ME Cleans Up at the 2017 Walter Scott Jr., College of Engineering All-College Awards

The Department of Mechanical Engineering was honored with several accolades at the 2017 WSCOE All-College Awards, last Tuesday afternoon.

“More than half of the All-College Awards went to members of ME, and I couldn’t be more proud of our department.” said ME Department Head, Sue James.

Join us in congratulating the following mechanical engineering award recipients:

The Department of Engineering faculty holds their 2017 All-College Awards. November 14, 2017.

Dr. Kirk McGilvray: Outstanding Administrative Professional Researcher Award

Dr Todd Bandhauer: George T. Abell Award for Outstanding Economic Development Contributions

Dr. Walajabad Sampath: Art Corey Award for Outstanding International Contributions

Dr. Ben Gadomski: George T. Abell Faculty Award for Outstanding Teaching and Service

Dr. John Volckens: George T. Abell Outstanding Faculty Researcher Award

Dr. Thomas Bradley: Faculty Excellence Award



Bon Voyage, Chriselda!

As we welcomed new faculty into the department, we also celebrated the retirement of dedicated mechanical engineering Undergraduate Student Advisor, Chriselda Engel who spent the past eight years guiding and supporting thousands of undergraduate mechanical engineering students as they progressed through the program.

Jennifer Vaughn, current graduate student and former undergrad, wanted Engel to have a departing gift she would never forget. She started a fundraiser allowing mechanical engineering students, faculty and staff to fund a well-deserved dream vacation for Engel and her husband. More than 100 people donated and $4,825 was raised! The couple have made plans for an Italian getaway this summer!

CSU ASME Celebrated 100 Years

The Colorado State University chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers celebrated 100 years of excellence on Oct. 9, 2014 with a banquet at the Hilton Fort Collins. The momentous evening was attended by more than 100 students, faculty, alumni, and industry professionals. Professor Emeritus Fred Smith, and Professor Allan Kirkpatrick kicked off the evening with a speech dedicated to the history of ASME followed by student presentations.

After graduate students Kevin Westhoff and Tyler Schott continued the tradition of poking fun at civil engineers (the civil engineers in the audience laughed the hardest), they inspired the group with their senior design project; a composite airwave sponsored by Woodward. Graduate student Jennifer Vaughn talked about what inspired her to study mechanical engineering and described her engine-testing research to determine exhaust constituents; more specifically, EPA-regulated emissions. Undergraduate student Ian May outlined his exciting research with Assistant Professor Lakshmi Prasad Dasi – studying the small scales of turbulence with the use of a local Reynold’s Number – a novel statistical approach to modeling fluid dynamics.

However, undergraduate student and ASME president, Jeff Fisher, stole the show as he reflected on the journey that led him to mechanical engineering, looking to both the past and future societal contributions of mechanical engineers. The evening concluded with a message from Department Head Sue James, when she shared how proud and honored she is to be a part of the department. She asked the audience to attend the bicentennial celebration, complements of a senior design team’s time machine. She also predicted that 5-D printers would have printed all event décor and the best faculty would’ve been cloned to celebrate ASME, 100 years from now.

Celebrating Professor William Duff’s Contributions and Dedication

It has been more than 44 years since Professor William S. Duff first set foot onto Colorado State University’s campus. He came to the department as part of the newly established industrial engineering program, ultimately introducing and teaching 15 different industrial engineering and operations research courses.

In April, the department celebrated Professor Duff’s retirement – reminiscing over his numerous research accomplishments, prestigious recognitions, and exceptional loyalty and dedication to the department. During his time here, he has not only witnessed incredible growth and development within the mechanical engineering department, but also contributed to the program’s current success.

“I experienced the department’s progression from a divisive, but entertaining group of individuals in my first few years; later, to a very congenial and capable group of colleagues; and finally, to one of the most productive departments in the University.”

