Alumni News

  • rtRobin Turner (MEM’02), Director of Global Packaging Development at Medtronic, was honored as the recipient of the 2014 Craig Blackman Graduate Engineering Alumni Award at the Annual Graduate Engineering Celebration on May 9. Robin, a Certified Packaging Professional (CPP), is a member of CBU Packaging Advisory Board and Medtronic representative for the CBU Healthcare Packaging Consortium. Her professional accomplishments and recognitions include the Paperboard Packaging Council Nationwide Award of Excellence in Structural Design for INFUSE Packaging, a U.S. Patent on Blister Packaging Cosmetic Article and Means to Protect Applicator , and a U.S. Patent on Modular Surgical Tray and Cover. She is a Leadership Memphis Executive Program graduate and has also been involved in various humanitarian activities, including the Nicaragua Mission Team, Kenya Mission, Habitat for Humanity, Hurricane Katrina Disaster Relief, Mid-South Foodbank, Leadership Memphis, and St. Jude Hero.
  • Gov. Phil Bryant has named Gary Rikard (CE’91) as the new executive director of the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality. Rikard, a partner with Butler Snow, has practiced environmental law since 1996, serving as senior attorney at MDEQ from 1996-1998. Prior to earning his law degree, he worked as an environmental engineer at MDEQ, specializing in permitting and water quality compliance issues. He served more than 22 years in the Mississippi National Guard, retiring with the rank of Major. During his service with the National Guard, he served as assistant staff judge advocate, acting as the primary legal officer for environmental matters. To view the article, visit the MBJ Business Blog.

Faculty News

  • Dr. Juan Carlos Olabe (Electrical Engineering) gave a week-long workshop entitled “Introduction to Computational Thinking” to the faculty of the Maxine Smith STEAM Academy (MSSA).  The workshop was held at MSSA on July 21 – 25, 2014. Maxine Smith STEAM Academy is a middle school in collaboration with Christian Brothers University.
  • Dr. Pong Malasri (Dean of Engineering) gave a one Professional Development Hour talk entitled “Healthcare Packaging Consortium: A University-Industry Partnership” at the Engineers’ Club of Memphis meeting on June 30. Dr. Divya Choudhary (Graduate Engineering) and Dr. Andrew Assadollahi (Civil Engineering) were among the audience.
  • Dr. Randel Price (Chemical Engineering) recieved the Certificate of Merit of the Outstanding Advising Award – Faculty Academic Advising from the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA)  at its national conference.
  • Dr. Pong Malasri (Packaging, Civil Engineering) spoke on “Packaging: More Engineering Than You Could Have Ever Imagined” at the April Meeting of the Tennessee Society of Professional Engineers (Memphis Chapter) on April 8.

Lunch & Learn: Accelerated Five-Year BS/MS Program

Dr. Divya Choudhary and Dr. Pong Malasri gave a Lunch & Learn session to engineering students entitled “Accelerated Five-Year BS/MS Program @ CBU Engineering” on Thursday, May 1.  The session included a panel of Graduate Engineering alumni (shown in picture) discussing the importance of management skills and how the  CBU MEM/MSEM degree has helped them in their professional career.


Pictured (from l-r): Tom Stoll of ThyssenKrupp, Robin Turner of Medtronic, Nicholas Tabrizi of Medronic, Garrett House of Smith & Nephew, Darshan Sampat of ILS, Danny Barulli of FedEx, and Cynthia Matthews of FedEx.


CBU Hosts Successful 2014 Deep South Conference


Pictured l-r: Lauren Harrett (Conference Chair), McKenzie Shankle, Alixis Williams, and Jaemi Guieb

The CBU ASCE student chapter and the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering hosted a very successful  2014 ASCE Deep South Conference on March 27-29. Thirteen universities from West Tennessee, Eastern Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana with approximately 300 students and faculty advisers attended the three-day event.

On Thursday evening, an orientation meeting, icebreaker, and community service project were held at Christian Brothers High School. The community service project consisted of making baby blankets for a local non-profit organization. On Friday, the Surveying Competition and Concrete Canoe Race were held at Shelby Farms Park. The Steel Bridge,  Technical Paper, and Mystery Competitions were held at Agricenter International on Saturday.

We want to thank all the faculty, staff, and students who helped make the conference a tremendous success. Special thanks to Lauren Harrett, Conference Chair, for organizing the event and to Patrick McGinnis, who designed the webpage, automated the registration, and provided the technology to stream the concrete canoe race and steel bridge competition over the internet. Please see for videos and pictures of the conference. You can also view photos posted on our Facebook page.

First Place at IEEE SoutheastCon 2014

IEEECongratulations to Shilpa Appurubugatha, Sean Dantis, and Zach Winters for placing FIRST in the Paper/Presentation Competition at IEEE SoutheastCon 2014 in Lexington, KY, March 14-16. Also congratulations to Shilpa Appurubugatha, Sean Dantis, Zach Winters, JonasBroughman, and Melissa Dollar for placing SECOND in the T-Shirt Design Competition. Others attending were Josh Swillum, Nicholas McKee, and Htet Cho Oo on the Software Competition team; Brennan Powers, Jay Counce, and Cody Crow on the Robotic Competition team; as well as Patrick McGinnis and Sean Dantis on the Website Competition team. More than 100 electrical engineering schools in the Southeast attend the conference.

