Founding dean of engineering college Tom Currin to retire
May 22, 2018
When Tom Currin joined the former Southern College of Technology in 1991 as a professor of civil engineering, he gave himself a two- to three-year window before he would return to private consulting.
A few years earlier, he had left the private sector after achieving all of his goals in order to try his hand in academe at Western Kentucky University. Within six months of his hire date, he became chair of the university's Engineering Technology Department. Three years later, after constant prodding by a colleague, he made his way to Marietta to interview for another teaching position at Southern Tech.
“I came down and saw the campus and decided that if I was going to stay in teaching, this would be a great place to be,” Currin said. “It was a growing university and had a great reputation. I told myself that if it didn’t work out, the Atlanta metro area is an excellent place to go back into consulting.”
Currin never did return to consulting full time, and on June 30, he will retire as the founding dean of what is now Kennesaw State University's Southern Polytechnic College of Engineering and Engineering Technology following an illustrious 27-year career at the Marietta campus.
When Currin joined Southern Tech, a little more than 4,000 students were enrolled. There was no engineering college, just a handful of engineering technology programs. Through September 2006, Currin taught in the civil engineering technology department at Southern Polytechnic State University, and in October of that year became the founding dean of the School of Engineering. As part of the transformation into the state's second largest engineering school, he was tasked with initiating and obtaining national accreditation for the school's first undergraduate and graduate engineering programs.
“When we received accreditation, we did so without any negative findings,” said Currin, who previously served as an evaluator and commissioner of ABET, the primary accreditation agency for engineering education in the U.S. “All we received was praise. That never happens. What that tells the rest of the country is that we’re just as good as any other engineering school. We’ve always had the quality of students that would make extremely successful engineers, and we still do. That makes me proud.”
In the fall of 2015, SPSU consolidated with Kennesaw State, and Currin became dean of the newly formed Southern Polytechnic College of Engineering and Engineering Technology. Currently, the college offers more than 20 undergraduate and graduate degrees in engineering and engineering technology. As of fall 2017, the college has more than 4,400 students.
Before he would consider retiring, Currin made a goal of creating master's degrees for each of the programs offered by the college. He succeeded in getting them in all programs except mechatronics, which he feels confident will come after his retirement.
While reaching for those goals, however, Currin had not anticipated burgeoning minors in nuclear and aerospace engineering and the creation of the Department of Computer Engineering. In 2016, he was named Georgia Engineer of the Year, an honor bestowed annually by the Georgia Society of Professional Engineers on only one of the state's 22,000 professional engineers. A plaque commemorating the honor hangs in his office behind his desk.
Though he holds professional engineering licenses in several states, including Massachusetts and Georgia, as well as graduate degrees in civil engineering from North Carolina State University and the University of Connecticut, Currin said he intends to enjoy retirement with his wife at their Marietta home, where he hopes to entertain friends and family.
“We may take on some writing and music projects,” said Currin, who played drums in a rock band while earning his undergraduate degree at the University of Massachusetts – Dartmouth.
Those who have worked with him over the years say his absence will be felt.
“Under his leadership, many of us learned how to become effective leaders by navigating so many diverse areas,” said Lance Crimm, chair of KSU’s Department of Electrical Engineering. “Tom has done too many things for us to list them all. He looks toward the future with incredible vision, and we will miss him tremendously.”
Students hear from QTS Datacenters vice president
The Computer Engineering department and IAB member, Dave Burns, VP of QTS Datacenters, collaborated to bring students a half-day professional development workshop to teach interpersonal and leadership skills. Many walked away excited with a framework and set of tools to kick-start their career. One of the participants said, "The class helped me highlight the areas I need to grow in order to be a better leader and team player. I greatly value the practical tips given through the seminar such as how to make a good first impression, speeches, and public speaking." Another student shared how he got a job from Lockheed Martin because of a successful interview with many discussion points on leadership and temawork.
Pictured above: Students and speakers posing at the Leadership workshop.
Students minoring in nuclear engineering visit Plant Vogtle
April 26, 2018
KSU students pursuing a nuclear engineering minor visited Plant Vogtle in Waynesboro, GA.
The Vogtle Electric Generation Plant is located adjacent to the South Carolina border, in Waynesboro Georgia. The two-unit plant broke ground in 1974, with its first commercial operation beginning in May of 1987. Unit two started commercial operation in May of 1989. The plant is powered by Westinghouse pressurized water reactors and each unit is capable of generating 1,215 megawatts for a total capacity of 2,430 megawatts. Plant Vogtle employs approximately 900 people who oversee the plant's operations around the clock.
This experience expanded the students' knowledge far beyond the classroom. They toured training reactor control rooms for old reactors (units 1& 2) as well as new reactors, AP1000(units 3 & 4, currently under construction).
In addition, they were able to observe the main nuclear reactors components- including the 548-ft cooling towers. Students who participated in the tour are pursuing majors in mechanical engineering, mechanical engineering technology, electrical engineering, and systems and industrial engineering.
