List of Announcements (details below):

Jeff Offutt Wins George Mason Teaching Excellence Award

Professor Jeff Offutt of the Computer Science Department is a recipient of a 2013 George Mason University Teaching Excellence Award. This honor acknowledges his commitment to providing students with meaningful, significant learning experiences, as well as his success in achieving this ambitious goal.

He will be honored at the 2013 Celebration of Teaching Excellence, to be held on Monday, April 15th, from 3:30pm-5:00pm at the Center for the Arts.

For more information on Professor Offutt’s work, see

 2013 VSE Award Winners

The Volgenau School of Engineering has selected this year’s winners of faculty, student, alumni, and corporate awards.  They are:

Outstanding Research Faculty:  Bijan Jabbari (ECE)
Outstanding Teaching Faculty:  Huzefa Rangwala (CS)
Outstanding Adjunct Faculty:  Rebecca J. Tenally (AIT)
Outstanding Graduate Students: Geetha Aluri Ph.D. (ECE) and Brian Olson (CS)
Outstanding Undergraduate Students:  Sean Lindenmuth (CEIE), John F. Mooney (CS), Danielle N. Sova (ECE)
Outstanding Alumnus:  Ron Ritchie, Ph.D.  (CS – BS 1998, MS 1999, PhD 2007)
Dean’s Corporate Recognition Award:  Harris Corporation

The awards will be presented at the Annual Gala on May 4.

C4I Seminar: Friday, Apr 12, 1:30 pm, room 4705

Speaker: Dr. Don Ferguson, George Mason University

Application of Geospatial Analysis For Modeling Lost Person Behavior and Optimization of Resource Allocation in Wilderness Search and Rescue


As a fundamentally geospatial problem, the search for missing subject in a wilderness environment can greatly benefit from the application of spatial analysis. These analyses can be divided into two broad categories: hypothesizing on where to search and management of the search effort. Typical wilderness search and rescue (WiSAR) operations cover a large geographical area and often have a limited number of available resources (searchers). The development of hypotheses through geospatial analysis on the most probable locations of the missing subject provides a mechanism for prioritizing the search area. Management of WiSAR operations dictates the need to maximize the Probability of Detection, likelihood of locating the missing subject, as well as the Probable Success Rate (PSR).  Given differences in resource (human searchers, canine searchers, aircraft, etc.) capability and availability this is often times challenging.  Operations Research (OR) provides a quantitative decision-making framework that when coupled with spatial analysis and the influence of the environment on both searcher and subject can significantly benefit extended search operations.

Speaker information:

Dr. Don Ferguson has over 13 years of experience in search and rescue, SAR management, teaching and course development for SAR. Over the past seven years, Don has worked to help pioneer the use of Geographic Information System software for search and rescue. He is currently the Technology Officer for the Appalachian Search and Rescue Conference and the Mountaineer Area Rescue Group, and is the one of the lead developers on the Integrated Tools for Search and Rescue and MapSAR projects. Dr. Ferguson is certified as a Search Manager with the Appalachian Search and Rescue Conference and NASAR SARTECH I. When not participating in SAR activities, Dr.Ferguson works as a combustion scientist focused on innovative energy concepts for the US Department of Energy at the National Energy Technology Laboratory in Morgantown, WV.

For further information contact Deb Schenaker, 993-3682, email: [log in to unmask], or visit our website

Presentation: Tesla Motors, Monday, Apr 15, 12-3pm, Research Hall, Rm. 163

Tesla Motors will visit the university on Monday, April 15, from noon to 3pm, to give a Tech Talk in Research 1, Room 163. They will be discussing their electric sedan – the Model S – and will be bringing a car for display.

The visit is sponsored by ISM, IEEE, and INCOSE.

