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 hope 2023 has gotten off to a fantastic start for all of you.  While the new year is still mostly ahead of us, I am thankful to wrap up last semester with many positive news stories, five of which we share here.  We also celebrated our students with our annual fall project day (68 projects and 156 students), our PSM student internship celebration, and our traditional Engineering graduate program Thanksgiving luncheon. 

To our Fall 2022 graduates, we are so proud of you. The past few years have been challenging both academically and personally, but you rose to the occasion. You have much to celebrate! Please stay engaged with the college as an alum; we count on you to support the next generation of STEM professionals!

Wishing you all a healthy, warm, and joyous new year.

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


HBCU Pipeline students receive Industry Sponsored Graduate Fellowships
HBCU Pipeline students receive Industry Sponsored Graduate Fellowships

HBCU Pipeline student receive Industry Sponsored Graduate Fellowships program

Jourdan Watson and Danielle Patrick, HBCU Pipeline students, both have Industry Sponsored Graduate Fellowships (IGF). Through this university program, participating companies sponsor a student by providing a paid internship and covering the cost of tuition. Watson, who is in the Engineering MSE program, is working at Gordon Food Service and Patrick at The Christman Company.

Watson and Patrick attended Historically Black Colleges and Universities and came to Grand Valley because of the HBCU/Hispanic Serving Institutions Pipeline Consortium, a collaboration with four institutions: Fort Valley State, Savannah State, Saint Augustine's, and Alabama State universities.

B. Donta Truss, vice president for Enrollment Development and Educational Outreach, said extending the IGF to qualified pipeline students aligns with the mission of the consortium to provide greater opportunities for students and expand the talent pool in West Michigan.

"It really creates value for all three parties: students, the sponsoring companies, and the university," Truss said. "This is why we started the pipeline consortium and I appreciate these companies investing in our students."

Watson graduated from FVSU and is now studying electrical and computing engineering. At Gordon Food Service, Watson works for two teams on digital marketing enablement, websites, and digital tools for sales. It's a yearlong position that he said is going well. "It's very beneficial for me to learn new coding languages. I'm collaborating and contributing, and I'm very grateful to be part of this experience," Watson said.

Ben Nanninga manages the marketing technology and sales technology teams for GFS. He said during Watson's interview with the company, his technical skills and initiative stood out, so Nanninga and others decided placing Watson with two teams would broaden his experience.  
A solution designed
 Andrew Heuerman, '16 is the owner of The Patient Company and the product is SimPull

A solution designed to transfer patients securely has strong GVSU roots

Andrew Heuerman, ’16, is the owner of The Patient Company and the product is SimPull, a device designed to laterally transfer patients safely and quickly. Heuerman was an intern at Spectrum Health Innovations when company representatives were approached by a clinician who worked in the hospital's patient transport department. Heuerman said that man asked for a device to help with transports, stating that his staff suffered five back injuries within a short time frame.

"He said there has to be a better way of doing this," said Heuerman, who earned a bachelor's degree in kinesiology from Grand Valley and a master's degree in entrepreneurial transactions from Central Michigan University. 

Spectrum Health Innovations connected with Chris Pung and John Farris, professors of engineering, for help building a prototype. At that time, in 2017, Heuerman worked for SHI and was the liaison between the hospital and the university. Engineering students were tasked with designing and building a prototype.

From the start, Heuerman said his conversations with engineering students focused on lateral transfers from one bed or stretcher to another. An early prototype was tested with three students lying on top of each other, while a device created from a vehicle winch pulled them from one bed to another.

Two years after initially working with Grand Valley students, Heuerman decided it was time to leave SHI and launch his own company. "SHI was my dream job. It was risky to leave and start my own business and it was a very tough decision to make," he said. He moved to Scottsdale, Arizona, to participate in the Mayo Clinic's business accelerator program. Mayo Clinic is also a partner and investor in The Patient Company. SHI licensed the technology to The Patient Company.

GVSU boaard of trustees
GVSU Board of Trustees approved a new degree for transfer students

GVSU Board of Trustees approves new degree for transfer students with an associate of applied sciences degree

Grand Valley's Board of Trustees approved a new degree program designed for students who completed an associate of applied science (AAS) degree and want to strengthen their academic skills to take the next step in their careers.

