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,

Each April I have the honor of celebrating our graduates as they take the next steps in their journey and begin their professional careers. It's a joy for all of us in the Padnos College to see them move on to bigger and better things.

Engagement from our alumni is critical to the success of the college. PCEC alumni provide projects, job opportunities, mentoring, financial support, expertise, and more to our current students.

So, PCEC graduates, my sincere congratulations and wishes for a lifetime of success! We hope to see much more of you in the future as you continue to engage with the college and support the next generation of STEM professionals. Visit the PCEC Alumni Connections website for information on how to stay involved.

Wishing you all a wonderful Spring/Summer semester!

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

A student explains her project to another student.
A student discusses a project with PCEC Project Day participants

Engineering, Computing Students Team Together to Solve Industry Problems

Nearly 30 groups of Padnos College of Engineering & Computing students presented their senior and team projects April 21 at the Innovation and Design Center on the Pew Grand Rapids Campus. 

Wael Mokhtar, director of the School of Engineering and associate professor of mechanical engineering, said project day represents the culmination of what students have learned in the classroom coupled with soft skills like teamwork and communication.

"Students are demonstrating how they worked with a client to solve an industry problem, pulling in their knowledge from course work and working to accomplish a task together," Mokhtar said. 

High school students from Grand Rapids Public Schools, Byron Center, and the West Michigan Aviation Academy attended the event.
PCEC Project Day April 2022
Leaders from Alabama State University and GVSU sign the articulation agreement.
Leaders from Alabama State and Grand Valley State universities sign the articulation agreement

Leaders from GVSU, Alabama State Sign Articulation Agreement

Leaders from Grand Valley State and Alabama State universities signed an articulation agreement April 25 that establishes pathways for degree completion for ASU students who are interested in pursuing master's degrees at GVSU.

Alabama State is an Historically Black College/University (HBCU) in Montgomery. This is the third agreement Grand Valley has signed with an HBCU. President Philomena V. Mantella said these agreements serve multiple purposes.

"By inviting and then supporting students from Alabama State who want to pursue advanced degrees, Grand Valley is enriching and continuing to diversify our community," Mantella said. "Public education must partner in new ways to expand opportunities for one another and, ultimately, our students. We are so pleased to welcome our colleagues and, soon, their students to Grand Rapids."

The agreement will begin in the Fall 2022 semester and, initially, supports Alabama State students who want to earn master's degrees in cybersecurity or applied computer science from Grand Valley.
Marc Tunnell (left) & Abigal Diller (right)
Marc Tunnell (left) & Abigail Diller (right)

Computing Students Awarded Kindschi Fellowships

The Kindschi Fellowship is a competitive fellowship for undergraduate students that supports research within the sciences. It is an honor to receive, and two computing students are among this year's recipients. 
Abigail Diller will be continuing ongoing research with Dr. Erik Fredericks that started over one year ago with support from the Michigan Space Grant Consortium. The goal of the research project is to investigate power consumption in cyber physical dimensions. More specifically, to discover what will influence, increase, or decrease power consumption within these controlled spaces.

Marc Tunnell will be performing research with Dr. Nate Bowman and Dr. Erin Carrier on the NASA Ames Global Climate Model (GMC). This is a tool that has been used to model the climate on Mars, and is most famously known for studying the Dust Cycle, CO2 Cycle, and Water Cycle. It has just recently been released to the public for use and study. This model is extremely complex, and the run time to produce a single model can take upwards of two days. Marc’s work will be to create a surrogate model intended to perform the same functions, but at a fraction of the time; minutes compared to days. If he is successful, it could influence the work of future studies in this field. 

View the full story.

Visit the School of Computing website.
A FIRST team poses in front of the banner in the GVSU Fieldhouse.
A FIRST team poses in front of the banner in the GVSU Fieldhouse

Robotic Rewards

President Philomena V. Mantella awarded scholarships worth a total of $20,000 to two high school seniors at the FIRST Robotics district competition held March 26 at the Fieldhouse on the Allendale Campus.

