Archives for March 2013

In print

Ben Bayse, professor emeritus of mechanical engineering, published an autobiography titled Lightening Ben: I Flew with Eagles.

Trent Watts, an associate professor of English and technical communication, wrote an essay titled “What Makes a ‘Newcomb Girl’?: Student Culture in the Progressive Era,” that was published in a book titled Newcomb College, 1886-2006: Higher Education for Women in New Orleans.

S.N. Balakrishnan, Curators’ Professor of aerospace engineering, co-edited a textbook titled Advances in Missile Guidance, Control and Estimation.

New approach to detect prostate cancer

Senior chemistry student Casey Burton is helping find an easier method of testing for prostate cancer without using high-tech machinery. Instead, he uses an enzyme to make a simple chemical fluresce.

Using a simple chemical reaction that makes metabolites in the urine samples of prostate cancer patients glow, senior chemistry student Casey Burton is helping find an easier method of testing for the disease than the conventional prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. Burton’s method is also less costly and more accurate.

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S&T wins ‘gold’ in mine rescue

A group of Missouri S&T mining engineering students won the annual underground mine rescue competition held at Missouri S&T’s Experimental Mine in October. It is the first win for S&T since 1988.

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Diane Strong: Breaking the mold

Stats: While a majority of the S&T student population tends to focus on engineering, ever-bubbly junior Diane Strong is pursuing a degree in psychology with a minor in technical communication. “Psychology is a science, so it makes sense to go to a science and technology school.”

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Margaret Olcott and Family: building a legacy

During the final weeks of his life, Eugene L. Olcott, MetE’40, decided he wanted to give something back to the school that had prepared him for a successful career. “He wanted to give something tangible that would carry his name and be of use to the students,” says his widow, Margaret Olcott.

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Meet John Eash

John F. Eash, AE’79, MS EMgt’90, director of F/A-18 production operations for the Boeing Co. in St. Louis, began his two-year term as president of the Miner Alumni Association in October. Missouri S&T Magazine staff sat down with him to ask a few questions.

What is your vision for the association?
The Miner Alumni Association will continue to be a growing, thriving organization that is positioned well to support alumni, students, faculty and staff, and the Rolla community.

What do you hope to accomplish during your presidency?
It’s really all about what our association will accomplish. We aligned our committee structure to support our strategic priorities, with great committee leaders and members assigned to each. Over the next two years, they will accomplish great things — increasing our financial giving, strengthening our alumni sections, and improving communications with campus organizations and other constituents. I also look forward to increasing the number of active Miner Alumni Association members and the completion of the Hasselmann Alumni House.

What do you feel is the most important part of the alumni-university relationship?
The most important aspect of our alumni-university relationship is the shared responsibility of helping our students succeed during their college careers and beyond through financial assistance, career counseling, recruiting, mentorship and academic tutoring, just to name a few. When our students succeed in college and in business, it strengthens our reputation as a premier technological research university we can all be proud of.

Why should young alumni get involved with the association?
The ability to stay connected with old friends and make new ones, build professional networks with fellow alumni, and feel the pride that comes with giving back financially or through volunteering time to an organization that has helped many students — some that otherwise may not have graduated from S&T.

Marriage proposal makes national news

Two former S&T cheerleaders made the national news last fall thanks to a Homecoming marriage proposal caught on video that went viral.

Band members, who traditionally call out requests of the cheer squad, yelled to the group of alumni on the sidelines, “Hey cheerleaders, we want to see a marriage proposal.” The cheerleaders holding Tara Biggers, Phys’09, aloft spun her around to face her boyfriend of six years Chris Balven, BAdm’07, who was also held aloft, on bended knee. She accepted the proposal to the marching band strains of “Hey Baby.”

Erica Long, CE’03, a senior academic advisor in mechanical and aerospace engineering and S&T cheer and dance coach, filmed the proposal and posted the video to YouTube. By Thanksgiving, the video had been viewed more than 13,000 times.

Late in October, a cable news program called Right This Minute picked up the story. The video aired along with an interview with Biggers and Balven. But the story grew. It aired on the ABC Television program Good Morning America on Nov. 19, and later that week, was picked up by CNN.

Balven said proposing to Biggers during the football game, while cheering, seemed natural.

“That’s how we met,” Balven told Right This Minute. “I thought it would be kind of a cool idea to get the engagement to happen there.” The cheerleaders who assisted with the proposal are all alumni the couple cheered with in college.

Magnus named executive director of AIAA

On Oct. 22, 2012, former NASA astronaut Sandra Magnus, Phys’86, MS EE’90, became executive director of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. AIAA is a 35,000-member technical society focused on the global aerospace profession.

Magnus, who lived aboard the International Space Station for four months, was one of four astronauts to fly on the space shuttle program’s final flight aboard Atlantis in July 2012.

Historian wins state book award

Petra DeWitt, Hist’96, an assistant teaching professor in history and political science at Missouri S&T, received the 2012 Missouri History Book Award from the State Historical Society of Missouri in November for her book Degrees of Allegiance: Harassment and Loyalty in Missouri’s German-American Community During World War I. The book was published by Ohio University Press in April 2012.

Alumni-founded gaming startup gets support

The founders of IDC Projects, a gaming company started by three S&T alumni, stepped up their game last fall by getting an infusion of capital from two St. Louis investors. The firm was one of 15 St. Louis-area startup companies to win $50,000 from Arch Grants to further develop the business. Arch Grants also provides free legal and accounting help, plus access to angel investors.

IDC raised another $50,000 from Capital Innovators, a technology accelerator fund based in downtown St. Louis.

IDC Projects is a gaming and mobile app firm founded in 2008 by then-Missouri S&T students Michael Orlando, IDE’09, EE’10, MS EMgt’12, R.J. Miller, IDE’10, and Colby Hall, EMgt’09, MBA’10. The firm released its latest mobile game, Motocross Sniper, a virtual paintball app, last fall. The company’s first product was a free iPhone app that counts down the number of days until the next Best Ever St. Pat’s celebration. That app was created in 2008, in time for the 100th anniversary of St. Pat’s.

For more information about the company, visit idcprojects.com.