Category: university of utah

University of Utah students make chip that converts heat into energy

SALT LAKE CITY – Engineers at the University of Utah now have a way to turn wasted heat from things like cell phones and laptops into energy.

Associate Engineering Professor, Mathieu Francoeur, says this started as an idea during his Ph.D. studies in 2005.

Francoeur then pitched a proposal to the National Science Foundation and received funding for it in 2013.

Since then, a team of students has been working on turning his theory into something that can one day help us all.

“What we’ve [made] is a device or a chip essentially that converts waste heat into radiation, so that’s what it does in a nutshell, is in the end with that chip we’re going to be able to take waste heat, or any type of heat, and convert that into electrical power,” says Francoeur.

All of this comes from something you can fit on the end of your finger. The chip measures 5 millimeters by 5 millimeters, which is about the size of an eraser head.

Francoeur says you’d need more than one to power your devices though. In fact, it would take about 50 chips to increase your battery life by about 50%.

As for a laptop, Francoeur says it would take about 400 for a similar effect.

The dream is to have this picked up by the major makers of tech products and eventually in our hands.

“In an ideal world, I would like Samsung, apple, to use these chips in their phone, in their electronic devices to save some power, right? and maybe increase the power of their batteries and so on,” says Francoeur.

The team at the University of Utah is hoping to have a prototype ready for companies to start using in the next 5 or 10 years.

McCluskey family to file Title IX lawsuit; attorney says suit is designed to improve safety

SALT LAKE CITY — On Thursday morning, Matt and Jill McCluskey, the parents of slain University of Utah student Lauren McCluskey, are expected to file a Title IX lawsuit in federal court.

“This is a lawsuit designed to encourage universities to create a safer environment,” said James W. McConkie, an attorney for the McCluskey family.

Virtually every school that receives some type of federal funding is required to meet Title IX standards.

“Ultimately, Title IX has express provisions that says you cannot engage in or allow or countenance any discriminatory behavior,” said Salt Lake attorney Peter Stirba.

Stirba is not affiliated with the case but he has a long and distinguished history legal history, including arguing cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Any acts of sexual violence, stalking, harassment, you name it… is considered or can be considered under certain circumstances gender discrimination,” he said.

According to Stirba, there are three primary factors in deterring a Title IX failure in sexual misconduct complaints.

First, the University must be proved to have had knowledge of the threat to Lauren McCluskey.

“Our client, who is now deceased, called the university over 20 times, called the police over 20 times reporting everything from blackmail to the impersonation of an officer,” said McConkie.

Second, the misconduct was impacting Lauren’s ability to safely pursue her education.

She was shot and killed on campus on October 22nd, 2018.

Third, the University was ‘deliberately indifferent’ to her concerns.

“If somebody complains for example that someone’s bothering me, their stalking me, their harassing me and you receive one, two, three four complaints like that and you are in the position of remedying that…and you do nothing, I think that’s fair to say it’s deliberate indifference,” said Stirba.

Lauren McCluskey’s family to file lawsuit alleging University of Utah failed to protect her

SALT LAKE CITY — The family of Lauren McCluskey is filing a lawsuit over her death on the University of Utah campus.

According to a press release, Jill and Matt McCluskey will file the complaint “as a result of the university failing to protect student and daughter Lauren McCluskey.”

McCluskey was shot and killed by a man who lied to her about his name, age and criminal history. She began seeking help after learning about the deception. She went to U of U Campus Police “more than 20 times for help leading up to her murder”, the press release states.

The specific details of the complaint were not immediately available, but a press conference is scheduled for Thursday morning in Salt Lake City.

Fox 13 News will update this story as more details emerge.

Click here for Fox 13’s prior coverage of Lauren McCluskey’s death and the investigations that have followed. 

University of Utah Police apologize for including Lauren McCluskey’s name in awards ceremony

SALT LAKE CITY — The parents of a University of Utah student who was murdered on campus last October responded after the campus police department handed out awards for the handling of Lauren McCluskey’s case.

University spokesman Chris Nelson and Lori McDonald, who was the Dean of Students at the time of McCluskey’s death but has since been promoted to Vice President of Student Affairs, were given awards, as well as a dispatcher involved in the case.

In the program, it listed several examples of their exceptional work, including their handling of the McCluskey homicide case.

“University [of Utah] President Ruth Watkins says there was nothing that could’ve been done to prevent Lauren’s death. I just had a sick stomach for days after that,” said Jill McCluskey during a national news interview in January.

Five months after that interview and eight months after their daughter was murdered, Jill and Matt McCluskey refer to this awards ceremony as “bordering on obscene.”

Matt McCluskey told FOX 13, “It’s remarkable that (to our knowledge) no one has been reprimanded, yet several people are getting awards. It shows, once again, that there is no accountability.”

“I do not believe that it serves the ultimate mission of enhancing campus safety to fire anyone who acted in good faith,” Watkins said during a press conference in February.

On Thursday, U of U Police sent out a statement via a pair of tweets:

“On June 5, the UofU Dept. of Public Safety held a short awards ceremony. The intent of the ceremony was to recognize more than 30 individuals and groups for their years of service, individual efforts on complex cases, and campus partners for their continued support and dedication to DPS involving many events that have occurred over the past few years. We deeply regret and apologize for any pain that the inclusion of Lauren’s name on the program may have caused to the McCluskey family.”

