UT College of Engineering News

Freshman Design Expo highlights student innovation

Freshman design students show off their breath-activated inhaler prototype.

College of Engineering students are innovators- beginning in their freshman year. On Friday, February 24th, the College of Engineering hosted the Freshman Design Expo. Approximately 30 student teams presented and discussed their projects with visitors, including fellow students, faculty, staff, and community members. Projects included a motorized skateboard, campus efficiency apps, and an inhaler for dispensing medication- among other innovative design solutions. WTOL11 highlighted some of the projects from the expo. View the WTOL11 coverage of the event here.

Freshman design student explains “Green Roofs” project to local youth.

The College of Engineering has introduced several Freshman Design initiatives give first-year engineering students hands-on experience with entrepreneurship and introduce them to real world challenges faced by innovators and start-ups. The Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering (MIME) Department integrates a Freshman Design Project in the course MIME 1000: Introduction to Mechanical Engineering. After learning about entrepreneurship in the classroom setting, students form teams and create a business plan to market novel devices. In the Department of Bioengineering, students have the option to participate in the BIOE Freshman Design Club.  Teams work to address problems related to patient/doctor communication, hospital-acquired infection, and redesign of medical instruments and rehabilitation devices. Groups then develop and propose solutions to these real-world challenges. Several projects from these two departments were on display at Friday’s Expo.

Freshman students explain their ankle brace design improvements.

Recognizing that the spirit to invent and create reaches across disciplines, the College of Engineering supports campus-wide entrepreneurial initiatives. The College of Engineering hosted the Expo in collaboration with the Freshman Engineering Entrepreneurship Development club (FEED), Young Entrepreneurship Society (YES), and the First Year Rocket Engineers, (FYRE) a social and professional organization designed to enhance the college experience for freshmen or first year engineering students. Scott McIntyre guides students in the Freshman Engineering Entrepreneurship Development club, (FEED) which teaches freshman students to apply an entrepreneurial edge to the theory and practice of engineering, with mentoring from upper class members of the sister organization, Young Entrepreneurship Society (YES).

The annual event is likely to grow in the coming years as the the College of Engineering seeks to incorporate a design component into the first year curriculum for all engineering students.


Professor becomes Fellow of National Academy of Inventors

Dr. Sarit Bhaduri, professor of mechanical, industrial and manufacturing engineering in the College of Engineering, and director of the Multifunctional Materials Laboratory, has been elected a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. He is the first faculty member from UT to be inducted into the academy.

Being elected to be a National Academy of Inventors Fellow is a high professional distinction granted to academic inventors who have demonstrated a prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a substantial impact on the quality of life, economic development, and the welfare of society.


“This award provides great recognition of Dr. Bhaduri’s success in translating his research into commercial opportunities that can provide great benefit to individuals,” Dr. Frank Calzonetti, vice president of research, said. “His ability to look for applications of his research is impressive, and this award is a signal that UT is a national leader in research and technology commercialization.”

“This recognition has an energizing effect on me for inventing newer processes and products for the benefit of the society,” Bhaduri said.

This is the third fellowship of a national body Bhaduri has been elected to, having been recognized as a Fellow of the American Ceramic Society and the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering.

Bhaduri is listed as an inventor in approximately 35 U.S. and foreign patents, and has 37 applications pending. His inventions include wear resistant metallic alloys, innovative alkaline earth bone cement, antibacterial coatings, and synthesis of nanoparticles. He has strong expertise in the development of a wide array of materials used in structural applications, including orthopaedics and dentistry.

“I am excited and at the same time humbled by the fact that I will be joining a very elite group of people such as Nobel laureates and members of national academies of science, engineering and medicine,” Bhaduri said.

2016 Fellows will in inducted Thursday, April 6, at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston.

Spring Engineering Career Expo set for Feb. 22

More than 140 companies will have representatives at the UT Spring Engineering Career Expo Wednesday, Feb. 22, from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the College of Engineering Complex.

