SCSE Highlights for January 2019

HCAMS Building
February 7, 2019

Highlighting Swenson College of Science & Engineering faculty and staff achievements from January of 2019.


A student and former research partner of  Dr. Donn Branstrator in the Biology Department recently published a paper as part of his work in a PhD program at the University of Vermont. Ben Block  graduated from UMD in the spring of 2017 and the article entitled “The unique methodological challenges of winter limnology” had a broad international team of contributors. It was published by the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography.

Dr. Ben Dymond from the Civil Engineering Department had an article published in the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute Journal entitled "Molin Concrete builds precast concrete teaching structure at UMD" and a photo of our teaching structure was on the front cover of the journal.

Precast concrete teaching structure

Dr. Ben Dymond uses the precast concrete structure in a Civil Engineering lab to demonstrate building techniques.

Dr. Amanda Grusz was an invited speaker at the Plant and Animal Genomes XXVII meeting in San Diego, CA. Dr. Briana Gross  also attended the conference as a colloquium organizer. Both are from the Biology Department. 

Major Karl Huber, Assistant Professor of Aerospace Studies, was just named the Air Force ROTC Instructor of the Year. This is a substantial award and he was recognized as the top instructor out of approximately 400 officers nationwide. 

Dr. Jessica Savage from the Biology Department had a paper published in the American Journal of Botany that was also highlighted on the January 2019 journal cover which featured a floral image she contributed. The article was entitled “A temporal shift in resource allocation facilitates flowering before leaf out and spring vessel maturation in precocious species.”

Floral Image

Dr. Jessica Savage's photo was featured on the cover of the January 2019 issue of the American Journal of Botany.


Four people from the Mathematics and Statistics Department attended the Annual Joint Mathematics Meetings of the Mathematical Association of America and the American Mathematical Society: Dr. Joe Gallian  and Dr. John Greene, and graduate students Shah Roshan Zamir and Aaron Victorin-Vangerud. John Greene and Shah Roshan Zamir each gave research presentations. Joe Gallian attended a reunion lunch, organized by Shah, for students who had attended one of his summer Research Experiences for Undergraduates.

Dr. Stanley Burns from the Electrical Engineering Department worked with Valerie Coit and Dr. Amy Kireta to coordinate the FIRST Robotics kickoff event here at UMD. Swenson College has been hosting this event in the Marshall Performing Arts Center for many years now and welcomed 23 teams from Minnesota and Wisconsin to the event where the crowd of more than 300 youth learned about this year’s robotics contest elements and picked up their kit of parts.

The new Heikkila Chemistry and Advanced Materials Science building is nearing completion (pictured above) and Chemistry Department faculty and staff were able to move into many of the new spaces before classes resumed in January. A small ribbon cutting ceremony was held to celebrate and a grand opening ceremony will take place in the summer of 2019.


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.