Faculty and Student Spotlights

Student Spotlight

Eric Erickson
Co-Op Engineer at L3 Communications
Eric Erickson is currently a senior at Weber State University and is an intern for L3 Communications. “My internship is a bit of a unique one, in the regard that I can’t share a whole lot of specific information because my employer is a government contractor. I currently work for L3 Communications doing what is called a “Cooperative Work Experience”. This gives me the benefits of a part time employee, but it also provides the on-the-job experience and flexibility that a typical internship provides.”
The types of things that Eric does for L3 Communications vary on a day-to-day basis. As a general rule, he typically works on tasks that involve data-mining. He is also asked to write SQL queries to retrieve information for different projects. The company also uses some industry standard software that requires queries to be generated in a variety of ways that don’t always involve a standard language like SQL. Eric is asked to figure out how to gather and compile the needed information out of these systems. “There have been times when a large amount of information has needed to be changed in the databases as well, and rather than waste time doing it line by line on the front-end of an application, I’ve been tasked with writing SQL blocks to change all of the required information. A lot of the information I’m tasked with retrieving typically needs to be accessed repeatedly, and so for these types of reports, I write small programs in C# to take care of report automation.” Through his time with L3 Communications, Eric has gained experience with the .NET framework, SAP, VBA, T-SQL, SharePoint, and a number of other computer software and languages.
What Eric enjoys most about his job is the fact that he’s been able to learn what he actually wants to do in the industry. “Before working at L3, I really had no idea what I wanted to do. I’ve always wanted to study Computer Science, but I had no idea what aspect of the field excited me the most.  Since starting here, I’ve had many opportunities to be involved in working with databases. This encouraged me to take more classes involving databases. I’ve decided that I want to become a Database Administrator. Everyone I work with has been very supportive of this goal of mine, and I’ve been given more database related tasks than ever before.  I’ve been introduced to a lot of individuals who work with the database systems. I’ve been provided great opportunities while working here, and L3 does a pretty good job of placing its co-op engineers into full-time positions upon graduation as well, so I have that to look forward to.”

Eric received this opportunity in a very interesting way. “How I got my internship is still a bit of a mystery to me. I’ve always made it a goal to maintain good grades for better scholarship opportunities. Nearing the end of my sophomore year, I received a letter in the mail stating that I had been nominated for an L3 scholarship and that it had been awarded to me. I can only assume it was a teacher that nominated me. Anyway, the point is that I was awarded a scholarship for fall and spring of the following year. To accept the scholarship, L3 requested some personal information including my transcript and my contact information. A couple of months went before I received a phone call where I was told by an individual from L3 that they would like me to come in for an interview for a position as a co-op engineer. I went in for the interview and the rest is history. I’ve now been happily working here for almost a year and a half.”

Interior Design Students Study Abroad 

Interior Design hosted their 3rd Study Abroad . . . "Barcelona, Britain and Beyond" this past May.  The group of 26 had prepared for months researching interiors and architecture from the 19th to present, giving oral reports, learning about cultures and customs, passing off basic phrases in both French and Spanish, reading 2 book selections and submitting written reports.  After the trip, they designed individual portfolios which included sketches, journal entries and their own photos from the experience.  The tour was lead by Jacie Johnson, who is in charge of international programs and who teaches the historical architecture/interiors classes.  The featured architects/designers were Gaudi and MacIntosh:  Several of each of their creations were toured including the Willow Tea Rooms, Glascow University, The Glascow School of Art, Kensington Art Museum, La Sagrada Familia and Batllo House...and amazing experience for all involved.  The featured cities/sites were:  London, York, Glascow, Stirling, Edinburgh, Paris, Versailles, the Loire Valley in France, Madrid, Toledo, El Escorial and Barcelona in England, Scotland, France and Spain.
In response to the tour, one student wrote, "I learned about design on a global scale, how different technology, politics, cultures and religions become the blueprint and foundation for design and urban development. . . Design, art and history happen on such a monumental scale that flipping through a textbook and looking at pictures does not begin to compare to living and breathing in the history and culture before your eyes.  Design is much broader than the walls of a classroom and to be fully understood, you must be entirely submersed."

Mobile Elemental Power Plan (MEPP)

Julanne McCulley, Associate Professor in Electronics Engineering Technology, presented a paper at the 2013 IEEE Conference on Technologies for Sustainability (SUSTECH) on August 1, 2013, entitled ‘Mobile Elemental Power Plant (MEPP)’.  Her paper introduced the MEPP, a portable power station that generates solar and wind power, which is the successful result of a multi-discipline engineering technology senior-project. 

Alternative Energy Careers 

Christian Hearn, a second-year faculty of Electronics Engineering Technology, was recently awarded support to initiate an accelerated student training-for-professional-certification program offered to Engineering Technology seniors interested in alternative energy technical careers. The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (AltNABCEP) certification is an integral part of an industry quality credentialing certification program and has a significant employment impact factor in the alternative energy industry. The grant ($18k) was awarded by the Utah Board of Economic Development UCAP program and established collaboration between Weber State University, Solar Energy International, and Gardner Alternative Engineering Services.


