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Graduate Highlight: Jide Babawale

We’re at that time of the year again and its time to wish our graduating student workers happy trails. This semester we have only one graduate: Jide Babawale.

Hometown: Hazel Crest, IL

Major: Chemical Engineering

How long have you worked at the Engineering Library? Since the beginning of my Junior year, so for about four semesters.

What are your plans after graduation? Work as a reliability engineer for Abbott in Columbus, OH

Do you have any advice for new students? Get involved early and step out of your comfort zone.

What’s a fun fact about yourself? I’ve read the whole Harry Potter series six separate times.

Good luck Jide and thank you for all your hard work! 

Happy National Gardening Day!

The weather has been beautiful this week, so we’re all looking for things to do outside. How about plan your garden this year? We can help! Yes, we have gardening books. Here are a few to get you started:

Tired of mowing your lawn? Turn it into a yard-sized garden! Eco-Yards: simple steps to earth-friendly landscapes by Laureen Rama

To start from the ground up (pun intended), try Composting for Dummies by Cathy Cromell and the editors of the National Gardening Association

Are you a civil or environmental engineer? Learn about the history of environmentalism in America and how one publication shaped public policy in The City Natural: Garden and Forest Magazine and the Rise of American Environmentalism by Shen Hou

If you have put down your roots (again, pun intended) and want to plant a garden that will feed you year after year you maybe interested in The Vegetable Gardener’s Guide to Permaculture: Creating an Edible Permaculture by Christopher Shein and Julie Thompson.

Ready to go all-in? The Homesteading Handbook: a back to basics guide to growing your own food, canning, keeping chickens, generating your own energy, crafting, herbal medicine, and more by Abigail R. Gehring may catch your eye!

Feeling ready to dig-in? If you use our resources to create your own garden come in and show us! We would love to hear about how you are changing and improving the world around you.

Explore Intellectual Property With Us

We were honored earlier this year to be named a Patent and Trademark Resource Center (PTRC) by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). During the month of April we’re highlighting that designation with workshops and a celebration. Check out the list of events and workshops below to get involved and explore intellectual property! 

Tuesday, April 11, 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm: Protecting Your Ideas: Introduction to Patents, Trademarks & Intellectual Property – Explore the hidden world of patents and trademarks. This workshop will feature a basic introduction to what a patents and trademarks are, the various types of patents in existence, and how to complete patents searches to begin the process. In addition to providing inventor exclusive rights to products, patents also give great detailed information on certain products and methods that can help you in the designing the development stages. Taught by Kari Kozak, Director, Lichtenberger Engineering Library. Note: The presenter is not lawyer. This session is for helping you learn the basics about intellectual property and search for patents and trademarks, legal advice will not be provided. This is part of our Business Building Blocks series. To explore all of the workshops in the series visit here.

Thursday, April 13, 3:30 pm – 4:20 pm: Turning Inventions into Profit – Join us for a discussion on how to build strong IP portfolios and commercialize innovations.  We will talk about diligence requirements and strategies to bring a product to market. Mihaela Bojin is an Associate Director at the University of Iowa Research Foundation (UIRF).  UIRF protects and commercializes technologies developed at the University of Iowa.  Mihaela holds a PhD in Chemistry from Cornell University, is a Certified Licensing Professional (CLP), and a registered patent agent with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Friday, April 21 , 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm: Patent and Trademark Resource Center Designation Celebration – Everyone is invited to an open house celebrating the Lichtenberger Engineering Library’s designation as a Patent and Trademark Resource Center (PTRC). The library is now part of a select group of higher education institutions and public libraries across the country – and only one of two in Iowa – to have the ability to access valuable resources offered by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. 

Share your work with a research poster!

The Engineering Research Open House is coming up! For those of you who are presenting, here are a few tips to ensure your poster makes a good impression:

  1. Think about your audience: Think about who is present at the event you are at and who you want to come talk to you. While a picture of your cute cat might get people to look at your poster but unless your cat was a central part of your research that’s not what you want to talk to people about.
  2. Less Is More: Think of your poster as a business card for your research, not a full article. Find a balance between visual interest and big points to pull people in.
  3. Find a balance between negative and positive space: Design your poster to look full but not cluttered. This is a difficult and important balance to hit. Too much negative space and your poster will look incomplete but if your poster is too full it will look busy and cluttered. 
  4. Templates are your friend: Using a template is a great way to make poster making much easier. Templates for the University of Iowa can be found here, but if you’re presenting at a conference make sure to check their poster rules to make sure your poster is the correct size.

