people programs and events

New Startup Showcase is Demo Day 2.0

CORVALLIS, Ore. - Startup Showcase will be presented by entrepreneurs from the Oregon State University Advantage Accelerator/ RAIN Corvallis program on Thursday, Oct. 20.

The event will be a celebration of achievements and a new take on a traditional startup graduation event for the program. Individuals will present their successes and companies live on stage at the LaSells Stewart Center, Construction and Engineering Hall; and other researchers will discuss advances in their fields.

The event is free and open to the public, and attendees can choose to attend one, two, or all three sessions. Free registration is available online at http://bit.ly/2dHQSPs

The sessions will include “The Futurists” from 2:30-3:45 p.m., a panel-style event led by selected OSU researchers who will showcase OSU technologies available for commercialization. This will feature “The Future of Robotics,” by Johnathan Hurst; “Advances in Sustainable Materials and Green Chemistry,” by Doug Keszler; “Life Science Innovations,” by Joe Beckman; “Wind Turbine Wildlife Sensor,” by Robert Albertani; “Novel Drug for Type-1 Diabetes and Autoimmune Disorders,” by Siva Kolluri; and “Treatment for Hypertension,” by Patrick Iversen.

A session on “Hot Startups” from 4-4:45 p.m. will include three-minute pitches by “Accelerate” clients, followed by a short awards ceremony. Companies include Hytchr, Julvia Technologies, Coyle, Seiji’s Bridge, Theory Software, and Jitterbug.

The event will conclude with “Growth Stage” from 5:30-7 p.m. “Launch” clients and alumni will give seven-minute pitches, and companies include eChemion, Onboard Dynamics, Bee Certain, Chef Mel’s, Baker Seed Technologies, and Danio Discovery.

Media Contact: 

Anna Walsh



Mark Lieberman, 541-368-520


Oregon State University celebrates Star Trek with class, events

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University will mark the 50th anniversary of the seminal science fiction television series, “Star Trek,” with a number of events as well as a class dedicated to the original show. 

Spawning countless films, series, spoofs, conventions and memes, Star Trek is known for its combination of philosophy, technology and social justice.  

Joseph Orosco, an associate professor of philosophy, is teaching an undergraduate class during Fall term titled “Star Trek and Philosophy,” which will help students examine issues of politics, ethics and social justice raised in the original series. There are currently 50 students enrolled in the course.

“We're going to watch and critically discuss episodes of Star Trek as morality tales, highlighting classic philosophical problems,” Orosco said. “Some of the questions we’ll examine include, ‘How can we tell reality from illusion? What is the nature of human happiness? Can war ever be moral?’ ” 

On Oct. 11, Randall Milstein, an instructor in the OSU Honors College and College of Science, will give a public lecture on the cultural and technological impact the series has had on society and every day life. “The Cultural and Technological Impact of Star Trek” will take place from 4-5 p.m. in the Learning Innovation Center, Room 368.

Another public lecture will take place at 4 p.m., Oct. 20, on “Star Trek and Social Justice,” in Milam Hall, Room 319. Christina Allaback, the artistic director for the Eugene-based Trek Theater, will explain the origins of Trek Theater, how she sees it embracing the lessons of the theater of the oppressed, and what we can learn about social justice from science fiction. 

Also on Oct. 20, Trek Theatre will perform the “Star Trek: The Next Generation” episode of “The Drumhead” at 7 p.m. in the Learning Innovation Center, Room 228. This classic episode is a story about the clash between state security and the protection of human rights. A costume reception will precede the performance, starting at 6 p.m. Attendees are invited to wear Star Trek themed costumes and prizes will be awarded to several participants.

At noon Nov. 10, Navaho (Dine) artist Ryan Singer and hip hop artist/writer Joel South will discuss their work as Native artists and fans of science fiction during a celebration of indigenous science fiction and Star Trek. Grace Dillon, a professor in the Indigenous Nations Studies Program at Portland State University and a scholar of the genre of indigenous science fiction, will also participate. The event will be held at the Native American Longhouse Eena Haws, 311 S.W. 26th St.

All of the events are free and open to the public. The Star Trek celebration is sponsored by the Anarres Project, a program based out of the OSU School of History, Philosophy and Religion. It is a forum for conversations, ideas, and initiatives promoting a future free of oppression, war, and empire, inspired by the speculative fiction of Oregon writer Ursula K. Le Guin. 

The events are also part of the 2016-17 SPARK program, the university’s year-long celebration of the arts and sciences.

