University heads state initiative on renewable energy

An initiative launched by the General Assembly and led by Old Dominion University will seek renewable energy solutions that could be put to use in Virginia.

Legislators set aside $1.5 million in funding earlier this year and established the Virginia Coastal Energy Research Consortium (VCERC) to study alternative fuels and new means of energy production.

ODU researchers will focus on two of the half dozen VCERC development areas – feasibility of production of biodiesel fuel from algae and feasibility of electricity generation by wind turbines in coastal Virginia.

In addition to ODU, members of the consortium are Virginia Tech’s Advanced Research Institute, College of William and Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Norfolk State University, Hampton University, James Madison University, Virginia Commonwealth University and University of Virginia.

Patrick G. Hatcher, Batten Endowed Chair in Physical Sciences and director of ODU’s College of Sciences Major Instrumentation Cluster (COSMIC), was selected as the first executive director of VCERC.

One of the more interesting avenues proposed for algae research would be a collaboration between ODU scientists and engineers together with personnel of the Virginia Initiative Plant (VIP), a Hampton Roads Sanitation District wastewater treatment facility located near the ODU campus.

Researchers propose to use VIP as a testing ground for a possible “win-win” process in which algal growth accomplishes wastewater remediation while also producing biomass for biodiesel production. Plans call for a bioreactor pool at VIP to be dedicated to tests of how effluent will promote algae cultivation. The algae actually clean nutrients from effluent while also contributing to a renewable energy source. Numerous tests related to light levels, nutrient supplies of the effluent and aeration must be done to assess the feasibility of the process.

A production pool and smaller scale culture systems will be set up on the ODU campus to test the productivity and usefulness of various species of algae grown under a variety of conditions. Yet another path of the research will include tests on natural assemblages of algae in the waters of coastal Virginia.

ODU researchers also will develop a conversion reactor that makes algal biomass into biodiesel. These reactors simulate forces in nature that over millions of years convert algae and other vegetation into underground deposits of oil and other fossil fuels.

“This initiative is but a small step in the direction of energy independence,” said Delegate Phillip Hamilton of Newport News, who helped lead the legislative effort that established the consortium. State Sen. Frank Wagner and Delegate Leo Wardrup Jr. of Virginia Beach and State Sen. Edward Houck of Spotsylvania County also were key supporters.

Hamilton said in a media release that he believed the institutions involved in the consortium “can make Virginia a leader” in renewable energy research and development. “It is critical that this nation aggressively seek alternative energy sources to reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” he added.

A 40-page ODU publication titled “Energy for Tomorrow” has been produced under the direction of Hatcher and Aron Stubbins, assistant research professor of chemistry and biochemistry, to identify energy-related faculty expertise and research projects. Seventeen faculty members are highlighted as experts in fields related to algae and biodiesel. Another 14 are featured as researchers who can contribute to studies associated with wind-generation of electricity.

Altogether, 55 members of the ODU faculty are identified in the publication as having expertise in energy resources, energy production, energy policies and environmental issues related to energy.

VCERC is part of the overall Virginia Energy Plan that the General Assembly adopted in 2006. For more information about VCERC, visit Back to top

HACE selects Baker, Peevy for employee awards
Linda Baker, executive secretary for the Department of Military Science and Leadership, and grounds supervisor Chad Peevy were honored May 16 by the Hourly and Classified Employees Association, respectively, as Old Dominion’s HACE Staff Member and Rookie Staff Member of the Year.

Baker, a 27-year employee of the university and longtime active member of HACE, was nominated by her supervisor, Lt. Col. Barry R. Hendricks, chair of the military science department.

“From day one, I have been overwhelmed by the impact she has made and continues to make, not only in our department, but in the Old Dominion University and Norfolk communities,” Hendricks said.

“Linda Baker epitomizes every one of the characteristics to consider in the nomination instructions: diligence, initiative, motivation, cooperation, teamwork and assistance to co-workers and other university personnel.”

Baker’s nomination was supported by more than 50 letters and e-mails from previous leaders of the Army ROTC program, current and former ROTC faculty and students, and university staff.

Hendricks, who called Baker “an energetic action agent for very visible projects,” also wrote in his nomination, “The word ‘no’ is not found in her vocabulary, and all it takes is a phone call or conversation in passing for Linda to offer assistance to any department, staff or faculty member, and most importantly, students.”

Hendricks said Baker is referred to affectionately in the department as “Ms. B” and that the chair next to her desk is known as the “power station.” He noted, “Many a cadet (and I must admit, a few staff members, yours truly included) have occupied that seat and talked to Ms. B about grades, relationships, classes or just life in general. She willingly provides a ready ear, dispenses wise advice and generally monitors their ups and downs.”

He added, “A key indicator of her impact is the fact that she sustains communications with graduates long after they have left our program (many of whom have been or are currently deployed overseas) and displays mementos and pictures from them in a bookcase behind her desk, proudly referred to as her ‘brag wall.’”

Former department chair Col. Kenneth O. McCreedy called Baker “the mother confessor to hundreds of students who struggled to find balance between studies, work and ROTC.”

Throughout the many letters supporting her nomination, the adjectives compassionate, supportive, friendly, dedicated and knowledgeable were repeated in describing Baker.

One former cadet from the early 1980s, Lt. Cmdr. Mark C. Darden, had this to say: “As a new cadet, it was reassuring to know there was someone to go to outside of the military cadre to talk to when I had questions I didn’t want to take to the cadre. Linda was always there for us as cadets.

“She was the one many of us went to when we were having problems with our classes, roommates, girlfriends, or whatever the issue. Many of us were the typical college student who didn’t have two nickels to rub together, and Linda would provide food to some of us when we stopped in the ROTC office. She was always the one who could brighten your day if things weren’t going well.

