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 hard to believe another academic year is coming to a close, yet here we are. I am honored to congratulate our graduates on their many accomplishments, not the least of which includes completing a very rigorous degree program during a worldwide pandemic. I am also excited to congratulate the many PCEC students who received awards for academic excellence this semester. You have much to be proud of, and a bright future ahead of you. As you move on to your next adventures, remember that you are a Laker for a Lifetime! We hope you will stay in touch and stay engaged with the college throughout your career. Check out our Alumni Connections website for information on how to stay involved.
As you will read in the newsletter below, GVSU is committed to making opportunities to enter STEM careers available to more, and more diverse, students. Our new articulation agreement with Fort Valley State University will give some truly talented students the opportunity to complete a master’s degree in computing or engineering at GVSU, and we are thrilled to welcome them. This is the first of many anticipated STEM pipeline agreements and we look forward to partnering with local employers to provide opportunities for these students as they arrive in West Michigan.
As always, I enjoy hearing from you. If you have questions or comments, follow this link to Connect with the Dean.

Wishing you a wonderful spring/summer break. Go Lakers!
Representatives from GVSU and Fort Valley State University meet to sign articulation agreement
From Left: Dean Paul Plotkowski, Vice President B. Donta Truss, FVSU President Paul A. Jones, and Provost T. Ramon Stuart

Agreement with HBCU Creates Pathway for Students, Helps Diversify Area Workforce

Leaders at Grand Valley signed an agreement with Fort Valley State University, a Historically Black College/University (HBCU) in Georgia, that will support students in a master's degree program in engineering/computing and help diversify the talent pipeline for West Michigan employers. The agreement 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.
President Philomena V. Mantella said this is the first of many similar collaborative agreements with HBCUs, an initiative that broadens Grand Valley's student population and responds to industry needs for a diverse workforce. "This agreement allows Grand Valley to build on the successes of the Padnos College of Engineering and Computing and offer a rigorous advanced degree curriculum to FVSU students in addition to the resources that will enable them to succeed, graduate and find jobs," Mantella said.
FVSU President Paul A. Jones said: “This collaboration will allow our students to benefit from the best strengths of both universities — receiving a solid foundation in science and technology and exposure to specialized courses, research and connections. We are immensely proud and excited to partner with GVSU in this opportunity to further our long-standing commitment of preparing students for successful careers in STEM.” 
Paul Plotkowski, dean of the Padnos College of Engineering and Computing, said this agreement is an extension of the college's internal combined degree programs and offers FVSU students support and resources to help them achieve success. "HBCUs offer students a supportive environment to begin their college career," Plotkowski said. "Many provide a strong foundation in science, mathematics, computing and engineering courses, but few offer undergraduate degree programs in engineering or computing. We are pleased to work with a great partner in FVSU to offer this program to students."
Watch the WoodTV8 news coverage below.
WoodTV interview regarding GVSU/FVSU partnership
Jenna Stolzman
Jenna Stolzman

PCEC Students Recognized for Top Academic Achievements

As the Winter 2021 semester draws to a close, please join us in congratulating PCEC students who have been recognized for academic excellence.
Jenna Stolzman received the Kenneth R. Venderbush Award, which recognizes a senior who has demonstrated an exceptional blend of academic achievement and leadership efficacy while making significant contributions to the campus community. Stolzman, a Muskegon native, will earn a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and then enroll in the University of Michigan's doctoral program. 
Several PCEC students received the Excellence-in-a-Discipline Award, which honors one student from each undergraduate and graduate discipline:
  • Adan Pantoja, Computer Engineering
  • Matthew Shan, Computer Science
  • Katey Armstrong, Electrical Engineering
  • Elizabeth Mitchell, Information Systems
  • Habiba Salem, Information Technology
  • Maxwell Chumley, Mechanical Engineering
  • Zachary Mikulec, Occupational Safety and Health Management
  • Chase Frarey, Product Design and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Justin Wickenheiser, Applied Computer Science (M.S.)
  • Daniel Wolf, Cybersecurity (M.S.)
  • Julian Carrasquillo, Data Science and Analytics (M.S.)
  • Jackson Brennecke, Engineering (M.S.E.)
  • Jigyasha Timsina, Health Informatics and Bioinformatics (M.S.)
Congratulations Graduates!

Celebrating PCEC Graduates

Padnos College of Engineering & Computing faculty and staff are excited to celebrate the accomplishments of our many graduates who overcame the challenges of the pandemic to graduate this year!
After the socially distanced graduation ceremonies in the GVSU Fieldhouse on Saturday, May 1st, we will be greeting graduates and their guests in Tent A outside of Kindschi Hall on the Allendale Campus from 11:00 - 11:45 am.
Stop by and say hello so that we can wish you well in your next endeavors!
STEM Alumni
Clockwise from Top Left: Bashayer Alhanini, Aaron Villafuerte, Matthew Shan, Hannah Nyeboer

