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Top stories of 2017


Take a look back at The Ohio State University College of Engineering's 17 most popular Buckeye Engineering stories from 2017, as determined by webpage views.

UAV team members (l to r) Mark Sutkowy, Wenbo Zhu, Ryan Thorpe and Matt McCrink with Prof. Jim Gregory

1. Ohio State sets drone world speed record
The university’s Aerospace Research Center set a world speed record for an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) of any size, pending verification. Ohio State’s UAV flew autonomously with sustained average speeds of 147 mph over an out-and-back course approximately 28 miles long, which also set a record for the longest UAV flight over an out-and-back course. 

2. Ohio State chosen to lead U.S. transportation solutions over next three decades
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced this week that The Ohio State University has been named one of 18 institutions across the country to lead research on transportation challenges outlined in the Department of Transportation’s Beyond Traffic 2045 report. As a Beyond Traffic Innovation Center, Ohio State is recognized as a forward-thinking and influential institution capable of driving solutions to these challenges by convening decision-makers in the Great Lakes megaregion and coordinating related research, curriculum, outreach and other activities.

3. Researchers develop regenerative medicine breakthrough
Researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and Ohio State’s College of Engineering have developed a new technology, Tissue Nanotransfection (TNT), that can generate any cell type of interest for treatment within the patient’s own body. This technology may be used to repair injured tissue or restore function of aging tissue, including organs, blood vessels and nerve cells.

4. The road to Space Mountain
Alumnus Bill Watkins used a stepladder, a wagon and a board to create his first roller coaster at the age of 8. He broke an arm on his only ride down that backyard contraption, but the mishap didn’t discourage him from making rides or chasing thrills. Far from it. He would go on to design world-famous Disney attractions, including Space Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

Derek Hansford (left), associate professor of biomedical engineering; stands outside Koffolt and Fontana Labs with Heather Powell, associate professor of materials science and engineering, and biomedical engineering; and Associate Dean Rudy Buchheit.
5. Renovation for collaboration
By the summer of 2020, the Departments of Materials Science and Engineering, and Biomedical Engineering will share a new home—one that will support their missions of teaching, learning and discovery. Design work is currently underway for the highly anticipated Koffolt-Fontana renovation on north campus. 

6. Alumnus Justin Wenning named to Forbes 30 Under 30 list
Welding engineering alumnus Justin Wenning (’15) was named to Forbes 30 Under 30 2017 list in Manufacturing and Industry in recognition of his innovative efforts with metal 3-D printing at Fabrisonic. The annual list recognizes 600 of the brightest young entrepreneurs, innovators and game changers in 20 industries.

7. Software for analyzing microscopic images poised for big market success
To keep up with the high demand for their expert microscopic analysis capabilities, the team at the Center for the Accelerated Maturation of Materials (CAMM) needed a more robust image analysis software, so they built one. Their software, MIPAR, is capable of identifying and measuring features from nearly any digital image.

8. NASA chooses Ohio State to lead electric aircraft engine R&D
As part of its University Leadership Initiative, NASA tapped Ohio State to lead one of five multi-institution teams to explore novel ideas for improving aeronautics. Led by Assistant Vice President for Aerospace and Aviation Mike Benzakein the team will focus on a $10 million in electric aircraft engine R&D.

9. Gift continues beloved professor’s legacy at Ohio State
Carolyn Merry, a world-renowned scholar in remote sensing and geographic information systems, made an immeasurable impact on the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geodetic Engineering and the lives of her students throughout her 25-year teaching career. And her positive influence on Ohio State continues to grow, thanks to her husband, Robert Redfield, who donated $100,000 in Merry’s memory to upgrade the department’s undergraduate education facilities and expand experiential learning opportunities for students.

10. Ohio State relaunches petroleum engineering program
More than 55 years after the petroleum engineering curriculum at Ohio State was discontinued due to declining national enrollments, the program returned as a minor offered by the William G. Lowrie Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

11. Industry-centric program offers students advanced manufacturing and entrepreneurial skills
Ohio State’s Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence launched the Experiential Entrepreneurship Education (E3) Program to respond to emerging advanced manufacturing talent demands and to a growing interest in applied innovation among students. Funded with $3.5 million from the Bernice L. Claugus Engineering Innovation Fund, the E3 Program is the nation’s first to combine product design, commercialization, manufacturing and business model learning with onsite prototyping capabilities and real-time, industry-sponsored R&D projects.

12. State funding to fuel expansion of autonomous vehicle R&D
The path toward a safe and smart autonomous car hit the fast lane Thursday with a $45 million commitment to expand The Ohio State University-affiliated Transportation Research Center. The funds will support research and innovation for autonomous–or driverless–vehicles.

13. NASA’s Journey to Mars includes pathways to learning
A habitation system designed by Ohio State College of Engineering students could make deep space living more healthy and efficient for astronauts on the Journey to Mars. The project is part of NASA’s eXploration Systems and Habitation (X-Hab) Academic Innovation Challenge series. The prototype from the College of Engineering team received nearly $20,000 in funding and was one of only eight in the country to receive a competitive grant.

Alum Mike Morell (far right) exposed six engineering students and ECS Director Amy Thaci to the Bay area
14. Buckeyes experience Silicon Valley's startup culture firsthand
Silicon Valley got a taste for the Scarlet and Gray as a proud Ohio State alumnus exposed current Buckeye engineers to the area’s thriving startup culture in the inaugural Buckeye Trek. The brainchild of alum Michael Morell (’93 industrial and systems engineering), the new program sent some of the best and brightest students in the College of Engineering to Silicon Valley to soak up the environment of innovation and entrepreneurship.

15. Modernization of Ohio State Airport cleared for take-off
Enhancements to The Ohio State University Airport at Don Scott Field will elevate the aging facility to keep it at the forefront of aviation innovation and education. On National Aviation Day, August 19, university leaders broke ceremonial ground for the Austin E. Knowlton Executive Terminal and Aviation Education Center. The $20 million project will support construction of a new aviation education and research facility with state-of-the-art flight simulators, research labs and classrooms. Combined with a modern flight terminal, the new facilities will integrate the business of aviation with the educational and research mission of the university.

16. Well-rounded engineer sets his sights on law school after graduation
Finding the intersection of engineering, business and law, one Buckeye engineer has found a way to incorporate all of his passions while building his career path. Brian Kulp, a chemical and biomolecular engineering major, is winding down his undergraduate career and taking his technical knowledge to one of the top law schools in the country, Harvard Law School. His dual interest in engineering and business led Kulp to Ohio State to be a part of the pilot class of the Integrated Business and Engineering Honors Program. While participating in interdisciplinary courses and extracurricular activities, he discovered a new passion to pursue a career in intellectual property law.

17. Ohio State study examines the persistence of women in engineering
Research at The Ohio State University aims to understand why women persist in the field of engineering despite the barriers they face. Led by principal investigator Monica F. Cox, chair of the Department of Engineering Education, the three-year study, "Why We Persist: An Intersectional Study to Characterize and Examine the Experiences of Women Tenure-Track Faculty in Engineering," is backed by a $1.4 million grant from the National Science Foundation.