“Following my completion from the Military Police Office Basic Course, Linda was the first person from the ODU cadre I traveled to see to say thank you for all the help over the previous four years. She had a great impact on my success in the Army, as she was the one who was able to teach me how to put things into perspective.

“Currently, my niece is part of the Monarch Battalion and she, too, receives the same support from Linda. Linda is the cornerstone for the Monarch Battalion and her impact on many officers is great and currently felt around the world where battalion alumni are currently serving.”

As winner of the annual award, Baker received $200 from the Jill Nolte Endowment Fund, a reserved parking space for next year and a $100 bookstore gift certificate, among other prizes.

Also nominated were: Roy Henderson, Carol McIntyre, Donald Nash, Dennis Stephens and Tarsha Turner.

Chad Peevy, who joined the facilities management office in August 2006, was nominated for the HACE Rookie Staff Member of the Year Award by his supervisor, Dillard George, director of facilities management.

“As the grounds supervisor, he has a challenging position to supervise a staff of over 20 individuals in very demanding and strenuous jobs that need to be done daily in conditions that are often adverse,” George said. “His vision of making the ODU campus the best it can be is apparent not only in the standard he sets for his staff, but also in his desire to lend his expertise in improving the overall campus environment.”

A certified arborist and horticulturist, Peevy, in the relatively short time he has been employed, “has already begun to propose some things for the long-range development of the campus ... in terms of planting trees and developing landscaping that will enhance the campus appearance and provide the ODU community with a more natural stetting in which to learn and work,” George noted.

Calling Peevy the “consummate team player,” George added: “Shortly after he arrived, a number of the other managers in facilities management commented about how much they enjoyed working with Chad and how effective he was as the new grounds supervisor. This sentiment has continued to be a theme with everyone who comes in contact with Chad.”

George further noted that Peevy works with interested grounds staff in helping them develop their skills through in-house and outside training.

Peevy received $100 from the Jill Nolte Endowment Fund and a $100 bookstore gift certificate, among other gifts, as winner of the HACE Rookie Award.

Also nominated were: Michael Frizzell, Shirley Herline, Tambre McClenny, Brett McMillan, Frenchon Nixon, Robin Paez Keishla Perez, Kathy Pim, Debra Ruberto and Epifaniadelrosa (Tina) Subaba.
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Modeling, exercise science researchers lead $1 million project for Navy

The Office of Naval Research has invested nearly $1 million in an Old Dominion University modeling and simulation project designed to help the Navy understand the effects of physical training and predict mission readiness.

ODU experts in biomedical engineering, computational modeling and exercise science will work with two orthopedic surgeons from the Naval Medical Center Portsmouth on the project titled “Development and Validation of a Physical Performance Prediction Model.”

Stacie I. Ringleb, a young mechanical engineer who came to ODU in September 2006 as a research scientist at the university’s Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center (VMASC), led the effort to get the funding and is principal investigator for the grant.

In formal language from the team’s grant proposal, the three-year project “will result in a mathematical model capable of predicting combat or mission preparedness based on validated physiological, biomechanical and functional assessments.” In layman’s terms, the researchers want to improve the well-being, mission effectiveness and injury recovery time of military populations by tapping the latest in computational modeling capabilities, as well as lessons learned in sports medicine and athletic training.

As one expected outcome, military commanders would get computer analyses to help them identify individuals or teams who are prepared for a specific mission in a specific environment. These analyses might take into consideration not only physical fitness, strength, agility and speed, but also performance under extreme conditions – involving weather and altitude, for example.

The research team includes James A. Onate, assistant professor of exercise science and director of ODU’s Sports Medicine Research Laboratory, and David Swain, professor of exercise science and director of ODU’s Wellness Institute and Research Center. Dr. Marlene DeMaio and Dr. Donald Carr of the Naval Medical Center Portsmouth also are co-investigators.

“Stacie Ringleb is charting a biomechanics research path that is new for us,” noted Mohammad Karim, ODU vice president for research. He said the university is pleased with the collaborations that the project “will bring forth between mechanical engineering, VMASC, health sciences and sports science.”

“This award represents a significant step forward for Dr. Ringleb, VMASC and ODU in the area of medical modeling,” added Michael McGinnis, executive director of VMASC. “It is tangible recognition of her reputation as one of the outstanding researchers in the United States in medical modeling and simulation. It is also an acknowledgement of advancement of the growth of the medical modeling and simulation cluster in Hampton Roads led by ODU and VMASC."

Ringleb said the project sprang from a conversation she had last fall with DeMaio, an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist who directs orthopedic research at the regional medical center. DeMaio is well-known in the Navy medical community for her interest in innovations that can prevent or mitigate warfighter injuries, and speed recoveries from injuries. She has served with the Navy Expeditionary Medical Unit in the Middle East and was a prime mover in the redesign of body armor for U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“Dr. DeMaio said she was interested in coming up with a way to predict mission performance,” Ringleb remembered, “And I said, ‘We can do that.’”

Soon thereafter, in January 2007, Ringleb saw an Office of Naval Research (ONR) request for project proposals that addressed concerns similar to DeMaio’s. Ringleb, whose doctoral research at Drexel University involved mechanical properties of the ankle and who formerly worked as researcher and assistant professor in biomedical engineering for the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., said she studied the ONR document with Onate, but that they decided that she could not write a proposal in time to meet the deadline, which was six weeks away.

“However, then, I got a lot of encouragement at VMASC. You can say I was inspired by the people at VMASC. We decided to go for it,” Ringleb said.

