University Provost Robert Barchi named English Professor Peter Conn as deputy provost in July, filling a position that has been vacant for more than a year and a half. In his new role, Conn, 57, will work alongside Barchi on academic issues pertaining to undergraduate and graduate education. Conn has been at Penn since 1967, when he started as an English instructor. Since then, he served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences in the early 1980s, faculty master of Hill College House and of Community House, chairperson of both the American Civilization and English graduate groups, founding director of Civic House and, most recently, chairperson of the Faculty Senate. "He is, without a doubt, an absolutely superb addition," Barchi said. "Peter is a distinguished scholar, a world-renowned author? and an outstanding University citizen." Conn will also serve as interim faculty master of Community House beginning this fall, allowing him to interact daily with both undergraduates and graduate students. "I am going to be working closely with the college houses, since that is one of the central projects through which the University is working to enhance undergraduate education," Conn said. In addition, he said he aims to enhance research opportunities for undergraduates in all four schools. Conn resigned from his position in the Faculty Senate to assume his new role as deputy provost. Former Chairperson John Keene, a professor of City and Regional Planning, will fill the post until January, when Chairperson-elect Larry Gross, a Communications professor, will take office. Conn said that while he is deputy provost he will continue to teach English, including a course that offers undergraduates the opportunity to work as teaching assistants at University City High School. According to English Department Chairperson Wendy Steiner, Conn "puts as much energy, if not more, into his teaching" as he does into research and writing. "[Conn] invents new courses that serve as models throughout the country," said Steiner, who has worked with Conn for 20 years. During his career, Conn has received the prestigious Lindback, Mortarboard and Ira Abrams awards for teaching. His numerous books include the 1996 Pearl S. Buck -- A Cultural Biography, which was named a New York Times Notable Book selection. A committee of administrators, faculty members and two students considered about 35 nominees for deputy provost before recommending four candidates to the provost. Former Interim Provost and Law School Professor Michael Wachter -- who first served as deputy provost from July 1995 to December 1997 under then-Provost Stanley Chodorow -- was the University's most recent deputy provost.
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Students enrolled in Systems 352/552: Transportation Engineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Science this past spring think University City has gotten too congested in recent years. And they plan to do something about it. At the end of the semester, a group of approximately 30 Engineering students unveiled a preliminary proposal outlining a renovated transportation plan for the University that would mitigate the effects of heavy traffic and congestion. In suggesting that the University implement a more accessible, convenient and human-oriented transportation system, the students targeted five areas of transportation on campus -- streets, parking, transit, bicycle and pedestrian -- in their presentation. The goal of the group was "to improve transportation at Penn as a total system? and to integrate modes so that they coincide rather than conflict," according to Engineering senior Jason Sobel, a member of the policy and coordination team. In the hope of slowing down traffic entering campus and decreasing congestion, the students proposed changing the speed limit on Walnut Street to 25 miles per hour and reducing the street itself to only two lanes; changing the signal timings on Spruce Street to an alternating system; and desynchronizing the signal timings at 33rd and Walnut streets and between 33rd and 38th streets on Walnut Street. Suggested changes in the parking system included creating parking and delivery bays along the curbs of streets, delineating parking spaces with painted markings on the streets, color-coding curbs to signify legal parking spots and assigning permanent locations for food trucks on 38th and 40th streets. The students also proposed relocating parking spaces to allow for more parking in areas of high concentrations of people. In addition, the transit team recommended forming a partnership between the University and SEPTA. For example, a survey conducted by the students indicated that 60 percent of University students would use SEPTA more often if they were made more aware of its schedules and routes. The students suggested installing clearer signs, emergency lighting systems, automatic fire-control systems, temperature-regulation systems, information booths, waiting seats and token machines in each SEPTA station to improve the transit authority's image. Kim Heinle, director of the development office of SEPTA, said coordinating a diverse group of interests and integrating all needs into a coherent plan is a "balancing act." "Unless the policy of the community and the city are in sync, development cannot take place," Heinle said. The proposed partnership between the University and SEPTA also called for a student discount. Transportation Professor Vukan Vuchic, who is chairperson of the University's Facilities and Planning Committee, pointed out that the project is unique because it focuses on such a broad range of concerns. "Most years some students do one or two projects focusing on transportation in the campus area but this project has been the first that involved the entire class and covered all aspects of transportation," Vuchic said. "Thus, it has been the first comprehensive transportation project for the University." To enhance bicyclist and pedestrian safety, the students suggested organizing bicycle paths, creating maps of all bicycle lanes and relocating bicycle racks. They also explained that installing pedestrian signals and constructing textured crosswalks at the Smith Walk crossing of 33rd and 34th streets could slow traffic. "I think the campus has progressed in recent years, but there are many innovative designs that should be introduced," Vuchic said. "University officials have interest in these ideas and I am recommending the procedures necessary to implement them." Engineering junior Dan Fleder added, "We do not want to let this be just another class project put on the shelf -- we want to create wealth in our plans and follow through."