Want more information on making an effective poster? Come to our upcoming workshop: Creating a Research Poster on Thursday, March 30 at 3:30 in the Engineering Creative Space. The workshop is FREE but you need to visit this page to register. This workshop will help you make your poster presentation more effective. Learn to think about the prospective audience, poster content, and design considerations in a poster layout. Presented by Dr. Michelle Scherer. University of Iowa Distinguished Chair and professor of civil and environmental engineering, & Director of the Hanson Center for Communication (HCC). 


“Research Guides: How to Create a Research Poster: Poster Basics,” n.d.

“Research Poster Content & Context – Purdue OWL® –  Purdue University,” n.d.

Stuckey, Matthew, and Tammy Hoyer. “How to Make an Effective Poster.” University of California Davis, n.d.

Pi Day Celebration Tomorrow!

We love Pi Day! Traditionally Pi Day is celebrated on March 14 (3/14), but since the students are on Spring Break that day, we’re celebrating a week early. Stop by the Engineering Library to get a FREE apple pie bite made by a local bakery while supplies last. 

Here are a few pi facts to get you excited for our favorite holiday:

  1. Because the exact value of pi can never be calculated, we can never find the exact area or circumference of a circle. 
  2. Albert Einstein was born on March 14th, 1879, but Pi Day was not celebrated until over 100 years later in 1988.
  3. Welsh mathematician William Jones was the first person to use the symbol for pi but it was popularized by Leonhard Euler (known for Euler’s number)

Do you have a fun pi fact? Tweet it to us, we’d love to hear it! 

Celebrate Engineers at Iowa!

It’s midterms and we’re all feeling a little… well we could use a break. From 1910 to the mid 1980’s, students here at the College of Engineering celebrated MECCA week to blow off some steam. MECCA was a student run organization that focused on celebrating engineers and having some fun (usually at the expense of the law students). MECCA stood for the five types of engineering at the time of its founding: Mechanical, Electrical, Civil, Chemical, and Architectural. Because St. Patrick is the patron saint of engineers, MECCA week was always celebrated the week of St. Patrick’s Day and included parties, pranks, and the Hunt for the Blarney Stone.


Celebration was big during MECCA week. The whole week culminated in the MECCA ball, also known as the Smoker. At the Smoker, men could compete to be the King of Beards (sometimes dyed green), and a MECCA queen would be crowned. 

The party also made it onto the streets with MECCA week parades. With floats that poked fun at faculty, students, and the college of engineering, spectators were never sure what they would see coming down the street.


MECCA week was the time for pranks. Over the years pranks included a huge cement shamrock in the lawn of the law building, a green flag on the flagpole of the law building, green mice in the law building, and a manure spreader in the courtroom of the law building. We’re unsure of the source of the rivalry between the engineers and the law students, but the law students would get in on the fun too, including a bar marathon.

Hunt for the Blarney Stone

What’s more chaotic than a building full of engineers? A city-wide engineering scavenger hunt! During MECCA week students participated in the hunt for the Blarney Stone. Named for the Blarney Stone in Ireland, which is said to give the “gift of gab” to those who kiss it, the Iowa Blarney stone was hidden each year by the graduating class. Underclassmen were given clues in the form of engineering puzzles. The engineers were generally successful in their hunt, but not always. In 1912 and 1947 the stone was lost, and each of those classes were required to purchase a new stone. While no longer used for the hunt, the current stone is one purchased by the class of 1947 following their unsuccessful pursuit.

problem 2
Here is an example of the clues given for the Blarney Stone hunt. In addition to tricky clues, the stone could be placed anywhere in a 25 mile radius of Iowa City, making the possibilities nearly endless.
Students celebrate a successful Blarney Stone hunt

We still feel it’s important to recognize Engineers and everything they do for our world, and that’s why we’re celebrating E-Week this week! This year we’re bringing some pizazz to with the inaugural Engineering Open Mini-Golf Design Challenge. Drop by the Engineering Student Commons today (2/24) between 1 and 5 to join in.

Blind Date with a Book is Back!

Valentines Day is approaching and love is in the air – that’s why we have brought back our Blind Date with a Book event! All month long you can stop by by yourself, with a friend, or with a significant other and pick up your own to read.

Never tried out a Blind Date with a Book? Here’s what you can expect:

You’ll find the shelf of books by the wooden wall on the main floor of the library. Just walk in and turn left after the sand table. You’ll see a wooden shelf with a bright pink sign on the top (you really can’t miss it, but if you do just ask at the service desk!)

Each book is individually wrapped – do not unwrap the books! Read the tags and see what interests you. We have included a general category at the bottom to help you quickly narrow down your options (fiction, nonfiction, biography, graphic novel). Pick out something that interests you and bring it up to the desk. DON’T UNWRAP THE BOOK YET!