Jordan Gabrielse, from South Christian High School, and Adam Kroese, from East Grand Rapids High School, have been accepted at Grand Valley and expressed interest in pursuing engineering. Both students have been actively involved in FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics throughout middle and high school.

Nearly 40 teams from across Michigan competed in the three-day event. It was the first in-person FIRST Robotics competition at GVSU since 2019.

The team from Fremont finished in first place, followed by Allendale and Zeeland. Winning teams advanced to the state championship in Saginaw.

Adam Kroese accepts his award.
Adam Kroese
Jordan Gabrielse accepts his award.
Jordan Gabrielse
Grand Valley Pew Grand Rapids Campus
GVSU's Pew Grand Rapids Campus

GVSU Seeks Funding for Planned Tech, Innovation Center in Downtown GR

MiBiz featured Grand Valley State University's plans to add a new learning space at its downtown Grand Rapids campus that will serve as an intersection of business and technology education for community members and students. The text below is from the original article.

The GVSU Digital Learning Epicenter proposes to include digital production labs, fabrication labs, and serve as a location for startups to collaborate. The space would give students the opportunity to seek out internships or support tech startups to gain adjacent skills to their degrees. 

The project timeline is dependent on securing funding, said GVSU President Philomena Mantella. University officials have identified space to build the potential project on existing property.

“We all know this tech revolution we’re in is going to require four to 10 times the amount of computer scientists, engineers and people in the workforce that can build a competency on top of a degree to get a next level position or new, evolved position,” Mantella told MiBiz. “This Epicenter creates an opportunity for startups to access university talent and faculty, and offers us an opportunity to grow those pipelines with businesses.”

The learning space is meant to help bolster the community’s tech talent base as well as entrepreneurs in business picking up adjacent skills. The planned center also would allow for collaboration between businesses, faculty members and students looking for internships or job opportunities, Mantella explained.

View the full story.

Abe Vos
Abe Vos

Building a Better Backpack

The School New Network highlighted the work of GVSU Engineering students in helping an elementary student through creation of a custom wheelchair swivel-arm. The text from the original article is below.
As his mom and others looked on, Knapp Forest Elementary fifth-grader Abe Vos scooted himself into a wheelchair fitted with something that may help him be a more independent middle-schooler next year.

Many wheelchair users cannot reach their belongings, such as backpacks, from the push handles or below-seat pouches without help. A partnership between Kent ISD and Grand Valley State University may result in a device that would give them that ability.

“From a momma who desperately wants to help her baby be more independent, this is like Christmas for me,” said Abe’s mother, Megan Vos. This was after watching her son reach over his left arm, grab a metal bar, perform a pull-push-pull motion, reach for his own backpack (monogrammed with his AXV initials), pull it onto his lap and dig through the contents for treasures Kent ISD physical therapist Michelle Gallery had planted inside.

Over one semester, five engineering students from Grand Valley State University came up with three concepts for wheelchair swivel-arm prototypes. They interviewed and observed wheelchair users and those who work with them. Then, they fabricated one device that integrated the strengths of the three concepts.

“My students are really excited they get to be a part of this whole process,” said Gallery, who has worked for more than a decade on various projects with John Farris, engineering professor at Grand Valley State University. “The idea is, it gives GVSU students real-life application of how they are going to use their skills, and our students the potential to have equipment that is manufactured for them.”
Two men examine a medical device.
Students examine a medical device

aMDI: Crossing the Development Valley of Death

MedHealth interviewed Dr. Brent Nowak, executive director of the GVSU applied Medical Device Institute regarding it's unique offerings for the medical technology industry.
Having the resources, space, and technical expertise available to bring innovative products to market is no easy feat. Early-stage business owners often find themselves in a complex web of what they know and don’t know about the business and production world, and when it comes time to put everything together, there’s an endless stream of vendors, regulations, and other barriers that can complicate the process, sometimes stopping would-be lifesaving devices from reaching their full potential.

The applied Medical Device Institute (aMDI), part of the Padnos College of Engineering and Computing at Grand Valley State University (GVSU), is dedicated to enhancing student learning experiences, engaging faculty and the community to bring novel medical devices and innovative technology to market. 

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