

  •  Nathan Rogers '12 Gives Valedictory Speech

    Wednesday, Jun. 20, 2012

    The School of Engineering was honored to have Nathan Rogers '12, civil engineering, present the valedictory remarks at the 2012 SCU commencement ceremony. Watch the video here.

  •  Engineering Senior Named Valedictorian

    Saturday, Jun. 16, 2012

    Nathan Rogers '12, civil engineering, presented the valedictory remarks at the 2012 SCU commencement ceremony. Read his address here.

  •  Engineering Students Compete with Next Generation of Energy Efficient Appliances

    Tuesday, May. 22, 2012

    Two teams of Santa Clara University students will compete against universities across the country in the MaxTech and Beyond: Ultra Low Energy Appliance Design Competition Wednesday, May 23. Santa Clara University is the only Bay Area school participating in the Department of Energy contest.

    One team of graduate mechanical engineering students Ying-Heng (Carlo) Peng, Diego Melani, and Miguel Gomez, advised by Professor Hohyun Lee, developed a lighting system that cuts energy use by controlling the angle of window blinds and using LED bulbs.

    Team DryAir, comprised of undergraduate senior mechanical engineering students (Michael) Zach Chong, (Peter) Colin Dess, Tim Hussey, and Liz Papengellin, advised by Professor Tim Hight, created an electric clothes dryer that reuses hot air—a basic concept that could have a lasting impact on the future of energy savings.

    The competition will be held Wednesday at both the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and the Department of Energy Headquarters in Washington, D.C. and will be broadcast live on the web:

    Blind Team:
    1:00 - 1:15 p.m. Efficient Lighting System via Automated Control of Blind Angle and LED Light Bulbs

    Team DryAir:
    1:15 - 1:30 p.m. Reduction in Energy Use in Electric Clothes Dryers

    More info on competition:

    Media Contact:  Marika Krause, 408-829-4836

  •  Graduating Seniors Shine at Senior Design Conference

    Wednesday, May. 16, 2012

    Robots, a hybrid racecar, dozens of solar panels, these things are not unusual sights around Bannan Hall, the home of Santa Clara University’s School of Engineering. Rather, it was the number of engineering students dressed in formal wear that was downright weird.

    On May 10, senior engineering students put on their most professional duds for the 42nd Annual Senior Design Conference. Projects ranged from a hybrid racecar to a high efficiency clothes dryer and were presented throughout the afternoon during both classroom sessions and outdoor demonstrations.
    “This is our centennial year, so we’re looking for special performances from our students,” said Godfrey Mungal, the School of Engineering’s dean. “We’re trying to raise the bar for senior design projects.”
    Mungal cited a new faculty initiative as helping to achieve this goal. For the first time, faculty received teaching credit for advising student projects. This included the Formula Hybrid, a project where 20 students and 6 faculty advisors collaborated to compete in the international competition. Teams from around the world designed, built, and then tested open-wheel, single-seat, electric or hybrid-electric racecars against each other during the 2012 competition in New Hampshire.
    “It was an exciting experience to compete with teams from universities in Canada and Spain,” said Robert Kozak, a mechanical engineering student.
    The SCU team ended up placing 16 out of 44 universities. According to Kozak their performance impressed judges. In order to compete, teams must first have their car vetted by judges as adhering to the competition’s stringent guidelines. “The judges told us that most first year teams don’t pass inspection,” he said.
    Other projects on display were the results of continuing research started by previous senior classes. One such example was the Roverwerx: Robomedic for Triage. This robot is designed to enter disaster areas, search for survivors, and then assess their medical needs in order to assist emergency responders.
    “When we started work on it, the robot didn’t move and the arm had less mobility,” said Kelsey Brunts, a bioengineering major.

    Brunts and seven other students across four disciplines were able to get the robot moving and add several degrees of arc to the robotic arm attachment, which can be outfitted with various medical sensors, such as one that detects respiration. For Brunts the hardest part of the project was communication—and not between herself and some of the lay audience at the day’s outdoor demonstration.
    “Communicating across disciplines is challenging,” she said. “We work with other disciplines on homework all the time, but to work on an actual physical, three-dimensional robot in a very collaborative project is a big challenge.”
    For a complete list of 2012 Senior Design Conference Winners, go here.
  •  Frugal Innovation Program Recognized

    Friday, May. 4, 2012

    The Frugal Innovation program at Santa Clara University was featured in the Asociation for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education's 2011 Higher Education Sustainability Review in the report's "Innovative campus-community sustainability partnerships" section.

