Monthly Archives: November 2010

Engineering PhD alum named ‘Wisconsin Professor of the Year’

Kenneth Walz, a 2006 PhD graduate of the Environmental Chemistry and Technology program in the UW-Madison

Dr. Kenneth Walz

College of Engineering, was named “2010 Wisconsin Professor of the Year” today by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE).

Walz teaches chemistry and engineering at Madison Area Technical College and leads a consortium for education in renewable energy technology. He also is an adjunct professor in UW-Madison civil and environmental engineering and at UW-Stevens Point.

Walz was one of 38 exemplary teachers chosen nationwide by CASE from more than 300 nominees.

“I’m so honored to receive this award, but really the ultimate measure of my success is the ability of my students to achieve their goals and realize their dreams after they have left my classroom,” says Walz.

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Graduating at Age 94 — With an Engineering Assist

UW-Madison Communications posted a great article about Lyle Francis Robert Knudson, who at age 94 may be the eldest degree recipient in UW history. As an undergraduate senior in 1941, Knudson was called to World War II active duty in the U.S. Navy — on June 13, the same day of his last two final exams.

Knudson’s journey to a business degree almost seven decades later received a nice boost from Joseph Battenburg, a 1967 PhD graduate in mechanical engineering. Battenburg went to bat for Knudson as soon as he learned of his neighbor’s amazing story.

“Being a Wisconsin grad myself, I felt that something should be done to assist him,” says Battenburg. “Many universities have given students credit or degrees for life experiences, or because they have had their studies interrupted or at one time were refused admission to universities.”

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COE Engineers Help Trek Design a Better Biking Glove

During a long bike ride, it’s not unusual for cyclists to experience hand or finger numbness, a very common condition known as cyclist’s palsy. The condition ranges from mild tingling to, sometimes, long-term nerve damage and hand muscle atrophy over time.

The new Trek InForm cycling glove

A team of UW-Madison engineers has scientifically measured hand pressure during cycling and studied potential solutions to reduce that pressure, which can cause problems like cyclist’s palsy, a condition that Wisconsin-based Trek Bicycle Corporation estimates affects as much as 70 percent of cyclists. Trek has incorporated the UW-Madison findings into the design of a new Bontrager cycling glove that it will release this winter. Read the full story.

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Exploring Engineering: Connecting with Campus Early, and Often

Seven years ago, Racine Starbuck Middle School counselor Clarence Allen caught wind of Camp Badger, a weeklong summer engineering program at UW-Madison. For nearly a dozen years, this unique “week as an engineering student” has been integral to UW-College of Engineering efforts to interest young students in science, technology, engineering and math.

Allen’s students were oblivious, and he wanted to change that. “I was doing career development, and the students asked me, ‘What’s the point of math?’” he says. “I began to search for ways to show students that math is important—and that you can apply it.”

So Allen, a UW-Madison alum, called Engineering Professional Development Professor Phil O’Leary, whose department administers the camp, to ask if he could bring some students to Madison to learn about Camp Badger. “Allen felt he needed to do something extra to encourage the students to be interested in coming to Madison,” says O’Leary. “He put together this program where they have to earn their way to coming on this trip by doing special homework. Their parents attend a meeting, and then after the trip here, the students do follow-up homework.” (more…)

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Time is Money: The Quick-Response Advantage


Rajan Suri, a UW-Madison professor of industrial and systems engineering, discusses how quick response manufacturing can help companies reduce lead time, grow market share, and increase profitability by reducing non-value-added time, cutting inventory and increasing return on investment. Suri is author of a new book, “It’s About Time: The Competitive Advantage of Quick Response Manufacturing.”

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Students Try Hand at Inventing ‘Genetic Machines’

A team of University of Wisconsin-Madison students led by chemical and biological engineer Brian Pfleger will participate in an innovative contest this weekend to genetically engineer medically beneficial organisms. They are one of 130 university teams participating in the seventh annual International Genetically Engineered Machine competition. which will take place at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass., from Nov. 5-8.

“This year’s challenge is to deliver therapeutic proteins to the small intestine, in order to impact digestive health like the probiotic bacteria currently sold,” says Pfleger, noting that the UW team has taken home bronze medals in past competitions.

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