From exciting architectural plans for the August 2013 Chinese Solar Decathlon to a better hospital rating system, six student research projects recently captured the imagination of judges at the 2013 NJIT Dana Knox Student Research Showcase, held last week on April 17, 2013. Seventy-two graduate and undergraduate students participated.“Research is an essential and ever more vital component of NJIT’s mission,” said NJIT President Joel S. Bloom at the kick off. “The university’s impressive array of undergraduate and graduate research initiatives lay at the heart of exemplary programs, that not only benefit students, but also contribute significantly to economic development and job creation.”
Fadi Deek, interim provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, reflecting upon collective knowledge, noted that it increases through contributions made by people in all disciplines and of all ages. “The Dana Knox Student Research Showcase celebrates the achievements of our undergraduate and graduate student researchers,” he said.
Donald H. Sebastian, senior vice president for research and development, pointed out that NJIT is distinct among the state’s 31 public universities: “One of three public research universities, NJIT is the only one concentrated on scientific, engineering and professional education. We are truly New Jersey’s university of science and technology,” he said.
Showcase judges included NJIT professors and advisory board members. The 62 entries eventually produced three top undergraduate and three top graduate winners: The majority will graduate at NJIT’s upcoming May 20, 2013 commencement.
Senior Ali Mustafa, of Clifton, with a double major in applied physics and biology, and advised by physics professor Gordon Thomas, took first-place honors in the undergraduate category. Mustafa is a member of Albert Dorman Honors College (ADHC). Mustafa designed and fabricated a microfluidic flow chip to allow cells in varied concentrations of drug solution to flow and pass through a parallel plate capacitor. The capacitor was designed to allow for quick and accurate measurements compared to the current system in use known as patch clamping.
Six College of Architecture and Design fifth-year students, took second place honors for their work with NJIT Associate Professor Richard Garber to create Nexus House, the upcoming joint entry of NJIT and Harbin Institute of Technology for the August 2013 Solar Decathlon China. The event, co-hosted by China National Energy Administration and the U.S. Department of Energy, is organized by Peking University. Team members, all graduating this May, were Brandon Warshofsky, Marlboro; Stephen Polledri, Verona; Mohamed Hanafy, Jersey City; Jonathan Terrero, Parsippany; Javier Fuentes, Union and Katia Maier, Rutherford.
Third place winner, Jose Mendez, with a joint major in applied physics and computer science, who has been working with Distinguished Professor Dale Gary, developed a better user interface for an expanded Owens Valley Solar Array in California which NJIT operates. The expanded array is expected to be working by year’s end. The expanded facility will offer greater capacity with the current array increasing from 5 to 13 radio antennas. The array is used to investigate solar flares and other solar activities. The interface developed by Mendez will allow for a more user-friendly experience. NJIT manages and operates the world renowned California facility, an astronomical radio telescope array for studying the physics of the Sun.
Three industrial engineering doctoral students, advised by Professors Sanchoy Das and Reggie Caudill, took first place in the graduate category for a quantitative tool for industrial eco-efficiency and sustainability analysis. Zhenqing Zheng, of Kearny, Joseph Wright of Flemington, and Nadi Atalla, of New York City, developed a web-based tool for a quantitative life cycle methodology to evaluate the significance of environmental aspects at product, process, facility and corporate levels.
Xinbo Lau, of Elizabeth, a doctoral student in chemistry studying with Professor Somenath Mitra, took second place for her study “Nano Carbons as Charge Carriers in Organic Solar Cells.” Nanostructured carbon allotropes have been intensively studied such as carbon nanotubes, fullerenes and more, she said. These materials hold notable values for physical properties which are important for carrier mobility, thermal conductivity, mechanical strength and optical absorption.
Shivon Boodhoo, of Chatham, an industrial engineering doctoral student studying with Professor Das, took one of two, third place honors. She created a better system for evaluating the productivity and operating efficiency of New Jersey hospitals. Her paper presented the application of two new hospital operations metrics. The paper also analyzed causes of productivity variance between hospitals.
Chemical engineering doctoral candidate Itsaso Auzmendi-Murua advised by Professor Joseph Bozzelli received a third place commendation. Her poster was entitled “Gas Phase Mercury Oxidation by Halogens in Combustion Effluents: Influence of Operating Conditions.”