Posted 4/14/14

WSU Weather Balloon Will Take Flight April 19

April 14, 2014

OGDEN, Utah – Weber State University’s High Altitude Reconnaissance Balloon for Outreach and Research (HARBOR) is set to take flight April 19 from Duchesne Municipal Airport, weather permitting. The team will leave WSU at 6 a.m. to arrive at the airport about 8:30 a.m. and launch the two-hour flight approximately 9:30 a.m.

 HARBOR employs a latex, helium-filled atmospheric weather balloon that travels to the edge of outer space — the highest flight reached 110,718 feet above sea level — gathering scientific measurements from Earth’s atmosphere along the way. Balloon systems are valuable tools for understanding Earth’s climate and weather systems at altitudes not attainable by aircraft (which fly too low) and spacecraft (which orbit too high). They also promote space-based learning for future scientists, physicists and engineers.

The April 19 flight coincides with the Global Space Balloon Challenge, an initiative to encourage people to build their own space hardware and to promote the spirit of international STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics)collaboration. Over a single weekend, teams across the world will launch balloons, recover them and share the photos and data they have collected.

HARBOR carries with it a multi-sensor array (MSA), a device that measures air pressure, temperature, acceleration, the strength of magnetic fields, ozone concentration, and more. The MSA on this flight has been updated to allow for increased flexibility and data-collecting power, with the goal of providing improved measurements of Earth’s atmosphere and better understanding of metropolitan inversions. With the newly upgraded MSA, one of HARBOR’s next goals is to create the sensor to measure pollutants such as gases and aerosols. All of the hardware is designed or altered for flight by a team of WSU physics, electronics engineering and electronics engineering technology students.

John Sohl, HARBOR program director and WSU physics professor, explains that HARBOR is a goal-oriented, mission-based program styled after NASA flights. Students must work in teams, with budget, time, mass and power limits. “It is a very ‘real-world’ experience for future scientists and engineers,” he said. “Industry employers generally prefer graduates who have hands-on experience, especially in a teamwork-style project.”

WSU electronics engineering major Michael Petersen is an aerospace enthusiast who has been involved in the HARBOR program for three years. He and two other electronics engineering students spent more than 1,000 hours updating the MSA as part of an undergraduate research project. For Petersen, HARBOR presented numerous learning opportunities, and even opened the door to an internship at a leading technology company.

“We had to learn to build our own circuit boards, write our own computer programs, design our own circuits, apply for grants and manage a project,” said Petersen. “For me, this has been the most productive academic activity I’ve ever been involved in — it has been a truly amazing experience.”

A final weather confirmation will be made April 18 before 9 at p.m. and will be announced on the harbor Those interested can follow the flight live at

Visit for more news about Weber State University.
John Sohl, HARBOR program director and WSU physics professor
801-626-7907 •

Michael Petersen, electronics engineering student
801-626-7017 •

Posted 4/7/14

Women in Aerospace Foundation, Inc. 

Scholarship Application 
For 2014-2015 Academic Year 

Scholarship Program Goal 
To encourage young women interested in a career in the aerospace field to pursue higher 
education degrees in engineering or science or math. 
Awards Given 
Two merit-based awards of $2000 will be given to rising seniors in college, to be applied to the 
2014-2015 academic year. 
Scholarship Timeline 
October 1, 2013: Announcement released 
April 11, 2014: Applications due 
May 14, 2014: Scholarship winners notified 
Fall 2014: Scholarship winners honored at WIA Awards Banquet 
Eligibility Requirements 
? Minimum college grade point average (GPA) of not less than the equivalent of 3.0 GPA 
on a 4.0 scale 
? Must have completed at least two and a half academic years of full-time college work at 
the time of application, and must be currently enrolled at an accredited college or 
university in the United States or its territories, working towards a bachelors degree, and 
plan to continue to be enrolled in the subsequent academic year 
? Interested in pursuing a career in the aerospace field 
? Entering senior year in the 2013-2014 academic year 
? Must be female, of any citizenship or nationality 
Application Requirements 
? High school and college transcripts 
? Two letters of recommendation from a professor, or a supervisor of summer or Co-op 
work experience, or a supervisor of research work. Recommendations from relatives will 
not be accepted. 
? 500-1000 word essay on why the applicant is interested in aerospace, what she wants to 
accomplish in her career, and why she deserves the scholarship 
? Completed scholarship letter (see below), agreeing to the payment rules 
Application Submission Process 
One hard (paper) copy with the above application materials to be mailed to: 
 Women in Aerospace Foundation, Inc. 
 Attn: Scholarship Selection Committee 
 204 E Street NE 
Washington, DC 20002 
Application must be received by April 11, 2014. References or transcripts may be mailed 
separately, if necessary.  
Evaluation Process 
The WIA Foundation Scholarship is a merit-based competitive award. The WIA Foundation 
Scholarship Selection Committee will evaluate applications and select a winner based on the 
criteria below. 
Evaluation Criteria 
? Transcripts – 25% 
? Recommendation – 25% 
? Essay – 50% 
Payment of Scholarships 
As part of the application process, each scholarship applicant is required to submit a signed 
scholarship agreement letter, which stipulates that the recipient will use scholarship funds only 
for her education and will return any unused funds to the Foundation. The Women in Aerospace 
Foundation, Inc., will confirm the scholarship winner’s enrollment in an accredited college or 
university directly with the institution’s registrar. Once the enrollment has been confirmed, the 
Foundation will pay the scholarship by check directly to the winners in August 2014. 
Announcement of Scholarship Winner 
The scholarship winners will be notified by email and letter by May 14, 2014. The winners will 
be recognized at the Women in Aerospace Awards Dinner held in the Washington, DC area in 
the fall of 2014. A press release will be issued with a short description of the winners and her 
plans for the scholarship, followed by an article in the WIA newsletter. 

