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ASEE Connections
July 2013 Subscribe
In This Issue: Products & Programs

Stanford University Press
University Expansion in a Changing Global Economy: Triumph of the BRICs?
A study of higher education in the worlds four largest developing economies.

Congratulations to Cleveland State University, 2013 NCEES Engineering Award Winner

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ASEE's Exclusive New "Engineering Education Suppliers Guide"
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I. Databytes


The graph below shows an increase in engineering graduates at all degree levels from 2003 to 2012. Bachelor's degrees awarded increased by 19 percent since 2003, master's degrees awarded increased by 29 percent during the same time period, and doctoral degrees have increased by 42 percent. Over the next few years, degrees awarded are projected to continue to increase at all degree levels.




II. Congressional Hotline


Despite continued bipartisan support for research and development, competition for federal grants will remain stiff in the year ahead. The Energy-Water appropriation approved by the full House Wednesday would put the Department of Energy's Office of Science "just above last year's [2013] post-sequestration level,"according to Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.). He's quoted in an American Institute of Physics newsletter, which notes that the House would give the Office of Science $400 million less than sought by the Obama administration. The Senate version gives the administration exactly what it requested, but that assumes that sequestration will be repealed. The House would also provide $982.6 million for nuclear energy programs; $450 million for fossil energy R&D, and $50 million for ARPA-e.
A separate House appropriations panel, meanwhile, trimmed other science and technology programs. The National Science Foundation would get $7 billion, $259 million below the fiscal year 2013 enacted level and $631 million below the President's request; $784 million for the National Institute of Standards and Technology; and $4.8 billion for NASA Science programs — $266 million below the 2013 level.



Among the rare venues for bipartisan collaboration on Capitol Hill these days are special-interest caucuses of members whose districts contain similar industries and institutions. They push bipartisan legislation and seek to interest colleagues and congressional aides by sponsoring events. A case in point is the Congressional Modeling and Simulation Caucus, chaired by Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.), whose membership runs the ideological gamut from Republican Mo Brooks of Alabama to Democrat Niki Tsongas of Massachusetts. The caucus is teaming up with the National Training and Simulation Association next week to put on an expo featuring some 18 exhibitors, including Georgia Tech.



III. National Council of Examiners for Engineering
and Surveying (NCEES) (Sponsored Content)

Cleveland State Civil Engineering Dept. Wins $25,000 NCEES Grand Prize

NCEES is pleased to announce that the Cleveland State University Civil and Environmental Engineering Department is the grand prize winner of the 2013 NCEES Engineering Award for Connecting Professional Practice and Education. The award jury met June 4, 2013, in Clemson, S.C., to select the $25,000 grand prize winner.

The department received the prize for its submission, Design, Funding, and Construction of the August Pine Ridge School/Hurricane Shelter in Belize. For the project, civil engineering students from the university’s chapter of Engineers Without Borders collaborated with faculty, professional engineers, and allied professionals to design and construct a building that would not only provide additional classroom space for a Belize school but also serve as a hurricane shelter for the local community.

The jury praised the project for demonstrating the value of collaboration and the challenge of finding improvised, local solutions.

The jury selected five additional winners to receive awards of $7,500 each.

The NCEES Engineering Award recognizes engineering programs that encourage collaboration between students and professional engineers. EAC/ABET-accredited programs from all engineering disciplines were invited to submit projects that integrate professional practice and education. The winners were selected by a jury of NCEES members and representatives from academic institutions and professional engineering organizations.

“Projects like these are innovative ways to teach students about the vital importance of technical competency and ethical practice in the engineering profession,” said NCEES President Gene Dinkins, P.E., P.L.S. “We hope they will inspire other engineering programs to introduce similar collaborations.

For more information on the NCEES Engineering Award, visit






The challenge of creating an "X-ray vision"device that can see through walls is one that's kept researchers busy for years, but without great success. Most of the technologies developed so far are costly and bulky, and they also need to use a part of the electromagnetic spectrum that's assigned to the military. But using ubiquitous Wi-Fi technology, Dina Katabi, an MIT professor of electrical engineering and computer science, and graduate student Fadel Adib have invented a low-cost, low-power portable device that's easy to use and can indeed spot humans behind closed doors and walls. They call it Wi-Vi, and it emits low-power Wi-Fi signals that reflect back to a receiver to detect human movement. Only a very small fraction of each signal makes it through a wall, and once inside it would reflect off not just humans, but other objects and walls. To cancel out the non-human reflections, they use two antennas to transmit near-identical signals, but the second is the inverse of the first. That causes the signals to interfere with each other, canceling each of them out. Any static objects they hit create identical reflections, so they are also canceled out. Ergo, only reflections that change between the two signals -- like those from moving objects -- come back to the single receiver. The receiver can track the moving human by timing how long it takes for the reflected signal to return to the receiver -- as the target moves further away, the time increases. Possible uses include finding survivors in rubble. But game developers may be interested, too. It's possible the technology could allow gamers to interact with a console and camera even when they're in a different room.


