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,

Happy New Year! We are glad to be able to welcome students back to our socially-distanced campus and looking forward to the year ahead.

The Padnos College continues to grow, mature, and evolve in response to the needs of our constituents, changing student populations, and the challenging times we find ourselves in currently.

The stories below demonstrate some of the many ways in which our students, alumni, faculty, and staff actively work to advance their professions and serve the community. 

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

Have a great semester!
OSH students at a construction site
OSH students at a construction site

GVSU Occupational Safety & Health Management Program Recognized as Value Leader

Grand Valley’s B.S. in Occupational Safety & Health (OSH) Management program has been recognized as one of the Top 10 ‘Best Value Online Occupational Safety and Heath Bachelor’s for 2021’ by Value Colleges, an independent online guide dedicated to helping students make the best choices for their college education. 

The OSH program at GVSU prepares students to become exceptional professionals who will impact the safety and health of today and tomorrow’s workforce. Through a variety of classroom and industry experiential learning opportunities, students gain in-depth understanding of the practices and laws required to work in the ever growing and changing field of professional safety. The OSH program prioritizes ethical behavior, an appreciation for diversity, lifelong learning, and social responsibility.
"The OSH program at GVSU has been graduating outstanding professionals for well over 30 years in this very high-demand field," said Dr. Paul Plotkowski, Dean of the Padnos College of Engineering & Computing. "It is wonderful to see the program recognized for this continued excellence."

STEPS Camp Participants
Summer 2020 STEPS Camp Participants

Apply Now for the 2021 Science, Technology, and Engineering Preview Summer (STEPS) Camp!

The Grand Valley State University Science, Technology, and Engineering Preview Summer (STEPS) Camp is now accepting applications for 2021!
STEPS Camp is a fun and engaging week-long introduction to the world of science, technology, and engineering through the lens of aviation for participants between the ages of 11-13, currently in the 6th grade, and entering 7th grade in the fall of 2021.
The summer 2021 camp will be a remote delivery experience filled with live Zoom classes, virtual field trips, hands-on activities, and the building of a model airplane glider. Students will be provided with a fully-stocked kit of materials and tools so that they can build and play along with the curriculum. Working in teams of roughly ten to twelve students, campers will be led by Grand Valley students serving as counselors. The format of STEPS Camp will switch to face-to-face if conditions allow.
Camp Dates:
  • June 14-18, 2021 for Battle Creek Public School students only
  • June 21-25, 2021 for all other students
Apply now online at the STEPS website or postmark your application (printable application available on the STEPS website) no later than March 12, 2021.
STEPS Camp Counselors
Past STEPS Camp Facilitators

STEPS Camp is Hiring Facilitators for Summer 2021

Are you a GVSU student studying STEM or Education? We are looking for awesome facilitators for the summer 2021 STEPS Camp!
To apply, email your resume and cover letter to Sara Maas, PCEC Outreach Coordinator, by February 26, 2020.
DecontaminAide Student Group
DecontaminAide Computer Science Student Team: Jessica Ricksgers (top left), Mitchell Piazza (top right), Karan Tamang (bottm left), and Aron Sunuwar (bottom right)

Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 With An Apple Watch and a Bit of Machine Learning

Covid-19 has been a major disruption world-wide for the past year. GVSU computer science students spent time last fall aiming to disrupt the spread of Covid-19 via machine learning and wearable technologies. Sponsored by Procter & Gamble and mentored by Dr. Venu Vasudevan, Senior Director of Data Science & AI Research, the team set out to discover how they could create a user experience for the Apple Watch that could help prevent the spread of Covid-19. The final deliverable was a prototype Apple Watch app called DecontaminAide.
DecontaminAide is designed to assist the user in monitoring everyday actions that could increase their risk of getting Covid-19. Utilizing the features and capabilities of the Apple Watch, the team designed a program to use a machine learning model to tell the user the number of times they touch their face throughout the day. A second machine learning model monitors the audio input and detects if the user is coughing or sneezing when their face is touched. In addition, the app uses the user’s location to remind them when they are leaving their home to mask up, and use the app. The overall goal of the app is to reduce the risk of getting Covid-19 by increasing awareness of common everyday habits that may inadvertently spread Covid-19. 
“This project is an excellent example of how a small group of computer science students can take an aspirational concept provided by one of our industry partners and very rapidly deliver an innovative solution to a real world problem”, said Dr. Robert Adams, senior project course instructor. “This was one of 10 projects sponsored by our industry partners this past fall semester.”

View the full story.
Jake Hall, The Manufacturing Millennial
Jake Hall, The Manufacturing Millennial

MiBiz Article Highlights Engineering Alum's Impact on Manufacturing Industry

Since graduating from the School of Engineering, 'Manufacturing Millennial' Jake Hall, has been helping the industry appeal to younger employees. His unique approach was recently featured in an article by MiBiz; excerpts from the article are below.
While Jake Hall might not tout the same beastly social media metrics as some famous American socialites, he considers himself a rare influencer in the manufacturing industry. His approach seems to be working, too, and could set a blueprint for an industry that is facing a serious shortage of talent and general production workers.
Outside of curating content for the general amusement of viewers, Hall said he enjoys highlighting manufacturing specifically in Michigan, a state where most people associate manufacturing with the automotive industry alone. Hall’s approach to promoting machine builders, automaters and their latest innovations stands as a template for getting a new generation excited about manufacturing.
Larry Logsdon
Larry Logsdon

First Student of the GVSU Occupational Safety & Health Program Reflects on His Career

Larry Logsdon was the first Occupational Safety & Health Management student at Grand Valley State University, and was instrumental in development of the curriculum. Now retired after working 34 years in the field, Larry reflects on his time in industry, as a small business owner, and at (then) Grand Valley State College.