At the desk we will check out the book to you using the barcode on the back. NOW you can unwrap the book and see who your blind date is! We included a bookmark inside (or on the back in a few cases) for you to use while you’re reading your books. When you return the book, please do us a favor and fill out the back of that bookmark and return that to us as well. Blind Dates will be available all month long, so check out as many as you want! 

Publish with IEEE for FREE!

We kicked the year off with an exciting new transformative agreement with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). With this agreement University of Iowa authors have full access to IEEE’s Xplore Digital Library and can publish open access articles in all IEEE journals for free. IEEE publishes journals with topics that range from electrical engineering, computer science, biomedical engineering, artificial intelligence and more. 

What is a transformative agreement?

Transformative agreements are negotiated by institutions to make it easier for their affiliated researchers to publish their work. Academic publishing often requires authors to pay article processing charges (APCs) and result in articles behind a paywall. With a transformative agreement, institutions negotiate for full access to a journal’s content as well as the rights to publish a certain number of open access articles under one fee. You can find the whole list of transformative agreements and publishing discounts here.

How do I publish under a transformative agreement?

Get in touch with our Engineering Librarians or Scholarly Impact Department.

Welcome Back!

Welcome to the Spring 2023 semester! Here’s just a bit of what you can expect from us in the next few months:

As a reminder, all of our workshops are FREE but registration is required!

Soldering Workshop Series

Did you make a resolution to learn a new skill this year? Give soldering a try! Soldering is one of the most fundamental skills needed to explore the world of electronics. With this simple skill, you will gain a better understanding of electronics and be better equipped to create your own. Throughout this series you’ll learn the two main types of soldering, and at the end you’ll be able to create your own light-up pendant from scratch! You aren’t required to attend every session but it is highly recommended. Click the title of the workshop to register.

Soldering Basics: Through Hole -Wednesday, January 1, 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm, Engineering Library Creative Space (2001C SC)

Soldering Basics: Surface-Mount – Wednesday, February 8, 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm, Engineering Library Creative Space (2001C SC)

Build Your Own: LED Pendants – Wednesday, February 15, 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm, Engineering Library Creative Space (2001C SC)

Business Building Blocks

Get your business idea going with our new Business Building Blocks workshops! We will be offering each of these three workshops in three different locations (that’s 9 workshops total!). You can mix and match what works with your schedule and interests. Business Building Blocks workshops are presented by the University of Iowa Libraries and the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center. Click on the title of the workshop to register.


Business Plan Basics – Tuesday, February 7, 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm, Art Library DeCaso Room (ABW 235C)

Identifying Key Players in your Market: Introduction to Industry & Market Information Research – Tuesday, February 14, 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm, Engineering Library Creative Space (2001C SC)

Protecting Your Ideas: Introduction to Patents, Trademarks & Intellectual Property – Tuesday, February 21, 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm, Sciences Library 3rd floor


Protecting Your Ideas: Introduction to Patents, Trademarks & Intellectual Property – Tuesday, March 7, 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm, Art Library DeCaso Room (ABW 235C)

Business Plan Basics – Tuesday, March 21, 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm, Engineering Library Creative Space (2001C SC)

Identifying Key Players in your Market: Introduction to Industry & Market Information Research – Tuesday, March 28, 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm, Sciences Library Third Floor


Identifying Key Players in your Market: Introduction to Industry & Market Information Research – Tuesday, April 4, 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm, Art Library DeCaso Room (ABW 235C)

Protecting Your Ideas: Introduction to Patents, Trademarks & Intellectual Property – Tuesday, April 11, 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm, Engineering Library Creative Space (2001C SC)

Other Workshops

Are you participating in the Research Open House this year? Learn think about the prospective audience, poster content, and design considerations that go into your poster layout in our Creating a Research Poster workshop, Tuesday, March 30, 3:30 pm – 4:20 pm in the Engineering Library Creative Space (2001C SC)

There will be more workshops and events coming up, so make sure to keep in the loop by following our Twitter and Instagram for the latest news!

Graduate Profile: Mary Kelly

We’re nearing the end of the semester (don’t panic) so we’re going to take the next two weeks to celebrate our graduating student workers!

Mary Kelly

Hometown: Des Moines, IA

Major: International Studies (Business and Global Resources Track)

How long have you been working at the Engineering Library: One semester, but I used to work at the Sciences Library!

What are your plans after graduation? Go to grad school eventually for something sustainability sciences related, and work.

Do you have any advice for new students? Talk to your professors during office hours. They’re cool.

What’s a fun fact about yourself? I was born on Christmas. My full name is Mary Noel because of that.