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Terry Fuller Petroleum Engineering Research Building
Terry Fuller addresses attendees
at the Ribbon Cutting of the new
Terry Fuller Petroleum Engineering Research Building

Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting for the
Terry Fuller Petroleum Engineering Research Building

On February 27, the Bob L. Herd Department of Petroleum Engineering celebrated the completion of its new $22.8 million research facility with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, merging technological advancement with the excitement of future generations.

Funded entirely by industry and private contributions, the Terry Fuller Petroleum Engineering Research Building is named in recognition of lead benefactors and Texas Tech University graduates, Terry and Linda Fuller of Frisco, Texas, following a long-standing practice of honoring donors who contribute more than half the construction costs of a new building.

The building features the following laboratories, teaching, and research areas:

Additional administrative areas and spaces:

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FRC Team 1817 – Llano Estacado RoboRaiders
FRC Team 1817, the Llano Estacado RoboRaiders,
at the FRC Hub City Regional

Team 1817 Wins Hub City Regional Robotics Competition

FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC) Team 1817, the Llano Estacado RoboRaiders, were the winners at the FRC Hub City Regional, held March 6-8, 2014 in Lubbock, Texas. The team was the number one seeded team among 42 teams from Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Michigan, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Washington D.C., and three teams from China.

The RoboRaiders include students from 10 Lubbock-area high schools and middle schools, graduate and undergraduate Texas Tech students who act as mentors to these students, as well as parents, sponsors, and professional advisors. Each spring, teams are given six weeks to design, fabricate, and program a 120-pound robot that can perform all the tasks of the annual game. This year’s game is called “Aerial Assist.”

Team 1817 also received the Industrial Design Award sponsored by General Motors and the Industrial Safety Award sponsored by Underwriters Laboratories. The team is now qualified to compete at the national competition in St. Louis, Missouri on April 24-26, 2014. In addition, team leader George Tan, a senior electrical engineering student, was recognized as outstanding mentor with the Woody Flowers Finalist Award. This award recognizes an individual who has done an outstanding job of motivation through communication while also challenging the students to be clear and succinct in recognizing the value of communication.

FIRST® is an international robotics program that strives to promote STEM awareness among young students and the community. It offers robotics programs for different age groups of students such as the Junior FIRST® Lego League (K-3rd grades), the FIRST® Lego League (4th -8th grades), the FIRST® Tech Challenge (7th -12th grades), and the FIRST® Robotics Competition (9th -12th grades).

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Team Miller at the 2014 GEAR Kickoff Event
Team Miller at the 2014 GEAR Kickoff Event

Engineers Week:
Get Excited About Robotics (GEAR) Kickoff Event

On February 15, more than 630 elementary and middle school students and their teachers visited the Whitacre College of Engineering and the Texas Tech campus for the annual Get Excited About Robotics (GEAR) Kickoff Event, the initiation of the yearly GEAR LEGO robotics competition.

In this year's competition scenario, teams design robots that are hypothetically helping with the creation of a permanent human settlement on the moon. In addition, these robots are loading the cargo space ship with geological core samples and an Apollo 11 artifact to be transported back to Earth. During the event, participants learned about the game rules and received their game pieces, but also heard about NASA’s Mars rovers, Dean Al Sacco Jr.'s first-hand experience as an astronaut, and explored meteorites in a meteorite petting zoo. Participants spend eight weeks designing LEGO robots before returning to campus on April 12 for the competition, known as GEAR Game Day. Teams from the Lubbock area are mentored by first year engineering students participating in a service learning project in their Introduction to Engineering course.

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Competition action at the 2014 Panhandle-Plains Regional Championship Tournamen
Competition action at the 2014 Panhandle-Plains Regional Championship Tournament

Engineers Week:
FTC Panhandle-Plains Championship

On February 15, representatives from the Whitacre College of Engineering hosted teams of 9th-12th graders from across the western third of Texas to participate in the FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC) Panhandle-Plains Regional Championship Tournament for an opportunity to win statewide recognition for design excellence, sportsmanship, and teamwork. Winning teams advanced to the South Super-Regional Championship Tournament in San Antonio. More than 150 high school students participated in the Lubbock event.

FTC is a challenging mid-level robotics competition designed for high school students who want a hands-on learning experience to develop and hone their skills and abilities in science, technology, engineering, and math.

Teams of up to 10 students are responsible for designing, building, and programming their robots to compete in an alliance format against other teams. The robot kit is reusable from year-to-year and is programmed using a variety of languages. Teams, including coaches, mentors and volunteers, are required to develop strategy and build robots based on sound engineering principles.

