Women in STEM Panel

Women in Engineering (WIE) and the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) hosted a panel discussion on “Women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math)” on November 15. Panelists included women from industry and academia. They discussed various topics such as their career path, workplace challenges, career transition advice, importance of networking and work/life balance followed by a Q&A session.

Moderators included Dr. Amy Curry (Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Memphis) and Dr. Divya Choudhary (Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at CBU).

Panelists included Belinda G. Watkins (VP, Enterprise Information and Security Engineering for FedEx Services), Dr. Barbara Blum (Sr. Project Engineer, Biologics Development for Wright Medical Technology), Regina Holmes (PMP, Sr. Regulatory Affairs Specialist Enabling Technologies Spinal and Biologics for Medtronic), Maria Teresa Lensing (Signature Client – Vice President for AT&T), Heather Kraus (Roadway Project Engineer for Kimley-Horn and Associates), Brittany Course (IT Applications Associate for Sedgwick), and Elizabeth Gire (Assistant Professor of Physics at the University of Memphis).

CBU Certified Packaging Lab is Expanding


Larry Rutledge (CBU Certified Lab Manager), Henry Rhodes (Engineering Technician), and Bob Moats (Engineering Technician) with the Elvis TS-122

Recently, the CBU Certified Packaging Lab has acquired two new pieces of equipment:

  • The Elvis TS-122, a new vibration test system (manufactured by Lansmont), was purchased used from Michigan State University. It can test packages up to 800 lb., which is more than ten times more capacity than the existing vibration table.  Elvis weighs about 7,000 lbs.
  • On November 14, FedEx donated a Gaynes Incline Impact Tester to the CBU lab. The tester is about 20 feet long, weighs about 800 lbs., and can handle packages up to 500 lbs.

Pictured l-r: Bob Moats (Lab Technician), Janet Smith (Managing Director, FedEx), and Larry Rutledge (CBU Certified Packaging Lab Manager)

The CBU lab has now become a full-fledged transport packaging test lab with the following equipment: a Lansmont drop tester for small packages, a L.A.B. drop tester for large packages, a Lansmont vibration table for small packages, an Elvis vibration test system for large packages, a Gaynes incline impact tester, a Lansmont shock test system, a Cincinnati Subzero temperature-humidity chamber, a modified Gaynes compression table, and an Envirotronic altitude chamber.  For a lab tour, please contact Dr. Pong Malasri, Packaging Department Chair, at pong@cbu.edu.

For more photos of the lab and its new equipment, visit the Packaging Department’s Facebook page

Fall 2013 Lunch & Learn Series

The CBU School of Engineering hosted a series of Lunch & Learns this fall. These talks are available to all engineering  students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

  • September 19 – “How to be a Sales Engineer” by Sam Noland (ME’12), Sales Engineer at nexAir, LLC
  • October 10 -  “Packaging and Career Opportunities” by JC Heotis II, President of New-Tech Packaging, Inc.
  • November 21 – “Softskills for Engineers” by Amy Ware, Director of Career Services at CBU

Amy Ware gave a talk on “Softskills for Engineers” which focused on developing the softer, interpersonal and relationship-building skills that help people to communicate and collaborate effectively.


Faculty News

Dr. L. Yu Lin (Civil & Environmental Engineering) presented a paper entitled “Combined Application of Wetland and Fish Habitat Estimation Methods for the Tunica Lake Weir, Tunica, Mississippi” at the  Tennessee Water Resources Symposium in Burns, TN. The original project was sponsored by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Memphis District.  A couple of engineering students participated in JAVA language programming for the development of fish spawning and rearing in wetland areas and habitat suitability index computation.

MAESC 2013: The following papers authored/coauthored by CBU faculty/staff/students were presented at the MAESC 2013 Conference on October 28-29 at the University of Mississippi.

  • P. Shiue and J. Aflaki, “Introducing Additive Manufacturing in Freshman Introductory Course”
  • J. Speidel, F. Schott, M. White, S. Anderson, and J. Ventura, “MATHCOUNTS: Recommendations for Increasing Participation”
  • M. Harvey, S. Malasri, and A. Ray, “Considerations in Developing a State-of-the-Art Packaging Lab”
  • S. Malasri, D. Olivares, and J. Rivera, “Packaging Opportunities in Mexico”
  • S. Malasri, P. Aung, A. Pourhashemi, R. Moats, and T. Sullivan, “Mold & Wooden Pallets: A Preliminary Study”
  • S. Malasri, N. McKee, M. Harvey, I. Griffith, and J. Ventura, “Psychrometric Neural Networks”
  • L. Shiue, L. Lin, and A. Pourhashemi, “Ethanol Extraction from Rice Hulls”
  • D. Choudhary and S. Chari, “Electrocardiography Systems: A Review of Device Technology”

Fall 2013 Field Trips


PKG 101 class

  • On September 27, the PKG 101 class toured Olympus Surgical Technologies America,  where the students were introduced to medical-device packaging.  The company, a member of the CBU Healthcare Packaging Consortium, is under the “Medical” group of Olympus. (Other groups include “Cameras and Audio,” “Life Science,” and “Industrial.”)