“Our employer participants include companies such as American Electric Power, Cooper Tire and Rubber, Dana, DTE Energy, DePuy Synthes/Johnson & Johnson, Fiat Chrysler, First Energy, Ford Motor Co., GE, Honda, Marathon, Nationwide, Norfolk Southern, Owens Corning, Owens-Illinois, Zimmer Biomet and many more,” said Dr. Vickie Kuntz, director of the Engineering Career Development Center.

Approximately 600 engineering students, graduates and alumni are expected to attend the expo.

“The current job outlook for engineering students in the UT Engineering College is certainly bright as evidenced by the record number of employers registered to attend the college’s spring career expo,” Kuntz said. “This reflects very positively on the quality of both our programs and our students. It also demonstrates our dynamic and mutually beneficial partnership we have with our industry participants.”

Employers are seeking undergraduate students to participate in engineering co-op assignments, as well as leadership development programs. Employers also are seeking seniors and graduates for full-time employment.

The UT College of Engineering undergraduate mandatory co-op program is one of only eight mandatory engineering co-op programs in the country.

“Many students indicate our co-op program is the reason they attend the UT College of Engineering,” Kuntz said. “Our program requires our students to graduate with one full year of professional engineering experience. Our students feel confident seeking full-time employment upon graduation. Co-op employers are able to work with these students and are able to determine how the student fits within their organizations. It’s a win-win situation for our students and the employers who hire them.”

For more information, go to eng.utoledo.edu/coop/career_expo or contact Kuntz at vickie.kuntz@utoledo.edu.

Reception slated for longtime dean

Campus community members are invited to a farewell reception for Dr. Nagi Naganathan Friday, Feb. 10, from 3 to 5 p.m. in the Thomas and Elizabeth Brady Engineering Innovation Center.

In November, Naganathan, dean of the College of Engineering, was named the seventh president of the Oregon Institute of Technology.



“As you can imagine, this is a bittersweet moment for me. UT granted me the privilege of shaping the futures of thousands of students in many ways. I am truly thankful for the same, and I am so proud of how well my students are doing after their graduation,” Naganathan said. “When I joined UT three decades ago, there was in no way I could have imagined the wonderful journey I have had here. This was possible because of the extraordinary friendship and support of my faculty and staff colleagues, as well as our friends and benefactors in the larger UT community, for which I will always remain grateful.”

Naganathan joined the UT faculty in 1986 and has led the College of Engineering as dean since 2003 after serving as the college’s interim dean for two years. He also served as interim president of the University from 2014 to 2015. Naganathan is a tenured professor of mechanical, industrial and manufacturing engineering, with expertise in smart material systems and structures, robotics, vibrations and control, and microcomputer applications in electromechanical systems.

Under Naganathan’s leadership, the College of Engineering has achieved record high student enrollments and elevated its mandatory co-op experience program — one of only eight in the nation — exceeding 15,000 placements in partnership with more than 1,600 employers in more than 40 states in the U.S. and in more than 30 countries.

He grew the College of Engineering with the addition of the Nitschke Technology Commercialization Complex and the Thomas and Elizabeth Brady Engineering Innovation Center. Naganathan also created the Engineering Leadership Institute with philanthropic support from Roy and Marcia Armes. Roy Armes is a 1975 UT mechanical engineering graduate who served as CEO of Cooper Tire & Rubber Co.

Alum dedicates cyber security lab, study lounge

Paul Hotmer cuts the ribbon, dedicating the Paul A. Hotmer CSTAR Lab

On January 27th, the College of Engineering dedicated the Paul A. Hotmer Family CSTAR Lab and study lounge. Mr. Hotmer’s contribution to the CSTAR Lab will fund cutting edge software and equipment. Through gaming and simulation, cyber security competitions, and other applications, engineering students will gain the skills they need to solve the challenges of tomorrow. Students might go on to preempt cyber attacks, aid national defense, or support forensic research, for instance.

Paul Hotmer is twice an alumnus of this college, graduating in 1955 with a bachelors in general engineering and 1961 with a masters in engineering. He then spent 40 years of his career as an employee of Owens-Illinois on the site that now houses the College of Engineering. He served the company as a technician and as a computer software manager. After retiring from OI, he continued to work as a software specialist at this location when Edison Industrial Systems took over the buildings now known as North Engineering and Palmer Hall.