Dr. Lee and Dr. Diong secure funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Dr. Hoseon Lee and Dr. Bill Diong seek to reduce energy use by wireless power transfer. They have obtained a $69K grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to do so. This project develops a method of replacing power cables in aircrafts with wireless power transfer systems that are lighter and reduce the weight of the plane. This reduction factor per plane multiplied by the total number of flights in the world, results in a substantial reduction in fuel used during flights. This reduction in aircraft weight and fuel consumption will support the goal of improving air quality, while also having the potential to support the aircraft industry with more environmental efficient technology and practices- resulting in decrease emissions.
Image source: EPA - United States Environmental Protection Agency
Students attend seminar by The Dennis Group
In April, one of the Computer Engineering IAB members from The Dennis Group - a consulting and design firm in the industrial automation and process control industry - gave a technical seminar to 45+ students. They were intrigued to hear about building an automation plant to manufacture thousands of pizzas per day. Senior Manager, David Ziskind said, "It's a pleasure for us to come here and share with Kennesaw State University students some real world applications and career aspects in this industry."
Pictured above: Zac Messer, Automation engineer at Dennis Group, demonstrated PLC device at the industry seminar.
Give opportunity, Invest in KSU Engineering
November 6, 2017
Kennesaw State University’s Southern Polytechnic College of Engineering and Engineering Technology (SPCEET) students are scholars you would appreciate. Oftentimes, they are married with a family and still pursue their education, on a full-time basis – while holding down a job.
While today’s students carry on many of SPCEET’s traditions, the cost of their education is certainly higher than it used to be. In Georgia, full-time undergraduate students (12 or more credit hours per semester) currently pay $4,476 per semester in tuition and fees.
Join us in supporting our students and programs by:
- Making an online gift via our secure online giving site.
- Making a gift via mail. Please remember to designate your gift to KSU’s Southern Polytechnic College of Engineering and Engineering Technology on the “For” line of your check.
- Putting your matching gift program to work, if a company that matches employees’ gifts employs you.
For more information on establishing an endowed scholarship or including SPCEET in your estate plans, please contact:
Director of Development
Southern Polytechnic College of Engineering and Engineering Technology
(678) 925-3678 (cell)
Systems & Industrial engineering students visit Anheuser-Busch
October 25, 2017
Systems & Industrial professor, Dr. Christina Scherrer took here undergraduate logistics students on a tour of the Anheuser-Busch facility in Cartersville, GA. Students had the opportunity to walk around the facility and get a real-world experience of the industry.
Team competes in the 4th annual FSAE match race
October 24, 2017
Kennesaw State University’s Motorsports Formula SAE Team traveled to Lamar County Speedway on Saturday, October 29th for the 4th annual FSAE match race hosted by the Georgia Sprint Karting Association. The FSAE team won fastest Georgia FSAE team and second overall.
Photo Credit: KSU Motorsports Formula SAE Instagram
October 13, 2017
KSU juniors and officers of the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE) student chapter, Addie Thornton (President, Civil Engineering major and Construction Management minor) and Adam Minor (Vice President, Construction Management major with a concentration in Land Development), recently attended the World Energy Engineering Congress (WEEC), held at the Georgia World Congress Center September 27-29, 2017, where they each were presented with a $1,000 AEE scholarship and had the opportunity to meet former President George W. Bush. Adam is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served under President Bush.
The KSU AEE student chapter is an organization which enables students to promote the scientific and educational interests in the fields sustainability and energy by offering informational meetings with industry professionals, scholarships, internships, conferences and certification opportunities.
Addie and Adam have worked diligently to grow the new student chapter, which began in October 2016, under the supervision of their advisor, Prof. Jacqueline Stephens, with additional guidance from Darrel Sandlin and Dan Shabo from the local Georgia AEE chapter.
The student chapter already has an impressive twenty three members and has held eleven events, including presentations from energy professionals, organization fairs and an international student chapter luncheon. Student chapter members are also welcome to attend the local AEE Georgia chapter monthly speaker meetings.
On October 16th KSU AEE will tour the Dekalb County Landfill to learn about how methane gas can be converted to energy.
For more information about KSU AEE please visit their OwlLife page here.
Pictured above left to right: Bernadette Ogunmuto (AEE KSU Member), Steve Waldron (AEE KSU Member), Addie Thornton (AEE KSU President), Professor Stephens (AEE KSU Advisor), Andres Peres (AEE KSU Member), Damari Weaver (AEE KSU Member), Jacob Barron (AEE KSU Member)
Dr. Christina Scherrer receives the 2017 Outstanding Research and Creative Activity Award
September 29, 2017
Dr. Christina Scherrer has been selected as a recipient of the 2017 Outstanding Research and Creative Activity Award. She is a professor in the Systems and Industrial Engineering department in the Southern Polytechnic College of Engineering and Engineering Technology and has been faculty since 2005.
Christina Scherrer’s primary research has been in the application of industrial engineering to the public sector, especially public health. Federal and state agencies, state dental directors, and the governor’s office to inform policy – both in Georgia and nationally have used her work. She has collaborated with the Centers for Disease Control and with the Georgia Health Policy Center. Recently she served on a systematic review for the Community Preventive Services Task Force of the cost effectiveness of school based dental sealant programs.
