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Dr. Atwater Receives NSF Grant

Millersville University students from Applied Engineering, Safety & Technology; chemistry and physics will soon be working together on nanotechnology projects, thanks to the efforts of Millersville University’s Dr. Mark Atwater. The assistant profesor of applied engineering, safety & technology was awarded a $502,420 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to pursue researching the use of nanotechnology on metal foams.

The grant, which spans five years, is entitled “CAREER: New Solid State Metal Foams Using Oxide Reduction and Intraparticle Expansion.” Work under the grant will begin in June.

The NSF explains that a “Career grant” –is targeted for “…faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations.”

Atwater has been researching how nanostructured metals can be used in different applications since he began his Ph.D. studies at North Carolina State University in Materials Science and Engineering.

The NSF grant is Atwater’s third grant project.  In October he received a five-year grant from the U.S. Army Research Laboratory at Aberdeen Proving Ground to further study nanostructured metals, including high-entropy alloys and thermoelectrics. The new CAREER grant is based on work first established in conjunction with Army researchers and will complement existing efforts.

“Oxides can inadvertently get into metals during processing,” explained Atwater. “I have been working on how to control it and ways to benefit from it.  The Army is interested because they want lightweight, strong materials for applications such as air and ground vehicles.”

In addition, Atwater is working on a research project to grow carbon nanofibers. The application of these unique foams may benefit the catalytic process used in that work and allow for overall cost reduction. That work is also funded through NSF until August of 2017.

“Metallic foams and porous metal structures are valuable because they are strong for their weight, can absorb impact energy and allow for efficient heat transfer,” said Atwater.  “We first observed this new foaming mechanism in copper, and the new NSF grant will allow us to explore other metals, including nickel.”

There is a significant educational component to the grant including funding for two undergraduates and one graduate assistant (G.A.).  Laura Guevara, a senior chemistry major, has been working with Atwater and will be the G.A. on the project when she graduates in May. “I’ve always been interested in chemistry but I never imagined I’d be able to do this type of research at Millersville.  I started my undergraduate work at Penn State, but it wasn’t a good fit. This has been amazing for me,” said Guevara, a Cocalico High School graduate.

Expanding the undergraduate nanofabrication option in applied engineering and developing additional programs, including a graduate offering, are on the radar for Atwater. “An opportunity for graduate study where we collaborate with other departments could really boost our enrollment potential and bring new opportunities to Millersville,” said Atwater.

“We would also like to connect with local or regional businesses,” said Atwater. “The ramifications of being able to produce strong, lightweight materials out of a variety of metals could be helpful for any number of businesses. We would like to encourage companies to partner with us at Millersville.”

Robotics Team - National Champions!

The puzzle pieces fell together and Millersville University’s (MU) Technology, Management and Applied Engineering Student Chapter (Robotics Team) won the national championship at the Associations of Technology, Management and Applied Engineering’s (ATMAE) Robotics Competition.

The competition was held in Pittsburgh, Pa. from Nov. 11-14 and a team of 12 MU students created MAVIS3D (The Millersville Autonomous Vision Inductive Sorter with 3D Printed Technology) participated with their robot and captured numerous awards.

MAVIS3D was built on a piece of recycled aluminum and the team used 3D printing technology to create the plastic components of the robot. They began the construction of the robot in spring 2015. The robot competed in two performance-based events, an obstacle course and a relay race.

For the obstacle course, MAVIS3D went over two obstacles manually including a burlap bridge and teeter-totter, before using sensors along silver tape and collecting blocks into a carousel. After collecting the blocks, the robot sorted them to spell “ATMAE,” which helped the team collect another award.

In the relay race, the challenge for MAVIS3D was to collect pieces of a logo puzzle and place them in an area marked for assembly. From there, the student team assembled the puzzle by hand. MAVIS3D led the team to win first place in the event.

Front row (left to right): Cody Martin, Skylar Zarzecki, Michael Brown, Dean Della Loggia. Back row (left to right): Gregory Schneider, Joseph Wright, Ryan Lees, Kevin Piaskowski, Christopher Reuling, Samuel Brennan, Dr. Mehmet Goksu(Lead Advisor), Trevor Coble, Webster Chatman, and Dr. John Wright(Co-Advisor)

“It is a great honor. It is a national recognition of our applied engineering, safety, and technology department and Millersville University, but more importantly, it is a recognition of our students and their ability to complete the project successfully,” stated Dr. Mehmet Goksu, the lead advisor of the Robotics Team and associate professor of physics. “I really enjoyed working with the team on this project and I have learned a lot from them. I am so proud of our achievement.”

The team won the following awards:

  • 1st place overall
  • 1st place performance (Relay Race)
  • 1st place fan vote
  • 1st place fabrication and innovation
  • 1st place poster
  • 1st place team presentation and technical report
  • 2nd place performance (Obstacle Course)
  • 2nd place in electronics / control methodology

In addition, Cody Martin, a sophomore majoring in applied engineering and technology management, won fourth place in the Haig Vahradian Technology Challenge quiz bowl. The quiz bowl is named in memory of the late Dr. Vahradian, who was a professor of industry and technology at MU. Drs. John Wright, Mark Snyder and Louise Manfredi from applied engineering, safety and technology department served as co-advisor of the team.