Matawan Regional High School '98 Aberdeen, NJ New Jersey businessperson and 1946 Wharton graduate Melvin Levine and his wife Claire donated $5 million toward the construction of a new facility for the School of Engineering and Applied Science, University officials announced in February. Interim Engineering Dean Eduardo Glandt said the Levine donation will be used to enlarge the University's Institute for Advanced Science and Technology -- a series of high-tech buildings that house "centers of excellence for science and technology." The gift will contribute to the funding of a new $15 million, 40,000-square-foot computer science facility that will join the Towne Building and the graduate research wing of the Moore Building on the eastern end of campus. It is slated for the space currently occupied by a parking lot between the two buildings and will be completed in the spring of 2001. The remainder of the funding for the new Engineering facility will come from a $10 million grant from the United States Air Force, Glandt said. Officials have interviewed four architects -- two from Philadelphia, one from New York City and one from Boston -- and will hire one shortly. The project is expected to be completed in two years. The new building will include offices for faculty and graduate students, computer labs, classrooms and meeting rooms. The General Robotics and Active Sensory and Perception Laboratory, which is currently located in the 3401 Walnut Street complex, will move into the new facility in an effort to centralize the Engineering School's operations. "We want undergraduates to work in the labs? and having a remote research facility deprives us to a great extent of being able to involve everybody," Glandt said. "So we are very happy to have [the new addition] here." He noted that the Engineering School is composed of eight buildings, four of which are adjacent to one another. The other four -- the Roy and Diana Vagelos Laboratories, Hayden Hall, the Laboratory for Research on the Structure of Matter and the GRASP Laboratory -- are disjoined, creating "intellectual barriers." According to University President Judith Rodin, the facility will accommodate "the expanding size of computer and information technology." Computer and Information Science Department Chairperson Mitch Marcus said "this building will give us space to expand our faculty and to expand our research activities, which means a wider range of courses -- both for CIS majors and for students outside of CIS -- and increased research opportunities for undergraduates." "We've been very lucky to be chosen as one of the areas for growth," he added. According to Glandt, the enhancement of computer and information science "is a realization of one of the University's six academic priorities that are listed in the strategic plan, [the] Agenda for Excellence" -- Rodin's five-year plan for campus improvement and academic innovation. CIS and Mechanical Engineering Professor Vijay Kumar said the new facility will benefit the Engineering School in a number of areas, but he said he would have liked it to have come earlier. "I believe the new building will directly impact rankings, the ability to hire star faculty members and to recruit top undergraduate and graduate students," Kumar said. "I only wish this had happened five years earlier." About five years ago, the Air Force gave several million dollars to the University to begin the Vagelos Laboratories, the first phase of the IAST project. The Vagelos building, which was completed in November 1997, contains two interdisciplinary research centers -- the Institute for Medicine and Engineering and the Center for Excellence in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. Levine, a native of Philadelphia, enrolled in Wharton in 1943. After two semesters, he joined the United States Navy and was selected for the Victory-12 program -- a college training program that evolved into the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps. The V12 program sent Levine back to the University, where he took a number of Engineering courses in the Towne and Moore buildings, near where the new facility will be constructed. He received his naval commission as he graduated with a bachelor's degree in Economics in 1946. Levine is currently president and director of the Egg Harbor, N.J.-based Atlantic Plastic Container Corp.
It is common for Engineering students to share their technological know-how with schools and businesses throughout Philadelphia. But last Saturday, in collaboration with the Urban Technology Project -- a School District of Philadelphia service-learning initiative -- they worked to bring their expertise a little farther off campus -- to Quito, Ecuador. Engineering School students began working with the UrbanTech program just a few months ago in a special partnership called "Formando Un Puente"-- Spanish for "Building a Bridge." Through the program, the students are refurbishing computers which they will ultimately bring in August to Escuela Fiscal Zoila Ugarte de Landivar, a public elementary school in Quito. A group of 10 students -- three from Penn who have not yet been chosen; one each from Edison Ferrara, Simon Gratz and Olney high schools in North Philadelphia; and four from University City New School -- will make the trip to Ecuador. Several constituencies will fund the trip, including UrbanTech and local corporations, though organizers said they will also ask Civic House and campus Latino groups to aid in the sponsoring. During their two-week stay, the Philadelphia and Penn students will connect the school's lab to the Internet and train local teachers and students to use and maintain the computers. "There is a growing digital gap? and in education, it is important to have access to technology," said UrbanTech Director Edison Freire, a teacher with the Philadelphia School District. "Low-income communities are left behind, especially in Ecuador, where public schools don't have access to the Internet." Ecuador recently suffered an economic tailspin during which public schools closed for 51 days and funds for the computer lab being built in Escuela Fiscal Zoila Ugarte de Landivar dried up. However, Freire, who spent two weeks in Ecuador last month, was able to convince an Ecuadorian congressman to search for additional funding. "Penn students are aware of [the digital gap] from the perspective of privilege [and] Philadelphia students from another perspective," Freire said. "[The project] gives people something to rally around as a city," he added. "[It] brings together Penn and the immediate community? to bridge the gap that exists across class, ethnicity, culture and language using technology as a tool." Elementary school students at the New School in West Philadelphia have been corresponding with the students at the Quito school via e-mail. Vu Tran, a junior at Edison High School who has been working with UrbanTech for nearly eight months, said, "I hope that I can bring some of what technology today is like and how it is used for educational purposes." "We're trying to go into business, but we're mostly trying to help out the community," Edison senior Ramon Diaz added. "Hispanics make up a large part of the population [in Northern Philadelphia]. They are behind in technology [and] we want to make it easier for them to access technology." And Engineering freshman Pranav Gupta said "the mentoring program with the students is very motivating" and that helping the high school students to select technology books for their personal libraries is uplifting. But "Formando Un Puente" is "a lot more than a technology outreach project," according to first-year Graduate School of Education student Oufreez Argenta, the program coordinator for the Engineering School. "At an even higher level, it's a service-learning project that crosses international boundaries and a mentoring project across cultures and ages," he said.
Maureen Quilligan and Elisa New join Houston Baker in leaving Penn. English Professor Maureen Quilligan this week accepted a job as undergraduate chairperson of Duke University's English Department effective January 1, making her the third faculty member in the department to accept a position elsewhere and the second to defect to the Durham, N.C., school this year. Quilligan -- who began teaching at the University in 1983 and is a published Renaissance scholar -- is currently abroad in Spain and was not available for comment. Earlier this month, longtime English Professor Houston Baker, the former director of the African-American Studies Program, announced that he, too, would accept a position as a senior professor of English at Duke. And English Professor Elisa New, who serves as undergraduate chairperson of Penn's English Department, announced in January that she would accept a position at Harvard University after teaching at Penn for 10 years. English Department Chairperson Wendy Steiner said Quilligan, Baker and New "are part of the fabric of the department." She said Duke is so actively recruiting faculty from Penn because Duke's department is in dire need of rebuilding after losing several top professors of its own. "We're not going to Duke asking Duke people to come to us -- we think that's sort of desperate on their part," Steiner said. By January, Duke could add as many as five new tenured members to its English department -- aside from the recent acquisitions of Quilligan and Baker -- with offers currently in the works to English scholars from Columbia University, the University of California at Los Angeles, the University of Michigan, the University of Colorado and the University of Washington. And with only 34 current full-time English professors, Penn's English Department -- which at one time had as many as 42 faculty members -- is understaffed and in need of active recruiting for next year. "We need to have more faculty in order to function," Steiner added. "When you get understaffed, you get overworked." She stressed that the changes in faculty will allow for departmental rebuilding at the beginning and middle levels. "Now we have an opportunity to get a whole lot of new blood," she said. The department will compensate for the losses by bringing at least three junior faculty members -- from Johns Hopkins University, Rutgers University and the University of Georgia -- to Penn next year. "The department is a very healthy place with a strong group of people," Steiner said. "We are going to do vigorous hiring for next year." New said that the movement within the department is "not a trend so much as a coincidence." "I am extremely happy at Penn, but when Harvard came after me, I assessed my whole life," she said. "If I didn't go there I wasn't going to go anywhere." New said she thinks the other faculty members also have reached points in their lives that call for change, whether it be for geographical or personal reasons. And Steiner added that professors from the pre-baby boom generation are in the process of retiring and several institutions are now "trying to hire massive numbers of people." Earlier this month, School of Arts and Sciences Dean Samuel Preston unveiled the school's new strategic plan, part of which calls for increased funding to and hiring in six key departments, including English.
