Santa Clara University


Engineering Blog


  •  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

  •  2011 SCU Engineering Faculty Awards Announced

    Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012

    Congratulations to our 2011 School of Engineering faculty award winners:

    Researcher of the Year Award: Yuling Yan, Program Director, Bioengineering

    Award for Teaching Excellence: Frank Barone, Interim Chair, Department of Engineering Management and Leadership

    Adjunct Lecturer of  the Year: Nhan Nguyen, Mechanical Engineering

    Gerald E. Markle Award for Teaching Excellence: Sergio Zarantonello, Applied Mathematics

    These professors will be honored at an event on Wednesday, February 22, 2012 at 4 p.m.
    Read more here

  •  Obama Announces Partnership with ASEE

    Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012

    With a strong endorsement from President Obama, ASEE  and the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness have launched a partnership to measure, evaluate, and celebrate excellence in retention, graduation, and diversity in engineering education. The effort is intended to further the council’s goal of seeing at least a 10 percent increase in engineering graduates over the next decade. A Seal of Excellence will reward engineering colleges that produce more graduates and provide an incentive to others.

    Obama greeted a roomful of engineering deans, including Santa Clara University's Dean of Engineering Godfrey Mungal (shown below shaking hands with the President) on February 8 with a pledge to “use the bully pulpit to emphasize how important your work is” and an assurance that “everyone in this administration is four-square behind you.” He spoke at a reception in the Old Executive Office Building for the Engineering Deans Council and leaders in the “10,000 engineers” initiative launched by the Jobs Council. Obama described the effort as one of figuring out “how to help you do more good work all across the country” and finding the best practices in engineering education. The reception came a day after release of a series of recommendations by the President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology to strengthen activity- and discovery-based undergraduate STEM instruction, particularly in the first two years of college.

    “America has always been about innovation,” as well as scientific inquiry, the president said, and has “an incredible diversity of talent out there waiting to be tapped.” He said that “for every Steve Jobs we need 10,000 others.” His pledge of support  for the deans was underscored by the presence at the reception of Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, presidential science adviser John Holdren, National Science Foundation Director Subra Suresh, senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, and Alan Krueger, chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers.

    Intel CEO Paul Ottelini, who is leading the 10,000 engineers effort, said the private sector has raised $20 million toward the effort and promised to hire 7,000 first- and second-year engineering undergraduates as summer interns.

    An ASEE survey of public and private institutions showed a four-year engineers’ graduation rate of 22 percent at the public schools and a 45-percent rate at the private institutions. Addressing these statistics, ASEE members recognize that something must be done to improve how faculty teach and how students learn.

    Energy Secretary Chu encouraged the deans to concentrate on research and education that will bolster a renaissance in manufacturing, and said funding from DOE can help. He cited “huge opportunities in power electronics” as well as high-strength steels, and predicted “a golden age in materials and materials manufacturing."

    “We will help get faculty excited,” Chu said.

    Dean Mungal Meets Obama
  •  Wilson Named IEEE Communications Society Director of Journals

    Thursday, Jan. 26, 2012

    Sarah Kate Wilson, associate professor of electrical engineering at Santa Clara University has been appointed Director of Journals for the IEEE Communications Society.  Her two-year appointment began January 1, 2012.

    The  IEEE Communications Society Director of Journals is responsible for seven journals and, among other duties, appoints  new Editors-in-Chief,   is a sounding board for current Editors-in-Chiefs, and evaluates new journal proposals.

    Wilson, who joined the SCU faculty in 2006, has a distinguished background in both academia and industry. Lauded for her undergraduate and graduate teaching at Purdue University, she was also honored by the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm for her work in promoting gender equity. She has also served as a consultant to a number of Silicon Valley companies. Her current research interests include OFDM, wireless optical communications, and scheduling.

    A generous collaborator, Wilson is frequently called upon to mentor student projects and join academic committees at Santa Clara and she has served in a number of roles for the IEEE Communications Society: associate editor for three journals,  member-at-large of the IEEE Communications Society Board-of-Governors and for the past three years Editor-in-Chief of IEEE Communications Letters.

    Wilson received her A.B. in Mathematics from Bryn Mawr College in 1979 and her M.S. and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Stanford University in 1987 and 1994, respectively.

    The IEEE Communications Society is an international community comprised of more than 50,000 members; "a diverse group of industry professionals with a common interest in advancing all communications technologies. To that end, the Society sponsors publications, conferences, educational programs, local activities, and technical committees that: Foster original work in all aspects of communications science, engineering, and technology."

    Congratulations, Dr. Wilson!

  •  SCU Chosen for 2013 Solar Decathlon

    Thursday, Jan. 26, 2012

    We're in! Now the fun really begins. Read more here.

