Remote Control

Over the summer, chemical and biological engineering faculty were able to bring a long-planned idea to fruition for their students. For the first time at The University of Alabama, the…

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In This Issue

Remote Control

Unit Operations Lab Goes Remote

Faithful, Loyal, Firm and True

Students demonstrate strength in the face of adversity

Virtual Reality

Two faculty members study effectiveness of online engineering education

Ingenuity in a Crisis

Alumna and students transform their daily lives to serve

Keeping the Engine[er] Running

Staff works to keep their offices productive from their homes.

Pandemic Parenting

Faculty balance family and work from home


Noteworthy News and Research


Stats from the College of Engineering


Events from Around the College






Items of Interest to Capstone Engineers
& Computer Scientists



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Where Legends Are Made Logo


A great education is more than excellent academics. From CEO of a global company to public servant and philanthropist, Sam Di Piazza turned the lessons he learned at The University of Alabama into a life of extraordinary service and leadership.

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NASA Selects UA Engineering Research Team for New Space Travel Program

NOTE: This story was written before the novel coronavirus pandemic. NASA has chosen The University of Alabama as one of 14 universities in its new program to innovate space travel….

UA Kick-Starts Six Projects Related to COVID-19 and Future Pandemics

Six projects designed to deepen understanding of the coronavirus pandemic and future pandemics and positively influence society will receive seed funding from The University of Alabama.

UA Senior Working Pandemic Front Lines in NYC Area

Aerospace engineering student John Glidden III is volunteering as an EMT and at a drive-thru virus testing site in a suburb of New York City.

UA Helping Fabricate Protection for Health Care Workers

The University of Alabama community has come together to help provide 3D printed personal protective equipment, or PPE, for health care workers locally and in the region.

AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety Supports UA Study

Transportation researchers at The University of Alabama are leading an effort to understand safety for those who respond to traffic incidents.

Southern U.S. Hotspots for Severe Consequences of Flash Floods

The worst region for flash floods in the continental United States is likely the Southwest, according to a recent analysis of flash floods by The University of Alabama.

UA to Offer Degree in Cyber Security

In response to the growing need for professionals skilled in the protection of digital information, The University of Alabama will offer a degree in cyber security starting this fall.

Cyber Security Scholarships Available to UA Students

The University of Alabama received a five-year $3.1 million grant from the National Science Foundation to provide scholarships to UA students interested in pursuing government careers in cyber security.

ALRI Awards Funds to Faculty to Address Neurodegenerative Diseases

Promising faculty members Drs. Lukasz Cielsa, Yuping Bao and Stanislava Chtarbanova-Rudloff will use funds awarded to support basic science research in the area of neurodegeneration.

ALRI Names First Fellows to Address Rural, Underserved Communities

Eight faculty members have been selected as Alabama Life Research Institute Fellows at The University of Alabama as part of ALRI’s commitment to establishing a foundation of collaboration within the University.


UA Holds Spring and Summer Commencement July 31-Aug. 2

UA held joint spring and summer commencement exercises last weekend at Coleman Coliseum, where more than 2,500 graduates received degrees throughout nine socially distanced ceremonies.

UA Offering Courses on Coronavirus

Three courses offered this summer at The University of Alabama will allow students to understand issues stemming from the coronavirus pandemic while exploring solutions to a PPE shortage.

UA students offer space-centered virtual classroom to Alabama schools

Students at the University of Alabama are continuing outreach efforts to state schools during the COVID-19 pandemic through online lessons.  The group of students called UASpace has created lessons using…

New to the college


DR. DAVID W. ARNOLD professor of chemical and biological engineering, retired May 31, 2020. At the time of his retirement, he was the longest-serving faculty member in the UA College of Engineering with 40 years of service. Arnold studied chemical engineering and earned his bachelor’s degree in 1971 from UA, master’s degree in 1976 from Georgia Institute of Technology and his doctorate in 1980 from Purdue University. His research primarily covered formulation, cleaning, rheology, atomization, combustion and commercial use of coal-water fuels; remediation of soil contaminated with oil; and formulation, rheology and process technology of the paints made from magnetic pigments that are used in the manufacture of magnetic recording media, such as audio and video tapes.