Story By: 

Joseph Orosco, joseph.orosco@oregonstate.edu, 541-737-4335

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A dancer performs at a Trek Theatre event. (Photo by Theresa Hogue)

Star Trek performance

‘State of the Coast’ conference set for Oct. 29

GLENEDEN BEACH, Ore. – Registration has opened for Oregon Sea Grant’s annual State of the Coast conference, which will be held Oct. 29 at the Salishan Spa and Golf Resort.

The event is designed to bring together the public, scientists, business and community leaders, fishermen, resource managers, teachers, students and conservationists so they can learn about current marine research and issues facing the coast. There are fees for attendance.

The keynote speaker will be Emmy-winning Michael Bendixen, a videographer and editor with Oregon Public Broadcasting’s Oregon Field Guide. Bendixen, who has worked with Oregon Sea Grant, has spent his career focusing on communicating science through art. He’ll talk about how he learns the science, crafts a story and produces a video.

Presentations will include the following topics:

  • an update on coastal legislation
  • what’s happening with wave energy
  • how and why the changing oceans are being monitored
  • the 50th anniversary of Oregon’s beach bill
  • innovations in coastal planning
  • harmful algal blooms
  • innovative approaches to engage youth in marine science, industry and issues in their communities
  • the effect of ocean oddities on fish ecology, such as “The Blob,” a huge patch of unusually warm water in the Pacific Ocean

Additionally, students from various universities in Oregon, including Oregon State University, will talk about their coastal research. Also, cooking demonstrations will teach participants how to prepare various types of seafood.

Registration in advance is recommended as space is limited. Cost is $35 for the public and $25 for students and includes lunch and a reception. Doors open at 8 a.m. and the conference starts at 9 a.m. For more information and to register, visit www.stateofthecoast.com. Salishan is at Gleneden Beach, about five miles south of Lincoln City.


Flaxen Conway, 541-737-1339, fconway@coas.oregonstate.edu; Jamie Doyle, 541-572-5263, Jamie.Doyle@oregonstate.edu

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Sara Shaw Roberts, a former master’s student at Oregon State University, talks about her research at the 2015 State of the Coast Conference in Coos Bay. (Photo by Anne Farrell-Matthews)
2015 State of the Coast

Marie Kowalski, a former master’s student at Oregon State University, talks about her research on mitigating microplastics at the 2015 State of the Coast Conference in Coos Bay. (Photo by Anne Farrell-Matthews)

2015 State of the Coast

New initiative will help investigate natural disasters worldwide

SEATTLE, Wash. - A $4.1 million grant was announced today from the National Science Foundation to provide instrumentation and tools for a new Rapid Response Research Facility, which will promptly collect data about how buildings, roads, bridges and other infrastructure are impacted by earthquakes or wind damage from hurricanes, tornadoes and other storms.

The center will be operated by the University of Washington in collaboration with Oregon State University, the University of Florida and Virginia Tech. Scientists say it will provide assistance to teams that can deploy anywhere around the world, and help compile data about damage in a systematic, high-quality way before it’s forever lost to bulldozers, weather, cleanup and repair efforts.

With this information, scientists hope to identify ways to improve building codes, identify weak spots in structures, and take other actions to help mitigate damage from future events. The system will also use the latest and most sophisticated technologies to analyze the landscapes.

“We’re able to learn a great deal now with technologies such as light detecting and ranging, or LIDAR, aircraft monitoring, hyperspectral imaging, and other instruments that can analyze seismic and wind forces better than ever before possible,” said Michael Olsen, an expert in the evolving science of geomatics, associate professor in the College of Engineering at OSU, and one of the co-principal investigators on the project.

“This new center will allow a much better way to coordinate data acquisition efforts, improve its quality and have more confidence in the findings we make. We’ll then work to make that information available to scientists all over the world.”

Joe Wartman, a UW associate professor of civil and environmental engineering and center director, said speed is essential.

"Usually with rescue and response efforts, this very valuable data disappears really quickly," Wartman said. "By collecting this data in the immediate aftermath of a disaster, we can begin to understand what went wrong and why. This allows us to better prepare and take precautionary measures in advance of future events."

The interdisciplinary center will focus on two types of natural hazards: wind hazards, such as tornadoes and coastal storms; and earthquakes, which includes earthquake-induced ground failure and tsunamis. It will also offer training to communities that wish to conduct post-disaster investigations themselves, as well as assess the social costs of disasters.

