Achievements: Engineering grad student earns NASA fellowship

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Craig Chandler | University Communications
Corey Kruse, (from left) an engineering graduate student, shows a part of his research to faculty members George Gogos and Sidy Ndao. Kruse received a 2014 NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship.

Corey Kruse, a mechanical and materials engineering graduate student, received a 2014 NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship. The honor includes $68,000 in annual funding, renewable up to three years.

Kruse will use the fellowship to earn a doctoral degree at UNL.

Kruse, from Hartington, applied to NASA with his work on “Heat Transfer Enhancement and Thermal Management for Space Applications Employing Femtosecond Laser Processed Metallic Surfaces with Micro/Nanostructures.” Engineering faculty working with Kruse on the project include Sidy Ndao, George Gogos and Dennis Alexander.

In 2013, 65 of the NASA fellowships were awarded. UNL MME alumnus Joe Bartels, currently working on his doctorate in robotics at Carnegie Mellon University also earned the fellowship in 2014.

In Ndao’s lab, Kruse conducted experimental research on Leidenfrost temperature shifts for multiscale micro/nanostructured surfaces, with findings published in the June 2013 edition of the journal Langmuir. Kruse built the experimental set-up, collected the data, wrote the paper and published it with minimal supervision.

Ndao said the next phase of Kruse’s research continues to break ground in heat transfer studies employing femtosecond laser processed metallic surfaces with micro/nano structures.

Kruse also leads several undergraduate students in Ndao’s group and serves as adviser to the college’s Baja SAE team, which builds and races off-road vehicles. As an undergraduate at UNL, Kruse's leadership on the Baja team led to a top-five team finish during his senior year.

“Growing up, I was always encouraged to explore my curiosity and to work hard toward my goals,” said Kruse. “The College of Engineering at UNL was a dream-come-true situation as not only was I able to learn the science behind the engineering systems … but I also then had the tools and facilities, which allowed me to design and build real engineering systems and explore the boundaries of my imagination.”

By exploring temperature shifts, Kruse aims to make energy conversion better understood as a foundation for scientific progress and space exploration.

“The success of space exploration and travel is directly tied to how we efficiently convert, transfer and store energy in systems, such as maintaining cryogenic fluids for propulsion, protecting vehicles from aerodynamic heating, and developing comfortable living conditions for crew,” Kruse said.

Preliminary results in Kruse’s work were presented to a group of NASA researchers, opening the door for possible collaborations with scientists at the Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio.


Faculty/Staff

• Erica DeFrain joined the University Libraries on April 1 as assistant professor and social sciences librarian. She received a Master of Arts degree in information resources and library science and a Master of Sciences degree in educational technology at the University of Arizona. She graduated from UNL in 2002 with a Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in history. As the social sciences librarian, DeFrain will work as the liaison librarian with the departments of psychology, sociology and educational psychology. Contact DeFrain at edefrain2@unl.edu or 402-472-5254.

• Leslie Delserone, assistant professor in the University Libraries, has been elected one of six directors to the executive council of the United States Agricultural Information Network. Delserone has been with the University Libraries since 2010 as a science librarian and liaison to agronomy and horticulture, entomology, plant pathology, the forensic science program and the doctor of plant health program. She will begin the two-year term on June 1.

USAIN provides a forum for discussion of agricultural issues, takes a leadership role in national information policy formation for agriculture, and gives recommendations to the National Agricultural Library. As a director, Delserone will participate in discussions and help shape the fiscal and policy decisions made by the group's executive council. She will also help select the conference site and support the planning of the next national conference. Delserone also serves on USAIN's preservation and digital library, and the legislative and governing relations committees. For more information, go to http://usain.org/.

• Chittaranjan Ray, director of the Nebraska Water Center, is co-author of the new book, "Low Cost Emergency Water Purification Technologies." Published by Butterworth-Heinemann, the book features simple, low-cost guidelines for emergency water treatment. Ray coauthored the book with Ravi Jain, University of the Pacific. http://go.unl.edu/k3zk


Students

• Emma deVries, a senior dual major in art and anthropology, has received a Smithsonian internship to work at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., this summer. At the National Museum of American History, deVries will help update a way finding system, create a display for the Office of Design, and work on other projects as needed. http://go.unl.edu/8gqa

• Chengchou Han, an agronomy graduate student, took second place and was awarded $500 in the third annual New Venture Pitch Competition on April 21 at Northwest Missouri State University in Marysville, Mo. His pitch, "CornSoyWater," involved a Web application that provides real-time data to help corn and soybean producers determine when to irrigate fields. Han completed the application as part of coursework for a business management for agricultural enterprises course taught by Dave Lambe, associate professor. http://hprcc3.unl.edu/cornsoywater

• Ivan Moreno, a chemistry major and president of the Chemistry Club, has been awarded a National Science Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship. Moreno plans to use the award to pursue a doctorate at the California Institute of Technology.

• Student-athletes Brandon Chapek and Sunny Russell have received $7,500 postgraduate scholarships from the Big Ten Conference. A total of 24 athletes at the 12 Big Ten schools earned the academic achievement honors. Chapek, a reserve on the Husker football team's offensive line, plans to attend dental school. Russell, a four-year performer on the Husker rifle team, will intern at the NCAA national office next year.


Departments/Units

• The UNL Speech and Debate Team is at Xi'an Jiaotong University through May 23. The team is working in conjunction with the University of Nebraska’s American Exchange Center to advance knowledge of speech and debate and to build international ties.

Recently, the Chinese government has begun encouraging the development of speech and debate programs within the country as a means to create better public speakers and critical thinkers. The UNL Speech and Debate Team was asked to visit in order to help convey our knowledge and understanding of the activities. The students are attending multiple classes each day and speaking about a range of topics, including debate strategies, to argumentation theory and presentation skills. The coaches will also be judging an on-campus public speaking competition. The team is represented by Aaron Duncan, director of speech and debate, and Allison Bonander, graduate assistant coach.

Speech and debate team members Jeffery Garst, Derrick Stevens and Daniel Wheaton are working with the students in China. In addition to working in classes the UNL students will also present speeches and debate for the XJTUclasses. On the final day there will a large all-campus public demonstration debate pitting the UNL students against an XJTU team.

• UNL's Model United Nations team traveled to New York in April for the annual National Model United Nations conference where they earned honorable mention for their representation of the Central Africa Republic.

More than 5,000 students from all over the world participated in the mock United Nations convention. Each college or university participating is assigned a nation and must represent that nation throughout the committee meetings, sessions and any position papers they are assigned.

Representing the Central African Republic in the conference was a challenge, given the current real-life upheaval of that region, adviser Courtney Hillebrecht, assistant professor of political science, said.

The students who represented UNL are Ian Chapo, Sarah O’Neill, Allison Dubs, Seynabou Youm, David Cossaart, Brandon Staroscik, Bethany Schmidt, Melissa Allen, Flora Zempleni and Carly Ann Smith.

Smith, Cossart, O’Neill and Youm received scholarships from the Department of Global Studies to attend conference.


This column is a regular feature of UNL Today. Faculty, staff and students can submit their achievements to be considered for this column via email to achievements@unl.edu. For more information, call 402-472-8515.

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