The MU Robotics Team has now won more than 35 awards in national and international robotics competition. This is the third time the team has won the ATMAE Robotics Cup, since its inception in 2002.

Originally appeared in the MU Exchange: Robotics Team - National Champs!

TEECA Students Bring Home 4 Awards

Twenty-six members of the Technology & Engineering Education Collegiate Association (TEECA) at Millersville University traveled to Virginia Beach along with two of their advisors (Sharon Brusic & Len Litowitz) for the annual TEECA Eastern Regional Conference from November 8-10, 2015. Every student competed in at least one of eight events at the conference and TEECA@MU proudly brought home four awards, including 2nd place in Robotics (Al Gallo, Amanda Piergallini, Adam Kennedy, John Zug, and Dan Simms), 3rd place in the Technology Challenge Quiz Bowl (Shane Waters, Matthew Dietrich, Darcie Jones, Derek Hakes), 3rd place in K-5 STEM Design (Abigail Sweeney, Joshua Handshaw, Lauren Coker), and 3rd place in Instructional Module (Grace Painter, Darcie Jones, Lexi Iagnemma).

The competition was tough, but TEECA members competed well in all events they entered. In addition to participating in competitive events at the conference, students engaged in a teambuilding experience, interacted with potential employers at the job fair, and networked with about 200 peers and professors from about a ten universities throughout the Eastern seaboard region during meal and social functions. 

Congratulations go out to all TEECA member participants. In addition, the TEECA at MU executive board, led by President Greg Schneider, Vice President Grace Painter, Treasurer Marie Leatherman, Secretary Alaric Gallo, and Reporter Darcie Jones, is to be commended for helping to organize this highly successful professional development experience for its members.

New Degree Launched: Automation & Intelligent Robotics Engineering Technology

The Board of Governors approved the Millersville University bachelor of science in automation and intelligent robotics engineering technology (AIRET) degree program on Oct. 8, 2015.  The study of robotics involves the design, modeling, optimization, documentation and automation of advanced control problems. The curriculum of the new robotics program includes in-depth technical content of electronics, control systems, mechanical systems and computer programming and applications to prepare professionals equipped to design, improve, maintain and manage robotic and automated process and control systems.

Combining coursework from the applied engineering, safety and technology and computer science departments, the robotics engineering technology program is designed to produce graduates with the ability to work with multiple types of technology to design and implement projects that have advanced programming needs. “This new Automation & Intelligent Robotics Engineering Technology Bachelor of Science degree will help companies in the region and beyond remain competitive in today’s global market,” said Dr. John Wright, AIRET program coordinator.

Program Information

Millersville Offers STEM Endorsement

The Pennsylvania Department of Education approved Millersville University’s application for the undergraduate integrative STEM education (iSTEM) endorsement for early childhood education majors. This is the first undergraduate iSTEM education endorsement program in Pennsylvania. AEST faculty members collaborated with faculty in elementary, middle & exceptional education (EMEE) to apply for this new endorsement. Early childhood education majors can take four courses – some which will be taught by AEST faculty – and apply for the iSTEM endorsement on their teaching certificate. The courses include ERCH 190 Introduction to Integrative STEM Education Pedagogy, EDTE/ERCH 290 Children’s Engineering, EDTE 490 Integrative Learning Using Experiential Strategies, and EDTE/ERCH 495 Integrative STEM Education Practicum. Courses begin Summer 1 2015. For more information, contact Sharon Brusic at or 717-871-5548.

You can read more about it at Lancaster Online.

Events Calendar

A seminar at Millersville University. Thursday, October 27, 2016, from 5:30 - 8:30pm

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2015 EPT Inductees

EPT Logo

2015 Inductees
Frank M. Caccavale
Matthew K. Dietrich
Kaila M. Funk
Steven E. Gillen
Benjamin D. Gochenaur
Jason L. Hess
Patricia E. McEvoy
Julianne M. Metz
Colleen M. Moore
Daniel A. Simms
Shane M. Waters
Nicole M. Whiitaker

AEST Graduates are...

With an AEST degree, you could have an exciting career as a...

  • STEM Educator
  • Control System Specialist
  • Industrial Trainer
  • Product Designer
  • CADD Draftsman/Estimator
  • Senior Quality Analyst
  • Product Design Engineer
  • CNC Programmer
  • Validation Specialist
  • Graphic Layout Designer
  • Account Representative
  • Industrial Control Designer
  • Technology & Engineering Teacher
  • Graphic Services Coordinator
  • Safety Inspector
  • Fire Safety Coordinator
  • Corporate Safety Officer
  • Innovations Manager
  • Process Flow Engineer
  • Design Engineer
  • Manufacturing Engineer
  • Industrial Hygienist

...and much, much more!


ABET Accreditation Logo
The Occupational Safety & Environmental Health degree is ABET accredited.


ATMAE Accredited
The Applied Engineering & Technology Management degrees are ATMAE accredited.


ITEEA Accredited
The Technology Education program is nationally recognized by ITEEA.