Welcome From Dean Grasso

Dear Parents, Alumni, Faculty, Staff, & Friends,

The holiday season has flown by, some snow has finally arrived, and we have been busy building the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences (CEMS) into a world class enterprise. The first issue of Spire was very well received, and we had many positive comments from alumni, legislators, the University community, and friends of the College. Thanks to all who responded, and we look forward to hearing from more of you in the future. Please let us know if you'd like to read about something in particular, or if you have an interesting story idea.

The spring semester is a busy time at CEMS. In addition to the typical administrative challenges and the hustle and bustle of hundreds of Engineering, Math, and Computer Science students, we are working very hard to recruit a strong incoming Class of 2011. We are very pleased to report that CEMS applications are up over 15% from last year (with almost 1500 applicants for 180 openings), and we are planning to visit with hundreds of prospective students and their families during our Admitted Student Visitation Days in February and April.

We are also planning for Honors Day and our next Distinguished Lecture in April, Commencement Exercises in May, and in the coming months we will be very busy interviewing outstanding candidates for four new faculty positions (to complement the ten faculty members we added last year!).

Thanks again for your interest in Spire, and in the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences, and keep in touch!

Domenico Grasso, Dean

P.S. One small change that you may find of interest is that the Votey Building is now Votey Hall (see photo in the upper right of this page).

UVM Students Race to Save Our Environment

"Race to Win!" is the motto that speaks to the enthusiasm and excitement of a key group of energetic UVM College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences (CEMS) students who have formed a new UVM student organization called Alternative Energy Racing Organization (AERO). AERO's first project — called GreenSpeed — is to create a UVM hybrid racing car. This gas-electric hybrid vehicle will be powered by a motor that can simultaneously use electricity AND gasoline to power the car, and it will be designed with the ability to run solely on electricity.

The Beginning
Project GreenSpeed began when Doug Fraser, director of the Formula Hybrid Project from Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College, contacted CEMS Professor Jeffrey Frolik. Fraser had news of a new hybrid competition he was initiating with the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) designed to give engineering students the opportunity to explore hybrid technologies. more

CEMS Announces New Logo Competition

We need a new logo, and in order to tap into the creativity of our alumni, students, faculty, staff, and friends, we are coming directly to you to find out what creative talents can be found among the CEMS community.

We're looking for a logo "for the 21st century" that incorporates holistic thinking, problem solving, and the Unity of Knowledge (find out more about that here). Keep in mind that our College includes Engineering, Mathematics and Statistics, and Computer Science.

This must be new, original, copyright-free work that you produce. Due to institutional restrictions, we cannot provide a cash award, but the chosen designer will receive a $350 gift certificate to the business establishment of your choice (i.e., retail, restaurant, travel).

Please e-mail a file of your design to dan.harvey@uvm.edu or drop a high-quality printed version off at 109 Votey Hall. You may also mail a submission to the address below. Note: submission of the design to Assistant Dean Dan Harvey shall be considered confirmation of your intent to enter the competition, and if chosen as the winner, you will give the UVM College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences the right to license the logo from you world-wide, in perpetuity, for any purpose, in exchange for the stated prize. Be sure to save a copy, as non-winning entries will be not be returned. Good luck!

Dan Harvey
109C Votey Hall · 33 Colchester Avenue · Burlington, VT 05405

CEMS — Supporting Student Success

Ezra Kahn came to the University of Vermont's College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences (CEMS) from New York City in the fall of 2003. He received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from UVM CEMS in December 2006, and begins an Accelerated Master's Program for Mechanical Engineering this spring.

UVM allows Ezra to use nine credits from his B.S. towards his master's degree, saving him time and money. "I'm really excited," Ezra says. "The Accelerated Master's Program frees up a lot of time to focus on fun research projects." more

Engineering Vision 2020: CEMS Outreach

Earth's sustainability and the roles of population growth, water quality, disease prevention, food distribution and renewable energy resources will continue to challenge the engineers of 2020 who are currently elementary, middle and high school students.

These future engineers will need new strategies for engineering technology to create sustainability for the planet. "Solutions to the critical issues facing humanity, no matter how technologically laden, will require broad thinking beyond any one discipline," says Domenico Grasso, Dean of the UVM College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences (CEMS).

U.S. Students Falling Behind
But according to Albert J. Simone, president of Rochester Institute of Technology, students are falling behind at even the most basic level. "The current public education system at the K-12 level is broken," he stated in a recent report, "Tough Choices, Tough Times," prepared by the new Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce. The report goes on to say,

"The first Commission never dreamed that we would end up competing with countries that could offer large numbers of highly educated workers willing to work for low wages. Whereas for most of the 20th century the United States could take pride in having the best-educated workforce in the world, that is no longer true. Over the past 30 years one country after another has surpassed us in the proportion of their entering workforce with the equivalent of a high school diploma, and many more are on the verge of doing so. Thirty years ago, the United State could lay claim to having 30 percent of the world's population of college students. Today that proportion has fallen to 14 percent and is continuing to fall. While our international counterparts are increasingly getting more education, their young people are getting a better education as well. American students and young adults place anywhere from the middle to the bottom of the pack in all three continuing comparative studies of achievement in mathematics, science, and general literacy in the advanced industrial nations.

We have failed to motivate most of our students to take tough courses and work hard, thus missing one of the most important drivers of success in the best-performing nations.... [T]oo often our testing system rewards students who will be good at routine work, while not providing opportunities for students to display creative and innovative thinking and analysis."

In addition to these unsettling facts, a 2003 Trends International Mathematics and Science Report shows United States 8th graders ranking 15th in average mathematical scale scores, behind Singapore, Korea, Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei, Japan, Belgium-Flemish, Netherlands, Estonia, Hungary, Malaysia, Latvia, Russian Federation, Slovak Republic and Australia. Another eye opener is a 1998 Harris poll which shows that 53 percent of Americans have no understanding of what engineering is.

UVM CEMS Making a Difference
Reaching Students, Impacting Schools

The University of Vermont's College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences is dedicated to making a difference in reversing these disturbing trends. UVM CEMS is leading the way through a variety of outreach programs for elementary, middle and high school students, featuring engineering, mathematics, computer science and other technology-related, hands-on projects that challenge students to be creative and innovative thinkers. more

UVM Students Race to Save Our Environment
CEMS Announces New Logo Competition
Overcoming Challenges — Seizing Opportunities
Engineering Vision 2020: CEMS Outreach
Featured Alumnus:
Grant Gary '06
Featured Student:
Connor Tobin
Featured Faculty Member:
Dr. Donna Rizzo


As a 7th grader, Grant Gary (UVM Class of 2006) decided he could figure out how to fix the modem on his friend's computer. The Syosset, Long Island native was sitting on the floor with the computer in pieces when his friend's parents came home. more


CEMS Student Balances Soccer and Engineering

When Connor Tobin, a native of Fort Collins, Colorado, was thinking about college, he had a unique problem. He wanted to find a place where he could play Division 1 soccer AND get a first-class engineering education. He was considering Yale, among other colleges, and then he visited, and applied to, the University of Vermont, mostly because he knew UVM had a strong, nationally known soccer program. But he was pleasantly surprised to hear about the direction the UVM School of Engineering was taking, and when he read Dean Grasso's article on
"Engineering a Liberal Education," he was sold. more


As an engineer, Dr. Donna Rizzo has certainly taken the road less traveled. Prior to landing an Assistant Professor appointment in the School of Engineering at the UVM College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences (CEMS), Donna spent time teaching English to young children in Guney, Turkey (as a high school junior)... more

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