Thursday, March 31, 2011

STEM UP! Summer Program 2011 Accepting Applications

The University of Hartford STEM summer program - STEM UP! - will take place June 20-July 22.

The program is designed to promote diversity in STEM fields by encouraging women, minorities, and persons with disabilities to pursue careers in STEM. Students will experience five-weeks of STEM-immersion featuring exciting and relevant projects in science, engineering, and architecture. There will be weekly field trips to STEM-related industries and institutions, including the Connecticut Science Center.

The program is funded by the National Science Foundation and is offered at essentially zero cost to the student (a small registration fee of $25 will be charged to cover administrative costs). Click here to view a flyer. An application form can be downloaded from University of Hartford website at

For more information, contact Abby Ilumoka, STEM UP! director and professor of electrical and computer engineering, at or Ann Lankford, STEM UP! administrator and director of student services in architecture, at or 860.768.4339.


CETA Professor Patricia Mellodge published in the latest IEEE GOLDRush newsletter

CETA Professor Patricia Mellodge along with Diane Folz of Virginia Tech publishes an article about Microwave Curing of Guitar Finishes in the latest IEEE GOLDRush newsletter.

Click here to read the article:

Monday, March 28, 2011

CETA Professor Thomas Filburn published in Hartford Courant

Nuclear Safety: An Ongoing Imperative

On-Site Spent Fuel Is A Pressing Problem

The Fukushima nuclear accident is a tragedy for the Japanese people, but it should not signal the end of nuclear power in this country. What it should do is to spur us to resolve what is potentially the most serious safety issue with nuclear power — on-site storage of spent fuel.

Ending the use of nuclear power would drive Connecticut's already high energy costs off the charts. The state generates 50 percent of its electricity from the two operating units at the Millstone Nuclear Power Station in Waterford. The country gets 20 percent of its electric power from nuclear sources. These plants should continue to be one of the country's sources of electricity.

Look closely at what happened in Japan. The nuclear plants and their coolant systems essentially survived a 9.0 earthquake, one of the most powerful ever recorded. The enormous tsunami following the quake, however, was more than the plants' backup electric power system was designed to withstand. The emergency power is required for cooling the reactor and spent fuel if the normal, off-site electric power is disabled. Spent fuel is still radioactive and must be stored somewhere outside the plants for years while its energy diminishes.

  Japan needed the backup electricity to pump water into the fuel containment areas. Without the cooling water, the nuclear fuel overheats dangerously. Designs from Westinghouse and General Electric for the latest nuclear power plants licensed by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission rely on large water supplies within the containment structure and the natural circulation of steam and water to cool the reactor after an accident. These designs can maintain the reactor in a cool, safe manner for at least three days without the need for emergency power.

But that doesn't solve the problem of storing spent fuel. The Fukushima nuclear complex disaster has shown that the spent fuel stored at the plant site does not get the same level of protection as the fuel inside the reactor core. Fuel in the reactor core is housed in a very strong pressure vessel and further enclosed in a thick, reinforced concrete containment bunker. The spent fuel is in deep pools of water that are nowhere near as well protected.

The U.S. stores all of its spent nuclear fuel at each plant site, including plants such as Connecticut Yankee in the Haddam Neck section of Haddam, which has long been closed and demolished.

A federal blue ribbon commission is now evaluating how to handle spent nuclear fuel. One possibility is to reprocess it. The U.S. has for decades operated on a once-through fuel cycle, which fails to use the residual energy in spent fuel. This policy stemmed from a Carter-era concern about nuclear weapons proliferation, and the fuzzy thought that not reusing plutonium would somehow set a good example for the rest of the world.

Reprocessing offers the opportunity to reduce, by as much as 85 percent, the volume of spent fuel that needs to be sequestered in a high-level waste repository. France reprocesses its own nuclear fuel and that of several other countries. The downside is that the U.S. does not have a reprocessing facility. Most economic studies indicate that reprocessing is more expensive than just storing the spent fuel and creating new fuel. But adding the long-term costs of storage may tilt the cost-benefit analysis toward reprocessing.

The other option would be the development of one or more federal interim storage facilities for spent fuel.

Such facilities, not at reactor sites, could hold spent fuel prior to the creation of a long-term, high-level waste repository. Though there are none now, such facilities are easy to build and not dangerous. Fuel that has been out of the core for long periods of time can be stored in dry canisters, which can be placed in concrete casks and cooled passively with natural air circulation, as has been done at many reactor sites (including Millstone and Connecticut Yankee).

