CBU and Harding Collaborate on Engineering Courses and First Robotics

harding1Dr. Eric Welch (Electrical Engineering Professor) and Dr. Paul Shiue (Mechanical Engineering Professor) are offering a dual enrollment course for 16 juniors and seniors at Harding Academy during both the fall and spring semesters. This program was set up to introduce high school students to the engineering profession and is being partially funded by an external donor.

The fall class, ENGR 100: Exploring Engineering, teaches students the basics of electrical and mechanical systems, computer aided design and C programming.  During the semester, they are challenged to build electric motors, sliding valve steam engines, a simple robot, and other projects.  In addition, they learn about the various engineering disciplines and career opportunities.

Starting in January, the students will be enrolled in ECE 101: Introduction to Engineering Problem Solving.  Using the material they learned from the fall term, the students will work for 6 consecutive weeks on building a robot for the regional FIRST Robotics Competition, a qualifying event scheduled to be held in Little Rock, AR, March 4-7, 2015.  If successful, the team plans to advance to the national competition held later in the semester.

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First Lego League (FLL) Workshops at CBU


Charmaine Cooper (EE&CS’15) with middle school students at the September FLL workshop.

CBU hosted 2 First Lego League (FLL) Workshops on August 24 and September 13. Frank Niedzwiedz (Electrical Engineering ’82) directed the workshop and TVA and the CBU Electrical & Computer Engineering Department sponsored it. Fourteen+ teachers, coaches, mentors, and parents representing 10 schools attended both workshops. FFL teams consist of 2-10 members, ages 9-14, and in the grades 4-8. Teams must register in mid-September for the West Tennessee FLL competition that will be held on January 24, 2015 at the University of Memphis.

Fall 2014 Faculty News

  • cmbakerDr. Chad Baker (Electrical & Computer Engineering, Emeritus) recently took first place in the “Tour de Midtown,” a competition at the InsideOut Life Gym that replicates the actual Tour de France bicycle race on stationary spin bikes. When the riders were on hills, participants cranked up the resistance on the wheels of their spin bikes. Very few days were on the flats and those days were combinations of mad dashes with varying resistances. Over 50 gym members participated in the competition, and the participants rode over 250 miles in 21 days. Dr. Baker won 8 of the 21 stages and over $600 in prizes.
  • Dr. Pong Malasri (Dean of Engineering) gave a one-hour talk on Packaging Research at the CBU Healthcare Packaging Consortium at Tennessee Tech University (TTU) on September 23. The event was hosted by TTU Center for Manufacturing and Center for Energy Research. He also explored packaging research collaboration opportunities with Dr. Joseph Rencis (Dean of Engineering), Dr. Vahid Motevalli (Associate Dean of Research and Innovation & Interim Director of Center for Manufacturing Research), Dr. Periasamy Rajan (Interim Director for Energy Systems Research), and Dr. Mohan Rao (Mechanical Engineering Department Chair). On the same trip, he had a dinner meeting with five engineering alumni — Tom Doss (Electrical Engineering ’63), Mike William (Electrical Engineering ’83), David Swaney (Electrical Engineering ’01), Tricia Swaney (Civil Engineering ’01), and  Paolo Fonda (Civil Engineering ’02) in Nashville on September 23, visited Father Ryan and Harpeth Hall high schools in Nashville with Erica Mitchell (Admissions) on September 24, and set up a CBU booth at the 2014 Tennessee Engineers’ Conference in Murfreesboro on September 25-26.
  • Dr. Pong Malasri (Dean of Engineering) has been recognized by the International Safe Transit Association (ISTA) as a Certified Packaging Laboratory Professional. The CPLP designation consists of three levels of certification; Technician, Technologist, and Professional. The first two levels require a two-hour test each. Professional-level certification is based on a resume of transport packaging activities and accomplishments. Dr. Malasri’s accomplishments include authoring several transport packaging-related journal articles, serving as director of the CBU Healthcare Packaging Consortium, and editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Advanced Packaging Technology.
  • Gene McGinnis (Civil and Environmental Engineering) was recently inducted as a Director for the West Tennessee Branch of the American Society of Civil Engineers in a ceremony conducted at the Racquet Club of Memphis.
  • Dr. Juan Carlos Olabe-Basogain (Electrical & Computer Engineering) has published Hello Scratch, a book on the interactive programming language and its use in K-12 education.
  • Dr. Ali Pourhashemi (Chemical Engineering) has two books forthcoming for publication: Engineering Materials: Applied Research and Evaluation Methods (editor, Apple Academic Press, October 2014), and Nanomaterials and Nanotechnology for Composites: Design, Simulation, and Applications (coauthor, CRC Press, November 2014). He also recently published Chemical and Biochemical Engineering: New Materials and Developed Components (editor, Apple Academic Press, September 2014)
  • Dr. Asit Ray (Chemical Engineering) made a two-hour presentation on “Medical Packaging” and another two-hour presentation on “Plastics Used for Packaging” at the Indian Institute for Packaging (IIP) at Kolkata. His presentations were attended by about 40 graduate students and 10 professionals from medical industries. He established contacts with Professor Bidhan Das, the deputy director and regional head of the Institute and his colleagues and two other highly regarded packaging specialists. Dr. Ray also visited IIP in Delhi and met with Dr. Tanweer Alam, Joint Director and Regional Head of the institute. Course web pages by

