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  ISSUE 1 • APRIL 2016

I have a philosophy of “giving honor to whom honor is due.”  This spring newsletter highlights our founding chair, five of our alumni, and two of our current students.  Please allow me to introduce them, starting with Dr. Anjaneyulu (Yulu) Krothapalli, the chair who hired me almost 22 years ago.
After 7 successful years in an R&D group at Harris Corporation in Palm Bay, FL, I began my search for an academic position.  I had offers from some of the top Mechanical Engineering departments in the Southeast, but was particularly intrigued when I got a call from the Florida A&M University – Florida State (FAMU-FSU) Department of Mechanical Engineering.  I had heard of this upstart college in the northern part of the state, but did not seriously consider them as a potential academic home until I got a call to visit.  What solidified my decision to come to Tallahassee was my visit to Dr. Krothapalli’s “Fluids Lab.”  It was full of state-of-the-art equipment and “Dr. K.” himself was full of vision, energy, and enthusiasm.  Because of him and this unique collaboration between a Research 1 university and an HBCU, I turned down all  other offers and accepted a position here.  Even in “retirement,” as you will find in our article on Dr. K., he is keeping busy and working on projects to help humanity.
One of the marks of a good program is successful alumni, of which we have many.  Below, you will read about 5 of our many high achieving alumni.  Three, all women, have successful careers at NASA; one has gone on to earn an MBA and become a marketing director; and another is doing great things here as a postdoc and Senior Design Coordinator.  Each has a unique story that you should find interesting.
Of course, we want to also highlight the accomplishments of our current students.  One of our students is a budding entrepreneur full of drive and positive ambition.  I am confident that you will hear much about him and his future endeavors.  Last, but not least we give you the story of someone I consider one of our best students, not because of her GPA, but because of what she has had to overcome to earn her BS in Mechanical Engineering, which she should receive in less than a month.  Her story should inspire you as it does me.
At the end of this newsletter we briefly describe a project meant to further develop our Engineering Design Lab.  You can learn more about it and how you can help at

Emmanuel Collins
John H. Seely Professor of Mechanical Engineering & Department Chair


M.E.’s foundational chair Dr. Anjaneyulu Krothapalli takes his engineering experience to India

In 2015, our department’s foundational chair, Dr. Anjaneyulu Krothapalli, retired following an accomplished career as a professor. Among his many achievements include his selection as Don Fuqua Eminent Scholar, earning five patents for work on noise control, Fuel Cell and Concentrated Solar Power, earning a NASA Certificate of Recognition for his aerodynamic research, selection as a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and establishment of FSU’s Energy and Sustainability Center.

He also founded four companies in California and Florida. The most recent company — established in St. Cloud, Florida — dealt with developing a solar-biomass integrated power plant for the Orlando Utilities Commission.

Read more here.


FAMU alumna Dr. Camille Wardrop Alleyne inspires youth to aim for the stars

As a child in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, circa the 1970’s, FAMU alumna Dr. Camille Wardrop Alleyne would gaze up at the stars and wonder about the boundaries of our universe. She would watch The Jetsons and Star Trek. She’d disassemble and reassemble and fix anything around the house that would mold her skills and prepare her for engineering.

Fast-forward to 1992, and Dr. Alleyne had left Trinidad, having earned her Bachelor of Science at Howard University and was graduating with a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering. Following this, Dr. Alleyne landed a dream job as a Flight System Test Engineer at NASA Kennedy Space Center.  In this role, Dr. Alleyne tested the payload systems that flew on board the Space Shuttle. Two years later, she attended the University of Maryland for a Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering. After her time at the University of Maryland, Alleyne served as an aerospace systems engineer for the US Department of Defense.

Read more here.


Melissa Van Dyke, Deputy Manager of the Chief Engineer’s Office at NASA

If you’d told her she’d be overseeing a team of NASA engineers for projects like combustion stability on rocket engines, alumna Melissa Van Dyke would not have believed you. Currently Deputy Manager of the Flight Partnership and Programs Chief Engineer's Office at the Marshall Space Flight Center, Van Dyke graduated in Mechanical Engineering from Florida State University (FSU) in 1990. While in the Department, she focused on courses geared toward the aerospace industry; thus fluid dynamics and aerospace classes called her name.

Following graduation, Van Dyke landed her dream job of working on launch vehicle propulsion systems at Marshall Space Flight Center. Since then, she’s worked on a variety of projects at Marshall, including “everything from launch vehicles to the International Space Station.”

Read more here.


The face of mission success at Marshall is: Lakiesha Vessel Hawkins

Lakiesha Vessel Hawkins is team lead in dynamic loads and data analysis in the Structural & Dynamics Analysis Branch, Marshall Space Flight Center.

