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CEC Alumni & Friends Conference

Please join us May 10, 2024, at the Armstrong Student Center for our annual Alumni and Friends Conference. 

Every year, CEC alumni and friends return to campus to share their technical expertise and career advice with our students. The day-long conference will feature a morning and afternoon session with presentations and panel discussions. 

All Alumni and Friends attendees are also invited to our Senior Design Expo on Thursday, May 9, 2024. This is an opportunity for our visitors to see our students’ work firsthand.

Throughout the day, we will be offering snacks, drinks, and coffee in the Armstrong Student Center Hospitality Room (Room 1086). Feel free to stop by anytime!

Although registration is closed for lunch, breakfast, and our evening reception, all are welcome to attend any of the speaker sessions (space permitting). We look forward to connecting!


Thursday, May 9, 2024
Time Event Location
5:00 - 7:00 p.m. Senior Design Expo Millett Hall Concourse

Friday, May 10, 2024

General Overview

More information regarding the speakers and sessions is available in the Detailed Schedule below.

Time Event Notes
7:30 a.m. Conference Registration (Atrium) and Contintental Breakfast (Fritz Pavilion)  Continental Breakfast Sponsored by the Miami University Alumni Association.
8:30 a.m. Opening Remarks by Dean Beena Sukumaran & MUAA Executive Director Kim Tavares

Senior Design Awards Presentation
Armstrong Student Center - Fritz Pavillion
9:30 p.m. Panels, presentations, and demos by alumni, faculty, and students Armstrong Student Center - various locations
11:30 a.m. Lunch & Keynote Speaker
Maria Bennett ‘95
President, CEO and Founder - SPR Therapeutics, Inc.

Armstrong Student Center - Fritz Pavillion

Seating is limited - registration is required.

1:30 p.m. Panels, presentations, and demos by alumni, faculty, and students Armstrong Student Center - various locations
4:00 - 5:00 p.m. Reception Armstrong Student Center - Room 1082

Friday, May 10, 2024 - Detailed Schedule

Please select the "+" to reveal the events occurring in each time slot.

7:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.

Conference Registration
Armstrong Student Center - Atrium

Continental Breakfast
Sponsored by the Miami University Alumni Association
Armstrong Student Center - Fritz Pavilion (Room 3056)

8:30 a.m. – 9:20 a.m.


Armstrong Student Center - Fritz Pavilion (Room 3056)

Opening Remarks

Kim Tavares MBA ’12, MUAA Executive Director, and Beena Sukumaran, the Dinesh & Ila Paliwal Dean of the College of Engineering and Computing

Senior Design Awards Presentation

9:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

Smart Manufacturing in Custom Fabrication

Presented by Andrew Koenig ’10
Armstrong Student Center - Room 1062 (Joslin Senate Chamber)

Companies all around the globe are implementing changes and preparing for a future where smart machines help improve all facets of their business. From autonomous equipment to robotics, additive manufacturing, and the Internet of Things, organizations are making significant investments into the future of manufacturing.

Enerfab has embraced this concept and adapted to how smart manufacturing can play a role in custom fabrication. With custom fabrication, the products and type of work vary daily. Enerfab has been able to identify repeatable use-cases/tasks for robotics and additive manufacturing to help increase quality, productivity, and the user experience to make life better.

Utilizing Emotional Intelligence as an Engineer

Presented by Summer Libecap ’21
Armstrong Student Center - Room 2084

Summer will be describing the methods and tactics she used to implement projects being a new engineer in the corrugated industry. With little to no experience in the field, new engineers must be able to rely on those who have that experience and collaborate with them for process improvement and optimization projects. Utilizing calculations and data, getting buy-in, and using the power of influence with crews and upper management, new engineers can increase the chances of future projects being successful.

City of Cleveland’s Data Journey

Presented by Doug Meil ’91
Armstrong Student Center - Room 2080

The City of Cleveland, Ohio just launched its first ever Open Data Portal (data.clevelandohio. gov) in April 2024, providing access to datasets from Public Safety, Public Works, Building & Housing, and other operational departments. This presentation will serve as an overview of how Cleveland developed a new cloud-based data warehouse - which the City also did not have - to serve as the foundation to the data architecture, as well as the portal development.

