In Brief

High school students attended Penn State Behrend’s annual Women in Engineering Day.

High school students attended Penn State Behrend’s annual Women in Engineering Day.

Credit: Penn State Behrend

Girls explore engineering at outreach program

Nearly 150 high school students attended Penn State Behrend’s annual Women in Engineering Day in November. The youth outreach program uses hands-on workshops to encourage girls to explore engineering fields and careers.

A study space of their own

Residents of the Engineering House special living option in Niagara Hall suggested turning unused space in the basement of the residence hall into a study-lounge. Several units of the college, including the School of Engineering, Residence Life, Housing and Food Services, and Information Technology Services, pooled resources to adapt the space. Students in the Engineering House helped design the space using Computer-Aided Drafting and are currently developing usage guidelines for the space.

Behrend engineering programs ranked in top 40 by U.S. News

Rankings by U.S. News & World Report released this past fall place the School of Engineering at Penn State Behrend among the top forty undergraduate engineering programs in the nation in the category of schools whose highest engineering degree offered is a bachelor’s or master’s. The school is at No. 35 on the list. The Best Engineering Schools rankings are based on surveys of engineering deans and senior faculty of engineering programs accredited by ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology).

Master of Manufacturing Management now delivered online and on weekends

The Master of Manufacturing Management (MMM) program, jointly offered by the School of Engineering and the Black School of Business, can now be pursued primarily online.

Coursework for the MMM, one of only a handful of manufacturing-focused graduate management programs in the country, is being delivered online and in two, ten-hour weekend campus visits per semester, plus a three-day summer residency for plant visits. The 32-credit program can be completed in one year of full-time study or twenty-two months of part-time study.

“It can be a challenge for any working adult to pursue a master’s degree, and manufacturing professionals have the additional concerns of scheduling around shift work and inflexible production schedules,” said Dr. Diane Parente, the Samuel A. and Elizabeth B. Breene Professor of Management and co-director of the program. “Converting the program to a combination of online and weekend study makes the benefits of advanced education accessible to a larger number of students.”

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Dr. Ihab Ragai, associate professor of engineering.

Dr. Ihab Ragai, associate professor of engineering.

Credit: Penn State Behrend

Behrend’s Ragai named ASME fellow

Dr. Ihab Ragai, assistant professor of engineering, has been named a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). Just 2 percent of the society’s 140,000 professional members earn the distinction.

Ragai, a member of ASME since 1998, was recognized for his contributions to the field of advanced manufacturing. Throughout his career, in both industry and academic settings, he has studied the influence of materials and manufacturing processes on product design for automotive and aerospace applications.

At Behrend, Ragai teaches courses related to machine design, new product development, and design for manufacturing. His research has focused on advanced manufacturing processes, smart manufacturing, machine condition monitoring, and machine structural optimization. In addition, he has served as a visiting professor of mechanical design at Rosenheim University of Applied Sciences in Germany.

As an ASME fellow, Ragai is at the highest elected level of membership in the society, which promotes the art, science, and practice of multidisciplinary engineering and applied sciences in more than 150 countries. His formal induction as an ASME fellow will be at the 2019 Manufacturing Science and Engineering Conference, which will be hosted by Penn State Behrend at Erie’s Bayfront Convention Center in June.

Joel Carr ’07

Joel Carr ’07

Credit: Penn State Behrend

Innovative Alumnus Honored

Joel Carr ’07 was recently honored by Pittsburgh Business Times with a 2018 Innovator Award for his work as a polypropylene plastics product technology leader at Braskem America’s research and development facility in Pittsburgh.

Carr and his team of eight researchers were challenged to develop new plastic compositions that would allow automakers to design cars that are lighter and more fuel-efficient without sacrificing aesthetics, strength of materials, and ease and cost of manufacturing.

The team ended up finding the “holy grail” of automotive thermoplastic components by combining the desired attributes of different polymers to form new polypropylene compositions that met the auto industry’s specifications. The researchers have applied for several patents for improved polypropylenes.

Carr, 33, lives in Pittsburgh with his wife, Sheila, and daughter, Ruth.


Penn State Behrend will host the largest international advanced manufacturing conference in the world, NAMRC 47 I MSEC2019, at Erie’s Bayfront Convention Center on June 10-14. More than 800 researchers and manufacturers from around the globe will gather to share the latest innovations and developments in manufacturing systems and processes, cyber-physical systems, and materials processing. To learn more about sponsorship opportunities or to register to attend, visit