As it turned out, Onate already had been working with two physical training and evaluation programs, one of which had been developed by a Hampton Roads company that has contracts with the military. “So, groundwork had been laid,” explained Onate, who joined ODU in 2003. Soon after he arrived, he said, he and other ODU faculty members in exercise science and physical therapy collaborated with the Navy in establishing the Military Sports Medicine Injury Research Consortium. This group has focused on strategies to limit injuries sustained during military training.

Ringleb brought her biomedical engineering background to the table, as well as the expertise at VMASC in mathematical modeling. “I did a lot of reading and asked a lot of questions, and then set to it,” she said. “I quickly wrote the grant and when I finished, I thought, ‘This is one of those good ideas that probably won’t get funded, but at least we’ve started to develop the idea.’”

When the news came in April that the grant had been funded for $978,000, Ringleb was as shocked as she was excited. “This is not supposed to happen,” said the researcher, who is only a decade removed from her undergraduate studies. “You’re not supposed to pull a grant together at the last minute and get funding on your first try.”

For the first 2 1/2 years of the grant, the researchers will put a series of military-population groups through eight-week physical training and testing programs. Each individual will be evaluated before and after the training. The testing will delve into physical performance measures under conditions involving nutritional intake, environmental extremes, and requirements for endurance or sudden action bursts.

“What we’re going to do is similar to the NFL’s Combine,” Onate said, referring to professional football’s camp to evaluate the potential of college players who want to be drafted into the league.

He also noted that some military training in the past has been compared to triathlon training, which emphasizes endurance. “But for the military populations, we are finding that football training is the more appropriate model, emphasizing not just endurance, but also short, explosive sprints.”

Carr, the orthopedic surgeon from the Naval Medical Center, has worked at the Methodist Sports Medicine Center in Indianapolis and attended the NFL Combine. The research of ODU’s Swain has influenced exercise guidelines of the American College of Sports Medicine, and he often is interviewed by popular media, most recently for an article about vigorous exercise in the March 26, 2007, issue of Newsweek magazine.

For the ONR project dealing with combat personnel, results from physical fitness assessments and follow-up performance reviews will be used by the researchers to create computational models and simulations.

A commander might use a preliminary simulation to test how particular groupings of his personnel would perform under certain mission conditions. Variables might be mission duration, temperature, altitude and terrain. Another simulation might identify the type of training needed for a specific mission. Still another simulation just prior to mission launch could help the commander make last-minute adjustments. “We can imagine circumstances in which the commander would want to delay a mission until the temperature drops in order to improve the chances for success,” Ringleb said.

Other segments of the project will evaluate the effectiveness and safety of training strategies, and the factors affecting recovery times from various injuries.

Although the current project predicts performance based upon physical evaluations, Ringleb said the dynamic modeling technique that is being used would allow cognitive and psychological evaluations to be added later.

Onate noted that the project’s usefulness should extend beyond the military. “Our product could apply to factory workers,” he said. “It could predict performance on an assembly line.” Back to top

Donations to annual fund increase by 11 percent
Donations topped $225,000 in the 2007 Campus Community Campaign, which represents an 11 percent increase over last year’s total.

Also up – by 12 percent – was the number of faculty and staff who pledged (986).

“These amazing numbers showcase the campus community’s belief in ODU,” said Dawn M. Richardson, assistant director of annual giving.

Thirteen giving units exceeded their goals. Leading the way was Institutional Advancement at 190 percent, followed by the Darden College of Education, 162 percent; Auxiliary Services, 158 percent; and Materiel Management, 151 percent.

Human Resources headed the participation rate category, with all of its employees making donations. Ranking second and third were President’s Office/Development/Alumni Relations (88 percent) and VP/Budget/Audit Area (85 percent). Back to top

BJ’s Wholesale Club offers special deal for ODU staff
BJ’s Wholesale Club is offering a special promotion this month for Old Dominion employees. The membership fee to join or renew is $30 for two cards for 13 months. (Card holders can be you and a friend or you and a relative. The primary card holder is responsible for checks that are written by the other person, if there is a problem with the check.)

A representative of BJ’s will be in the Chesapeake Room of Webb Center from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 20 and during the same hours on June 27 in Webb’s Rectors Room to take new and renewed memberships. Membership cards will be mailed to home addresses.

Those who sign up and complete paperwork to join BJ’s at these sessions will be issued a temporary card. Back to top

“From Pen to Page to Stage” reopens July 1
The Diehn Composers Room of the University Libraries continues the exhibit, “From Pen to Page to Stage: Reflections of American History by Contemporary Composers,” July 1 to Oct. 11. It was previously open from May 14-31.

An exhibit in support of the John Duffy Composers Institute, it focuses on events from American history set to music by post-war composers of opera and musical theater. The subjects range in period from the earliest moments of British and Spanish colonial history to the terrorist attacks on New York City and the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.  

Works featured include those by artists and composers involved in the Third Annual John Duffy Composers Institute.  Among them are Institute director John Duffy (“Black Water” and “Indian Spirits”); Anthony Davis (“X, the Life and Times of Malcolm X” and “Wakonda’s Dream”); Lee Hoiby (“The Tempest”); and Old Dominion music professor Adolphus Hailstork (“Crispus” and “Settlements”). 

The Diehn Composers Room, 189 Diehn Fine and Performing Arts Center, is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. 

A Web exhibit is available for viewing at
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Wilson to serve another year as interim vice provost
Charles Wilson will serve a second year as interim vice provost for undergraduate studies and dean of the University College, Provost Thomas L. Isenhour announced recently.

