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Engineering professor to receive honor for energy conservation education

Fri, 03/15/2013

LAWRENCE — A University of Kansas School of Engineering assistant professor landed a statewide award for leading innovative research with a focus on real-world design and sustainable methods for powering vehicles.

Chris Depcik, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, will receive the Rising Star Award in April from the Kansas Association for Conservation and Environmental Education (KACEE). The award recognizes individuals who are new to the conservation and environmental education field in Kansas but are already making an impact.

Upon joining the mechanical engineering faculty at KU in 2008, Depcik started the KU EcoHawks program, which builds upon his enthusiasm for cars and challenges KU students to engineer sustainably.

“The majority of the credit should go to the students that have been part of the EcoHawks over the years. I just get behind them and give them a push," Depcik said. "Sometimes it’s a little push, and sometimes it’s a lot, but in reality, they’re the ones who’ve done all the work and done great things. The award is just as much for them as it for me."

EcoHawks projects include recycling a 1974 Volkswagen Super Beetle into a model of energy efficiency by converting it to a plug-in series hybrid that runs on 100 percent biodiesel, as well as designing and developing two parallel hybrid go-karts, one of which was recently donated to Lawrence High School for further study. The work of the EcoHawks also ties in with KU’s Feedstock to Tailpipe Initiative, which creates a multidisciplinary research team to explore the viability of alternative liquid fuels to power the country’s transportation system.

Depcik said the award also helps shine a spotlight on the depth and quality of the research into green technologies under way at the KU School of Engineering.

“A lot of people might not have a full picture of all the work we’re doing at KU in terms of sustainability, energy and the environment, so anything that gets the word out is a great help,” Depcik said. “This calls attention to the success of our current students and provides a valuable showcase of our work to the next generation of potential Jayhawk engineers.”

Depcik will receive the Rising Star award at a recognition ceremony April 5 in Topeka. For a full list of all the KACEE award winners and for more on the organization, visit its website.

Learn more about KU EcoHawks here.
 



Matt Menzenski, a graduate student in Slavic languages & literatures, took this photo during President Obama’s speech at KU Thursday. Menzenski says he was struck by how relaxed the president was in his delivery. He missed a chance to hear former President Bill Clinton speak in his hometown in 2004, but finally got to see a sitting president this week at KU. “The opportunity to hear the president speak is just one of many great opportunities I've had at KU. So many interesting talks and events happen here all the time. I try to attend at least one a week-- it's never hard to find something interesting to go to.” Tags: University of Kansas College of Liberal Arts and Sciences KU School of Languages, Literatures & Cultures KU Dept of Slavic Languages - Friends & Alumni Barack Obama The White House #exploreKU #POTUSatKU

#KUfacts : There are 30+ tenant companies in the Bioscience & Technology Business Center at KU. http://t.co/PqeeY5r16W #growKS
Explore KU: The Bells of Mount Oread KU’s Campanile, a 120-foot-tall timepiece that tolls automatically on the hour and quarter-hour, not only sounded in the 2015 New Year at midnight with 12 mighty gongs, but also regularly rings up memories for many Jayhawks – the 277 faculty and students who gave their lives during World War II, the graduates who walk through its doors at commencement, and aspiring students who have strolled through the Lawrence campus. (See http://bit.ly/1xjjwJj). For nearly 60 years, KU’s 53-bell carillon has been tolling the sounds of peace and serenity across Mount Oread since it was installed in June 1955 inside the landmark World War II Memorial Campanile, which was dedicated in 1951. (See http://bit.ly/1BoL9jv) The carillon is also a four-octave musical instrument, which is played with a giant keyboard and foot pedals. University Carillonneur Elizabeth Egber-Berghout (http://bit.ly/14fiBPl), associate professor of carillon and organ, climbs 77 steps up a spiral staircase in the bell tower to perform recitals several times a month.


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