Fall 2019 Newsletter

Bulletins from Biological Systems Engineering


Troy Runge headshot

Welcome to Biological Systems Engineering Fall 2019 Newsletter from Madison, WI. As of this writing, we just completed our traditional fall celebration where the students, staff and faculty come together in a feast to say thanks for all our blessings and enjoy a large meal prior to the finals push. With over 150 people attending it was similar to a traditional Thanksgiving meal, with lots of good food, lot of good cheer, and even a “kids table” –though these are college “kids.” This event, funded by the faculty and staff, is a small way to let the students know that we care for their well-being and thank them for being part of the BSE family.

This BSE tradition of a Thanksgiving meal was shared this year with many fresh faces. We brought in more than 60 new freshmen and transfers into the department, which has become the new normal for our growing department. Many of the students are recruited by our alumni, with many of stories a family member or a neighbor recommending BSE as a great place to start a career. Thank-you and please “keep them coming.” We also have several new faculty and staff that started in August. Dr. Paul Stoy working in the natural resources area has joined our faculty in August, coming from his faculty position in Montana State. Dr. Matt Digman working in machinery systems has also joined our faculty, coming from his faculty position in UW River Falls. Additionally, Amanda Harguth has joined our academic staff working on the Agrability project improving the lives with farmers with physical disabilities.

With the new faces comes lots of new energy and ideas. We are developing several new classes and have even started a robotics team to compete at the ASABE international meeting. We have continued to improving our teaching spaces completing several upgrades to our lab and shop, now having several places for students to participate in active learning for design or lab classes. Thank you to all that have made donations to our BSE fund to help drive these important improvements to date to improve our capabilities. We still have many more student needs, so if able please consider us when making charitable donations.

Featured Articles

  • Updates from ASABE and Quarter Scale Tractor Team
  • New Faculty and Staff Profiles
  • How the Green New Deal will Impact WI Farms
  • Recent Retirements

Read the full newsletter

Cheryl Skjolaas talks about tractor safety from the seat of a tractor


A huge thank-you to all the donors who have supported the department this year.