Grant Donation Brings New Equipment to the ‘Ville

Millersville students studying automation and robotics engineering technology will soon have access to new equipment, thanks to a grant donation from Phoenix Contact.

The Automation and Controls Lab in Osburn Hall will receive new equipment. Phoenix Contact donated close to $50,000 worth of hardware to Millersville as a part of their EduNet educational partnership. This includes industrial-grade computer systems used to digitize and control industrial processes. The equipment is being installed this semester and will be available to students starting in January.

The new equipment is an upgrade to previous equipment in the lab. “Our previous equipment was almost 15-20 years old, and while it’s still valid as industry grade, it is becoming technologically ‘old,’” says Dr. John Haughery, assistant professor in Applied Engineering, Safety & Technology at MU. This updated hardware will allow students to get hands-on practice with equipment that is relevant to their education and future careers.

The new technology will allow students opportunities to develop and work with Industrial Internet of Things for local and remote connectivity and control. Internet of Things is an industry term that refers to collective networks of connected devices and the technology that facilitates communication among itself. It’s especially relevant to students looking to be automation engineers, controls engineers and manufacturing engineers. “Individuals in these careers are becoming more and more valuable to the industry, as they have the skill set to solve some of the toughest engineering problems facing the industry that supply essential and non-essential products,” says Haughery.

Phoenix Contact aims to prioritize sustainability through its business practices and with its equipment. Millersville’s own emphasis on sustainability is supported by the use of this new equipment. “This hardware provides students opportunities to gain experience using technologies necessary to control environmental and industrial systems efficiently with a mind to sustainability,” says Haughery. This includes consideration of lowering energy consumption, using less materials and tracking system health proactively.

Click here for more information on Millersville’s Automation and Robotics Technology degree.

By: Hannah Sutton ’24
Reprinted from Millersville NEWS, November 21, 2023.

Recollections & Aspirations of a Three-Term Department Chair

Dr. Len S. LitowitzI originally prepared my comments for the last faculty meeting of my term as department chair. Those of you who know me best know that I am highly emotional and it would have been a difficult meeting for me to preside over. So, I’m offering my comments in writing as we navigate this changing of the guard. But first, time for a little more baseball talk, just like when Donna Hernandez retired. One reason I like baseball is that it is about impossible to get good at. For example, win 6 out of 10 games all year long and you have likely won your division. Bat .300 and you are considered a very good hitter. Bat .325 and you are an all-star. Approach .350 and you are the league MVP. And bat .400? It has not been done in the modern era of specialty pitching. Ted Williams did it last – in 1941. So, why I would have ever headed into the department chair role thinking that I would have been able to accomplish everything I set out to do? I am not sure. But I did – chalk it up to unbridled optimism, I suppose. What I found out was that my baseball analogy is a good metaphor for life. Do we ever really accomplish everything we set out to do? It certainly didn’t work out that way for me. The last several years have been particularly challenging. I would not have predicted getting upended by a pandemic, a cyber-hack, and in recent years, a constant fight to even keep the building properly climate controlled, no less get some faculty lines back.

Here are some accomplishments I am proud of. Although I was supportive, they are far from my efforts alone. Rather, they are the collective results of a lot of hard work by a lot of individuals and committees, and they just happened in my time. In keeping with my baseball theme, I will count many of these accomplishments in the win column. Continue reading “Recollections & Aspirations of a Three-Term Department Chair”

Summer Institute: Teaching Across the Curriculum Using Problem-Based Learning

Click here to download the information!

Attention all teachers: Spots are still available for this summer institute.

This course focuses on how problem-based learning experiences appropriate for your content and grade level can be incorporated into your curriculum.
For many of today’s students the didactic approach is not enough. Increasingly, they need to see meaning and value in what they are learning. The “just in case” philosophy of education that served public education well in the 20th century is being replaced by the “just in time” approach of PBL. Click on the link above or below to view the information flyer.

If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Scott Warner or Dr. Molly Miller.

Click here to download the information!

‘Ville Robotics Wins Big

25 teams from around the world entered the 2023 IGVC AutoNav competition – only two (Millersville included) completed the AutoNav Course.

Millersville University’s Robotics Team scored big at the 2023 Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition held June 2-5 in Rochester, Michigan. Their latest autonomous robot, named ALiEN 4.0 (Autonomous LiDAR-based Environment Navigator), won 1st to Qualify, 2nd Place Performance, and 2nd Place Overall in the AutoNav Class. They also won 3rd Place in the Grand Award, which combines the results of both AutoNav and Self-Drive class competitions.

“This was an outstanding performance for the team,” says Dr. John Wright, professor of Automation & Electronics Technologies. “We are quickly establishing ourselves as a top-ranked IGVC team.”

With these accomplishments, the team has now won 49 1st-3rd place individual awards and won seven championships since 2001.

25 teams from around the world entered the 2023 IGVC AutoNav competition. Only two completed the AutoNav Course, the University of Oklahoma and Millersville University over the 4-day event. This was MU’s third year competing in the international competition with their unique distributed intelligence control approach.

