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COEN Online News 11/8/16

COEN Online News 11/8/16

Research Could Open New Wave Bands for Wireless Communication | Upgrading an Element by Stretching It | HERC Fellowship Recipients Announced | Two Materials Science Doctoral Students Receive Fellowships | Engineering in Action | COEN News |

Research Could Open New Wave Bands for Wireless Communications

By: Kathleen Tuck

image of Hani Mehrpouyan in lab

Boise State University electrical engineer Hani Mehrpouyan is principal investigator on an effort to open up new swaths of underutilized wave bands for wireless communication. The project is funded by a three-year, $1.25 million grant from the National Science Foundation, which recently announced several awards totaling $12 million to address challenges to public access to the radio spectrum.

Wireless communication systems are in increasingly high demand among industry, government and the public to support the smart grid electrical infrastructure, homeland security, military applications, environmental monitoring, and medical and transportation advances. Making better use of the under-utilized spectrum in the 30-300 GHz wave band (also called the mm-wave band), could allow providers to offer less costly service, and also lead to transformative cellular access and coverage improvements for current customers and the underserved. This project also addresses a number of stubborn technical obstacles limiting mm-wave band use.

View the full “Research Could Open New Wave Bands for Wireless Communications” article.

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Upgrading an Element by Stretching It

By: Kathleen Tuck

image of Quantum dots (orange) form via self-assembly and nucleate randomly on the atomic steps of the semiconductor surface (blue).

Quantum dots (orange) form via self-assembly and nucleate randomly on the atomic steps of the semiconductor surface (blue).

Next to silicon, germanium (Ge) is the most widely used semiconductor material in the world. But while it’s great at conducting electricity, its inefficiency at turning light into electricity (or electricity into light) restricts the other applications for which it can be used.

Paul Simmonds, an assistant professor with a dual appointment to the departments of physics, and materials science and engineering, wondered if there was a way to fine-tune germanium’s physical properties, and thus improve its optoelectronic characteristics (how well it interfaces between electronics and light).

The Air Force Office of Scientific Research also was intrigued and funded a proposal titled “Optoelectronic Properties of Strain-Engineered Germanium Dots” with a three-year, $622,000 grant. Simmonds is working on the project through a sub-award administered through the University of California, Merced, and the University of California, Los Angeles. Boise State’s share of the award is $206,000.

View the full “Upgrading an Element by Stretching It” article.

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HERC Fellowship Recipients Announced

By: Kathleen Tuck

Image of test tubesThe Institute for STEM and Diversity Initiatives recently awarded six undergraduate fellowships funded by the Higher Education Research Council (HERC). Selected students will work with a faculty researcher on an eight-week research project.

The goal of the HERC Fellowship is to provide students who have not previously engaged in undergraduate research with an opportunity to stretch their knowledge and skills in their chosen science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) discipline. There were 174 student applicants and 48 faculty applicants.

Vew the full “HERC Fellowship Recipients Announced” article.

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Two Materials Science Doctoral Students Receive Fellowships

By: Kathleen Tuck

Two doctoral students enrolled in Boise State University’s Ph.D. in materials science program have received experiential learning fellowships.

Steve Letourneau was awarded the Department of Energy Science Graduate Student Research (SCGSR) award and Robin McCown was selected to receive the Chateaubriand Fellowship from the Office of Science Technology at the Embassy of France in the United States.

“The Micron School of Materials Science and Engineering is thrilled to support Steven and Robin as they pursue these exciting opportunities,” said Jessica Economy, academic programs manager for the school. “External research experiences are one of the many ways that students in our programs can diversify their research experience and network as we strive to create a learning environment that helps prepare each student to achieve his or her goals, both now and in the future.”

View the full “Two Materials Science Doctoral Students Receive Fellowships” article.