Dr. Ahmad Javaid, Dr. Mansoor Alam, Paul Hotmer, and Interim Dean Steve LeBlanc at the dedication of the Paul A. Hotmer Family Study Lounge

Paul’s gift leaves a legacy both at his alma mater and at the physical site where his career unfolded. He worked for OI during a time of major technological innovation- he experienced the shift from manual drawings and manufacturing to computer-aided design and manufacturing. The extreme change he embraced in just a few decades illustrates the importance of preparing students both for current industry needs and for future technology expansion.


Paul Hotmer with students in the CSTAR lab

Speed school: UT students design race car from scratch


Often college means learning the nuts and bolts of life — sometimes literally.

UT club to compete in American College Cricket Nationals

The UT Cricket Club is one of 24 teams that will play in the American College Cricket Nationals starting March 15 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

The UT Cricket Club showed off its second-place trophy from the 2016 American College Cricket Midwest Championship. Posing for the photo were, from left, Koushik Rajapandian, Mahesh Pillai, Raj Patel, Akshay Chawan, Govind Sharma, Balram Yadav, President Sharon L. Gaber, Mohammad Wadood Majid, Rajeev Reddy, Naveen Tripathi, Swapnil Jadhav, Raviraj Wala, Abhijeet Thakur, and Dr. Sammy Spann, assistant provost for international studies and programs.

The UT Cricket Club showed off its second-place trophy from the 2016 American College Cricket Midwest Championship. Posing for the photo were, from left, Koushik Rajapandian, Mahesh Pillai, Raj Patel, Akshay Chawan, Govind Sharma, Balram Yadav, President Sharon L. Gaber, Mohammad Wadood Majid, Rajeev Reddy, Naveen Tripathi, Swapnil Jadhav, Raviraj Wala, Abhijeet Thakur, and Dr. Sammy Spann, assistant provost for international studies and programs.

The club advanced to the nationals by finishing second in the 2016 American College Cricket Midwest Championship, where the top 12 universities competed for the Midwest Region Gordon Gee Championship.

Under the captainship of Raj Patel, the UT Cricket Club defeated 2016 season champion Wayne State University in the semifinals and secured its place in the nationals. UT beat Wayne State in October at Lyon Oaks Cricket Field in Wixom, Mich.

With that win, the UT club became the new No. 2 team in the Midwest. League play for UT included facing Penn State University and Ryerson University.

The UT Cricket Club is one of 24 teams that will play in the American College Cricket Nationals starting March 15 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

The UT Cricket Club is one of 24 teams that will play in the American College Cricket Nationals starting March 15 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

“It was a dream come true for all the team to take UT to the national level in cricket. Beating Wayne State University was a very tough task as they are a pretty strong team and winners in the past,” said Yogendra Patil, right arm fast bowler and batsmen. “I am looking forward for the nationals in March. Me and the team will give 100 percent to bring home the trophy — #gorockets!”

Not only did UT finish as runners-up in the Midwest, the Player of the Series Award went to University alumnus Rohan Kapkar for his all-round performance, and Most Valuable Player was given to UT student Akshay Chawan, right arm fast bowler, batsman and secretary of the club.

“The UT Cricket Club is looking forward to competing and winning nationals in March,” Mohammad Wadood Majid, opening batsman and president of the club, said.

“We hope to bring the trophy to our very own Toledo,” Nitesh Ralhan, club coach, added.

“While others were dreaming of success, we woke up, practiced hard, and gave everything to achieve it,” Chawan said. “For me, it’s a dream to play in such a big tournament in the USA, but to win I never imagined. It’s impossible to explain what I felt at that moment — just very happy to win. Winning a national championship in Florida is the No. 1 target now.”

The team has been playing together for two years and set out to compete in big tournaments this year. UT students and recent alumni comprise the team. According to the American College Cricket Midwest Championship rules, two recent alumni are allowed to play.

People interested in watching a cricket match can find games at Beatty Park in Toledo; Lyon Oaks Cricket Field in Wixom, Mich.; and Murphy Park in Pontiac, Mich. Fan also can watch on Sony Six Live and ESPN.

