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School of Engineering, Computer Science and Mathematics Newsletter

School of Engineering, Computer Science and Mathematics Newsletter

Spring 2017

Tornado Damage Research in Collaboration with Texas Tech University and the University of Nebraska

Structural engineering researchers Drs. Arn Womble and Kenneth Leitch at the WTAMU School of Engineering, Computer Dr. Arn WombleScience, and Mathematics are investigating tornado damage to engineered structures to better understand tornado wind speeds, fluid-structure interaction, and mechanics of debris flight.  WTAMU is leading a collaborative effort to rapidly preserve the 3-D damage scene from a recent severe tornado in Pampa, TX, using multiple remote-sensing platforms (including PhotoModeler terrestrial imaging, satellite imaging, aerial imaging, laser scanning, and drone-based imaging).  To achieve safe and economical structural designs, engineers need a better understanding of the magnitude of wind speeds in tornadoes.  Direct measurements of tornadoes to estimate the wind speeds are almost non-existent, and engineers must look to the effects of tornadoes to estimate the wind speeds required to cause specific levels of damage.  This research will give critical insight for the current expansion and improvement of the Enhanced Fujita (EF) Scale used by the National Weather Service to rate U.S. tornadoes and to populate the database used to generate insurance risk models.  Dr. Womble and Dr. Leitch are currently pursuing a RAPID grant from the National Science Foundation.  Collaborators on this project include Texas Tech University and the University of Nebraska.  For more information about this research project, please contact Dr. Arn Womble at awomble@wtamu.edu.


Recruitment and Retention of Minority Students in STEM Fields

Audrey Meador

Audrey Meador, instructor of Mathematics, is currently researching factors for the recruitment and retention of minority students in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields in higher education.  Her ongoing research has resulted in a qualitative case study involving minority STEM students in the panhandle region of Texas with plans to expand the study to other parts of the state.  To further this research, she received a West Texas A&M University Faculty Development Grant in Spring 2016 to assist in the continuation of the study.  In addition, she along with Dr. Pamela Lockwood-Cooke and Dr. Kristina Gill have submitted a request for funding from the National Science Foundation in order to increase recruitment and retention efforts for students from this population at higher education institutions.  In 2016, she presented an autoethnography based on her research and experience as a Hispanic female in a STEM field at the International Congress of Qualitative Inquirers (ICQI) held annually at the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign.  She has been accepted to present the preliminary results of her qualitative case study research on minority STEM students at this same conference in 2017.  





Outreach and Grant Opportunities Slated for New Electrical Engineering Faculty

Anitha Subburaj

Dr. Anitha Subburaj was awarded a WTAMU foundation grant to attend the IEEE Industrial Applications Society Annual meeting in Portland, Oregon.  Dr. Subburaj attended and participated in networking events.  Attending the conference not only provided her with an opportunity to learn more about the latest technologies and developments in industrial applications of electrical energy, but also increased industry visibility for West Texas A&M University.  Dr. Subburaj came to West Texas A&M University in Spring 2016.  She teaches courses on electrical devices and circuits, robotics, and signals and systems.  In summer 2016, Dr. Subburaj participated in the annual summer engineering camp.  She educated students at the elementary, junior high and high school level on basic circuits and devices.  In Fall 2016, Dr. Subburaj participated in Engineering Day.  Approximately 70 high school students from area districts traveled to campus for this activity.  Dr. Subburaj feels that both of these opportunities were very fun and educational for students in the area.  She is very excited to lead other sessions during outreach events at the university and hopes that she can encourage school age children to get interested in engineering!