ASC Hosts NYSETA Conference

Alfred State College (ASC) recently hosted the fall 2007 Conference of The New York State Engineering Technology Association (NYSETA), a professional organization representing the faculty and institutions in New York State who teach engineering technology and technology. It also provides information on careers in technology, school information, and links to educational information for technology.

Included among the events was a plenary session with keynote speaker Keith Gleasman, president, Torvec, Inc., Rochester. His presentation covered the process of design, development, testing, research, and marketing of various automotive-related products and technologies patented by the Gleasman family and Torvec, Inc., which has a long history of association with Alfred State and is a prime example of education-industry alliance.

Other presenters included Steven Ciccarelli, assistant professor and program chair, Electrical Engineering Technology Department of Electrical, Computer, and Telecommunications Engineering Technology (ECTET), Rochester Institute of Technology. The ECTET Department has made a fundamental change in the way it teaches engineering concepts to first-year students. It is believed that students often fail to see the connection between the often abstract concepts introduced in the circuit theory courses and the rest of their program of interest or even the jobs available in the field. The department has added activities and excitement to its programs with more stimulating, hands-on projects, including the TekBot®, a small autonomous robot, platform developed by Oregon State University.

Rocio Alba-Flores, assistant professor, Electrical Engineering Technology Department, ASC, discussed the benefits of autonomous mobile robot competitions as an effective tool for engineering technology education. She also discussed how the embedded controller applications course was organized to include activities that directed the students to design, build, and program autonomous mobile robots.

David J. Hunt, associate professor, Electrical Engineering Technology Department, ASC, discussed the new undergraduate microelectronics laboratory facility at Alfred State. Through a recent NYSTAR (Science, Technology, and Academic Research) grant opportunity, ASC started its own undergraduate microelectronics laboratory facility at a fraction of the cost of comparable industrial equipment. This laboratory is equipped with Modu-Lab semiconductor device manufacturing equipment, which gives students realistic exposure to the semiconductor planer process. Oxidation, diffusion, photolithography, etch, and vapor deposition stations allow the students the opportunity to design, fabricate, and test their own simple diffused resistors and PMOS devices while gaining experience in microelectronic fabrication techniques.

William Dean, associate professor and chair, Computer Imaging and Architectural Engineering Technology Department, ASC, demonstrated the evolution of community-based research in an architectural technology program from a series of unrelated projects to a coordinated effort that is focused on addressing specific environmental needs in the NYS Southern Tier. The presentation offered an overview of projects undertaken, challenges encountered, and lessons learned in this unique integration of applied research and technology in an undergraduate architectural curriculum.

Jay N. Smith, Alpha Geoscience, spoke on "The Collapse of the 104-Year-Old Retsof Salt Mine and the Impact on the Area." At the time of the collapse, Smith was general manager of the local Culligan franchise and was asked to evaluate the water problems caused by the collapse. Smith discussed the mine collapse and the resulting effect on the area, especially the impact on the water supply. He also discussed the steps taken with government to cover the immediate and future impacts of the collapse in the form of MOUs, and the work that was done to correct the problem created by the collapse, as well as the testing program that monitors for future problems.

In a second session, Smith, also spoke on "The Results of Monitoring a Retsof Mine Collapse and the Remedy for the ‘Mine Squeeze,'" covering the results of the monitoring program, the reporting to the different agencies, the plan for brine treatment, and the construction of crystallizer plant at the collapse site. In 2004, Smith left Culligan to work full time on the design and operation of the desalinization plant for the Akzo Brine Mitigation Project.

Dr. Anselm Tshibangu, assistant professor, Mechanical Engineering Department, ASC, summarized the creation of the baccalaureate program in manufacturing technology (BTech) at Alfred State, provided an overview of its road map and networking process with external partners to its current standing, and analyzed and explored its future.

David Bernreuther, senior operations research/systems analyst, US Army Research, Development, and Engineering Command, Aberdeen Proving Grounds, MD, examined the strategic importance of energy to the United States - the importance it plays in national security and its economic impact. The viability of various alternative energies was critically examined. The presentation offered an overview of energy sources and examined the challenges inherent in replacing imported oil with alternative sources.

Luke May, field operations and energy diversity manager, NE Region General Motors Corp., covered the broad spectrum of GM vehicles technologies including conventional, electric, hybrid, hydrogen fuel cell, bio-fuels and flex fuels vehicles technologies.

Bill Childs, spoke on "Hot Air Balloons, How They Work, Common Misconceptions, and How a Balloon Is Made and Why."

Additionally, attendees were able to participate in "break out" sessions particular to their discipline, including electrical engineering technology, architectural, civil, construction, engineering tech, and mechanical engineering technology.

Participants also toured the newly refurbished labs in the Engineering Technology Building, as well as Dresser-Rand in Wellsville which covered the design, development, manufacturing and testing of steam turbines; and L.C. Whitford in Wellsville which highlighted the company's pre-stressed concrete beams and girders for bridge and building construction.

Displays and information on the latest technology, equipment, and published goods were available for attendees to peruse.

The group concluded its conference with independent research of spherical objects undergoing impact and aerodynamic loading (a round of golf for non-engineering types).