Congratulations to our Scott Inaugural Graduate Fellows

Peter Chen

Peter Chen is a new Mechanical Engineering Ph.D. student working under Dr. Jason Quinn at the Powerhouse Campus. Peter received his B.S. degree in Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder where he graduated magna cum laude. Currently, he is working with Dr. Quinn and National Renewable Energy Laboratory on a techno-economic analysis and life-cycle/sustainability assessment of algal biofuel processing. Peter’s experience in algae research extends back to two years as a research associate at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Washington, where he cultivated algae in various indoor LED-illuminated systems to simulate environmental growing conditions.


Anik Faisal

Anik Faisal will be a first-year mechanical engineering PhD student working under the direction of Dr. Chris Weinberger. Anik’s research focus will entail using atomistics to simulate the nucleation of dislocations and twins in crystals, and his interest and excellence in computational research will strengthen the mechanical engineering department’s research thrust in material science. Anik earned his BS in mechanical engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering in Technology and now looking forward to a vibrant graduate school life at CSU.



Jiefeng Sun

Jiefeng Sun is a first-year mechanical engineering PhD student working under the direction of Dr. Jianguo Zhao, and currently working on soft robots and micro-actuators. Previously, Jiefeng worked in research of anti-seismic design of polar cranes in nuclear power plants, and earned his master’s degree with honors in mechanical engineering from Dalian University Of Technology in China. He also graduated first in his class during his undergraduate studies. His current research interests focus on smart robotic material, shape morphing and control of soft robots.



Sean Walters

Sean Walters completed his undergraduate degree from Colorado State University this past spring, and is continuing his CSU education as a PhD student performing research in the Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and Propulsion Laboratory under the guidance of Dr. Stephen Guzik and Dr. Xinfeng Gao. Sean’s research interests include the development of high-order accuracy numerical algorithms for simulating high-speed, unsteady compressible flows, and the coupling of numerical optimization with CFD simulations. Outside of research, he enjoys searching Colorado for rare birds, working in his home garden, and playing the piano.

Shumei Yin

Shumei Yin is currently pursuing a mechanical engineering Ph.D. degree under the guidance of Dr. Xinfeng Gao in the field of computational fluid dynamics. She earned her B.E. in polymer materials from Wuhan Institute of Technology in June 2013, then joined CSU in July 2014 and received her M.S. in Mechanical Engineering where she graduated with a 4.0 GPA. Specifically, her research is focused on the algorithm development of Large Eddy Simulation (LES). LES has shown great promise and demonstrated clear superiority over Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS)-based approach for complex engineering application.

ME Undergrad Selected for Prestigious NASA Internship

Danelle Lazcano-Concelman presenting at the Summer 2017 Intern Poster Expo.

Being a first generation student, Danelle Lazcano-Concelman has navigated through college with the help of university resources, including her advisors. With their guidance and her unwavering skills and motivation, she landed her first internship with NASA. “When NASA was recruiting at the Engineering Career Fair, I was determined to do my absolute best to leave a lasting impression,” Lazcano-Concelman recalled.

At the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, she was tasked with redesigning the Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly (CDRA) valve aboard the International Space Station. The ISS uses the CDRA Valve to direct air through the assembly which provides oxygen back to the cabin. She was also involved with the preliminary design of the De-Orbit Stage Solid Rocket Motor for the Europa Mission which will eventually voyage to Jupiter’s moon.

“Now that I am back in school, I am looking forward to getting through the hardest year of engineering; junior year,” Lazcano-Concelman said. With industry experience under her belt, she is more confident than ever in the field she has chosen, and hopes to eventually pursue a master’s degree in aerospace. “My time spent at NASA was almost like a window into my future where I saw exactly how my efforts in undergrad were used in the real world.”

Mech Day 2017

ME Lab Support Engineer, Steve Johnson, giving a lab tour of the Engineering Manufacturing Education Center, to Mech Day attendees.

On October 6, 2017, the Department hosted its first Mech Day, in conjunction with the annual Walter Scott Jr., College of Engineering, Engineering Exploration Days.

Mech Day was designed to give potential students a glimpse into student life in the mechanical engineering program at CSU.