VSE Lecture: Monday, Apr 22, 2pm, Research Hall, Rm. 163

Speaker:  Kyle J. Bunch, IEEE Engineering & Diplomacy Fellow, U.S. Dept. of State

Changing the World Through Science and Technology:  Engineering Diplomacy as an Alternative Career

RSVP by April 19: [log in to unmask]

Kyle Bunch, PhD, DEE, PE, has more than 25 years of professional experience in science and technology spanning the range from industry, academics, and national laboratories to startup company development. He is currently an IEEE Engineering and Diplomacy Fellow with the U.S. Department of State in the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance, Office of Verification and Transparency Technologies. For the last eight years, he has worked within the Department of Energy’s Office of Science laboratory complex, starting in 2004 with Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In 2006, he moved to Pacific Northwest National Laboratory where he currently holds the title of Senior Research and Development Scientist. His primary focus during this time has been using applied physical research toward solving problems relating to national security. Prior to his national laboratory experience, Bunch served as a Senior Fulbright scholar at the Technical University of Lodz, Poland, where he held the title of “Professor Extraordinarius.” During his Fulbright tenure, he was invited to lecture across Poland and in Russia, as well as to participate in a student/professor exchange program between the Technical University at Lodz and the Novgorod State University in Russia. Bunch has been a member of IEEE for 27 years and a senior member for 14 years. He served as the IEEE Utah Section chair in 1996-97, as a corresponding member for the IEEE-USA Energy Policy Committee, and as publication chair for the IEEE 2008 International Nanotechnology Conference. He holds a PhD, a DEE, and a ME, all in electrical engineering, from the University of Utah and a BS in electrical engineering and computer science from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Open Forum on Audit of NSF/HHS Awards: Apr 17, 1pm, University Hall 3300

In the next few weeks a labor audit will be conducted of NSF/HHS awards to George Mason University.  Below are extracts from a message that I received from Mike Laskofski at the GMU Office of Sponsored Programs.

“Good morning - As a follow-up to prior discussions on the upcoming NSF/HHS labor audit, I wanted to provide a brief update.  Later today I will reach out to the lead auditor to ask if he has a timeline for their onsite field work.  Originally they indicated the work would start in early April, but we do not have firm dates yet.

“We have communicated with faculty via email and through administrative staff in your units, so there should be some level of awareness that the audit is coming and it's likely individual PIs will be asked to meet with auditors.  I also know many of you have been in communication with your faculty, which is great.

“Beth Brock and I will hold an open meeting on Wednesday, 4/17 at 1:00 - 2:00 to provide an update on the audit, review what should be expected and answer any questions you or your faculty might have. We can make ourselves available for additional sessions or more targeted outreach to individuals or smaller groups if there is interest.  Please feel free to give me a call to discuss if you think something more targeted would be helpful for your units or if you have questions.”

You can contact Mike Laskofski at 703-993-4573,
[log in to unmask].

 Jacqueline Hughes-Oliver Receives Funding from NCSU and NIH

Jacqueline Hughes-Oliver of the Statistics Department received $22K from North Carolina State University and the National Institutes of Health for her project “QSAR Modeling for Diffusion and Permeability of Solutes”.

NY Times: “New Test for Computers: Grading Essays at College Level”


“Imagine taking a college exam, and, instead of handing in a blue book and getting a grade from a professor a few weeks later, clicking the “send” button when you are done and receiving a grade back instantly, your essay scored by a software program.

“And then, instead of being done with that exam, imagine that the system would immediately let you rewrite the test to try to improve your grade.

“Edx, the nonprofit enterprise founded by Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to offer courses on the Internet, has just introduced such a system and will make its automated software available free on the Web to any institution that wants to use it. The software uses artificial intelligence to grade student essays and short written answers, freeing professors for other tasks. …”


Stephen G. Nash
Senior Associate Dean
Volgenau School of Engineering
George Mason University
Nguyen Engineering Building, Room 2500
Mailstop 5C8
Fairfax, VA 22030

[log in to unmask]
Phone: (703) 993-1505
Fax: (703) 993-1633