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September 2021


  • Percentage of Degrees Awarded to International Graduates

Sponsored Content: NSF

  • Get Engaged in NSF’s Innovation Network


  • White House Announces Dramatic Increase to Solar Power Production

Sponsored Content: NCEES

  • Milwaukee School of Engineering Wins 2021 NCEES Engineering Education Award


  • NAE Establishes New Committee to Oversee Outreach to Minority Youth
  • DoD Funding for New Research Centers at Two HBCUs Includes K–12 Training

Sponsored Content: NYU Tandon

  • Unconventional Engineers Fight for Data Transparency


  • Norwegian Company Invents More Efficient Offshore Wind Turbine

Sponsored Content: Autodesk

  • Book a Virtual Lecture for Your Class on the Evolution of Design & Manufacturing


  • What’s On Tap in the October 2021 Issue of Prism?


  • ASEE Presents Preparing the Workforce for Industry 4.0
  • ASEE 2022 Annual Conference — Important Dates!
  • Prism Magazine Seeks New Student Columnist

Click here for source document.


Sponsored Content

Get Engaged in NSF’s Innovation Network

The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) supports networks of diverse people and encourages researchers and aspiring or established entrepreneurs to participate as valued members of NSF’s innovation programs and networks.

There are a few ways that you can make contributions, develop skills, and get support to translate research into technology, work directly with industry, or get funding for a deep technology startup. Get involved through NSF programs:

  • America’s Seed Fund, powered by NSF, provides startups with up to $2 million in research and development (R&D) funding to build a proof-of-concept or prototype.
  • The Innovation Corps Program (I-Corps), an NSF-wide entrepreneurial education program, equips researchers with the tools needed to transform discoveries into innovative technologies.
  • The Partnerships for Innovation (PFI) program gives scientists and engineers the opportunity to increase the impact of their NSF-funded research discoveries by developing their technology into a prototype or proof-of-concept.

Sign up for updates about NSF innovation programs.



President Biden has said he wants all electricity production to come from clean sources by 2035. Toward that goal, the administration this month produced an ambitious blueprint for solar power to provide 45 percent of the nation’s electricity by 2050, the Washington Post reports. That’s a big leap, given that solar currently accounts for a mere 3 percent of power production. But, as the Post says, the effort to transform the nation’s energy industry and infrastructure shows just how determined Biden is to give the economy a makeover and drastically cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. In a statement, Jennifer Granholm, the energy secretary, said a U.S. Department of Energy study shows the plan is doable. It projects that solar energy could generate 40 percent of U.S. electricity production by 2035 and employ around 1.5 million people without increasing consumer costs. The DOE analysis, however, counts on Congress funding a number of clean-energy investments and policies Biden has asked for, something it has not yet done. The plan also includes efforts to help facilitate more solar power transmission, including improved storage, microgrids, and better forecasting, Reuters reports. The solar power announcement comes on the heels of a new Interior Department policy to streamline an application process and make it easier for solar and wind energy producers to win access to large tracts of federal land.



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Milwaukee School of Engineering Wins 2021 NCEES Engineering
Education Award

NCEES is pleased to announce that the Milwaukee School of Engineering is the grand prize winner of the 2021 NCEES Engineering Education Award. The university received the award for a project completed by the Civil and Architectural Engineering and Construction Management Department. The award jury met virtually on June 15, 2021, to select the $25,000 grand prize winner.

