In summer 2008, Susan Mischinski ME ’10 received an undergraduate research grant from Villanova University that afforded her an exciting opportunity to investigate how the microstructure of bones affects crack initiation and propagation. Now only a year later, Mischinski’s research has received national recognition.
At the 2009 ASME Bioengineering Conference, held in Lake Tahoe, CA, in June, Mischinski was awarded second place in the Undergraduate Student Paper Competition. Dr. Ani Ural, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Mischinski’s research advisor, coauthored the paper, which was titled “The Effect of Cement Line Properties and Crack Orientation on Crack Propagation in Cortical Bone.” Mischinski gave a poster presentation and delivered an oral summary of her paper.
“Susan’s award is a significant achievement,” said Dr. Ural, who also presented a paper at the conference. “Her recognition at a prestigious national conference demonstrates the importance of her research results, as well as her remarkable qualities as a researcher.”
Mischinski, who received another University research grant this summer, has continued to collaborate with Dr. Ural. Recently, the two submitted an article describing their latest research findings to the Journal of Biomechanics. Because she is in the College of Engineering’s five-year bachelor’s/master’s program, Mischinski will pursue this research for her thesis. The purpose of the research is to determine which areas of human bones should be targeted to prevent crack growth, especially in older persons and those with osteoporosis.
The opportunity to perform cutting-edge research and learn from top-notch faculty has transformed Mischinski’s academic experience. “Before I came to college, I thought that research was not an option for an undergraduate. It’s been wonderful to find out that, at Villanova, you can do research in an emerging area and work one-on-one with an outstanding professor. Under Dr. Ural’s guidance, I’ve been able to contribute more and more to the research.”