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Engineering in Action

Image of Lisa GiacumoLisa A. Giacumo, assistant professor, Department of Organizational Performance and Workplace Learning, and Tutaleni I. I. Asino, educational technology assistant professor at Oklahoma State University, recently presented their research and emerging evidence during a session titled “Instructional Designers, Culture, and ID Practices in International Non Governmental Organisations,” at the Association for Educational Communications Technology (AECT) annual international conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, Oct. 17-21, 2016. Read more here

Image of Jerry FailsJerry Alan Fails has been awarded the first IEEE VAST (Visual Analytics Science and Technology) Conference Test of Time Award for a 2006 article “A Visual Interface for Multivariate Temporal Data: Finding Patterns of Events across Multiple Histories.” This award goes to a paper from the IEEE VAST conference 10 years prior that has had a significant impact in terms of citations, influence, uptake and overall effect on the visual analytics community. fails-awardThis paper presented PatternFinder, an integrated interface for visual query and result-set visualization enabling the search and discovery of temporal patterns within multivariate and categorical data sets. PatternFinder’s query capabilities coupled with its visualizations enabled users to effectively query, explore and analyze event patterns both within and across data entities (such as patient histories, terrorist groups, web logs, etc.). The paper has been highly cited in the field and has inspired further explorations into enabling the search of patterns in data through visual queries and result-set visualizations.

This award was presented at the opening of the 2016 IEEE VAST Conference in Baltimore, Maryland, on Oct. 25.

image of OPWL student Valerie Gardin with OPWL faculty member Quincy Conley at the 2016 AECT conference.Quincy Conley, Assistant Professor, Department of Organizational Performance and Workplace Learning, and OPWL student Valerie Gardin presented “Avoid Getting RED in the Face: Rapid E-Learning Development Tools for Novice E-Learning Developers” at the 2016 Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) Conference held in Las Vegas, Nevada. The conference runs through Oct. 21.




image of Krishna Pakala and Vince Applegate Krishna Pakala, clinical assistant professor of mechanical and biomedical engineering and faculty in residence for the Engineering and Innovation Living and Learning Community, and Vince Applegate, assistant director for residential education, presented at the ACUHO-I Living-Learning Programs (LLP) Conference held Oct. 17-19 in Scottsdale, Arizona. 

Their presentation was titled “The Importance of Intentional Design in Creating a Paired LLP Course.” Paired course components often are identified as a measure of success among living learning programs. This session provided strategies for intentionally designing a course that meets the needs of the college, students and living-learning programs. Pakala shared insights into the course design process and Applegate provided perspectives from the point of view of a residence life administrator.

The ACUHO-I Living-Learning Programs Conference focuses on creating and fostering the student affairs-academic affairs partnership, and transforming residential environments to engage the students who live and learn in campus communities. The conference provided participants with strategies to best engage students and faculty to create the best possible environments for success.

Image of Don Winiecki

OPWL master of science students Joel Bertrand, Trevor Sparrow and Sujatha Jagdeep and faculty member Donald Winiecki had their article “Improving and Maintaining Torque Accuracy in Aerospace Manufacturing: A Case Study” published in the October 2016 issue of the Performance Improvement Journal (PIJ). Bertrand will graduate from the OPWL MS degree program in May 2017; Sparrow graduated in May 2015; and Jagdeep will graduate in December 2016.

This article is the published culmination of a project conducted in OPWL 529, Needs Assessment. PIJ is the premier practitioner-oriented journal in the field of Organizational Performance Improvement and Workplace Learning.

Image of Lisa GiacumoLisa A. Giacumo, assistant professor, Department of Organizational Performance and Workplace Learning, was invited to attend the LINGOs Global Learning Forum where leaders from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) across the world meet to drive change and develop strategy to carry their organizations forward in the area of workplace learning and organizational development. There, she was invited to present her most recent work focused on how NGOs can leverage big data for organizational development. Her presentation was titled “Big data, analytics and strategy to promote learning in NGOs.”