    Read the article here.

    See the entire report on the AASHE website.

  •  Santa Clara University's Solar Decathlon 2013 Team to Present New Designs of Their Solar House

    Friday, May. 4, 2012

    Tuesday, May. 1, 2012

    Santa Clara University’s Solar Decathlon 2013 team will unveil the latest plans for its custom-designed solar home to the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon director visiting from Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, May 8 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

    The Energy Department’s Richard King is visiting Santa Clara University as his first stop in California, where four collegiate teams have been chosen to participate in the competition.

    Every two years, the Solar Decathlon determines which of 20 teams can design and build the most beautiful, energy-efficient, solar-powered house.

    This is Santa Clara’s third time in the competition. The school won third place in 2007 and 2009. Faculty and students decided to skip 2011 to recharge and prepare for the 2013 decathlon. Now that they’re in, they’re moving full steam ahead with an entirely new look, features, and new goal.

    “We’re focusing on creating a home that’s affordable for more families,” says Jake Gallau, student project manager for Team Santa Clara. “With energy costs skyrocketing across the country, we want to show the world that it doesn’t take much to design and build a solar-powered home that looks good and runs efficiently.”

    Without revealing too much, the students say they transformed their plans that they submitted to the DOE last month into something that’s striking, modern, and yet functional.

    “The design takes advantage of the outdoor space without compromising its aesthetics,” says Jay Dubashi, assistant student project manager for the Santa Clara team. “In fact, the new design will somewhat mask the photovoltaic panels so that they’re not as prominent as they have been in all the homes from previous competitions.”

    The Solar Decathlon takes places Oct. 3-13, 2013 at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, Calif. However, all students must build their homes on their own campuses, dismantle it, ship it to the competition site, rebuild it, and then operate it for the jurors and the public.

    King, faculty, and students will be available for media interviews on Tuesday, May 8 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

  •  SCU Shares Gold at Edison Awards Gala

    Monday, Apr. 30, 2012

    As one of the twenty colleges and universities comprising the Kern Entrepreneurship Education Network (KEEN) Santa Clara University shared the honor of being awarded a Gold Edison Award in the category of Collaborative Networks and Support on Thursday, April 26. The award was announced recently during the Edison Awards 25th anniversary celebration in New York City.  Christopher Kitts, associate professor of mechanical engineering and director of Santa Clara University’s Robotics Systems Laboratory was among those representing the KEEN network of colleges. Kitts was recently named the KEEN 2011 Outstanding Faculty Member and Network Contributor.

    The participating academic institutions in the KEEN network were recognized for their collaborative work in creating the 21st-century engineer by instilling the entrepreneurial mindset in all of the nearly 19,000 students collectively represented.  In addition to the rigorous technical fundamentals offered as part of their normal courses, KEEN institutions also offer experiential opportunities aimed at instilling in the students a set of professional skills necessary for their future work.  Those skills include:

    1. Effectively collaborate in a team setting,
    2. Apply critical & creative thinking to ambiguous problems,
    3. Construct & effectively communicate a customer-appropriate value proposition,
    4. Persist through and learn from failure,
    5. Effectively manage projects through appropriate commercialization or final delivery process,
    6. Demonstrate voluntary social responsibility,
    7. Relate personal liberties and free enterprise to entrepreneurship.

    KEEN is comprised of twenty undergraduate engineering schools including Baylor University, Boston University, Bucknell University, Gonzaga University, Kettering University, Lawrence Technological University, Mercer University, Milwaukee School of Engineering, Ohio Northern University, Saint Louis University, Santa Clara University, Union College, University of Dayton, University of Detroit Mercy, University of Evansville, University of New Haven, Villanova University, Western New England University, Widener University and Worcester Polytechnic University.