The political difficulty of creating a long-term facility — witness the long-running controversy over Yucca Mountain in Nevada — may also argue for cutting the volume of spent fuel by reprocessing it. However accomplished, storing all of the spent fuel at the operating plants should not continue. It is too dangerous, too susceptible to natural or man-made disasters. That's the lesson from Fukushima.

Thomas Filburn, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Hartford, formerly worked in the commercial and naval nuclear industries.


Friday, March 25, 2011


The University of Hartford Architecture Lecture series continues on Wednesday, March 30, with a lecture,  Payette:
Architecture of Connections, by Ian Adamson, AIA, Principal at Payette. The presentation will focus on high-technology buildings that Payette has designed over the past several years, to projects currently on the boards, exploring the multiple users requirements that drive design decisions and the built form. The lecture will be in the Harry Jack Gray Center Wilde Auditorium at 4:44 PM, March 30. Visitors are encouraged to park in Visitor Lots D and K. The Architecture Lecture Series is made possible by the JCJ Architecture Endowment of the University of Hartford Department of Architecture.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Formula for Success Matt Plakunov Team Captain of University of Hartford Formula SAE

Designing a racecar fuel-injection system
Connecticut native
UofH Connection
  • Mechanical engineering major
  • College of Engineering, Technology, and Architecture
Most weekends you can find me at United Tool and Die on New Britain Avenue in West Hartford, where we work on our car. Since September, my teammates [Brian Behnke '11, Chris Dziurgot '13, Peter Cole '13, and Michael O'Connor '11] and I have been building a racecar for the Formula Society of Automotive Engineers (FSAE) competition in June in Fontana, Calif. SAE International organizes the competition. The University has had a team since 1994.
The idea behind Formula SAE is that a fictional company has contracted a student design team to develop a small Formula-style racecar. We are judged on all aspects of a business, including research, design, manufacturing, testing, and fund raising.
This year's car will be similar in design to last year's car except for the fuel injection. We are replacing the carburetor with a fuel-injection system to gain some power, reliability and to make the car as fuel efficient as possible. My senior project is doing the fluid analysis and fluid design of the intake manifold.
I work part time at Barnes Aerospace in East Granby. Being on the team helped me get the job. It gives you the opportunity to work with your hands. You actually get to build what you design, which is uncharacteristic of what you do in class. In class you learn a lot of theory but here you actually get to put a car together. It's that hands-on connection between the theory and actually doing it that I really enjoy.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Eppes, Milanovic, and Sweitzer Publish Journal Article

Tom Eppes, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, CETA; Ivana Milanovic, associate professor of mechanical engineering, CETA; and H. Frederick Sweitzer, assistant provost and dean of faculty development, have published an article in the Journal of Innovative Higher Education, (JoIHE, Springer).

The JoIHE features descriptions and evaluations of current innovations and provocative new ideas with relevance for action beyond immediate context in higher education. The journal focuses on the effect of such innovations on teaching and students with a balance of practice and theory.

Their paper, "Strengthening Capstone Skills in STEM Programs," describes a curricular strategy that improves the skill sets critical to capstone success in which experiential courses sequentially introduce challenging and open-ended assignments that foster cognitive learning. Using a scaffolding structure, assignments are organized into three modules: classical, transitional, and design of an experiment. Results obtained in a cohort of students confirm that students were better prepared for the rigors of capstone design using the proposed strategy. The paper recommends that this approach be considered as a national model for application across all STEM programs.

CETA Professor on CT NBC 30

Professor of Mechanical Engineering Dr. Thomas Filburn on NBC 30 discussing the current nuclear issue in Japan.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Leading African American Woman Architect to Lecture at Hartford

The University of Hartford Department of Architecture presents a lecture by Chicago architect Dina Griffin, AIA, a black woman (in fact one of only 262 black women architects in the US) who is the head of Interactive Design, Inc.
(IDEA) in Chicago, which has worked with renowned architect Renzo Piano on ground-breaking design and construction of a world icon—the new Modern Wing at the Art Institute of Chicago. The backgrounds of the IDEA staff are as diverse as the projects they undertake. The firm only hires licensed architects. Currently they have 10 professionals with experience ranging from ten years to 30. Half of the staff are women—a testament to Griffin’s commitment to bring more diversity into the field.
The lecture will take place on Monday, March 21, at 4:44 PM in Wilde Auditorium in the Harry Jack Gray Center on campus and is free and open to the public. Visitors should park in lots D or K. The lecture series is made possible through the JCJ Architecture Endowment of the University of Hartford Department of Architecture.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Free Tutoring for Chemistry, Biology, and Math

Free Tutoring Reminder for CH, BIO and MATH:

As you prepare for midterms or need to boost your current grade, remember to come to the Student Success Center (Behind B-Complex) to arrange to have a tutor.