“Charles has done an excellent job in his first year in this position. He has made considerable progress in the consolidation of advising, successfully led the Foundations of Excellence Program and has initiated the reform of general education,” Isenhour said. Back to top

Early Jamestown featured in exhibit at Perry Library
In recognition of the 400th anniversary of Jamestown, the University Libraries is featuring the exhibit “Early Jamestown: The Voyage, the Venture, the Vision” through July in the main lobby of Perry Library. 

The exhibit includes maps, illustrations and textual materials illustrating the difficulties the early settlers faced.

A Web page is also available at Back to top

Selden Arcade to host gallery talk, poetry reading
A gallery talk and poetry reading in connection with David E. Johnson’s art exhibition, “Saw/Was,” will be held at 6:30 p.m. June 14 at the Selden Gallery in Norfolk. The exhibit opened June 1 and continues through June 30.

Johnson, who recently retired as an associate professor of art, will give readings, along with Clay Vaughan, art library supervisor, Elise Hofheimer Art Library; Rosa Gema Doughty, adjunct professor of foundations and photography; and others.

The Selden Gallery is located in the Selden Arcade, 208 E. Main St. Back to top

ODU hoops voted “Best Family Entertainment”
The men’s and women’s basketball games were recently selected as the “Best Family Entertainment in Norfolk” in The Best of Norfolk 2007 readers poll, conducted annually by the advertising department of The Virginian-Pilot.

The Monarchs and Lady Monarchs completed their fifth season in the Ted Constant Convocation Center earlier this year. Following Old Dominion in the family entertainment category were the Norfolk Admirals hockey team and the Norfolk Tides baseball team.

The Monarchs led the Colonial Athletic Association in attendance for the third straight year, averaging more than 6,600 fans per game, while the Lady Monarchs have led the CAA in attendance for 16 straight years and are ranked 32nd in the nation, with an average of more than 3,500 fans per game.

Top vote-getters receive a banner declaring them “Best in Norfolk,” which they can display for a year. The Constant Center is managed by Global Spectrum, a subsidiary of Comcast-Spectacor. Back to top

Grad student awarded prize for best history paper
Gretchen Lynn Greene, a master’s student in history, received the prize for the best graduate paper submitted at the annual Virginia regional conference of Phi Alpha Theta, the national honors society in history, held at James Madison University on March 31.

The title of her paper was “The Influence of Disease on the Atlantic Slave Trade.” Students from 10 universities and colleges in Virginia, including 12 from Old Dominion, presented papers. Honorable mention awards went to Gwen Dunham, who received her bachelor’s degree in May; Christopher J. Kakas, an undergraduate; and Bryan David Ross Sr., a master’s student. Back to top

Nina Brown on “With Good Reason” June 28
Nina Brown, eminent scholar of educational leadership and counseling, will be a guest on the radio program “With Good Reason” June 28.

The author of “Coping with Infuriating, Mean, Critical People: A Guide to Understanding the Destructive Narcisist,” Brown will discuss how to deal with difficult colleagues and bosses during the program, which can be heard in Hampton Roads on WHRV-FM (89.5) at 1:30 p.m. Back to top

Summer specials offered at Lambert’s Point Golf Club
Lambert’s Point Golf Club is extending special rates this summer to faculty, staff and students. Wednesday will be designated “ODU Day,” with the following fees: $15 for 9 holes with cart; $18 for 18 holes with cart; and $5 for 80 range balls. Four one-hour lessons will cost $135 ($40 off the regular price).

For more information or to book a time contact Michelle Holmes at 642-7102 or Back to top

Registration due June 11 for dessert contest
Joe Flanagan of WVEC-TV will be a celebrity judge at President Roseann Runte’s annual “Just Desserts” contest, to be held at noon June 18 in the front lobby of Webb Center.

The contest is open to faculty, staff, students and friends of the university. Participants must register by June 11 by sending their name, category and name of the dessert to the president’s office or via e-mail to Desserts should be dropped off in Webb Center by 10:45 a.m. the day of the contest.

Prizes will be awarded for the best entries in each of the following categories:

  • Family Secret – inventive family twists on traditional recipes;
  • Chocoholics Delight – all things chocolate;
  • Desserts with Appeal – using any type of fruit;
  • Southern Comfort – representing the richest memories of the South; and
  • A Beauty to Behold – for those glamorous creations that look too good to eat (architectural feats welcome).

Contestants may submit more than one entry.

Everyone is invited to sample, taste, and submit scorecards to assist the judges, who will also include:

  • Lucia Ball, distance learning;
  • Rita Brown, institutional advancement;
  • Etta Henry, materiel management;
  • Austin Jersild, history department;
  • Harvey Logan, facilities management;
  • Luna Magpili, research office;
  • Rick Massey, development office;
  • Phillip Prewitt, catering;
  • Kathy Williamson, human resources;
  • Blaine Taylor, men’s basketball;
  • Don Rockwell, Boar’s Nest restaurant;
  • Greg McMartin, The Painted Lady restaurant; and
  • Tommy Langford, Harvey T’s Natural Market.

For more information call 683-3159. Back to top

ODU loses one of its best known alums
Old Dominion lost one of its more well known alumni this spring with the passing of Tommy Newsom, class of 1948. He died of cancer April 28 in his Portsmouth home at the age of 78.

Although local newspaper articles didn’t mention it, Newsom was a music major at the two-year Norfolk Division, ODU’s forerunner institution. He played in the school’s popular Swing Band, and even then had a reputation as an outstanding musician. He returned to his alma mater in May 1987 as graduation speaker, and was awarded an honorary doctorate. Newsom performed at the Founders’ Day dinner in 2004.