2014 Summer Packaging Program

news14The 2014 Packaging Summer Program was a huge success. The one-day program introduced high school students to the fundamentals of packaging engineering. They were given a tour of the CBU ISTA certified packaging lab in the morning followed by a hands-on activity involving corrugated cardboard packages. During lunch, the students were introduced to a panel of representatives from local packaging-related companies where they got to share their stories on how they got into the profession and where it led them. In the afternoon session, they got to test their packages from the hands-on activity in a “Pre-shipment Test.” Here is one of the responses we got after the workshop:

“My son just completed the Packaging Summer Program at CBU on yesterday. I want to let you know that he was so excited about what he learned during that session.  He is considering majoring in Electrical Engineering with a minor in Packaging is that is possible.  He was also impressed with the Engineering Department at CBU.  You may have a future student in 4 years.  Thank you for  allowing this opportunity for high school students to explore this area of expertise.”

More photos can be found on our CBU Engineering Facebook page.

New Orleans Recruiting Trip

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Mr. Gene McGinnis (CE Chair), Dr. Andrew Assadollahi (CE Assistant Professor), Lauren Harrett (CE), Patrick McGinnis (EE&CS), Nadia Earle (ChE), Cathy Holmes (ME), Trey McGinnis (EE, CS, & MATH) and Reggie Raney (CE) visited St. Paul High School, St. Scholastica Academy, De La Salle High School and Archbishop Rummel High School in New Orleans  (8/17-8/20) to discuss opportunities in engineering and science at CBU.

Summer 2014 Engineering Graduates

Congratulations to our summer 2014 engineering graduates!


  • Shilpa Appurubugatha, B.S. Electrical Engineering
  • Dederick Blair, B.S. Civil Engineering
  • Aaron Lewis, B.S. Civil Engineering
  • Adam Tekle, B.S. Electrical Engineering & B.S. Computer Science


  • Ronald Alexander, M.S. Engineering Management
  • Velma Tate, M.S. Engineering Management

Engineering Welcomes Civil Engineering Faculty Member

486321_581778878865_743193495_nDr. Andrew Assadollahi joins the School of Engineering as a full-time Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Dr. Assadollahi is a native Memphian and a 2005 graduate of Christian Brothers High School. He graduated from Christian Brothers University in 2009 with a B.S. in Civil Engineering (concentrating in structural engineering) and a B.S. in Mathematics (concentrating in applied differential equations). In 2010, Dr. Assadollahi earned an M.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Memphis with a concentration in structural seismic engineering, and in 2013, he completed his Ph.D. in Engineering from the University of Memphis with a concentration in geo-structures.