In the 54 years that CBU has competed at IEEE SoutheastCon, our students have placed in the top three of the Paper Competition for 30 of those years.

2014 Healthcare Packaging Consortium Scholarship Recipient

malloryharveyMallory Harvey (Civil Engineering, Packaging Minor ’14) has been selected as the 2014 Healthcare Packaging Consortium Scholarship Recipient. Mike Tune, Director of Packaging Science & Technology at Merck Consumer Care, presented her with the $500 award certificate on behalf of the consortium member companies at the 2014 HPC Spring Meeting on April 11 (pictured above). Mallory was recognized for her academic achievement and involvement with consortium R&D projects. Her record includes seven journal articles, six conference papers, TAPPI Student Chapter President, SWE Student Chapter Vice President, MicroPort Orthopedics Intern, and Internati onal Journal of Advanced Packaging Technology Technical Assistant. She is a member of TAPPI (, IoPP (, and ISTA (

Engineering & Science Outreach Activities

On March 1, CBU hosted the regional Science Olympiad for the western part of the state of Tennessee.  Approximately one hundred students participated from five high schools  and three middle schools.  The competition included 5 events: Robo-Cross, Elastic Launch Glider, Wheeled Vehicle, Scrambler, and Helicopter. Some events are essentially pen and paper exams which test for theoretical knowledge, some require the contestants to bring in previously constructed devices that are tested either to destruction or for speed/precision, and other events require the contestants to construct and test devices in a certain limited period of time.  All in all, it was a very fun, exciting and educational day for the contestants, their coaches and parents. A big thanks is given to all who participated in the Science Olympiad this year!


Contestants in the Science Olympiad.

The First Lego League (FLL) workshop was also held at CBU on March 1. Frank Niedzwiedz and Chris Nielsen of R&N Systems Design LLC and CBU students Charmaine Cooper (EE’15), and Mellissa Dollar (EE’17) provided a workshop on running a Lego Mindstorm Robot in a First Lego League competition for middle schools. More than 30 teachers, coaches, and students attended the event. Three new FLL teams were formed and teachers came from as far away as Jackson, TN. This is the third FLL workshop; the next workshop will be this fall.


Charmaine Cooper (EE’15), and Mellissa Dollar (EE’17) help students with a Lego Mindstorm Robot workshop as part of the First Lego League.

As part of the National Engineers Week Celebration each year, the Memphis Chapter of the Tennessee Society of Professional Engineers hosts a regional MATHCOUNTS competition for 7th and 8th graders. This year it was held at the University of Memphis on February 15.  Several CBU students and faculty were volunteers at the event: Mallory Harvey, Shesha Shah, Shilpa Appurubugatha, Phyo Aung, David Guerrero, Gabby Gomez-Pedro, Nadia Earle, Alvin Siow, Dr. Andrew Assadollahi, and Dr. Pong Malasri.  Mallory Harvey served as Student Volunteer Coordinator for the event.

Engineering Students Study Abroad

study abroadFour mechanical engineering students joined Dr. Pong Malasri on a study abroad trip to Leon, Mexico, March 8-15. Pictured above are (l-r): Becky WaufordDaniel Olivares (Industrial Engineering Department Chair, DeLaSalle Bajio), Dr. Pong MalasriMauricio Salvatori (Engineering Dean, DeLaSalle Bajio), Alex OthmaniCaleb Smith, and Gabby Gomez-Pedro. Besides attending a two-day seminar on Transport Packaging (given by Dr. Malasri), they visited the technology and design center of Mabe Corporation in Querretaro, which includes its packaging lab. Mabe produces various appliances, including washers, dryers, and refrigerator.  Some of their products are sold in the U.S. under GE label. Our students also toured several cities in the region, including San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, and Penjamo. More trip pictures can be found at the CBU Packaging Facebook page.

2013-14 Featured Engineering Student

cali-copsey2Congratulations to Cali Copsey who was recognized by the CBU School of Engineering as the 2013-14  Featured Engineering Student for Academic Excellence, Student Leadership, and Service to the University & Community. Cali is a senior in the Mechanical Engineering Department at CBU. She is President of Tau Beta Pi, the Engineering Honors Society and serves on the Mechanical Engineering Student Advisory Board. She is Chapter Secretary of the ASME student chapter and Senator of the Student Government Association. She is an active member of the SAE Mini-Baja team, Up ‘Til Dawn, the CBU Honors Program, and Alpha Xi Delta Fraternity. She is on the CBU Division II Cross Country Team and served on the Student Athletic Advisory Committee from 2011-2013. She currently volunteers as a mentor for the US Dream Academy and works as a Packaging Intern for Olympus Surgical Technologies of America.