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,

It's exciting to feel the energy on campus as students return and begin their fall coursework. Last week, PCEC faculty and staff were out assisting new students and families as they moved into the residence halls (check out the 2021 Move-in photo gallery). We're looking forward to a year of learning and growth, and grateful to be able to be together again in person. In order to keep everyone safe and healthy, GVSU is providing free Covid vaccines and walk-in testing clinics to all students, faculty, and staff, as well as requiring vaccination prior to September 30, 2021.

It was a busy August in PCEC with the return of in-person components of the Engineering Design Conference and the celebration of our newest graduating seniors. We're looking forward to maintaining that momentum throughout the new academic year.

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


Congratulations to the Class of 2021!

We are so proud of our graduating class of 2021! Check out the video below created by the School of Engineering to celebrate students' success in completing their final requirements for graduation.
Congratulations Class of 2021!
Javier Guillen
Javier Guillen, the first student to join GVSU as part of the HBCU/HSI Pipeline Consortium

(Wider) Open Doors: Recent Initiatives Increase Access to GVSU

Through development of recent pipeline and financial aid programs, Grand Valley leaders have opened the university’s doors even wider to diverse students and, in turn, helped diversify West Michigan’s workforce.
B. Donta Truss, vice president for Enrollment Development and Educational Outreach, led establishments of these programs and said he drew largely from his own experience as a first-generation college student to create programs that make it easier for students to attend college.
In April, Truss and Paul Plotkowski, dean of the Padnos College of Engineering and Computing, signed an agreement with leaders at Fort Valley State University (FVSU), a Historically Black College/University (HBCU) in Georgia, that creates a pathway for FVSU students to earn a bachelor’s degree from FVSU combined with a master’s degree in engineering or computer science at GVSU in as little as five years.
Read more on the HBCU / Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) Pipeline Consortium in the article below.
Students from Fort Valley State University tour the Kennedy Hall of Engineering
Students from Fort Valley State University tour the GVSU Kennedy Hall of Engineering

GVSU Receives National Recognition for Two Programs with Outreach to HBCU/HSIs

Two Grand Valley programs focused on helping underrepresented students advance in STEM disciplines and careers received national recognition.
The "GVSU - HBCU/HSI Consortium" and the "GVSU and FVSU Agreement: Pathway to Master's Degree" both received Inspiring Programs in STEM Awards from Insight Into Diversity magazine, the largest and oldest diversity and inclusion publication in higher education. Grand Valley and 78 other national institutions will be recognized in the publication's September issue.
GVSU - HBCU/HSI Consortium is designed to expand the range of fields students who attend a Historically Black College or University (HBCU) or Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) can consider as career options. Fort Valley State University joined Grand Valley as founding members of the consortium.
B. Donta Truss, vice president for Enrollment Development and Educational Outreach, said the consortium was designed to create a collaborative partnership among Grand Valley and the country's HBCU/HSIs. "We want to help elevate their work with these great students by leveraging our robust academic portfolio and providing opportunities, seamlessly, to ensure learners graduate with their desired credentials while maintaining their connectivity to the HBCU/HSI," Truss said.
Students move into their residence hall
Engineering students in the Pew Campus Living-Learning Community move into their residence hall

New Pew Campus Living-Learning Communities Welcome First Students

Students who moved into the new Living-Learning Communities on the Pew Grand Rapids Campus on August 25th were exactly where they wanted to be: downtown.
Four LLCs opened in Winter Hall for first-year and transfer students, following the successful model of the six LLCs on the Allendale Campus. Three are for students who have chosen to major in social work, engineering, or business. The fourth — Momentum House — is geared toward students who are undecided or have selected a different major.
Teagan Russell and Rylan Bernhardt are roommates and both plan to major in engineering. Russell, from DeWitt, said living in Winter Hall gives him easy access to classes that might be in the engineering buildings across Fulton Street. "I love coming to Grand Rapids and this housing made sense because it's so close to where my classes will be," Russell said.
PCEC New Employees
New Padnos College of Engineering & Computing Faculty & Staff

