Celebrating Innovation at Purdue Calumet

Excerpt from article published in the Fall-Winter 2012 Edition of the Northwest Indiana Business Quarterly Magazine
(http://www.nwitimes.com/business/local/celebrating-innovation-at-purdue-calumet/article_f49f40a0-62f7-5b75-9d03-6aa66e4a50d5.html)
By Lu Ann Franklin, Times Correspondent

CIVS_Theater_JonathanMiano_TheTimes

HAMMOND | Purdue University Calumet’s Center for Innovation through Visualization and Simulation Research Engineer Bin Wu, left, talks with guest and PUC undergraduate student Steven Malone, right, about a 3D mapping project for ArcelorMittal at the center in Hammond on Thursday. The center won the 2012-13 Chanute Prize from the Society of Innovators of Northwest Indiana. Photo by Jonathan Miana | The Times

HAMMOND | Innovation will fuel economic development in the entire Calumet area, and universities are the epicenter for that creativity and economic boost, said Purdue University Calumet Chancellor Thomas Keon at Thursday’s Celebrating Innovation day at the Hammond campus.

The Center for Innovation through Visualization and Simulation facility in the Powers Building was the focus of kudos from the Society of Innovators.

Nineteen CIVS members received the Chanute Prize for Team Innovation presented annually by Ivy Tech Community College Northwest and The Society of Innovators. Co-recipient is NIPSCO.

“Innovations are driven by two things – dreams and visions, challenges and roadblocks,” said Ralph Rogers, PUC vice chancellor for academic affairs and himself an engineer.

“Challenges and roadblocks and constraints are when someone throws the gauntlet down. The status quo is just not acceptable to innovators,” Rogers said.

He praised Chenn Zhou, the CIVS director, who is a professor and interim associate vice chancellor for research and graduate studies.

When she came to Purdue University Calumet from Carnegie Mellon, Chenn Zhou was told she couldn’t do the kind of simulation and visualization research she wanted to do at the Hammond campus.

“She put her work into a computer and began to solve problems. She pushed the envelope when others said that’s not what we do,” Rogers said in introducing Chenn Zhou. “Today we are celebrating what can be achieved by ignoring the naysayers.’

O’Merrial Butchee, the Director of the Gerald I. Lamkin Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center at Ivy Tech said the PUC facility is a model for CIVS for the nation. “This CIVS is setting the standards,” Butchee said.

Receiving the award stems from “a firm, deep and continuous encouragement of innovation, and an important commitment to the future,” said Cal Bellamy, senior partner with Krieg DeVault, who sponsors the Chanute Prize. “Innovation is how the quality of life will improve, how employment will improve and how all life in Northwest Indiana will improve.”

Engineering graduate student Nick Walla, of Portage, told those gathered that the CIVS facilities and staff give students hands-on training in real projects that provide unparalled experience.

“This is as good or better than an internship,” said the 25-year old,who received a mechanical engineering degree from PUC in 2010. “Here we have internships with the support and structure of an educational institute.”

Chanute Prize by Jonathan Miana

Purdue University Calumet’s Center for Innovation through Visualization and Simulation’s 2012-13 Chanute Prize is shown from the the Society of Innovators of Northwest Indiana. Photo by Jonathan Miana | The Times

CIVS team honored

Nineteen members of the Center for Innovation through Visualization and Simulation awarded the Chanute Prize by Ivy Tech Community College Northwest and The Society of Innovators included PUC Chancellor Thomas Keon; Chancellor Emeritus Howard Cohen; Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Ralph Rogers; CIVS Director Chenn Zhou; CIVS senior research scientist John Moreland; CIVS research engineer Bin Wu; CIVS community development and outreach Doreen M. Gonzalez-Gaboyan; Linda Robinson, CIVS administrative assistant and Regina Biddings-Muro, who nominated the team.

Other recipients included Dong Fu, CIVS research assistant; Armin Silean, CIVS post-doctoral; Bin Chen, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering; Roy Evans, associate professor of construction science and organizational leadership; Janet Buckenmeyer, associate professor, school of education; Ge Jin, assistant professor computer information technology and graphics; Roger Kraft, associate professor of mathematics, computer science and statistics; Robert Rescot, civil engineering assistant professor; Shawn Slavin, acting department head of chemistry and physics; and Yueqi Zhang, assistant professor of communication and creative arts.

Showcasing student research

Six research projects by students were also showcased during the Celebrating Innovation. Each used the CIVS to provide innovative solutions to real-world problems.

Those projects included “Gateway to Innovation” about economic development and city planning; “The Power of 3D Virtual Reality for a Better Tomorrow” that focuses on a variety of issues such as ground water quality and air ducts in power plants; and “The Path to Better Wind Power” about improving wind energy education and technology.

Other projects were “Digital Education” that focuses on new ways to train and prepare students; “Life is Good” about state-of-the-art technologies in healthcare; and “Virtual Design: Computer Simulation to Solve Real World Problems” that addresses issues in manufacturing and production, energy efficiency, environmental and transportation.

CIVS Sim Lab by Jonathan Miana

Purdue University Calumet graduate student Guangwn Tang, center, talks with visiting scholar Hongbo Yang, right, about Tang’s project sponsored by BP at the Center for Innovation through Visualization and Simulation at the university in Hammond on Thursday, November 29, 2012. The center won the 2012-13 Chanute Prize from the Society of Innovators of Northwest Indiana. Photo by Jonathan Miana | The Times