The day started with an introduction from Department Head, Dr. Susan James. “Our first MECH Day was a great success. It was wonderful to see the eager students and their parents and guardians learn more about majoring in Mechanical Engineering at CSU. I’ve always firmly believed that the more you know about the major before you declare it, the more successful you will be as a student. While Engineering Exploration Days has always been a wonderful event, the MECH Day events that lead into it, amplified the effect of Engineering Exploration Days,” said Dr. James.

The introduction was followed by a student panel discussion. Seasoned students had the opportunity to share their student experiences, and offered lessons learned, preparation techniques, and other helpful information that only students partaking in the program would know. Nico Derr, a current Mechanical Engineering Student Ambassador was part of the student panel and said, “I think it’s important for any incoming engineering student to know how challenging of a field this is, but that it’s not impossible and that they can do it. It’s always good for others to get a perspective of things from those who have already walked the path they are about to walk.”

Current ME student, Chris Dawkin, showing off his Mechatronics project to attendees.

To get a feel for the hands-on side of mechanical engineering, Mech Day attendees explored the ME labs. Tours were lead by ME Lab Support Engineers, Steve Johnson and Chris Garsha. After lunch with current ME students, attendees engaged in student project presentations to get a grasp of the hard work and skills needed to complete a project.

After student project presentations, attendees had the opportunity to sit in a classroom lecture. A variety of ME professors provided mini lectures on their favorite topics to shed light on the diverse nature of the major.

Associate professor, Dr. David Alciatore partook in the lectures and said, “It was so refreshing seeing the enthusiasm conveyed by both the students and their parents. It was also fun to interact with them.”

Toni-Lee Viney, Manager of ME Undergraduate Programs and Mech Day coordinator said, “You could feel the excitement and energy exude from our prospective student guests as they learned more about the program. We even had a parent share that they wished they could return to complete their degree all over again. This program really sells itself. Our job is to create an opportunity for students to engage with our community and realize the opportunities being a Mech Ram creates.”

When the day concluded, attendees had the opportunity to explore CSU’s campus and surrounding areas to get an idea for what Fort Collins as a whole has to offer; and finally, stay overnight in Fort Collins.

If you or a student you know is interested in our program, please join us for Mech Day 2018. Details will be available on our website next Fall.

Department Pioneers: Dr. Paul Wilbur

ME Emeritus Professor, Dr. Paul Wilbur, taught, researched, and mentored in CSU’s Department of Mechanical Engineering from 1968-2010. It’s been eight years since Dr. Wilbur retired, but his legacy continues to inspire colleagues and students.

“His love was teaching and research. His day would start with getting to work by 6:30 or 7:00am to get his classes organized and firm in his mind just what he wanted to present for the day,” recalled Dr. Paul Wilbur’s wife, Mrs. Twyla Wilbur. “He wanted his students to really stretch their minds and learn something.”

This memory sums up the type of individual Dr. Wilbur is, and how he is remembered by his colleagues. His vibrant characteristics and strong worth ethic contributed to his long-lasting and established career at CSU. For four decades, Dr. Wilbur dedicated himself to the Department; he was passionate about teaching, committed to the advancement of ion propulsion research, meticulous in the classroom and lab, and dependable as a peer, professor, and mentor. “Along with exceling in every aspect of his career, Dr. Wilbur has a positive attitude that is contagious. He had a way of teaching that captivated students and peers alike, and has a kind and generous heart that humbles everyone he meets,” remembered Dr. John Williams, a former Ph.D. student and later, a CSU ME colleague of Dr. Wilbur’s.

“When someone dedicates 42 years of their career to research and to a University, they become a pioneer. They mold and advance the field, the Department, and its people. Dr. Wilbur was one of those unique individuals who left a lasting impression in more ways than one. His work has changed forever the world’s approach to space propulsion, and how we teach thermodynamics here at CSU,” said Department Head, Dr. Susan James.

Education & Career
Dr. Wilbur earned his B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Utah in 1960, and shortly thereafter, obtained a position at U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, Division of Reactor Development as a Nuclear Power Engineer. In 1964, he decided to further pursue his education, and was accepted into Princeton University’s Ph.D. program in Aerospace and Mechanical Sciences.

In 1968, following his graduation from Princeton, Dr. Wilbur joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering at CSU as an assistant professor. He spent the next 42 years, until his retirement in 2010, graduating hundreds of students, earning numerous awards and grants to advance research in his field, and contributing to several CSU committees and external aerospace societies. “Paul always took a personal interest in his students’ advancement, dedicated to teaching them as much as he could in the best way possible. He was thorough in his research and dedicated to making sure that his graduate students learned as much as possible about ion propulsion, teaching them to defend their research with conviction,” Mrs. Wilbur said.