Findings of this type, Olsen said, will also be of value to the Cascadia Lifelines Program at OSU, which is a university-based initiative supported by private industry to help the Pacific Northwest prepare for the devastating subduction zone earthquake and tsunami expected in its future.

The facility will create new software tools for transmitting, integrating, exploring and visualizing the complex data sets. These include mobile apps to assess structural damage in the field and a platform for mixed-media social data gathering. A computer-automated virtual reality environment will also allow people to walk into a room and “see” the disaster scene in three dimensions as if they were there.

“The idea is that you can use the facility to collect data — either through our staff or our training — and then you can come to the center months later and recreate the field experience by walking through a damaged building or looking at how much a particular area flooded,” Wartman said.

In addition to supporting researchers, the facility will enable citizens to use social media and mobile devices to crowdsource post-disaster data and build awareness about wind- and earthquake-related impacts.

The grant follows the NSF’s larger $40 million NHERI investment, announced in September 2015, which funds a network of shared research centers and resources at various universities across the nation. The goal is to reduce the vulnerability of buildings, tunnels, waterways, communication networks, energy systems and social groups to increase the disaster resilience of communities across the United States.

"Under NHERI, future discoveries will not only mitigate the impacts of earthquakes, but also will advance our ability to protect life and property from windstorms such as hurricanes and tornadoes," said Joy Paushke, program director in NSF's Division of Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation.

Story By: 

Michael Olsen, 541-737-9327


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LIDAR image of tsunami damage
Lidar image after earthquake

Oregon State University launches SPARK, a year-long celebration of arts and science

CORVALLIS, Ore. –  Oregon State University will celebrate the relationship between the arts and science throughout the 2016-17 school year with a new series of events and activities called SPARK.

The goal of SPARK, which will include dozens of events and activities on the OSU campus in Corvallis as well as across the state, is to showcase the intersections of the arts and science, their critical interplay with one another and the rich partnerships and collaborations that can occur among varied disciplines. Events will include guest speakers, music and theater performances, art exhibits and more.

“SPARK was created to show how creativity and science connect in the real world,” said Larry Rodgers, dean of the College of Liberal Arts. “We are excited to offer the university and the public a year-long series of events that celebrates the many ways in which the liberal arts and sciences are the bedrock of OSU’s nearly 150-year history.”

Among the upcoming events are:

  • Oct. 4: Science fiction author David Brin, whose 1985 novel “The Postman,” was set largely in Oregon, will speak at 6 p.m. in the Construction and Engineering Hall at The LaSells Stewart Center at OSU. The talk is free and open to the public.
  • Oct. 20: Trek Theatre performance of Star Trek: TNG’s “The Drumhead,” hosted by the Anarres Project at OSU, will be at 7 p.m., Learning Innovation Center, Room 228.
  • Oct. 21: Author Eileen Pollack will speak on “The Facts Behind the Fiction: Research and Creative Writing,” at 4 p.m. in Memorial Union Journey Room and will speak about her nonfiction book, “The Only Woman in the Room: Why Science is Still A Boys’ Club” at 7:30 p.m. in the Valley Library Rotunda.
  • Nov. 19: The OSU Marching Band will present “The Art in Science, the Science in Art,” a special half-time show illustrating how the arts and sciences overlap. The show will feature algorithmic music composed by a mathematician and formations based on the drawings of M.C. Escher.

“From small, intimate workshops, to residencies for arts students in scientific labs, to larger events such as an arts and science-themed halftime at Reser Stadium, SPARK offers a wide range of events to engage the campus and the community,” said Charles Robinson, who is leading the SPARK organizing team. “From one end of the campus and Corvallis to the other, and throughout Oregon, the program of SPARK events will explore the heart of the OSU mission: the continuous search for new knowledge and solutions.”

In all, more than 60 events on campus and elsewhere are being planned or will be co-sponsored by SPARK over the 2016-17 school year. A calendar and additional information about upcoming events is available on the SPARK website, spark.oregonstate.edu.

The series is sponsored by the OSU College of Education, the College of Liberal Arts, the College of Science, the Honors College, the OSU Library & Press and the Division of Outreach & Engagement.

Story By: 

Charles Robinson, 609-902-3516, Charles.Robinson@oregonstate.edu

New OSU restaurant features Latin American street food

McNary Dining Hall on the east side of the Oregon State University campus will have a new food option starting this fall – La Calle - but currently only night owls will reap the benefits.