In turn, Matt McCluskey said, “We don’t have a response to the ‘apology’ tweet, other than to reiterate the main point: No one has been reprimanded, yet several people are getting awards.”

A University spokesman said it’s very common for groups on campus to give out excellence awards at the end of the year; however, this is the first time the campus police department has had an awards ceremony since 2013.

Editor’s note: “In an earlier version of the story, Fox 13 incorrectly reported which dispatcher received an award from the University of Utah Police. We regret the error. “

Major Brent Taylor awarded posthumous doctorate degree by U of U

SALT LAKE CITY – Among the graduates at the University of Utah’s master’s program convocation, sat Jennie Taylor and her family.

Taylor’s husband and former North Ogden Mayor, Major Brent Taylor, would have graduated with his Ph.D. in political science Thursday; instead, Taylor and her oldest son, Lincoln, walked across the stage.

“That meant so much to me that they would let him come up and receive his father’s hood, and walk across that stage,” Jennie Taylor said.

The ceremony marks the day before six months since Maj. Taylor was killed-in-action in Afghanistan on his fourth deployment.

“If he were here, I know he’d be proud of himself and all that goes into to finishing a doctoral degree,” said Taylor.

The strength of the community, faith and family has helped Taylor continue caring for her seven kids — ranging from ages 1-to-13-years-old.

“Shortly after Brent died, someone asked me how we would ever move on without him or if we could,” Taylor said. “We’re just taking him with us. We’re taking him with us wherever we go in our hearts and our minds.”

Taylor said her son, Lincoln, was too shy to talk on camera, but not too shy to walk across the stage, wearing a Ute T-shirt, standing in place of his father — while his mom for this Dad’s graduation gown.

“I haven’t earned this doctoral gown, it’s his,” said Taylor. “I wear it with great pride and I know he’s happy where he is and he’s proud of us. I can see him just looking down and thinking, ‘go get them, you’ve got this.”

The Taylor’s have created a scholarship in Maj. Taylor’s name for future students at the University of Utah and to keep Maj. Taylor’s legacy of giving, alive.

Major Brent Taylor awarded posthumous doctorate degree

SALT LAKE CITY – Among the graduates at the University of Utah’s master’s program convocation, sat Jennie Taylor and her family.

Taylor’s husband and former North Ogden Mayor, Major Brent Taylor, would have graduated with his Ph.D. in political science Thursday; instead, Taylor and her oldest son, Lincoln, walked across the stage.

“That meant so much to me that they would let him come up and receive his father’s hood, and walk across that stage,” Jennie Taylor said.

The ceremony marks the day before six months since Maj. Taylor was killed-in-action in Afghanistan on his fourth deployment.

“If he were here, I know he’d be proud of himself and all that goes into to finishing a doctoral degree,” said Taylor.

The strength of the community, faith and family has helped Taylor continue caring for her seven kids — ranging from ages 1-to-13-years-old.

“Shortly after Brent died, someone asked me how we would ever move on without him or if we could,” Taylor said. “We’re just taking him with us. We’re taking him with us wherever we go in our hearts and our minds.”

Taylor said her son, Lincoln, was too shy to talk on camera, but not too shy to walk across the stage, wearing a Ute T-shirt, standing in place of his father — while his mom for this Dad’s graduation gown.

“I haven’t earned this doctoral gown, it’s his,” said Taylor. “I wear it with great pride and I know he’s happy where he is and he’s proud of us. I can see him just looking down and thinking, ‘go get them, you’ve got this.”

The Taylor’s have created a scholarship in Maj. Taylor’s name for future students at the University of Utah and to keep Maj. Taylor’s legacy of giving, alive.

Utah gymnast MyKayla Skinner to pursue Olympic ambitions for 2020

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah gymnast MyKayla Skinner is pursuing Olympic ambitions for 2020, the university announced Thursday.

According to a press release from the University of Utah, the two-time NCAA champion intends to explore the possibility of a berth on the 2020 USA Gymnastics team after being invited in the National Team Camp in June.

Skinner was an alternate for the 5-person US team in 2016, and she placed fourth overall in the 2016 Olympic Trials.

“I love competing for the University of Utah and am so grateful to my coaches, teammates and the 15,000 fans who come and support us every (home) meet,” Skinner stated. “In my three years at Utah, I have grown and matured as a gymnast, made improvements to my form and refined my technique. While I love college gymnastics, I’d like to try and compete for my country. I see the opportunity to pursue an Olympic berth as a chance of a lifetime. If things don’t work out for whatever the reason, I plan to return to the University of Utah for my senior year.”

Skinner plans to finish her degree and is enrolled in the 2019 summer and fall semesters, the release states.

“MyKayla is a world-class gymnast and we are supportive of her desire to test the waters of resuming her international career,” Utah head coach Tom Farden said. “She has the opportunity to participate in National Team Camp and qualify to the American Classic and beyond. The Classics will allow her to gauge if she wants to continue to pursue an Olympic berth. We are keeping a roster spot open for MyKayla should she wish to come back this fall. Obviously, we would love to have her back for her senior season.”

The release stats Skinner has won two NCAA titles, eight NCAA regional and seven Pac-12 individual titles.