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COEN Online News 9/8/15

COEN Online News 9/8/15

Safety of Metal Alloys in Nuclear Facilities | OPWL Students Partner to Improve Blackboard Experience | iPerform Lab | Best Materials to Cut Coal Plant Emissions | Faculty in Action | ITS News | COEN News | Funding Opportunities

Project Tests Safety of Metal Alloys in Nuclear Facilities

By: Kathleen Tuck

Image of Janelle Wharry with two students in a lab

In today’s world, nuclear technology is widespread. It is used to produce electricity, in industry and medicine, in agriculture, to process food and more. But we aren’t sure how radiation affects many of the new materials used in the nuclear industry, particularly metal alloys.

New work being done by Janelle Wharry, assistant professor of materials science and engineering, could help. With about $2 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy, through the Nuclear Science User Facilities, Wharry is looking at how irradiation affects the structure of metal alloys fabricated by a process called powder metallurgy and hot isostatic pressing, or PM-HIP.

View the full “Project Tests Safety of Metal Alloys in Nuclear Facilities” article.

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OPWL Students Partner to Improve Blackboard Experience

By: Kathleen Tuck

Image of the Blackboard logoThe Department of Organizational Performance and Workplace Learning (OPWL) in the College of Engineering has partnered with Learning Technology Solutions (LTS) to improve online student support for the use of Blackboard.

The partnership between OPWL and LTS began when four students in professor Don Winiecki’s OPWL529 Needs Assessment course in spring 2015 conducted a needs assessment to determine what information, advice and coaching students required in order to make effective use of Blackboard before, during and after taking a course.

View the full “OPWL Students Partner to Improve Blackboard Experience” article.

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Open House Shows How iPerform Lab Can Help You Improve Learning

By: Kathleen Tuck

Image of Quincy Conley with two other people working on computers

The campus community was invited to check out the iPerform Lab at an open house from 1-4 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 4, in the Environmental Research Building, Room 3121.

Quincy Conley, assistant professor in the Department of Organizational Performance and Workplace Learning, demonstrated how the research lab is used to evaluate the many ways technology can improve learning both in the workplace and in the classroom.

View the full “See How iPerform Lab Can Help You Improve Learning” article.

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Study Looks at Best Materials to Cut Coal Plant Emissions

By: Kathleen Tuck

Image of Lan Li with Izaak Williamson

The Clean Power Plan, the recent call from President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency to reduce emissions from coal-fired power plants, is upping the ante for scientists looking for ways to contain carbon dioxide (CO2) released into the atmosphere. Research shows that a typical coal plant generates 3.5 million tons of CO2 each year. The Clean Power Plan would reward plants that cut emissions with federal funds.

In light of this effort, a recent study by Lan Li, assistant professor of materials science and engineering at Boise State, with graduate assistant Izaak Williamson, is particularly relevant. It focuses on the efficacy of specific materials in separating CO2 from other flue emissions and capturing it in manufactured nanoscale tubes.

View the full “Study Looks at Best Materials to Cut Coal Plant Emissions” article.

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Faculty and Students in Action

Image of Bernard YurkeResearch by Bernard Yurke resulting in the first DNA-based nano-mechanical device (a pair of tweezers that opened and pinched) was cited in an article about how organic “computers” made of DNA could process data inside our bodies. The “Organic ‘computers’ made of DNA could process data inside our bodies” article was published in The Conversation.

Image of Paul DavisA testimonial from Paul Davis, an engineer in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering’s Surface Science Lab, was featured on the Bruker AFM website. His quotes highlight just a fraction of the lab’s wide array of research projects using atomic force microscopy. View Davis’ full testimonial or see an abbreviated version. Boise State is featured alongside institutions from around the world, including University College London, ETH Zurich and the Pasteur Institute.

Image of Kris Campbell with a microscopeResearch conducted by Kris Campbell and used to develop memristor technology was cited in an article posted on the Semiconductor Manufacturing and Design Community website. Her bi-directional learning memristors have been used by Knowm Inc. to create configurable artificial neural-network chips.

View the full “Knowm First to Deliver Configurable Artificial Neural Networks using Bi-Directional Learning Memristors” article.

Image of Don WinieckiDon Winiecki co-authored an article with students Janice Aull, Jeff Bartley, Colleen Olson and Lauren Weisberg based on their OPWL529 (Needs Assessment) class project. The article has been accepted for publication in the peer-reviewed journal Performance Improvement Quarterly (PIQ).

Their article is titled “Lessons Learned While Completing a Needs Assessment of ITSS, Inc. Career Development Opportunities: A Case Study.” It is both a case study report and a critical reflective review of what it takes to conduct a professional-quality needs assessment that provides value-adding information to an organization.

View the full profile of Don Winiecki.