CBU Academic Convocation Awards

lasallian_educator14Dr. John Ventura (Electrical & Computer Engineering) was honored with the Distinguished Lasallian Educator Award at the CBU Academic Convocation on August 28. The award — the highest presented by the University to faculty or staff — annually honors a CBU educator, nominated by his/her peers, who exemplifies the ideals of St. John Baptist de La Salle in the 21st century. Recipients must have been a Lasallian educator for at least five years, be actively involved in fostering the mission of Lasallian education, exemplify in his/her life the spirit of St. John Baptist de La Salle, and demonstrate an enthusiasm for the Lasallian tradition. Dr. Ventura is pictured above (center) with Brother Dominic Ehrmantraut, Director of Mission, and President John Smarrelli.

Other awards & announcements at the CBU Academic Convocation:

  • Dr. Divya Choudhary (Electrical & Computer Engineering) was awarded the Outstanding New Academic Advisor Award.
  • The J. Everett Pidgeon Chair was awarded to Dr. Paul Shiue (Mechanical Engineering).
  • Dr. Divya Choudhary (Electrical & Computer Engineering) has been promoted to the rank of Associate Professor.
  • Dr. John Ventura (Electrical & Computer Engineering) has been promoted to the rank of Professor.

2015 Lasallian Fellows Award Recipients

CBU has named two engineering students, Lauren Harrett (Civil Engineering ’15) and Mallory Harvey (Civil Engineering ’15) as part of its 2015 Class of CBU Lasallian Fellows.

CBU Lasallian Fellowships are presented annually to five members of the senior class based upon the reflection of Lasallian values in their scholarship, leadership, and service. Each student was nominated by a member of the CBU faculty or staff because of academic excellence, commitment to social justice, the active nature of his or her faith, and an inspired approach to change-making. Upon graduation, the Fellows will be awarded $5,000 as a means of perpetuating their work in the community. The Fellowships are made possible through the creative generosity of Joyce Mollerup and Robert Buckman.

Lauren Harrett

Lauren Harrett — CE’15

Lauren Harrett is an outstanding student who fully embraces the Lasallian values of faith, service and community and uses her initiative, creativity, leadership skills and academic achievement to further the welfare of others at CBU, the Memphis community, and the world at large. Lauren is motivated by her strong faith life and is an active member of the Sunday night Mass group serving as lector and a member of the group that leads the music.

Lauren, a civil engineering major who has already completed three internships with Toyota Motor Corporation, is a member of the CBU Honors Program and sits on the board of directors of Page Robbins Adult Day Care Center through the servant-leadership program, Brothers’ Keepers. She is a proud Big Geek mentor to several younger honors students, and also serves as a CBU President’s Ambassador, a position of great responsibility as CBU seeks to attract other bright and highly motivated students like Lauren. She is a two-sport varsity athlete at CBU, competing in tennis and golf and has shown her leadership skills as the golf team captain. Using her passion as a catalyst to help others, as a participant in The First Tee of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky she coached groups of underprivileged children in life skills and leadership through the game of golf.

Lauren was selected to participate in the United Nations World Youth Peace Summit in Hartford, Connecticut, an organization that helps develop scholar-athletes and scholar-artists from around the world into successful peace advocates. Lauren is an officer in the Society for Women Engineers and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). In fact, she demonstrated her management skills as Conference Chair for the 2014 ASCE Deep South Conference, which has thirteen member universities in West Tennessee, Eastern Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi. This was an enormous undertaking for a small school like CBU to host. Lauren eagerly “stepped up to the plate” to assume the responsibility of organizing the conference and did a fantastic job!

It is for all these reasons and many more that students who know Lauren Harrett best call her Wonder Woman, faculty who have taught her wish other students were more like her, and that she so richly deserves being named a 2014-2015 CBU Lasallian Fellow.


