Lessons from Bolivia

This past summer the University of Missouri-Rolla’s chapter of Engineers Without Borders traveled to two destinations in Bolivia to apply their engineering skills to local problems. The first destination was a small boarding school in the Amazon. There the problem consisted of finding a clean source of water. The second location was in Inca Katurapi, a small village in the Andes where there had never been latrines. UMR students and faculty developed composting latrines for the community in an attempt to help reduce the infant mortality rate. What follows is the story of that adventure.

OGS earns its pearls

As the Order of the Golden Shillelagh celebrates its 30th anniversary, it’s tempting to relive the past and reminisce about how individuals “picked up the shillelagh” to provide financial support for the university. After all, that group of concerned individuals, like a grain of sand to an oyster, supplied the foundation for what became a lustrous organization.

[Read more…]

Explosives camp

As NPR reported this summer, "Teens at explosives camp learn how to use dynamite to obliterate watermelons and blast rocks from the depths of mine shafts.

Talkin’ ’bout a new generation

2 students social.jpgThe year was 1982. E.T. phoned home. Cable News Network, more familiar to most as CNN, was launched. Time magazine’s Man of the Year was, for the first time, given to a non-human: a computer. And the elders of the millennial generation were learning to crawl.
Spend a few moments on any college campus and you’ll come across members of this newest generation. Often described as collaborative, optimistic, open-minded, and achievement-oriented, these tech-savvy millennials have higher expectations (of themselves and others) than any generation before them, except perhaps the Silent Generation with which they share many of the same values.

[Read more…]

Talkin’ ’bout my generation

Generation Xers’ lack optimism, Baby Boomers seek individual freedom, and members of the Silent Generation were cautious and, well, silent. Stereotypes were made to be broken. The UMR Magazine asked alumni during Homecoming to share thoughts about their generation. Here’s what they said.

[Read more…]

Jake Midkiff: recent UMR graduate

midkiff.jpg

Vital stats

  • hometown: Farmington, Missouri
  • degree: bachelor’s in GeoE’06
  • current occupation: staff engineering, Qore Property Science
  • current location: recently moved from West Palm Beach, Florida, to Nashville, Tennessee
  • college activities: Engineers Without Borders (EWB), Pi Kappa Alpha
  • political views: liberal
  • [Read more…]

Fueling the future

One of the greatest challenges facing the United States in the 21st century is how energy is produced and consumed. The country’s dependence on foreign oil is often cited as a security risk, the Achilles’ heel of our economy. The concern is understandable: America consumes a quarter of the globe’s daily production, producing high levels of carbon dioxide and other emissions that many believe are contributing to global warming.

[Read more…]

Farming new fuels

Cattle and corn may soon connect at the gas pump
Ethanol pulled into the fast lane in Missouri this year when Gov. Matt Blunt approved a bill requiring that gasoline sold in the state be blended with at least 10 percent of the corn-based biofuel by Jan. 1, 2008.
As with most alternative sources of energy, ethanol has significant benefits: it‘s a clean-burning, high-octane fuel that can help keep gas prices down by increasing and diversifying the nation‘s fuel supply. Yet there‘s a major catch: energy is needed to grow corn and turn it into ethanol.
In ethanol production, the starch portion of the corn is fermented into alcohol and then distilled. Natural gas and electricity are used to run the ethanol plant, powering everything from the hammer mill that grinds the feedstock into a fine powder to the boilers that liquefy the starches.

[Read more…]

Getting on board

Soldiers at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., may soon get the chance to reduce their use of fossil fuels and ease the strain on their wallets – just by sitting down.
The idea is simple. A public transit system would transport commuters along the Interstate 44 corridor, from Fort Leonard Wood to Rolla and Lebanon. If successful, hydrogen-powered shuttle buses would then retire the gasoline-powered fleets, creating the first rural test site for the federal government’s hydrogen technology program.

[Read more…]

Ralph Flori: A jack-of-all-trades

Ralph FloriI didn’t go to college expecting to teach,” says Ralph Flori, PetE’79, MS PetE’81 and PhD PetE’87. “I wanted to be an engineer. My passion growing up was working with tools, building and creating things, and taking things apart.” Flori took his interest in how things work, his experience working in his dad’s heating and air conditioning business, and came to UMR. Today he is assistant dean of engineering for pre-college and undergraduate programs for the UMR School of Engineering, providing statewide leadership for Project Lead the Way. He also continues to teach as an associate professor of interdisciplinary engineering.

[Read more…]