She received her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, with a focus on propulsion systems, from Florida A&M University in 1997. She received her M.S. in Engineering Management from the University of South Florida in 2002.

As team lead, Hawkins provides guidance and support to a diverse group of analysts, each of whom is recognized as an expert in their respective disciplines. Her team performs structural dynamic, loads, vibroacoustic, and rotordynamic analyses, and analyzes high-speed vibration data for engine and propulsion system components. The team is often called to support other departments within the Marshall Space Flight Center, other NASA centers, and even other agencies with challenging problems industry is unable to resolve.

Read more here.


Andrew Zwolinski, Marketing Director at Johnson & Johnson

Think opportunities to get involved are limited at the COE? Think again. Alum Andrew Zwolinski graduated from the COE in 2004, having earned bachelor’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Biological Sciences, and a master’s in Mechanical Engineering. In addition, he explored the opportunities to put his education into practice. He accented his engineering education in the lab, “studying ways to diagnose and explore biological conditions.” He studied the diagnosis of acute myocardial infarction through Micro-Electro-Magnetic Systems. He traveled to Albuquerque, New Mexico for a visit at Sandia National Laboratories, a lab investing in nuclear weapons research and national security. He even studied magnetic fields through flight on a KC135 at NASA.

Read more here.



Dr. Nikhil Gupta becomes Vice President of FSU's Postdoctoral Association

This time of year, in his role as Senior Design Coordinator he's busy advising senior engineering students as they finalize their capstone projects before graduation. He's a postdoc associate for CISCOR, who has published six articles with his colleagues with more on the way, and he volunteers for Kidney Clinics and Research Center International in India. Who are we talking about? None other than Dr. Nikhil Gupta.

While Dr. Gupta is already busy enough, this doesn't stop him from pursuing other activities that contribute to the improvement of the university environment. In particular, he is a member of FSU's Postdoctoral Association, and this semester he became the association's Vice President.

So what does the Postdoctoral Association do? It advocates for the improvement of the postdoctoral experience, giving postdocs an opportunity to network with other postdocs. It also provides resources that postdocs can use to further develop their careers, one of the main reasons Dr. Gupta joined the association. Now as the group's Vice President, he intends to improve salaries for all postdocs at FSU, and contribute to the goal of improving postdoc career development. He'll do so as co-chair of one of the association's spring events at the end of this semester.

Read more here.


Graduate student Ryan Kopinsky makes the cover of Northwest Florida's 850 Magazine

If you’re a grad student, you’re probably of the opinion that it’s no easy feat-research papers, conferences, teaching-there’s a lot to the endeavor of pursuing a graduate degree. However, this hasn’t hindered PhD student Ryan Kopinsky from pursuing other goals. Ryan hopes to graduate in Spring 2017, but until then, he is not only juggling the many aspects of grad student life, but he’s already made marks in the tech world through an internship with the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, in addition to an app created for Google. For these accomplishments, Ryan was featured in the August-September issue of 850 Magazine, a publication about business in Northwest Florida.

In the article featuring Ryan, 850 Magazine’s David Ekrut highlights Ryan’s work at the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, a not-for-profit research institute. 

Read more here.


Mechanical Engineering's Arriana Nwodu: tough times and new perspectives fuel passion for helping others

Arriana Nwodu: she's a Senior in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, graduating in April 2016. Her journey hasn't been easy—yes, Mechanical Engineering in and of itself is a challenging major, but beyond that, life can be challenging. Arriana has experienced tough times front and center not only due to low-income, but mostly worrying about her mother, who is chronically ill. In the midst of helping her mom deal with Type II Diabetes and renal failure, which has often led to frightening moments caused by dialyses treatments gone awry, Arriana has had to find the strength to follow through with engineering classes and complete her degree.

"I'm a lot better at it now than I was my freshman year, but I mean, there's no class on how to emotionally cope with the ups and downs of a chronically sick mom, all the while trying to integrate in Cartesian, Polar, and Spherical coordinate systems," Arriana shares.

Read more here.

Dear ME Alumni & Friends,
Every year our Seniors create real-world projects as a test of their skills as future Mechanical Engineers. You can help them by supporting the Senior Design Lab, a lab that will be equipped with everything needed for our students to more readily complete their capstone projects. 

Click on the Senior Design Lab link above, or the picture below, for more information about how you can help develop our lab.

Thank you,
Emmanuel Collins
Chair, Mechanical Engineering

Copyright © 2016 FAMU-FSU College of Engineering, All rights reserved.

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FAMU-FSU College of Engineering · 2525 Pottsdamer Rd · Tallahassee, FL 32310 · USA

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