The magazine of the Case Alumni Association
at the Case School of Engineering


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The right stuff

For his course in airline fight performance and design at North Carolina A&T State University, Leonard C. Uitenham ’75, MS ’81, PhD ’85, teaches from a pilot’s perspective. He was a naval aviator for the U.S. Marine Corps before retiring as a colonel after the Iraq War.

The American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering is equally impressed with his success as an administrator. Upon enshrining Uitenham into its College of Fellows this year, AIMBE cited his work founding the first ABET-accredited bioengineering program at an historically black college.

Great start

For Jennifer Carter, this school year was her first as an associate professor with tenure in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. Her promotion followed a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. It’s the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on outstanding scientists and engineers just beginning their research careers — but don’t expect it to change her much.

“My research is interesting, but the most important thing it does is support the education and training of engineers that go off and solve other challenges,” Carter said. “I engineer engineers — it is how I make humanity better.”

Uptown Plum ripens

Plum Market Kitchen opened in March in Uptown, putting an uncommon grocery store in walking distance of campus. With a focus on natural foods and grab-and-go meals, Plum markets have proven popular in college towns and CWRU has taken steps to make sure this one does, too.

The Uptown Plum is a collaboration of the Detroit-based grocery chain and Bon Appetit, the university’s food-service provider. Students can use their CWRU meal plans for some options, and staff and faculty can pay with CaseCash.

Out of this world

Electrical engineer Venkata Raja Gosula ’85, MS ’87, takes pride knowing his power management chips enhance battery life in mobile devices and embedded systems around the world. But now one of his microchips, developed for Qualcomm, is part of the circuitry inside the “Ingenuity” helicopter helping the Perseverance rover explore Mars.

“Knowing that the circuits I designed are running under the hood all over the place is what engineering pride is all about,” said Gosula, a project leader at Cisco. “But to know they are also humming on Mars is icing on the cake.”

Ultimate cultural exchange

Mercy Amankwah came to CWRU from Ghana to earn a PhD in applied mathematics.
She expected challenges adjusting to a new college and culture. What she did not expect was the keen interest in her perspective.

“You are on the right track if you are considering studying here,” she told the newsletter of the Center for International Affairs. “Once you get here, be open minded and embrace the different cultures, because there are people from all over the world in this community who are also interested in learning something from your culture.”

Thwingo? A cooler Bingo

Forced to dine in their dorm rooms and Zoom into classes this year, students were naturally anxious to get out and mix with one another, anywhere. But that’s not the only reason Thursday night Bingo drew crowds to the Thwing Center Ballroom.

Quickly nicknamed Thwingo, the games feature cool prizes, playful banter and a chance to join a large yet socially-distanced gathering of young people. The student newspaper, The Observer, credited Thwingo with “filling an event-sized hole in our collective hearts” and predicted a new CWRU tradition has been born.

Pandemic tested dean

On March 1, Professor Daniel Lacks became Associate Dean of Academics for the Case School of Engineering. He’ll fill the considerable shoes of Marc Buchner, PhD, who returned to full-time teaching after infusing the dean’s office with his energy and sense of humor since 2016. In announcing Lacks’ appointment, Dean Balakrishnan praised his guidance of the Department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering through unprecedented times.

“Dan’s leadership and creative programming helped maintain community spirit during the difficulties of the pandemic,” the dean said, “leading to some of the highest student satis- faction scores ever received for his department.”

Return to normal?

Sharing his vision for fall semester, interim University President Scott Cowen told staff and faculty in April that he sees full occupancy of residence halls and mostly in-person classes. He also predicted that extracurricular activities and campus events will return to normal.

Those plans rely upon Covid-19 cases continuing to fall, Cowen cautioned, and mask protocols and surveillance testing will remain. But after a year of challenges and disappointments, his sunny outlook was welcome news. Added Dean Balakrishnan in his own message: “We are all optimistic that we will soon be back together.”

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@2020 Case Alumnus Magazine
Case Alumni Association, Inc.
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