Students & Alumni
The increasing number of wildfires devasting America’s western states inspired a team of Villanova University students to tackle the issue this past summer as part of the L3Harris INNOVATE Summer Program. The team designed, built and tested Silvanus—a weather-proof, solar powered wildfire prevention and detection system. The system measures the volumetric water content of soil to generate a risk-assessment measure of how likely a wildfire is to occur.
Joseph Zinno, a rising senior in mechanical engineering, has spent the past two years nurturing his business venture, Rooted Designs, which sells engraved Villanova keychains, magnets, coasters and more. Rooted in the communities he is part of, Joe donates 20% of every sale to a Villanova charity chosen by the customer.
Among the University’s winners was Chemical Engineering graduate Jessica McKean ’21. Jessica’s undergraduate research in the field of cellular and genetic engineering led to an interest in an interdisciplinary opportunity within the fields of biology, material science, civil engineering and architecture. She will spend her Fulbright year at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland, where she will research the potential of genetically engineering bacteria to improve a sustainable bio-cement technology.
The National Academy of Engineering Grand Challenges Scholars Program is an engineering education supplement that broadens the reach of undergraduate study. The 2021 class of scholars included Simon Brooks, Bridget LaSala, Siobhan Merrill and Aldo Pierini.
In its first year in the competition, a team of students from Villanova, Drexel and Rutgers universities has been named a finalist in NASA’s Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts—Academic Linkage (RASC-AL) program. Led by Villanova Engineering graduate student Nicholas Florio ’20 EE, ’21 MSEE, the team developed the Jemison Crewed Ascent Vehicle, honoring the first African American female astronaut, Mae C. Jemison. In June they will present their concept to NASA and other aerospace leaders.
As a part of Engineers' Week in February, more than 20 graduate students presented their work virtually for the 4th Annual Graduate Student Poster Competition. Engineering faculty evaluated the posters in two categories—technical excellence and presentation excellence—and prizes were awarded.
Nicole Grueneberg ’23 ChE was selected for the prestigious Johnson & Johnson Engineering Showcase, which focuses on the application of technology to improve human health. As one of 15 participants, Nicole virtually presented her idea for Skinshare, an application for monitoring skin health.
On February 22, the Villanova chapter of the National Society of Professional Engineers sponsored a virtual “Order of the Engineer” ring ceremony, initiating 39 graduating seniors and practicing engineers into the organization which promotes ethics and fosters a sense of pride within the engineering profession.
Led by Executive Director Kathleen Donnelly ’84 ChE, the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) in Lakehurst, NJ, has become a popular career destination for Villanova Engineers, many of whom get their start through the organization’s Educational Partnership Agreement with the College of Engineering.
Mechanical Engineering graduate student Michael Evans has developed the prototype of an agrivoltaics greenhouse that uses waste heat generated by photovoltaic panels to warm the air and expand the traditional growing season for crops.