The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

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Milo Koretsky Oral History Interview

Life history interview conducted by Chris Petersen.

November 13, 2015


“Building a Better Engineer”  November 13, 2015  Location: Valley Library, Oregon State University.  Watch Video | Download Transcript (PDF)

In the interview, Koretsky discusses his family background and upbringing in Berkeley, California, noting the cultural tumult of his youth and his experience of growing up with an identical twin brother. He likewise notes his early educational memories, his decision to attend the University of California-San Diego, and his uncommon switch from English literature to chemical engineering while an undergraduate. Next he recalls his master's studies at UC-San Diego, recounting his research on impinging jet sprays and his increasingly formalized interactions as a teacher.

From there, Koretsky provides an overview of his doctoral studies at UC-Berkeley, commenting on his research on plasmas, his mounting skillset as a classroom instructor, various faculty who made an impact during his Berkeley years, and the broader orientation of the Chemical Engineering department during that period.

The session then turns it attentions to Koretsky's work at and association with Oregon State University. In this, he reflects on his early impressions of OSU and the Chemical Engineering program, speaks of his early research activities, and details his interactions with a few important colleagues, including Octave Levenspiel. Of particular note are Koretsky's comments on the formation, growth and activities of the OSU MECOP program, with which he has been affiliated for his entire Oregon State career.

The remainder of the interview focuses primarily on Koretsky's activities in engineering education. In recalling this program of work, he outlines several initiatives that he has spearheaded, including the creation of virtual learning modules, the authoring of a new type of thermodynamics textbook, his own continuing evolution as an educator, the implementation of studio classes, and a new project that aims to resituate engineering learning and instruction. Koretsky also provides his institutional memories of chemical engineering at Oregon State, describing the impact of the creation of the School of Chemical, Biological, and Environmental Engineering, and sharing his thoughts on the potential impact of the school's forthcoming facility, Johnson Hall. The session concludes with Koretsky's perspective on the current direction of OSU.