UA Engineering Talks and Seminars | University of Arizona College of Engineering
University of Arizona

Real-Time Research Webinars

David W. Hahn, College of Engineering Craig M. Berge Dean, moderates a series of lunchtime webinars each semester. Spring 2023 features high-profile alumni and faculty members discussing how industry and the university are partnering to advance technology and prepare the workforce for a fast-changing world. Please sign up below to get the Zoom links.

Videos of past webinars are available below.

Speaker Series

Previous Speakers

Sustainable Bioeconomy for Arid Regions


Kim Ogden
Kim is the department chair of Chemical and Environmental Engineering. A pioneer in the design of bioreactors for producing renewable energy from algae, she has lead research projects to mass-scale develop biofuels that are cleaner than fossil fuels and high-value bioproducts for industry, such as rubber and resin.

David Dierig
As manager and plant breeder/geneticist for Bridgestone’s Agro Operations at the Guayule Research Farm in Eloy, AZ, David strives to develop a new, domestic and sustainable source for rubber products. He formerly served as research leader and location coordinator at the USDA-ARS, National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation.

Video of Sustainable Bioeconomy for Arid Regions Talk

Kim Ogden & David Dierig

Building the Mining Workforce


Kray Luxbacher
Kray is an expert in atmospheric monitoring, ventilation system characterization, mine fire simulation and prevention, and mine risk analysis. She is the newly-named Gregory H. And Lisa S. Boyce Endowed Department Leadership Chair in Mining and Geological Engineering. 

Greg Boyce
A director at Newmont Mining and Marathon Oil, Greg has spent 40 years in the global energy and mining industries. His work includes 14 years in executive roles at Rio Tinto and 12 years at Peabody Energy, where he retired as executive chairman in 2015. He is also past chairman of the National Mining Association.

Video of Building the Mining Workforce Talk

Kray Luxbacher

Semiconductors & the Future of Manufacturing


Sammy Tin
Sammy holds the Patrick R. Taylor Endowed Chair in Materials Science and Engineering. Previously, he worked for 15 years at the Illinois Institute of Technology, most recently as the Charles and Lee Finkl Chair of Materials Engineering and the director of the Thermal Processing Technology Center.

Chris Rumer
The vice president of technology development at Intel Corporation, Chris has over 26 years of experience with the company. He has also served as the director of assembly engineering since 2011.

Video of Semiconductors & the Future of Manufacturing Talk

Sammy Tin & Chris Rumer


Spring 2022 Series
Expanding Horizons

Providing Energy for the Masses


Susan Gray
President and CEO, Tucson Electric Power/UNS Energy Corp.

Mike Hummel
General manager and chief executive officer, Salt River Project

Video of Energy Talk

Susan Gray & Mike Hummel

Partnering for Success in Mining

Industry and academic leaders discuss ways to advance technology and mining education to responsibly meet the ever-growing global demand for mineral resources.


Dave Travis
Vice president of mine planning, Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc.

Brad Ross
Interim director, UA School of Mining and Mineral Resources

Video of Mining Talk

David Travis & Brad Ross



Into The Future With Wildcat Engineers

Previous Speakers

Additive Manufacturing on Earth and Beyond

The UA’s Additive Manufacturing Initiative is taking 3D printing to new levels. Researchers discuss how they are advancing on-demand 3D production technologies not just for industry but also for use in remote environments -- from mining and military operations to lunar and Martian bases.


Andrew Wessman­ – assistant professor of materials science and engineering and an expert in metallurgical aspects of additive manufacturing

Krishna Muralidharan – associate professor of materials science and engineering with joint appointments at the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory and the Graduate Interdisciplinary Program in Applied Math

Video of Additive Manufacturing Talk

Andrew Wessman & Krishna Muralidharan

Keeping Space and Planets Safe

Tracking objects in near-earth space, such as hazardous asteroids and comets, is critical to lunar colonization and other public and private space exploration. University of Arizona collaborative cyberinfrastructures, including observational tools and artificial intelligence algorithms, are helping scientists untangle the congestion.


