2020-21 Interdisciplinary Business with Engineering Studies Newsletter

In This Issue:

New Things Going on in the Major

The Interdisciplinary Business with Engineering Studies (IBE) major continues to grow. We again have two sections of the capstone course in 2020–21. Many graduates obtain dual degrees in either Project and Supply Chain Management (PSCM) or Finance. The graduating seniors, as part of final capstone projects, will present to their sponsors at the end of the term. IBE graduates continue at or near 100 percent employment at interesting and varied jobs, and some are pursuing a Master of Manufacturing Management or Master of Project Management degree. We also are working on adding some new modules—some have been approved, and others will be presented to the schools’ curriculum committees. As an update, Dr. Yohannes Haile, assistant teaching professor of management, and Gary R. Smith, lecturer in management, are also advisers for IBE. Dr. Jeffrey Vaitekunas, assistant teaching professor of engineering, and Randy Brown, lecturer in management, are teaching the capstone course.

Practicing What He Teaches: Entrepreneur and Penn State Behrend Professor “Making Waves” in the Therapeutic Medical Device Market

Jeffrey Vaitakunas

Faculty Spotlight: Jeffrey Vaitekunas, Ph.D., Assistant Teaching Professor of Engineering, IBE, Mechanical Engineering Technology, and MMM Programs

Dr. Jeffrey Vaitekunas, in addition to teaching in the IBE program, is also the founder and CEO of WaveClear™. WaveClear™ is a medical device start-up pioneering the deployment of therapeutic ultrasound technologies to combat vascular diseases. Just recently, the company announced the closing of a $1.1 million Series-A round of investment led by Palo Alto-based medical device venture capital firm Hunniwell Lake Ventures (HLV) and joined by Ben Franklin Technology Partners, a Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development investment company, through the office in Knowledge Park on the Behrend campus.

Peripheral vascular diseases are increasing worldwide, and current treatment methodologies require overnight stays or multiple short treatments because of the risk of hemolysis, which is the breakdown of blood cells. The funding will be used to further develop the CaviClear™ Endovascular System, a minimally invasive and cost-effective ultrasound-generated device for a broad range of endovascular applications. As an initial indication, WaveClear™ will be seeking FDA approval to treat Peripheral Arterial Diseases (PAD). Additional indications for the treatment of Deep Vein Thrombectomy (DVT) and Peripheral Vascular Thrombectomy (PVT) are also being contemplated.

We identified that ultrasonic energy can safely disintegrate blood clots in a single-session treatment without damaging the blood vessel,” Dr. Vaitekunas said about the CaviClear™ Endovascular System. “We believe we can save lives and limbs and greatly improve patient outcomes, particularly for chronic clot conditions.”

Alumni Spotlight

Olivia Purpura '19

Olivia Purpura

Olivia is a member of the LEAD Program in Operations at Wabtec. She is a materials technical advisor for the grid blower production line. She is responsible for ensuring that there is the necessary material to support production and customer requirements.

What is one of the most interesting/unique aspects of your job?

I get to see a locomotive be assembled from start to finish.

There are now 25 hours in a day. How do you spend your extra hour?

Wishing for more additional hours (to spend with my puppy!).

What came as the biggest surprise to you at your first post-Behrend job?

How well-rounded the IBE program makes you and sets you up for an easy transition with your knowledge base.

Student Spotlights

Tyler Wolf '21

Tyler Wolf

Tyler is an IBE and Project and Supply Chain Management major and has been involved in the volleyball and lacrosse clubs.

What attracted you to Penn State Behrend?

Like many other students trying to find what they enjoy, I found an interest in business classes. This is what got me interested in Behrend’s unique IBE program.

Why did you choose IBE? What attracted you to it?

I chose Penn State Behrend because of my interest in engineering in high school. I was originally in mechanical engineering my first two years here.

Jakeb Byerley '21

Jakeb Byerley

Jakeb is an IBE and Project and Supply Chain Management major and was a member of the Elected Board of Tone-Acious, Behrend’s a cappella group, for seven semesters.

What attracted you to Penn State Behrend?

I was attracted to Behrend because of the open, out-of-the-city campus and the major that best fit my interests.

Why did you choose IBE? What attracted you to it?

I chose IBE because I am interested in engineering, but I have always been good in business and wanted to combine those skills. IBE seemed like the perfect fit.