Science Channel Trains Engineer, STEM Fund, & Brown Commencement Awards (June 2018)

The Science Channel produces a show “Impossible Engineering” in its fourth season. The most recent episode premiered on June 14, 2018 and was entitled “Monster Mountain Trains.” Tau Beta Pi District 15 Director and mechanical engineer at Kratos Unmanned Aerial Systems, Inc., Christopher W. Potts, CA U ’16, profiles the first train on the episode.

The train and tracks run through Donner Pass and were built to connect San Francisco (CA) to Utah through the Sierra Nevada mountains. Due to the large amount of snow that falls in the area the traditional train snow plow was insufficient. Potter describes the rotary snowplow invention by Canadian Orange Jull. This plow is a giant turning fan that turns snow and ice into a fine powder and uses centripetal force to shoot the powder away from the train. Watch the episode to see Potts on the rotary snow plow and for more details on the history of this great engineering feat.


A Donna Baxter Memorial Fund for STEM Education has been set up by her husband Dan Baker. The fund is partnering with AAUW’s TechTrek program for an endowment fund to enable girls to attend the STEM camp who otherwise might not be able to.

The news article from the Willits News (CA) profiles Donna V. Baxter, CO B ’81, who returned to school to earn her mechanical engineering degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder later in life. She worked as a quality manager at Maverick Enterprises and passed away in 2014.


Several awards were handed out during Brown University’s 2018 Commencement, which included 50 degrees in biomedical engineering. Tau Bate Ileana Pirrozi, RI A 2018, received the Distinguished Senior Thesis Prize, Ionata Fund Award (independent study project), & Outstanding Biomedical Senior Award. She is past chapter president of TBP RI Alpha.

See the full list of graduates and winners for other awards, including the Tau Beta Pi Dedicated Faculty Awards for teaching and research.


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