The Outstanding Research and Creative Activity Awards are designed to encourage, reward, and publicly acknowledge sustained excellence in research and creative activity by members of Kennesaw State University’s faculty. The award recognizes excellence in the visual and performing arts, in the publication of scholarly work, in the completion of research and sponsored projects, and in the development of new and innovative ideas in research, and creative activities.
Any full-time teaching faculty with an earned terminal degree and minimum of 5 years of service at Kennesaw State University, with a total of 10 years of higher education experience, is eligible to apply for the award. Each award consists of $10,000 and a plaque, with up to eight awards presented annually.
To be awarded, the candidate must demonstrate a sustained record of research or creative activity and an impact on his or her field of study. The selection committee looks for originality, creativity, productivity, and for an outstanding body of scholarly or creative activities that has gained national and international recognition.
Dr. Christina Scherrer was recognized at the University’s annual Honors and Awards Ceremony at the beginning of fall semester, for Engineering Applications.
Pictured above left to right: Dr. Ken Harmon, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Kennesaw State University; Dr. Christina Scherrer, Professor of Systems and Industrial Engineering; Dr. Samuel S. Olens, President of Kennesaw State University
Two SubSurface Magnetic Locator instruments
September 5, 2017
Terry Nutt, of Leica Geosystems Solution Center, presented two SubSurface Magnetic Locator instruments to Professor Daniel Branham of Kennesaw State University’s Southern Polytechnic College of Engineering and Engineering Technology for the Department of Civil and Construction Engineering on August 24, 2017.
This gift of equipment will benefit students in their hands-on fieldwork as they progress toward their B.S. degree in Surveying and Mapping, the only BS program for surveying offered in the state of Georgia.
Kennesaw State University’s Southern Polytechnic College of Engineering and Engineering Technology appreciates this generous gift-in-kind from Leica Geosystems Solution Center and SubSurface Instruments, Inc.
Aerospace Engineering students win award
September 5, 2017
The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) holds an annual student aircraft design competition. This competition has several categories – for undergraduate and graduate students. In Spring 2017, a group of three Kennesaw State University (KSU) students, pursuing minor in Aerospace Engineering, submitted their design for the competition. They designed a multi-mission amphibian aircraft that is capable of taking off and landing from water or ground and accomplish three pre-defined missions. As part of their design, the students built Computer Aided Design (CAD) models and performed Computational Fluid Dynamic (CFD) analysis as well as multiple other disciplinary analyses. Dozens of teams from all over the world submit their designs for the competition. The KSU team designed their aircraft as part of their senior design project and won an overall second place award – in the undergraduate category submitted. The award comes with cash prizes and certificates.
The announcement was made by AIAA:
KSU offers a minor in Aerospace Engineering. The minor is open to all engineering students.
Students and professors converse about the new department
August 23, 2017
New and prospective Computer Engineering (CpE) students, along with faculty members from the CpE department as well as other departments, celebrated the official commencement of the CpE department.
Students were able to interact with other students and become acquainted with fellow professors in the department. They were also able to ask questions about the new major as well as view the projects displayed around the department. “I really appreciate this opportunity to meet with the faculty and staff. This is exciting,” said one of the student visitors. This celebration included refreshments and a chance for students to win awesome prizes, like a Raspberry Pi!
CEO of Jabo Industries was the 10:00 am ceremony presenter
August 18, 2017
The Honorable LaDoris “Dot” Harris and Dean Thomas Currin were featured at the July 28th commencement ceremonies for Southern Polytechnic College of Engineering and Engineering Technology graduates. Dot provided the commencement address for the 10:00 AM ceremony.
Dot Harris graduated from the University of South Carolina with a BS in Electrical Engineering and earned her MS in Technology Management from Southern Polytechnic State University.
She has more than 25 years of leadership in corporate America, ranging from engineer to corporate officer. From April 2012 through January 2017, Dot served as the Director of the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity at the U.S. Department of Energy - under President Barack Obama. She also served in an assistant secretary level position at the Department of Energy.
Dot is the Co-Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Jabo Industries - a successful minority-woman owned engineering management consulting firm concentrated primarily in the energy, information technology, logistics, and healthcare industries.
FSAE Student Design Competition – Lincoln, Nebraska
July 7, 2017
Kennesaw State University’s Motorsports Formula SAE Team traveled to Lincoln, Nebraska – to compete with over 100 universities in the FSAE Student Design Competition, June 21 -24. Approximately 80 teams competed in the Internal Combustion category and 20 teams competed in the Formula Electric category.
KSU Motorsports competed in the Internal Combustion category. For the fourth year in a row, they brought home a trophy. This year they brought home 3rd place for cost, which is the third year in a row KSU Motorsports has brought home a trophy for cost – showing their steadfast ability to manage their costs in a highly competitive environment. Overall, the team finished 59th – ahead of local rival, Georgia Tech.