What I Did On My Summer "Vacation"

What I did on my summer "vacation"

Dispelling the myth that summer is all fun and games for those in academia, we’re happy to share these stories of College of Engineering students and faculty who made strides in research, publishing and professional experience.  And yes, they may have found time for hiking, scuba diving and Disney World, too.

Olivia Cero ’18 ChE
This summer, I worked in the analytics and data division of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management. Although I am studying chemical engineering, it was an incredible opportunity to use my critical thinking skills in a fast-paced, interesting environment.

Frank Coen ’19 ME
Through a Villanova Undergraduate Research Fellowship I worked with Dr. Qianhong Wu on "The Experimental Simulation of Blood Flow in a 3-D Printed Renal Arterial System." This project's goal is to experimentally verify theoretical predictions that would help to find a more reliable way to measure Renal Resistance Index, which is used in determining renal diseases and diagnosing patients. Continuing this semester, we will use a pump to circulate water through a 3-D printed renal arterial system, which was created using CT data scanning points of specific patients. We also will measure flow through the artery and pressure drop across the artery to assess the validity of our collaborator's theoretical predictions.

Phillip Dantoin ’20 EE
I spent my summer interning with The Aerospace Corporation, a nonprofit corporation that operates a federally-funded research and development center in the D.C. area. We primarily worked with the National Reconnaissance Office and the National Security Agency. During the course of the summer I worked closely with the engineering research division alongside experts in the fields of mechanical engineering, signal processing, chemistry, and physics. Some projects included the research and development of microelectromechanical systems, signal processing, and surveillance technologies.

Zachary Ellenhorn, ’18 ChE
I worked at Brookhaven National Laboratory conducting research on genetically-modified pennycress, a promising new biofuel crop. I looked at the composition of its fatty acids and quantified a new nontoxic strain of the plant.

Frank Falcone ’70 CE, AP, PE, D.WRE, Director, Professional Development & Experiential Education
I attended a planning session in Houston during July for the Engineering & Construction Contractors Association conference that will take place this September. With representatives from five other universities, the goal is to help close the gap between industry and academic institutions so that new engineers will be more ready to assume project management and leadership positions earlier in their careers. Our Career Compass program is a pioneer in this regard, and is helping ECC leaders develop applicable sessions for the conference.

Amy Fleischer, PhD, ’91 ME, ’96 MSME, Professor and Chair, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Director, Center for Energy-Smart Electronic Systems
I spent the summer visiting some industrial members of the Center for Energy-Smart Electronic Systems (ES2) research consortium—Vertiv, Comcast and Verizon. Additionally, I wrote four papers that I have submitted for publication. In my spare time, I took scuba diving lessons and became a qualified diver.

Austin Hake ’18 ChE
I participated in a research internship at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai that focused on RNA sequencing on ovarian cancer samples. The hope was that analysis of small subpopulations of cells would give important information that is usually missed in bulk sequencing. I worked with NextGen instruments along with a new technology from Berkeley Lights that can give transcriptomic and proteomic information on the same single cell. 

David Harvey ’18 CE
I worked for Lumos and Associates, a civil engineering firm servicing Nevada and Northern California. I designed a retrofit for a geothermal utility and analyzed the stormwater drainage system for a proposed housing development. Outside of work, I spent some time hiking at the Grand Canyon and Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Shaelynn Heffernan ’20 CE
I spent 10 weeks working for Metro Achievement Center for the Engineering Entrepreneurship program. Metro Achievement Center is a non-profit facility located in Chicago, which has been assisting low income families in educating their daughters. As a teaching assistant for the Engineering Entrepreneurship program, I had the opportunity to work with 15 young women, ages 14-17, on designing projects that covered aspects of various engineering disciplines. During this time, I wrote a blog connecting the engineering projects to discussions on character development—a really cool project highlighting the importance of ethics in engineering.

Nicolina Lamberti ’18 ChE
This summer, I worked as a research and development intern for Axalta Coating Systems in Wilmington, DE. I worked with advanced rheology techniques that studied the extension of fluids, which helped to improve the spray application of automotive paint coatings. I even had the honor of presenting my work to the company's CEO and Board of Directors.

Andrew Lee ’19 ME
This summer I traveled to Grenoble, France as part of a 10-week research internship in nanomaterials. As a partner of the REACT Project (Research and Education in Active Coating Technologies), I conducted basic research on the patterned growth of nanowires for water collection and purification. Drawing inspiration from a beetle in the Namib Desert, the ultimate goal of my research was to create a material that passively collects water from the atmosphere using alternating hydrophilic and hydrophobic patterns. Read more about Andrew’s experience, including his award for best presentation!

Brittany Macshane, Graduate Student, Chemical Engineering
For the past year, I served as a Product Design Engineer at Arconic in Cranberry, PA.  I was a key part of the Advanced Manufacturing Engineering department where, this summer, I designed new windows for multi-million-dollar construction projects.  I launched a new window product line and its historical steel factory configurations. Through this experience, I learned to work closely with multi-disciplinary teams while delivering new designs of quality products.

