UVM CEMS Spire - Fall 2008
A Message from Dean Grasso

Dear alumni, faculty, staff, students, and friends,

Welcome to the latest issue of Spire, the electronic newsletter for the UVM College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences (CEMS).

If you have read Spire with any regularity, you will know I am a strong proponent of holistic approaches to solving the world's complex problems. However, this approach can only be successful when built firmly on a foundation that derives from learning the structured and ordered thought that informs and underpins many quantitative disciplines.

It is in this context that we seek measurable outcomes as guideposts along the path to realizing our overall vision and mission of educating the next generation of responsible leaders and creating the knowledge necessary to better understand and work in harmony with our natural, human and social resources.

I am very happy to report to you that, based on several key metrics — undergraduate enrollment and research productivity — CEMS continues to grow and thrive.

  • Compared to last year's applicant pool, we have eclipsed 1800 applications - for 200 openings. This up from only 790 applicants four years ago.
  • Undergraduate enrollment, which was at 537 undergraduate majors when I arrived, currently stands at 734, an increase of 37%. This increase in student numbers is also accompanied by an increase in student quality.
  • Faculty research has flourished, growing from about 3 million dollars in grant funds in 2006 to 4 million in 2007, and topping 5 million dollars in 2008.
  • A very important metric to me is donations by alumni and friends. Your generosity, in response to all our positive changes and our promising potential has also increased significantly going from 2006 $246k to $908k this past year.
I'd love to tell you more about the College in this column, but because of space limitations I will let you discover more news of our exciting progress in my 2008 State of the College address — entitled "Back to the Future, 2008" as well as the annual report of our faculty's scholarly contributions.

I thank you very much for your support. Together we will continue on our trajectory of making UVM a treasured, invaluable, and irreplaceable resource of knowledge for the state, the nation and the world.

Go Cats!
Domenico Grasso, Dean

Leahy Secures Additional $1.7M for UVM'S
High-performance Computer

from Supercomputing Online

Senator Patrick Leahy, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, has announced an additional $1.7 million to make further improvements to the Vermont Advanced Computing Center (VACC), which helps Vermont researchers reach new milestones in their fields. more

21st Century Textbooks: Stepping Stones to Success!

Undergraduate and graduate students deemed by many to be the best and brightest can attribute, in part, their success to the major role played by phenomenally talented faculty within the University of Vermont's College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences. Through the written word, professors have shared their visions and passions, and in so doing they have literally reinvented engineering education — one book at a time! Known nationally and internationally, these professors are established and connected with federal, state and industrial organizations, doing collaborative research and educational initiatives. They are also well known by educational publishing firms such as: Wiley, Elsiver, Lewis, CRC Press, Springer-Verlag, and SIAM.

And there is global notoriety for popular textbooks such as, "Abstract Algebra" by Drs. Richard Foote and David Dummit. Now in its 3rd edition, this book is used around the world, from California to India to Singapore, including Berkeley, Caltech, Harvard, Yale, and Chicago, and is considered a standard teaching tool for algebra. The University of Vermont's College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences is also well known for the prolific work of groundwater expert and world leader in groundwater modeling, George F. Pinder, whose ninth book entitled, "Essentials of Multiphase Flow and Transport in Porous Media", was recently published by Wiley. more

CEMS Chapter of Engineers Without Borders:
Making a Difference

By Jacqueline Elizabeth Bell
I was proud to have established the UVM chapter of Engineers Without Borders in the spring 2006. It is an engineering club not motivated by winning first place in a competition or designing a widget to win a prize. Instead, our projects truly impact the communities we work with. Our current project is taking us to Honduras.

New Evaporators and Fuel for Sugarcane Farmers
Traditionally, wood has been burned as fuel in the sugaring process of many sugarcane farmers in Honduras. This has led to the deforestation of rain forests within the country. As a result, wood prices have risen and sugar farmers have turned to rubber tires as a new fuel source. But neither may be a good choice. more

CEMS Scholarships

By David Moss, Scholarship Coordinator
On the Friday of homecoming weekend, the University hosted its third annual Scholarship Luncheon, an event that publicly recognized students for their academic accomplishments and thanked donors for their generosity. This year, fifty three students from the College of Engineering & Mathematical Sciences are receiving scholarships, and they come from a wide range of backgrounds: they represent every major in the College and hail from far away as Seattle and as close as Burlington. These scholarships do much more than provide rewards and incentives; for some students, they make it easier to purchase their books and supplies, fund undergraduate research or study abroad. But for many, scholarships simply make it possible to continue to afford the cost of their education. However, this small group of students represents less than 10% of the College's undergraduate enrollment, leaving out many more deserving students. While we are ever-appreciative for the generosity of our donors, the work of providing more scholarship opportunities to more students is a goal that we will continually be working toward.

To explore the possibilities of contributing to the UVM Scholarship Fund, or directly to one of the College of Engineering & Mathematical Sciences' Scholarship Funds, please visit the web site of Development & Alumni Relations: http://alumni.uvm.edu/giving/

Upcoming Career Services Events

Below is a list of a few upcoming and ongoing events, but please visit the Career Services calendar to learn more about other great events such as on-campus information sessions and/or interviewing dates.

» UVM's Fall Career Fair
» Career Counseling hours in Votey

View These Event Details

Leahy Secures Additional $1.7M for UVM'S High-performance Computer
21st Century Textbooks: Stepping Stones to Success!
Engineers Without Borders: Making a Difference
CEMS Scholarships
Upcoming Career Services Events
Featured Alumnus:
Peter Bernhardt '72 & '76
Featured Student:
Owen Brady
Featured Faculty Member:
Dr. Chris Skalka

Spire publisher (and CEMS Assistant Dean) Dan Harvey '84 caught up recently with Peter Bernhardt '72 & '76, who is currently the president of Pizzagalli Construction, one of the largest engineering firms in the United States. Peter is also president of the CEMS Board of Advisors.

DH: From perspective of someone with a 30+ year engineering career, can you comment on Dean Grasso's idea of "holistic engineering" and the value of a liberal education?

PB: Dean Grasso has directed a huge transformation at the school — looking to a more broad-based educational experience that blends math and science with arts and humanities. more


"Dancing is a universal language. You can go anywhere in the world, and if someone knows the foxtrot, you can dance with them even if you don't speak the same language."

So says Owen Brady, a CEMS junior in the School of Engineering. This is not a typical quote from someone who is majoring in mechanical engineering and is a certified auto mechanic (and who is 21 years old!). more


Professor Christian Skalka, an associate professor in the College's Department of Computer Science, recently received a prestigious Young Investigator Program (YIP) award, administered through the Department of Defense Air Force Office of Scientific Research. more

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University of Vermont
College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences
109 Votey Hall
33 Colchester Avenue
Burlington, VT 05405-0156