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2014 Appathon Participants
2014 Appathon Participants

Engineers Week:
2014 Texas Tech Appathon

On February 21-22, the College of Media and Communication and the Whitacre College of Engineering partnered together to host the 2014 Texas Tech Appathon: Study Abroad, an app building competition for Texas Tech students. The event was sponsored by Laredo Petroleum, Inc. and TimeForge.

The 2014 Texas Tech Appathon was a 24-hour competition for programmers to collaborate in teams to build a new mobile application to solve an existing problem. Entrepreneurs, designers, students, and developers worked in teams to create web or mobile applications called apps. Each year, the Texas Tech Appathon committee meets and selects a topic, theme, or existing issue that teams will have to work towards solving in the form of an app. After 24-hours of intense coding, each team presents their app to the judges.  

The 2014 winning teams in order were:

  1. ΔX (Delta Unknown): Carlos Alban, Sami Suteria, Christopher Phelan, and Rachit Kumar
  2. Glow Station: Raphael Akinsipe, Paul Doran, Brandon Morris, Adam Henderson
  3. Bear Force One: Ethan Daniel, Cole Newton, Alex Combs
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Attendees at the 2014 Pink Engineering Dinner
Attendees at the 2014 Pink Engineering Dinner

Engineers Week:
Pink Engineering Dinner

On February 20, the Texas Tech chapter of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) hosted its annual Pink Engineering Dinner, welcoming approximately 80 female engineering students.

Female faculty and staff members from the Whitacre College of Engineering came together to celebrate the students' accomplishments. Allowing students the opportunity to interact with faculty and staff members outside the classroom environment, the event featured alumna Rebecca Heinen, a 2013 Bachelor of Science in industrial engineering graduate and former SWE president, as the guest speaker.

Estacado physics teacher Gregory Burnham and his son Kenyan Burnham, an electrical engineering major.
Estacado High School physics teacher Gregory Burnham
and his son Kenyan Burnham,
an electrical engineering student

T-STEM Center and Texas Tech Engineering Faculty Team Up at 7th Annual Texas STEM Conference

Whitacre College of Engineering faculty members, students, and staff members played a key role in the success of the recent 7th Annual Texas STEM Conference, held in Dallas in February 2014. The conference was hosted by the Texas STEM Coalition and included many presentations showcasing the unique, proactive, and prolific engagement by Texas Tech engineering faculty and staff in K-14 outreach.

Dr. Tanja Karp, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, and Dr. Richard Gale, a professor of electrical and computer engineering, along with Courtney Pinnell, a graduate electrical engineering student, Kenyan Burnham, an undergraduate electrical engineering student, and Gregory Burnham, an Estacado High School physics teacher, presented a session titled "K-12 Robotics—Opportunities for Collaboration with Engineering Colleges." Gale and Karp also provided a preconference short-course titled "Learning STEM Concepts through LEGO Robotics."

More than 750 attended the conference, including K-12 teachers and administrators, stakeholders in the Texas STEM Centers Coalition, as well as practitioners from government, education, and private sector. "The T-STEM Conference provided a great opportunity to share our experiences in K-12 STEM outreach and community engagement and its benefits to engineering students at Texas Tech and to build new partnerships," Karp said.

Texas Tech T-STEM Center staff made five presentations at the conference, including:

Cathy H. Allen “Social and Learning Challenges: Low SES Students”
Dr. John Chandler and De’Lila Holder “Video PBL Entry Documents: Lights, Camera, Fun!”
Dr. John Chandler and De’Lila Holder "Practical Rocketry: Tailoring a Program to Fit Your Budget and Your Students”
Dr. Dean Fontenot “Using Creativity and Innovation to Teach Communication in STEM”
De’Lila Holder, Dr. Beccy Hambright, and Debra Nash “’Once Upon a Time’—Integrating Literature, STEM, & PBL Instruction”

The T-STEM initiative, funded by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and managed by Educate Texas, comprises the Texas Tech T-STEM Center and six others across the state, charged with providing research-driven professional development, curriculum, and other resources to support a network of 77 specialized STEM Designate Schools and STEM Early College High Schools in Texas. The Texas Tech T-STEM Center supports the largest geographic service area, serving schools ranging from Kelton on the Oklahoma border to Presidio, which is located on the Mexican border in the Big Bend area of the Rio Grande in the southern tip of the state.