For more information, please see

Image of Steve Villachica, OPWL, Image of Lisa GiacumoSteven W. Villachica and Lisa A. Giacumo, Department of Organizational Performance and Workplace Learning, presented “Big Data meets performance improvement: Separating promise from hype” at the 2017 annual conference of the International Society of Performance Improvement: Europe – Middle East – Africa (ISPI-EMEA). The presentation focused on how organizations can leverage big data to meet strategic business objectives through systemic improvement.  The conference was held in Bonn, Germany, Sept. 22-24.

Image of JairoJairo Hernandez, Assistant Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, presented research on canal structure operation optimization in the Asia-Pacific Chemical Biological and Environmental Engineering Conference in Toronto, Canada. He was awarded a certificate for the best presentation in session No. 4, where eight papers were presented. He presented work on the application of an artificial intelligence program to optimize the operation of hydraulic canal structures in the Deer Flat Low Line canal located in the Treasure Valley.

Image of Lisa GiacumoLisa A. Giacumoassistant professor, Department of Organizational Performance and Workplace Learning, lead a team of performance improvement specialists through a live simulation to support the organizational development of Never Again Rwanda (NAR) sponsored by USAID at the International Society of Performance Improvement: Europe, the Middle East, Africa (ISPI EMEA) in Bonn, Germany. Never Again Rwanda is a peace building and social justice organization that arose in response to the 1994 genocide perpetrated against Tutsis. Guided by a vision of a nation where citizens are agents of positive change and work together toward sustainable peace and development, NAR aims to empower Rwandans with opportunities to become active citizens through peace building and development. NAR places a particular emphasis on the youth as the future of a peaceful society. NAR is one of the leading national peace-building organizations with nearly 13 years of experience building a cornerstone for peace.
 For more information about the simulation, go to

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Micron School of Materials Science and Engineering

Several Micron School of Materials Science and Engineering faculty and students presented their research at the Materials Science and Technology Conference held Oct. 23-27 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Read more about the conference

Organizational Performance and Workplace Learning

Boise State University’s Organizational Performance and Workplace Learning (OPWL) graduate program received high praise in a shout-out from Indiana University professor emeritus James Pershing. Pershing, editor of Performance Improvement Journal (PIJ), wrote about the role universities play in preparing performance technologists and in advancing the field of human performance technology (HPT).

The example at hand is Boise State University’s program in Organizational Performance and Workplace Learning and its integration of field-based projects in its coursework. In so doing, the Boise State program addresses three important outcomes. First, the program is providing its students with authentic experiences in applying HPT principles and practices. Second, by having students convert their findings to a written and publishable case presentation, the program is requiring them to think clearly and analytically, a prerequisite to clear writing about HPT principles and practices. Third, the program is instilling in its students a standard of professionalism, advancing a field of study by having its members through publication share with their colleagues their experiences, knowledge and skills.

Read more about OPWL’s graduate program

Upcoming Events

  • November 7MBE Faculty Candidate Presentation, 1:30-2:30 pm, ENGR 110
    Dr. Kenan Song – Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Motion Control, Planning and Manipulation of Nanowires under Electric-Fields in Fluid Suspension
  • November 7CE Seminar, 6-7 pm, ENGR 103
    Timothy R. Morgan – deputy director of the Ada County Highway District,
    The Operations Side of Engineering
  • November 9– ECE Seminar, 10:30am – 11:30am, MEC 106
    Dr. Hugh Barnaby – Arizona State
    Programmable Metallization Cells: Technology and Applications
  • November 11MSMSE Seminar, 10:30-11:20 am, ENGR 110
    Dr. Adam Colson – Boise State University
    Molecular Design Strategies in the Development of Advanced Solid State Materials and Performance Polymers
  • November 11MBE Seminar, 12:00-1:00 pm, MEC 106
  • November 11 – CS Seminar, 12:00pm – 1:15pm, City Center Plaza (CCP) 221
    Student Presentations

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