It is time once again for an update on the JBU engineering program.

I hope that you are all doing well.  All the faculty and staff in the engineering program would love for you to send us an email and let us know what you are up to.

In Christ,
Robert B. Norwood, Chair
Division of Engineering and Construction Management


There are 12 engineering seniors graduating this year. Their pictures are to the right. Below are the graduates at the 2008 senior banquet.



Several of our students were awarded an Honorable Mention at the 4th Annual P3 (People, Prosperity, and the Planet) Award competition in Washington, D.C.  The EPA and its 40 partners launched the P3 Award in 2004 to respond to the challenges of the developed and developing world in moving toward sustainability. This national competition enables college students to research, develop, and design scientific, technical, and policy solutions to address sustainability challenges. Their designs are helping to achieve the mutual goals of economic prosperity while providing a higher quality of life and protecting the planet.

T.J. Mitchell, Luis Soberanis, Preston Young, Javier Ruiz

Here are some details on the JBU project.

The proposed research project question is: “How can a slow-sand water purification system be improved to meet the needs of a small community?” A major issue that persists in underdeveloped areas is both water quality and quantity. There have been point-of-use water purification systems developed that can provide for particulate removal, bacteria destruction, or both. However, large-scale community systems have remained too expensive for underdeveloped communities. This project has three goals: 1) to perform research and development tasks that would increase the throughput of the slow-sand technology; 2) to design the research outcome into a total community system design that would be applicable to a wide variety of communities; 3) to develop an educational strategy that would provide for indigenous community integration, maintenance, and sustainability.

While slow sand filters exist, the research will examine a greenhouse test bed for process improvements that would yield a filtration process that will have a sustainable community level flow rate, design a preventative maintenance process that will create a micro-enterprise while sustaining water quality, and evaluate structural improvements for both improved flow rates and ease of maintenance. This task will be accomplished through a series of key tasks: 1) construct a small scale test bed; 2) complete experimental characterization of the Schmutzdecke layer for water flow rates and filtration; 3) incorporate structural modifications for increased flow; 4) develop optimal maintenance procedures that are culturally appropriate; and 5) develop educational and micro-enterprise plans for sustainable integration into a host community. This project has the support and commitments from Students In Free Enterprise and The Institute for Biblical Community Development as partner NGO’s.


As you know, the engineering program at JBU is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET (http://www.abet.org).  We have our reaccreditation visit coming up and have spent the last several months preparing the self-study.  The visit should occur sometime in October or November, and the faculty are looking forward to showing off our program.  Your prayers for a good visit would be appreciated.


I mentioned in last year's newsletter that the Cathedral, Engineering (formerly the library), and Art (formerly Science) Buildings were undergoing some renovation. The work is almost complete, and the buildings look great with their new limestone exteriors.  We are also very appreciative of the new windows and HVAC system installed in the Engineering Building as part of this renovation.

Cathedral of the Ozarks with new limestone exterior

The Engineering Department was able to purchase a Dimension SST 768 3D printer last summer.  Students can now design a part in SolidWorks and then build the part out of ABS plastic.  We are very excited to have this rapid prototyping capability.

The Dimension printer builds functional 3D models from the bottom up, one layer at a time with tough, durable acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) plastic.  STL files are imported into the Catalyst® EX Software, which automatically slices and orients the parts and creates any necessary support structures. The software automatically plots a precise deposition path for the printer to follow. ABS plastic (in filament form within auto-loading cartridges) is fed into an extrusion head, heated to a semi-liquid state and deposited in layers as fine as 0.01-inch (0.245 mm) thick. After completion of the build, support structures are dissolved.

Check out http://www.dimensionprinting.com/ for more details on the 3D printers.



This year there were 12 senior design projects sponsored by six different organizations.

The Engineering Advisory Board continued to sponsor a design competition in conjunction with the senior projects with two categories: Best Technical Design and Greatest Social/Global Impact. The winners in each category received $100 and had their names put on a plaque in the Engineering Building. The runner-up received $50. The results are:

Technical Design
Lee Charles, winner

Social/Global Impact
Javier Ruiz, winner
Luis Soberanis, runner-up

The seniors and their projects were:

Claudia Alvarez, Design a Cleaning System to Separate Filtrate from Sand, John Brown University

Balbino Arevalo, Microcomputer Based Composite Testing Machine: 'O', Citadel Technologies

Andrew Bradford, Air Flow Requirements for Grinding Dust Collection, Gates Rubber Co.

