Faculty and Staff Spotlights

Dr. Daniel J. Magda, was awarded the Weber State University "Outstanding Undergraduate Research Mentor Award" from President Wight and the Office of Undergraduate Research on March 25, 2013. 

Professor Magda's research is in materials characterization and failure analysis which has included many engineering students over his career at WSU.

Raji Lauffer, an assistant professor of computer science who grew up in South Chennai, India, shared creation tales of Hinduism at WSU's storytelling festival on Tuesday Feb. 26.

“Creation is considered to be cyclical and continuous,” in the Hindu religion, Lauffer said. “There’s creation, death and creation again.”

The universe, people and even gods go through these cycles. “We are talking about reincarnation, but that’s not all of it,” she said.

To illustrate cycles of life and death, she’ll discuss three tales.

“First, I’m going to talk about how human beings were created,” she said. “There’s a story about how Brahma, the creator in Hindu mystic tales, took a part of himself and created a female component, and how they both created the rest of the organisms in the world.”

Her second tale focuses on the Earth and its place within the universe.

“The Earth has its own cycle,” she said. “As it revolves around the sun, the sun revolves around the center of the universe, and as it approaches toward the center of the universe, the consciousness of man increases. As it moves away from the center of the universe, consciousness decreases.”

Her final story is about Vishnu, the Hindu god who protects the universe and destroys evil people, and his many avatars or incarnations.

“If you look at his avatars, they will match, somewhat, the theory of evolution,” she said, explaining that each time he’s born, he takes on both human and animal characteristics — first half-fish in form, then half-tortoise, and so on.

“Overall, I believe these tales send a message of hope, faith and the oneness of the eternity with all of its creation,” Lauffer said.

Dr. Kirk Hagen, spoke about renewable energy and covered basic types of renewable energy based on water for the “Water Works” lecture series. 

Water Works is a cross-college effort and will be an ongoing series of annual thematic discussions geared towards sustainability. 

Rich Fry, was named the Utah Campus Compact Civically Engaged Scholar of the Year.  He guided students through numerous projects designed towards helping the community.  

Some of the recent projects include; The Ogden Rotary Club successfully building a free and “open source” electronic healthcare system (EHS) to assist in medical recordkeeping for millions of underserved people around the world.

Working with the non-profit Pioneer Adult Rehabilitation Center (PARC) in Clearfield, UT to produce a new human resource database system called SPEED (the Smart Personnel Employment Evaluation Database). 

Creating a food banking system for the non-profit Catholic Community Services (CCS) in Ogden, UT. 

And a touch screen Career Kiosk (similar to RedBox) for Clearfield High School’s 50th anniversary.  The kiosk provided an interactive way for current students to connect with over 50 years of CHS alumni’s experience and knowledge.

Rich Fry also won the  Gwen Williams Prize this year from the Hemingway Awards for his work with a teaching hospital in Ghana, the award includes $5,000 to further his research. 

The award ceremony was held on Friday, April 19th, at noon at the Alumni Center.  Dr. Fry was out of the country doing another project - this time in Thailand - and so Dean Ferro came to the Alumni Center to accept the award and express his gratitude.

Jeremy Farner, Finished the Technical Intensive Concurrent Enrollment (TICE) course entitled "Introduction to Engineering and Technical Design" for the state and will be presenting to the teachers that are using it as a pilot program in June. 

“The state likes what the program has done and will be using it as the model for future courses,” says Jeremy.  This course will replace the current state courses "Technical Design I" and "Introduction to Engineering."  

Jeremy is also developing a comprehensive exam the state will use to grant credit.  All USHE institutions are represented and committed to offering the same curriculum at their institutions. All CE instructors teaching this course for WSU will be using this canvas course in the fall.

Diana Green, presented "Prezi, the Refreshing Presentation Software" at the Western Business Education Association (WBEA), February 2013. 

Here is an excerpt from the presentation; Educators have been using Microsoft’s PowerPoint since 1987. Millions of PowerPoint presentations have been developed and used. In fact, PowerPoint has been used so much that the phrase “death by PowerPoint” was born. The phrase came from the “hearts of victimized meeting attendees” (DuFrene, Lehman, 2004, para. 1). 

Prezi uses a platform for bridging linear and non-linear information. The purpose of Diana Green's presentation was to teach business educators how to use Prezi to enhance their presentations.