In the News, June 2015

William A. Kitch, Ph.D., P.E. (IL A ’82), has been named the first chair of Angelo State University’s new department of civil engineering, which will begin offering engineering classes this fall. Dr. Kitch is currently a professor of engineering at California State Polytechnic University-Pomona (CPP). He has taught civil engineering at CPP since 2006.

His primary research areas are engineering education, technical writing instruction, low-impact development, and design in geotechnics and pavements. He is currently in the midst of a four-year project titled “Preparing Students for Writing in Civil Engineering Practice,” which is funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation. Dr. Kitch also spent 21 years as a civil engineering officer in the U.S. Air Force. Click here for the announcement article

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A senior design project from two engineering majors at Santa Clara University has “developed a simulation tool for therapists to use in guiding patients through a controlled virtual world of exposure to potentially terrifying things.” Paul F. Thurston, CA Z 2015, and his project partner both have aspirations for a career in the video game industry. Their technique uses the Oculus Rift hardware, a head-mounted 3D display device that tracks head orientation, allowing users to experience the virtual world from their own vantage point.

“Our biggest challenge at the beginning was that because we’re engineering students, we didn’t understand the psychology side. We reached out to Dr. Kieran Sullivan [professor and chair of SCU’s psychology department] and through our own research and her feedback, we decided to create a tool to treat phobias such as fear of heights or flying,” said Thurston. Read the news article for more information on the simulation tool.

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Looking for a great engineering networking event this summer? Make plans to attend Tau Beta Pi’s Houston, Texas, alumni reception on Saturday, June 27. You and a guest are invited to join several Association Officials at the Crowne Plaza Houston Downtown from 5:30-7:30pm. Meet Tau Beta Pi Executive Director Curt Gomulinski, President J.P. Blackford, and the rest of the Executive Council.

Tau Beta Pi will provide appetizers and non-alcoholic beverages. Alcohol will be available for purchase at a cash bar. If you plan to attend, please RSVP with the number in your party (1 or 2) no later than Wednesday, June 17, so we may insure enough food and space because space is limited.

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