He rose to fame as a saxophone player and assistant conductor with Johnny Carson’s “Tonight Show” orchestra, a gig he held for almost 30 years. Labeled by Carson as “Mr. Excitement” for his conservative attire and understated personality, the self-effacing Newsom played along with the running gag.

The joking aside, Newsom was a first-rate musician, arranger, composer and conductor. In fact, he wrote many of the arrangements for the band, which he joined in 1962. His resume included arrangements and compositions for Benny Goodman, Skitch Henderson, Woody Herman and Charlie Byrd.

– Steve Daniel
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Letters to the editor ...

What’s in a word? All humans are not men
I was concerned to see the headline “Grads advised to serve fellow man ...” in the last edition of The Courier. The well-written article about the powerful graduation talk by Marian Wright Edelman was overshadowed by the use of the term “man” to mean all people. Certainly, that is not a quote from Ms. Edelman.

What’s in a word? Well, language matters. It reminds us of who has power and who has not. Nondominant peoples get “erased” from the discourse when such terms are used. It is good practice, albeit an effort, to use inclusive language. To use “man” as a generic term continues the exclusion of women from the discourse, a fact that has been historically true and unfortunate. The use of the term “man” here counters all that Marian Wright Edelman stands for.

I ask that we all use inclusive terms for all human beings, rather than defaulting to the dominant terms, and thereby extending the exclusion of the many people who make up this planet. Let it start with us. So – Let’s go forth and serve our “fellow human.”

– Garrett McAuliffe
Professor of Counseling

Gallery sculpture in poor taste
While reading the May 11 issue of The Courier, I came across an article within the News and Notes section titled “‘Making Allegories’ opens May 12 at Univ. Gallery.” This article describes an opening exhibit at the University Gallery featuring one sculpture created by Professor Herb Weaver, Bethany College, West Virginia, titled “Bushwhacker,” which depicts blades of a lawn mower embossed with casualty numbers.

This sculpture is a sad reflection on Professor Weaver’s patriotism for his country engaged in a struggle, respect for his elected officials facing a challenge, and reverence for the service men and women in the armed forces defending freedom. By displaying this artistic creation, the University Gallery also has shown poor taste.

While Professor Weaver has tried to sew a master tapestry with his sculpture by intertwining a clever title, an image of machinery in motion and a national-global concern, the only allegory I can extract from the sculpture is, “As a fabric weaver’s tool is a weaver’s knot, Professor Weaver’s work is also a naught.”

naught |nôt|
the digit 0; zero.

– Brett Newman
Associate Professor of Aerospace Engineering

Thanks for story on donation of diary
Many thanks for the article on the gift of my congressional diary to the Perry Library. I appreciate very much your covering the reception.

Even more, I look forward to an article in the summer edition of the alumni magazine, knowing that it will reach a much larger audience. I really want the diary to be used and believe that it will be a good resource for anyone interested in the events from 1969 to 1986.

Heaven knows, I never expected to be a witness to the things that occurred during those years when I was first sworn into office. The alumni magazine will surely widen the horizons, for which I am most grateful.

– G. William Whitehurst
Kaufman Lecturer in Public Affairs
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Grad thanks Runte, Old Dominion for “wonderful experience”
I just wanted to take the time to thank you and Old Dominion for the wonderful experience I have had the past four years. I graduated on Saturday, but will not be officially done until August. I feel honored and privileged to have been a part of ODU during such a time of growth and prosperity, and look forward to holding alumni status throughout my life.

The changes I have seen in the past four years are incredible, and you along with your staff have done a wonderful job from a student’s perspective. I know the surrounding community has benefited from ODU’s growth, but I think the students feel more pride each and every day as we continue to watch our campus change.

I am on my way to D.C. to intern at The National Museum of Natural History and hope to one day return to Norfolk and add to the campus community.

Again, thank you so much for all that you do at ODU. Other students and I greatly appreciate your love for ODU and we will continue to show our pride as well. I wish ODU the greatest success for the future! I am blue and silver through and through. Go ODU!

Kendal Fuoti

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ODU, EVMS researchers showcase new stethoscope

A team of modeling and simulation researchers from Old Dominion University and Eastern Virginia Medical School made a big impression with a simple concept at the 4th annual Advanced Initiatives in Medical Simulations (AIMS) Conference and Congressional Exhibition May 8-9 in Washington, D.C.

The new tool that the team exhibited is a stethoscope, but a very smart “virtual pathology stethoscope” the researchers call the VPS. It can simulate sounds of the circulatory and respiratory systems to help medical students recognize the telltale sounds of sickness.

“Our demonstration was definitely the hit of the various displays,” said Rick McKenzie, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering and a researcher at ODU’s Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center (VMASC). McKenzie is heading up the “augmented reality” stethoscope project together with Dr. Thomas Hubbard of EVMS’s Theresa A. Thomas Professional Skills Teaching and Assessment Center.

Rep. Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island, the son of Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy and a champion of health care issues in Congress, spent an extra measure of time at the VMASC-EVMS demonstration and had good words for the project when he addressed the full AIMS conference, according to McKenzie.

“There were several people who wanted to buy the technology immediately,” added Mark Scerbo, professor of human factors psychology at ODU and a collaborator in medical modeling with researchers at VMASC.

Medical schools for decades have trained doctors-to-be by using what is known as a standardized patient (SP). This is an actor skilled at pretending to be sick. The SP is able to report symptoms of a particular ailment. In working with SPs, medical students improve their interviewing skills and gain the medical judgment they need to diagnose ailments.

“Trouble is, when you put the stethoscope to the standardized patient, you find that he is healthy,” Scerbo said. “Our augmented stethoscope simply substitutes pathological sounds for healthy sounds.”