It might not be the Grand Prix or the Indianapolis 500, but Sunrayce 99 -- the largest solar car race in North America -- is two months away and the University of Pennsylvania Solar Racing Team is going to make its fourth appearance at the event. Sponsored by General Motors, Electronic Data Systems and the U.S. Department of Energy, Sunrayce 99 will pit 40 college and university teams against one another in a 1,300-mile, 10-day solar car race from Washington, D.C., to Epcot Center in Orlando, Fla., this June. The car -- which is expected to reach a speed of 70 miles per hour -- will operate as photons from sunlight release electrons, creating an electric field and a drop in voltage across the solar cells built into the car. The cells will then charge the batteries, thereby driving the motor. Team leader Deepak Sindwani, an Engineering senior, said the team had originally hoped to finish its car, "Ben's Lightning," by early April, but now anticipates its completion by Friday due to minor complications. "There is a sense of urgency now," he said. The team will participate in a 100-mile qualifying race in Milford, Mich., early this May. The car will go through "scrutineering" -- the process by which professional engineers and Sunrayce officials test the car's systems for strength and correctness, Sindwani said. The Milford race will reduce the number of competing teams from 60 to 40. The completely student-run project is a two-year process. Last year, the team conducted research and designed the car, and the actual construction began late last summer in the Towne Building. And now, many of the students work on the car for at least 30 hours each week. "Team members put insane hours into the project purely for the love of getting hands-on engineering experience," said Engineering senior Amit Kalia, the mechanical team leader. And according to Sindwani, the team of about 45 students is comparable to a company. "We have a budget of $100,000 that we have to raise ourselves," he said. "There is a hierarchy of positions? and we have one common goal." University alumni and several corporations -- including technical companies Allied Signal and Lockheed Martin, Deutsche Bank and First USA Bank and City Hotels -- are providing most of the funding for the race. The first Penn Solar Racing Team competed in 1990. The last car, "Independence," placed 15th out of 60 entries in Sunrayce 97 -- a 1,250-mile race from Indianapolis to Colorado Springs, Colo. This year, the team is better prepared, according to construction leader Ravi Jain. "A lot of the race is about strategy," the Engineering junior said. "Planning correctly and testing are important." And Sindwani added, "We are aiming for the top 10 [but] the top five would make us all happy." "But the coolest part is to see how everyone learns and works as a team," he added. The team will formally unveil its car to the University on May 15, coinciding with Penn's annual Alumni Day.
Starting this fall, undergraduates in the School of Engineering and Applied Science will be required to comply with a specific dress code -- consisting primarily of blue, double-breasted jackets and slacks and red and blue striped ties for males, and white blouses and red and blue pleated skirts for females -- University officials announced yesterday. Interim Engineering School Dean Eduardo Glandt said the purpose of the dress code is to give Engineering students the feeling that they aren't inferior to the rest of Penn's undergraduates. "Our primary goal is to create a more unified, community-like atmosphere in the School of Engineering," Glandt said. "Oh, and it's also to let our students know that they aren't as nerdy as they look." This past year, of the 2,414 freshmen who matriculated at the University, 430 students -- 17.9 percent of the class -- enrolled in the Engineering School. This statistic is similar across the classes. "This is a small figure," said Glandt. "At this large University, the Engineering students comprise a minority and they can get lost among their peers." He said the uniforms would facilitate bonding among Engineering undergraduates, who would be able to easily identify their "fellow Engineers -- students who share their interests." The Engineering School will cover the costs of the uniforms. Anticipating concerns from students and faculty, officials assert that sweatshops will play no role in the manufacturing of the apparel. According to Undergraduate Engineering Dean John Vohs, the objective of the uniforms is two-fold -- officials hope that by tightening the Engineering community, the dress code will improve the Engineering School's image. "Too often, when people think of Penn, they think only of Wharton, Wharton, Wharton, Wharton," Vohs said. "The uniforms will draw people's attention to Engineering," he added. "We in Engineering know where the real prestige lies. It lives and thrives in Engineering? and we want to drive that message home." Most students said they are looking forward to the change. Engineering freshman Laura Lai said with a hint of nostalgia that the dress code "will take me back to my days in private school? and the skirt will definitely make me feel taller." Still, some student leaders expressed disappointed that the Engineering School did not consult them about the dress code policy. They plan to hold a rally in the buff next week.
Students can earn a master's degree in 4 1/2 years and then teach high school classes. The School of Engineering and Applied Science and the Graduate School of Education will offer a new academic option next year allowing undergraduate Engineering students to receive a master's degree in education. Starting in September, students will be able to enroll in a program allowing them to graduate in 4 1/2 years with a degree in Engineering and a certification to teach math, general science and either chemistry or physics at the high school level. In order to earn both degrees, students will have to complete 38 credit units -- including six in math, nine in the natural sciences, 11 in engineering, five in education and seven in the social sciences and humanities. The required engineering courses will not be identical for chemistry and physics students. The undergraduates will also student-teach in Philadelphia middle and high schools five mornings each week -- for two months in the fall and five days each week for four months in the spring. School districts may also hire the students as long-term substitutes while they are still at the University. "[The program] is a great way to introduce undergraduates in engineering to a variety of fields," said Judith Silverman, director of admissions and financial aid in the Education School. "Being an engineer is one of them, but being a teacher is perhaps one of them as well." Assistant Director of Student Affairs in the Engineering School Kim Allen added that the undergraduates will be prepared to "teach students how math facilitates an understanding of science concepts and ideas." Allen said the program is challenging, as both the engineering and education curricula are very time intensive. "But it is not an insurmountable obstacle," she said. Most undergraduates will apply to the program after freshman year. According to Allen, those who enroll in the program early will find greater flexibility in their schedules. Students from the other three undergraduate schools must transfer into the Engineering School in order to pursue this dual degree. And undergraduates may earn a bachelor's of science in engineering instead of a bachelor's degree in applied science, though the curriculum is more rigorous. The Engineering and Education schools are organizing this arrangement partially in response to the U.S. Department of Education's recent estimation of a teacher shortage of about two million by next year. "In the next five years, a turnover of more than 60 percent of teaching faculty? will greatly exacerbate the shortage of elementary and secondary school teachers in the whole country," said Education Professor James Larkin. Students were generally supportive of the new degree. Engineering junior Betsy Hamme said that while she does not intend to teach in the near future, now is the most convenient time to pursue a master's in education. And Engineering junior Bryan Wells added that working in local schools -- especially the inner-city schools -- will be an "eye-opener."