Christopher Brown, System for Rapidly Scanning and Posting Brochures on Website, MDAT

Lee Charles, Taxi-Way Lighting Demo Prototype, Garver Engineering

Nathan Klemm, Basic Utility Vehicle - Child Transport, IAT

Brian Kyles, Basic Utility Vehicle - Child Transport, IAT

Mark Minnich, Design an Airfield Lighting System with Addressable Components, Garver Engineering

Helen Nunez, Power Analysis Mapping, Gates Rubber Co.

Taylor Nyquist, Microcomputer Based Composite Testing Machine: 'I', Citadel Technologies

Javier Ruiz, Design and Build a Slow-Sand Filter with Schmutzdeke, John Brown University

Luis Soberanis, Design a System to Convert Hydraulic Power into Water Purification, John Brown University


Thanks to the generosity of alumni and friends of JBU, $69,800 will be awarded to engineering students in the coming year from funded and endowed scholarships that are designated for engineering students. Of course, engineering students receive much more in financial aid than this $69,800 since there are also other scholarship awards from the JBU Scholarship Fund and other need and merit based scholarships available to all JBU students.

Here are the funded and endowed scholarships designated for engineering students:

Engineering Excellence Endowed Scholarship – a four year scholarship, engineering freshman with ACT of 29 or higher are eligible, ten to twelve scholarships awarded.

Barnabas (an Encourager) Endowed Scholarship – be a Christian, be an engineering student, minimum ACT of 21 or minimum GPA of 2.5.

Engineering Opportunity Endowed Scholarship – engineering student, demonstrate good character, financial need, minimum ACT of 21 or minimum GPA of 2.5.

Fred Olney Engineering Endowed Scholarship – top ranking junior student.

Jeff Scholtens Memorial Endowed Scholarship – financial need, sophomore, junior or senior engineering student, minimum GPA of 3.0.

Harold C. & Mildred B. Ward Endowed Engineering Scholarship – engineering student.

Dennis Schumacher Engineering Scholarship – junior or senior engineering student with most aptitude and interest in liberal arts subjects.

Keith & Miriam Feaster Family Endowed Scholarship  – financial need; minimum ACT score of 21 or cumulative GPA of 2.5, good character, engineering student.

The Engineering Department is very blessed to be able to award these scholarships; many thanks to all those who have made them possible.

God has provided another wonderful opportunity that John Brown University president, Dr. Charles Pollard, announced last year. The university is in the midst of a new challenge campaign that will add $20 million to the JBU endowment fund for student scholarships and essential programs.

The $20 Million Campaign comes on the heels of the highly successful $10 Million Challenge for endowed scholarships that was completed in January 2007. A donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, has pledged up to $10 million in matching funds to initiate a new $20 Million Endowment Challenge for JBU. Funds raised will be matched up to $10 million for all current and deferred gifts designated to new or existing endowed scholarships and for endowing important programs across campus. JBU has five years to raise their $10 million portion in order to receive the full amount of matching funds. Together, JBU’s raised funds and the matching funds will add $20 million to JBU’s endowment. This is another opportunity to support the University and the Engineering Department.


2007-2008 Seniors
B.E. Electrical Concentration

Christopher Brown
Knoxville, Arkansas

Lee Charles
Vanderwagen, New Mexico

Mark Minnich
Overland Park, Kansas

Helen Nunez
Barva, Costa Rica

Javier Ruiz
Guatemala City, Guatemala

Luis Soberanis
Guatemala City, Guatemala
B.E. Mechanical Concentration

Claudia Alvarez
Guatemala City, Guatemala

Balbino Arevalo
San Salvador, El Salvador

Andrew Bradford
Friendswood, Texas

Nathan Klemm
Canon City, Colorado

Brian Kyles
Rogers, Arkansas

Taylor Nyquist
Smithville, Missouri