Emily Gibson receives Butcher Seed Grant Award

Emily Gibson, PhDEmily Gibson, assistant professor in bioengineering, is one of seven recipients of the 2014 Butcher Seed Grant Awards for her proposal, “Optimized deep-brain imaging of activity in over a hundred neurons for imaging seizures.”

The Butcher Symposium began in 2002 as a grassroots effort to bring together scientists from across the CU system to create collaborations and share data. Butcher Seed Grants were awarded in 2002, 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2012 to fund potentially transformative new scientific pilot projects that required researchers with different expertise to work together to address critical challenges in the biosciences.

Alumna Karen Maestas honored as the ACEC-CO 2014 Outstanding Woman in Engineering

Karen Maestas, P.E., URS Corporation, honored as ACEC Colorado’s 2014 Outstanding Woman in Engineering, is congratulated by ACEC Colorado President Greg Roush.

DENVER – The American Council of Engineering Companies of Colorado (ACEC/CO) recently presented top engineering awards to outstanding Colorado engineers who have demonstrated exemplary leadership and commitment to advancing consulting engineering.

Karen Maestas, P.E., URS Corporation, was honored as the 2014 Outstanding Woman in Engineering. The prestigious award recognizes an outstanding woman in a leadership position for professional achievements in the engineering profession and who is a visible role model for young engineers.

Maestas manages a complex portfolio of mine reclamation projects that has grown annually from approximately $500,000 in 2007 to more than $8 million in 2013.  These projects involve a myriad of state and federal requirements and a host of technical and implementation challenges. Using her expert technical abilities, management and communication skills, and thorough understanding of business operations, she leads a large, diverse technical team that provides a wide range of turnkey services for these multi-state mine sites. Her ability to lead multiple, concurrent and interconnected technical projects and to communicate effectively about complex technical subjects in a way that is accessible to the public are hallmarks of her career.

Looking to the future, under her leadership URS has been working with a university to test a biological treatment method to address elevated sulfate levels present in acid rock drainage at a mine site. Maestas’ team is also experimenting with spent brewer’s grain, ordinarily a waste product of beer brewing, as a carbon source, which is a promising “green” alternative for mine water cleanup. As an active community member, she also promotes math and science education through speaking engagements to students at elementary schools to higher education.

“It is such an honor to be recognized as outstanding in my profession,” said Maestas. “Solving problems is something I love to do, and throughout my career, I have certainly dealt with many challenging situations.  Being involved in successful environmental cleanups is one of the most gratifying parts of my job.  It’s amazing to see technology in action.

“I’ve had great mentors over the years, both men and women.  When I graduated from college more than 20 years ago, about one in five engineers was a woman, and that has not really changed much in the last two decades.  I encourage more women to pursue careers in engineering and science – it is great work that is challenging, interesting and rewarding,” she emphasized.

Maestas earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Geological Engineering from Colorado School of Mines in 1991 and her Master of Science in Civil Engineering from University of Colorado at Denver in 2001.

Additionally, Charles Keyes, P.E., Martine/Martin, Inc., recipient of the Council’s George Washington Award, which is presented to an ACEC/CO member who has provided outstanding service to the community, contributed to the progress of Colorado and the advancement of the public image of the consulting engineering profession.  Dan Phipps, P.E., Kennedy/Jenks Consultants, was honored as ACEC ‘s 2014 Young Professional in Engineering, which promotes the accomplishments of young engineers who are advancing the consulting engineering profession.


The American Council of Engineering Companies of Colorado (ACEC/CO) is the business association of 235 member firms employing more than 10,000 employees in the independent private practice of consulting engineering. ACEC/CO is a primary resource for accessing engineering information, expertise and business ethics practices.  The Council provides leadership and direction by developing practical, feasible options and solutions based upon technical collaboration to achieve enduring outcomes to benefit society.

Vu receives Google Research Award

TamVuTam Vu, assistant professor in computer science and engineering, is the recipient of a Google Research Award, a one-year award to support the work of faculty at top universities around the world. According to the Google award website, “The intent of the Google Research Awards is to support cutting-edge research in computer science, engineering and related fields, including public policies, geographical maps, economics and market algorithms.”