DR. PAULINE D. JOHNSON professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering, retired June 1, 2020, after more than 25years of service to The University of Alabama. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Salford, Manchester in 1983 and a doctorate from Queen’s University Belfast in 1992, both in chemical engineering. In1986, she received a graduate education degree from St.Andrews College, Glasgow. Johnson’s research interests were in the areas of water and wastewater treatment, sustainability, and student engagement in community service learning. She incorporated these diverse interests into innovative local and international engaged scholarship research projects involving infrastructure development, solar energy and the testing and treatment of water and wastewater for underserved communities in Peru and rural Alabama. Johnson received multiple awards including the Donald McLean Outstanding Civil Engineering Professor Award from UA’s CCE department in 2007 and 2009. She was given UA’s John L. Blackburn Award for Distinguished Contributions to Students in 2008 and the UA Distinguished Faculty Career Community Engagement Award by the UA Center for Community-Based Partnerships in 2015.


Three UA Students Earn Hollings Scholarships

Three UA students will receive the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship for 2020-2022.

UA Engineering Alumni Honor 2020 Outstanding Senior

Peyton Strickland, who studied aerospace engineering and mechanics at The University of Alabama, received the 2020 Capstone Engineering Society Outstanding Senior Award. Part of the University Honors Program and the…

UA Student Recognized as 2020 Better Scientific Software Fellow

Nasir Eisty, a doctoral candidate in the computer science department at The University of Alabama, has been selected as a 2020 Better Scientific Software Fellow. “Being a software engineering researcher…

Meet UA’s New SGA President

Demarcus Joiner, a junior civil engineering major from Roanoke, Alabama, was elected SGA president for the 2020-21 term.

UA Student Receives Goldwater Scholarship

Hannah Slater, a Randall Research Scholar studying chemical engineering and chemistry from New Lenox, Illinois, is the 57th UA student to receive a Goldwater scholarship.

UA Engineering Student Awarded U.S. Department of Transportation Fellowship

A University of Alabama engineering doctoral student was awarded a national fellowship with the U.S. Department of Transportation. Gabi Willis, a civil engineering doctoral candidate, was awarded a fellowship with…

UA STEM Students among Nation’s Top 20 in 20s

Two University of Alabama College of Engineering students are among the nation’s top 20 science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, students in their 20s.

UA Chemical Engineering Doctoral Candidate Earns Research Award

A University of Alabama engineering student’s research presentation was awarded a top honor at a recent international conference. Kathryn O’Harra, a chemical engineering doctoral candidate, was awarded first place for…


President’s Faculty Research Award Recipients Recognized

The University of Alabama is honoring faculty members for their research and creative contributions.

Two UA Faculty Members Named Fulbright Scholars

Two University of Alabama faculty members will receive Fulbright Scholar Grants for the upcoming year.

Four UA Professors Selected for Early Career Awards

Four professors at The University of Alabama this academic year received national recognition early in their careers for leading-edge research that will advance knowledge and enhance the educational experience.

AEM Assistant Professor Receives ION’s Samuel Burka Award

Dr. Jordan Larson, assistant professor in The University of Alabama’s aerospace engineering and mechanics department, was recently recognized by the Institute of Navigation, or ION, for his research efforts. The…

ECE Assistant Professor Named a SPIE DCS Rising Researcher

The International Society for Optics and Photonics, or SPIE, has recognized a member of The University of Alabama’s engineering faculty as one of the 13 Rising Researchers in the 2020…

ChBE Professor Wins International Membranes Research Award

An engineering faculty member at The University of Alabama is being recognized for his achievements as a young researcher. Dr. Jason Bara, a professor of chemical and biological engineering, was…

UA names new director of Center for Sustainable Infrastructure

The University of Alabama’s Center for Sustainable Infrastructure has named a new director. Dr. Daan Liang, a professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering, has taken the new role as…

Computer science professor named IEEE Fellow

A professor in the College of Engineering has been recognized by an international organization for his extensive research on Wi-Fi standardization. Dr. Yang Xiao, a professor in The University of…


UA Alumni and Friends Inducted into State Hall of Fame

Two University of Alabama alumni and a friend of the UA College of Engineering were inducted into the State of Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame in the class of 2020….



