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 am pleased to provide an introduction to this issue of the Padnos College of Engineering & Computing newsletter. You will find examples of the outstanding work being accomplished by our students, faculty, and staff; and the recognition those efforts have gained.

I am always impressed by the amazing work that all in the PCEC family are doing during these trying times, and the adaptability I have seen demonstrated both by these accomplishments and also in the support provided to our students and our community.

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

'Safety Celebrity' Kasey Wesley
'Safety Celebrity' Kasey Wesley

Occupational Safety & Health Alum Featured as 'Safety Celebrity' by Empowering Pumps & Equipment Magazine

GVSU Occupational Safety & Health alumni, Kasey Wesley, has been featured as a 'Safety Celebrity' by Empowering Pumps & Equipment magazine. Excerpts from the article are below.
Empowering Pumps & Equipment works hard to shine a light on the PEOPLE behind the pumps and pumping systems. The food & beverage industry has millions of superheroes that kept us all going throughout some incredible times, but today we're going to shine the spotlight on Kasey Wesley, the Environmental Health and Safety Coordinator at Founders Brewing Co. Here is what she wanted to share.
"While attending school at Grand Valley State University, I was originally pursuing a degree in the medical field. Over the course of three years, I changed my degree path four times. I reached a point where I felt like a medical career wasn't sparking my interest as much as another industry could. I just didn't know what that industry was yet! I found out about the safety industry and was surprised that it was something I didn't think of before. Growing up, I was always the "safety nerd" who made sure my friends would look both ways before crossing the street, volunteered as a "safety" in elementary school to help assist students on and off the bus, and even dressed up as a "Super Safety" for Halloween in 4th grade. Even in college I was a crossing guard on campus! So reflecting on my life, I realized safety had always been a passion of mine and I just didn't even know it. The same day I had this realization was the same day I applied for GVSU's Occupational Safety and Health Management program. During my final year in the program, I interned with Founders Brewing Co. which led to a full time position as their EHS Coordinator upon graduation." 
Autocam Medical Scholarship Recipients, Jenna Doyle and Patrick Schwab
Autocam Medical Scholarship Recipients, Jenna Doyle (left) and Patrick Schwab (right)

Engineering Students Receive Prestigious Scholarships from Autocam Medical

This year, two outstanding engineering students, Jenna Doyle and Patrick Schwab, were selected by Autocam Medical as scholarship recipients and given the opportunity to complete their industry-sponsored co-op placements with the medical device manufacturing company.
Jenna Doyle is a Biomedical Engineering student from Troy, Michigan. Patrick Schwab is a Product Design and Manufacturing student with a minor in Biomedical Engineering from Minneapolis, Minnesota. 
The Autocam Medical Scholarship has made a significant positive impact on both students. “When I found out I had received the scholarship, I was ecstatic,” explained Jenna. “This scholarship would significantly relieve the financial burden of getting my undergraduate degree. I am very grateful to my professors for encouraging me to apply for the scholarship and also grateful that Autocam Medical believes in the power of educating the next generation of engineers and helps students by offering this scholarship.” Patrick was also ecstatic when he received the good news about his scholarship. “I was finishing a challenging summer course and was losing steam when I got the news,” he said. “It provided me with a spark that I still carry today.”
Dr. Byron DeVries
Dr. Byron DeVries

Dr. Byron DeVries Recognized with Distinguished Early-Career Award

Professor of Computing & Information Systems, Dr. Byron DeVries, completed his graduate degree in the GVSU School of Computing & Information Systems in 2013 and then went on to complete his doctoral degree at Michigan State University. In 2017, he came back to GVSU to teach in the same halls he had walked as a student just a few years prior. Now, Dr. DeVries has been recognized for faculty excellence with the GVSU Distinguished Early-Career Scholar Award.

