Tuesday, 19 June 2012 09:43

News from the Department of Biosystems Engineering, U. of Manitoba (spring 2010)

There are 11 Biosystems engineering students who received their B.Sc. degrees at the spring convocation. Congratulations to Stacey Hildebrand, Jean-Christophe Habeck, Amy La, Chidinma Anyanwu, Nathan Bartel, Ellen Whitmore, Jelveh Jalali, Kyueng Youn, Arshdeep Juneja, Darren Hart and Brian Stasynec. Stacey Hildebrand is the recipient of the Program Medal in Biosystems Engineering and the Biosystems Engineering Undergraduate Thesis Award. In terms of graduate students, David Orchard (Advisor: Kris Dick) and Shahnaz Parvin (Advisor: Ying Chen) received M.Sc. degrees and Aravind Mohan Lakhamoorthi (Advisor: Digvir Jayas) received a Ph.D. degree at the May 2012 Convocation.

Members of the ¼ Scale Tractor Team (UMATT) are working frantically to complete their tractor for the upcoming competition in Peoria. Highlights and pictures will be available for the next newsletter.

The CSBE Manitoba Region once again sponsored awards at the Manitoba Schools Science Symposium held April 28th at the University of Manitoba. The recipients of the Biosystems Engineering award were Lisa Huang (grade 9) and Megan Esguerra (grade 10) in the intermediate category with a project entitled “Save your Trash: Re-use for Gas!” and Maggie Wong (grade 7) and Nicholas Langley (grade 8) in the junior category with a project entitled “Egg-Xellent”. A special thanks to Derek Inglis for once again assuming responsibility for organizing judges to enable these awards to be presented.

Instructors in the Department continue to be leaders in the area of education. R. Sri Ranjan loves the latest technology and has found ways to effectively use the iPad in his teaching. An article entitled “The Evolution to iPad as an Effective Technology for Teaching” was published in a bulletin produced by our University Teaching Services. Sri Ranjan also provided a workshop open to instructors from across the campus.

A Department Retreat was held on April 26th at Bridges Golf Club west of Winnipeg. This was a great opportunity for all department staff to provide input into future directions and future initiatives by the Department. Faculty affiliation was a topic that generated interesting discussion. The Department of Biosystems Engineering belongs to the Faculty of Agricultural & Food Sciences (in terms of budget), however, the undergraduate program is accredited through the Faculty of Engineering. Most members of the Department continue to be satisfied with this “dual citizenship” scenario (some might classify it as a “split personality”!) because it provides us with linkages to two strong faculties.

At the 46th Annual Convention of the Indian Society of Agricultural Engineers (ISAE), held on February 27-29, 2012 at the G.B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar, India, Dr. Digvir Jayas, Vice-President (Research and International) and Distinguished Professor of the University of Manitoba was inducted as a Fellow of the ISAE for his contributions to global grain storage research and profession of agricultural engineering. At the convention he organized an International Symposium on Grain Storage and made a keynote presentation entitled “Grain storage for food security and safety”.

Linking U of M’s Alternative Village with a community in Honduras

Dr. Kris Dick, Associate Professor, Department of Biosystems Engineering and the director of the Alternative Village at U of M, and fourth-year biosystems engineering student Luis Midence and master’s of biosystems engineering student Jami Carter visited various communities in the regions of Gracias Lempira and Copan Ruinas, Honduras to evaluate whether a program could be established through the Alternative Village to aid in the development of sustainable living in a developing region during this year reading week (February 20 - 24, 2012). The team partnered with World Vision Honduras that has Program Development Areas (PDA) in various parts of the country.

Representatives from two PDAs provided information on the work they had completed in each region, as well as planned work for the future. The team traveled to the communities of El Portillo, Consonlaca and Lanito Verde. As a result of this field trip the Alternative Village will partner with the village of Consonlaca. In February 2013, a group of engineering students will go to work with the team constructing a house. As a part of Dick’s course in alternative building systems students will work on various aspects of the design. A total of six to ten students will be selected each year for multi-year project. Initially the focus will be on engineering but subsequent years the plan is to include agriculture, health and business students.

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Chella Vellaichamy

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