Image of David EstradaDavid Estrada has been named chair of the organizing committee for this year’s Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers Hispanic Faculty Congress. The Congress will be held during the SHPE National Conference in November in Baltimore, Maryland, and is funded in part by a large grant from the Broadening Participation Program at the National Science Foundation. The objective is to provide Hispanic faculty at the assistant professor level an opportunity to interact with funding managers and attend workshops geared toward ensuring they get tenure.

In addition, he will give an invited presentation at the IEEE International Integrated Reliability Workshop this October. He’ll present his work and collaborations on “Defect Limited Reliability and Transport in Carbon Nanotube and Graphene Devices.” And he has been invited to join the organizing committee for the Materials Research Society’s Electronic Materials Conference, to be held at the University of Delaware in June 2016.

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IT Services News

Microsoft DreamSpark and VMWare Academic Program (VMAP):

Legit Subscriptions (not Phishing!)

Engineering faculty, staff, and students are enrolled in two separate (and distinct) software programs:

  • Microsoft’s DreamSpark
  • VMWare’s Academic Program (VMAP)

Membership provides free access to Microsoft software (with the exception of Office applications) and VMWare virtualization software (VMWare Workstation – Windows, Fusion – Apple OSX). Program members may download and install software on personal computers.  Email invitations sent from DreamSpark (administered by Kivuto) and VMAP distribution stores are legitimate (not phishing schemes).

Notifications will be sent from a site/domain called “On the Hub” (the service provider for both programs):


Image of a sample of legitimate Dreamspark notification

It is always prudent to question and/or delete messages you suspect are SPAM or phishing attempts.  It’s OK if you delete your account notification from DreamSpark or VMAP—we can reset your account again, too.

During the fall, registration with the DreamSpark and VMAP programs can take up to two weeks after the semester starts, as current student enrollment files must be imported into the system to deliver automated notifications.


New Systems in the ENGR 215 Lab

The five-year old desktops in the ENGR 215 lab have be upgraded to HP All-in-One (21 inch) computers configured with these specifications:

  • i5 Processor
  • 8GB of RAM
  • 256GB solid state drives
  • Wireless network access
  • Touchscreens
  • Washable keyboard/mouse

These systems will take up less table space as the monitor and CPU are combined into one unit (also easier to transport on the wheeled tables). They are more physically secure against theft than tablets, since they’re not portable devices.
The screens will be ideal for eventual migration to Windows 8.1 or 10 (slated for 2016). Newer Windows operating systems have touchscreen functionality features currently not available in Windows v7

Note: ENGR 212 Open Lab grew from 35 to 37 available PCs this summer.

Need to contact IT or get more information? Email COEN IT group

Student WordPress Editors

Student website editors must meet with Michele Armstrong for a short training session before gaining access. Training covers how to edit and add pages, sizing images and WordPress basics.

To schedule a training session email: Michele Armstrong

The Future of – Good to Great

It is an exciting time at Boise State. New students, programs and priorities mean we look to technology and our website to help us communicate and connect with our audience in innovative and compelling ways.

As we work to improve our websites this year I want to share some very important direction and guidelines that will provide the necessary foundation that will prepare us for the future.

Get Started
Please see a new webpage on Webguide Taking Your Website from Good to Great which outlines specific steps you can take now to improve your site, make it more usable, accessible and effective. You can find information about the Boise State Theme, content, plugins and more from the Webguide. The webpage will be updated regularly so check back often for updates.

Do you have a great idea for the future of the Boise State website? Introducing UserEcho, a way to suggest and collaborate with your peers and vote for the best ideas. Sign up with your Boise State Google Account and start contributing at UserEcho.

If you are using any non-standard code, features or unsupported plugins it is very important that you report them so that we can better understand requirements and prepare for the future. Please report even if you received prior approval or an exception. If you plan to correct the issue it is best to report it and note the date it will be corrected. Please use this Google Sheet to report items: Boise State Website Non-Standard Features (You must be a logged in Boise State employee to view.)

Please share this email with your departments and peers and encourage others to sign up for the Webguide Email List.

Stay Tuned
Stay subscribed to the Webguide Email List  for upcoming professional development, training opportunities and latest updates.

Contact Teri with any questions or concerns.

Teri Williams, Director of Web Strategy
Boise State University
(208) 426-1597

Marketing Checklist

The new 2015 marketing checklist is now available. Please download, print and use it to distribute your messages to our campus community. It includes a handy graphics reference guide, so it’s truly a “must have” document for all of us. Communications and Marketing also will be sending hard copies through campus mail. If you need extra copies for your office please contact Haley Robinson in the Office of Communications and Marketing. 