Engineering professor co-authors paper on flexographic printing of electronic materials

Hossein Sojoudi, Assistant Professor of Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering

Hossein Sojoudi, Assistant Professor of Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering

The printing of electronic devices provides inexpensive solutions for diverse applications. But precision on a nanoparticle scale limits the success of sensors and transistors that are electronically printed. Dr. Hossein Sojoudi, Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering, helped to engineer a solution: nanoporous microstructures that will serve as a next-generation stamp material, comprising polymer-coated aligned carbon nanotubes (CNTs). A paper on this new technology was recently published in Science Advances.

Since its invention in ancient times, relief printing, commonly called flexography, has been used to mass-produce artifacts ranging from decorative graphics to printed media. At present, higher resolution flexography is essential to manufacturing of low-cost, large-area printed electronics. However, due to contact-mediated liquid instabilities and spreading, the resolution of flexographic printing using elastomeric stamps is limited to 50-100 µm. “We designed and engineered the highly porous CNT microstructures to be wetted by colloidal inks, and to transfer a thin layer to a target substrate upon brief mechanical contact. This enabled printing of diverse micron-scale patterns of a variety of functional nanoparticle inks onto both rigid and compliant substrates,” Sojoudi said.

Sojoudi’s role in the research was to develop ultrathin polymer coatings to control elasticity and wettability of the porous CNT microstructures, using initiated chemical vapor deposition (iCVD).

“With a 30 nm thick polymer coating, we were able to prevent aggregation and shrinkage of the porous microstructures,” he said. “In addition to having micrometer-scale resolution, the direct printing of patterns with uniform nanoscale thickness is greatly beneficial to scalable manufacturing of devices such as high-performance transistors and low-cost wireless sensors.”

Dr. Sojoudi helped fabricate a stamp made from carbon nanotubes that is able to print electronic inks onto rigid and flexible surfaces. Photo credit: Sanha Kim and Dhanushkodi Mariappan

Dr. Sojoudi helped fabricate a stamp made from carbon nanotubes that is able to print electronic inks onto rigid and flexible surfaces. Photo credit: Sanha Kim and Dhanushkodi Mariappan

The project was led by Dr. Sanha Kim, a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. A. John Hart’s research group, in collaboration with other research groups at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Sojoudi was part of the research team while conducting his postdoctoral research with Prof. Gareth H. McKinley and Prof. Karen K. Gleason at MIT, before joining UT in August 2016.

This research news has been shared widely. Read more here:

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Alumna’s gift makes holiday bright for one UT student

Daniela Somaroo hopped in her car Dec. 18 in Detroit and drove down I-75 to visit friends in Toledo — and to make one special delivery.

First stop for the UT alumna: the home of Dr. Sammy Spann, assistant provost for international studies and programs.

She handed Spann a check for $4,000, a donation to the Center for International Studies and Programs.

Dr. Sammy Spann and Daniela Somaroo smiled for the camera.

Dr. Sammy Spann and Daniela Somaroo smiled for the camera.

“He immediately rejected it, which I expected was going to happen,” Somaroo recalled. “And I said, ‘No, this is something that I really need to do, and I’m not going to take it back because this could help somebody else.’”

“This was an unexpected blessing,” Spann said of the generous donation. “This will be used to help a young lady from Haiti who was getting ready to go home due to lack of funds. Now she can take classes next semester.”

Two years ago, Somaroo was that young lady lacking funds for school.

“During my last semester, the government body that administers currency exchange in my country wasn’t approving the release of dollars for me to be able to pay for school anymore,” the native of Caracas, Venezuela, said. “And, of course, if you don’t pay your last semester, you don’t get your diploma. That was my concern: If I didn’t have my diploma, I wouldn’t be able to submit my paperwork for a work visa.”

Somaroo was at the Center for International Studies and Programs and happened to see Spann.

“Like the awesome person Sammy is, he asked, ‘Hey, how are you doing? Were you able to pay for your semester?’ I wasn’t going to lie to him, and I told him I was still about $4,000 short, and I was graduating in four days,” Somaroo said. “I can walk in the ceremony, but I wouldn’t receive my diploma.

