A Conversation with Adedeji Badiru
by Jerry Renshaw
November 18, 2014
Professor Adedeji B. Badiru has a Master’s in mathematics from Tennessee Tech University, as well as a Bachelor’s and Master’s in industrial
engineering; he went on to earn his doctorate in industrial engineering at University of Central Florida in Orlando. Today, Badiru serves as senior academic officer for the Graduate School of Engineering and Management at the Air Force Institute of Technology. At AFIT, he is responsible for development , planning and control of all operations in the doctoral and master’s degree programs, as well as research and cyber-education aspects of the institution.
His areas of research interests include mathematical modeling, systems efficiency analysis, high-tech product development and process optimization. His teaching areas include applied mathematics, systems engineering, project management and engineering economic analysis. You can find out more about AFIT by clicking here: http://www.afit.edu/ABOUT/index.cfm
The October 2014 issue of Prism, the magazine of the American Society for Engineering Education, features an editorial by Badiru entitled “Beyond Swords and Plowshares, in which he discusses the connections between military service and engineering education, as well as reflections on his time at TTU. You can read the article here: http://www.asee-prism.org/last-word-oct/
Recently, we spoke with Badiru to expand on the ideas laid out in his ASEE editorial:
R: So much of the technology we take for granted has its roots in the military, things like the internet, GPS, much of aviation, so on and so forth, all of which really started with the close of WWII and so many soldiers going back to school, getting educations in tech fields, making huge advances in technology that eventually made their way to civilian use. Your idea is that we should essentially start another GI bill program for a new generation of veterans…
D: Exactly, not just in engineering, but in all the STEM Fields.
R: Can you tell me a little about what you’re working on at the Air Force Institute of Technology?
D: Sure. We’re in the business of training Air Force officers in STEM education. It’s structured like a graduate program, and I am the dean of the graduate school.
R: What kinds of research are you engaged in at AFIT?
D: It’s all research and education that supports the war effort – we cover the principles behind advanced navigational systems, design of new products, training and research in nuclear efforts, cyber defenses, mathematical modeling and simulation of warfare, new aerospace technologies, development of satellites. Lots of areas.
R: So your time and experience at TTU has served you well in your career with AFIT…
D: Oh yes, it’s always served me well. It’s given me the foundational skills and education that I use every day and that I can pass on to others.
R: Let me ask you to get your crystal ball out for a minute. Military technology that’s in use or in development right now…what do you see for future civilian applications?
D: Okay, one of the key aspects of what we do at AFIT is that we work constantly with the Air Force Research Lab, and one of the Lab’s prime missions is in technology transfer to civilian use. So, what I envision in the coming years for those technologies will be civilian advances in navigation, unmanned vehicles, unmanned aerial vehicles and 3-D printing, for instance. I think all of those will benefit civilian technology greatly.
R: Yes, those are all growth areas right now. Is there anything else you’d care to add?
D: Yes, I’d just like to say that Tennessee Tech is really starting to gain a reputation for technological education and for really qualified graduates. I firmly believe that TTU is on an equal footing with any other technological institute, and even though the name isn’t as well-known as many other schools, it’s starting to become very well-respected, and I like that.
Alumnus Recognized by TVA for Technical Contributions
Casey Scoggins was honored as this year’s Tennessee Valley Authority Ike Zeringue Engineer of the Year during the TVA board of directors’ meeting on Thursday.
“TVA’s mission is about improving the quality of life in the Tennessee Valley and our ability to do that depends on the dedication of employees like Casey,” said Bill Johnson, TVA president and CEO. “Beyond his own hard work, his leadership in our Transmission organization has directly contributed to TVA maintaining a 99.999 percent reliability factor since 2000.”
Scoggins is a manager in Transmission Engineering, responsible for supervising teams that handle power transmission system expansion projects, equipment replacements and storm restoration projects.
He is a certified professional engineer and holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Tennessee Tech University and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga.
TVA’s highest honor for an engineer is named for O.J. “Ike” Zeringue, a former TVA president and chief operating officer, and chief nuclear officer. Scoggins is now one of 10 finalists for Federal Engineer of the Year.
Alumni Come Back to Talk About Their Work at NASA on the Space Launch System
Thanks to our awesome alumni who came home to TTU’s Oakley STEM Center in February to talk about their work at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center on the Space Launch System. Electrical engineering grad Don Krupp, '88, and mechanical engineering grads John Rector, '91, and Mallory Johnston, '10, talked to hundreds of students at 13 middle and high schools through a distance connection from the STEM Center, and Krupp went to Mt. Juliet High School to talk with about 70 students about their current STEM projects, including a catapult designed on a 3D printer and paper cars.
Former astronaut Roger Crouch, physics '62, joined via video chat to talk to the Mt. Juliet students as well.
TTU students were treated to a discussion panel with Rector and Johnston at the STEM Center, where an interactive SLS exhibit offered more information about NASA’s next rocket system.
TTU President Phil Oldham joined Marshall representatives for a visit to Flexial Corporation in Cookeville, where they are building a seal that prevents hydrogen leakage in the SLS J-2X engine. About a quarter of Flexial’s staff are graduates of Tennessee Tech. Representatives of Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne and Boeing were also on campus to talk about their role in SLS. Mechanical engineering alumnus Dane Richardson, '85, is senior manager of avionics and software in the Ares IUA program at Boeing. He took part in the panel discussions with students as well.
Alumnus Mary Anne Koltowich Sets Up Estate Commitment
Inspired by her parents, TTU alumna Mary Anne Koltowich appreciates the importance of hard work and education in making the world a better place.
Mary Anne Koltowich's family also appreciates and values an education. Her Russian grandparents, all of whom immigrated to the U.S. in the early 1900’s, instilled these values in Mary Anne’s parents, Alex and Eileen. They, in turn, passed these down to their daughter. Now, to recognize this family dedication, Mary Anne has made a significant financial commitment to Tennessee Tech’s College of Engineering to provide scholarship assistance to females pursuing engineering degrees.
Born in 1925, Alex Koltowich grew up in New Jersey, served as a Sergeant for the Corps of Engineers during WWII, and saw battle in Belgium and Germany, earning both the Croix de Guerre and Purple Heart Medals. Back home, he earned both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in architecture and engineering from Columbia and New York Universities, using GI bill benefits and working various jobs to pay for his education.
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