After successful fundraising efforts by the Sigma Nu fraternity and other area organizations, Sigma Nu Alumni Advisor Robert Drake returned to Philadelphia last night after a brutal gay-bashing assault in Ireland two months ago that left him lying unconscious in a pool of his own blood. The insurance company Independence Blue Cross arranged for an air ambulance to transfer Drake, 36, to Newark, N.J., from Dublin's Beaumont Hospital. Drake then traveled by ambulance to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, where he was admitted in serious condition under the care of attending physician Michael Cirigliano. Previously, because Drake was on a ventilator and financially strapped, he could not fly back for treatment to Philadelphia, his home for the past three years. His medical condition has since stabilized enough to allow for his transfer. Scott Pretorius, Drake's partner of six years and the chief radiology resident at HUP, said Drake is making better eye-contact with people and that his renal functioning is improving. However, "his longtime prognosis is still very grave and it is unlikely that he will ever again be able to live independently," Pretorius said. According to InterFraternity Council Vice President Andrew Exum -- a Sigma Nu brother and Daily Pennsylvanian columnist -- the fraternity raised well over $3,000 from selling small black buttons bearing the name "Robert." "The entire brotherhood took a collective sigh of relief" upon hearing that Drake would return, said Exum, a College junior. "We would like to thank all the people who made donations on the walk? as well as in the community," he added. The donations from the button sales helped cover flight and treatment expenses for the philanthropist who himself has donated hundreds of hours to the Sigma Nu fraternity. The fraternity also distributed the buttons to other organizations to sell, including the gay publication Baltimore Alternative, the Philadelphia gay and lesbian bookstore Giovanni's Room and the University of Rochester's Sigma Nu chapter. Literary readings combined with the button sales have garnered more than $6,000 in the fundraising effort. Giovanni's Room -- a gay, lesbian and feminist bookstore located at 345 S. 12th Street -- sold 46 of the 100 buttons it bought from the fraternity, owner Ed Hermance said. The bookstore raised an additional $2,100 at the March 5 "A Reading to Benefit the Robert Drake Fund" in the William Way Community Center at 1315 Spruce Street. In addition, two publishers -- Faber & Faber and Doubleday -- have contributed to the Robert Drake Fund. Faber & Faber donated the sales from 25 copies of three of Drake's books -- His, His II and Hers -- and Doubleday donated the sales from 25 copies of Drake's most recent book, The Gay Canon: Great Books Every Gay Man Should Read. Due to cooperation from the Irish Parliament -- which minimized the travel expenses -- a large portion of the donations from the button sales will be used not only toward travel costs as originally intended, but instead to help cover treatment costs, which are expected to total $3,000 per month. Pretorius said he is particularly grateful to the Sigma Nu brothers but still concerned about Drake's future. It is not known how long Drake will remain at HUP. "Ultimately we're going to need additional fundraising events," Pretorius said. "It's absurd that crimes like this keep happening," he said. "Gay men and lesbians are not accorded equal rights.? People see us as less than human."
Nearly 200 faculty and Internet researchers from the University and other institutions convened at the Sheraton University City Hotel Monday to celebrate Internet2 Awareness Day, hosted by the University and sponsored by two computer networking companies. Internet2 is a distinct, high-speed fiber-optic network similar to the original Internet but capable of transferring information between 10 and 100 times faster and with increased reliability. The day's lecturers -- including Penn Physics Professor Robert Hollebeek, Computer and Information Science Professor David Farber and Manager of Network Engineering Deke Kassabian -- discussed the development of Internet2, the future of high-performance computer networking and the relevance of Internet2 to industry and government. The University is one of 34 institutions that co-founded the Internet2 project in 1996. According to Michael Palladino, executive director of Information Systems and Computing networking at the University, the purpose of the event was to "share some of the ideas of future technology" and to promote awareness of Internet2 -- a collaborative effort of more than 140 universities in the country to accelerate and expand the use of Internet applications vital to the academic and research goals of higher education. According to Palladino, this technological advancement is particularly important in medical research, since it can decrease the duration of magnetic resonance imaging from one hour to one or two minutes. "The really inspiring things about hosting this event? is the enthusiasm that the Internet2 project has really served us throughout the country and around the world," University President Judith Rodin said at the event. Provost Robert Barchi agreed, adding that "Internet2 makes a transitional leap. It should allow us to interact in a virtual chat room? in a way that's just as intimate as if you were interacting across a cup of coffee in a college dining facility." Internet2 can also provide for a tele-immersion system, which allows individuals at different locations to share a virtual environment where they can jointly participate in a project, whether it be the construction of a bridge or the design of a robot. "[Internet2] would allow us to teach a course that involves students not just here at Penn? but from different universities across the nation? it really does result in a globalization of the academic enterprise," Barchi said. Palladino said he expects Internet2 to expand into the next generation in the same manner as the original Internet. "It might take five years? but Internet2 will gradually grow to be more commercial."
Computer science students from 10 Pennsylvania-area high schools had just five hours to prove their technical expertise on Saturday in the Moore Building during a computer programming competition. The University's computer science club, the Dining Philosophers, hosted the second annual Philadelphia Classic -- a competition in which 10 three-member teams worked to complete eight computer programming problems to win prizes and school recognition. Three software companies -- Lycos, Microsoft and Trilogy -- sponsored the event. Engineering senior Scott Raven, chairperson of the Dining Philosophers, said the objectives of the competition were for the students to challenge themselves "and at the same time have fun." According to Raven, the club notified nearly every high school within a 30-mile radius of Philadelphia of the competition. Participants hailed from schools in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Delaware. The top three winners of Saturday's competition were from Hatboro-Horsham High School in Horsham, Pa.; Brandywine High School in Wilmington, Del.; and Central Bucks West High School in Doylestown, Pa. Questions were scored on a 10-7-5 scale. If a team answered a question correctly on its first attempt, it received 10 points. For a second try, the group received seven points, and for a third or subsequent attempt, five points. Members of the Dining Philosophers said it was their primary goal to get students to focus on writing computer science programs instead of concentrating on the technical aspects of compiling codes. In fact, the group developed a software package specifically for the competition. According to Dining Philosophers Vice Chairperson Brian Kravitz, a Wharton and Engineering senior, the event also provided an opportunity for some of the best computer science students to see what the University has to offer. "[The event] is a stepping-stone for the coming years," Raven said. "We hope to recruit more high-quality teams and expand to be a well-known competition." Charles Rice, a computer science teacher at the Dalton School in New York City who brought his students to the event, said the nature of the competition is a vital "part of a good education." As an "out-of-classroom" experience, it encourages a great deal of cooperation among the students. Before the competition, the participants toured the facilities of the School of Engineering and Applied Science. Also, Computer and Information Science Professor Camillo Taylor welcomed the students and discussed one of his projects dealing with robotics.