A former undergraduate student recalled, “Dr. Wilbur is by far the best professor I have ever had. I took an 8:00am class with him and I would show up at 7:55 and the board would already be full. I never worked so hard and enjoyed doing it.”

“At graduation ceremonies, students wouldn’t just shake Dr. Wilbur’s hand, they would hug him. It really showed the level of appreciation and admiration his students had for him. To this day, I’ve never seen anything like it,” remembered Dr. Williams.

Dr. Paul Wilbur was awarded the Ernst Stuhlinger Medal for Outstanding Achievement in Electric Propulsion at the 30th International Electric Propulsion Conference held in Florence, Italy, September 2007.

Honors & Awards
• 1989, Engineering Dean’s Council Award, CSU Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, Fort Collins, Colorado
• 1986, Abell Faculty Research and Graduate Program Support Award, CSU College of Engineering, Fort Collins, Colorado
• 1985, Oliver P. Pennock Award for Distinguished Service, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado
• 1982, Halliburton Award for Excellence in Teaching, CSU College of Engineering, Fort Collins, Colorado
• 1964-1968, NSA Traineeship and NSF Graduate Fellowship, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
• 1960, Outstanding Graduating Engineer, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah
• 2007, The Ernst Stuhlinger Medal for Outstanding Achievement in Electric Propulsion
• 2008, The Wyld Propulsion Award, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
• Purple Shaft Award – This is an award given by students to faculty they were most fond of; Dr. Wilbur won twice.

Extracurricular Involvement
At CSU, Dr. Wilbur was heavily involved at university-level, college level, and department level committees:

• University Committees
o Faculty Council, Member, 1970, 1994
o Scholastic Standards Committee, Member, 1969
o Space Grant Program, Administrator
o AIAA, Student Section Advisor
• College Committees
o College of Engineering Evaluation Committee, Member
• Department Committees
o ME Advisory Committee, Member, 1975, 1987

He was also professionally affiliated with several societies in the field of aeronautics and astronautics:

• American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Technical Program Chairman, 21st International Electric Propulsion Conference, 1990
• American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Member, Technical Committee on Electric Propulsion, 1988
• American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Member, Technical Committee on Plasmadynamics & Lasers, 1986
• American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Chairman, 11th International Electric Propulsion Conference, 1975
• American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Member, Technical Committee on Electric Propulsion, 1972
• American Institute of Astronautics and Aeronautics, Member
• American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Fellow

Personal Life
When Dr. Wilbur wasn’t teaching or in the lab, he enjoyed building furniture in his workshop. Many pieces still grace his and Mrs. Wilbur’s home today. He is also dedicated to the Church. “He has always been very involved with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints. He has been a bishop twice, in a leadership position many times, a Scout Master and a teacher of the youth,” said Mrs. Wilbur.

Propulsion conferences took Dr. Wilbur all over the world which encouraged the couple to travel. “We would then take a few days after the conference and visit the country where the conference was being held; consequently we were able to visit a lot of the world this way,” Mrs. Wilbur added.

A senior design group photo co-advised by Dr. Paul Wilbur (left), and Dr. John Williams (right).

His Legacy
Dr. Wilbur’s former lab is now run by Dr. Williams and called the Center for Electric Propulsion and Plasma Engineering, also known as the “CEPPE Lab.” “The lab is still successful because of the hard work Dr. Wilbur put into establishing it and the skills he ingrained in me to move it forward,” said Dr. Williams.

Dr. Wilbur’s contributions to CSU, the Department of Mechanical Engineering, and the field of space propulsion is truly a force to be reckoned with. His rewarding professional career and personal life is evident, and serves as a prime example for current and future ME faculty. His impact to the foundation of the Department is deep-rooted and has made it what it is today.

“Whenever I’m struggling, I wonder, what would Dr. Wilbur do? Then, I do just that, because he did things the right way, and he influenced thousands of individuals to do the same,” said Dr. Williams.

Today, Dr. Wilbur resides in Fort Collins with his wife, Mrs. Wilbur.

If you have memories you would like to share about your experiences with Dr. Wilbur, please contact Sona Srinarayana,

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.