University of West Florida School of Science and Engineering Kaleidoscope
Volume 2  |  Issue 1  |  Spring 2012

In This Issue

  • Message from the Director
  • Giving News
  • Student News
  • Faculty News
  • In Memoriam

Message from the Director

Dr. Leo ter HaarTwo years ago, the University of West Florida celebrated the grand opening of its new School of Science and Engineering, creating a destination for those with an imaginative spirit. Our desire to create an environment that would foster student learning and inspire discovery across disciplines continues to be realized and enhanced every day. Enrollment has steadily increased in our academic programs and we are currently searching for seven new faculty members in physics, computer science and electrical and computer engineering.

In addition to our primary mission of education, we have welcomed thousands of guests who continue to tour and utilize our unique space for meetings and conferences. Our outreach efforts continue to expand. K-12 visitors are realizing that UWF is a wonderful choice for majoring in science, technology, engineering and math academic programs.

We greatly appreciate our community partners who enhance students' learning by offering internships, co-ops and capstone experiences, as well as private contributions for scholarships and program enhancements. On behalf of our students and faculty, thank you for your continued interest and support. As always, we encourage our alumni and friends to stay in touch!

Leo ter Haar


Giving News

AppRiver Invests in UWF Computing Disciplines
In anticipation of the growth of UWF computing disciplines, the School of Science and Engineering has identified several priorities that require private support. One of these is the ability to attract top graduate students who will be able to conduct research and garner additional grant monies in areas for which faculty perceive there is a regional need. Through the support of graduate students, faculty become encouraged to better understand regional needs and advance entrepreneurial agendas that benefit the innovation resident within a community.

According to Director Leo ter Haar, "The opportunities for graduate students to assist faculty with research are limited only by our ability to attract excellent candidates with an attractive stipend and engaging them with relevant state-of-the-art projects. AppRiver's leadership and support of this need comes at the perfect time. We are honored they have chosen to invest in our students in this special way." Read More>>>

Navigator sponsors Unmanned Air Vehicle Team
UWF would like to extend a special thanks to Navigator Development Group Inc. for their support of the UWF Unmanned Air Team. This gift will allow the student team to upgrade their equipment prior to the 2012 Association for Unmanned Vehicle systems International (AUVSI) student competition in Patuxent River NAS, Md., this coming summer. All members of the UWF team are undergraduate students pursuing degrees in electrical engineering, computer engineering and computer science.

Navigator develops, administers and integrates advanced business solutions and lifecycle management processes for defense, commercial and international markets. Headquartered in Enterprise, Ala., the company's core capabilities are in aerospace and defense; advanced visualization solutions; education and training; operations, maintenance and logistics; construction solutions; and information technology.

Faculty News

iBook Developed by UWF Team
iBook CoverA new iBook, "Developing iPhone Applications for iOS4" was recently released for download in 32 countries, available through iTunes. This book, authored by Laura J. White, Assistant Professor and Director of Software Engineering in the computer science department, and Janusz Chudzynski, graduate of UWF and coordinator in the Academic Technology Center, contains an introduction to iPhone programming, along with several fun projects through which the reader will learn about iPhone programming, while actually developing applications (apps). Read More>>>

UWF Faculty Members Instruct Egyptian Naval Officers
Egyptian SunsetDr. Eman El-Sheikh, Associate Dean for the College of Arts and Sciences and Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science, along with Dr. Laura J. White, Software Engineering Program Director and Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science spent the 2011 winter break as representatives of the U.S. Navy's Naval Sea Systems Command teaching an intensive Ada 83 Programming course for Egyptian Naval Officers at the Abu Qir Naval base in Alexandria, Egypt. The Ada programming language was collaboratively designed by researchers worldwide to improve the quality, reliability and maintainability of software used by the U.S. Department of Defense and for mission-critical systems.

Student News

Student Chapter of Society of American Military Engineers

Student Chapter of Society of American Military Engineers granted charter
The Pensacola Post, Society of American Military Engineers (SAME), formally signed a student charter on Feb. 16 during their monthly meeting. UWF engineering student Stephan Taylor will serve as president and has been actively recruiting a diverse group of students who already recognize the value of networking with professionals. "My goal as president is to provide a prestigious organization that will allow hard-working future engineers to make contacts and obtain internships with great minds in the engineering community, especially those within the Professional SAME Pensacola Post," said Taylor.

The mission of the Society of American Military Engineers is to promote and facilitate engineering support for national security by developing and enhancing relationships and competencies among uniformed services, public and private sector engineers and related professionals. The Pensacola Post of SAME includes over 100 military and civilian members and 21 sustaining member firms from the Florida Gulf Coast. The organization provides annual scholarships to area engineering students and has endowed a need-based engineering scholarship at UWF.

UWF Physics Students – A Driving Force (Contributed by UWF alumnus Will Isern)
Physics ImageIn auto racing, physics is everything. The science dictates car and track design, racing strategy and even tire selection. During the course of a race, drivers have to contend with all sorts of forces exerted on their bodies as they maneuver behind, beside and, hopefully, in front of other drivers. A study conducted by the UWF Society of Physics Students, in conjunction with the News Journal and Pensacola racer Johanna Long's Panhandle Motorsports team, has shed light on the complexities of a sport that, to many, may seem like one long left turn. The study consisted of mounting three gravitational force monitors inside Long's super late model race car as she and her team practiced at Five Flags Speedway for the upcoming 44th annual Snowball Derby. Read More>>>

UWF hosts STEM activities for community students
The University of West Florida (UWF) has hosted the Emerald Coast Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology (BEST) Robotics competition for the past five years, and is the only institution in the state to host the event each year. About 20 middle- and high-school teams face off every year in a competition involving Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) skills. The competition affords a unique opportunity to the university, the students competing and the community. While UWF hosts and coordinates the event, faculty and students from the School of Science and Engineering help mentor the participants. The community is invited to partake in and cheer at the sports-like competition. Generally, about 1,500 community members will attend.

"UWF has made a great commitment to host these outreach activities," said Michelle Lockhart, 2011 competition director. "A lot of the kids have never been to a university, and this is a great chance for them to become acclimated. As a result, we have quite a few BEST alums enrolled in our engineering, physics and computer science programs." Read More>>>


In Memoriam

Dr. Ed RodgersOn Sept. 19, 2011, the School of Science and Engineering mourned the loss of one of its valued faculty members, Dr. Ed Rodgers who served the university for 27 years as a professor of Computer Science, including nine years as chairman. 

Dr. Rodgers’s professional experience and connections to industry became an invaluable resource to his students, many of whom were able to garner private sector knowledge through special projects. In addition to being a faculty member, he conducted training programs for businesses, governmental agencies, and universities in the U.S., Europe and Asia. His visiting professor assignments abroad included China, Japan, Finland and France. He was also a member of numerous professional organizations including the Institute of Management Science (TIMS), Operations Research Society of America (ORSA), Decision Sciences Institute (DSI) and Association of Computing Machinery (ACM).

In recognition of Dr. Rodgers’s commitment to education, his friends and colleagues have established a memorial fund in his name. Those wishing to pay tribute to him may make a memorial gift by visiting UWF’s giving website. For additional information, please contact Gretchen VanValkenburg at

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UWF School of Science and Engineering Kaleidoscope is published annually
by the Division of University Advancement. The publication’s purpose is to inform
donors and friends about the school’s progress and accomplishments.