STEM Alumni Give Career Talk

Four GVSU STEM alumni and students (three from PCEC) shared advice with current GVSU students about the process of graduating and finding a job at the virtual ‘Work Like a Laker’ Conference hosted by the GVSU Career Center.
Bashayer Alhanini is a 2017 electrical engineering graduate who now works as an Electrical Engineer at SoundOff Signal. Aaron Villafuerte is a 2019 statistics graduate who is now a Business Intelligence Analyst at Priority Health. Hannah Nyeboer is a 2020 product design and manufacturing engineering graduate who now works as a Manufacturing Engineer at Viant Medical. Matthew Shan is a current senior in the computer science program who plans to graduate in 2021 and was a former Software Intern at Meijer. 
The panelists discussed their experiences at GVSU and the process of finding employment after graduation. A common theme was the importance of preparing for graduation by gaining valuable experience through interning as soon and as often as possible, and by joining professional student organizations such as the Society for Women Engineers. Each of the speakers highlighted what they love about their STEM major - and the wide variety of paths that they followed to get to where they are today.
Students and faculty conducting research
Students and faculty using a microscope (photo taken pre-Covid)

GVSU Featured by Study International as a Leading U.S. University for Engineering & Computing

Study International highlighted Grand Valley State University as a leader in offering engineering and computing programs for students looking to make a difference in the world. Here's what they had to say about the GVSU Padnos College of Engineering & Computing:
"Hands-on. Practical. Industry-focused. 100% guarantee of experiential learning during studies. Nearly 100% employment upon graduation. 8,000 alumni with work experience in high-demand fields. These descriptors define an education at the Grand Valley State University (GVSU) Seymour and Esther Padnos College of Engineering & Computing (PCEC).
PCEC offers the following programs in rapid-growth STEM fields: Computing & Information Systems (several undergraduate and graduate disciplines such as applied computer science, cybersecurity, and information technology), Engineering (several undergraduate and graduate disciplines such as biomedical engineering, computer engineering, and product design & manufacturing engineering); Occupational Safety & Health Management (undergraduate only) and Professional Science Master’s Programs (several graduate disciplines such as applied statistics, data science & analytics, and health informatics & bioinformatics).
Each program prepares students to become highly successful professionals in their field upon graduation. How? By beginning project-based learning in students’ first year. Students gain valuable work experience through industry internships or co-op placements, in which they collaborate with professionals to solve real industry problems and engage in applied research and development."
Students discuss a research poster
PSM Students Discuss a Research Poster (photo taken pre-Covid)

Professional Science Master's Students Featured in 2021 Graduate Showcase

Grand Valley State University (GVSU) graduate students have an opportunity to showcase their work at the annual Graduate Showcase; an event offered by the Graduate School and the Center for Scholarly and Creative Excellence to highlight the exceptional work of graduate students. Academically excellent students from all disciplines are nominated by their respective Graduate Program Directors to share poster presentations on their research and scholarly activities. 
This year, the Padnos College of Engineering & Computing is pleased to announce that six projects from the Professional Science Master's Programs were selected. The 2021 Graduate Showcase went virtual in order to allow students and their audiences to remain safe while celebrating the scholarship and hard work of the presenters. Links to video recordings of the students’ presentations are provided in the full story link below.
Please join us in celebrating the exceptional work of these students! 
Students share research findings
Students discuss their research findings (photo taken pre-Covid)

PCEC Students Exhibit Research at Student Scholars Day

Student Scholars Day is a 25-year tradition at GVSU that brings together students and faculty from across the campus community to celebrate academic excellence. This year, Student Scholars Day was held virtually, with pre-recorded, on-demand sessions and live plenary sessions.
Several students in the School of Computing & Information Systems exhibited their work. Links to the pre-recorded YouTube videos are provided in the full story link below. Please join us in celebrating our students’ achievements!
Students in campus housing
Students in GVSU Living-Learning Community

GVSU to Open 'Game-Changing' Immersive Housing Options in Grand Rapids

Four new housing options will open for first-year or transfer students at Grand Valley this fall, offering an immersive experience that puts them in the heart of Grand Rapids - and one of those options is for engineering majors.
President Philomena V. Mantella called the Grand Rapids Living-Learning Communities (LLCs) a game-changer for Grand Valley's housing options, adding they will attract students who may prefer to live in the city, rather than the university's main campus in Allendale. "This community-based living experience allows students to collaboratively explore academic opportunities, learn from each other and, perhaps, discover new academic paths," Mantella said. "Being in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids will give students greater access to internships, jobs and other networking opportunities."
Kyle Boone, director of Housing and Residence Life, said the Grand Rapids LLCs are based on six successful communities on the Allendale Campus, adding that research has shown that living in a community has a strong impact on student learning and achievement. "Students are living on the same floor and taking similar classes," Boone said. "Living-learning communities at Grand Valley, by design, connect the academic and the student experience directly. Spontaneous study groups will happen and faculty members are right there to answer questions. Students on the Pew Grand Rapids Campus will have access to resources and services just as they would on the Allendale Campus."
Grand Rapids LLCs are designed for 200 students, apply online now to reserve a spot. 
GVSU Grand Rapids Living-Learning Communities

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