Professor Duff’s notable accomplishments include:

· Chairing the College of Engineering Systems and Optimization Committee for more than 20 years

· Patenting technology in the solar energy field during a three-year appointment as a visiting scholar at the University of Chicago Department of Physics Enrico Fermi Institute

· Managing and participating in a 13-country International Energy Agency research program that was responsible for major advances in solar thermal energy collectors and systems

· Authoring one of the decade’s best journal papers in optics

· Providing key materials research contributions to a Department of Energy Metal Oxide Semiconductor photovoltaics project

· Leading the department’s industrial engineering and operations research program since 1979

· Being the first CSU faculty member to restructure and deliver a core curriculum engineering course fully online

· Serving six years on the University Committee on Teaching and Learning where he developed and implemented the registrar’s current approach for determining Graduation with Distinction and played a key role in the implementation of our first comprehensive University Honor Code

Before CSU, Professor Duff was an industrial engineering and operations research Ph.D. student at Stanford University and a researcher at the Stanford Research Institute. Prior to that, he worked as a management trainee and industrialBill Duff engineering department analyst at U.S. Steel.

After retiring, in addition to spending more time with family and friends, Professor Duff looks forward to developing nascent hobbies, continuing some teaching, and providing solar energy consulting.

When asked what he’ll miss the most, he said, “My Ph.D. students and their research, the exceptional, intelligent, motivated and capable student, students who may not have been so gifted but were very motivated and willing to work hard to learn, working individually with many dedicated faculty and staff, and working with the current department head and some of our former exceptional department heads.”

Department Head Sue James, concluded, “It’s very hard to capture Professor Duff’s contributions to the department in just a few words. He has been the face of our Industrial Engineering and Operations Research program for several decades – educating hundreds of graduate students and making us known around the world for IEOR. He was one of the early trailblazers in distance education at CSU and has graduated more Ph.D. students at a distance than any other faculty member. His decades of loyal service and manifold contributions will live on in the department for many decades to come.”

Congratulations, and best wishes on your retirement, Professor Duff!

2015 Mechanical Engineering Student Recognitions

Tom Decker:

Tom Decker, a new mechanical engineering graduate student, recently won a prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship recognizing him as an outstanding graduate student in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields. Among a pool of 2,000 awardees, Decker was selected from 16,500 applications for this fellowship. His passion to work with renewable energy on an international stage directed him to mechanical engineering at Colorado State University in collaboration with Factor(E) Ventures. When asked what the fellowship means to him, Decker responded, “The award means flexibility, endless networking, and potential international experiences that would build practical engineering skills. Most of all, the fellowship means I can create my own opportunities and choose a project that I believe has the greatest ability to influence positive change.” His goal is to one day increase energy access to those in the developing world through means of renewable resources and to deem himself a humanitarian engineer – a person who shares their skills and knowledge with the world.

Sam Allsup:

Sam Allsup, a mechanical engineering undergraduate student, recently won a CURC Award (Celebrate Undergraduate Research and Creativity) through Colorado State University for his research in Functional Maturation of IPSC-Derived Human Liver Cells in Engineered Co-Cultures. In his work, he cultures induced pluripotent stem cell-derived hepatocytes (liver cells) and adds different compounds to the cell’s media in order to improve their liver-specific functions, as well as surrounds them with different cell types to make a more personalized and physiologic model. His goal within the field is to contribute to the future of personalized medicine. “Winning this award, to me, means that I am on the right track. It means that I am doing what I need to in order to get myself into a position where I will be able make an impact on the field,” Allsup said. Other notable achievements by Allsup include co-authoring a paper published in the Journal of Hepatology titled “Enhancing the Functional Maturity of Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell–Derived Human Hepatocytes by Controlled Presentation of Cell–Cell Interactions In Vitro” (March 2015), which received the outstanding undergraduate research award from CSU’s School of Biomedical Engineering. He soon hopes to submit a paper as first author on the work he has conducted over the past year-and-a-half.

