Faculty - School of Engineering

Dr. Darrin Muggli

Professor and Chair of the School of Engineering

Dr. Muggli graduated with a B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of North Dakota in 1992. Subsequently, he worked for two years as a Process Engineer for Koch Engineering Co. in Wichita, Kan. He entered graduate school at the University of Colorado in Boulder where he earned his doctorate in 1998, specializing in catalysis.

Dr. Muggli was a faculty member at the University of North Dakota from 1999-2009. During that time he was awarded over four million dollars in research funding, published 30 peer-reviewed articles, and has given numerous research presentations. He holds three patents, received a university-wide award for excellence in undergraduate teaching, was voted 2007 Professor of the Year in the School of Engineering, and received a 2009 award for excellence in teaching, research, and service.

BS in Chemical Engineering, University of North Dakota, 1992
Ph.D in Chemical Engineering, University of Colorado, 1998
More about Dr. Muggli

Prof. Myron Fanton

Assistant Professor, School of Engineering

Myron is a Licensed Professional Engineer, Illinois, and is a member of AFCCE and IEEE. Prior to joining the faculty of Benedictine College, Myron was Chief Engineer of Radio Frequency Technology, Electronics Research Inc., Chandler, Ind., and held several engineering positions within Andrew Corporation, Orland Park, Ill., He brings a wealth of experience as a career engineer to Benedictine College’s team. Myron and his family reside in Atchison, Kansas.

BS in Engineering, Le Tourneau University, 1995
MS in Electrical Engineering, Illinois Institute of Technology, 2005
More about Prof. Fanton

Dr. Patrick O’Malley

Associate Professor, School of Engineering

Dr. O’Malley earned his doctorate in 2012 from the Catholic University of America. He specialized in laser Doppler vibrometry- a technique for making vibration measurements using a laser beam. He has published his research in peer-reviewed journals and presented work at numerous conferences. He participated in research at Catholic University developing an acoustic imaging system for detection of roadside explosives, an apparatus for detecting buried landmines based on their vibration signature, and characterization of a Caribbean seelpan vibration pattern.

During his time in Washington, O’Malley also worked for a contractor at NASA’s Goddard Spaceflight Center where he was on the analysis team for Hubble Space Telescope’s Wide Field Camera 3 instrument and UVIS instrument. Other projects at NASA included analysis of the ICES at failure and development of robotic satellite servicing capability.

BME, Mechanical Engineering, The Catholic University of America, 2006
MME, Mechanical Engineering, The Catholic University of America, 2007
Ph.D, Mechanical Engineering, The Catholic University of America, 2012
More about Dr. O’Malley

Prof. Steven Spencer

Assistant Professor, Engineering

After graduating in 1985, Mr. Spencer worked as a preliminary design engineer for Allied-Systems Aerospace (now part of Honeywell). In 1989, he began thermal engineering work for NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. In 1999, Steve became the lead mechanical systems engineer on several commercial communication satellites at Lockheed-Martin. In 2001, Steve became a lead satellite systems engineer for Spectrum Astro (now part of General Dynamics).

In 2004, Steve returned to Kansas to help care for his family and started Quiet Canoes, helping others build and pilot canoes- making him an expert on space-age and wilderness technology.

BS in Mechanical Engineering, Kansas State University, 1980
MS in Mechanical Engineering, Montana State University, 1985
More about Prof. Spencer

Dr. Scott Newbolds

Associate Professor, Engineering

After graduating from Purdue University in 1995, Dr. Newbolds started his career in construction as a Project Engineer for the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT). He returned to Purdue for graduate school in 1998 and subsequently took a position in the INDOT Research and Development office. While completing his graduate degrees, Dr. Newbolds conducted and oversaw research projects for INDOT in the areas of highway structures, materials, and construction. Prior to coming to Benedictine in 2012, he served two years as the Director of Site Operations for the Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES) at Purdue University; a network of 14 university-based earthquake and tsunami research laboratories sponsored by the National Science Foundation. Dr. Newbolds is a registered Professional Engineer in the State of Indiana.

BS in Civil Engineering, Purdue University, 1995
MSCE in Civil Engineering, Purdue University, 2000
PhD in Civil Engineering, Purdue University, 2007
More about Dr. Newbolds

Dr. Charles Sprouse

Assistant Professor, Engineering

Dr. Sprouse received a Physics degree from Benedictine College in 2007, before moving to study engineering at the University of Kansas. Following a bachelor’s degree in 2009, he joined the doctoral program and earned his Ph.D. in 2016. During the course of his engineering studies, he worked for Latimer, Sommers, and Associates, P.A. Engineers and worked with several automotive/transportation research organizations. Through his graduate career, Dr. Sprouse published in peer-reviewed journals and presented at academic conferences. His research areas include diesel particulate filters, organic Rankine cycles, waste heat recovery, and adaptive information displays to limit driver distraction. After two years of teaching part-time at Benedictine College, he returned to his alma mater full-time, joining the School of Engineering in 2013.