In other words, the SP reports and portrays symptoms of a particular ailment and when the medical student puts the augmented stethoscope to the SP’s body, the sounds that the student hears provide evidence that can support the diagnosis. The audio menu includes pathological sounds recorded from actual patients.

The ODU-EVMS team took an SP from Hampton Roads, Patrick Walker, with them to the AIMS conference and was able to demonstrate exactly how the process works. “We had the only exhibit that used a genuine SP and we had a very successful showing,” Scerbo reported.

“Many displays at the conference were very graphic and visually focused, but ours was personable and interactive,” MacKenzie said.

Both Kennedy and Virginia 4th District Rep. Randy Forbes took time to test the stethoscope on Walker. When they listened at his neck, they heard the cyclic whooshing sound of plaque-restricted blood flow through the carotid artery. When they listened to his chest, they heard crackling sounds in the lungs, a sign of pneumonia or congestive heart failure.

Forbes, chair of the Congressional Modeling and Simulation Caucus, expressed interest in learning more about medical modeling and simulation work in his 4th District, which includes Suffolk, where VMASC is headquartered.

ODU and EVMS have joined forces to form the National Center for Collaboration in Medical Modeling and Simulation, which has attracted national funding and national media attention. An article late last year in Mechanical Engineering magazine focused on one of the products of the collaboration – a virtual operating room. This immensely complicated system, which can be used to train surgeons and other operating room personnel, utilizes ODU’s Cave Automatic Virtual Environment (CAVE).

A primary mission of VMASC is to create modeling, simulation and visualization applications that are practical enough for commercial development, and this is where the virtual pathology stethoscope shines.

McKenzie said the team’s original VPS is very high-tech, but too expensive for broad use. This first system is called “tracked VPS” because it includes a sensing component that tracks on the body where the stethoscope’s head is placed so the appropriate sound recording can be cued. The team received a patent for the “tracked VPS,” but then moved on to improve the system’s practicality.

The economical version is “SP-triggered VPS,” for which another patent has been obtained. This is the system that was demonstrated at the AIMS conference, and for it the SP uses hidden controls to track the stethoscope’s head and tell the system what sounds should be played. The second system is more economical because it does not have the automatic tracking component.

Preliminary tests with students at EVMS have been promising, McKenzie said. One series of tests reported in a paper written by McKenzie, Hubbard and other colleagues showed that the augmented standardized patient system is “statistically significant in providing a valid assessment tool.”

The project team also includes John Ullian and Gayle Gliva-McConvey of EVMS and Hector Garcia, visualization lab manager for VMASC.

AIMS is a coalition of individuals and organizations committed to promoting medical simulation as a way to improve patient safety, reduce medical errors and lower health care costs. Back to top

Colleges present annual awards to faculty, staff
Five colleges announced the following faculty and staff awards at the close of the spring semester. (The Darden College of Education presents awards in August.)


  • Steve Yetiv, professor of political science – Robert L. Stern Award for Excellence in Teaching.
  • Dana Heller, professor of humanities, and Xiushi Yang, associate professor of sociology – Charles O. and Elisabeth C. Burgess Faculty Research and Creativity Award.
  • Jordan Sallers, adjunct associate professor of English – Distinguished Adjunct Award.


  • Shaomin Li, professor of marketing – Faculty Research Award.
  • Sara Morris, associate professor of management – Faculty Teaching Award.
  • Laurie Henry, associate professor of accounting – Faculty Advising Award.
  • David Selover, associate professor of economics – Faculty Service Award.
  • F. John Barker III, technology manager – Classified Staff Member of the Year.


  • Charles Keating, professor of engineering management and systems engineering – Excellence in Research Award.
  • Isaac L. Flory IV, assistant professor of electrical engineering technology – Excellence in Teaching Award.
  • Diane Mitchell, graduate program support technician in mechanical engineering – Excellence in Support Operations Award.
  • Anthony Dean, assistant professor of mechanical engineering technology – Excellence in Faculty Advising Award.
  • Moustafa Moustafa, associate professor of mechanical engineering technology – Excellence in Industrial Partnering Award.


  • John L. Echternach, eminent scholar emeritus of physical therapy – Certificate of Recognition for Scholarship.
  • Helen Yura-Petro, eminent professor emeritus of nursing – Certificate of Recognition for Community Support.
  • Stacey Plichta, professor of community and environmental health – Great Science for Better Health Award.


  • Michelle Kelley, professor of psychology – Faculty Excellence Research Award.
  • Charles Sukenik, associate professor of physics – Distinguished Teaching Award.
  • James Bliss, associate professor of psychology – Outstanding Undergraduate Adviser.
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“Don’t Dump It – Donate It” program a success
The Office of Facilities Management recently completed a successful “Don’t Dump It – Donate It” program. Harvey Logan, who oversees the university’s recycling efforts, created the program, which encouraged students to donate items rather than throw them in the trash when they cleaned out their rooms at the end of the spring semester.

Facilities management, with the help of Sigma Nu fraternity, collected more than 21/2 tons of clothing, shoes, food, computer equipment, printers, refrigerators, televisions, fans and other items from student residences.

The items were donated to charities in Hampton Roads, including Samaritan House, Salvation Army and Goodwill. Back to top

University joins Operation Smile in new endeavor

Old Dominion and Operation Smile announced a new partnership May 30, marking the formal beginning of collaborative efforts between the university and the Norfolk-based children’s medical charity.

ODU Health Sciences Dean Andrew Balas and Dr. Bill Magee, CEO and co-founder of Operation Smile, presided over the signing ceremony. As part of the agreement, Old Dominion faculty and resources will be utilized in a variety of capacities.