Carlos Quiroz:

Carlos Quiroz, a mechanical engineering Ph.D. student, recently earned the Raju Jairam Scholarship, allowing him to continue his well-rounded engineering education. At the Catholic University of Honduras, Quiroz received a B.S. in environmental engineering which led him to a M.S. degree in geoenvironmental technology from Central American Technology University. Before being accepted into CSU’s Ph.D. program in mechanical engineering, Quiroz received another M.S. degree in civil engineering from CSU. Quiroz is passionate about researching renewable energy technologies, and for 10 years, was a private consultant for a variety of developing countries in Latin America, Asia, and Africa. Since attending CSU, Quiroz has gained a wealth of knowledge in a variety of renewable energy technologies, including: waste to biogas conversion, algae and cyanobacteria based biofuels, solar, and hybrid electric vehicles. Only one year into his Ph.D. education, Quiroz published a paper in the Journal of Algal Research concerning combined algae-based biofuels and wastewater facilities, and will soon have a second paper published. In 10 years, Quiroz sees himself as a professor, whose research influences state-of-the-art bioenergy technology in scalability, life cycle assessment, optimization, and application of novel bioenergy alternatives for the underdeveloped and developed world, along with inspiring his students to join the efforts. He says he will continue to consult with the goal of improving current practices concerning waste and wastewater management in Latin America, including in his home country of Honduras.

Ciprian Dumitrache:

Ciprian Dumitrache, a mechanical engineering Ph.D. student, was recently honored by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics with the prestigious “Gordon C. Oates Air Breathing Propulsion Award.” This award is given to graduate students conducting research related to combustion or fluid mechanics of air craft engines. Air breathing propulsion systems oxidize fuel during the combustion process using air that has been taken directly from the atmosphere. This system is included in propulsion devices that use air such as, jet engines, scramjets, ramjets, and the vast majority of reciprocating engines. After years of interest in space exploration, Dumitrache, with the help of his chemistry professor, started experimenting with small fuel grains for rocket motors. He applied for an aerospace engineering program and continued his education thereafter with an M.S. and Ph.D. Dumitrache’s current research is being conducted under the guidance of mechanical engineering Professor Azer Yalin and is focused on developing novel laser ignition approaches for assisted combustion in engines. In the future, he hopes to steer his research towards rocket and scramjet propulsion and study the interaction between plasma and the combustion environment. When asked what receiving the AIAA award means to him, Dumitrache responded, “The AIAA awards are very prestigious and winning this award means that I am being acknowledged by the leaders in this field. However, this award is not only recognition of my research efforts, but also recognition of the high-level research that is being conducted in our group – Center for Laser Sensing and Diagnostics, and at CSU in general.” One day, he hopes to teach at the college level, inspiring new generations of students to become knowledgeable and passionate about lasers, combustion, and aerospace engineering.

ASME E-Fest West

On the last weekend of spring break, members of CSU’s ASME student chapter, armed with a robot, poster, and presentation, made their way to the University of Las Vegas for the 2017 ASME E-Fest West. This was the third year our students were able to attend the conference and the second year we presented at the robotics competition.

As part of the robotics competition, our robot was tasked with lifting weight, throwing a tennis ball, hitting a golf ball, racing a specified distance, and climbing stairs. Despite a small budget, our team came in sixth place out of 11 teams. Team members look forward to bringing new insight and design ideas to next year’s competition.

Our students also entered the Old Guard competition with a presentation on the physics and engineering of boomerangs and a poster of a mechanical wood burning furnace system.

“Overall, it was a great trip to ASME E-Fest West, and we want to thank UNLV for their hospitality. A big thank you to ASME’s Centennial Section for sponsoring our student section to attend this conference,” said Collin Dieckgraeff, president of CSU’s ASME student chapter.

All Aboard!

Dr. Bryan Willson (sixth from the right) pictured with the ship’s captain, admin team, and officers.

Last semester, a handful of CSU students voyaged into uncharted academic territory. They took their books to a place where extracurricular activities include world exploration; classmates are roommates; the classroom is a ship; and campus is the open waters. Semester at Sea is one of the unique academic journeys a University student can embark on, and it is easy to see why.

It was no surprise to find Dr. Bryan Willson, ME professor, in Cape Town, South Africa, last semester, as a port lecturer shedding light on social enterprise and how it influences various industries. In 2014, he was on the CSU team that won the bid to host SAS. Now, CSU runs the academics, counseling, medical team, registrar, and dean of students in partnership with the Institute of Shipboard Education.

Dr. Bryan Willson (left) presenting to the shipboard community in the “Cross Currents” evening seminar series.

“My original major in college was in ship design,” said Dr. Willson, “I am also active internationally, love the educational field, and enjoyed bringing together multiple passions during Semester at Sea. It was a blast!”