Chemical Engineering Projects class

  • On November 19,  the Chemical Engineering Projects class toured the glycerine recovery section of the PMC Biogenix plant in Memphis.  Our hosts were CBU ChE alums Mike Haskins (BSChE 1993) and Thomas Zavodny (BSChE 1979).


Black Girls Code Workshop


Dr. Juan Carlos Olabe is introducing a middle school student to SCRATCH.

The School of Engineering sponsored a Scratch workshop for Black Girls Code on Saturday, November 2. The mission of Black Girls Code is to introduce programming and technology to students between the ages of 7 and 17. The workshop focused on game development using Scratch, a programming project developed by the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at MIT.  The workshop was attended by 40 students from local middle/ high schools and was led by Dr. Juan Carlos Olabe with the assistance of electrical engineering students.   No programming experience was required and the workshop introduced participants to technology that encourages students to pursue a STEM career.

For more pictures of the workshop, click here

Engineering Students Attend National SWE Conference

Nine engineering students and one faculty member attended the 2013 National Society of Women Engineers (SWE) Conference in Baltimore, Maryland, October 24-26. More than 6,000 members from around the world participated in the global networking event. Over 250 companies and organizations were there to seek out qualified, motivated female engineers for positions ranging from interns to executives. This is one of the largest and most diverse career events in the industry.


CBU engineering attendees at the conference were (pictured l-r) Gabriela Gomez-Pedro (ME), Griselda Matos Martinez (ENMT), Keunna Arnold (ME), Mallory Harvey (CE), Dr. Divya Choudhary (ECE Faculty), Megan Long (ME), Nadia Earle (CHE), Jennifer Gonzalez (ME), Gabrielle Sereika (EE), and Shilpa Appurubugatha (EE)


Fall 2013 Packaging News

2013 CBU HPC FALL MEETING: The CBU Healthcare Packaging Consortium hosted its 2013 HPC Fall Meeting on campus on November 1 with 37 participants from CBU, Wright Medical, Lansmont, International Paper, Merck, New-Tech Packaging, FedEx, and Nuvasive. Presenters were Bryan Williams (Lansmont), Larry Rutledge (CBU Certified Packaging Lab), Dr. Chad Baker (Electrical & Computer Engineering), and Dr. Pong Malasri (Packaging). Lansmont Corporation of Monterey, CA sponsored the event. The meeting proceedings can be found online at this link.

PACKAGING LAB RE-CERTIFIED:The International Safe Transit Association has recently re-certified the CBU Packaging Lab until October 2015 for the following test protocols: 1A, 1C, 1G, 2A, 3A, 3F, and 6-FEDEX-A. The CBU lab has been certified since October 2009. Recertification of a commercial lab is required every two years to ensure the equipment is well maintained and tests are conducted by qualified personnel. CBU’s lab, under the leadership of Mr. Larry Rutledge, who was FedEx Packaging Lab Manager for 18 years until his retirement, has been growing. Recently, the lab has acquired a vibration test system with a 800-lb. payload capacity from the Michigan State lab and it is expected to be operational in early November. In addition, the CBU lab will also get an incline impact tester from FedEx in mid-November. These two new pieces of equipment will allow the CBU lab to be certified for more ISTA test protocols, which will make it a more comprehensive commercial lab. For a lab tour, please contact Dr. Pong Malasri, Packaging Department Chair, at pong@cbu.edu.

PACKAGING CONSORTIUM JOURNAL: Cloud Publications (Noida, NCR Delhi, India) and the CBU Healthcare Packaging Consortium formally announced a collaboration in designating the International Journal of Advanced Packaging Technology (IJAPT) as the official journal of the consortium on October17. IJAPT is part of the Cloud Journals family which is under the parent company, Cloud Publications.

HEALTHCARE PACKAGING CONSORTIUM WORK PUBLISHED: Four articles based on research work at the CBU Healthcare Packaging Consortium were recently published  in the International Journal of Advanced Packaging Technology:

