2016 Science and Engineering Week – Bringing Students, Faculty, Esteemed Alumni, and Distinguished Scholars Together

Spring 2016

As in past years, the School of Science and Engineering Student Government and SSE student organizations did a superb job in organizing a week filled with amazing events for 2016 Science and Engineering Week. This year, SSEGS and SSE expanded on the prior success with more students and alumni engaged and new activities.

Truss Competition

TRUSS competition Tulane alumni & industry judges and students: Back row, left to right: Mike Jackson, Bill Giardina, Jack Leary, Jack Laborde, Bryan Hassett, Bob Bruce, Ryan Burks. Front row, left to right: Suresh Shah, Lan Nguyen, Oyindayo “Honey” Hassan, Ann-Marie Barfield, George Kleinpeter.


Each day’s events covered a broad spectrum of exciting activities with mornings starting off with coffee and donuts hosted by various student organizations. The SSE Dean’s Forum welcomed all students for a discussion and question and answer session. Distinguished speakers were Dr. Ken Ferrier, Georgia Tech, (lecture: Sea Level Rise in Himalayas) and Dr. Francis X. Shen, University of Minnesota (lecture: New Orleans, Neuroscience, and the Law: An Introduction to Neurolaw). Troy Schaudt from Wolfram Research gave a special seminar on the Mathematica computing environment and Wolfram Alpha, which was of special interest to students and faculty from all fields who are interested in computation. Tulane alumna Celia Blum, BS in civil engineering, led a vibrant round-table discussion with graduate and undergraduate students of her career path, starting from when she graduated from Tulane in 1984 until she joined the Orion Spacecraft Program as an engineer in 2005. Blum also presented at the 2016 Tulane Engineering Forum (presentation: My life as an Engineer: the Orion Spacecraft Program). Tulane alumnus Dr. Steven Paul, BA in biology and psychology and MS and MD from the Tulane School of Medicine was the guest lecturer in the John J. Witmeyer III Colloquium sponsored by Newcomb-Tulane College. Paul, who is an expert in neuroscience with an extensive record in central nervous system (CNS) drug discovery and development, gave a lecture on Alzheimer’s disease. Paul discussed the genetic bases for the disease and how disease-modifying gene therapy treatments might delay the development of symptoms in patients who are at risk of developing the disorder that is “100 percent incurable and 100 percent fatal.”

School of Science and Engineering faculty and students are engaged in a wide range of collaborative projects and programs across campus in the health sciences, the environmental sciences, and innovation and entrepreneurship. The second Novel Tech Challenge final presentations and awards ceremony brought together eight teams who have been working on creative and innovative projects. All of the teams engaged the audience as they shared their ideas and implementation plans. The panel of judges, James Dillard, Brian Howell, Joel Kanter, and, Dr. Steven Paul, had a difficult task choosing the winners. The Audience Favorite prize went to "FailUp". “Biopsi” won the prize for the novice team, and “Bioaesthetics” won for the experienced team. Emcee John Christie, Executive Director of the Office of Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property Development, concluded that all of the teams were winners! Special thanks to the Burton D. Morgan Foundation for sponsoring the challenge, the faculty and alumni mentors, Rusty Pickering and Brian Howell, for help with the Interim Reports, and the faculty and staff, especially Greg Stein, who coordinator the Novel Technology Challenge. It was a great success!

A very exciting and successful addition to this year’s schedule was the Statics class Truss Loading Competition, led by Dr. Katherine Kleinpeter Raymond. Biomedical Engineering professors Dr. Aung and Dr. Gilbertson’s past efforts to involve design in the course experience set the path for this class to utilize Dr. Walker's new, soon-to-be-expanded Maker Space. This was an added benefit to this year’s student experience. The students' use of this robust facility early in their careers intrigued and motivated them to fully explore the possibilities of their engineering education. The students applied new concepts, learned how to use new equipment and programs, designed, and worked collaboratively with their peers. This also was an opportunity for them to meet new colleagues, experience testing their own designs, and truly learn by doing. As well as the educational benefits, the students had an opportunity to meet alumni and industry professionals who volunteered their time as competition judges, Ryan Burks, Bill Giardina, Bryan Hassett, Mike Jackson, George Kleinpeter, Jack Laborde, Jack Leary, and Suresh Shah.

Founded in 2000, the annual Tulane Engineering Forum is presented by the engineering alumni of Tulane University and The Tulane School of Science and Engineering. The 16th Annual Tulane Engineering Forum was held at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on Friday. We were honored to welcome NASA astronauts, husband and wife team Douglas Hurley and Karen Nyberg as the luncheon speakers with their presentation: A First-hand Overview of the Last 15 Years of Human Space Flight and a Look into NASA’s Future Plans. Hurley is a Tulane graduate, class of 1988. It was also our privilege to bring together experts from around the country to share their knowledge with more than 500 professional engineers, scientists and technical managers.

On Saturday, the week closed with the BME Team Design Annual Public Show in the Lavin-Bernick Center for University Life. Presentations of team design projects by our ‘Biomedical Engineering Seniors: the Class of 2016’ addressed healthcare-related needs in the domains of pain management, reconstructive surgery, hospital patient tracking, cardiac health monitoring in low-resource settings, and surgical simulation & training.

The School of Science and Engineering extends its gratitude to all who participated in this dynamic and memorable Science and Engineering Week.

School of Science and Engineering, 201 Lindy Boggs Center, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5764