PCEC Welcomes New Faculty & Staff

The Padnos College of Engineering & Computing is excited to announce the addition of several new faculty and staff members to our team!
  • Courtney Aloul, Affiliate Faculty, Occupational Safety & Health
  • Katey Armstrong, Visiting Faculty, School of Engineering
  • Branson Beach, Affiliate Faculty, School of Computing
  • Atilla Ozgur Cakmak, Assistant Professor, School of Engineering
  • Craig Clay, Affiliate Faculty, School of Computing
  • Ash Godin, Secretary, Innovation Design Center, Padnos College of Engineering & Computing
  • Rebecca Kolodge, Academic Advisor, Padnos College of Engineering & Computing
  • Ryan Lubbers, Visiting Faculty, School of Engineering
  • Allison Matz, Secretary, School of Computing
  • Catherine Molloseau, Visiting Faculty, School of Engineering
  • Dawn Zuidema, Visiting Faculty, School of Engineering
Please join us in giving them a warm welcome!
Dr. Lindsay Corneal
Dr. Lindsay Corneal

Mantella Names Four Faculty Members as Presidential Fellows

President Philomena V. Mantella named four faculty members, including PCEC's own Dr. Lindsay Corneal, as new Presidential Fellows to engage with university leadership on various initiatives.
They are listed below with their respective assignments.
  • Lindsay Corneal, associate professor of engineering, will serve as presidential fellow for learner pathways. Corneal has played key roles in the university's HBCU collaboration and the Downtown Living Learning Communities.
  • Alisha Davis, associate professor of allied health sciences, will serve as presidential fellow for inclusion and equity. Davis is a co-lead on the Network of Advisors.
  • Kristin Meyer, associate librarian, will serve as presidential fellow for Reach Higher 2025. Meyer will engage with the community around the university's strategic plan and assist divisions and units, as needed, with their own planning.
  • Robert Talbert, professor of mathematics, will serve as presidential fellow for advancement of learning. Talbert has written a book, Flipped Learning: A Guide for Higher Education Faculty, and several articles about the future of learning.
The four new fellows will serve terms that begin in the Fall 2021 semester and conclude in summer 2023. 
Boat that won the 2021 speed & style competition
Noah Speechley's boat, which won both the 2021 style and speed competitions

School of Engineering Hosts 30th Annual Wooden Shoe Regatta

It was a race to the finish on the high seas in the Keller Engineering Building! Junior-level engineering students in the Fluid Mechanics (EGR 365) course gathered around the pool in the fluids lab, where fans lined up alongside the pool provided a wind that would propel their individually designed model sailboats forward. One by one, they placed their models at the starting line and held their breath as they waited for the wind to catch the sails and propel their sailboats forward.
Starting with a 2 inch by 4 inch by 10 inch block of basswood, each student designed and built their own 1/12 scale model of a single hull sailboat. In order to build the model sailboats, students had to balance forces on the hull, keel, sail, and rudder and be able to understand how they work together.  
While the race and style competitions are the fun, visible, and ungraded part of the project, each student invests a significant amount of time and effort in tests to find the right combination of resistance versus speed for their hull in the lab towing tank. Students combine results of model tests on the hulls together with model tests on sails to predict full scale performance of their model sailboats and write a report in which the results are reported. If, for some reason, they are unable to get their models to complete the race, they must explain why the sailboat did not sail as expected and what they would need to change to improve its performance. It's a race for understanding how fluid mechanics can be applied to the real problem of sailboats, and a true engineering design experience.
With the exception of 2020 due to Covid, the "Wooden Shoe Regatta" event, started by School of Engineering faculty member Dr. Shirley Fleischmann and named for the hand-painted wooden shoes she awards as trophies, has been a yearly celebration of students' educational progress. This year marked the 30th anniversary of the first boat races.
STEPS Campers in front of a plane
STEPS campers pose in front of a plane