The first collaborative activity kicked off immediately following the ceremony, involving Operation Smile’s Physicians’ Training Program (PTP) and ODU faculty. This year PTP, which serves as a critical component of Operation Smile’s training and educational initiatives, features a specific curriculum for nurses who volunteer with the organization.

More than 60 physicians and nurses from more than 20 Operation Smile partner countries attended the signing ceremony and then conducted team-building activities. From May 30 to June 1, the nurses returned to the campus to participate in scenario-based workshops, observe nursing classes and receive advanced-skills training.

“The roles of nurses in Operation Smile’s humanitarian medical missions are immense,” said Ann Campbell, a senior lecturer in the ODU School of Nursing. “With our College of Health Sciences and nursing faculty, we have so many resources to offer.”

Campbell, who has volunteered with the organization the past eight years, including traveling on missions to Bangladesh, Brazil and Morocco, was integral in forging the partnership.

According to Campbell, the university has supported Operation Smile for many years. “This agreement makes our partnership official and expands the many possibilities for collaboration,” she said.

Dr. Bill Magee noted, “Operation Smile has partnerships with leading medical teaching institutions across the world, and is excited to partner with Old Dominion University, located in our hometown, to develop programs and curriculum to integrate into our partner countries around the world.”

Most of the recent training sessions took place in ODU’s Health Sciences Building. The 80,000-square-foot facility, which recently underwent a $9.3 million renovation, features state-of-the-art laboratories, a hospital ward, assessment and motion analysis labs, human diagnostic research center and fully mediated classrooms and labs. Back to top

Noffke named Geological Society Fellow
Nora Noffke, assistant professor of geobiology, recently was elected a Fellow of the Geological Society of America (GSA). The recognition is for research establishing “microbially induced sedimentary structures” as evidence of the earliest life on Earth.

The announcement came just one month after Noffke was presented the 2007 James Lee Wilson Award of the Society of Sedimentary Geologists. That award is given annually to recognize international excellence in marine geology by a young scientist.

Noffke is interested in the geological record of bacteria that lived during the Archean period, which extended from about 3.8 to 2.5 billion years ago.

She studied microbial mats – the rug-like weaves that cover coastal sandy deposits today – and has found sedimentary structures in South Africa showing that the same type of mats has existed since the Early Archean. This research helped coin the term “microbially induced sedimentary structures.”

Her findings were the subject of a news article in the May 5, 2006, edition of Science magazine and were published in her paper in the April 2006 edition of the journal Geology. The work has been called some of the sturdiest evidence yet of life forms colonizing Earth’s sandy coasts at least 3.2 billion years ago.

About 20,000 geoscientists from throughout the world are members of the GSA. Other GSA Fellows at ODU are Dennis Darby, professor, and Donald Swift, professor and eminent scholar, in the Department of Ocean, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. Back to top

    Old Dominion baseball, field hockey players attract national attention

    Sophomore hurler selected as All-American Old Dominion sophomore right-hander
    Anthony Shawler of Chesapeake has been selected to the first team Louisville Slugger NCAA Division I All-America baseball team by Collegiate Baseball newspaper.

    Shawler, a first team All-Colonial Athletic Association selection, compiled an 11-2 record with a 2.20 earned run average. He fanned 130 batters in 114.6 innings of work, with eight complete games and three shutouts, all CAA bests.

    Shawler was 6-2 with five complete games in CAA play and a 2.27 ERA. He tossed complete-game shutouts against Iona, Delaware and a one-hitter against NCAA tournament-bound Rutgers. Shawler tied the school record with 22 straight scoreless innings earlier this year, sharing the mark set in 1962 by Bobby Walton. Shawler is the fifth Monarch to earn first team Division I All-America honors and the first since Tim Hummel in 2000.

    The Monarchs finished the 2007 season at 35-24 and took first place in the regular season of the CAA at 18-11.

    Lady Monarchs to play for USA Field Hockey
    ODU field hockey All-Americans Dana Sensenig (Denver, Pa.) and Caroline Nichols (Virginia Beach) have been selected to compete for USA Field Hockey for the AtaHolding Champions Challenge, June 9-17 in Baku, Azerbaijan. In all, four Lady Monarch greats are on the roster for this event.

    Team USA will face China, England, Korea, New Zealand and host Azerbaijan in the biennial event.

    The U.S. squad includes 10 members from the United States’ 2006 World Cup team, which most recently won the Chile Four Nation Tournament by defeating world No. 2-ranked Argentina, 1-0. Two of the team members are former Lady Monarch All-Americans Tiffany Snow, the 2002 Honda Award winner, and Melissa Leonetti ’03.

    Sensenig will make her third international tour for the United States. Back to top

    Journal honors researchers for top paper
    A topical review of microplasmas written by Old Dominion bioelectrics researcher Karl Schoenbach and two colleagues has been selected as one of the top 30 papers published in 2006 by Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics.

    Schoenbach, who is Batten Endowed Chair in Bioelectrics Engineering and director of the Frank Reidy Research Center for Bioelectrics, wrote the paper, “Microplasmas and Applications,” together with Kurt Becker of Stevens Institute of Technology and J.G. Eden of the University of Illinois. It appeared in the journal in February 2006.

    Papers are selected for their presentation of outstanding new research, valuable reviews of the field, praise from international referees and the highest number of downloads from the journal’s Web site.

    Research in microplasmas has seen significant growth in recent years as applications are proposed in areas such as medical diagnostics, environmental sensing and lighted displays. Also known as microdischarges, the microplasmas are confined and relatively stable examples of atmospheric-pressure, non-equilibrium “cold” plasmas.

