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Northrop Grumman Showcase Awards Highlight Florida Tech STEM Strength

Winners Include Lionfish Research, Bio Fabrication of Tissue

MELBOURNE, FLA. — With more than 120 different posters and exhibits on display at the Northrop Grumman Engineering & Science Student Design Showcase earlier this month, judges charged with recognizing the best among these senior projects had no easy task.

But they could all agree on one thing: the showcase was among the strongest in recent memory.

“The quality, depth and breadth of these projects is absolutely phenomenal,” said John Firriolo, a chief engineer for Northrop Grumman and a longtime judge from the company, which in 2009 presented a $1 million endowment gift to Florida Tech to provide ongoing support for the students’ work in the showcase.

Florida Tech President and CEO Anthony J. Catanese echoed the sentiment, saying, “This is the best show we’ve seen in 12 years.”

The four most prestigious awards handed out after the showcase were the President’s Cup awards selected by Catanese and Executive Vice President and COO T. Dwayne McCay, and the Engineering Champion and Science Champion “best in show” awards from Northrop Grumman.

The winners in the 2015 showcase were:

From the College of Engineering:

  • President’s Cup award winner: “Bio Fabrications 3-D Printing for Tissue Engineering,” Ryan Bailey, Scott Baskerville, Victoria Gilchrist, Michael Weng Kwan, Ian McClure.
  • Northrop Grumman award winner: “Mars Rover – URC,” Niket Ghelani, Kirill Martusevich, Andrew Poe, John Bohanon, Christopher Zarlenga, Tiziano Bernard, Gianmarco Casiraghi, Joshua Dube, Issac Spence, Brock Hedlund, Armando Rolins, Alex Troshchenko, Scott Ward, Jeffrey Miller, Kendrick Buchala, Alejandra Dominguez, Megan Bresnahan, James Copeland, Wesley Sanders.

From the College of Science:

  • President’s Cup award winner: “Disparate Thermal Sensitivity of Predator and Prey Confounds the Effect of Temperature on the Feeding Performance of Invasive Lionfish, Pterois volitans,” Louis Penrod.
  • Northrop Grumman award winner: “Cellular Organization of the Brain in Ramphotyphlops braminus,” Kathryn Gallman.

There were also awards given to each department and/or discipline within the two colleges.

For the College of Engineering, those recipients were:

Aerospace Engineering: “Search and Rescue Unmanned Aerial Vehicle,” Jake Olson, Mike Barbera, Brendan Ooi, Nathan Arledge, Fabio Maia, Evan Cosgrove, Niko Casciola, Mohamed Mohamed, Xori Deans, Oron Bader.

Biomedical Engineering: “Bio Fabrications 3-D Printing for Tissue Engineering,” Ryan Bailey, Scott Baskerville, Victoria Gilchrist, Michael Weng Kwan, Ian McClure.

Chemical Engineering: “In Situ Bitumen Hydrocarbon Extraction and Upgrading,” Athela Frandsen, Dennis Hogan, Samantha McCuskey.

Civil Engineering: “Design of a Pedestrian Bridge Over Babcock Street,” Alexandria Boddy, Steven Moodie, Mohammad Awad, Alexis Miller, William Mitchell, Tariq Alamri.

Computer Science: “Showrunner,” Casey Doran, Aral Tasher, Sam Knight, Logan O’Farrell.

Electrical & Computer Engineering: “Big Data Medical Diagnostics System,” Tabitha Beavers, Andrew Binns, and Michael Wells.

Marine & Environmental Systems: “Comparison of Temperature Differences across Thunderstorm Gust Fronts with Measured Wind Gusts Behind the Front,” Genevieve Scott.

Mechanical Engineering: “JPL Smart Breakout Box,” Gerid Paquette, Berkley Bonjonia, Deep Patel, Enmanuel Pichardo, Yaoyu Yang.

Multidisciplinary: “Solar Boat,” Brandon Burghardt, Thilbaud Le Merdy, Brett Palaschak, Riggs Brusnigham, Ashley Flondro, Jon Rabenold, Gianmarco Casiraghi, Joshua Dube, Majed Al-khalaf.

Ocean Engineering: “Flume – Recirculating Water Tank,” Thibaud Le Merdy, Savanna Bennett, Shane Dembinski, Joseph Gencarelli, Shaun Searcy.

For College of Science, those recipients were:

Biological Sciences: “Cellular Organization of the Brain in Ramphotyphlops braminus,” Kathryn Gallman.

Chemistry: “Phytotoxicity of Silver Nitrate and Silver Nanoparticles on Elodea canadensis,” Leonard Bernas.

Education & Interdisciplinary Studies (tie): “Avatar Learners: Online Students in Virtual Classroom,” Roger Ballard. “Energy Education,” Shelby Pearce.

Mathematical Sciences: “Computing the Elementary Symmetric Polynomials of the Multiplier Spectra of z^2 + c,” Grayson Jorgenson.

Physics & Space Sciences: “Locating Supernovae via Artificial Neural Networks,” Kristin Shahady.

Sustainability: “Thematic Categories and Associated Metrics to Develop and Indian River Lagoon Report Card,” Kait Wood and Melissa Pumphrey.

Overall, the showcase included projects and posters developed by more than 300 undergraduate students, working on their own or in teams, from all academic departments in the College of Science and the College of Engineering. Participating students, who must conceive, research and/or design and implement their projects, gain hands-on experience in applying science or engineering knowledge and the fundamental principles of their respective majors.

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