Mallory Harvey – CE’14

Mallory Harvey leads by example and believes one obtains success by earning it. She embodies the best of CBU and lives her faith every day as evidenced by her respect, support, and treatment of her peers, faculty and the CBU community. She has been a leader in the Science Olympiad, Memphis-Area Joint Engineers Council (MJEC) Engineers Week Student Contest, and MATHCOUNTS, a middle school math competition. She has travelled to California to promote engineering at CBU and, conduct workshops for high school students to prepare them for a college major and career in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).

Mallory is President and a founding member of the student chapter of Technical Association of Pulp and Paper Industry (TAPPI) and Vice-President of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). She is a Technical Assistant for the International Journal of Advanced Packaging Technology (IJAPT) where she uses her knowledge of packaging, research abilities, technical writing skills, and computer expertise to contribute to the publication of the international journal. She has 13 publications and is one of approximately 250 individuals worldwide that is certified by ISTA (International Safe Transit Association) as an ISTA Certified Packaging Lab Technician. It is clear that she is an individual who recognizes opportunities for change and has the resources, enthusiasm, and dedication to help initiate those changes.

While Mallory is already an outstanding young professional, she is also dedicated to serving the broader community. She not only volunteers to assist with community activities, she often leads the activities by organizing the events and encouraging others to participate. One example of this is her leadership of September of Service (SOS) 2014. This is the first year the leadership positions were advertised to the entire campus and Mallory was the first to apply. Given her other leadership experiences, SOS 2014 is guaranteed to reach more members of the CBU and Memphis communities with Mallory as a part of the team. When asked why she wanted to lead SOS, Mallory wrote: “I want to be a part of the change making in a more involved manner. I want to improve Memphians’ quality of life. I want to challenge other students to do work that stands for something big. I want to share my enthusiasm in expressing the importance of charity and faith in the community.” Because of her innovative leadership and professionalism, as well as her volunteer spirit, Mallory Harvey has earned the title CBU Lasallian Fellow.

Dr. Siripong Malasri Named Dean of Engineering

S_MalasriDr. Siripong Malasri has been appointed Dean of the School of Engineering at Christian Brothers University (CBU). Malasri has already played a significant role within the CBU engineering program during his 25-year tenure as a faculty member, department chair, program director, and a previous term as dean. Malasri will be responsible for recruiting, budgeting, preparing reports, working with faculty and staff to develop a long-term strategy for the University, supervising and participating in the expansion of degree programs, and being the public face for the School of Engineering.

Malasri is excited to take on the challenge as dean and believes that CBU will see the benefit.

“I see several opportunities in taking CBU engineering to the next level,” he said. “Memphis is home of many great companies. We need to establish industry-university relationship in a more formal way. We have already done this quite successfully through the CBU Healthcare Packaging Consortium during the last four years. We also need to collaborate with other universities. By combining our strengths with other local institutions, we will be a greater asset to the Memphis community together.”

Malasri is also a Professor of Civil Engineering at CBU and serves as the Interim Director of the Graduate Engineering Program, Chair of the Packaging Department and Director of the Healthcare Packaging Consortium. He is a registered professional engineer in the State of Tennessee and is an ISTA certified packaging laboratory technologist. Malasri has authored various publications related to transport packaging, artificial intelligence and engineering education. Currently he serves as editor-in-chief for the International Journal of Advanced Packaging Technology.

Malasri holds a PhD in Civil Engineering from Texas A&M University, as well as a master’s degree from the Asian Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s degree from Chulalongkorn University in Thailand.

The CBU School of Engineering offers a 50+-year legacy of individualized engineering education with ABET accredited degrees in the four major engineering disciplines: chemical, civil, electrical and mechanical.  A CBU engineering education is distinguished by personalized interaction between students and faculty, a strong laboratory component in the curricula and an emphasis on real-world experience through hands-on design projects and internships.