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USU’s Wirelessly Charged Electric Bus Wins Innovation of the Year

At the annual Utah Governor’s Energy Development Summit in Salt Lake City in January, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and Sen. Orrin Hatch awarded Utah State University’s Wireless Power Transfer team the Energy Technology Innovation of the Year award for its work on the Aggie Bus.

USU's wirelessly charged electric bus

The Aggie Bus is the first wirelessly powered electric bus developed and designed in North America. The bus is a robust prototype that transfers 25 kilowatts of power over an air gap from a pad mounted on the undercarriage of the bus and another pad mounted in the roadway at specified bus stop locations. As the bus stops to pick up passengers, power can be transferred to the battery with approximately 90 percent efficiency even if the pads are misaligned by as much as six inches. The ability to recharge the battery slowly throughout the day tackles the problem of heavy and expensive electric vehicles, and allows the bus to run its route all day without significant downtime for recharging.

The Energy Technology Innovation of the Year award recognizes individuals, universities or companies that design or implement innovative or technological breakthroughs in energy programs, strategies, purchases, processes, designs or inventions.

USU honorees from Wireless Power Transfer Team at award presentation

“The development of the Aggie Bus and the honor of receiving an award like this is a real milestone achievement for Utah State University,” said Robert T. Behunin, USU vice president of commercialization and regional development. “The benefits of the Aggie Bus technology reach far beyond convenience, this is a technology that is poised to revolutionize the field of transportation.”

Click Here to see the full article in the Utah State Today

Inaugural Professor Uses Math to Signal Success

USU honorees from Wireless Power Transfer Team at award presentation

Utah State University professor Jake Gunther began this year’s Inaugural Lecture Series presentation in Nov. 2012. Coordinated by the Provost’s Office, the series highlights the accomplishments of faculty who have been promoted to full professor.

Gunther’s discourse, “The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Math in Signal Processing,” was the first of 13 lectures to be presented at USU President Stan Albrecht’s home.

“It is a variation on a theme from a sequence of papers that have appeared over the years entitled ‘The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Math in ____,’ you fill in the blank,” said Gunther.

“My field is signal processing, so I substituted signal processing into the blank and talked about how remarkable it is that the physical world can effectively be described and signals processed using mathematics,” said Gunther.

Click Here to see the full article in the Utah State Today


Fossil Detective: Aggie Develops New Technique to Study Ancient Life

Fossil Detective

Fossil Detective

Imagine, 500 million years from now, future intelligent life forms unearthing your fossilized, flattened skeleton and, without the benefit of images of you or any other human, trying to determine what you looked like.

That’s similar to the task before Utah State University student Michael Strange, who is investigating a tiny creature that inhabited Utah between 550 million and 250 million years ago. He’s among a group of USU students presenting to Utah legislators Jan. 31 during the state’s 2013 Undergraduate Research Day on Capitol Hill in Salt Lake City.

Strange is studying rare fossils of extinct animals called Hyolitha, mollusk-like marine creatures that roamed the shallow waters of prehistoric Cache Valley and other areas of the Cambrian world. Using digital photography, the undergraduate geology major developed a new technique called False Color Treatment or “FCT” to interpret soft-tissue preservation. His findings are shedding new light on these ancient, enigmatic critters.

Click Here to see the full article in the Utah State Today


Business School named top social communicator

The Jon M. Huntsman School of Business has been ranked in the top 25 of the Top 100 Most Social Media Friendly MBA Schools for 2013, a list compiled by

More than 400 schools from the United States were evaluated to create the list of the top 100.
The rankings were determined using a point system that included measuring the efficient usage of Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn, as well as other platforms.

The schools were ranked based on activity on each of the platforms individually as well. The Huntsman School ranked No. 7 on Twitter and No. 21 on YouTube.

Eric Schulz, senior lecturer and co-director of strategic marketing and brand management in the management department of the Huntsman School, said the school has been focusing on the use of social media for the last 18 months and is honored to be ranked on the list.