New Recruiting System

On September 16, 2013, The Chrysler Foundation graciously awarded Weber State University’s Automotive Technology Chrysler CAP program a $2,500 grant to be used towards their recruiting efforts. WSU's Automotive Technology department is designing and implementing an electronic lead-gathering system in an effort to streamline the recruiting program. This system will replace printed "lead-cards" that have been used in the past to obtain contact information from prospective students. The electronic system will be used primarily in High-school automotive shops while a WSU representative is delivering a recruitment presentation. The system will consist of eight Microsoft Surface RT tablets which will be passed around the classroom. The tablets will gather student information via a web-based form connected to a portable wireless access point. The information gathered will automatically be sent to a central ASUS tablet PC that the WSU recruiter will utilize to follow up with potential students. The recruiter will make themself available to assist these students with enrollment and registration processes. Ultimately this will simplify the recruitment and enrollment process.

New Faculty Join COAST 

Fred Chiou
Dr. Fred Chiou has a Master’s of Science degree in Electrical Engineering and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology. Dr. Chiou has been teaching since 2011. Some of his hobbies include playing Ping-Pong (table tennis), golfing, playing volleyball and badminton. He also loves ballroom dancing, cooking and traveling in his spare time.
Larry Zeng
Dr. Larry Zeng has a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Mathematics from Xidian University and he also has his Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of New Mexico. Dr. Zeng was with University of Utah as a tenured full Professor before coming to Weber State University. He has been doing research in medical imaging and homeland security. Dr. Zeng has published over 126 peer-reviewed journal papers and holds 20 U. S. patents. He is an IEEE fellow and is the author of the textbook "Medical Image Reconstruction."

Jacie Johnson
Jacie Johnson obtained her first degree at BYU in Business Administration, she then continued on to WSU for her Interior Design and Sales degrees and she also received her Master’s degree in Curriculum Development. She has been an adjunct professor at WSU since 2004 and is very pleased to have been hired on as a faculty member this year.
Professor Johnson’s research focuses on college students reading compliance and how technology has affected the learning culture.  She has had the opportunity to present this at several conferences and has been a featured speaker for the educator’s forum of the National Kitchen and Bath Association for her teaching methods.
In her spare time she loves to camp, hike, and spend time with her family.  Professor Johnson and her husband just celebrated their 30th anniversary and are proud parents of three college-age children. Professor Johnson loves to study cultures and finds it a great blessing to teach architectural and interior class, as well as, being in charge of the international study abroad program. She usually takes a class each semester because she loves to learn…whether it is Anthropology or Italian, it is all interesting to her.

Andrew Deceuster
Dr. Andrew Deceuster has a BS in Manufacturing Engineering Technology with and emphasis in welding from Weber State University, a MS in Engineering and Technology Education from Utah State University, and a Ph.D. in Biological Engineering from Utah State University. Dr. Deceuster worked for Cajun Archery, while he was attending graduate school, where he designed and manufactured archery and outdoor equipment. Prior to coming to Weber State University, Dr. Deceuster worked as a research welding engineer for Precision Castparts Corporation in Portland, Oregon.
Dr. Deceuster taught as an adjunct professor in the Engineering Technology department and the Mechanical department at Utah State University from 2006 to 2011 and has recently started teaching at Weber State University this semester.
Dr. Deceuster enjoys spending time outdoors. During his spare time he enjoys hiking, biking, rock climbing, and camping. He spends most of his time with his four children, from playing dress up and tea parties with his girls, to building things and rolling around in the mud with his boys.

Hugo Valle
Dr. Hugo Valle was born in Mexico and moved to the United States when he was a teenager to continue his education. Dr. Valle has a BS in Physics from the University of Texas Pan American, and both a MS and Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University. For his Ph.D. is emphasis was on nuclear/particle and computational physics.
Dr. Valle worked with particle accelerators developing hardware and software. Then, he started working in the private sector developing financial software. This is the first time Dr. Valle has taught as a full time teacher. Before teaching full time he taught part time over the last year.
Dr. Valle likes to spend time with his family, play board games, and play disc-golf. He also enjoys the outdoors and loves to travel on his spare time.

Alison Sunderland
Alison Sunderland has a Bachelor’s of Science in Computer Science and a Master’s of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Weber State University. She is currently pursuing a Master’s of Science in Computer Science- Software Development emphasis from the University of Illinois at Springfield. She is currently working on Android mobile app development and is stretching her software development to include the fundamental study of networking and the internet. Professor Sunderland was a professional programmer for nine years. She also spent two years developing curriculum for the programming emphasis in the Information Technology program at the Davis Applied Technology College.
Interestingly enough, Professor Sunderland began her teaching career when her son said to her “Eighth grade doesn’t matter.” She sat with him in each of his classes the next day and then got a job at his school so she could show him how much school matters. Her plan was a success because her son received his Associates degree the fall before he graduated from high school. 

Thomas Bell
Professor Bell has a BS in Computer Science from Weber State University, and a MS in Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences. After Professor Bell received his BS from Weber State University, he obtained a job as an instructional designer for WSU. This is Professor Bell’s first year teaching and he absolutely loves it. Some of Professor Bell’s hobbies and interests include: web development, programming, scripting, travel and photography. But most of all he loves spending time with his family.


Upcoming Events 

Interior Design
The Interior Design program has slated their 2014 Study Abroad tour to New Orleans, Memphis and Nashville for May 11-17. The trip will focus on merchandising, historic preservation and antebellum architecture as they tour the Deep South.