Each semester, the ship hosts up to 30 faculty members and 600 students from all around the globe. The most recent voyage sailed from San Diego and docked at ports across the world, including Hawaii, Japan, China, Vietnam, Myanmar, India, Mauritius, South Africa, Ghana, and Morocco, before ending in Germany. Students end up forming strong bonds as they partake in unique learning experiences and extracurricular activities together, 24 hours a day, seven days a week!

CSU is a leader in sustainability and carried that focus to SAS. “I lectured on topics such as ocean energy, health impacts of cookstoves, and social enterprise,” Dr. Willson said.

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Students spend five or six days at sea traveling to the next port, and at each port there are required activities, based on the courses each student is taking, and optional activities as well. “There were a number of CSU students on the ship; there were engineering students from other universities, but none from CSU,” he observed. He also noted that he would like to see SAS be a more common activity for CSU engineering students due to the worldly experiences the program offers.

If you are interested in expanding your boundaries outside the confines of campus, discover SAS and immerse yourself in pure adventure! Learn more at

All-star mech student? NCAA shot put titleholder? The ultimate multi tasker? ALL OF THE ABOVE

Photo provided by Mostafa Hassan.

At the March 2017 NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field Championships in College Station, Texas, ME junior, Mostafa Hassan, dominated and threw the shot put 69 feet, 9.5 inches, making him CSU’s first-ever national champion in shot put, and the program’s first national champion since 2005. He crushed his competition by at least 4½ feet and had the four best throws of any athlete at the meet. He also earned his third All-America honor.

“It’s an amazing feeling when all the hard work pays o_ ,” Hassan said, “and you reach a goal that you have been working on for so long.” The native of Cairo, Egypt, has been training in shot put for the past seven years and has competed in three world championships. “The most important thing for me is time management,” Hassan said. “I allocate time for studying, training, eating, and relaxing.”

In the classroom, Hassan’s most memorable experience was his Mech 202 fi nal design competition with Dr. Ben Gadomski. “Dr. Gadomski is always there when I need help on something,” he said. Hassan decided to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering because as a child, he was always interested in how things were made, and, when the time came, CSU’s engineering program seemed like the best fit. “Also, Fort Collins is a great place to live,” he added.

After graduation, he plans to look for a career in the manufacturing sector but, until then, he is going to continue crushing the books and shot put. He also has a realistic shot at competing in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo!

Congrats, Mostafa!

Ciao, Chriselda!

Chriselda Engel pictured in front of the Pisa Baptistery of St. John in Pisa, Italy.

When beloved undergraduate adviser, Chriselda Engel retired in 2015, the entire department came together to express their gratitude. ME students, faculty, and sta raised $4,825 to send Engel and her husband, Chris, on a well-deserved dream vacation.


Florence, Italy, before a storm.

Soon after, the Engels made plans for a two-week, Italian getaway. “We thoroughly enjoyed all of the places we visited in Italy including Florence, Tuscany, Pisa, the Cinque Terre region, Rome, and the Amalfi Coast,” Engel said. Florence was one of their favorite spots. “We loved that we could easily walk everywhere in Florence to explore and visit key sites, such as Il Duomo, the Accademia Gallery, the Ponte Vecchio, and the Basilica of Santa Croce.”

Besides the gorgeous art and architecture, the Engels had many glorious foodie adventures, “Wow,” said Engel. “The fresh seafood in the coastal regions was great. I have to say that all of the pasta dishes were incredible.”

Chriselda Engel and her husband posing in the Cinque Terre region of Italy.

Whether it was charming train rides from one city to another, conversing with welcoming natives, or taking in the lovely sights and tastes of Italy, it’s a vacation the Engels will never forget!

Remembering Professor Doug Hittle

A colleague to some, a mentor to others, but a pioneer to all. This is how Dr. Doug Hittle, mechanical engineering professor emeritus, will be remembered by the department. His professional contributions, as well as his integrity and sense of humor, made an everlasting impression on those with whom he worked.