“We have really made it an emphasis to become social media savvy,” Schulz said. “The ranking is a validation of what we have done.”

Schulz said business students are encouraged to stay connected with the Huntsman School on social media sites through events such as LinkedIn Week, which was held in October.

“Now just about every Huntsman student has a LinkedIn account, and that was one of the metrics for the ranking,” he said.

All of the social media networking the Huntsman School does has had the best interest of students in mind, Schulz said.

“It’s not about spam,” Schulz said. “It’s about content and having things that are timely, relevant and actionable for students.”

The school posts one to two videos per month on YouTube. Each video provides information on an aspect or program within the school such as the MBA program or the Huntsman Scholar Program, Schulz said.

Students who are involved in the various programs often appear in the videos to tell about their experiences personally.

“We have home videos that they did on their phones and stuff built into the videos as well as some narratives done in the first person,” Schulz said. “It’s a lot more powerful that way.”
Many students agree social media is an important part of the Huntsman School of Business.

Click Here to see the full article in the Utah Statesman


Winter fun on Logan sledding hills

A Sledder Braves Old Main Hill. The hill, though sometimes dangerous, is popular with sledders. SAMANTHA BEHL photo illustration

With fresh snow and cold temperatures in the valley, rather than hitting the slopes, some students are heading for the hills. With USU’s close proximity to areas of recreation, many consider Logan to be a prime spot for their tubing and sledding.

While students can be seen walking up the steps of Old Main each morning, others can be seen speeding down it throughout the day.

"I don’t go sledding that often, but when I do, me and my friends usually go down Old Main Hill,” said Shelbey Warren, a senior majoring in exercise science.

Cache Valley is filled with parks and hills, offering many opportunities for residents to suit up and cruise down them on cold winter days.

“Sledding and tubing is permitted at Mount Logan, Lundstrom and Bridgerland parks,” said Russ Akina, director of Logan Parks and Recreation. “All city parks are open to the public from dusk till dawn.”

Click Here to see the full article in the Utah Statesman


Chris Luecke Named Dean of USU's Quinney College of Natural Resources

Chris Luecke

Forgoing a national search, Utah State University has appointed Professor Chris Luecke dean of the university’s Quinney College of Natural Resources. The college includes the Department of Environment and Society, the Department of Watershed Sciences and the Department of Wildland Resources.

The announcement was made Nov. 14, 2012, to the college’s faculty and staff by USU Provost and Executive Vice President Raymond Coward.

“(USU) President Stan Albrecht and I are very supportive of this appointment,” Coward said. “Chris is a forceful and passionate advocate not only for the college, but for the university and Utah’s higher education system.”

Coward said the decision to appoint Luecke to the permanent position came after meeting with QCNR department heads and conferring with the college’s faculty and staff, leaders of the state’s public natural resources agencies and members of the Quinney Foundation, the college’s major supporter.

“Chris has the confidence and respect of all and we look forward to his leadership,” Coward said. Luecke, who joined USU in 1988, has served as interim dean of the college since Jan. 1, 2012. He previously served as head of the college’s Department of Watershed Sciences. He succeeded Nat Frazer, who served as dean from 2006 to 2011.

Click Here to see the full article in the Utah State Today.


Aggie Blue Bikes Donates Bicycles to Cache County Sub for Santa

Aggie Blue Bikes

Aggie Blue Bikes, a program at Utah State University, successfully refurbished 16 children’s bicycles for Cache County Sub for Santa with the help of seven volunteers, donations from various community members and powder coating from Cache Valley Coating.

ABB staff and volunteers spent more than 100 hours working on the bikes. The work included stripping the donated bikes down, cleaning each part of the bike and all of its components and then building the bikes back to useable form.

All 16 bicycles are now in immaculate working condition, most of them with fresh paint and brand new parts, according to Stephanie Tomlin, Aggie Blue Bikes program coordinator.

