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University of Iowa News Release


Dec. 15, 2006

Design Program Links UI Student Engineers To Iowa Industries

When major Iowa businesses search for promising young stars, they often need look no further than a University of Iowa College of Engineering program called "PEDE" (Program for Enhanced Design Experience), a cooperative program between the UI and various Iowa industrial firms in which undergraduate engineers work on real-world projects.

(Student name) of (hometown), an undergraduate Chemical Engineering student in the UI College of Engineering, is a part of a 2006-2007 school year PEDE project team in cooperation with Genencor International of Cedar Rapids. The program includes five selected students who participate in a large cost savings project for Genencor. The students will present the findings of their work to the corporate management of the Cedar Rapids facility at the conclusion of the project in May.

(EDITORS: Students are listed alphabetically by hometown, with Iowa recipients listed first and those from other states following.)


CLINTON: Michael Johnson, Clinton.

CLINTON: Dawn Leonard, Clinton.

MOUNT PLEASANT: Karin Rod, Mount Pleasant.

NORTH LIBERTY: Kate Cannady, North Liberty.


GREAT FALLS: Jonathan Larsen, Great Falls.

In addition to receiving on-the-job experience, cash stipends for working during winter and spring breaks and six hours of academic credit over two semesters, student engineers often get a leg up on the competition in the job market because they have the experience of working with industrial firms.

The purpose of PEDE is to enhance the design experience of undergraduate engineers by having them work together with area industries on real-world design projects, according to PEDE directors L.D. Chen, professor and departmental executive officer (DEO) of the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, and John Wiencek, professor and DEO of the Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering.

They note that senior engineering students work in conjunction with engineers from industry and UI faculty members on a design project. The goal is for students to gain experience in the design process ranging from conceptualization and prototyping to testing, evaluation and production. Students gain first-hand experience in solid modeling, finite element analysis, dynamic simulation, and cost analysis. Emphasis is also placed on communication skills, including written reports and periodic oral presentations. During its 13 years of existence, PEDE has enlisted about 200 seniors in a variety of design projects.

The complete PEDE roster includes 26 undergraduates and six graduate teaching assistants who work in coordination with professional engineers at John Deere-Dubuque Works of Dubuque, Iowa; Emerson Process Management of Marshalltown, Iowa; UI Utilities, Iowa City, Iowa; and Genencor International, Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Listed by teams, the participating companies, lead engineers, faculty advisors, graduate assistants, and students are:

--PEDE Team A: John Deere; Lead Engineer: Andy Kahler; Faculty Advisor: Assistant Professor S. Xiao; Graduate Assistant: Weixuan Yang; Project: "Eliminating Fouling in Skid Steer Loader Radiator"; Team Members: Clinton Carne, Matthew Hensch, Andrew Pietsch, Joseph Xaygnaraj.

--PEDE Team B: John Deere; Lead Engineer: Blake Stork; Faculty Advisor: Assistant Professor J. Lu; Graduate Assistant: Srinvis Tadepalli; Project: "Backhoe Loader Stabilizer Controls"; Team Members: Ryan Nelson, Andrew Ross, Troy Sachsenmaier, Robert White.

--PEDE Team C: John Deere; Lead Engineers: Larry Bergquist, Steven Ditzler; Faculty Advisor: Assistant Professor S. Xiao; Graduate Assistant: Nick Gaul; Project: "750J Crawler Blade Kinematics"; Team Members: Nicholas Romaine, Jeffrey Sayre, Steve Welter, Clayton West.

--PEDE Team D: Emerson; Lead Engineer: Ray Micheel; Faculty Advisor: Assistant Professor A. Ratner; Graduate Assistant: Brett Bathel; Project: "Reduced Cost Valve Hand-wheel Mechanism"; Team Members: Ricki Gilland, Steven Lesniak, Kevin O'Donnell.

--PEDE Team E: UI Utilities; Lead Engineer: Ben Fish; Faculty Advisor: Assistant Professor A. Ratner; Graduate Assistant: Xinhui Zhang; Project: "Boiler Fuel Feed System Upgrade"; Team Members: Ryan Dux, Matthew Marquardt, David Reyes, Chad Ries.

--PEDE Team F: Genencor International; Lead Engineer: Mark Heinrich; Faculty Advisors: Professor John Wiencek and Associate Professor Tonya Peeples; Graduate Assistant: Cindy Hoppe; Project: "Process Improvements to Minimize Cost"; Team Members: Jonathan Larsen, Kate Cannady, Dawn Leonard, Michael Johnson, Karin Rod.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Gary Galluzzo, 319-384-0009,