Welcome to BSE!

Greetings to Alumni and friends of the Biological Systems Engineering Department. It has been a busy and productive year for the department. Our student club has had a banner year thanks to the strong leadership of the officers and contributions from undergraduate and graduate students. The club will be flying the BSE flag high by hosting students from our peer institutions at the Midwest Regional Rally in Madison this spring. I have enjoyed attending the monthly meetings of our student chapter and am really impressed with their professionalism and community building activities. You can read more about their many activities and awards in this newsletter.

Our Faculty and graduate students have also been recognized with numerous awards, honors and patents. Our junior faculty are making big names for themselves and our senior faculty continue their record of excellence in teaching, research and extension. The appointment of Anita Thompson as chair of the Water Resources Management Program gives BSE a prominent campus-wide role in this very important and timely area of research and education.

We have some new faces in the department and welcome our new student services coordinator, Betsy Wood, to our team. Betsy is off to a great start filling some big shoes. I would like to offer a special note of thanks to Debby Sumwalt for her outstanding service to the department over the past 15 years. When I ask graduating seniors during exit interviews about the strengths of the department “Debby” is the most frequent response. She will be missed and we wish her all the best in her retirement.

We continue to face budgetary challenges and are looking for ways to maintain the high level of scholarly activity and high quality of undergraduate and graduate instruction and extension and outreach for which we are known. The support of our alumni and friends is becoming increasingly important to help us meet these challenges. There are many ways in which our alumni and friends can support our students and faculty including internship opportunities for our undergraduates, advising student groups for senior design projects, and donations to undergraduate and graduate student scholarships. If you have questions or other creative ideas about how to support the department please let me know. My door is always open.

At our departmental retreat this summer we prioritized our goals for the coming year. On the top on the list is our plan to renovate our lab to provide a top quality teaching space for our expanding student body. Our goal to create an engineering design center, equipped with state-of-the-art CAD/CAM rapid prototyping equipment to help our students turn their great ideas into great reality.

Finally, and most importantly, I would like to thank all of our alumni and friends that have supported us over the past year with your gifts, service, and other support. It makes a big difference to our program, and to our students, and is greatly appreciated. Of special note is the gift of an endowed professorship by Pat Walsh and Noreen Warren, matched by the Morgridge foundation. Our sincerest thanks go out to Pat and Noreen and the Morgridges for their support and vote of confidence in the future of BSE and UW-Madison. I would also like to thank Pat for his many years of service to UW Extension and service to the BSE department as a faculty member and department chair.


I wish you all the best in the coming year and I hope to connect with you at ASABE and other departmental and college events.

Douglas J. Reinemann
Professor and Chair
Biological Systems Engineering
University of Wisconsin Madison