“So he talked to Cheryl Thomas, executive assistant in the Center for International Studies and Programs, who is also a great person, and he said, ‘Hey Cheryl, can you find $4,000 for Daniela’s account?’ And then he said, ‘Congratulations, you’ve graduated.’ That was just a shocker. Things like that don’t happen all the time. It was a life saver. I am forever indebted to him.”

It was December 2014, and Somaroo received a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering. Then she landed a job as a service engineer at Honeywell International Inc. and moved to Merrillville, Ind. For the past couple months, she’s been filling in at the company’s Detroit office.

“Sammy didn’t say it was a loan,” she said. “But I made myself a promise once he gave me that money to pay for the semester; I told myself I had to pay it back somehow someday. It took me two years, but I made it.”

Spann was moved to tears by the gift and posted about it on his Facebook page.

Comments poured in: “So awesome people like her still exist. Wow!” “She truly has a heart of gold.” “Thank you so much for showing love to our students.” “What an inspiration. I can’t wait to give back to the Center for International Studies and Programs!” “It is so amazing to see Rockets helping Rockets!” “Thank you for reaching back and investing in others!”

Somaroo was surprised by the post — and the comments.

“It was just extremely overwhelming. I didn’t expect anything. Sammy’s thank-you and knowing where that money is going to were more than enough, and I told him that,” she said. “The amount of comments and love I’ve received from that post — my heart is full.”

Electrical engineering student lights up holidays

It’s a cool Yule outside iHeart’s WRVF station in downtown Toledo as more than 3,000 lights in the shape of a Christmas tree pulsate in time to 101.5 the River’s holiday music.

Last February, Alec Connolly was given the task of brightening up and adding joy to the sonic world this Christmas season. The UT junior majoring in electrical engineering is completing his co-op with iHeartMedia.


Alec Connolly, a UT junior majoring in electrical engineering who is working a co-op at iHeartMedia, posed for a photo by the lights that he synced for 101.5’s Christmas on the River.

Alec Connolly, a UT junior majoring in electrical engineering who is working a co-op at iHeartMedia, posed for a photo by the lights that he synced for 101.5’s Christmas on the River.

“My boss, Gary Fullhart [market director of engineering and information technology at iHeartMedia] came up with the idea, and we brainstormed and put the project together,” Connolly said. “He went up to Bronner’s in Frankenmuth, Mich., and he put this big bag of Christmas lights on my desk, and that’s when I knew it was actually going to happen.”

With a twinkle in his eye, Connolly began researching the project. By April, the UT engineering student had three units built for stations in Toledo, Lima and Napoleon.

“Most of the Christmas displays that you see are programmed to prerecorded songs; they pick 10 or 15 songs, and they program each individual light,” Connolly explained. “What we wanted to do is program it in real time. I can’t program every single light because on the radio, it’s random Christmas songs that play, so I wanted to do it in real time.”

Add a Raspberry Pi — a computer about the size of a credit card — running the free software LightShow Pi and it’s the most wonderful time of the year.

“The Raspberry Pi actually listens to the audio and converts it to the lights, which is what you see on the tree,” Connolly said. “Playing along to the music, the tree looks absolutely fantastic.”

“This is an interesting work that Alec has done,” Dr. Mansoor Alam, professor and chair of electrical engineering and computer science, said. “This shows that electrical engineering is not just hard work, but is also fun.”

“I visited Alec’s employer, iHeart Media, and talked to him about this project earlier this year,” Karen J. Gauthier, associate co-op director for electrical and computer science engineering, said. “His enthusiasm and willingness to go the extra mile to complete a project was evident.”

Synchronizing holiday songs and the lights proved inspirational for Connolly: “I’m planning to get the materials and make a unit again so that my house next year will have a display set up that’s synced to the River as well.”

The Sylvania resident wrote about the project for Radio World; read his article here.

And see the project in action in this video. Or dash down by the station at 125 S. Superior St.

“Folks can park by the Spaghetti Warehouse and sit in their cars and listen to Christmas on the River and watch,” Connolly said.