  •  Cisco Networking Session a Big Hit

    Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012

    School of Engineering undergraduate and graduate students enjoyed a great opportunity to network with Cisco this week. In "round robin" style, Bronco engineers met with professionals from the company's Engineering, Sales, IT, and Technical Services groups, learning about the corporate culture, the participants' job functions, and employment opportunities at the worldwide leader in networking.

    Approximately 50 students turned out for the event that was sponsored by SCU's student chapter of ACM (Association for Computing Machinery). February 6 ACM is hosting "An Evening with Cisco's VP of IT, Kevin Pint."  For more infomation on that event, visit:

    Cisco regularly recruits Santa Clara engineering students and has hired more than 30 interns and fulltime employees this year alone.


  •  Alumna makes the cover of MAKE Magazine

    Monday, Jan. 23, 2012

    Congratulations to SCU Engineering Alumni Board member Carol Reiley '04 who appears as the superhero cover model on MAKE Magazine's January 2012 issue! Carol is the first female engineer to appear on the cover of this magazine that is at the heart of the Maker Movement.

    Featured in the magazine (Vol. 29, Do-it-Yourself Superhuman) are an interview with this superstar who recently received her Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in the area of surgical robotics, plus two articles she co-authored: Air Guitar Hero, a project Reiley reports "was originally created as a fun rehab exercise for people with amputations;" and DIY Blood Pressure Monitor, a low-cost, smart and mobile device to be used to test hypertension in third world countries.

    Christopher Kitts, director of Santa Clara University's Robotics Systems Laboratory, notes that as a senior computer engineering major, Reiley "led a great robotics capstone on haptic manipulation." She and Kitts are currently brainstorming the creation of a hands-on course on haptics for SCU.

    Read more about SCU's robotics programs here.



  •  Kitts Named KEEN Outstanding Faculty Member

    Friday, Jan. 20, 2012

    The Kern Entrepreneurship Education Network (KEEN) recognized Santa Clara University's Mechanical Engineering Associate Professor Chris Kitts with the 2011 Outstanding Faculty Member and Network Contributor at the 2012 Winter KEEN Conference in Orlando, Fla. on Jan. 8.

    KEEN's mission is to graduate engineers equipped with an action-oriented entrepreneurial mindset who will contribute to business success and transform the U.S. workforce. KEEN fulfills this mission by supporting the creation of programs that develop technical leaders with strong skills and an entrepreneurial mindset in undergraduate engineering programs at select private U.S. colleges and universities, including Santa Clara University.

    Kitts has served as Santa Clara's principle investigator on the awards, and he and his colleagues in Engineering and Business have worked over the past three years on the following initiatives:

    •    Continue the new Design Thinking pathway;  
    •    Refining the flagship Smart Product Design course;
    •    Adding BUSN 198, a course that allows business students to work on engineering’s capstone teams;
    •    Developing new Culture of Innovation course;
    •    Introducing one to three hour modules into existing classes to expose 100 percent of SCU engineers to the KEEN topics during all four years of their education;
    •    Introducing several co-curricular initiatives, including competitions, seminars, mentoring events, student club support, co-operative program, etc.;
    •    Working with teams from the 20 other KEEN schools to introduce them to SCU's Robotics Lab model of real-world projects, which involve the long-term provision of products and services to professional customers, with students involved in every stage of these activities;
    •    Conducting new series of faculty seminars to improve business acumen among engineering faculty; and
    •    Starting new initiative to assess all engineering students during their freshman and senior years, as well as near the mid-point of their college program.

    The Kern Family Foundation created KEEN in 2005 as a collegiate initiative to complement efforts at the K-12 level to increase the quantity and quality of U.S. engineering talent.

    Learn more about innovation at SCU.

  •  SCU Gives Boost to Women in Computing

    Monday, Oct. 24, 2011

    Mentoring and innovative programs help increase number of women enrolled in computing-related majors at SCU.

  •  Celebrating a Century of Engineering Excellence!

    Tuesday, Sep. 13, 2011

    Engineering hits the 100 mark! Check out our Centennial website.

  •  Forbes Names SCU One of America's Best Colleges

    Monday, Sep. 5, 2011
  •  Newsweek Names SCU One of Happiest Colleges

    Friday, Sep. 2, 2011

    Life is a little sweeter for SCU students according to this report.

  •  New M.S. in Sustainable Energy Offered

    Monday, Aug. 1, 2011

    Feeding the growing need and interest in understanding and solving environmental problems around the world, the School of Engineering announces a new master's degree program in sustainable energy

  •  Serial startup sensation

    Thursday, Jun. 30, 2011

    At just 19 years old, computer engineering sophomore Diane Keng is already a serial entrepreneur.

  •  Water, water, everywhere

    Thursday, Jun. 30, 2011

    Ed Maurer has a well-earned reputation as an expert on sustainable water resources development.

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