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2017 Undergraduate Research Symposium Highlights Engineering Projects

by Daniel Fetsko ’19 CE


2017 Undergraduate Research Symposium

On September 8, 2017, Villanova University held its annual Undergraduate Research Symposium. More than 200 students participated, presenting 94 projects, including 12 from the College of Engineering. Hosted by the Center for Research and Fellowships, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Office of the Provost, the Department of Chemistry, and the College of Engineering, the symposium offers an opportunity for Villanova University students to showcase research done over the summer.

2017 Undergraduate Research Symposium

Within the College of Engineering, students participate in undergraduate thesis projects, summer research internships or fellowships, faculty-directed research, and externally-sponsored projects. This year’s presentations from the College of Engineering featured 30 students working in conjunction with 12 different professors across all disciplines of engineering. Each group of researchers was on hand during the poster presentation to explain the technical aspects of the projects, as well as their potential practical applications.

2017 Undergraduate Research Symposiuim

Many of the projects encompassed multiple aspects of different engineering disciplines. Andrew Lee ’19 ME spent the summer in France conducting research on the collection and purification of water using zinc nanowires, combining the properties of mechanical, chemical and environmental engineering. Additionally, Zachary Ellenhorn ’18 ChE utilized chemistry and environmental engineering in his research into using variations of pennycress as alternative biofuel. Nicholas Burns and Savannah Restori, both juniors in mechanical engineering, studied the potential applications of bio-mimicry in reducing the noise generation by submarines in order to increase stealth capabilities. 

The following research was presented by College of Engineering students:

Biochemical analysis of wildtype and genetically modified pennycress (Thalspi arvense) seeds by Zachary Ellenhorn, Kate Kuczynski, Jorg Schwender
Advisor: Professor William Kelly, PhD, Chemical Engineering

Villanova Thermodynamic Analysis of Systems by John Clements, Steven Squillante
Advisor: Assistant Professor Aaron Wemhoff, PhD, Mechanical Engineering

Investigating Mathematical Models for Metabolism and Transport of Cholesterol by Ryan Searcy, Derek Fake, Dr. Zuyi Huang
Advisor: Assistant Professor Zuyi Huang, PhD, Chemical Engineering

Zinc Oxide Nanowire Surfaces for Water Collection and Purification by Andrew Lee
Advisors: Associate Professor David Riassetto, PhD, Laboratoire des Matériaux et du Génie Physique; Associate Professor Gang Feng, PhD, Mechanical Engineering; Professor and Chair Amy Fleischer, PhD, Mechanical Engineering

Modeling Nanoindentation of Colloidal-Sphere Assembly by Preston Whiteman, Dr. Gang Feng, Dr. Aaron Wemhoff
Advisor: Dr. Aaron Wemhoff

Three-Dimensional Space-Filling Curve Antennas by Christopher Israel, Dr. Ahmed Hoorfar
Advisor: Professor Ahmad Hoorfar, PhD, Mechanical Engineering

Synthetic Production of Plasmids for Gene Therapy by Adam Gabriel, Evan Kurt, Jane Liu, Gabrielle Van Der Gaag
Advisor: Assistant Professor Jacob Elmer, PhD, Chemical Engineering

Optimization of Wetland Microbial Fuel Cells Using Novel Electrodes by Brendan Gorman, Clement Ekaputra, Li Chen, Dr. Zuyi Huang
Advisor: Dr. Zuyi Huang

The Next Generation Smartwatch by Yu Zhenglin, Timothy Kubista, Benjamin Hollinger, Branden Garett
Advisor: Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Director Engineering Entrepreneurship Edmond Dougherty

VSII Smart Baseball by   Bova John Nathan Cheong, Joseph Liquori, Dan Taglioferro
Advisor: Professor Mark Jupina, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Measurements of Multicore Microstructured Optical Fibers Heated up to 100 C by Gerald Wagner, Jacob Hisel
Advisor: Associate Professor Rosalind Wynne, PhD, Electrical and Computer Engineering

BioMimic Research by Nicholas Burns, Savannah Restori
Advisor: Assistant Professor Calvin Li, PhD, Mechanical Engineering