    The above-mentioned schools are supported, in part, by the Kern Family Foundation in order to create this new program of study.  The Kern Family Foundation’s mission includes the objectives of enriching lives by promoting educational excellence as well as high quality, innovative engineering talent.  

    The founders, Drs. Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern, have a strong commitment to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, which opens many doors for students to become productive citizens in a technology-driven world.  They believe that a solid background in math and problem-solving concepts, coupled with an understanding of responsible innovation, are the keys to meeting the challenges that America will face in a rapidly changing global economy.

  •  Santa Clara Engineers Win Big in DC!

    Tuesday, Apr. 24, 2012

    Santa Clara University student engineers took top honors April 23 in the US Environmental Protection Agency's P3 Award competition, a national student design competition for sustainability focusing on people, prosperity and the planet.

    In a field of 45 competitors, SCU undergraduate teammates Sandeep Lele,  Michael Sizemore, Sutyen Zalawadia (mechanical engineering), Ross Pimentel and Jeff Schwartz (electrical engineering) took 1st Place with their "Regenerative Fuel Cell for Off-Grid Renewable Energy Storage."  Following the tragic death last September of their mentor and original Investigator on the project, Daniel Strickland, electrical engineering professors Shoba Krishnan and Abdie Tabrizi took on the role of advisors on the project. Along with bragging rights, the team will receive $90,000 to advance their research.

    Congratulations also to students Laughlin Barker, Darcy Marumoto, Matthew Neber, Criselle Olaes, and Joseph Valdez for earning Honorable Mention at the competiton for their work with Investigator and mechanical engineering professor Hohyun Lee on "Enhanced Solar Energy Harvest for Power Generation from Brayton Cycle. ”

    As we celebrate a century of engineering excellence at Santa Clara University, we congratulate these Bronco engineers for their technical prowess in furthering sustainable energy research. Go, Broncos!

    Read more about the teams here.

  •  SCU Engineers Head to DC for Contest

    Wednesday, Apr. 18, 2012

    Two teams of student engineers from Santa Clara University will head to Washington D.C. this month, packing project designs  that could change the way people around the world use energy.

    The traverlers are bound for the National Sustainable Design Expo, an annual showcase of cutting-edge technologies developed by college students and their faculty advisors. The Expo takes place on the National Mall from April 21-23. It features a judged competition called P3—short for People, Prosperity, and the Planet—which is sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    SCU students, along with peers from some 40 other colleges and universities throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico, will vie for bragging rights and a $90,000 grant award to help them advance their design, implement it in the field, and move it into the marketplace. already, each of the contending teams earned an initial grant of $15,000 to jumpstart their work.

    "The competition will be a time for us to relax, mingle with the social entrepreneurs of tomorrow, and show off the work we've completed," said Michael Sizemore, SCU senior and project leaer for one of the school's entries. "After the challenges we've experienced and the work we've done to get to the place we are now, the competition is going to be a breeze."

    Among these challenges was the sudden, tragic death last fall of the team's advisor, a young assistant professor with a passion for fuel cell technology. Danield Strickland's develop a new type of fuel cell—one capable of a continuous, sustainable energy supply that could meet the demands of rural communitites in developing nationas where reliable energy grids are lacking.

    When Strickland died in an auto accident, his students were devastated and the fate of their unfinished work was uncertain. According to Ross Pimentel, a student who helped develop the project's electrical design, the  team "pulled through...and decided to continue to work on the project to show everyone that Strickland's idea of replacing batteries with reversible fuel cells is possible. The project has not only shown the skills and knowledge we all gained from class, but also our strength and willingness to see the project to its end."

    Sizemore spoke of the satisfaction in completing and testing "a never-before-tried technology." He said the team "collaborated with companies around the world, to make a brand new clean energy system designed soley by us." Strickland, he said, "gave us the opportunity to innovate and we took it."

    Following Strickland's death, Shoba Krishnan, an associate professor of electrcial engineering at SCU, stepped into the role of faculty advisor for the fuel cell team. A strong proponent of applying classrom theory to real-world, community solutions, she sees several advantages in student design competitions such as P3.