While students at pre-professional universities tend to ponder the age-old question of what career to pursue, some students in the School of Engineering and Applied Science may have gotten closer to finding the answers last week. As part of National Engineers Week, the Penn Engineering Alumni Society and Engineering Career Services sponsored a series of career seminars presented by about 20 professional engineers and University alumni. The event, held in the Towne Building, drew nearly 150 undergraduates. Rosette Pyne, assistant director of career services in the Engineering School, said she hoped the seminars would help students become familiar with major-related career options and acquire a better understanding of "the skills needed to be successful in the marketplace." According to 1977 Engineering graduate Eric Benshetler, a manager at Unisys -- a networking software development company -- the seminars were an opportunity for students to get feedback from a professional source and attain a different viewpoint. Nearly 20 undergraduates sought more career advice Thursday night at "Dialogue with the Deans" -- sponsored by the Undergraduate Engineering Advisory Board and held in the Towne Building's Raisler Lounge. Engineering sophomore Judy Evans, co-coordinator of the event and a UEAB member, said the meeting provided "a time for students to question and challenge a panel of administrators and faculty members" consisting of Interim Dean Eduardo Glandt, Undergraduate Dean John Vohs, Graduate Dean Dwight Jaggard and Systems Professor John Keenan. Vohs noted that SEAS 101 -- an introductory course in Engineering to be offered to freshmen beginning next spring -- would be geared toward curriculum-deferred freshmen and would provide a general overview of the Engineering school's majors. Engineering sophomore Johnny Yau, co-coordinator of the event and a UEAB member, said Engineering students have little interaction with people outside their majors because they are focused on core requirements and that SEAS 101 would bring freshmen of different interests together. Vohs also discussed plans to make course-planning guides available on the Internet. The interactive guides would allow Engineering students to keep track of the requirements that they must fulfill in order to complete their majors. According to Engineering junior and UEAB Vice President Lou Kolman, Engineering students are not informed of whether or not they have fulfilled their requirements until senior year. Some students asked if the Engineering School should be concerned that only about 50 percent of Engineering students pursue careers in engineering. Glandt said this statistic is positive rather than problematic -- and is evidence of the diversity of interests within the school. And Vohs said he sees this as a "stepping stone" to expanding opportunities beyond traditional Engineering jobs. UEAB President Charles Sieh, an Engineering senior, said the event was one of the few opportunities in which students can interact with the administration and faculty in an informal manner. "[The meeting] promoted a sense of community," Sieh said.
Mathematics and science teachers from area school districts had an opportunity to revisit their childhood last weekend as part of the Engineer's Week Math and Science Teachers Workshop. The event, sponsored by the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and held in the Towne and Moore buildings Saturday, drew more than 90 teachers from local elementary, middle and high schools. According to the event's organizers, the workshop's goals were to help teachers integrate math, science and technology into their classrooms and foster student interest in engineering as a field of study. The program consisted of four working sessions -- "Science Friction," "Human Modeling: Engineering Experiences about the Human Body," "Causing a Co'Motion': An Introduction to Robotics" and "Human Motion Simulation and Math and Science" -- each geared toward teachers of a particular grade level. Each workshop was broken up into two 90-minute segments. Program Co-Coordinator Oufreez Argenta, a first-year student in the Graduate School of Education and an intern in the Engineering School, said, "I'm very happy with the turnout.? All grade levels and both [math and science teachers] were evenly represented." Engineering junior Sarah Winnacker, the organizer of Engineer's Week, said many aspects of math and science are difficult for people to understand if they are not exposed to concepts early and continuously. She explained that these subjects are not sufficiently "acknowledged as an integral part of the curriculum [but] often feared." The "Human Modeling" workshop was recommended for teachers of grades three through five. Participants took part in numerous grade-level appropriate science activities, including the construction of a human body with functioning limbs and a dialysis tubing demonstration. "A key point of the workshop was the integration of science and engineering into other curriculum areas, especially language arts," said session co-facilitator Jane Horwitz, who coordinates Penn-Merck Collaborative, a cooperative effort between the University and the pharmaceutical giant that operates out of GSE. "It gave teachers ways to cut across different disciplines." She added that the session was intended to focus on areas of content that are usually not covered adequately in the classroom. According to Nancy Lee Bergey, a co-presenter and facilitator for the Penn-Merck Collaborative, young students tend to study the human body in simple terms. She said she hoped teachers who attended the session would try to explain bodily systems to their students in elementary and creative ways. To that end, Bergey asked the teachers to construct mock human bodies using paper towel rolls, tape and rulers. "I think [the workshop] is refreshing," said Mae Diabay, a teacher at John Bartram High School at 67th Street and Elmwood Avenue in West Philadelphia. "It's geared toward certain content standards? and a coalition of school principles." Another workshop, "Human Motion Simulation and Math and Science" -- which was suggested for high school teachers -- first introduced participants to a software package called "Jack," which provided a three-dimensional interactive environment for simulating motion and speech. In the second part of that workshop, the participants used graphing calculators and calculator-based rangers -- devices that act like radar detectors by sending out high-frequency pulses -- to apply graphic interpretation skills to scientific concepts such as the conservation of energy. Session facilitator Boris Dirnbach, a teacher at the High School for Creative and Performing Arts in Philadelphia and a University alumnus, said "the idea is to get teachers to use simple technology to achieve science mileage." Craig Strohm, a seventh and eighth grade science teacher, attended the workshop on robotics. "It encompassed a fun, hands-on experience while requiring the use of measurement, graphing and programming," he said. The session taught "a thematic lesson between science and math."