Larry’s interest in Occupational Safety & Health began after the tragic death of his father in a work-related accident. After reading the accident report, Larry wanted to know as much as he could about occupational safety. For those unfamiliar with the profession, Larry likes to describe it in terms of loss prevention. “If I keep people safe, I save my company money in worker’s compensation and the potential for other unwanted liabilities.”

In reflecting on his career, Larry feels more undergraduate students should enter the field of Occupational Safety and Health Management. “It has been a great occupation for me and I loved it,” he said. Larry recommends current students consider OSH careers in both industry and government and feels loss prevention, industrial hygiene, and ergonomics are excellent pathways. “Take all the science you can as an undergrad,” Larry advised for those entering the profession. 

View the full story.
President Mantella visits the PCEC applied Medical Device Institute
President Mantella visits the PCEC applied Medical Device Institute (aMDI)

Padnos College of Engineering & Computing Gets Budget Boost

A recent Grand Valley Lanthorn article highlighted the growth in the Padnos College of Engineering & Computing; excerpts from the article are below.
As Grand Valley State University moves forward into the second half of the school year, many of the same challenges the university faced in 2020 will still need to be addressed in 2021. One of those major challenges was balancing the university budget, which saw a decrease for the first time in several years.
Many budget cuts came within different academic departments. However, the only academic department to receive a budget increase for the 2020-2021 school year was the Padnos College of Engineering and Computing.
According to the dean of the college, Paul Plotkowski, there are multiple factors that have contributed to the long term and short term increases to the budget.
"It's been a very rapidly growing college," Plotkowski said. "From 2014 to 2019, we had a 36% increase in enrollment. That's huge."
Dr. Bogdan Adamczyk

GVSU Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Center Director Recognized by 'In Compliance' Magazine as a Compliance Engineering Leader

Dr. Bogdan Adamczyk, Director of the GVSU Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Center and professor of electrical engineering, has been selected as one of this year’s ‘Faces in Compliance’ by In Compliance magazine for his training and education leadership in compliance engineering.
In Compliance also highlighted the live, in-person, two-day certificate course for industry, “Principles of Electromagnetic Compatibility" taught by Dr. Adamczyk, which will be held on April 22-23, 2021 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. View In Compliance magazine’s full list of professional development opportunities.
A prolific author and contributor to the EMC field, Dr. Adamczyk has authored or co-authored over 60 papers on EMC education, measurement, and teaching; including four articles published by In Compliance during the fall 2020 semester:
The EMC Center is an excellent model for the community/industry-engaged engineering program at GVSU. Students, faculty, and industrial partners work together in testing, developing, and designing EMC tools,” said Dr. Wael Mokhtar, Director of the School of Engineering. “We are lucky to have Dr. Adamczyk, who is a national expert in the field, leading this effort.”

Roger That! Conference Going Virtual for 2021 

The fifth annual Roger That! conference for K-12 students is going virtual for 2021. Roger That! V (V is for Virtual) will be celebrated on Friday and Saturday, February 19 & 20, and is now open for registration. 
Roger That! V will offer an exciting assortment of speakers from different disciplines and perspectives, including meteor scientists, engineers, Oscar and Emmy winning science fiction artists, experts on virtual reality, physicists, space collection curators, an astronaut, and a one-of-a-kind live presentation of the 1925 German film "Our Heavenly Bodies" accompanied by the Grand Rapids Public Museum's Wurlitzer Organ.
Roger That!, a collaborative effort of multiple departments from Grand Valley State University, the Grand Rapids Public Museum, and the Roger B. Chaffee Scholarship Fund, was established as a setting for the community to explore how space exploration merges aspects of both science and society - a sentiment echoed it its tag line “There’s Enough Space For Everyone.” It is named after Roger B. Chaffee, a Grand Rapids native, who went on to be a successful engineer and astronaut. Chaffee lost his life in a training accident for the Apollo 1 mission on January 27, 1967.
A highlight of the conference is the Design That! challenge for 4th through 8th grade students. The challenge is a group project focusing on themes of science in space, humans in space, communities in space, and virtual reality in space. Applications for Design That! are due January 19, 2021.
Visit the Roger That! conference website for more information on the conference, speakers, and the Design That! competition. 
Dr. Samhita Rhodes
Dr. Samhita Rhodes

New Undergraduate Biomedical Engineering Major Featured in GVSU Transforming Health Care Report

Students completing the GVSU undergraduate biomedical engineering program will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering (B.S.E.) degree, ready to make a profound difference in people’s lives by developing innovative solutions for disorders, injuries, and other conditions affecting human body systems.
Biomedical engineering combines knowledge of science, medicine, and mathematics to creatively solve challenging problems involving complex human systems. As the population in the United States ages and technological advancements continue to enhance our ability to provide solutions that allow for higher quality of life, the creative problem-solving abilities of biomedical engineers are needed to design novel medical devices and artificial replacement components that support functions of the human body.
The GVSU biomedical engineering major is the only program of its kind in West Michigan, providing a unique opportunity for students interested in the interaction of humans with technology. 
“Grand Valley’s biomedical engineering program is unique in that it prepares students for careers in the medical device industry without sacrificing the rigor of the foundational engineering disciplines,” said Dr. Samhita Rhodes, Chair of the Biomedical Engineering Department.

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