“Congrats to our hard-working engineering students for this outstanding accomplishment this year at IGVC,” says Wright. “Over 2000 student hours were spent on the 8-month project.”

You can watch ALiEN’s best run here –

There is additional information on the competition here.

Interested in studying automation and robotics engineering technology? Click here.

Up Close and Personal with Motor Drive Tech!

Justin Vipperman (MU alumni) and Peter Fischer of SEW Eurodrive, a global leader in drive technologies, recently visited the Applied Engineering, Safety & Technology (AEST) department at Millersville University to demonstrate their latest products to students.

During the demonstration, Justin and Peter showcased the latest motor drive technologies, which offer improved efficiency, performance, and reliability for precise control of motor speed and torque, allowing for better energy efficiency and reduced maintenance costs vs. traditional motor drive systems. SEW’s technologies also features advanced safety features such as built-in safety controls and emergency stop buttons, ensuring maximum safety for operators. Product features, advantages, and potential applications were coved leading to great engagement of AEST students in Q/A after.

The AEST department was thrilled to have SEW visit with our students! Thank you Justin and Peter for helping us provide our them with hands-on experience and exposure to the latest technologies in the field. Your demonstration was a valuable learning opportunity and has provided them examples of the latest advancements in motor drive technology and how it is applied in real-world settings.

– Contributed by Dr. John Haughery

AEST Students Earn Professional Certification

May ‘23 marked the end of another academic year and the opportunity for AEST students to earn professional certifications as part of their educational experience in the Department of Applied Engineering, Safety & Technology. This year, 61 AEST students sat for three different certification exams administered by the Association of Technology, Management and Applied Engineering (ATMAE). Historically, the national pass rates for these exams have been between 55% – 75%. This year, 76% (47 students) of AEST students passed (see Table 1 – 3 for a full listing)!! This is quite an accomplishment and illustrates the profession-ready competencies that Department students take with them into their careers.

As part of Dr. John Haughery’s AENG 427 Programmable Logic Controller course, 23 AEST students sat for the Certified Controls Engineer (CCE) exam with 16 passing (70%). This exam is a 120-question, multiple-choice, open-book exam that focuses on 14 topic areas including Automated Systems, Electrical Safety, Energy Management/Alternative Energy, Networking Fundamentals, Electrical Power, Robotics, Controls (Open Loop/Closed Loop), Fluidics/Fluid Power, Electronics Fundamentals, Programming Fundamentals, and Instrumentation.

Students with passing scores on the ATMAE CCE professional certification exam:
Eric Burns, William Ehlers, Nicholas Elzer, Joseph Favoroso, David Fermani, Aaron Garner, Jackson Harral, Kevin Luckey, Thomas Mahoney, Dennis Nguyen, Elias Peluso, Zachariah Severn, Ian Troop, Aidan Ward, Zane Weaver, and Benjamin Wright.

Professor Cindy English offered her students in AENG 448 Machine Tool Design the chance to sit for the Certified Engineering Graphics (CEG) exam. Of the 23 who took the certification exam, 19 passed (83%). This is significantly higher than the national pass rate of 56%! This exam is also an open-book, multiple-choice, 145-question exam geared for individuals with a background in the expression of industrial design ideas through engineering graphics, including Geometric Construction, Orthographic Views, and Standardized Annotation.

Students with passing scores on the ATMAE CEG professional certification exam:
Luke Blizzard, Michael Burns, Eric Burns, Nathaniel Detweiler, Nik Duke, Nicholas Elzer, Sydney Geist, Jackson Harral, Emma Hirons, Alexis Kellogg, Taso Novak, Maximillian Meland, Harry Prince, Andrew Samsel, John Schweidler, Calder Sellen, Nathaniel Tagert, Owen Thoma, and Seth Worley.

Twenty-three of Dr. John Wright’s AENG 494 Total Quality Management students took the Certified Technology Manager (CTM) exam with 19 passing (83%). This exam is also an open-book, multiple-choice examination with 160-questions that focuses on Leadership/Self-Management, Systems, Processes, Operations, People, Project, Quality, and Risk. AEST students significantly exceeded the national average of 76% for this exam!

Students with passing scores on the ATMAE CTM professional certification exam: 
Jason Bello, Coulson Bittner, Ashly Dodd, Nikolas Duke, Casey Englehart, Sydney Geist, Stephen Hammond, Forrest Hartman, Emily (Blue) Hirons, Dalton Kephart, Kevin Luckey, Michael Martinez, Julia Meassick, Samuel Merilus, Michael Stanley, Regan Stump, Kaylena Travitz, Lauren Walsh, and Charles Livingston.

The CCE, CEG, and CTM are a few of several professional certifications offered by ATMAE, which is also the professional accreditor for the Department’s Applied Engineering & Technology Management Bachelor of Science degree program. Congrats to all the students for passing the CCE, CEG, and CTM exams! We hope to see them register with ATMAE and complete their formal application.