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BSCE, has joined Neel-Schaffer Inc. in Birmingham as a senior structural engineer after a 40-year career with the Alabama Department of Transportation, including 37 years in the bridge department where he served as state bridge engineer his last eight years.


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BSCET, has been named interim network director for VISN 7, the Veterans Affairs Southeast Network in Duluth, Georgia.




(Photo courtesy of Intercontinental Exchange)

BSME, is retiring as vice chairman of Intercontinental Exchange Inc. He will remain an adviser to the firm through February 2022.


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GARY W. WOLF /1991

(Photo courtesy of PBI-Gordon)

BSChE, has joined PBI-Gordon as senior director of operations in Kansas City, Missouri.



BSEE and MSEE ’95, has been named vice president of enterprise data for the American Red Cross.

photo of DR. BRADLEY P. RYAN


BSChE, has been hired as the first chief product officer with the National Committee for Quality Assurance in Washington, D.C.




BSChE and MSChE ’05, has joined the Huntsville office of the law firm Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP as a partner in the corporate and securities practice group.


photo of DAVID HOLT


BSChE and MSChE ’09, is a founding partner of Loftin Holt LLP, a boutique business litigation law firm located in Huntsville.




(Photo courtesy of PeopleTec)

BSMtE, has been named vice president of PeopleTec, Inc. in Huntsville.




(Image credit: USAF)

BSChE, has been named the new F-35A Demo Team Pilot for the 2020 and 2021 air demonstration season. Capt. Wolfe became the first female F-35A Demo Team pilot and only the second USAF F-35A Demo Team Pilot in history.

In Memory

Walid M. Kanso, of Northport, died Feb. 24, in Tuscaloosa. He graduated from The University of Alabama in 1992 with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and again in 1993 with a master’s degree also in civil engineering. Kanso worked as a civil engineer, an engineering consultant and an instructor in the Freshman Engineering Program at UA.

Jerry “Ray” McGaha, of Winfield, died Feb. 19, at UAB Medical Center in Birmingham. Born in Kansas, Alabama, McGaha was a graduate of Thomas W. Martin High School. In 1966, he earned a bachelor’s degree in mineral engineering from The University of Alabama, and he was recognized in 1988 as a Distinguished Engineering Fellow of the UA College of Engineering. After retiring from Continental Conveyor as senior vice president of sales and engineering, McGaha worked as director at Overland Conveyor Company and president of J. Raymac Incorporated.

Dr. James “Jim” Andrew Richardson, of Tuscaloosa, died May 28. Born in Reno, Nevada and raised in San Jose, California, Richardson graduated with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of California, Davis. He received his doctorate from the University of Nevada, Reno. Soon after graduating, Richardson accepted a job at The University of Alabama in 1989. For 30 years, he taught civil engineering at UA. Richardson was passionate about being a teacher and worked closely with students as faculty adviser of UA’s Concrete Canoe team and Steel Bridge team. Known for being a bridge specialist, he often supplied expert testimony and helped move and rebuild old Alabama bridges.

