Stay informed on the latest happenings in PCEC!
Stay informed on the latest happenings in PCEC!
Grand Valley State University
Padnos College of Engineering & Computing Newsletter
Dr. Paul Plotkowski, Dean
Padnos College of Engineering
and Computing

Dean's Message:

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

I'm glad to say that another academic year in the Padnos College is off to an excellent start! With the return of our full student population to campus, there's a sense of excitement in the air, and we have many exciting updates to share with you as well.

Over the summer, the GVSU Innovation Design Center was named for Shape Corp. in celebration of their long-time support of our engineering programs. Shape Corp.'s investment in GVSU helps us to provide extraordinary experiential education opportunities for our students, ensuring they enter the workforce equipped with real-world experience. We are grateful for their ongoing commitment to the college and thankful for the support of all our sponsors.

Our students were busy over the summer, too, competing in Formula SAE competitions and other student organization activities, finishing up student projects, and completing internships and co-ops with our industry partners. I'm happy to be able to highlight a couple of these activities in this newsletter. 

If you have questions or comments, follow this link to Connect with the Dean.


GVSU names facilty for Shape Corp. to celebrate longtime commitment to Engineering Students

GVSU Names Innovation Design Center for Shape Corp.
Grand Valley celebrated Shape Corp.'s lead gift and its longstanding commitment to engineering students by naming its Innovation Design Center for the tier-one automotive supplier.

A recent gift from Shape Corp. will establish a significant endowment for the Padnos College of Engineering and Computing to promote innovation and meet the greatest needs for Grand Valley’s engineering students. This gift is the latest in Shape's decades of support for the university.

The naming ceremony for the Shape Corp. Innovation Design Center, 227 Winter Ave. NW, was held on August 9.

Grand Valley purchased the Winter Avenue building in 2017 to expand its engineering program. Paul Plotkowski, dean of the Padnos College of Engineering and Computing, said Shape Corp., headquartered in Grand Haven, has been one of the college's earliest industry partners, sponsoring senior projects and hosting students for co-op opportunities.

"Shape makes our approach to engineering education possible and unique because we are able to offer an impactful level of hands-on learning, project-based learning and experiential learning," Plotkowski said.

The naming event capped Grand Valley's Engineering Design Conference Week, which highlighted senior projects and celebrated industry partners. President Philomena V. Mantella said it was an honor to recognize Shape and the Verplank family for their support. Mantella said the unique partnership between Shape Corp. and GVSU engineering has set the standard for experiential learning.

"Industry partners like Shape truly set Grand Valley engineering and computing students up for success from day one," Mantella said. "Their support has helped the university build a unique learning journey for students who then take their confidence and skills to the workforce and fill the critical need for STEM-educated employees."

Shape Corp. executive chairs Tony and Kyle Verplank said their gift and longstanding commitment to the Padnos College of Engineering reinforces their belief in further developing the next generation of engineers to excel in technical innovation and applying that energy to solve complex problems in the global industry.

Tony Verplank said: "These students will be the next engineers who can thrive and support our West Michigan business community’s passion for innovation. This endowment represents the next chapter in a long history of collaboration between GVSU and Shape Corp.”
New Faculty 2022
New Padnos College of Engineering & Computing Faculty & Staff

PCEC Welcomes New Faculty and Staff

The Padnos College of Computing and Engineering is excited to announce the addition of several new faculty and staff members to our team!
  • Zachary DeBruine, Assistant Professor, School of Computing
  • Abishek Balsamy Kamaraj, Assistant Professor, School of Engineering
  • Sarah Kozminski, Academic Department Coodinator, Occupational Safety and Health Department
  • Alexander Lalejini, Assistant Professor, School of Computing
  • Anthony Langley, Affiliate Faculty, School of Computing
  • Catherine Molloseau, Affiliate Faculty, School of Computing
  • Hannah Rainey, Visiting Professor, School of Engineering
  • Holli Reyes, Visiting Professor, Professional Science Master's Program
  • Suhila Sawesi, Assistant Professor, School of Computing
  • Ben Siebert, Academic Advisor, Padnos College Student Services & Advising
  • Sara Sutton, Assistant Professor, School of Computing 
Please join us in giving them a warm welcome!
Grand Haven Musical Fountain in blue, pink, and red.
Agreement between GVSU and Savanna State University