10:10 a.m. – 10:40 a.m.

Get Smart or Get Lost: Post-Pandemic Life in Manufacturing

Presented by Andrew Osborn ’10
Armstrong Student Center - Room 1062 (Joslin Senate Chamber)

The older generation is retiring, younger workers are not getting into the trades and a push for companies to lower their working capital has created incredible headwinds for the manufacturing industry. Companies are now relying more on smart manufacturing to take the place of a disappearing workforce. This talk will investigate the challenges that we face and how manufacturers can use technology and artificial intelligence to stay competitive. We will review real world examples of what has been done and what the next 5 years might look like in manufacturing.

Improving Value in Healthcare: How Can AI Help?

Presented by Tom Callahan ’08
Armstrong Student Center - Room 2084

The American healthcare system is frequently shown to provide worse outcomes at higher cost than peer economies. In this talk, we will discuss some of the conflicts inherent to the healthcare system today and how they drive inefficiency. After a brief overview of emerging areas for AI in healthcare, we’ll discuss areas where AI is being used to make today’s system more efficient - and more importantly - tackle new problems that can improve outcomes and lower costs for all participants in the healthcare system.

Differential Privacy (DP): A Privacy-Enhancing Technology (PET)

Presented by Khodakhast Bibak
Armstrong Student Center - Room 2080

Given massive collection of personal data by various companies and organizations, it is critical to protect the privacy of people. In this talk, we first review several privacy failures (by Group Insurance Commission (GIC), AOL, Netflix, and NYC Taxi Data) and discuss how these supposedly anonym databases leaked sensitive data. Then we discuss how privacy can be achieved using a Privacy-Enhancing Technology (PET) called Differential Privacy (DP) which is a rigorous mathematical definition of privacy. 

DP is a cryptographic technique which has many important applications, for example, in data analysis and privacy preserving machine learning, and works by injecting some amount of random noise to the result of the query about a dataset. DP is robust to various privacy attacks; it provides a mathematical guarantee that nothing is leaked about participants in the database. The proposers of DP received the 2016 Theory of Cryptography Conference (TCC) Test-of-Time Award and the 2017 Gödel Prize.

10:50 a.m.– 11:20 a.m.

Building NASA Research – One Unique Step at a Time

Presented by Sarah Waechter ’04 
Armstrong Student Center - Room 1062 (Joslin Senate Chamber)

NASA is known for developing, designing and building unique, one-of-a-kind research aircraft, spacecraft, satellites… you name it. Building a unique, complex product just one time is not easy. Mrs. Sarah Waechter will be talking about her experience in the complexities and challenges of these types of projects. From assembling Shuttles to designing and building x-planes, each of her projects has a lesson to be learned and hurdles that were overcome.

Engineering a Path to Medical School

Presented by Bryce Linkous ’19
Armstrong Student Center - Room 2084

Despite students who study engineering being highly competitive and capable applicants to medical school, it is an uncommon background among medical students. In 2015, less than 5% of US physicians reported engineering as the field of their undergraduate degree. Engineers’ abilities to think analytically, understand complex systems, and produce innovative ideas are valuable skills in the world of medicine. Also, engineers’ interdisciplinary insights lead to scientific advancements and allow for holistic patient care. Through this talk, learn to leverage your experience studying engineering to prepare you better to apply and succeed in medical school.

The Future of Software Engineering

Presented by Drew Olson ’05, M.S. ’06
Armstrong Student Center - Room 2080

The more things change, the more they stay the same. In this talk, I’ll discuss my perspectives on how software engineering may change in the next 20 years, and how it won’t. I’ll cover software architecture, programming languages, development environments, methodologies, and (of course) AI.

Lunch - 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Lunch and Keynote Speaker: Maria Bennett ’95

Armstrong Student Center - Fritz Pavillion (Room 3056)

12:30 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.

The Winding Road of Entrepreneurship: Translating Technology to an Impactful Business

Presented by Maria Bennett ’95 in conversation with junior Biomedical Engineering major Delaney Richmond
Armstrong Student Center - Fritz Pavillion (Room 3056)

“An insightful mentor once told me that building a company is never a straight path. Throw in an innovative technology designed to relieve patient’s pain in a new market, and the path becomes even less clear. How do you navigate this winding road of entrepreneurship? Build a team with resources that are better than you, empower the team to execute, stay true to your values, and lead with vision, passion and humility. And always remember the wise words of Dr. Osama Ettouney, Miami University MME Professor and Chair Emeritus, ‘Have fun and learn something new.’” -Maria Bennett ’95, President, CEO, and Founder , SPR Therapeutics, Inc.