For the school’s project, Sustainable Improvements for Guatemalan Cardamom Spice Dryers, a team of primarily mechanical engineering students collaborated with professional engineers and other professionals to develop a low-cost metal attachment called a swirler, which is inserted into heat exchanger tubes in spice dryers. The swirler, at a one-time cost of two dollars, is made from sheet metal and a pair of tin snips and pliers. The solution will reduce deforestation and improve the overall quality of life in rural Guatemalan communities. The jury selected seven additional winners to receive awards of $10,000 each:

  • California State University, Los Angeles
    Department of Civil Engineering
    Sustainable Recycled Water Recharge Program
  • Christian Brothers University
    Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Department of Mechanical Engineering
    GO BaBy Go—MROC
  • George Mason University
    Sid and Reva Dewberry Department of Civil, Environmental, and Infrastructure Engineering
    Water Supply, Distribution, and Storage, San Pablo de Amali, Ecuador
  • Lawrence Technological University
    Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering
    Oakland University Interdisciplinary Research Center 
  • Seattle University
    Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
    Home for the Homeless Using Cross Laminated Waste Stream
  • University of Nebraska–Lincoln
    Charles W. Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction
    Virginia Tech War Memorial Hall: Integrative Team Design
  • University of Wisconsin–Madison
    Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
    Village Stormwater Mitigation


Profiles of the winning submissions will be posted as available at



The National Academy of Engineering has created a new committee with the goal of nurturing the engineering aspirations and talents of K-12 students from marginalized populations. The newly established Inclusive, Diverse, Equitable Engineering for All (IDEEA) committee will also envision and oversee NAE outreach programs designed to engage kids, teachers, parents, and communities in all things engineering. The plan is to do more to inspire diverse students to consider careers in engineering and broaden participation in societal decision-making to generate more creative solutions to problems. IDEEA’s first chair will be Christine Cunningham, a professor of practice at Pennsylvania State University’s College of Engineering and College of Education. She is perhaps best known for founding the Engineering is Elementary program at the Museum of Science in Boston.Cunningham will guide a committee composed of 13 experts appointed by NAE President John Anderson. The committee will gather and distill best practices for engineering programs geared toward minority youths. It will also identify and work with community organizations whose work is aligned with the committee’s goals. “We hope to collaborate with such trusted community partners to amplify their efforts,” says Cunningham, who has previously served on three NAE committees.



The U.S. Department of Defense recently announced awards totaling $15 million to establish centers of excellence in biotechnology and materials science at two historically Black colleges and universities. This investment will benefit students all the way down the pipeline, including K-12 students. The centers will offer training to precollege students to strengthen the talent pool entering STEM and foster awareness of Pentagon research priorities.

The two selected colleges are North Carolina A&T State University’s Center for Biotechnology and Morgan State University’s Center for Advanced Electro-Photonics with 2-D Materials. North Carolina A&T will collaborate with the Wake Forest Institute of Regenerative Medicine on research to develop technology for detection and monitoring of chemical and biological threat agents using an integrated micro-engineering organ equivalent system. Morgan State will partner with Johns Hopkins University to determine the technological potential of two new 2-D materials for use in wearable photovoltaics (PV), thermally managed photosensors, and hybrid PV thermoelectric devices for soldiers.



Sponsored Content

Unconventional Engineers Fight for Data Transparency

NYU Tandon researchers with Cybersecurity for Democracy and the Center for Responsible AI are advocating for greater transparency into how data is used — including how election and vaccine misinformation spreads and how AI is used in the hiring process. Their collective efforts to use data for good protect information integrity, create greater accountability, restore trust in institutions, and build a more equitable future. Discover more.



Outside of the United States, offshore wind farms are growing in popularity, mainly because they can take advantage of stronger oceanic winds. That said, there are limitations to offshore turbines that limits their use. Traditional turbines are based on old Dutch windmills, says Ole Heggheim, CEO of Wind Catching Systems in Norway, in Fast Company magazine. While they work just fine on land, at sea the design is less efficient. That’s because each turbine must be embedded in the sea floor. They can’t be placed in waters deeper than 200 feet, or around 20 miles from shore—but the strongest winds are further out. There are a few floating wind farms which, tethered to the seabed, can be sited in waters more than 3,000 feet deep (around 25 miles from land). But their traditional design still limits their performance.