Agreement between GVSU, Savanna State University provides pathways to Master's Degree for SSU Students 

Leaders from Grand Valley and Savannah State University signed an agreement August 30 that provides SSU students with expedited pathways to master's degrees in, eventually, five areas.

This marks the fourth agreement Grand Valley has signed with a Historically Black College or University (HBCU), bolstering its HBCU/Hispanic Serving Institution Consortium and aligning with the university's strategic goals of empowering learners and increasing access. Savannah State University is the oldest public HBCU in Georgia. Other pipeline members are Fort Valley State, Alabama State and Saint Augustine's universities.

The agreement makes it possible for SSU students to earn master's degrees, beginning in Fall 2023, from Grand Valley in engineering, cybersecurity, criminal justice, communications, and biomedical sciences.

President Philomena V. Mantella said the agreement capitalizes on SSU's strong foundation in STEM and social science education.

"We are thrilled to partner with Savannah State University and grow this consortium," Mantella said. "Innovative partnerships that drive supported outcomes for all students is core to Grand Valley’s mission. Thank you to the leaders who made this possible. We are continuing to reach higher to empower all learners in their pursuits."

SSU President Kimberly Ballard-Washington said the institution is proud to partner with GVSU on "this exciting alliance to further student success." 

“We are continually seeking opportunities that remove barriers and position our students for seamless transition into graduate school and for career readiness," Ballard-Washington said.

SSU students will receive in-state tuition rates, financial aid and many other GVSU resources to support their journey, including co-op and internship experiences at West Michigan employers. 
Grand Haven Musical Fountain
Grand Haven Musical Fountain

Senior Project for Engineering Students brings improvement to Grand Haven Musical Fountain ahead of Anniversary Show

Since late August, visitors to the Grand Haven Musical Fountain will enjoy a new synchronized display that includes two new water features created by engineering students as their senior project. 

It's part of the 60th anniversary celebration of the musical fountain, which some of the students had not visited until they started working on this project. Their connection was Terry Stevens, affiliate professor of engineering, who also serves as the City of Grand Haven's musical fountain engineer. 

Five senior engineering students have worked on this project since January, Stevens said, including researching other water fountain shows, designing new water features and presenting their proposal to the anniversary committee.

Taylor Davis, who earned a bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary engineering, said the group created "dove" water features that can rotate or remain stationary. The doves complement the current formations of the helix and the wave, which were created in 2017 by another group of engineering students.
Musical Fontain in blue, pink, and green Engineering students work on the musical fountain.
Student bring Formula One Car to Michigan
Members of the Laker Racing Team at the Michigan International Speedway. From left to right are Billy Mullins, Gabe Ptaszek, Joseph Long, and Kyle Lentine (in the car)

Students bring Formula One Car to Michigan International Speedway

Pictured are members of the Laker Racing Team at the Michigan International Speedway. From left to right are Billy Mullins, Gabe Ptaszek, Joseph Long, and Kyle Lentine (in the car). Photo Credit: courtesy of Annika Mattson

For the first time since 2019, Grand Valley students designed a race car and competed against 48 other collegiate teams at the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn.

Nicholas Baine, associate professor of engineering, said the four-day competition in mid-June proved a mixed bag for the Laker Racing Formula SAE team. The throttle body failed inspection, Baine said, so the team was not able to participate in the track events like acceleration, skid pad, and autocross.
"We did well in the cost and business presentations, which are part of the static events," he said. "We are looking forward to redesigning that body part and competing again next year."

View the full story.

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