There is also walk-in help for Math 110, 116, 140 and 145 in Hawk Hall 115 on Monday and Wednesday nights from 10 p.m. to midnight.

There is Ch 110 and 111 and Bio 110, 111, 122 and 123 help available on Tuesday nights from 10 p.m. to midnight in UC116 (lower level of the University Commons).

Ilumoka Elected to CT Academy of Science and Engineering

Abby Ilumoka, professor of electrical and computer engineering (CETA), was recently elected to the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering (CASE).

CASE is a private, nonprofit, public-service institution patterned after the National Academy of Sciences. As such, it identifies and studies issues and technological advances that are of concern to the people of Connecticut, and provides expert advice on science- and technology-related issues to state government and other Connecticut institutions. CASE comprises distinguished scientists and engineers from Connecticut's academic, industrial, and institutional communities.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Shetty Receives Patent on Wheelchair Safety Mechanism

Devdas Shetty, professor in the College of Engineering, Technology, and Architecture (CETA), has received a patent on a wheelchair safety mechanism.

This patent (US 7766342) has been assigned to the University of Hartford jointly with Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. Shetty worked with Avital Fast, M.D., of Montefiore Medical Center on this project.

The wheelchair attachment is designed to regulate the movement of the wheelchair as it descends the curb, and prevents the wheelchair from flipping over during such movement.  Shetty and Fast had an original approach to solving a problem that consisted of preventing tipping and wheelchair falls in city streets when one runs off the road curb.

Monday, March 7, 2011

CETA student wins post season honor

(L-R) Taylor Clark, Ruthanne Doherty, and Mary Silvia
Sophomore Hartford woman's basketball player wins Third Team All-Conference Honors.  Ruthanne is a sophomore Bio-Medical Engineer in the College of Engineering, Technology  and Architecture.
"Doherty’s honor comes on the heels of a conference regular season where she closed out the last eight games leading the team with an average of 9.6 points-per-game and 7.6 rebounds-per-game. Over the last five games, the Richmond, Pa. native posted three of her team leading four double doubles. Over the last eight game stretch, Doherty shot 46 percent from the field (29-of-63) while also proving her unselfishness by dishing out 20 assists.

This is the second postseason award for Doherty, who earned All-Rookie team honors after her freshman season. Coming off off-season surgery, Doherty averaged 7.5 points over 27 games while leading the team in rebounding with an average of 5.7 rpg. She also amassed 42 assists, second most on the squad, while shooting 45.3 percent on the year (81-of-179). " (Hartford Sports Information)


Service Learning Project in Kenya – Info Session March 8

Come to an information session on Tuesday, March 8, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in Auerbach 421 to learn about a unique opportunity to help support community development in Kenya this summer!

"Entrepreneurial Development & Sustainable Agriculture in Rural Kenya" is a three-credit program that will take place from July 25 – Aug. 7, 2011.

Students can choose one course from the following options:

- AUCX 190 ST: Entrepreneurial Development and Sustainable Agriculture in Kenya
- PHI 270W: Mind and Nature
- ES 496: Engineering Research
- SOC 446: Readings in Sociology

This service learning project is designed to support community development in rural western Kenya. Students across disciplines will get hands-on experience working collaboratively with faculty in developing projects centered on improved health and productivity, clean water supply, and sustainable agribusiness. They will also assist in supporting grass roots democracies in which the communities have a major role in designing, generating, monitoring, and maintaining projects. Students will learn a great deal about traditional societies and the complexities that emerge in the interplay between high tech cultures and ancient values and practices.

Cost: $4,575
Includes: International airfare from the U.S. to Kenya, tuition, accommodation, in-country transportation and most meals.

Application materials and scholarship information are available online.

