SCSE Highlights for December 2018

VKH exterior in winter
January 9, 2019

Highlighting Swenson College of Science & Engineering faculty and staff achievements from December of 2018.


Dr. Manik Barman, Assistant Professor in Civil Engineering, received funding from the Minnesota Department of Transportation on two research proposals: $161,333 for Optimizing Asphalt Mixture Designs for Low-Volume Roads of Minnesota and $147,070 for Establishing Fresh Properties of Fiber Reinforced Concrete for Performance Engineered Mixture (PEM). Both projects run from July 2019 to June 2021.

Moe Benda, Director of the Iron Range Graduate Engineering Program, is part of a team that has been accepted as a finalist in SME's MoveMining Competition to compete at the National Conference in Colorado on Feb 25th. Their proposal to move mining is to provide industry engineered teaching kits that any K-12 teacher can check out and utilize in their classroom. The other team members are Claire Peterln, MEng ChE Student and Kurt Doran, Environmental Scientist from Northeast Technical Services. More information on the competition finalists is available on the MoveMining website.

Dr. Chanlan Chun, Assistant Professor in Civil Engineering, is co-author of “Association Between Submerged Aquatic Vegetation and Elevated Levels of Escherichia Coli and Potential Bacterial Pathogens in Freshwater Lakes” published in Science of the Total Environment, 2018. She also secured funding from the Minnesota Department of Transportation for a project entitled “Evaluation of Environmental Impacts of Potassium Acetate Used as a Road Salt Alternative” in collaboration with Dr. John Gulliver at the Saint Anthony Fall Laboratory.

Dr. Ben Dymond, Assistant Professor in Civil Engineering, was awarded a fall 2018 Grant-in-Aid award for a "110 kip Dynamic Hydraulic Linear Actuator.”

Dr. Salli Dymond, Assistant Professor in Earth and Environmental Sciences, received USDA Forest Service funding for her work on how forestry practices influence water dynamics. She is using the Casper Creek experimental watershed in California to test her ideas. 

Dr. Brock Hedegaard, Assistant Professor in Civil Engineering, received a fall 2018 Grant-in-Aid award for "Collapse Resiliency of Precast Concrete Frames with Hybrid Connections"

Dr. Bethany Kubik, Assistant Professor in Mathematics & Statistics, helped organize the annual Sonia Kovalevsky Day in collaboration with other educators from the Twin Ports to encourage high school aged girls to continue studying math when they enter college.

Dr. Zhuangyi Liu, Professor in Mathematics & Statistics, was an invited presenter at a conference on PDEs, SDEs, Control Theory, and Applications to Finance and Life Science in Orlando, Florida in December. His presentation was entitled "Finer and Sharper Energy Decay Rate for  an Elastic String with Localized Kelvin-Voigt Damping.”

Dr. Ted Ozersky, Assistant Professor in Biology, received a fall 2018 Grant-in-Aid award for "Giant Sulfur-oxidizing ‘Pipeline’ Bacteria in Great Lake Sediments.”

Dr. Bruce Peckham, Professor and Department Head in Mathematics & Statistics, organized the Midwest Dynamical Systems Conference on the UMN Twin Cities campus. This was an NSF funded conference that paid special tribute to Dr. Peckham's PhD advisor. Dr. Peckham, Dr. Marshall Hampton and Dr. Richard Buckalew from UMD Math and Stats, all presented their work at the conference.

Dr. Prashanth Poddutoori has been published in the Journal of Physical Chemistry C as a corresponding author of "High-Energy Charge-Separated States by Reductive Electron Transfer Followed by Electron Shift in the Tetraphenylethylene–Aluminum(III) Porphyrin–Fullerene Triad.”

Dr. Subramanian Ramakrishnan, Assistant Professor in Mechanical & Industrial Engineering, has been published as co-author of “An Analytical Study of Vibrational Energy Harvesting Using Piezoelectric Tiles in Stairways Subjected to Human Traffic” with his graduate student Connor Edlund. He also co-authored “Dynamics of a Piezoelectric Energy Harvester Subjected to Levy Flight Excitations” with Edlund and C. Lambrecht. Both were published in the European Journal of Applied Mathematics, Special Issue on Stochastic Analysis in Applications and were the outcomes of UROP efforts. Dr. Ramakrishnan also contributed to two papers included in the  IEEE 2018 Nanotechnology Materials and Devices Conference proceedings: “The Hysteresis Phenomenon and Q Factor Enhancement in Nonlinear NEMS Resonators” and “Effects of White Noise Excitation on Tristable Piezoelectric Energy Harvesters with Asymmetric Potential Wells.” One of Dr. Ramakrishnan’s graduate students (co-advised by Dr. Jing Bai), Connor Edlund MSEE, recently defended his thesis titled, "Noise-induced effects on Discrete Breathers in a Nonlinear Electrical Lattice.”

Andrea Schokker, Professor in Civil Engineering, received a fall 2018 Grant-in-Aid award for "Composite Wind Turbine Tower Design.”

Dr. Marc Seigar is the lead author on a paper that has been accepted for publication. The title of the paper is "Determination of Resonance Locations in NGC 613 from Morphological Arguments.”  It will appear in the December issue of Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Dr. Nigel Wattrus, Associate Professor in Earth & Environmental Sciences, received a fall 2018 Grant-in-Aid award for, "Evaluating Active Streamer (Self) Control Using IoT Enabled Autonomous Survey Vehicles.”


Dr. Amy Kireta published an article in the Journal of Great Lakes Research entitled “Contemporary Abundance Patterns of Cyclotella sensu lato diatom taxa in Lake Superior: Assessing Responses to Physical and Chemical Gradients and Potential Links to Climate Change.”


If you would like to share news of an award, research, publication, presentation or successful funding proposal, contact Communications Specialist Valerie Coit at to be added to the next update. These stories will be shared at the beginning of each month during the fall and spring semesters.