  • Peel Test Comparison” by Kalli Powers (Mechanical Engineering ’12 and Packaging Engineering Certificate), Matthew Warren (Mechanical Engineering ’12 and Packaging Engineering Certificate), and Dr. Ray Brown (Mechanical Engineering), pp. 11-14.
  • Effect of Wet-Dry Cycles on Compressive Strength and Impact Properties of New Softwood Pallets” by Dr. Siripong Malasri (Packaging), Mallory Harvey (Civil Engineering & Packaging Minor ’14), Robert Moats (Engineering), Dr. James Aflaki (Mechanical Engineering), Dr. Ali Pourhashemi (Chemical Engineering), Griselda Matos Martinez (Engineering Management & Packaging Minor ’16), and Patrick Held (Engineering Management Packaging Concentration ’15), pp. 15-21.
  • Recycled Cardboard Comparison” by Kalli Powers (Mechanical Engineering ’12), Matthew Warren (Mechanical Engineering ’12), and Dr. Ray Brown (Mechanical Engineering)
  • “Effect of Temperature on Static and Impact Properties of New Softwood Pallets” by Dr. Siripong Malasri (Packaging), Dr. Ali Pourhashemi (Chemical & Biochemical Engineering), Dr. Ray Brown (Mechanical Engineering), Mallory Harvey (Civil Engineering ’14), Robert Moats (Engineering Technician), Katie Godwin (Civil Engineering ’12), Phyo Aung (Civil Engineering ’14), and James Laney (Civil Engineering ’14)

FACULTY APPOINTED EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF PACKAGING JOURNAL: Dr. Pong Malasri (Packaging) has been appointed by Cloud Publications to serve as the editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Advanced Packaging Technology. His immediate task is to form an international editorial board for the journal, which includes Dr. Asit Ray (Chemical & Biochemical Engineering). In addition, Mallory Harvey (Civil Engineering/Packaging Minor ’13) serves as technical assistant due to her involvement with various Healthcare Packaging Consortium research projects.  Volume 1 (2013) of the journal, to conclude in December 2013, will feature various packaging research projects performed at the CBU Healthcare Packaging Consortium since its establishment in 2010.

CERTIFIED PACKAGING LAB TECHNOLOGIST: Dr. Pong Malasri (Civil Engineering & Packaging) has recently been certified by the International Safe Transit Association (www.ista.org) as a Certified Packaging Lab Technologist by passing a two-hour exam.  This is the second of the three levels under ISTA Certified Packaging Lab Professionals (CPLP) Program.  He was certified by ISTA as a Certified Packaging Lab Technician in May 2013.  Currently, there are 211 ISTA certified technicians (level 1), 131 technologists (level 2), and 19 professionals (level 3) worldwide. The CBU Packaging Test Lab has been certified as a commercial lab by ISTA since October 2009. The lab has served various customers, including Merck Consumer Care and Olympus Surgical Technologies America.  Larry Rutledge, retired FedEx Packaging Lab Manager, serves as the manager of CBU Certified Packaging Test Lab.

STUDY ABROAD PACKAGING: In Spring 2014, Dr. Malasri plans to offer two study-aboard courses: PKG 496 (1 cr.) Pre-shipment Tests and PKG 498 (3 crs.) Transport Packaging.  Students in these two classes will go to Universidad De La Salle in Leon, Mexico, during Spring Break.  The lectures in Leon will prepare CBU students and De La Salle faculty/staff/students for the CPLP Technician examination. ISTA allows students to take the technician level test.

WELCOME TO THE CBU HPC: The CBU Healthcare Packaging Consortium welcomes its latest member company, New-Tech Packaging. New-Tech, a Memphis base packaging company, is ISO 9001 certified.  It provides contract and custom packaging services and packaging supplies to its customers.  Its facility includes 300,000 sq. ft. of warehouse and manufacturing space as well as temperature controlled storage.  New-Tech is registered with the FDA and DEA.  Mike Mathias, VP of Business Development, is the New-Tech representative in the consortium.


Resume and Interview Workshop
The IEEE Student Branch at CBU and University of Memphis hosted a Resume and Interview Workshop at CBU on October 5.  Students from both universities attended the event which was led by Mark Zurkammer of The CT Groups. The CT Groups is a free career transition support network that provides free support to job seekers, including those either going through a career transition or concerned about their current employment security.  The CT Groups do not receive any gifts, donations or funding from any source.  For more information on Mark Zurkammer visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/Zurkammer. For more information on The CT Groups visit http://www.thectgroups.org/. This workshop was sponsored by the Memphis Section of IEEE.


Patrick McGinnis (CBU student) and Kevin Love (UofM student) presented Mark Zurkammer with an Award of Appreciation for his work with the student branch of IEEE.

IEEE Student Leadership Workshop
The CBU Student Branch of IEEE hosted a Student Leadership Workshop at CBU on Saturday, September 7.  The workshop was attended by students from Mississippi State University, University of Alabama, University of Mississippi, and the University of Memphis.


CBU IEEE Workshop Participants l-r: Dr. John Ventura, Patrick McGinnis, Jonas Broughman, Shilpa Appurubugatha, Adam Tekle, and Michael Stuart

IEEE Cookout
On October 4, the CBU student branch of IEEE held a fall catfish cookout. The cookout allowed the senior members of IEEE and the ECE faculty to meet those who have recently joined the student branch. In addition, it provided students who are interested in joining the student branch an opportunity to meet student members and faculty that participate in IEEE activities.