Roberto Furfaro director of Space Situational Awareness Arizona as well as the Space Systems Engineering Laboratory, professor of systems and industrial engineering and of aerospace and mechanical engineering

Vishnu Reddy – associate professor of planetary sciences at the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, astronomer and expert on asteroid behavior and movement

Video of Space and Planets Talk

Roberto Furfaro & Vishnu Reddy

Team Science in the Era of COVID-19 

The University of Arizona, through organizations such as the BIO5 Institute, is promoting and supporting team science. Using COVID-19 as a backdrop, UA Engineering researchers discuss the necessity and value of a collaborative approach in solving some of the world’s most complex problems. 


Jennifer Barton – BIO5 director, Thomas R. Brown Distinguished Chair, professor of biomedical engineering, electrical and computer engineering, biosystems engineering, optical sciences and medical imaging, and an expert in early cancer detection

Mark Van Dyke associate dean of research, professor of biomedical engineering and an expert in biomaterials, tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, and entrepreneurial ecosystems

Video of COVID-19 Talk

Jennifer Barton & Mark Van Dyke

Responsible Mining: Everyday Changes, Big Outcomes

Improvements in everyday processes can make a big difference in the bottom line. Consider, for example, that a 1% change in production instantly translates into hundreds of millions of dollars. Researchers present advancements in real-time sensing and big data analytics, among other technology, for every aspect of mining – from exploration and development to production, closure and reclamation.


Moe Momayez David and Edith Lowell Chair in Mining and Geological Engineering, interim department head, associate professor, and energy and geosensing team leader at the Lowell Institute for Mineral Resources

Isabel Barton – assistant professor of mining and geological engineering, 2021 National Science Foundation Career Award winner, and an expert on geometallurgy

Video of Responsible Mining Talk

Moe Momayez & Isabel Barton

UA Goes Quantum – Qubit by Qubit

For most people, quantum technology is difficult to imagine. UA Engineering teams are at the forefront of discoveries that could lead to an unhackable Internet, super-precise GPS, and unprecedented computing speed. Learn about quantum possibilities, and realities, from researchers at the top of their game.


Bane Vasić – professor of electrical and computer engineering, mathematics, applied mathematics (Graduate Interdisciplinary Programs), and BIO5 Institute

Zheshen Zhang – assistant professor of materials science and engineering, and optical sciences

Video of Quantum Technology Talk

Bane Vasic & Zheshen Zhang

Fast Forwarding to Driverless Cars and Smart Traffic

See where transportation systems are headed as vehicles move toward automation. UA engineers are in the driver’s seat of research in technologies like traffic light control, connected vehicles and driverless cars, which could change transportation infrastructure as we know it.


Jonathan Sprinkle – Litton Industries John M. Leonis Distinguished Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University Distinguished Scholar, and interim director of the Transportation Research Institute

Yao-Jan Wu – associate professor of civil and architectural engineering and mechanics

Video of Smart Transportation Talk

Jonathan Sprinkle & Yao-Jan Wu

Sustaining Tribal Communities

Learn how UA engineers are partnering with Native communities to combat extreme health disparities at the source. Top researchers in their fields discuss how desalination, solar power and other unique forms of off-grid technology are helping ensure access to life-sustaining water, energy and food.


Vicky Karanikola – assistant professor of chemical and environmental engineering, and Early Career Scholar

Kim Ogden – department chair and professor of chemical and environmental engineering, professor of biosystems engineering, and director of the UA Institute for Energy Solutions

Video of Sustaining Tribal Communities Talk

Vicky Karanikova & Kim Ogden

Speeding Toward Hypersonic Flight

Hear about the latest in wind tunnel capabilities and high-speed flight research at the university. Internationally recognized experts in aerothermodynamics and high-temperature materials explain the basic principles of hypersonic flight and why it is critical to national interest.


Erica Corral - associate professor of materials science and engineering, aerospace and mechanical engineering and BIO5 Institute; University Distinguished Scholar

Jesse Little - associate professor and associate department head for graduate studies in aerospace and mechanical engineering.

Video of Hypersonic Flight Talk

Erica Corral & Jesse Little


Lessons in Engineering Leadership



Jerry Hunter

Jerry Hunter • BS and MS Systems Engineering, 1988 and 1990
Senior Vice President of Engineering, Snap Inc.

Jerry Hunter, who says there are no shortcuts to learning and hard work isn’t as hard as it seems, started his career at NASA’s Ames Research Center automating life science experiments for the International Space Station.