This award fosters the collaboration between Google and the Mobile and Networked System Lab in Department of Computer Science, and it will support an ongoing project called “One Ring To Rule Them All,” which aims at providing a ubiquitous solution for user identification and authentication through a novel communication technique called Capacitive Touchscreen Communication. This method exploits the pervasive capacitive touchscreens found in today’s electronic devices such as laptops, phones, etc., as a receiver for decoding identification and authentication information transmitted from custom-designed human wearable hardware tokens, such as a ring or a watch. The end goal is to unify all forms of authentication tokens, including credit cards, phone SIM cards, car keys, etc, into a single ring.

Congratulations, Tam!

The list of previously awarded faculties can be found here.

Xiaoye Chen receives 2014 ASNT Student Travel Reimbursement Grant

Xiaoye Chen, a PhD student in electrical engineering, has been awarded a 2014 ASNT Student Travel Reimbursement Grant. As a recipient of this grant, she receives free registration to this year’s American Society for Nondestructive Testing (ASNT) Research Symposium in Minneapolis, MN and up to $1,000 in reimbursable expenses. She is one of fifteen students nationwide to receive this award, and will be recognized during the Symposium at the Annual Research Council Dinner on Tuesday, March 25, 2014. With the support of this grant, students will:

  • Network with nondestructive evaluation (NDE) researchers from around the globe
  • Make career connections with researchers, engineers, inspectors and equipment makers
  • Attend sessions on emerging NDE technologies and trends to increase their knowledge base
  • Develop professional skills
  • Learn how the academic and research communities come together with industry

Xiaoye is a member of the Laboratory of Electromagnetic and Acoustic Imaging and Prognostics (LEAP) and is working with Yiming Deng, assistant professor of electrical engineering, on innovative electromagnetic imaging sensors for materials characterization and nondestructive evaluation. Her current research interests span from sensor development and prototyping, computational electromagnetics and image processing.

Congratulations Xiaoye!

Bioengineering students attend the Rocky Mountain Medical Technologies Conference

On February 19, undergraduate and graduate students participated in the second annual Rocky Mountain Medical Technologies Conference held at the University of Colorado Boulder. Highlights of the event were President of Advanced Surgical Technologies at Covidien, Chris Barry’s presentation on Career Development and an introduction to Six Sigma by Associate Professor of Engineering Practice, Ray LittleJohn. The day-long event concluded with a Career Fair, where students had an opportunity to speak with industry professionals about job and internship opportunities.

2014 Engineering Job & Internship Fair a Success

DSC_0267DSC_0272On Thursday, Feb. 20, the CU Denver chapters of Tau Beta Pi and the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), along with the Experiential Learning Center, the Career Center, and the Boots to Suits program, hosted the second annual Engineering Job & Internship Fair. More than 160 engineering students attended the event, which was held in St. Catejan’s on the Auraria campus. Fourteen companies participated, including Saunders Construction, Inc., ReadyTalk, and Jeppesen.

“The job fair was a huge success overall, and students were very appreciative of the event,” says Maryam Darbeheshti, engineering faculty advisor and faculty sponsor for SWE.

Multiple representatives commented that the students were well prepared and focused, which is something they don’t always see. Having a fair focused on engineering careers was a bonus for some of the employers, too.

“Participating in an engineering-specific job fair saved us a lot of time, since all the students who approached us were engineering students and we did not have to spend our time answering irrelevant questions,” said a representative from BAIR Analytics, Inc.

“We had a great experience hiring two of your engineering students, who turned out to be excellent employees,” said a representative from ReadyTalk. Earlier this month, ReadyTalk also participated in the ACM Tech Expo, an event organized by students in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering.

David Brandt, a graduate student in mechanical engineering and one of the organizers of the event, was impressed at the number of attendees and appreciative of the companies that participated.

“The job fair was a delightful experience this year, from the careful and thorough preparation and organization, through the well-prepared and interesting students,” said Eric Ray, director of platform engineering, Nexenta Systems. “We left the fair with some valuable contacts and a large pile of resumes that we will be working through over the next few weeks. We’re already looking forward to continued participation next time.”

Here is a complete list of employers that attended the fair:

BAIR Analytics Inc.
Behrent Engineering Company
BEW Global
Campos EPC
Computer and Communication Technologies Inc.
EnCon United
Engineering for Kids
Evaluator Group
Nexenta Systems
Saunders Construction, Inc.
Facility Engineering Associates, P.C.