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Washington State University
Biological Systems Engineering News: Graduate Student

Cuts to Manure Gas Earns Student Kudos

George NeerackalPh.D. student, George Mathew Neerackal, won 2nd place at the Ron Sheffield Memorial Student Poster competition at the Waste to Worth conference, Seattle, WA; March 30-April 03, 2015.

Poster Title: Manure pH Management for Mitigating Ammonia Emissions from Manure Flush Dairy Barns

Advisor: Dr. Pius Ndegwa

click to see full research poster

Dairy cows produce lots of manure. A WSU student’s research on cutting the environmental impact of all that waste won him second place in a poster competition at Seattle’s annual Waste to Worth conference.

George Neerackal, who graduates later this year with a doctorate in Biological Systems Engineering, took second in the Ron Sheffield Memorial Student poster contest, held March 31 to April 3.

[read full article from CAHNRS]

Student Earns Top International Sustainability Prize

WSU News | by Kate Wilhite, College of Agricultural, Human & Natural Resource Sciences

green-talents-80PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University graduate student Sergio Baravalle is among 25 exceptional young scientists worldwide to receive an annual award for work in sustainable development.

Baravalle is a Fulbright scholar working on his master’s degree in biological and agricultural engineering.

Chosen from 800 applicants

He was selected for the Green Talents International Forum for High-Potentials in Sustainable Development award by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research from more than 800 applicants in over 100 countries.

Sergio Baravalle, WSU, and Johanna Wanka, Germany’s minister of education and research.

The “Green Talents” each win a two-week tour of renowned sustainable research centers in Germany and a three-month stay at the German research institution of their choice. They become lifetime members of a global network of sustainability leaders.

“I have spent two weeks with 24 of the best minds in their disciplines,” said Baravalle, who just returned from the tour. “That was the real prize.”

Learn more about the award at See Sergio’s and other winners’ profiles here.

Waste management, renewable energy

The awards jury looks for research projects with the potential to contend with threats such as global warming, energy shortages, and environmental contamination.

The focus of Baravalle’s research is to gain an understanding of the municipal solid waste business and how it can create sustainable and innovative solutions in conjunction with renewable energy technologies. He is also exploring a more efficient production of ethanol from dry plant matter by combining the processes of pre-treatment and sugar release into a single step.

Judges were enthusiastic about Baravalle’s combination of using multiple disciplines to conduct cutting-edge scientific experiments. They said this experience will help him advance sustainable waste management and energy solutions.

Pursuing certificates at MIT, WSU

“Sergio has displayed remarkable skills in science, business, and engineering,” said Bin Yang, a professor in WSU’s Department of Biological Systems Engineering and Baravalle’s academic advisor. “He will continue to grow and make significant contributions to the field of converting biomass to fuels and chemicals.”

In addition to working on his master’s degree, Baravalle is pursuing graduate certificates in logistics and supply chain management from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and in project management from WSU.

Sergio Baravalle, WSU Biological Systems Engineering,
Kate Wilhite, WSU College of Agricultural, Human & Natural Resource Sciences communications,

BSYSE 512 Poster Competition Winners

First Place:       Prashant Pokhrel (avg score 81.3)

Second Place:  Muhammad Khan (avg score 80.8)

Third Place:     Jose Martinez Fernandez (avg score 79.8)


Congratulations to Prashant, Muhammad, and Jose for your exceptional poster presentations, and to the whole class for your good effort!

ASABE Conference Research Award

Congratulations to Jingjin Zhang!

“I am very happy to announce that your paper entry to the Boyd-Scott Graduation Research Award competition was selected as one of the top three papers judged in the written portion of the PH.D. category competition.” An oral competition will follow this July in Montreal, Canada.

Carol L. Flautt, Awards Administrator, ASABE

Graduate Student Award

vince1Soil Science Society of America | Congratulations to Mr. Hossein Sadeghi as the recipient of the 2013 Graduate Student Award!

Hossein is a Ph.D. candidate at Washington State University under the direction of Dr. Troy Peters in the Biological Systems Engineering Department. Hossein has been described by his advisor as “a brilliant and productive Ph.D. student with big dreams and with high standards of scholarship and high expectations for himself.” Hossein is currently researching “New methods to evaluate and adjust the design and operation of center pivot and micro-irrigation tapered laterals for improved efficiency” at the Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center in Prosser WA. The goal of this research is to save water and make irrigation management easier for growers.

BSysE students Win Poster Competition

The research posters of Kanishka Bhunia and Roopesh Syamaladevi won first and third places, respectively at the Lewis-Clark section of Institute of Food Technologists 2012 Student Research Poster competition. Kanishka and Roopesh work with assistant professor and scientist Shyam Sablani.

Also attending this conference were BSysE graduate students Yang Jiao,Peng Jing, Ellen Bornhorst, Sumeet Dhawan, Wenjia Zhang, Rossana Villa Rojas, and Ofero Caparino.

Wenjia Zhang wins 1st place poster award at IMPI 46

Graduate student Wenjia Zhang’s poster presentation titled “Physical Properties of Egg Whites and Whole Eggs Relevant to Microwave Pasteurization” received 1st place poster award at the 46th IMPI (International Microwave Power Institute) symposium held in Las Vegas, June 2012. Wenjia Zhang works with Dr. Juming Tang’s microwave pasteurization group. The International Microwave Power Institute is the leading global association dedicated to the exchange of information on all aspects of microwave and RF heating technologies.

CougsCARE design team places second in Hydrogen Education Foundation Competition

Brennan Pecha (ChemE), Jacob Bair (ME), Eli Chambers (ChemE), Cale Levengood (ME), and Shi-Shen Liaw(BioSysE); members of the WSU CougsCARE team avised by Jacob Leachman, Su Ha, and Manuel Garcia-Perez took 2nd place in the annual Hydrogen Education Foundation Competition with a “Combined Heat, Hydrogen and Power (CHHP) system design for WSU using local resources.

2014 Outstanding Graduate Student Awards

On behalf of Dr. Stockle and the Biological Systems Engineering Scholarship Committee, we are announcing the winners of the 2014 BSYSE Outstanding Graduate Student Awards. Each student will be receiving $500 along with the award letter from Dr. Stockle.

Agricultural Automation Engineering

Arnie & Marta Kegel Endowed Fellowship

  • Suraj Amatya
  • Mark DeKlaine

Bioenergy and Bioproducts Engineering

Alfred & Genevieve Gallucci Scholarship

  • Lei Zhu
  • Libing Zhang
  • Tingting Li
  • Ali Abghari

Food Engineering

Arnie & Marta Kegel Endowed Fellowship

  • Ellen Bornhorst
  • Yang Jiao


Walter and Vinnie Hinz Scholarship

  • Golnaz Badr
  • Hossein Sadeghi

Our congratulations to these outstanding graduate students!!