– Contributed by Dr. John Haughery, Dr. John Wright, and Prof. Cindy English

Joseph Kennedy Defends Thesis

Joseph Kennedy, AETM NFMT major, successfully defended his university honors thesis on May 5th, 2023. The title of his research was Replacing Platinum Electrodes with Two-Dimensional TMD’s in Solar Panels. Joey’s thesis focused on the feasibility of replacing platinum counter electrodes with 2D TMDs in experimental solar cell designs. Committee members for the research included Dr. John Wright (Thesis Chair), Dr. John Haughery, and Dr. Tariq Gilani (Physics). Congratulations to Joey for his excellent research work!

-by Dr. John Wright

AEST Students Honored for Their Research & Applied Project Accomplishments

The spring 2023 semester marked the conclusion of Millersville University students’ high-impact educational experiences in student/faculty research. To highlight the significance of these experiences, the College of Science and Technology honored AEST students (along with other students in the College) at the 20th annual Dr. Edward C. Shane Undergraduate Student Research Recognition Ceremony. This honor, given to students who successfully conducted undergraduate research with supervising faculty in the College of Science and Technology, recognizes their efforts at independently collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data to answer a novel research question or provide a unique solution to an applied problem.

Receiving this award is a significant accomplishment and a testament to the high-quality education and mentoring provided by the AEST department. The recognition also highlights our department’s commitment to fostering a culture of academic excellence and encouraging students to pursue their passions through research in applied engineering, safety, and technology. Congratulations to all the award recipients for their outstanding achievements!

Joshua Greineder, junior ARET major, proudly displays his award with Dr. Marc Harris, Dean of the College of Science and Technology.
Dr. John Haughery (L) congratulating Elias Peluso, senior RCS major, on his outstanding research work.

AEST Students Receiving College of Science an Technology Research Certificates:

  • Benjamin Ambler: Using multiple industrial LiDAR systems to develop a digital array for advanced object detection (independent study)
  • Nathan Brady:  Explorations in Industrial Hygiene (independent study)
  • Daniel Carpenter: The Integration of Infrared Camera (IR) Sensor Technology with Machine Vision and Microcontrollers for Detection of Fire (thesis)
  • Joshua Greineder: Developing Vision-Based Environmental Awareness (independent study, pictured above)
  • Zachary Jackson: STEM Tools (independent study)
  • Joseph Kennedy: Exploring 2D TMDs for Solar Cell Applications (thesis)
  • Elias Peluso: Design and Development of a Modular Door Acutator (thesis, pictured above)
  • Ian Troop: Distributed Mobile Robotic Control & Dual LiDAR Systems Integration (independent study)
  • Hannah Woelfling: Elementary Bio-Related STEM (independent study)
  • Ermias Wagari: Automated Sensor Calibration and Filtering Algorithm Development (independent study)

– Contributed by Dr. John Haughery


AEST Picnics on the Patio!

On Thursday, April 27, 2023, the student organizations threw their end-of-semester bash, Picnic on the Patio. Each spring the nine student organizations pull together to have a picnic lunch on the quad in front of Osburn Hall. The nine student organizations are the American Society of Safety Professionals, MU CADD Club, The Construction Club, Epsilon Pi Tau, Marauder Graphics, The National Society of Black Engineers, MU Robotics Team, The Society of Manufacturing Engineers, and MU-TEECA.

The Picnic took place during the common hour and included hot dogs, various side dishes, drinks, and Dr. Johnson’s legendary baked beans. New to the festivities this year was a hot dog eating skill challenge.  Sophomore Camdyn Brunner (dual ARET and MFET major) took top honors in the competition.  Congratulations Camdyn for your accomplishments both outside and inside of the classroom!

Everyone had enough to eat, and the faculty and staff of AEST hopes that all student have a happy and productive summer.

AEST Student Named Campus Compact Newman Civic Fellow

Jordan Branch has been named as a 2023-2024 Campus Compact Newman Civic Fellow. Millersville University President Daniel Wubah provided these remarks about Jordan in his nomination:

“Jordan Branch, a Manufacturing Engineering Technology major with a minor in Occupational Safety and Environmental Health, is an exceptional student dedicated to community service, a respected leader among his peers, and a role model for engagement, not only at Millersville University, but in the greater Lancaster County community as well. Jordan, a first-generation college student, serves as vice-president of three student professional associations – demonstrating his commitment to promoting a sense of community and engagement at the university. He is passionate about equity and addressing disparities in his community. Jordan is also strongly motivated to address public problems, using his leadership role in the student chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers to collaborate with three non-profit community partners to coordinate a winter coat drive for the Lancaster community. Jordan exemplifies excellent leadership skills, he engages in collaborative action with others from campus and the community, and he has a strong desire to create long-term social change.”

Congratulations Jordan!

Campus Compact is a national nonprofit organization. We are the largest and oldest higher education association dedicated to higher education civic and community engagement. Our members make up a force of thousands of presidents, faculty, researchers, students, and civic and community engagement experts at colleges and universities. Campus Compact takes a comprehensive approach to supporting member institutions—helping them build the knowledge, skills, and capacity needed to enable a just, equitable, and sustainable future.