    Together with Becker and Eden, Schoenbach hosted the Second International Workshop on Microplasmas in 2004 at the Stevens Institute in Hoboken, N.J.

    Schoenbach was identified by Business Week magazine in 2001 as a leading researcher in the field of cold plasmas. He was the founding director in 2003 of the Reidy Center, which is a collaborative endeavor of ODU and Eastern Virginia Medical School. Back to top

    Innovation Research Park @ ODU opens in University Village

    The first building in Old Dominion’s Innovation Research Park @ ODU opened May 16 with state and regional leaders praising the unique public-private partnership that brings together university intellectual capital, faculty and students with private-sector companies to pursue research, technology development and business-creation opportunities.

    “Research and development already plays an important role in the economic success of this region, and it is critical that we go a step further to commercialize that R&D into products and services that can create new economic opportunities across the region. Innovation Research Park @ ODU will bring those two essential pieces together, connecting some of our top research minds with private-sector partners,” said Gov. Tim Kaine, at the ribbon cutting ceremony with President Roseann Runte.

    One of only a few parks in the country located on the campus of its sponsoring higher education institution, Innovation Research Park @ ODU offers access to university faculty and students, as well as a full complement of business, cultural and social amenities nearby. The $22 million facility at 4111 Monarch Way is a 100,000-square-foot, five-story Class “A” office/lab.

    “With our partners, we have created a significant revitalization and development effort that will dramatically transform the university and improve the surrounding community for all residents,” said Runte. “Additionally, the companies we attract will provide our students invaluable learning experiences and job opportunities on a scale never before possible.”

    The research park has reserved sites for three other buildings, including a signature facility on Hampton Boulevard. At the May 16 opening, Runte announced plans for the park’s second building, a mirror image of the first to be located next door. It will be occupied primarily by outside business tenants, and is expected to open in late fall 2008.

    Like the first structure, the second facility will be designed by UJMN Architects + Designers of Philadelphia, and developed and owned by Wexford Science + Technology, a national real estate investment and development firm based in Baltimore. GVA Advantis is the exclusive leasing agent and property manager.

    Speaking at the May 16 ceremony, Wexford president James R. Berens called the park “a very desirable site, and it is clearly attracting the attention of the companies ODU wishes to bring to the park.” Norfolk councilman Barclay Winn predicted it “will become a hub for knowledge-led economic development. ...”

    The initial building is 77 percent occupied, with ODU research enterprise centers accounting for approximately 60 percent of the space. At the ceremony, Runte announced that EVMS Health Services, a not-for-profit physician group that supports the mission and goals of Eastern Virginia Medical School, will occupy the fifth floor with administrative offices.

    ODU offices and centers located in the building include the Office of Research, Research Foundation, Lean Manufacturer Institute, Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, Computational Intelligence and Machine Vision Laboratory, Center for Coastal Physical Oceanography, Center for Advanced Ship Repair and Maintenance, National Center for System of Systems Engineering, Virginia Applied Technology and Professional Development Center, CHROME and Office of Spatial and Cartographic Information. Back to top

    “These guys are still driving around with their old pals from the neighborhood, and it’s not helping them at all.” (Donald Smith, associate professor of sociology and criminal justice)

    – “Is Michael Vick friendly to a fault?”
    The Virginian-Pilot, May 26

    “It still really hasn’t sunk in. It was pretty phenomenal. It went so fast.” (Emma Taylor, May graduate and AROTC cadet from Charleston, S.C., on shaking hands with President Bush at the first-ever commissioning ceremony at the White House for a select group of the nation’s ROTC graduates)

    – “ODU grad gets bars at White House ceremony”
    Casemate, May 25

    “As our high-technology sector evolves in Hampton Roads, having the services and support that allows entrepreneurs to have a better shot at business success [is] important. What we’re having conversations around is how can we put in a thing that’s going to be most useful and most relevant for all involved.” (Tom Osha, economic development officer)

    – “State money to be used to develop area’s high-tech hopes”
    The Virginian-Pilot, May 25

    “The test for Sarkozy will be to put in motion, very quickly, [the labor reforms].” (Simon Serfaty, eminent scholar of political science)

    – “Europe’s changing of the guard”
    Kiplinger Business Forecasts, May 18

    “It is the beginning of a new building, it is the beginning of a whole new project, and a new beginning for Hampton Roads as we take on the leadership in this country in economic development.” (Roseann Runte, president )

    – “Round 2 starts this summer for ODU’s research park”
    The Virginian-Pilot, May 17

    “We are hoping to provide surgery to 5,000 children when 43 simultaneous missions in 25 countries will be performed.” (Ann Campbell, senior lecturer of nursing)

    – “Two Beach volunteers honored by Operation Smile”
    The Beacon, May 17

    “For the Gulf states, they want to jump on the globalization train, they want to diversify, and they want to have better political relations with Japan. So it is on this anvil of mutual interests that these burgeoning ties will grow.” (Steve Yetiv, professor of political science)

    – “Analysis: Energy draws Japan, Mideast near”
    Middle East Times, May 9

    “The first step in producing [many] new pharmaceutical drugs is the discovery of novel compounds in nature ... like all newly discovered natural products, these compounds may hold promise for the treatment of human ailments.” (Deborah Hutchinson, postdoctoral research associate, biological sciences)

    – “Poison frogs get toxicity from mites”
    Cosmos Online, May 15

    “I’m comfortable saying we’re in the build up stage to becoming a national powerhouse. We are making breakthroughs, but it just takes time.” (Mike McGinnis, executive director, VMASC)

    – “Region recognized as hub for computer modeling and simulation”
    The Virginian-Pilot, May 11
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