Spotlight: The International Dilemma


For international students, gaining admission to a  U.S. university is one challenge. Staying in the United States after graduation is another one entirely. While engineers are in high demand and some surveys show that American students are less interested in technical fields than their foreign counterparts, the barriers to acquiring and keeping an engineering job are high for young international graduates.

In tech fields such as software development, computer science and IT, companies are lobbying for looser regulations. But for the second year in a row, the number of H-1B visa petitions (that are normally given to foreigners working in such skilled fields to allow them to work in the U.S. legally) reached the cap in less than a week. This year, employers filed 172,500 petitions altogether for the foreign employees they wanted in 2015, but the process — essentially a lottery — allows for just 65,000 visas, in addition to 20,000 visas awarded to graduates with advanced degrees.

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U. Toledo Engineering Leadership Gets a Funding Boost

eli_group_summer_2010University of Toledo graduate Roy Armes, who is now a top executive at the northwest Ohio company Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., has donated $1 million dollars to the university’s Engineering Leadership Institute. The institute accepts around a dozen engineering students each year to help draw out their leadership potential and skills. Students in the program participate in events throughout the U.S. and also take on an individual senior project, according to the Toledo Blade. Armes founded the institute in 2009 with a $50,000 gift, and intends to name the institute after himself and his wife.

 Armes has been more directly involved as well. He recently organized a CEO forum in which a half-dozen local chief executives met with students in the program.

“Leadership roles are sometimes assumed to be reserved for graduates from other disciplines,” said Toledo’s engineering college dean Nagi Naganathan. “What I’m trying to say is you can be a leader in many different ways. Board chairs and CEOs are not reserved for non-engineers. It’s a question of identifying the talents within you, nurturing them, and stepping up.”

Engineering the Perfect Vegan Burger

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Vegetarians and vegans, rejoice! Veggie burgers are getting a makeover from a group of Swedish engineering students at Lund University, who found that the normal veggie burger brands carried in supermarkets lacked flavor and texture. According to Lund University news, the students wanted specifically to create a vegan burger devoid of all animal products and additives.

The students extracted starch from potatoes as a binding agent to hold the burgers together, and added cauliflower and different types of seeds to providet texture. They also encountered challenges in getting the right oven temperature so that the potato starch would behave predictably, even in mass production. Their end goal, according to Time, is to sell their recipe to a distributor.

Tiny Beauties at UCLA



“Magnesium Shuffle” Yuan-Wei Edward Chang Materials Science and Engineering Image of a magnesium micropillar after compression.

Nanotechnology laboratories often take beautiful microscopic images of their research materials and objects, and the University of California – Los Angeles has held a Scanning Electron Microscope Image Contest for its labs to showcase some of the most striking images. The contest is sponsored by UCLA’s Molecular and Nano Archaeology Lab, which uses new techniques and imaging methods to study other cultures and artistic methods, and to reconstruct the environment starting at the nano scale.

Above is the first place photo, titled “Magnesium Shuffle,” which shows a micropillar of magnesium after compression. View the second and third place winners below the cut.

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Rocket Science for Middle Schoolers

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After two days of education and preparation, Auburn University aerospace engineering students teamed up with 700 students from Drake Middle School in Auburn, Alabama, and took to the skies by launching homemade rockets, according to WBRL News. The Auburn students are part of NASA’s University Student Launch Initiative Rocket Team, an eight-month program in which university teams design, build, and fly payloads or vehicle components for space launch. The project, the first of its kind for Auburn students, includes an educational component.

“It’s really exciting for us to see this kind of engagement coming from these young kids who would usually be complaining about learning about science and math and stuff like that,” said Auburn Junior A.J. Pollard in the article. Check out a photo gallery of the event on