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Chemical Engineering Student Receives $225,000 NSF STTR Grant

Jeevan Maddala, a Texas Tech student graduating with a Doctor of Philosophy in chemical engineering in August, was recently awarded a $225,000 National Science Foundation Small Business Technology Transfer (NSF STTR) grant to help commercialize his doctoral work. The project, titled "Development of a Computational Tool for Modeling, Simulation, and Design of Next Generation Discrete Droplet Microfluidic Systems," is a collaboration with Dr. Raghunathan Rengasamy, a professor of chemical engineering.

Maddala came to Texas Tech in the fall of 2009 with the hopes of developing new technology and commercializing it through a startup company. Working with Rengasamy and Dr. Siva Vanapalli, an assistant professor of chemical engineering, he developed an interest in microfluidic devices. Building on his experiences in his research, Maddala had an idea to create software that would allow him to design microfluidic devices on the computer. In this way, he could fine-tune the properties and functionality of a device easily, addressing the specifications of a scientist or a particular need virtually. By building the devices on the computer, he could develop very complex and large devices and then manufacture them with a tool like a three-dimensional printer. Maddala's software idea would help in the research and development of microfluidic devices for industry and research institutes, bridging the gap between the end product and the design process.

The NSF grant will allow him to focus for the next year on the development and demonstration of a software system. His system will allow a user to specify parameters on the virtual microfluidic device and prepare a device for fabrication. If successful, Maddala will move forward with further enhancements to the software system and the development of prototypes. He hopes to eventually build a fully automated system that will design and physically construct highly complex droplet-based microfluidic platforms, starting from just a design concept of a user.

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Fulbright Visiting Scholar Mamkagh Conducts Research at Texas Tech

Dr. Amer Mamkagh, a professor in the Department of Plant Production in the Faculty of Agriculture at Mu'tah University in Karak, Jordan, came to Texas Tech in February 2013 for nine months as a part of the Fulbright Visiting Scholar Program to work on improving a solution that will address the scarcity of fresh water with the benefits of abundant solar energy.

In his native Jordan, he teaches and conducts research on agricultural equipment and mechanization, farm operations, the application of solar energy in farming, water desalination, and food engineering.

The device he hopes to improve, a solar still, uses solar energy to create fresh water without the need for external power sources. The goal is to produce a device that can be sold for less than $400, a large investment for a small farming family, but one that could provide essential water in a simple device.

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Front (L-R): Jana Winter, Astronaut Joseph Michael Acaba, Dr. A. Dean Fontenot, and Dr. Juan Muñoz.
Back (L-R): Debbie Nash, Dr. John Chandler,
and Cathy H. Allen.

Astronaut Acaba Visits T-STEM Center

Joseph Michael Acaba, a NASA astronaut and distance learning student in the College of Education at Texas Tech, recently visited the Texas Tech T-STEM center to learn more about the programs and services that the center offers to students and teachers.

Acaba was on the STS-119 Discovery in March 2009, which was the 125th shuttle flight. In May 2012, Acaba embarked on Expedition 31/32 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, which lasted until September 2012. During the course of this visit to the International Space Station, he participated in numerous scientific research experiments and performed regular maintenance and operational tasks aboard the orbiting complex.

The Texas Tech T-STEM Center aims to research, create, and disseminate information on the best practices for innovative teaching and learning using the FRAME Engineering Design process as a framework.

Through exemplary teacher professional development trainings, the T-STEM Center helps educators engage K-12 students in rigorous inquiry and project-based learning that emphasizes high level application of mathematics, science, and technology as well as developing problem solving, critical thinking, teamwork, communication, and other skills needed to succeed in higher education and the workforce.


Student News


Khare Wins First Place in ACS-POLY Poster Competition

Ketan Khare, a doctoral student in the Department of Chemical Engineering, won first place in the poster competition at the Polymer Composites and High Performance Materials Workshop in July 2013 in Santa Rosa, California. The American Chemical Society (ACS) Division of Polymer Chemistry organized the workshop. Ketan Khare's poster was titled "Effect of the chemical functionalization of carbon nanotubes on the thermo-mechanical properties of cross-linked epoxy-carbon nanotube nanocomposites." Dr. Rajesh Khare, an associate professor of chemical engineering, advises Ketan Khare.

Ketan Khare also co-presented a session at the conference with Dr. Rajesh Khare titled "Importance of Matrix–Filler Interactions in Cross-linked Epoxy-Carbon Nanotube Composites: A Molecular Simulation Investigation."

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Alleman Named Student of Integrated Scholarship

The Office of the Provost has named environmental engineering student Andrew Alleman a "Student of Integrated Scholarship." These students are recognized for thriving as they follow a path of lifelong learning through self-study and scholarly engagement both within and external to the environs of Texas Tech University.

Originally from Lafayette, Louisiana, Alleman has been exploring the interconnections between the environment and engineering—cultivating research experience in the laboratories of Texas Tech civil and environmental engineering associate professor Dr. Audra Morse, and soil and environmental microbiology assistant professor Dr. Jennifer Moore-Kucera.


Estermann Recognized as Top Female Student at Hochschule Landshut

Nadine Estermann, a master of science in electrical engineering student, has been recognized as the top female student at her undergraduate institution, the University of Applied Science of Landshut (Hochschule Landshut) in Germany.