    "These events help students put in perspective what they 've learned in class," she explained. "In order to acheive their goal, they must have teamwork, organization,  time management, and project planning skills, as well as a strong work ethic."

    She said the Expo experience will give students a small taste of what to expect in the workplace. "They'll be judged by a certain set of rules, a clear standard of quality; it isn't just about engineering—there is a lot of interdisciplinary learning going on."

    SCU's second entry in the P3 competition is led by faculty advisor Hohyun Lee, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering. Like Krishnan, he finds value in student design contests. In order for his students to complete their project, he notes, "They must enhance their understanding of renewable energy and mechanical engineering disciplines, and throughout the competition, they will develop their communication skills, as well as their breadth of technology."

    At the Expo, Lee's five-member team of senior students will present a high efficiency solar absorber/exchanger that can bring low-cost energy to residences that have limited space for solar collectors.

    "The key element of this project is to develop an economically viable solar absorber, combined with heat exchanger, that has fewer parts and takes up less space," explained Lee. According to team members, solar energy is currently abundant and easily accessible, but high costs and low yields are stumbling blocks for many homeowners. The SCU students have designed a system that is one-third the size of an equivalent photovoltaic system, at half the total cost.

    Like the fuel cell team, Lee's group has been working on its project since last August. The advisor believes the experience of learning together as they develop an essential product is an important lesson in itself. "This early exposure to research, and to its social benefit, will prepare them to become true engineering," he said.

  •  Engineers Encouraged to "Stay With It"

    Thursday, Mar. 8, 2012

    Montel Williams, Intel's Otellini, join Google and Facebook execs to celebrate and motivate engineering students on Obama’s “National Day ofEngineering”

    SANTA CLARA, Calif., March 8, 2102 — As part of a nationwide effort to halt the decline in qualified U.S. engineering students, Santa Clara University is joining with schools across the nation in viewing a motivational FacebookLIVE event from noon to 1 p.m. March 14.

    At SCU, an expected 130 attendees will watch the FacebookLIVE event featuring celebrity (and engineer) Montel Williams, Intel CEO Paul Otellini, and Charles Bolden of NASA, among other technology company executives. In partnership with MTV, those speakers will be sharing personal stories, music videos, and motivational messages from President Obama and others to drive home a message to “stay with it” when it comes to pursuing an engineering degree. 

    SCU students will gather for the event from noon to 1 p.m. March 14, at the Benson Memorial Center’s Bronco room on SCU’s campus, 500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA. Students who attend will receive coupons for $10 worth of lunch at Benson, and will be entered for a drawing to win an Asus Zenbook 13-inch Ultrabook.

    The campaign is part of the effort by President Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness to address the nation’s shortage of engineers. In June 2011, Obama announced an initiative to train an additional 10,000 engineering graduates each year, to boost U. S. competitiveness and innovation.

    Nationwide, only 14 percent of all undergraduate students are enrolled in science, technology, engineering or math program, and there is a 40 percent attrition rate after the first year for students in those disciplines. Obama has said he believes there’s “an incredible diversity of talent out there waiting to be tapped.”

    To tackle the problem, the Council designated March 14 “National Day of Engineering,” with events planned across the country and a new community of resources being unveiled for students pursuing an engineering degree.

    A new Facebook page,, has been created, featuring messages of encouragement to engineering students from CEOs of companies like IBM, DuPont, Walmart, and Xerox, as well as celebrities like Wil.I.Am, Will Smith and others.

    Santa Clara University School of Engineering has been lauded for having a four-year graduation rate that far surpasses the national average – at about 66 percent, compared with the 22 percent of public schools nationwide or 45 percent at private institutions.

    Engineering Dean Godfrey Mungal last month met with President Obama at a White House event celebrating the efforts of 40 top engineering deans who are succeeding in retaining and graduating high-caliber engineering students.

  •  From College to Silicon Valley

    Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2012

    From College to Silicon Valley: Tips from an Alum

    Pedram Keyani '00 (computer engineering), engineering manager at Facebook and veteran of internships and full-time employment at Sun, Google, and others, gives tips on navigating the transition from SCU to Silicon Valley tech companies. Read his great advice in this article in TechCrunch

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