So Heggheim has come up with a floating wind turbine with a radical new design that can generate more wind energy than standard models. Unlike traditional turbines, which consist of three blades attached to one pole, the Windcatcher is a giant grid. It stands 1,000 feet tall—three times higher than a normal turbine—and contains more than 100 small blades. It sits on a platform tethered to the seabed. Heggheim says its annual energy output would be five times greater than that of the world’s largest traditional turbine. One unit, the company says, could power between 80,000 to 100,000 households. Why is it more efficient? Traditional sea turbines use massive 120-foot-long blades, so they max out in the highest winds. A lot of that power goes unused. Windcatcher’s blades are only 50 feet long, so they perform more rotations per minute and generate more energy from the strongest winds. The smaller blades also make the grid-shaped turbine easier to build and maintain. And because they’re made from aluminum instead of fiberglass, they’re fully recyclable. Wind Catching Systems plans to construct a prototype, either off the coast of Norway or the U.K. The company is also eyeing potential sites around California and Japan.



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Book a Virtual Lecture for Your Class On the Evolution of Design & Manufacturing

Let an industry expert share how tech trends influence workforce skills.

Reinforce what you've been saying to your students by bringing in an industry expert who will speak to your class—at no cost to you. This Autodesk Certified Instructor will share the workforce skills that are in demand now and what will be required in the future. Based on what they're hearing from their clients, they will speak to the fact that engineers who can rapidly design and manufacture smart products are in high demand. That ability requires skills like:

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"The Autodesk instructor’s clear explanation and demonstration opened our eyes to a whole new universe of possibilities. We were also very pleased to see that this opportunity, and technology, is free to educators and students, especially given the budget crisis in education brought on by COVID-19." 

—Jeff Briggs, Regional Director, Advanced Manufacturing, California Community College Consortium


Job-hunting? Here are a few current openings:

1. Chemical Engineering - 2 opportunities

2. Department Head - 2 opportunities

3. Materials Engineering - 1 opportunity

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COVER: LESSONS FROM THE LOCKDOWN—The pivot to remote learning sparked an explosion in novel tools and teaching techniques. Some worked so well that engineering educators vow to keep them.

FEATURE: CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM—The peer review process can be as brutal as a gladiator arena. Find out how to provide effective feedback—without being a jerk!






Engineering is at a crossroads, from how it’s practiced in industry to how it’s taught in the classroom. New technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), nanofabrication, and the internet of things (IoT) have all shifted the engineering landscape. This event features a series of TED-like talks from industry and academic leaders, a member of the National Science Board, and other luminaries. This is THE opportunity to bring voices from academia and industry together to imagine and implement actionable outcomes during the most fluid state of education in centuries. Schools are at a crossroads, so let’s give them a roadmap. This moment will go down in history. Don’t miss it!

The event will take place virtually on October 13–14, 2021. Register at the early-bird rate of $395. Visit the project website.



ASEE’s Annual Conference will take place in Minneapolis, Minn. from June 26–29.
Abstract submissions will open October 11, 2021.
Click here for ASEE Division Call for Papers
Click here for important deadlines
Click here for the 2022 ASEE Annual Conference overview page

We again thank our participants for a great Annual (Virtual) Conference in July. Couldn’t make it? Too many sessions to attend? Simply want to rewatch a session? No problem. Sessions will be available online through July 19, 2022. Visit the conference website for information on how to view them whenever it’s convenient! Non-registered attendees can get access for $100 here.



ASEE’s Prism magazine seeks a new student columnist to add their fresh perspective to its pages! The columnist should be a clear writer with strong opinions who, ideally, has at least two years left in school. The columnist will write two columns per year and receive $500 for each published article.

To apply, please email a resume, brief cover letter, and any writing samples you may have (newspapers, magazines, blog posts, papers, etc.—published is preferred but not required!) by October 1, 2021 with the subject line “Student Columnist Application.”

Check out the latest column from our previous student columnist, Amman Asfaw, to see what a column looks like.



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