Few University professors could lay claim to simultaneously being responsible for the way grammar shapes language and winning one of the highest professional distinctions given in the engineering field. But Computer and Cognitive Science Professor Aravind Joshi has managed to complete both tasks. Integrating computer science and linguistics in his studies since 1958, Joshi's primary area of research is the computer processing of natural language. And recently, he was elected to membership in the National Academy of Engineering -- a private, nonprofit institution that advises the federal government and conducts independent studies in engineering and technology. At 69 years old, he is one of 80 members and eight foreign associates to be inducted into NAE this year, bringing total membership to 1,984. "I was very happy to receive this honor," Joshi said. "I consider it not only an honor for myself, but an acceptance of my area of work -- which has now become mainstream -- [combining] computer science and engineering." According to NAE President Wm. Wulf, membership in the Academy honors those who have demonstrated exceptional accomplishments in the exploration of new and developing areas in engineering. In 1958 and 1959, Joshi developed the world's first computer mechanism for breaking down sentences into their grammatical parts. He also invented a system called Tree-Adjoining Grammar which is used to indicate the grammatical structures that are associated with given words. According to Joshi, the process takes "any arbitrary sentence and gives an analysis" -- telling who did what to whom, for example. Engineering School Interim Dean Eduardo Glandt said Joshi has been "a visionary in interdisciplinary work." Joshi joined the faculty at the University in 1961 and has held joint appointments in the Linguistics Department since 1964 and the Psychology Department since 1983. Psychology Professor Lila Gleitman, co-director of the Institute for Research in Cognitive Science, has been working with Joshi for several decades. "I think it is a distinguished appointment for the Academy to make," she said. "He's obviously a jewel in the crown [here]." She added that, "In addition to his internationally known interdisciplinary research, he's been a powerful force even in undergraduate studies, where he was instrumental in creating the cognitive science major." Joshi has contributed significantly to computational research on discourse and has led the establishment of research and educational forums in artificial intelligence and cognitive science in both the United States and India. He holds degrees from Pune University and the Indian Institute of Science at Bangalore, both in India. Joshi earned a master's degree in 1958 and a doctorate in 1960 from the University. This latest award is one among many in a long list of prizes and high-profile appointments Joshi has garnered through the years. He is a fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery and the Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers, as well as a founding fellow of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence. He is also a member of the Cognitive Science Society, the Linguistic Society of America and the Association for Computational Linguistics, for which he served as president in 1974. In 1972, he was a Guggenheim Fellow and a member of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University. Twenty-five years later, Joshi won the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence Research Excellence Award -- an honor given every two years to a scientist who has carried out a research program of extraordinarily high quality. At least seven other University professors have been elected to membership in the Academy in the past.
Melvin Levine, a 1946 Wharton School graduate, donated $5 million for a new computer science building. New Jersey businessperson and 1946 Wharton graduate Melvin Levine and his wife Claire have donated $5 million toward the construction of a new facility for the the School of Engineering and Applied Science, University officials announced Friday. Interim Engineering Dean Eduardo Glandt said the Levine donation will be used to enlarge the University's Institute for Advanced Science and Technology -- a series of high-tech buildings that house "centers of excellence for science and technology." The gift will contribute to the funding of a new $15 million, 40,000-square-foot computer science facility that will join the Towne Building and the graduate research wing of the Moore Building on the eastern end of campus. The facility is slated for the space currently occupied by a parking lot between the two buildings. Though officials have not yet hired an architect for the project, they are confident it will be completed in two years. The remainder of the funding for the new facility will come from a $10 million grant from the United States Air Force, Glandt said. The new building will encompass offices for faculty and graduate students, computer labs, classrooms and meeting rooms. The General Robotics and Active Sensory and Perception Laboratory, which is currently located in the 3401 Walnut Street complex, will move into the new facility in an effort to centralize the Engineering School's operations. "We want undergraduates to work in the labs? and having a remote research facility deprives us to a great extent of being able to involve everybody," Glandt said. "So we are very happy to have [the new addition] here." He added that the Engineering School is composed of eight buildings, four of which are adjacent to one another. The other four -- the Roy and Diana Vagelos Laboratories, Hayden Hall, the Laboratory for Research on the Structure of Matter and the GRASP Laboratory -- are disjoined, creating "intellectual barriers." According to University President Judith Rodin, the facility will accommodate "the expanding size of computer and information technology." Computer and Information Science Department Chairperson Mitch Marcus said that "this building will give us space to expand our faculty and to expand our research activities, which means a wider range of courses -- both for CIS majors and for students outside of CIS -- and increased research opportunities for undergraduates." "We've been very lucky to be chosen as one of the areas for growth," he added. According to Glandt, the enhancement of computer and information science "is a realization of one of the University's six academic priorities that are listed in the strategic plan, [the] Agenda for Excellence" -- Rodin's five-year plan for campus improvement and academic innovation. CIS and Mechanical Engineering Professor Vijay Kumar said the new facility will benefit the Engineering School in a number of areas, but he said he would have liked it to have come earlier. "I believe the new building will directly impact rankings, the ability to hire star faculty members and to recruit top undergraduate and graduate students," Kumar said. "I only wish this had happened five years earlier. About five years ago, the Air Force gave several million dollars to the University to begin the Vagelos Laboratories, the first phase of the IAST project. The Vagelos building, which was completed in November 1997, contains two interdisciplinary research centers -- the Institute for Medicine and Engineering and the Center for Excellence in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. Levine, a native of Philadelphia, enrolled in Wharton in 1943. After two semesters, he joined the United States Navy and was selected for the Victory-12 program -- a college training program that evolved into the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps. The V12 program sent Levine back to the University, where he took a number of Engineering courses in the Towne and Moore buildings, near where the new facility will be constructed. He received his naval commission as he graduated with a bachelor's degree in Economics in 1946. Levine is currently president and director of the Egg Harbor, N.J.-based Atlantic Plastic Container Corp.