La Calle will offer Latin street cuisine-inspired dishes (calle means street in Spanish), and will be open 7:30 p.m. to midnight to serve studying students and late night employees.

The new food concept will help meet a growing demand for late-night options on campus, according to Jennifer Rouse with University Housing and Dining Services.

Currently most campus food options don’t stay open past 9 p.m., with the exception of Java II, which is open until midnight Monday through Friday. The only current regular late night option is “Food 2 You,” a pizza, pasta, sandwich and salad delivery service for late night meals. It’s so incredibly popular, Rouse said, that people need to order their late night pizzas in advance, because they sell out quickly.

Executive Chef and UHDS Assistant Director Jaime Herrera said the menu, developed by UHDS Chef Jeffrey Lowman, emphasizes healthy options, portion size, price and a variety of toppings, and the menu will be built for speed and simplicity.

“The flavors will be customized toward a broader palate, with a little less spice than traditional Latin dishes,” Herrera said, and will utilize local ingredients like the Albany-based Ochoa cheese.

Fillings will include different preparations of chicken, pork and beef, some vegetarian options and occasionally shrimp or other types of seafood. Specialty drinks, including Jarritos sodas and hibiscus tea, also will be available. 

La Calle will be located just west of Raintree Coffee, in a location formerly used to make cookies and pastry. That will be relocated to the main kitchen to free up the space. Raintree Coffee will remain open until midnight each night so that students can also get caffeinated beverages during late night studying. MainSqueeze, a smoothie and convenience store located in McNary, also will stay open until midnight.

Depending on demand, hours could be expanded to include earlier opening hours, but that will be assessed later in the term.

Story By: 

Jennifer Viña, 541-737-8187; Jennifer.vina@oregonstate.edu

Oregon State University band, the oldest program in the Pac-12, celebrates 125th anniversary

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Oregon State University band program will celebrate its 125th anniversary with a concert at 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 9, in the Austin Auditorium at The LaSells Stewart Center, 875 S.W. 26th St., Corvallis.

Established in 1891, the OSU Band is the oldest in the Pac-12 conference. With over 500 students participating annually, it is one of the largest collegiate band programs in the Pacific Northwest. 

Five guest conductors will join OSU Director of Bands Chris Chapman and the OSU Wind Ensemble on the first half of the concert. After conducting a traditional season-opening performance of the “Star Spangled Banner,” Chapman will relinquish the stage to retired OSU band director James Douglass.

Douglass will lead a performance of Fucik’s spirited “Florentiner March.” Marc Dickey will guide the ensemble through Morton Lauridsen’s “O Magnum Mysterium;” Rod Winther will conduct Yu-Chou Chen’s “Dance Festival;” Steve Matthes will lead the rarely-heard “Oregon Trail March,” composed by former OSU Director of Bands Ted Mesang; and David Becker will lead the popular “Variations on a Theme by Robert Schumann” by Robert Jager. Chapman again takes the podium to close out the first half with a medley of traditional OSU school songs. 

Following intermission, The Spirit and Sound of OSU - Oregon State’s 265-member marching band - will treat the audience to favorites drawn from its extensive catalogue of show music. Newly appointed Director of Athletic Bands Olin Hannum will be joined by guest conductors Gerry Fujii, Mary Bengel, Robyn Chapman, Brad Townsend and Megan Hansen.

The concert is free and open to the public; no tickets are required to attend.


Zachary C. Person, 541-737-4671, zachary.person@oregonstate.edu

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OSU Marching Band

Oregon State University marching band

OSU Wind Ensemble

Oregon State University wind ensemble

Photos by Zachary C. Person, OSU

OSU President Ed Ray names search committee for new athletics director

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University President Ed Ray Tuesday named a committee to assist him in a national search to select a new intercollegiate athletics director, as Todd Stansbury moves on to serve as Georgia Tech’s athletics director.

The committee includes noted OSU alumni, an NFL free agent, national leaders in college sports, two head coaches, faculty, students and university leaders. The search committee will be led by Joey Spatafora, OSU Alumni Association distinguished professor and the university’s faculty athletic representative to the PAC-12 conference.

The committee includes Oregon State alumni Marty Reser, vice president of sales for Reser’s Fine Foods; Steven Jackson, National Football League all-pro running back and former OSU player; John Stirek, president, Western Operations, Trammell Crow Company; Kim Casale, retired area director of Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.; Pat Casey, head OSU baseball coach; Tanya Chaplin, head OSU women’s gymnastics coach; and Kate Halischak, OSU Faculty Senate president and director of student-athlete academic services.