Bijan Mobasseri, PhD, Professor and Chair, Electrical and Computer Engineering Department

I spent the summer at Kirkland AFB in the beautiful Albuquerque, New Mexico, the home of the AFRL Space Vehicles Directorate,  working on the design of a novel frequency-hopping waveform for the Air Force satellite communication network. I stayed on the wonderful campus of the University of New Mexico.

Matt O'Connell ’20 CE
I spent a majority of my summer interning with cloud services company Evolve IP, located just ten minutes away from Villanova's campus in Wayne, PA. I interned primarily with the cloud computing and network engineering areas, and worked on a variety of programming, hardware and IT projects. A unique opportunity that I was given through Evolve IP was working with their Evolve Cares program to do volunteer work with Cradles to Crayons and the LaMancha Animal Rescue. These were rewarding experiences and great ways for me and the company to give back to the community, and it greatly enhanced my summer internship experience.

Mark Orebiyi ’17 CE, Graduate Student, Water Resources Engineering
After visa issues kept me from traveling to India as originally planned, I ended up in Cambodia where I prepared an experiment that will be added to the five experiments in the new STEM Workbook developed by James Hanley ’18 CE and Ayodele Awotunde ’20 CE. The workbook, the first of its kind for this country, has been approved by the Director of Teacher Training within the Ministry of Education.

Seri Park, PhD, Clare Booth Luce Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
I presented “Analyzing Factors Influencing Wet Roadway Crashes” at the International Conference on Maintenance and Rehabilitation of Constructed Infrastructure Facilities in Korea. The presentation was co-written by Dr. Virginia Smith and 2017 graduates Thomas Saldutti and Nicholas Zoccoli.

CJ Pizzano ’19 CE
This summer I participated in the Cultural Understanding and Leadership Program with the US Army, a month-long immersion program for cadets across the country to visit an international ally and work closely with their military. I went to Bulgaria under NATO orders to help teach English to Bulgarian soldiers in various cities across the country so that their military could reach the required level of language proficiency. We also carried out two humanitarian aid missions, helping out at an orphanage for a few days and helping to repair and repaint a local school. Lastly, we travelled to a remote military base to do some weapons training, spending a full day shooting the AK-47 and PKM.

Vito L. Punzi, PhD, PE, Professor of Chemical Engineering
In support of my teaching and research area Catholic social teaching for engineers, I published “A Social Responsibility Guide for Engineering Students and Professionals of all Faith Traditions: An Overview” in the journal Science and Engineering Ethics. I also produced a presentation for the Career Compass program titled “Catholic Teaching for Engineers. Part I. Common Good vs. Greater Good.”

Justinus Satrio, PhD, Associate Professor, Chemical Engineering
I spent about 3 1/2 weeks in Indonesia  to participate in the 2nd International Biomass Conference, which was hosted by Bogor Agricultural University (BAU), with which I collaborate on research, education and outreach. I served as a conference steering committee member, speaker and moderator and Villanova University was listed as one of the sponsors.  Mackenzie Bowden ’18 ChE and Matthew Bewes, a grad student in Sustainable Engineering, also gave a presentation at the conference.  

I also spent some time in Bali to participate as a lecturer at the Bali summer program, which was held by Marwadewa University for Asia Pacific students. The university is part of an Asia Pacific network called SAFE (Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Energy). Their program will be in line with the sustainability program we have at Villanova..

Katie Rose Scoboria ’18 ME
This summer, I lived in Melbourne, FL and worked for Harris Corporation. While I can't say exactly what I was up to at work, I can say that it was some of the coolest work I've ever done as an engineer! I also made some awesome friends from schools all over the country and got to go to Disney World for the first time. I loved working at Harris so much that I'll be back next summer—full time!

Virginia Smith, PhD, Assistant Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering
I chaired a session and presented at the International Fluvial Sedimentology Conference in Calgary, Canada. The presentation was titled “Modeling geomorphic changes in the backwater through flood inundation maps in a two-dimensional hydrodynamic model coupled with sediment transport: A case study of Darby Creek, PA,” and showcased a floodplain morphology model created with my PhD student Hossein Hosseiny. 

Min-Cheng "Peter" Tu, PhD, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow
During the past summer, I participated in an Environmental and Water Resources Institute conference in California and finished an academic paper.

Aaron P. Wemhoff, PhD, Associate Professor and Associate Director, Center for Energy-Smart Electronic Systems
I had two journal papers published and, with a grant from the National Science Foundation, hired two undergraduate researchers who worked with me on a project focused on improving data center energy efficiency. I also worked with Dr. Amy Fleischer in transitioning the Center for Energy-Smart Electronic Systems (ES2) from former director Dr. Alfonso Ortega. Finally, my wife gave birth to our second child in early July.