Making tornado alley safer

Growing up in northeast China, Guirong Grace” Yan didn’t see many tornados in a country where the number of documented twisters is a fraction of those that hit the United States.

But as her academic career took Yan to several postdoctoral fellowships and then faculty positions in Indiana, Missouri and Texas, the assistant professor of structural engineering gradually found her calling. [Read more…]

Safer water and medications thanks to nanoparticles

Over 200,000 people die each year in the U.S. from sepsis, and an estimated 18 million worldwide. Endotoxins, which are fragments of bacterial outer membranes, trigger the septic reaction. [Read more…]

How many blasts can a mine seal take?

Kyle Perry is building a cannon to blast things like concrete blocks, hard hats and roof bolts at concrete seals in coal mine tunnels, all to test how well those seals withstand high-speed projectiles. [Read more…]

‘Mr. S&T’ hangs up his slide rule

No matter whether you call it MSM, UMR or Missouri S&T, Jerry Bayless has called it home. [Read more…]

Rolla Miner, Redux: Braden Lusk returns to S&T to lead his home department

Braden Lusk first came to Rolla in 1996 as a walk-on wide receiver from central Kansas who excelled at math and science in high school but admittedly “had no idea what an engineer was.” [Read more…]

Max Tohline: film for thought

Max Tohline came to Missouri S&T from Madeira, Ohio, in 2002 with a plan to study aerospace engineering. But an elective course in film caused his true passion to take flight.

[Read more…]

Matt O’Keefe: memorable mentor

Walk into Straumanis-James Hall and the building’s relaxed atmosphere may be the first thing you notice. The building is home to the Materials Research Center and its director, Matt O’Keefe, MetE’85.

O’Keefe, who is known for his friendliness and accessibility, will tell you he didn’t set the building’s tone — that he’s just trying to maintain what Bill James (professor emeritus of chemistry and a namesake of the building) created when he started the MRC back in 1964. James, who turned 90 in September, still has an office down the hall from O’Keefe’s.

But O’Keefe’s influence is undeniable. He’s been a popular professor at S&T since 1999, receiving several teaching awards along the way. He has a genuine concern for his students’ success, both in his department and in the Phi Kappa Theta fraternity, where he serves as faculty advisor.

Rick Szevery, MetE’02, a senior engineer with ArcelorMittal Burns Harbor, is grateful for O’Keefe’s mentorship.

“Dr. O’Keefe’s conversational teaching style and quirky sense of humor made his classes very enjoyable and memorable,” Szevery says. “He organized the course information in a way that made it easier to comprehend than in my other courses. And he was always positive and helpful. I really valued his advice and our conversations.”

O’Keefe was born and reared in Rolla, the son of the late Thomas J. O’Keefe, Curators’ Professor emeritus of metallurgical engineering. The younger O’Keefe took graduate courses while working for AT&T Bell Laboratories in Allentown, Pa., and earned a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign while working for the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.

Although he’s laid back, he’s no pushover and is honest with students. “Students don’t always appreciate or like what I have to say,” he says. “But sometimes it’s what they need to hear.”

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.

Eric Showalter: course under construction

Eric Showalter

Eric Showalter’s students used iPads to track construction projects in his Cost Estimating and Scheduling course. Photo by B.A. Rupert

Old class: Eric Showalter, associate teaching professor of civil, architectural and environmental engineering, has taught a construction management course called Cost Estimating and Scheduling for more than a decade. One semester-long assignment requires students to pick a construction site and keep a diary of everything that happens — from weather conditions to which subcontractors are on site and what work is being done. It gets them in the habit of observing and writing.

[Read more…]

Courtside lifesavers

AED

Missouri S&T athletic trainers Samantha Welter (left) and Elizabeth Sisemore (right).
(Photo by B.A. Rupert)

When athletic trainers go through certification to administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation or use an automated external defibrillator (AED), they rarely think they will actually have to use that training in real life.

[Read more…]