A brunch chat with a few other women engineers -- where some of the conversation touched on the scarcity of women in engineering, and childhood toys -- sent Debbie Sterling cruising the toy aisles of a local store. According to, she found cupcake-making toys and ironing boards for girls, while the boys' aisle was crammed with chemistry kits. Later, she researched children at play, and discovered that -- broadly -- girls enjoyed reading, while boys like building things. That was her Eureka! moment. Last year, Sterling -- who has a degree in engineering and product design from Stanford University -- launched GoldieBlox. The company, says, makes a series of interactive books and construction toys, all featuring Goldie. As the story unfolds, girl readers get to build what Goldie builds. In one book, for example, Goldie's fascination with the spinning figures on a music box led her to use a peg board, spools and ribbons to build a belt drive. Sterling raised $285,000 on Kickstarter, the crowd-funding website, and soon had $1 million in pre-sale orders. GoldieBlox began shipping the $30 books in March, and this month it inked a deal with Toys "R"Us. Already she and her staff of six are hard at work developing more stories and toys. "I want to give girls an engineer mindset,"Sterling told the website.





If a child at age 13 has exceptional spatial ability, that's an excellent predictor of future creative and scholarly achievements 30 years hence, according to a new longitudinal study published this month in Psychological Science. Conducted by Vanderbilt University's College of Education and Human Development, the study provides evidence that an ability to mentally manipulate 2D and 3D objects at age 13 proved a better predictor than the traditional measures of mathematical and verbal ability of future innovators, particularly those who excelled in STEM areas. Having a better way to spot such potential creativity in students -- and nurture it -- early on would clearly benefit society, says lead author David Lubinski, a professor of psychology, but "there are very few systems in place to track skill in spatial reasoning."The researchers used data from a study that began in the 1970s. They followed up with 563 subjects who had scored in the top 0.5 percent on SATs at age 13, and also looked at the students' spatial skills, as measured by the Differential Aptitude Test. While top math and verbal scores did indeed help predict future academic successes, strong spatial scores were an even stronger predictor, especially among those subjects who went on to have STEM careers. "These students have exceptional and under-challenged potential, especially for engineering and technology,"Lubinski says. "We could do a much better job of identifying these students and affording them better opportunities for developing their talents."



The website notes that International Data Corp. reported that tablet shipments to schools jumped 103 percent last year, and that IDC says that that momentum will continue in the 2013-14 school year. The website then predicts that tablets will change K-12 education in at least five different ways. First, it says, there will be more personalized learning. It envisions 30 students working on 30 different specific skills simultaneously, while the teacher guides and coaches them as they work. Second, it says, they'll allow teachers to inject more creative, exploratory learning into classrooms: interactive Q&As, for instance. Third, it says, they'll foster more online learning that complements in-class lessons. Advanced students, for example, who finish their regular work ahead of their peers could use the time to dig deeper into the subject online, accelerating their learning and keeping boredom in check. Fourth, it says, teachers can use them to make more formative assessments of students, allowing them to more quickly determine which students need more help. And fifth, it says, the mere introduction of tablets into classrooms means that change will be ongoing, as it's a certainty that new apps and add-on accessories will soon be developed that will give teachers even more tech tools to use.





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The International Society of Engineering Education (IGIP) has established a National Monitoring Committee (NMC) for the United States of America. IGIP serves to promote improved educational competencies in engineering educators. Dirk Schaefer of Georgia Tech was appointed founding president of the NMC. To learn more, go to or contact Dr. Schaefer ( directly..




2013 ASEE Engineering Technology      Leadership Institute (ETLI), Oct. 4

The Engineering Technology Leadership Institute (ETLI) has been held annually since 1976 in 19 different states coast-to-coast and from the Canadian to the Mexican borders. Its purpose is to bring engineering technology educators together to discuss topics of importance to the discipline and plan for the future, as well as to prepare young engineering technology faculty for a later career in administration. This year the National Engineering Technology Forum will take center stage on the agenda to discuss an update of its current status and plan for future efforts.

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