Today he leads engineering for Snap, the company that makes the popular app Snapchat.

Before joining Snap, Hunter ran global data centers at Amazon and Sun Microsystems – a pioneer in cloud computing before the world called it that – where he worked for 17 years.

Watch a video of the talk.

Susan Gray

Susan Gray • BS Electrical Engineering, 1996
Senior Vice President and COO, UNS Energy and its subsidiaries

Susan Gray started at Tucson Electric Power as a student engineer. Now she ensures safe and reliable distribution of energy to more than 650,000 Arizona customers.

Gray encourages inclusivity and diversity of thought on her team and strongly supports STEM education and programs for girls and women.

She serves on advisory boards for the College of Engineering and Eller College, two professional association boards, and the board of directors for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson. She’s also a triathlete!

Watch a video of the talk.

Marla Smith-Nilson

Marla Smith-Nilson • BS Civil Engineering, 1991
Founder and Executive Director, Water1st International

“I’ll never forget seeing a young mother carrying a child on her back and a bucket of water on her head, walking barefoot in the sand,” says Marla Smith-Nilson of an experience studying abroad as a Flinn Scholar.

Smith-Nilson, who grew up in the one-stoplight town of Benson, Arizona, founded Water1st International after earning an MS in environmental engineering from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The Seattle-based nonprofit has provided safe water and toilets to 208,000 people in 2,700 communities around the world.

See the news article about the talk.

Laura McGill

Laura McGill
Vice President of Engineering, Raytheon Missile Systems.

Laura McGill runs engineering for the world’s largest missile-making business. She and her team direct more than 5,000 professionals working on hundreds of projects, including some of the toughest engineering challenges on earth. 

“You need to be comfortable being able to command and direct,” says the vice president of engineering at Raytheon Missile Systems.

It’s a formidable job, she is a woman in a male-dominated field, and she is managing through some major industry changes -- a rapidly changing global economy and shifting labor pool, with retirement outpacing recruitment.

“I need to balance day-to-day execution and performance on complex missile programs with our investments in technology and career development.”

The lifelong aeronautics enthusiast is a strong advocate for women and minorities in engineering.

Watch a video of the talk.

Kurt DelBene

Kurt DelBene BS industrial engineering, 1982
Chief digital officer and executive vice president, Corporate Strategy, Core Services Engineering and Operations

Drawing on his three decades of executive leadership, Kurt DelBene challenges students to imagine themselves in the C-Suite.

DelBene, who earned an MS at Stanford University and an MBA at the University of Chicago, joined Microsoft in 1992 and has worked in leadership roles for a long list of its products, one of which earned him the unofficial title of “Mr. Office.”

He kept the company’s ubiquitous software suite on top by changing it into an online service, Office 365. Then in what turned out to be a temporary retirement from Microsoft, DelBene led a team to triage the website for former President Barack Obama.

DelBene, who is married to a U.S. congresswoman and has two grown children, has a long history of fixing things, and he likes to move fast -- not just in an industry where speed is of the essence. He has restored an old Formula One car, a prop from the movie “Grand Prix,” and competes in vintage car races.

Join Microsoft’s chief tech strategist as he takes juniors and seniors on a journey to think critically about the skills needed to lead organizations and implement change inside and outside the corporate world.

Watch a video of the talk.

Dave Crawford

Dave Crawford • BS civil engineering, 1972
Retired CEO and president, Sundt

Dave Crawford, who pioneered a radical philosophy of construction project management, will guide students as they envision themselves in the executive suite bringing together multiple teams to deliver building projects – from start to finish.

It used to be that every phase of a project, from design to construction to interior completion, was bid separately. With alternative delivery methods, legislation for which Crawford was instrumental in getting passed, all teams can now work together to deliver a project in its entirety.

The retired CEO of one of the most respected construction companies in the country started working for Sundt, an employee-owned business, as a laborer while he was in college. Through his tenure in the executive suite, he led some of his firm’s most notable accomplishments. The 127-year-old company’s logo can be seen on structures from Tucson – including several dozen at the University of Arizona – to Saudi Arabia and Russia.

Crawford’s influence stretches far beyond the field, too. Under his leadership, the Sundt Foundation has raised more than $7 million to help underserved people.

Watch a video of the talk.

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