A Significant Stevens Advantage
Hundreds of students gathered at last week's Student Research Colloquium to display and discuss the research they led this summer. While a long-standing tradition at Stevens, the fall student research exhibit this year was a special highlight as the Colloquium kicked off a long weekend of exciting events celebrating the inauguration of Dr. Nariman Farvardin as the seventh president of Stevens Institute of Technology.
Among the packed crowd of students, faculty, and outside audience members attending the Colloquium, was the President himself, who expressed being inspired by the open forum.
Access to research for Stevens undergraduates is one of the great advantages of being a student at Stevens and is an educational approach that is deeply rooted in Stevens' legacy. It's no surprise the Student Research Colloquium played an important role in the presidential inauguration this year.
In addition to leading the inauguration weekend, the research exhibit was also distinct this year in the scope, diversity, and multidisciplinary characteristics of the students' work. "This year was a watermark in the history of our undergraduate research programs," said Shane Topping, Director of Undergraduate Admissions at Stevens. "The number of students, from across all the disciplines, as well as the broad range of projects they led are all very impressive indications of the limitless opportunities for hands-on, real-world, collaborative exploration and problem-solving here at Stevens."
Victoria Baldwin, class of 2013, completed her project on photovoltaic efficiency through nonporous anti-reflective thin films. “As renewable energy continues to grow in significance each and every day, so does its compatible power sources, particularly in the photovoltaic field,” said Baldwin. “The question is whether photovoltaic efficiency can be significantly increased in order to make this field a more reliable and effective source of power for consumers.” Chemical engineering and materials science professor and chair Ronald Besser served as the faculty advisor for Baldwin's work.
Nicholas Catania presented his project, "Research and Development of an Interactive Learning Display for the Liberty Science Center," advised by music & technology professor David Musial. Catania is majoring in engineering physics and music & technology.
Robert Moakler, a double major in physics and service oriented computing, created a project based on the human psyche. His research is based on the concept that groups of users can successfully lie on the Internet using services like Twitter and Facebook. Moakler named the project “Anatomy of a Lie.” Professor Jeff Nickerson of the Howe School of Technology Management served as advisor.
Joseph Huyett and Angela LoPiccolo, both sophomore mechanical engineering majors, partnered to research vibration energy harvesting. Mechanical engineering and nanotechnology professor Frank Fisher served as advisor. The goal of their project was to autonomously tune piezoelectric beams to ambient vibrations. Magnets were utilized in order to change the stiffness and resonant frequency of the beams. During the course of the experiment, the prototype was redesigned to reduce the play in the system. A linear potentiometer was added to transmit data about the position of the beams to a microcontroller.