Posted 4/3/14

EE Senior Project Design Reviews


  1. Reflow Oven                                      Monday, April 14th                         12:30  Room 409
          MacCrea Bisel and Wes Mahurin
  1. A-10 Flight Model                               Monday, April 14th                           4:30  Room 409
          Ryan Edwards and Justin Shafer
  1. Car Security System                           Tuesday, April 15th                           2:30  Room 409
          Trevor Nybo, Devin Ray and Jaren Williams
  1. Race Car Controller                        Wednesday, April 16th                         12:00  Room 409
          Ryan Edwards and Justin Shafer
  1. Aerosol & Gas Sensor                      Wednesday, April 16th                          3:30  Room 409
         Michael Petersen and Bronson Stephens
  1. Wind Turbine                                        Thursday, April 17th                        12:30  Room 401
          Michael Esquivel and Justin Watts
  1. A-10 SDC                                              Thursday, April 17th                          1:30  Room 401
         Anton Jackson
  1. Tethered Copter                                   Thursday, April 17th                            2:30 Room 409
          Alex Hansen and Wayndon Veater

Posted 4/3/14

EE Students in the News

(KSL News aired on March 31, 2014)
Note: This project included Michael Petersen, Wes Mahurin and Jenifer Stoddard)

OGDEN — Students at Weber State University say they've found a new and improved way to track air pollution.

Instead of getting data from fixed areas in the state, their system can gather information specific to a neighborhood.

"Utah air is notoriously dirty,” said Michael Petersen, an electronics engineering major at Weber State. "We're not making less pollution every year; we're making more, so the problem's only going to get worse."

Petersen sees firsthand how thick, muggy air affects his family.

"I have four sons,” he said. “They all have asthma, and there are certain days when they can't go outside and play."

That's why Petersen was more than happy to help develop a small box of circuits called a multisensor array, or MSA. It’s a small data-logging computer that weighs less than a pound and can run on a battery for five to six hours.

The idea is to get their sensors up on the edge of space using high-altitude weather balloons to help gather real-time data during some of Utah's worst pollution days.

“It takes measurements — things like accelerations, gyroscopic motions, magnetic fields, temperatures, pressure, humidity, things like that,” he said. “The (Environmental Protection Agency) uses a gravimetric measuring method, which uses filters, and they average those over time. What’s nice about this is we’re going to have real-time data, and it’s light enough that we can fly it on a balloon.”

We can learn about how the particulates, and the aerosols and the gases — you know, the pollutants that we generate — how they behave as a function of altitude.
–Michael Petersen, WSU student

The MSA has already made several trips up above the pollution.

"We can learn about how the particulates, and the aerosols and the gases — you know, the pollutants that we generate — how they behave as a function of altitude,” he said.

The project is part of the High Altitude Reconnaissance Balloon for Outreach and Research program, or HARBOR, a program WSU professor John Sohl started seven years ago.

"It's been very exciting to me as a professor, because I've watched my students evolve from absolutely nothing to a very robust and very useful package that will improve, hopefully, our quality of lives,” Sohl said.

The MSA won't replace systems the Division of Air Quality uses, which are fixed in place, but Sohl says the MSA can add to it.

“We can go to a school and measure right at the school,” he said. “We can go to the Great Salt Lake and see what’s happening at the Great Salt Lake. We can measure pollution anywhere we want to because it’s a mobile platform.”

The data won’t have the precision as the fixed systems, but "some data is better than no data," Sohl said.

Students now are working on packing even more sensors into the array before putting more of balloons into the sky.

"We can get a more broad picture of what's going on with our pollution,” Petersen said.

They're currently working on a partnership with the Division of Air Quality and the University of Utah atmospheric sciences group to put the device to practical use along the Wasatch Front.

Read more at 


Posted 8/19/13

It is official!
The Weber State University Electronics Engineering program has been accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Committee (EAC) of ABET.  



Weber State UniversityOgden, Utah 84408

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