“Fixing up these children’s bicycles is definitely a collaborative effort between Aggie Blue Bikes and the Cache community,” Tomlin said. “It is support like this that shows us how dedicated Cache Valley is to the providing a helping hand over the holidays.”

“Chris has the confidence and respect of all and we look forward to his leadership,” Coward said. Luecke, who joined USU in 1988, has served as interim dean of the college since Jan. 1, 2012. He previously served as head of the college’s Department of Watershed Sciences. He succeeded Nat Frazer, who served as dean from 2006 to 2011.

Click Here to see the full article in the Utah State Today.


Utah State Football Ranked Ninth Nationally For Academic Performance

Utah State University football continues to be recognized nationally following its most successful season in school history, but its most recent recognition is in the classroom. In a recent announcement, USU is ranked ninth in the nation for academic performance, according to the Academic Bowl Championship Series (BCS) Poll.

The Academic BCS, the New America Foundation’s annual academic performance rankings, utilizes those 25 schools appearing in the final BCS standings and ranks them academically. Utah State finished the 2012 season ranked 22nd in the final BCS standings.

Northwestern finished the year ranked 20th in the final BCS standings and is ranked first in the Academic BCS standings, followed by Northern Illinois, Boise State, Stanford, Notre Dame, San Jose State, Alabama, Nebraska, Utah State and Georgia. Teams ranked 11 through 20 include LSU, Oregon State, Clemson, Texas A&M, Florida, Oregon, Kansas State, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Kent State. The final five teams listed among the Academic BCS are Michigan, Texas, UCLA, Louisville and Florida State.

Click Here to see the full article in the Utah State Today.


Huntsman Professor Nate Stephens Earns Two Best Paper Awards

Nate Stephens

It is a rare thing for an author to win a best paper award for his or her published research. It is even more unusual, however, for an author to win two of those awards in the same year. Yet Nate Stephens, assistant professor of accounting in Utah State University’s Jon M. Huntsman School of Business, has done just that for research published in the “Accounting Horizons” and “Issues in Accounting Education” journals.

Within the past year, Stephens has co-authored and published two different papers in two separate academic journals. These journals, which are owned and operated by the American Accounting Association (AAA), each selected Stephens’ papers for the “Best Paper Award.” He was recognized during the AAA annual meeting held in Washington, D.C., earlier this year.

A press release issued by the AAA said this about the award: “The … Best Paper Award is presented to the best paper published each calendar year. The award winner is selected by online voting open to all (of the journals’) subscribing members of the AAA.”

“It’s exciting,” Stephens said about receiving the award. “They’re both highly ranked journals, highly read, and so to get the best paper award from both of them, especially in the same year, it’s pretty rewarding.”

Click Here to see the full article in the Utah State Today.


USU Undergraduate Receives Grant to Study Utah's Scenic Byway 12 Corridor

Kim Harris

In Utah, small towns dot the map across its vast and diverse landscape with many of these towns boasting histories rich in agricultural tradition. However, many of these same towns are struggling to preserve their agricultural heritage while also maintaining economic stability. With university support, Kim Harris, a Utah State University junior in the Department of Landscape, Architecture and Environmental Planning, aims to help combat this ever-widening dilemma.

Harris recently received an Undergraduate Research and Creative Opportunities Grant for her proposal, “‘New West’ Development for Remote Western Towns: A Case Study of Utah’s Scenic Byway 12 Corridor.” Harris’ research will examine the struggle between the idea of “old west” and “new west” in towns along the byway.

Harris became aware of the issue while in her Advanced Computer Applications in Landscape Architecture class taught by assistant professor Shujuan Li. Harris’ personal connection to the topic helped solidify her desire to study the topic further; Harris’ husband is from a small Idaho town facing similar struggles.

Click Here to see the full article in the Utah State Today.