Dr. DeVries’s primary area of research is in a sub-field of software engineering related to the correct specification and verification of critical systems. "Much of my work relates to methods for describing systems without errors and finding errors in existing systems or computational methods to support those efforts,” explained DeVries.
Brendan Beauchamp and Dr. Nabeeh Kandalaft
Brendan Beauchamp (left) and Dr. Nabeeh Kandalaft (right)

Engineering Professor and Students Earn IEEE Best Paper Award

Dr. Nabeeh Kandalaft, Professor of Engineering, and School of Engineering students, Brendan Beauchamp, Suvro Shahriar, and Christian Vollmers, received the Best Paper Award from IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) for their paper, “A Low Cost sEMG Development Platform for Hand Joint Angle Acquisition,” which was submitted as part of the 2020 annual Information Technology, Electronics, and Mobile Communication Conference (IEMCON). 
The IEEE is the largest technical professional organization in the world, dedicated to “advancing technology for humanity” and the IEEE Best Paper Award recognizes a standout paper published and presented by a member in each category along Information Technology, Electronics, and Mobile Communications.
This award-winning paper hypothesized a consolidation of surface electromyography (sEMG) to Muscle Force signal processing and Fingertip Workspace Mathematics (FWM), suggesting a projection matrix from muscle force to joint angles of the hand. 
“I am so grateful to my mentors and my team at GVSU, especially Dr. Kandalaft,” shared Brendan. “This project has been an exercise of discipline and imagination, it has been about achieving goals and making new ones. I am honored that the committee of IEMCON would award my research with best paper, receiving the award reminded me of the Dunning-Kreuger Effect. My research and I are still very young with a long journey ahead.”
FIRST Robotics Fields in the Innovation Design Center
FIRST Robotics spaces in the GVSU Innovation Design Center

Innovation Design Center Available for FIRST Robotics Teams Looking to Compete in 2021 Season

FIRST Robotics has pivoted once again for the 2021 season in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. At the end of January, FIRST announced the INFINITE RECHARGE at Home Challenge which brings the competition to the teams.
The Padnos College of Engineering & Computing (PCEC) Outreach Team has responded by setting up two spaces for the INFINITE RECHARGE at Home Skills Competition, in which teams demonstrate the capabilities of their robots, in the Innovation Design Center (IDC) on the Grand Valley State University (GVSU) Pew Campus in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
To participate in the Skills Competition, teams must record their robots performing different challenges including navigating around markers in a field (autonomously and remotely) and a Power Cell shooting challenge. 
The IDC is open week nights and weekends to accommodate FIRST Robotics teams for practice runs or recordings. GVSU COVID-19 protocol is being enforced for all visitors to the campus, including an online visitor pre-screening. Contact Sara Maas, PCEC Outreach Coordinator, at with questions or for information on how to sign up for a space.

School of Engineering Offers One-Year Accelerated Master's Degree

The School of Engineering is making completion of a Master’s degree more manageable than ever with a new accelerated program for Master of Science in Engineering (M.S.E.) students that can be completed in just one year.
The M.S.E. program educates engineers to be technical leaders in industry as well as to pursue higher education in Biomedical Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Manufacturing Operations, and Product Design and Manufacturing Engineering.
“This one-year program is geared towards motivated students who would like to acquire advanced technical skills in a shortened time frame and position themselves for leadership roles in industry,” said Dr. Shabbir Choudhuri, Engineering Graduate Program Director.
Like the traditional M.S.E. program, the one-year M.S.E. program is 33 credits, but it can be completed in less than 12 months, whereas the traditional M.S.E. program takes two years to complete. The accelerated program offers the same high-quality learning experience as the traditional program, providing students with hands-on experiential education and access to the same expert faculty. 
Students in the accelerated M.S.E. program will receive individualized support from faculty in building a customized program plan which will allow them to complete the requirements in 12 months, enter the workforce faster, and begin earning more sooner. A Bachelor’s degree in Engineering with a minimum of 3.0 GPA is required for admission.

PCEC Hosts Informational Webinars for Prospective Students

Are you ready to experience what's next for your career? Do you know a student who could benefit from an education at Grand Valley State University? Sign up for an informational webinar to learn more about the academic programs in the Padnos College of Engineering & Computing!
This is an opportunity to speak with faculty from the PCEC programs as well as a representative from GVSU Admissions to have all of your questions answered. 
Visit the PCEC Informational Webinars website to find a time that works for you.

Computing Alum Shares His Story

Carlson Ngong is a 2016 graduate of the Information Systems Program in the School of Computing & Information Systems. Now, he's working for Meijer as a Scrum Master in the e-commerce business department. In the video below, he shares his story and encouragement for others considering a career in computing.
Carlson Ngong Alumni Spotlight

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