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,

We've had an exciting start to the fall semester here in the Padnos College. Students are back on campus and they brought with them all of the energy and enthusiasm for learning that we missed so deeply during the past year of remote learning.

As you will read below, our faculty, staff, students, and alumni continue to make a positive impact through their work. Our external partnerships continue to grow, and this month we celebrated the signing of a new articulation agreement with Saint Augustine's University, the second school to join the new GVSU Historically Black College / University (HBCU) / Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) Pipeline Consortium.

As always, I enjoy hearing from you. If you have questions or comments, follow this link to Connect with the Dean.


PCEC Students: Join us for Donuts with the Dean in October!

This October, the PCEC Dean's Office, PCEC Undergraduate Advising, School of Engineering, School of Computing, Occupational Safety & Health Department, and Professional Science Master's Programs are teaming up to host four Donuts with the Dean events for PCEC Students.
Stop in to grab a FREE donut and cider! While you're there say hello to Dean Plotkowski and other PCEC faculty and staff.
We're looking forward to seeing you!
Confluence Festival attendees make infinity cubes
Confluence Festival attendees make inifinity cubes

PCEC Invites Community Members to Engage in STEM Activities During Confluence Festival

Last weekend, the Padnos College of Engineering and Computing participated in the inaugural Confluence Festival in downtown Grand Rapids. The Confluence Festival was designed as a “convergence of Art, Music, Science, & Tech. [to] introduce the public to the remarkable high-tech innovation currently underway throughout our region.” 

PCEC participated in two separate events: the Innovation Showcase and the Future Innovators Zone. As part of the Innovation Showcase, Ryan Aldridge, Operations Manager for the GVSU Innovation Design Center, demonstrated some of the rapid prototyping technology that PCEC students have access to while developing class projects and research. In the Future Innovators Zone, Sara Maas, Director of K-12 & Community Outreach, along with a team of GVSU student volunteers, helped festival attendees build Infinity Cube fidget toys.

"It was great to be out and able to connect with the community," said Maas. "Especially given our limited ability to interact with K-12 students last year due to Covid."

PCEC hopes to reconnect with K-12 schools and students this year now that more in-person activities are occurring across the state.

"Engaging with students around STEM early is so important in sparking their interest in STEM careers," explained Maas. "When students see the amazing things that we can do with science and technology, they want to be a part of it."

Moon Shot: Engineering Students Create Device for NASA

For the fifth consecutive year, Grand Valley engineering students competed nationally and successfully produced a prototype device that might someday be used by astronauts.
Seven students, nicknamed the "Moon Miners," competed in the Micro-g NExT Design Challenge, sponsored by NASA. David Kavalauskas, who earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering in August, said NASA asked teams to create a device that would allow astronauts to retrieve a core sample from the moon. 
The Moon Miners worked throughout the Winter semester on their prototype. Jenna Stolzman, another recent graduate, said the device had a handle and a lever on the side to pick up and release samples.
The device was tested — with devices from other collegiate teams — at the Johnson Space Center's underwater testing pool in Houston, Texas. Previous Grand Valley teams had opportunities to travel to Houston to watch NASA staff members in action; because of COVID-19 restrictions, the Moon Miners gave directions to NASA divers virtually.
Divers hold a GVSU flag underwater GVSU Moon Miners Team 2021 Moon Miners Device Tested at Johnson Space Center 2021
Dr. Paul Leidig
Dr. Paul Leidig

Dr. Paul Leidig Awarded Fellow of CSAB Designation

Dr. Paul Leidig, Professor and Director of the School of Computing, has been recognized as a Fellow of CSAB, the lead society for accreditation of degree programs in computer science, information systems, software engineering, information technology, cybersecurity and data science.  
The CSAB Fellow Award is given in recognition of individuals who have given sustained, quality service to the computing profession and to computing education through the activities of CSAB. Dr. Leidig was recognized for his leadership as CSAB Criteria Committee Chair, his championing of data science program accreditation, and his efforts to bring the American Statistical Association into the CSAB family.
Leaders at Grand Valley State University and Saint Augustine's Univeresity sign the agreement
Leaders at Grand Valley State University and Saint Augustine's University sign an articulation agreement

GVSU Leaders Sign Second Agreement in HBCU Pipeline Program

Leaders at Grand Valley signed a second agreement with a Historically Black College/University, giving students at Saint Augustine’s University in North Carolina opportunities to earn master's degrees in advanced computing or engineering fields in as little as five years.
Representatives from GVSU and SAU met on September 20 in North Carolina to sign the agreement. In April, Grand Valley and Fort Valley State University, in Georgia, signed a similar agreement and created a pipeline consortium to recruit other HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges/Universities) and HSIs (Hispanic Serving Institutions). 
President Philomena V. Mantella said the consortium aligns with the university's strategic plan to attract a more diverse student population and also responds to the needs of West Michigan employers. "We are so pleased to welcome students from Saint Augustine’s to Grand Valley soon," Mantella said. "They are set up for success by having a strong STEM educational foundation. At GVSU, they will find support and resources to continue their education and then begin their careers."
SAU Provost Josiah Sampson III said the agreement presents an opportunity for social mobility for SAU students. "We will also see increased opportunities for students who may not have known that certain doors would be opened for them," Sampson said. "Once they walk through that threshold, they will be prepared as contributing professional members of society."
B. Donta Truss, vice president for Enrollment Development and Educational Outreach, said this agreement gives students from SAU opportunities to find meaningful careers in fields like cybersecurity, applied computer science or biomedical engineering, for example. "Grand Valley is not competing with the rich tradition of HBCUs," Truss said. "This is a collaboration to give Black and African/American students who come from SAU or a similar institution the resources and support they need to earn competitive jobs in disciplines not offered at their colleges."
GVSU Allendale Campus
GVSU's Allendale Campus

GVSU Named a Top Midwest University, Recognized for Business and Engineering Programs by U.S. News & World Report

Grand Valley State University has again been named a top university in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report
In the "2022 Best Colleges" rankings, Grand Valley is ranked third overall for Top Public Regional Universities in the Midwest. Among regional universities in Michigan, GVSU is No. 1.
Grand Valley is also ranked among the Most Innovative Schools in the Midwest for making improvements in curriculum, campus life, technologies, or facilities.
Grand Valley is listed among the Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs, Best Undergraduate Business Programs, and Best Undergraduate Teaching Programs. 
In addition, Grand Valley was named a Best Regional University (28th) in the Midwest and a Top Performer on Social Mobility for enrolling and graduating large proportions of students awarded with Pell Grants.
The rankings are based on 17 measures of academic quality, including peer assessment, graduation and retention rates, student-faculty ratio, student loan debt, tuition, and financial aid. 

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