Herbert “Kenneth” White Sr., of Montgomery, died May 8. White graduated from The University of Alabama in 1971 with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. He started his career at Goodwyn Engineering in Montgomery. White acquired a professional engineering license in 1976 and a professional land surveyors license in 1978. He was a licensed professional engineer in nine states and a licensed land surveyor in Mississippi and Alabama. White helped start a new firm, Pilgreen and White, Inc., in 1986. He wanted to start a family-owned business, and in 1998, he opened H. Kenneth White & Associates, Inc. In 2011, White retired from the family business and began work as the first town engineer of the town of Pike Road, where he served until 2015. He served in leadership positions on several boards and committees during his career including president of Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame Board of Directors, president and national director of American Council of Engineering Companies of Alabama, Montgomery chapter president of Alabama Society of Professional Land Surveyors, vice president of the executive committee of American Consulting Engineers Council national headquarters, chairman of the Small Firms Council for members of ACEC, president of ACEC’s Council of Professional Surveyors, and trustee of ACEC’s Business Insurance Trust. White frequently engaged in ACEC’s legislative summit in Washington, D.C. He was also a member of the National Society of Professional Engineers, Alabama Society of Professional Engineers, American Society of Civil Engineers, and the Board of Directors of UA’s Capstone Engineering Society. White founded the Sandra E. & H. Kenneth White Endowed Engineering Scholarship at UA in 2006. His achievements include being named an ACEC Fellow, a Distinguished Engineering Fellow of UA’s College of Engineering, and an Outstanding Fellow of UA’s civil engineering department. In 2009, White was inducted in the State of Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame. During and after college, he served in the National Guard. As chairman of a disaster relief team, White designed and developed a mobile shower and washing facility for volunteers and relief workers after Hurricane Katrina.

End User

Photo of Cris Porter

Cris Porter, College of Engineering director of technology services, was a major asset for engineering faculty, staff and students as the College transitioned to distance learning and working. Learn more about him in this Q&A.

CE: What do you do as director of technology services? How big is your team?

Porter: Technology services involves supporting all the hardware and software needs for all College of Engineering faculty, staff and students. In addition, we operate The Cube, the College’s additive manufacturing — 3D printing — space. Our team consists of myself, three system administrators/desktop support specialists and a 3D printing specialist who manages The Cube. We also employ student workers to assist other students when they need help with 3D printing or installing software needed for classes.

CE: How does your job support the College of Engineering faculty, staff and students? Why is your job important to keeping the College successful?

Porter: The College of Engineering relies heavily on technology both in research and in the classroom. In addition to maintaining faculty and staff office computers, we also support high-performance computing for research and help students install engineering software on their personal laptops. My department is involved in the complete life cycle of technology, from sourcing new equipment and installing new operating systems and applications to maintaining and troubleshooting over 2,000 computers throughout the College.

CE: What is something you wish people knew about technology services and/or the UA College of Engineering?

Porter: The College of Engineering technology services department is available to assist our users regardless of their location. I have assisted students who were in Japan and Kuwait and faculty members traveling in Europe and doing research in Antarctica. So, users across town or across the country shouldn’t hesitate to contact us.

CE: What did you have to do to facilitate distance learning in the College of Engineering? How did it go?

Porter: We were lucky in that we were already moving in the right direction before the pandemic and the move to limited business operations and distance learning. As a College, we transitioned from campus computer labs to a BYOD — bring your own device — model over the last three years. So, students were already using their own laptops instead of relying on PCs [personal computers] on campus. We also invested in remote support tools last year that enable us to install software remotely and allow us to log onto users’ PCs remotely so we can assist them.

CE: What was most challenging in the transition to distance learning?

Porter: Technically, the biggest challenge was introducing a lot of users to VPNs [virtual private networks], remote desktop connections, Zoom and other tools for working remotely. Everyone in my department had been using these tools for years, so we took them for granted, but I think a lot of people were surprised to find out how much could be done remotely.

CE: What did you learn from this experience?

Porter: I learned that we have a capable team in place to handle the variety of issues that come up. Jordan McGee, Dennis Rath and Ben Hurst have resolved hundreds of support requests over the past months, and Sam Andrus has led a group of volunteers across campus to print, assemble, and deliver over 3,500 face shields to health care professionals and first responders across West Alabama.