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Lyle Feisel

A Threat and
a Morality Tale

Last week, as I took my morning walk around ASEE Headquarters, I happened to see on one of the walls a bright, beautiful rainbow. I didn’t track down just where the colorful spectrum was coming from, but it is obvious that in one of the offices, a prism was sitting in the brilliant morning sunshine. We all know what a prism does: It breaks light into its component colors and allows us to look at each color individually and make use of it as we see fit. The capital P Prism strives to do the same thing with a plethora of news about education. What’s up this month?

With more and more information being stored and shared on the Internet, institutions from major corporations to the Pentagon are increasingly worried about cybersecurity. Our cover story, “Under Attack,” explores what computer scientists at universities across the country are doing to outsmart cyberenemies. It’s a tough challenge. The systems are so complex and so interconnected they defy analysis. As one researcher explains, “There’s no good science in terms of understanding overall systems these days.”

Last spring’s explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon oil rig killed 11 workers, affected the lives and incomes of thousands, and inflicted untold damage on a critical ecosystem. As our feature “Learning from Disaster” shows, such catastophes hold valuable lessons for today’s engineering students and, indeed, practicing engineers. Gary Halada of Stony Brook University in New York calls such events “the Aesop’s fables of our day.” Each is a tale with a moral that illustrates an engineer’s professional responsibility to do things right – the first time.

Over the past few decades, considerable effort has been expended to attract women and underrepresented minorities to engineering. Enrollment of these groups has peaked at levels well below their representation in the population. Purdue University’s College of Engineering may have hit on a solution, as our feature “A Winning Combination” reports. It has launched an initiative called EPICS High, which engages high school students in engineering and technology projects focused on service learning.

We hope you find the colors from this month’s Prism to be both useful and enjoyable.


Lyle Feisel
Interim Executive Director and Publisher




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