Nearly 30 of Philadelphia's young engineering hopefuls need not look far for technical expertise these days. For the past five weeks, members of the year-old Penn Robotics Club -- a division of the Engineering Student Activities Council -- have been working alongside students from Mastbaum and Carver high schools as they prepare for the seventh annual For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology Robotics Competition to be held this spring. Over a six-week period, the high school students -- with the support of the undergraduate Engineering students and professional engineers -- work together to construct a champion robot capable of lifting and positioning cloth disks. Each group participating in this competition receives the same starting kit of materials, which it must use to construct a robot that cannot exceed a weight of 130 pounds or a set of precise dimensions. Temple University will host the regional competition from March 11 to 13. The Philadelphia team will also participate in a national robotics competition in mid-April at Walt Disney World's Epcot Center in Orlando, Fla. "We had to come up with innovative solutions to circumvent material limitations," Engineering sophomore Johnny Yau said. "We got around that." According to Edward Francis, a senior at Carver, "It's amazing how everyone gets the same kit of parts but there are so many different robots [at the competition]." And Engineering and Wharton sophomore Kenneth Chin, the founder and president of the Robotics Club, said that, "We're going to have fun and get a great hands-on experience.? We're here to help the community." About 12 of the 25 active members of the Penn organization meet with the high school students weekly at Mastbaum, which has an extensive machine shop. The high school students usually convene on their own two weekdays after school and on weekends. Last Friday night, they had a sleepover at Mastbaum. The high school students were chosen to participate in the project on the basis of their attendance, grades and recommendations from teachers. The project extends beyond the construction of the robot, since it also entails designing and animating the machine, fundraising, the development of a promotional video and World Wide Web site and the creation of a team T-shirt and button. "It's a much more encompassing project than any other," said Loraine Bell, the team's co-advisor from Mastbaum. "It gives the kids an opportunity to really shine? and appreciate science and technology in a way they never did before." She added that the students learned to draw skills from one another and "pull the best aspects of each team member." Explained Bill Buchanan, a carpentry instructor at Mastbaum, "This competition is not a particular trade; it takes a lot of different talents? and a lot of critical thinking." McNeil Consumer Healthcare -- a division of Johnson and Johnson -- is sponsoring the Mastbaum-Carver team. McNeil has sponsored this team for the past three years, though this is the first year the University is involved. "The high school students are more inclined to question and express their ideas to the University students rather than professional engineers," said Malcolm Mills, an engineer with McNeil. He added that the interaction with the University is a new approach. "The team takes more ownership for design," he said. "In previous years, the professionals drove the process more." Olga Torres, a bilingual tutor at Mastbaum and the mother of one of the participants, said she is working to increase parental involvement and expects that eight parents will join the team in Florida. "All I've been doing is eating, drinking and sleeping robotics," Torres said. Channy Loeum, a junior at Carver, said that, "[The project] strengthened my interest in the engineering industry.? I have a lot of fun doing this, and I think I'm going to join again next year."
In a joint effort, undergraduate students in the Wharton School and the School of Engineering and Applied Science convened in the second-floor lounge of Hill College House Tuesday to put their leadership and negotiating skills to work. The 25 undergraduates took part in a workshop entitled "Group Dynamics and Teambuilding" -- the first session of a new three-part leadership series sponsored by the undergraduate division of the Wharton and Engineering schools. First-year Education graduate student Kirk Daulerio, one of the three program coordinators and a student affairs intern for the undergraduate division of Wharton, said the program arose from "students' demand for more leadership activities that would unite different schools and departments." The 90-minute session consisted of three activities followed by discussion periods. In each activity, the students -- who interacted in groups of about eight each -- had to complete a specific task. Afterwards, all of the participants gathered to talk about the outcomes of the activities. The first activity required the students to select a well-known person to give the Commencement address in May. Each student was assigned a role to play -- for example, some participants had to act as the leaders of the groups, while others took the role of passive listeners. Many of the more opinionated participants said they found it very difficult to conform to the more passive roles and added that they were frustrated by the task. Nonetheless, the project enabled students to pinpoint the qualities of a good leader. "Often times, in group settings? the squeaky wheel gets listened to," said program coordinator Oufreez Argenta, a first-year student in the Graduate School of Education and an intern in the Engineering School's student affairs department. "It's often a bad thing but it's a true thing." Engineering junior Brian Sullivan said there is always a dominating person in a group. "If others agree with him, he becomes the leader. If they disagree, he becomes a nuisance." The students recognized that there was a tendency in the discussion to wait for others to speak first. They also noted that the leaders are the ones who can assess what needs to be done and set priorities. The second activity required the participants to pretend they were members of a civil defense committee instructed to choose six people from a group of 12 to build a society. The group included a senior Civil Engineering major, a 30-year-old male electrician with depressive tendencies and a 37-year-old racist emergency nurse. First-year Education graduate student and program coordinator Nayla Bahri, a student affairs intern at the Wharton School, said necessary leadership skills are applicable not only to the workplace but also to classroom and extracurricular activities. The final activity required the groups to cross a grid, one at a time, while communicating "silently." The participants had to determine the correct path to travel without speaking. During the last discussion, Bahri asked the students, "How can you relate these kinds of group experiences to real life?" Sullivan said "these mock trials don't always relate to the real world? not all people focus on dynamics in group situations." "Even though we had time constraints, [the activities] were an effective way of simulating real life and the discussions were insightful," Engineering freshman Khalil Abdullah said. The next sessions -- "Communicating Effectively" and "Nuts and Bolts of Running an Organization" -- will be held on Tuesday, March 2, and Tuesday, March 30, respectively.
Undergraduate Dean John Vohs spoke with students over lunch about issues facing the school. In an effort to increase student-faculty interaction and communication, 12 School of Engineering and Applied Science students joined Engineering Undergraduate Dean John Vohs yesterday for an informal lunch. This gathering was just one of a series of "Lunches with the Deans" that the Undergraduate Engineering Advisory Board has been organizing since last spring. The group has planned six lunches this semester with Vohs and Interim Engineering Dean Eduardo Glandt, two of which have already occurred. The Student Committee on Undergraduate Education sponsors a similar "Dinner with the Deans" program across all four undergraduate schools in which Vohs participated last semester. College and Engineering sophomore Veronica Lemcoff, secretary of the UEAB, said the lunches are held to improve communication among students, faculty and administrators. "I've been really overwhelmed by the turnout," said Lemcoff, who is helping to plan the lunches. The first session took place last year with then-Dean Gregory Farrington. The UEAB sponsored four lunches last spring and four last fall, and the group has added two more this semester as a result of positive feedback on the program. "It's a shame to go through four years of college and not know the administration," said Engineering junior Melissa Audette, a UEAB member who helps organize the gatherings. "The lunches provide students with a way to get their ideas across," she added. "And they allow faculty to bounce ideas off an unbiased panel and get feedback." Vohs opened yesterday's discussion by asking the students to pose questions on issues pertaining to the Engineering School or the University as a whole. Many students expressed interest in less stringent requirements for Engineering students. "I would be really interested in having more liberal arts courses pertaining to engineering," Engineering sophomore Erfana Dar said. "So many people are going into consulting or are setting up small businesses of their own -- these [liberal arts] classes are very useful." Currently, Engineering students are required to take a minimum of seven courses that fall under the categories of social sciences and humanities. According to Vohs, there have been proposals to lessen that requirement to five such classes to allow for more breadth and flexibility. Vohs agreed that liberal arts classes are important. "Very rarely do you work with people who have solely your background," he said. Michael Trossman, an Engineering sophomore, asked Vohs what percentage of Engineering students receive job offers prior to graduation. Vohs explained that nearly 100 percent of computer science majors have been offered employment before they graduate over the past few years. He also said that about 115 companies attended the school's career fair last year and that they had to turn some businesses away due to a lack of space. "It's a good sign but it's a disappointment that we had to turn some away," Vohs said. The meeting continued with a talk about accreditation, specifically in reference to the Computer Telecommunication Engineering Program -- which is not officially accredited by the national Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Vohs said that accreditation is important because many international students receive financial aid only if they are enrolled in accredited programs. Information about upcoming lunches will be sent to Engineering students via e-mail throughout the semester. Each lunch is limited to 15 students, who are selected randomly from those who reply to the e-mails. "I find [these sessions] very, very useful," Vohs said. "They give students an informal atmosphere, which makes it easier to get discussions going."