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Faculty News

Lin Named Paul Whitfield Horn Professor

Dr. Jingyu Lin has been named a Paul Whitfield Horn Professor. This is the highest honor given to faculty members at Texas Tech. Lin is one of six Horn Professors in the Whitacre College of Engineering:

  • Dr. Hongxing Jiang
  • Dr. Jingyu Lin
  • Dr. Gregory B. McKenna
  • Dr. Kishor C. Mehta
  • Dr. Sunanda Mitra
  • Dr. Sindee L. Simon
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Lawson Receives President's Excellence in Teaching Award

Dr. William D. Lawson, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, is one of the 2014 recipients of the Texas Tech University President's Excellence in Teaching Award.

The award is given to faculty members that demonstrate excellence in teaching, as observed by students, peers, and university administration.

Alumni News

Priestley Receives Sloan Research Fellowship

Rodney D. Priestley, a 2003 Texas Tech graduate with a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering and an assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering at Princeton University, is the recipient of a 2014 Sloan Research Fellowship from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. He conducts research on the physics of polymeric materials and the development of novel polymeric systems as responsive and self healing materials and membranes.

Awarded annually since 1955, the fellowships are given to early - career scientists and scholars whose achievements and potential identify them as rising stars, the next generation of scientific leaders. Since the beginning of the program in 1955, 42 fellows have received a Nobel Prize in their respective field, 16 have won the Fields Medal in mathematics, 13 have won the John Bates Clark Medal in economics, and 63 have received the National Medal of Science.

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Eburi Named Young Engineer of the Year by SPE

Simeon Eburi, a 2006 and 2007 graduate with a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in petroleum engineering, receptively, has been named the 2014 Young Engineer of the Year for the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Gulf Coast Section as their as part of the Houston Engineers Week Celebration.

He is a petroleum engineer with Chevron Corp. and works in Chevron's Energy Technology Co. (ETC) in the shale unit as a reservoir and simulation engineer and provides support and expertise to Chevron's unconventional and shale assets worldwide.

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Grants and Contracts

February 17 – March 10, 2014

Investigator(s) Agency Title Amount
Chemical Engineering
Dr. Harvinder S. Gill Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of TX CPRIT: Minimally-invasive Intratumoral Drug Delivery using Microneedles to Treat Oral Squamous Carcinomas $199,910
Civil and Environmental Engineering
Dr. Moon-Cheol Won TXDOT/TX A&M Univ Interagency Cooperative Contract 46-3PVIA040 NTP FY14-07 $9,500
Computer Science
Dr. Akbar Siami Namin and
Dr. Yuanlin Zhang
National Science Foundation REU Site: Declarative Approaches to Knowledge Intensive Applications $359,837
Dr. Yong Chen National Science Foundation Travel Support for The 14th IEEE/ACM International Symposium on Cluster, Cloud and Grid Computing $10,000
Center for Multidisciplinary Research in Transportation
Dr. Alon Kvashny,
Dr. Hongchao Liu,*
Dr. Cynthia B. McKenney,
Dr. Sanjaya P. Senadheera, and
Dr. Moon-Cheol Won
TX Dept of Transportation Technical Assistance to Texas Department of Transportation $83,064
Center for Pulsed Power and Power Electronics
Dr. James C. Dickens,
Dr. John J. Mankowski, and
Dr. Andreas A. Neuber *
U.S. Air Force/Univ of Maryland Collaborative Research on Novel High Power Sources for Physics of Ionospheric Modification $125,000
Dr. Andreas A. Neuber Ntl Physical Science Consortium NPSC Fellowships for Jacob Stephens and Andrew Fierro $12,500
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Dr. Stephen B. Bayne Alstom Power Inc. (NWI) Alstom - Grid Integration Phase 3 $118,370
Dr. Ranadip Pal National Science Foundation CAREER: Robustness in Genetic Regulatory Network Modeling and Control $87,764
Mechanical Engineering
Dr. Hanna Moussa NASA/Univ of Tennessee Develop Lookup Tables of Parameterizations of Particle Fluenced using FLUKA Monte Carlo Transport Code $60,000
Dr. Jharna Chaudhuri and
Dr. Yanzhang Ma *
Army Research Office/CalTech New Pathways towards Metastable Extended Solids through Moderate Pressure and Large Plastic Shear: Multiscale Simulation and Experiments $100,000
Nano Tech Center
Dr. Luis E. Grave de Peralta National Science Foundation CAREER: Plasmon Tomography $79,105

* Primary Investigator


See a full listing of the college's events on the Engineering Master Calendar.

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