Estermann received the Mathematics, Informatics, Natural Sciences and Engineering (MINT) Award, which is given to the best female bachelor's degree-level graduate in a technical degree program at the university. She was recognized for her thesis and received € 750.

Faculty News


Sari-Sarraf Receives Fulbright U.S. Scholar Grant

Dr. Hamed Sari-Sarraf, a professor of electrical and computer engineering, is the recipient of a 2013-2014 Fulbright U.S. Scholar Grant. He will conduct research and teach on applied computer vision at Baku State University in Baku, Azerbaijan.

The Council for International Exchange of Scholars, a division of the Institute of International Education, administers the Fulbright Scholar Program. The Council for International Exchange of Scholars (CIES), under a cooperative agreement with the United States Department of State, administers the Fulbright Scholar Program for faculty and professionals. Each year, the core Fulbright Scholar Program sends some 800 U.S. faculty and professionals to 155 countries to lecture, research, or participate in seminars. At the same time, approximately 800 foreign faculty come to the U.S. each year.

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Alumni News


Russo Honored with Bronze de Fleury Medal

Ray Russo, a 1980 Texas Tech graduate with a bachelor of science in civil engineering and acting director of Regional Business for the Southwestern Division of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, was recently honored with the presentation of the bronze de Fleury Medal for his superior service to the Army Engineer Regiment and numerous contributions to both the civil works and military programs missions of the Southwestern Division.

The de Fleury Medal is an Engineer Regimental Award presented by the Army Engineer Association to recognize those who make outstanding contributions to Army engineering.

During the most recent period of his Army Corps of Engineers career, while serving as the chief of Civil Works Integration Division, Russo managed the preparation of over 400 civil works projects, including flood risk reduction, navigation, hydropower, water supply contracts and numerous congressional engagements.

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Grants and Contracts

June 14, 2013 – July 21, 2013

Center for the Science and Engineering of Cyber Security
Dr. Rattikorn Hewett U.S. Dept of Energy Technology Solution for Wind Integration (DOE/CCET) $115,202
Chemical Engineering
Dr. Gregory B. McKenna American Chemical Society Fingerprinting Non-Linear Response of Star-Branched and Dendritic Polymers: LAOS, Lissajous and Harmonics $100,000
Dr. Brandon L. Weeks U.S. Dept of Homeland Security/Northeastern Univ REU: SUPPLEMENT: ALERT: Awareness and Localization of Explosives-Related Threats $4,498
Dr. Micah J. Green Air Force Office of Scientific Research YIP: Interfacial Engineering for Low-density Graphene Nanocomposites and Fluids $76,893
Civil and Environmental Engineering
Dr. Andrew H. Swift U.S. Dept of Energy (NWI) Collaborative Industry-Academic Synchrophasor Engineering Program $65,983.83
Dr. Stephen M. Morse
Dr. Douglas A. Smith
National Science Foundation NWI: Collection of Perishable Data on Storm Shelters, Wind Speed Indicators, and Glazing $12,296.80
Construction Engineering and Engineering Technology
Dr. Tewodros Ghebrab
Dr. Daan Liang
National Science Foundation NWI: Collection of Perishable Data on Storm Shelters, Wind Speed Indicators, and Glazing $12,296.80
Center for Multidisciplinary Research in Transportation
Dr. Sanjaya P. Senadheera TX Dept of Transportation 0-1755 Research Technical Assistance Panels $10,000
Center for Pulsed Power and Power Electronics
Dr. James C. Dickens *
Shad L. Holt
Dr. John J. Mankowski
Dr. Andreas A. Neuber
Office of Naval Research Enabling Technology for Compact Directed Energy Systems Addressing Asymmetric Explosive Threats $400,778
Dr. Stephen B. Bayne
Dr. Michael G. Giesselmann
U.S. Army Research Office Semiconductor Evaluation for EM Gun Applications $112,528
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Dr. Stephen B. Bayne
Dr. Michael G. Giesselmann
U.S. Dept of Energy (NWI) Collaborative Industry-Academic Synchrophasor Engineering Program $133,967.17
Industrial Engineering
Dr. Shiren Wang National Science Foundation REU Supplement: Scalable Synthesis and Assembly of Novel Ordered Hybrid Nanostructures $10,000
Mechanical Engineering
Dr. Alexander V. Idesman Air Force Office of Scientific Research A New Fast, Accurate and Non-oscillatory Numerical Approach for Wave Propagation Problems in Solids: Application to High-frequency Pulse Propagation in the Hopkinson Pressure Bar $96,112
Dr. Golden Kumar National Science Foundation Functionalization of Metals by Hierarchical Surface Patterning $231,311
Dr. Gordon F. Christopher American Chemical Society Role of Elastic Instabilities around Confined Cylinders on Excess Pressure Drop and Oil Displacement $100,000
T-STEM Center
Cathy H. Allen
Dr. John R. Chandler
Dr. Andrea D. Fontenot *
TX Education Agency Texas Tech T-STEM Center 2013-2014 Cycle 2 Continuation Grant $652,191
Water Resources Center
Dr. William A. Jackson
Dr. Kenneth A. Rainwater
U.S. Air Force/AFMC Cooperative Agreement FA8650-10-2-6049; Request for Add Work Proposal $30,739.20
Whitacre College of Engineering Dean's Office
Dr. John R. Chandler
Dr. Andrea D. Fontenot *
Dr. William M. Marcy
TX Education Agency GRI: Texas Tech University T-STEM Center $650

* Primary Investigator


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