BA in Physics, Benedictine College, 2007
BS in Mechanical Engineering, University of Kansas, 2009
Ph. D. in Mechanical Engineering, University of Kansas, 2016
More about Dr. Sprouse

Dr. Scott Blonigen

Assistant Professor, Engineering

After earning his MS degree in chemical engineering, Scott did process development for Kraft Foods.  He returned to school and earned his doctorate degree, specializing in bioseparations, before resuming his industrial career. Scott has developed new processes and products for a number of consumer products companies including Nestlé, Scotts Miracle Gro, Mead Johnson Nutritionals and Hills Pet Nutrition.  While at the Battelle Memorial Institute, he developed new processes for clients in the pharmaceutical and chemical industries. Scott is a licensed professional engineer (Ohio) and a member of the Product Development Management Association.

BS, Chemical Engineering, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, 1986
MS, Chemical Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University, 1989
Ph.D, Chemical Engineering, Iowa State University, 1994
More about Dr. Blonigen

Dr. Juan Araque

Assistant Professor, Engineering

Dr. Araque joined the Engineering faculty at Benedictine College in 2016. He is originally from Venezuela where he earned his bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering (2000) from the University of the Andes. After spending two years as a Research and Development engineer at PDVSA’s petroleum research center (INTEVEP), he entered graduate school at Rice University where he completed his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering (2009). He later did post-doctoral work at Cornell University. His research work at Rice and Cornell encompassed both computational and theoretical modelling of DNA-, polymer- and zeolite-based nanomaterials. Dr. Araque then moved with his family to Peru to serve as missionaries among the poor in the Peruvian Andes where they helped with the evangelization and education of young children. Upon his return to the US, he worked as a post-doctoral scholar at the University of Iowa studying the relation between structural and dynamical properties of ionic liquids for photo- and electro-chemical applications. His current research interests center on using molecular simulations to elucidate the structure-property relationships of functional nanomaterials including ionic liquids, ionic organic plastic crystals, and block-copolymers. He is also interested in designing new forms of matter with tailored properties and functionalities for applications in clean energy systems and human health and welfare. Dr. Araque lives in Atchison with his wife Sofia and their five children.

BS in Chemical Engineering, University of the Andes, 2000
Ph. D in Chemical Engineering, Rice University, 2009
More about Dr. Araque

Prof. Michael W. Berry

Assistant Professor

Mike studied Civil Engineering at Kansas State University, with a specialization in Water Resources. After graduation in 1981, he joined the engineering consulting firm of Professional Engineering Consultants, P.A. In Wichita, Kan. Mike spent thirty-six years at PEC working on the design and construction of a variety of drainage, grading, paving, utility, and land development projects. While at the firm, he held a number of leadership positions, including sixteen years of service on the Board of Directors of PEC. Mike is licensed as a Professional Engineer in the states of Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska, and is also a Professional Surveyor in Kansas. Mike’s outside interests include contributing his voice to liturgical music groups, and bicycling.

BS in Civil Engineering, Kansas State University, 1980
MS in Civil Engineering, Kansas State University, 1981
More about Prof. Berry

Dr. Peter Merkle

Associate Professor, Engineering

Dr. Merkle graduated with B.S. degrees in chemical engineering and management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1984. After working in the chemical industry, he pursued graduate study in environmental science at SUNY Stony Brook, conducting research on atmospheric deposition of pollutants to marine ecosystems. He earned his doctorate in Civil Engineering from Virginia Tech, specializing in catalytic filtration of drinking water. In 1995, he joined Sandia National Laboratories and was assigned to the Department of Defense from 1998-2002. Returning to Sandia, he worked for the next ten years in domestic and international security technology programs. In 2012, Dr. Merkle joined the Embry Riddle Aeronautical University as Associate Professor (Civil Engineering), conducting research on aquaponics technology. He holds two patents and is a Professional Engineer in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

BS in Chemical Engineering, BS in Management, M.I.T. 1984
MS in Marine Environmental Science, SUNY Stony Brook, 1991
Ph. D in Civil Engineering, Virginia Tech, 1995
More about Dr. Merkle

Sean Bauer

Lab Manager, Engineering

Sean Bauer is a 1986 graduate of Benedictine College, with a BA in Physics. Sean has been working in the Benedictine College Physics and Engineering Labs since 2009. He has over 25 years of experience working as an engineer for a small manufacturer of electronic instruments in Atchison, Kansas.

BA in Physics, Benedictine College, 1986
More about Mr. Bauer