The new Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) degree program will be jointly housed in the Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies and the Padnos College of Engineering and Computing. Starting in the Fall 2023 semester, students in the BAS program can choose from four majors: leadership and business fundamentals, professional innovation, technology project management, and web design and development. Trustees approved the program during a meeting held at GVSU's Detroit Center. Mark Schaub, dean of the Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies, said the BAS program is distinct from most other GVSU degrees. The BAS program recognizes most of these students’ prior higher education credits, acknowledging their skills-intensive education, and will integrate that prior learning and workplace experience with a GVSU curriculum.  

"People who have an applied associate degree in a more technical or specialized field may not be bringing in all their general education classes like many students with other types of associate degrees do," Schaub said. "We will work with what they bring to us, and then complete their degree with Grand Valley general education requirements, a liberal education-informed set of future-oriented coursework."

Paul Plotkowski, dean of the Padnos College of Engineering and Computing, said employers value the technical content of an AAS degree but also desire employees who have the background to grow into leadership positions within their organizations. 
GVSU and DornerWorks
GVSU and DornerWorks guiding New Engineers Towards Success 

GVSU and DornerWorks are guiding New Engineers Towards Success

“GVSU’s engineering co-op program has allowed us to grow organically and sustainably with a guaranteed engineering bandwidth of student interns year-round, usually resulting in full-time and long-term engineering employment afterward,” says DornerWorks Founder and Owner David K. Dorner.

“This has allowed DornerWorks to grow engineering talent within our own staff consistently over the years with local, home-grown engineers. And this experience has helped each and every student grow their own personal resume as we put them to work on real-world engineering projects. We are very thankful for such a tremendous engineering university program right in our backyard and are very pleased to give back as a sponsor for their new Engineering Innovation Design Center!”

GVSU’s Padnos College of Engineering and Computing has long been the main building for Electrical Engineering (EE), Computer Science (CS), and Computer Engineering (CE) students, along with Cybersecurity, Information Technology (IT), and many others. In 2022 the university unveiled the Grand Valley State University Shape Corp. Innovation Center. The new facility features lab rooms and large project development spaces that future engineers will use to design, prototype, and build. The team sponsored by DornerWorks built an American Sign Language (ASL) Interpreter using an FPGA development board and machine learning algorithm from Xilinx hooked up to a camera and TV monitor. Holding up one’s hand in the form of a character from the ASL alphabet, the camera ingests the image, which is processed on the Xilinx board using a machine learning algorithm and displays the result in the form of a box around the hand indicating the character along with an estimated measure of accuracy.

Several members of this team also served as co-op students at DornerWorks and brought their talents to work with our engineering team during their employment. GVSU graduate, former co-op student, and current full-time engineer in DornerWorks’ Medical Solutions Group, Kendra Francis is now gaining real-world experience working on the development the embedded software for an electromechanical prosthetic. 

View the full story.
Computing GVSU student
GVSU School of Computing Alumni Kevin Kredit Wins Outstanding Thesis Award

GVSU School of Computing Alumni Kevin Kredit Wins Outstanding Thesis Award

The Grand Valley State University Midwest Association of Graduate Schools (MAGS) Thesis Review Committee has selected School of Computing alumnus, Kevin Kredit’s master’s thesis: “Confronting Wicked Crypto Wicked Problems, Encryption Policy, and Exceptional Access Technology” as the GVSU nominee for the 2023 MAGS Master’s Thesis Award competition in the Mathematics, Physical Sciences, and Engineering category. The review committee deemed his work to be the strongest representation of GVSU’s graduate student thesis work from the past two academic years. 

Kredit earned a master's in Computer Information Systems in the Fall of 2020. In deciding on what topic to choose for his thesis, he asked himself, “What do I want to read that hasn't been written yet?” which led him to the area of technology and policy. “Because of the rate of technological change, many of the most interesting problems in tech are not about the technology itself, but how it interacts with society. Encryption was a particularly good focus because it was an area of active political debate but was still technical enough for a computer science thesis.”

The process of developing the thesis included conducting research, determining an appropriate contribution to the discipline, understanding the challenges of the problem space, and of course, writing. “My goal was to write a paper I wanted to read, and by that measure, it was a success. I learned a lot at GVSU and credit the ACS master's program with helping me advance in the tech industry. While there are so many options online, I really valued the in-person experience with professors and classmates.”

His advice to current students is, “Follow your curiosity and take in-person classes when you can. For master's students -- go the thesis route. It's rewarding!”

Congratulations, Kevin!

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.