Norwich Professor Gregory Wight Named Vermont Engineer of the Year

Photograph of Norwich Professor Gregory Wight
Norwich University Office of Communications

February 1, 2016

Norwich University professor of engineering Gregory Wight, P.E., has been named Vermont’s 2016 Engineer of the Year by the Vermont Society of Professional Engineers.

A mechanical engineer, Prof. Wight is a recognized expert in air quality engineering. He has published numerous papers on the field and is the author of the widely-used textbook Fundamentals of Air Sampling. Educated at MIT and the University of Florida, he currently serves as the Charles A. Dana Professor of Engineering at Norwich, the university’s highest faculty honor.

Wight has previously served as an associate dean at Norwich and as the director of the university’s David Crawford School of Engineering.

Wight served four years in the Air Force following graduate school, starting as an Engineering Air Force Officer in the USAF Contract Management Division at the GE Jet Engine Facility in Evendale, Ohio. He later joined the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection six months after the passage of the Clean Air Act in 1971. Serving as a principal air quality engineer, he supervised a staff of six to inventory air pollutant emissions, model air quality, and design strategies to achieve the National Ambient Air Quality Standards.

Teaching Excellence

Wight has served on the Norwich University faculty since 1978. During that time, he has developed and taught nearly 33 different courses to young engineering students, receiving numerous honors in recognition of his outstanding teaching.

He has also served as a visiting professor of civil/environmental engineering at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado.

At Norwich, Wight has chaired three different engineering departments, served on numerous committees, and hired or helped hire the next generation of engineering faculty.

His many professional achievements include his participation in the Vermont Electric Vehicle Demonstration Project as researcher/writer, and heading the recent, successful year-long reaccreditation effort for NU’s David Crawford School of Engineering.

Public Service

In a press release announcing the award, the Vermont Society of Professional Engineers spotlighted Wight’s significant contributions to the engineering profession, noting the “outstanding education to hundreds of future engineers” Wight has provided, as well as his active involvement in MathCounts, FIRST Lego League, and Engineers without Borders.

Wight is a life member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, a member of the Vermont Society of Engineers, the Tau Beta Pi national engineering honor society, and the American Society for Engineering Education.

He has also been active in many community organizations in Vermont, including town government, youth soccer, his local historical society, and the Central Vermont Runners Club.

Norwich Students Join NASA Competitions, Internships

From space launches to telerobotic challenges, Norwich engineering students pushed their skills at a number of NASA summer programs.
David Crawford School of Engineering

October 22, 2014

Norwich engineering students participated in a variety of challenging NASA competitions, internships and space launches over the summer. Here’s a brief roundup of their endeavors:

RASC-AL Competition

A team of mechanical engineering students was selected as one of fourteen finalists in the 2014 NASA/NIA Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts Academic Linkage (RASC-AL) competition. The contest provides a unique opportunity for undergraduate and graduate engineering students to tackle challenges tied to NASA’s vision for human space exploration. Invited to participate in the RASC-AL forum in June at Coca Beach, Fla., the Norwich team comprised recent graduates Peter Gill, Savanah Medlar, Matthew Roberts and Ethan Hanks. Gill and Medlar along with faculty advisor Danner Friend represented the Norwich team in Florida at the RASC-AL forum. The group selected the tele-operated robot challenge, producing a creative design concept for a free-flying robotic inspection and repair vehicle that could repair torn solar panels. “The Norwich team stood out among all other teams with their detailed physical prototype that was built using 3D printing technology,” Friend said.

LARSS Program Internship

Mechanical engineering senior Spencer Nath worked over the summer as a NASA intern for the Langley Aerospace Research Student Scholars (LARSS) Program in Hampton, Va. He was assigned to the Advanced Sensing and Optical Measurement Branch, where he worked on a project to precisely measure the sound created by the undercarriage of an aircraft in landing configuration. The ultimate goal was to compare measurements before and after noise-reduction modifications were implemented. He worked with a team of engineers using optics and additive manufacturing technologies to create a custom array of super-powered LEDs capable of highlighting the aircraft (equipped with reflective materials) flying some 400 feet in the air.

RockOn Workshop

Sounding rocket launch during RockOn Workshop at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility
Electrical and computer engineering senior Nathan Tong attended the RockOn Workshop sponsored by the Colorado Space Grant Consortium and hosted at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility. The workshop allows student teams to build rocket payloads from a kit that is later mounted and launched on a sounding rocket. The payload kit included an Arduino microcontroller acting as the central processor, a Geiger counter and an assortment of accelerometers and environmental sensors. The data collected during the launch allowed the students to study the physical effects of the launch, the rotation of the rocket, the radiation levels (which spiked when the rocket cleared the atmosphere) and the length of time the rocket was in space. “Although we were one of many teams with similar payloads on the rocket,” Tong said, “it was a great experience and a good program for Norwich students to consider in the future.”

Both Nath and Tong received support from the Vermont Space Grant Consortium and presented the results of their experiences at a consortium awards ceremony and reception held on October 8 at the University of Vermont.

State space grant consortiums like Vermont and Colorado’s are part of a national space grant program funded by NASA linking 850 colleges and universities. The program promotes STEM education and provides avenues for students to participate in NASA-related aeronautical and space program research.

Digital Design Course Gets Microprocessor Boards Thanks to Alumnus Gift

The boards enable students to learn and experiment with digital logic and computer organization.
David Crawford School of Engineering

October 22, 2014

A generous donation from Don Shaw ‘51 supported the purchase of 10 new Altera development boards to support Electrical and Computer Engineering’s Fundamentals of Digital Design course.

Students in that sophomore-level class use Altera’s Quartus software to design digital circuits in the lab using various techniques to produce VHDL (VHSIC Hardware Description Language) code. Student designs are compiled in the software and downloaded to the target field programmable gate arrays on the new development boards.

The boards facilitate a wide range of laboratory exercises for teaching digital logic and computer organization. The boards feature numerous toggle and pushbutton switches to provide inputs LEDs, an LCD to provide outputs and a variety of industry-standard input/output interfaces, including audio, video, USB and Ethernet. As Prof. Ronald Lessard notes: “These new boards enable us to stay current with industry-standard features used in modern digital systems design.”