STEPS Camp Celebrates 20 Years of Inspiring Youth

GVSU's Science, Technology, and Engineering Preview Summer (STEPS) Camp celebrated its 20th year of inspiring youth to consider careers in STEM this summer. To date, more than 1,600 middle school students have participated in the camp, which introduces exciting STEM concepts through the theme of aviation.
“It’s really amazing to think about the number of students we’ve reached over the years,” said Sara Maas, PCEC Outreach Coordinator. “Several of the campers have gone on to careers in aviation specifically, and many more have pursued STEM careers. We often hear from campers that they are participating at the recommendation of past campers who are family or friends, so we know that the camp is having a positive impact.”

The DornerWorks team accepts their award
The DornerWorks team accepts the Co-op Employer-of-the-Year Award

Engineering Design Conference Highlights the Benefits of Industry/University Collaborations

For more than 25 years, the School of Engineering has hosted the annual Design Conference to celebrate the graduating class with industry partners, sponsors, and the community. 
Experiential learning has been at the core of programs in the Padnos College of Engineering & Computing (PCEC) since its conception, creating a uniquely practical learning environment in which GVSU students gain real-world experience through course projects, co-op placements, capstone projects, and industry-sponsored graduate fellowships. We are grateful to our industry collaborators, whose support and partnership makes these experiences possible.
This year's Co-op Employer Forum focused on 'Maximizing the Benefits of an Industry/University Collaboration.' Industry project sponsors, incoming students, and family members were invited to the Innovation Design Center to view the engineering students' senior design projects (check out the projects on the EDC website). Students demonstrated their hard work and learning as they described the iterative processes they went through in order to reach their final designs and explained the problems that each project was designed to solve. View the 2021 Engineering Design Conference photo gallery.
The event concluded with the Order of the Engineer Ring Ceremony, in which proud family members looked on as graduating students became official members of the engineering profession and pledged to use their knowledge and skills for the betterment of humanity. View the 2021 Order of the Engineer Ring Ceremony photo gallery.
Each year, students and faculty of the School of Engineering recognize outstanding contributions to the co-op and senior design project learning experiences (View the Co-op Award Criteria).
2021 Award Recipients are:
  • Abigail Hendrick, 2021 Computer Engineering Graduate, Gentex Corporation: Co-op Student-of-the-Year
  • Dr. Sanjivan Manoharan, Mechanical Engineering Assistant Professor: Co-op Faculty Advisor-of-the-Year
  • Andy DeRosia, Test Engineering Manager, L3Harris Avionics Systems: Co-op Supervisor-of-the-Year
  • DornerWorks, Kentwood, MI: Co-op Employer-of-the-Year
  • Robert Thompson, T&T Tools: Outstanding Industry Sponsor
  • Embedded IoT OTA Platform, Team 4, DornerWorks: Outstanding Senior Project
  • Dual-Lane Slab Forming Line, Team 6, Egan Food Technologies: Senior Project Honorable Mention
  • GE Memory Characterization System, Team 8, GE Aviation: Senior Project Honorable Mention

Stay Informed!

Keep current with the latest Computing, Engineering, Occupational Safety & Health Management, and Professional Science Master's Programs news and events! 

Follow PCEC on Social Media

Share your images and stories by tagging your social media posts @gvsupcec.
Twitter Facebook Instagram LinkedIn YouTube

Sign up for the PCEC Newsletter

Our quarterly newsletters provide information about exciting program changes, student and faculty projects, community engagement, and events.

Sign up for the PCEC Student Services Newsletter

The PCEC Advising & Student Services Office sends out a weekly newsletter to all our declared major students. If you are not currently a declared PCEC student and would like to receive our weekly newsletters, you can sign up or view the archive on our website.

Check Out Our Academic Programs

School of Computing School of Engineering Occupational Safety & Health Management Department Professional Science Masters Programs
Unsubscribe from future emails.