University of North Dakota campus successes

June 30, 2017

Rockwell-Collins Grant Funds UND Research in Cybersecurity

Rockwell-Collins, an aerospace tech company based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and an employer of more than 140 University of North Dakota alums, recently awarded UND electrical engineering faculty member Prakash Ranganathan a grant to open an exploratory UAS-related research initiative.  “This is a unique research project, and follows a key interest—cybersecurity—of North Dakota University System Chancellor Mark Hagerott,” said Ranganathan, who is employing several students on the project.  The $25,000 grant, which Ranganathan received after following up one of the company’s annual Call for Proposals, will set up a geo-defense detection system for unmanned aircraft systems.


UND Building NASA-Funded Planetary Space Station

The University of North Dakota has assembled a series of “space” modules meant to simulate the closed environment of a planetary station.  In this case, Mars.  It’s part of an ongoing research project—the only one like in the nation—funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) as part of its ambitious long-term plan to establish a human colony on Mars.  This UND-based project—the Inflatable Lunar-Mars Habitat, or ILMH—has been built and worked on by students.  The heavy-duty fabricating and welding of all aluminum infrastructure has been done locally by Grand Forks Welding, which delivered the final plastic-sheeting wrapped unit to the ILMH site earlier this week.  “There are now a total of five modules, configured like an actual Mars base—a living module; an extra-vehicular activity (EVA) and maintenance module; a plant production module; an exercise and human performance module; and a geology module,” said Pablo de León, who besides his UND Space Studies faculty appointment is director of the UND Human Spaceflight Laboratory.  There, he and his team work on designing and building the planetary exploration suits essential to survival in the thin atmosphere of Mars, which is 96 percent carbon dioxide.  The project also includes two vehicles—both designed and built by UND Space Studies students:  a crewed four-wheel electric powered rover and a four-wheel drive electric powered robotic rover.


Record-breaking year in the books for UND student-athletes

The University of North Dakota enjoyed its most successful season of competition at the Division I level in 2016-17, including four regular-season conference championships, one playoff championship and multiple national postseason appearances. UND’s student-athletes also managed to match that level of performance in the classroom, according to data released today by the UND Athletics Academic Services department.  UND’s 407 student-athletes combined for a 3.279 collective grade-point average during the Spring 2017 semester, the highest-recorded single-semester GPA in UND Athletics history. The previous high was 3.277 during the Fall 2014 semester. Additionally, UND’s collective GPA for the 2016-17 academic year was 3.24, matching the school record set in 2014-15.  UND’s student-athletes have now achieved a collective GPA or 3.0 or higher in every semester since the University transitioned to Division I in 2008-09.