Other members of the search committee are Stephen Thompson Jr., an OSU student-athlete competing in basketball; Colleen Bee, associate professor in OSU’s College of Business, who serves as co-chair of OSU’s athletics advisory committee; Michael Green, OSU interim vice president of finance and administration; Jim Patterson, OSU senior associate athletics director for development; student Darren Nguyen, executive director of community programs for the Associated Students of Oregon State University; and Marianne Vydra, interim OSU athletics director. Tricia Gerding, OSU human resources consultant, will serve as the committee’s search advocate.

Jeff Schemmel, president of College Sports Solutions, a strategic consulting company for collegiate athletics, and Kevin Weiberg, former commissioner of the Big 12 Conference, will serve as the search firm.

The search for a new athletics director began last week after Stansbury announced on Sept. 22 that he would leave Oregon State to return to his alma mater after serving as director of OSU intercollegiate athletics since August 2015. Stansbury played football at Georgia Tech and later worked in the school’s athletics department.

“The strong interest in this position demonstrates national awareness that Oregon State University is a place of excellence and leadership both on and off the field,” Ray said. “Our next athletics director will contribute to the university’s overall momentum and build upon the success of Oregon State’s men’s and women’s athletics. He or she will be committed to our student-athletes and to the success of all OSU students.”

Ray said he is committed to athletics success at the highest level. “I guarantee that Oregon State will continue to compete on the conference and national level and will win championships. We will win the right way – the Oregon State way,” Ray said. “Count on it.”


Steve Clark, 541-737-3808


OSU President Ed Ray names Marianne Vydra interim athletics director

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University President Ed Ray Wednesday named Marianne Vydra as interim OSU athletics director while the university completes a national search to select a new intercollegiate athletics director.

Todd Stansbury, Oregon State’s current athletics director and vice president, announced last week he will leave Oregon State to serve as Georgia Tech’s athletics director. Ray said Vydra and Stansbury will work together to provide for a “seamless leadership transition” to occur on Nov. 4.

Vydra served as interim director of Oregon State athletics in the summer of 2015, presently serves as deputy director of OSU athletics for administration and is the department’s senior woman administrator. In February 2015, CollegeAD.com named her one of the top 10 senior woman administrators in the NCAA.

“I thank President Ray for the opportunity to once again serve in this role,” Vydra said. “I also want to thank Todd Stansbury for assembling the best team in the nation. He brought some real stars in athletics administration to Oregon State and he allowed the stars already here to really shine. We will continue full steam ahead by executing our shared vision for the athletics department, the university and Beaver Nation.”

Vydra serves on numerous OSU, Pac-12 Conference and national governance committees. She is the chairperson for the NCAA Women’s Soccer and Softball committees; a member of the NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Committee; and a member of Oregon State’s President’s Commission on the Status of Women.

Vydra previously served as vice president of the executive board of the Pac-12 and has been a member of several other conference committees. These include the long-range planning committee; student-athlete advisory committee; diversity initiative committee; women’s basketball tournament committee; and the league’s television committee. 

She came to OSU in 1992 after working as an academic counselor at the University of Maine.



Steve Clark, 541-737-3808


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Marianne Vydra

Auditions for OSU production of ‘James and the Giant Peach’ to be held Oct. 3-4

CORVALLIS, Ore. –Auditions for Oregon State University Theatre’s fall 2016 production of Roald Dahl’s “James and the Giant Peach” will be held at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 3 and 4 in the Withycombe Hall Main Stage theatre, 2901 S.W. Campus Way, Corvallis.

The classic tale is told by James and the insect characters – Miss Spider, Old-Green-Grasshopper, Centipede, Ladybird and Earthworm. The play begins at the end of the story, when James and his friends are living in the giant peach stone in Central Park, New York.

A tour guide brings a party of tourists - the audience - to see this major attraction, and James and his friends tell the story of how they came to live in New York. The epic journey across the Atlantic is acted out with live action, puppetry and storytelling.

Auditions are open to all OSU students, staff, faculty, and area community members. Those planning to audition should be prepared to do cold readings from the script and group-building improvisational games. Rehearsals for “James and the Giant Peach” will run Mondays-Thursdays from 6-10 p.m. Show dates are Nov. 3-5 and 12-13.

For more information visit: http://liberalarts.oregonstate.edu/school-arts-and-communication/theatre/students/auditions, or contact the show’s director, Tinamarie Ivey at iveyt@linnbenton.edu.

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