Participants in the Penn STEP program help teach computer skills to elementary school students. Only a decade ago, words such as "word processor," "spreadsheet" and "Internet" seldom crossed the minds of grade school students. But now, through the Penn Science and Technology Program, University students are using their expertise to teach West Philadelphia students at Alexander Wilson Elementary School a little something about computer technology. Penn STEP -- a semester-old community service project sponsored by the School of Engineering and Applied Science -- began again yesterday and will continue throughout the semester at Wilson, located at 46th Street and Woodland Avenue. Through the program, University students volunteer for 1 1/2 hours each week as either computer class teaching assistants or classroom technology liaisons. According to Penn STEP founder Oufreez Argenta, the level of computer literacy required to participate in the program is minimal. Argenta said the demand for computer instruction is continuously increasing. "We're hoping to expand Penn STEP? to meet the needs of individual students," the first-year Engineering graduate student said. Approximately 25 undergraduate students participated in the project last semester. The number of volunteers for this spring has doubled, with students from all of the University's schools -- both undergraduate and graduate -- signed on to teach. College sophomore Dan Fleder, co-coordinator of Penn STEP, said, "People used to say it's important to learn about computers for the future. But I would change that to it's important to learn about computers for now," stressing that many of the children have no access to computers outside the school. Wilson is comprised of nearly 400 students, from kindergarten through fifth grade. Children in kindergarten, as well as the first and second grades, spend 45 minutes each week in the computer lab, while those in grades three through five spend 90 minutes each week in the lab. There are 30 students enrolled in each class. This fall, the volunteers helped students in kindergarten and in the first and second grades with the basic operations of At Ease -- the security program of the computers -- which consisted of turning the computers on and off and locating programs. The children also learned some word processing. For one assignment, the students typed their names and song lyrics and then adjusted the font styles of the words. During the holiday season, the participants of Penn STEP introduced the students to drawing and graphics programs -- which the children used to design greeting cards. The older students -- in grades three through five -- developed spreadsheets. Using a program called ClarisWorks, they transformed multiplication tables onto the computer. Joy Anderson, the first computer science teacher at Wilson and a 1996 College graduate, said that the project allows the students to integrate their mathematical and computer skills. "The volunteers have been a definite help to me," Anderson said. "The students really enjoy having the volunteers there.? One student even wrote an essay about the Penn students." "The kids get really attached to us," said Engineering junior Betsy Hamme, co-coordinator of the program. "There's no way that one teacher can give them the individualized attention that we provide." A number of new projects are in store for the remainder of the school year. Anderson said that she plans to have some of the kids help her to design the school's World Wide Web site, which will include profiles of the teachers. In addition, volunteers will teach the students to use the Internet to gather information for reports. "Overall, the program has so much potential," said Anderson. "It's still in its infancy, but we're working out the bugs quickly." Through its involvement with Co-NECT -- a national organization committed to helping communities innovate technologically-rich programs to improve academic results -- Wilson plans to see a heightened development in technological projects over the next couple of years. "Technology is a daunting thing to take on," said Anderson. "After the teachers saw all the help from Penn, they got excited and saw that they too could get help.? [They] want to learn the technology."
FEBES will allow students to take not-for-credit mini-courses with top Engineering professors. For one of the first times ever, undergraduate students in the School of Engineering and Applied Science will have the opportunity to break away from large lecture halls. Beginning in mid-February, the Engineering School will offer five mini-courses -- each limited to 15 to 20 students -- taught by the school's top professors for no credit. The courses will be similar to the preceptorials offered in the College of Arts and Sciences under the auspices of the Student Committee on Undergraduate Education. A five-member division of the Undergraduate Engineering Advisory Board -- which is comprised of 18 undergraduate students who evaluate weaknesses in the Engineering program -- has organized the series of lectures, known as the For Engineers, By Engineers Seminars. Five professors will present seminars, which will range in duration from one to four classes throughout the semester. The courses offered will represent each major in the school. The lectures will be presented by Systems Engineering Professor Nelson Dorny; Computer and Information Science Professor David Farber; Interim Engineering Dean Eduardo Glandt, a Chemical Engineering professor; Bioengineering Professor Abraham Noordergraaf and Electrical Engineering Professor Jan Van der Spiegel. Dorny said he wanted to teach students something "more philosophical" in his seminar -- how to think and analyze a variety of concepts apart from the ones in his syllabus. "Many students seem to view their education primarily as an admission ticket to that career, the path to riches," he said. "That is too limited a view.? People change careers, sometimes rather drastically." Dorny said his seminar -- "Your Education -- A Systems View" -- will aim to define educational objectives that are "more meaningful" than career preparation. UEAB Vice President Lou Kolman, an Engineering junior who headed the project, explained that FEBES arose from a need "to increase student-faculty interaction and to give students a chance to meet professors in small classroom settings." He added that the seminars are a means of heightening students' interests in various fields of study and of bringing engineering to life. Other professors will highlight different areas of engineering. Glandt will present a series of lectures entitled "Quackery for Quakers," in which he will discuss examples of "bad science" and "bad technology" -- cases that attempted to violate laws of nature. He explained that the students would "learn how to analyze technology proposals and how to discern what is novel from what is just quackery." Van der Spiegel will present "ENIAC -- From Vacuum Tubes to Microchip." Throughout the past few years, Van der Spiegel and a group of students have significantly shrunk ENIAC -- the first electronic computer, which was built at Penn's Moore School of Electrical Engineering in 1946 -- by replacing vacuum tubes with microchips. "I will discuss how [ENIAC] has changed the history of computation," Van der Spiegel said. "It was a big milestone in the areas of computation and information processing and a big transition in terms of technology." Farber will hold a series of seminars -- "Technical, Societal and Economic Future of the Internet" -- and Noordergraaf will talk about advances in medicine for cardiovascular disorders in "Our Blood Circulation: Opinions and discoveries from Galenos to U. Penn." Registration for FEBES will begin during the last week of January on the Engineering School's Web site and sessions start as early as mid-February.