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Northrop Grumman Student Design Showcase April 8 at Florida Tech’s Clemente Center

Free Public Event Features
139 Projects in STEM Disciplines

MELBOURNE, FLA. — Seniors in Florida Institute of Technology’s colleges of engineering and science will showcase their academic achievement and technical prowess at the Northrop Grumman Engineering & Science Student Design Showcase from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday at the Clemente Center on campus.

Featuring 139 projects from both colleges, the annual event is free and open to the public. The Clemente Center is located on University Boulevard near the corner of Babcock Street.

In 2009, a $1 million endowment gift from Northrop Grumman Corporation provided ongoing support for the students’ work. Northrop Grumman officials will present two special “Best in Show” prizes at this year’s showcase for individual projects from the College of Engineering and the College of Science.

The showcase includes projects and posters developed by 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.

It allows them to experience the difference between computer-modeling something and making it in the real world, said Laurie Guiser, Florida Tech’s student project director for the College of Engineering.

“Understanding design, and actually designing and executing it, are different,” she said.

Michael Grace, a showcase coordinator and senior associate dean of the College of Science, added, “Conducting projects that are presented at the showcase allows students to apply creative thinking and practical application while they learn valuable lessons in teamwork, professionalism and leadership. Florida Tech students are generating novel data, creating new products, and solving important, real-world problems.”

Among College of Engineering projects in this year’s showcase is Sharkbait. From Aerospace Engineering, this “unmanned underwater-air hybrid vehicle” can travel from the water to the air and back again. The machine is a cylindrical vehicle with wings that can extend to 90-degrees for take-off and flight and then retract flush with the body for underwater usage.

Another College of Engineering project at the showcase is Solarizer from Biomedical Engineering. This portable, solar-powered autoclave could bring properly sterilized medical equipment to areas with limited resources.

College of Science research projects this year include “Rocket Cable Model for Lightning Protection,” which describes a newly developed predictive model for lightning’s effects on spacecraft as they await launch.

From the department of Mathematical Sciences comes, “Clinical Genomic Risk Factors of Chronic Kidney Disease,” in which a very large clinical data set was analyzed to accurately predict the progression of chronic kidney disease and stratify patients into risk categories. The student researchers predict that this work will ultimately lead to new therapeutic targets for drug development.

A presentation from the department of Biological Sciences, titled “Thermally-Induced Shift in Biomechanical Performance of the Invasive Lionfish, Pterois volitans,” describes how the feeding mechanism of the predatory lionfish changes with temperature. This work may help explain how lionfish have so rapidly spread throughout the Western Atlantic, and may contribute to efforts aimed at controlling its economic and ecological impacts.

For more on the Northrop Grumman Engineering & Science Student Design Showcase, visit www.fit.edu/student-design/.

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