1:20 p.m. – 1:50 p.m.

Manufacturing Technology Development that Survived the Valley of Death

Presenter: Randy Kappesser ’84
ASC Room 1062 (Joslin Senate Chamber)

The phrase “Valley of Death” has been used as the final resting place for many manufacturing ideas that have not made it into production. This talk will cover processes for high-technology manufacturing development, examples of successes and failures, as well as tools for navigating to achieve production success.

Protecting the Shop Floor Against Cyber Attacks

Presenter: Brian Minick ’99
Armstrong Student Center - Room 2080

Recent news that countries are hacking into each other’s water and energy systems has made the protection of operational technologies (OT) a priority. In this talk, we will define what operational technology is and how it is distinct from information technology, explore the history of OT cyber-attacks, and look at what needs to be considered to effectively protect OT.

McVey Data Science Building Walking Tour - 1:20 p.m.

Walking Tour to the McVey Data Science Building

Departing at 1:20 p.m. from the registration table (Armstrong Student Center Atrium) Returning to Atrium, before 2:50 p.m.

2:00 p.m. – 2:50 p.m.

Professional Development and General Manufacturing Industry Panel with Swagelok

Presented by Sarah Herbruck ’22, Kelly McVay ’13, Vince Moeglin ’18, and Gabi Star ’23
Armstrong Student Center - Room 1062 (Joslin Senate Chamber)

Join us for a Q and A session with a panel of Miami Engineering graduates from Swagelok Company. With a wide range of experiences in the manufacturing industry and varying engineering degrees, join them to talk about their own experiences and hardships in the working world, share thoughts on an exciting future in manufacturing, and reminisce on the good times at Miami University. We look forward to interacting with new friends and seeing familiar faces at this year’s Alumni and Friends Conference!

The Importance of Negotiations When it Comes to Contracts, Jobs, and Pay

Presented by Disha Patel ’02 in conversation with Erin Clark and Stephanie Portanova
Armstrong Student Center - Room 2080

Join us for a panel discussion on the HR side of engineering and computing careers. Moderated by Disha Patel, Amgen Ohio Digital Technology and Innovation Site Lead, this panel will feature Erin Clark, Senior Manager of Talent at Silfex and Stephanie Portanova, Associate HR Manager at Nestlé Purina North America.

3:00 p.m. – 3:50 p.m.

Sharing the Female Perspective on How to build a Pet Food Manufacturing Facility from the Ground Up

Presented by Kyani Alford, Elise Layman, Sangeeta Mukhopadhyay, Stephanie Portanova, and Sara Smith 
Armstrong Student Center - Room 1062 (Joslin Senate Chamber)

Get an inside look on what it takes to startup a Petfood Manufacturing plant from 4 key female leaders on the Nestle Purina team in Batavia, OH. Sharing their experience across quality assurance, engineering and product development, human resources, supply chain and materials, the panelists will highlight how they are helping the 1.3 million square foot property transition from a greenfield into a full petfood operations.

Let’s Play - Experiencing with Games to Improve Teaching and Learning

Presented by Karen Davis and Peter Jamieson
Armstrong Student Center - Room 2084

In this active workshop, Peter and Karen will demonstrate to attendees how board games can be used to help us improve our teaching and learning. The ideas will be beneficial to students, professors, and professionals, and not to worry, it might be fun too! For those who joined last year, the games will be different.

AI Industry Panel Discussion

Presented by Tom Callahan ’08, Randy Kappesser ’84, Brian Minick ’99, and John Femiani
Armstrong Student Center - Room 2084

Moderated by professor of Computer Science and Software Engineering John Femiani, this panel discussion will offer insights from Miami University College of Engineering and Computing alumni currently in leadership at GE Aerospace, Fifth Third Bank, and Nuna.

Reception - 4:00 p.m.– 5:00 p.m.


Armstrong Student Center - Room 1082

The College of Engineering and Computing