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Upcoming Events

  • September 11MSE Seminar, Dr. Uwe Reischl – Boise State University
    Assessing Ultraviolet and Infrared Radiation Penetration through Clothing
  • September 18MSE Seminar, Dr. Paul Davis – Boise State University
    Structure & Properties at the Nano Scale: Scanning Probe Microscopy-Enabled Research at Boise State
  • September 20National Drive Electric Week Event – Boise
  • September 30 – Construction Management Career Fair (for Business & Engineering majors too) (registered companies: Granite, RSCI, Power Engineers, Barnard, Blattner, Intermountain Slurry Seal, Kiewit, Knife River, Coleman Homes, McMillen, Turner, Petra, Ryan Companies, Lydig, Layton, Goodfellow Brothers, Whiting-Turner, McCarthy, ESI)
  • October 14 – Boise State Career Fair (all majors)
  • University Events Calendar: Boise State Events

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Funding Opportunities

DOE: Office of Science Graduate Student Research (SCGSR) program

The Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science is pleased to announce that the Office of Science Graduate Student Research (SCGSR) program is now accepting applications for the 2015 Solicitation 2.  Applications are due 5:00pm ET on Tuesday December 15, 2015.

*Update for the 2015 Solicitation 2: The SCGSR program is now open to graduate students with Permanent Resident status, in addition to U.S. Citizens, who meet all other eligibility requirements. Detailed information about the program, including eligibility requirements and access to the online application system, can be found at: DOE Office of Science website.

The SCGSR program supports supplemental awards to outstanding U.S. graduate students to conduct part of their graduate thesis research at a DOE national laboratory in collaboration with a DOE laboratory scientist for a period of 3 to 12 consecutive months—with the goal of preparing graduate students for scientific and technical careers critically important to the DOE Office of Science mission.

The SCGSR program is open to current Ph.D. students in qualified graduate programs at accredited U.S. academic institutions, who are conducting their graduate thesis research in targeted areas of importance to the DOE Office of Science. The research opportunity is expected to advance the graduate students’ overall doctoral thesis while providing access to the expertise, resources, and capabilities available at the DOE laboratories. The supplemental award provides for additional, incremental costs for living and travel expenses directly associated with conducting the SCGSR research project at the DOE host laboratory during the award period.

The Office of Science expects to make approximately 50 awards in 2015 Solicitation 2, for project periods beginning anytime between June 1, 2016 and September 30, 2016.

The 2014 program solicitation and the 2015 Solicitation 1 have resulted in awards to a total of 112 graduate students from more than 50 different universities to conduct thesis research at 15 DOE national laboratories.

The SCGSR program is sponsored and managed by the DOE Office of Science’s Office of Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists (WDTS), in collaboration with the six Office of Science research programs offices and the DOE national laboratories, and the Oak Ridge Institute of Science and Education (ORISE).

For any questions, please contact the SCGSR Program Manager, Dr. Ping Ge.

U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science


The NSF MRI Program is intended to assist with the acquisition or development of a single research instrument that is, in general, too costly and/or not appropriate for support through other NSF programs. An instrument acquired or developed with support from the MRI program is expected to be operational for regular research use by the end of the award period. The program does not fund research projects, including research that uses an instrument acquired or developed with support from the program. The program does not support the operation and maintenance of facilities or centers.  Proposals to the MRI Program, must be for either acquisition (Track 1) or development (Track 2), and must be for only a single, well-integrated instrument.

This is a call to COAS and COEN faculty/departments for Notices of Intent (NOIs) describing your idea/request for NSF MRI funding. The NOIs are due to your respective Deans’ Office by 5:00 PM Friday, October 16, 2015. Your NOI should be a maximum of three pages and briefly address each of the following evaluation criteria as outlined in past NSF MRI calls.

NSF MRI Evaluation Criteria

  • Intellectual merit
  • Broader impacts
  • Integration of research and education
  • The extent to which the proposed project will make a substantial improvement in the institution’s capabilities to conduct leading-edge research, to provide research experiences for undergraduate students using leading edge-facilities, and to broaden the participation in science and engineering research by women, underrepresented minorities and persons with disabilities.

Evaluation criteria specific to instrument acquisition proposals

  1. research & research training: plans and extent of shared usage
  2. management plan: sufficient infrastructure & technical expertise for effective usage
  3. reasonableness of request to NSF for operations & maintenance and organizational commitment to operations & maintenance

Evaluation criteria specific to instrument development proposals

  1. adequacy of the management plan (realistic, detailed, how does it handle potential risks)
  2. availability of appropriate technical expertise to design & construct the instrument
  3. appropriateness of cost, appropriateness of submission as a development proposal, & need for the new instrument in regards to existing instruments and the larger user community

Your NOI should also include a preliminary budget with a brief description of any space requirements or other university resources that may be associated with the proposed project. As always, the Office of Sponsored Programs staff is available to assist you.

The Deans and the VP DoRED will meet soon after to decide which requests will be invited to develop full proposals, due to NSF on January 13, 2016. All participating faculty will be notified of this decision after the meeting.

2014 RFP

Microsoft PhD Fellowship Program

The Microsoft Research PhD Fellowship is a two-year fellowship program for outstanding PhD students nominated by their universities. To be eligible for this fellowship, you must apply during your second or third year of PhD studies. Fellowships are granted by Microsoft Research at the discretion of Microsoft.

View more about the PhD Fellowship Program.


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