Doug Hittle, Professor, Mechanical Engineering Faculty, February 21, 2008

It is with a heavy heart we announce the passing of mechanical engineering professor emeritus, Dr. Douglas Carl Hittle, who was a faculty member in the department from 1989 to 2010. Dr. Hittle died earlier this year, on May 4, at the age of 70. He was raised in Champaign, Ill., but, was born in Fort Collins, Colo., in 1947.

In 1989, he returned to Fort Collins to teach at CSU and complete the last leg of his already-accomplished career. He retired in 2010, boasting numerous achievements in the field of environmental conservation.

Dr. Hittle attended the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign for his B.S. and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering and M.S. in environmental engineering. He began his career in 1969 at Chanute Air Force Base in Illinois as an engineer. Other career highlights included research in the environmental protection and energy conservation fields at the U.S. Army Construction Engineering Research Laboratory for more than 13 years. At USA CERL, Dr. Hittle received the Achievement Award for developing a computer program that estimated the performance of buildings and their energy systems; the BLAST program is widely recognized and used internationally. Also while at the USA CERL, he built and operated a large HVAC test facility as a research team leader, among a variety of other research initiatives.

In 1986, Dr. Hittle joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University in Indiana as an associate professor. There, he conducted research in building energy systems and taught thermodynamics. He participated in the development of new course material and initiated and supervised the design and construction of classroom demonstrations.

Dr. Hittle is survived by his daughters Jessica Marshall and Jocelyn Hittle; former wife, Anita Hittle; grandchildren; brothers; and many nieces and nephews. “Dad was both no-nonsense and a big fan of nonsense – he had high standards when it came to his work, but loved to crack jokes,” said Jocelyn Hittle. “We will miss him.” In his personal time, he enjoyed woodworking, travel adventures, good food, and exploring Colorado’s mountains. His family remembers his happy-go-lucky personality and his passion toward his professional endeavors. “He always put us to work helping him build and fix things. He was a mechanical engineer at home too,” remembered Marshall.

In 1989, Dr. Hittle joined the faculty of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at CSU. Along with teaching thermal science and control systems in the mechanical engineering department, he was the director of the Solar Energy Applications Laboratory where he focused on solar energy systems, energy conservation, air conditioning system control, desiccant cooling, and energy system simulation. “He expanded the research areas at the lab to include building systems as well as solar energy,” ME Professor Allan Kirkpatrick remembered. “We worked together on problems involving cold-air distribution and glove boxes. In addition to being technically very rigorous, Doug was insistent on high-quality presentations.”

Right before retiring, he took an interest in artificial intelligence applied to buildings, phase change fabrics, and thermal storage floor tile. Over the years, his lab gained sponsors such as the Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, Outlast Technologies Inc., and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers.

In 2005, Dr. Hittle became the director for the Industry Assessment Center at CSU and the associate director of the Colorado Wind Application Center for Colorado. During this time, he also developed a new course in wind power engineering.

Supporting other faculty was always a priority for Dr. Hittle, and that is evident when hearing his colleagues share their fond and funny memories of their times together. “The mechanical engineering faculty could always count on him to hold us to the highest standards and call out the elephant in the room, while making us laugh at the same time,” remembered ME department head, Dr. Susan James. “He was a great mentor, colleague, and friend who will be truly missed.” “I recall he would offer very good suggestions after all of my lectures. He had a sharp intellect,” recalled ME Professor Walajabad Sampath who taught the photovoltaic portion of one of Dr. Hittle’s courses.

“Dr. Hittle required that reports to sponsors be in white notebooks with an illustrative cover. I adopted this scheme, and for the last 20 years, all of my notebooks and reports are in ‘Hittle format’!” recalled Dr. Kirkpatrick.

“Doug was a great and passionate energy engineer who set very high standards for his research team and students,” remembered ME professor, Dr. Bryan Willson. “I was the first one in the department to have a cell phone in 1992. He started calling me ‘gadget boy’!”

“Continuing his influential mark in the department through a fund would have been important to Dr. Hittle,” said Dr. James. Dr. Hittle’s daughters wish to establish a fund in his honor to support study and research addressing global challenges in sustainable energy.

Please consider making an online gift in memory of Dr. Hittle, using the link below, and your gift will be directed to the Scott College of Engineering Memorial. Once the work to establish a fund in his name is completed, your gift will be moved to the new fund named for Dr. Hittle.