Dave Pines: or 860.768.4560
Marcia Hughes: or 860.768.5694

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Alex Case: Equalization in Multitrack Recording

Alex Case will be leading a seminar on EQ from 7 to 9 p.m. on March 3 in Hartt room 343. Case is an associate professor of Sound Recording Technology at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, accomplished author, and active member of the Acoustical Society of America and the Audio Engineering Society. Alex's presentations are thorough, technical, and consistently entertaining, and we expect another excellent performance. "It's Time We Raise Our EQ IQ." Check out his new book at

The lecture is open to all university faculty, students, family, and friends who are interested in audio production.

Crosbie in Hartford Courant

In the “Commentary” section of the Sunday, Feb. 27, issue of the Hartford Courant was an article by Michael Crosbie, chairman of the Department of Architecture in the University’s College of Engineering, Technology, and Architecture, and a member of the Courant’s “Place” board of contributors. Crosbie was writing about the goal of developing an environmentally friendly neighborhood along Hartford's Capitol Avenue. To read his article, click here.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Dr. Steven Bedford will lecture on historic preservation this Wednesday, March 2, in the University of Hartford Architecture Lecture Series, at 4:44 PM in Wilde Auditorium on the University of Hartford campus. The lecture is free and open to the public. Dr. Bedford serves as the Program Director of the Historic Preservation/Building Conservation Program at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.  An Architectural Historian at Louis Berger Group and formerly a Senior Planner at Fitzgerald Halliday. Dr. Bedford holds a Ph.D from Columbia University. The lecture series is made possible through the JCJ Architecture Endowment of the Department of Architecture at the University of Hartford.

Scholarship Opportunities for Women – Deadline Approaching!

The following two scholarships are available to female students at the University of Hartford. The deadline for BOTH scholarships is March 1. You must also submit your 2011-2012 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) prior to that date so the scholarship funders can assess your relative financial need.

The qualifications for the two scholarships are below. Best of luck!


This scholarship is open only to University of Hartford students. Students are strongly encouraged to apply. The qualifications are:

- Matriculated, female, undergraduate student, attending part-time
- 22 years of age or older
- 24 credit hours or more at the University of Hartford
- GPA of 3.0 or higher
- Will attend both semesters of the 2011-2012 academic year
- Financial need will be a factor and is based on your Estimated Family Contribution from your FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)

- Matriculated in 2011-2012
- Resident of one of the 29 towns served by the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving (see, then click on "About Us" and "The Community We Serve")
- Female age 24 or above
- Enrolled part-time or full-time
-15 credit hours or more of college work (not necessarily at University of Hartford)
- GPA of 2.5 or higher
- Financially needy as determined by the Student Aid Report from FAFSA or by submission of 2010 tax returns

Please contact Karen Sullivan ASAP at, and she will send the application information to you via email. If you have any questions, contact Karen Sullivan, associate director, Adult Academic Services, at 860.768.4373 or


Competition for Architecture Students to Design a Home with 'Visitability'

Architecture students throughout Connecticut are encouraged to enter a competition to design a home with "visitability," incorporating features that make the dwelling accessible to people of all ages and abilities.

The design contest, which has a top prize of $500, is being sponsored by the North Central Area Disability Advocacy Network. James Fuller, associate professor of architecture in the University's College of Engineering, Technology, and Architecture (CETA), served as a technical advisor to the contest organizers.

Students who enter the competition will be challenged to design a 2,000-square-foot home using the three features of visitability. The three main features of visitability in home building design include a zero/no-step entrance, hallways that offer at least 32 inches of clear passage as well as wider hallways, and a bath on the main living floor that is large enough for someone with a mobility device or wheelchair to use.

Competition organizers hope to encourage young architects to utilize their skills to create home plans that offer Americans homes that meet all of their family's needs throughout their lifetime. The design contest is offering prizes to those students or teams of students that apply the principles of visitability to creative home designs that are also aesthetically pleasing and practical. A plot plan, floor plan and scale model of the final design are required.

Registrations for the design competition are currently being accepted. To register, contact Susan Salters at or 860.523.5021.

The North Central Area Disability Advocacy Network is sponsored by Independence Unlimited, a non-profit, non-residential center for independent living that helps Connecticut residents with disabilities to live independently in the community. Through peer counseling, information and referral, independent living skills training and advocacy, Independence Unlimited assists individuals in finding and obtaining the resources they need to stay in their homes and helps people living in nursing facilities to return to a home in the community.  The goal of the North Central Area Disability Advocacy Network's project on visitability is to increase the number of homes built with basic, simple accessibility features so people of all ages and abilities can find their place to call home.