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Student Design Showcase April 12 at Clemente Center

Free Public Event Features 140 Projects in STEM Fields

MELBOURNE, FLA. — Students in Florida Tech’s College of Engineering and Science will display their academic achievement and technical prowess at the 10th annual Northrop Grumman Engineering & Science Student Design Showcase from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, April 12, at the Clemente Center on campus.

Featuring engineering and science projects that creatively demonstrate Florida Tech’s renowned hands-on approach to education, the annual event is free and open to the public. The Clemente Center is located on University Boulevard just west of Babcock Street.

Among the projects in the 2019 Showcase:

Osiris Bioreactor: This benchtop-size device is a perfusion bioreactor system, which holds two scaffolds where a flow system of nutrients will continuously feed cells in the scaffold and stimulate their growth and cell proliferation. This will cost less than current commercially available systems.

High Altitude/Mach Rocket: Knowing that flight-testing supersonic and hypersonic air-breathing engines is expensive, risky and not always capable of recreating real-world results, this project has developed a rocket featuring two subsystems: a nosecone payload that will model an air-breathing engine, and a launch vehicle powered by a solid rocket motor that will propel the nosecone to speeds of more than 2,100 mph, or nearly Mach 3.

In-Flight Radiation Detector: As the prospect of space tourism and more frequent journeys to space come closer to reality, this project could come in handy. Known as a gas electron multiplier detector, this device could allow for more sensitive detection of the direction and magnitude of incoming ionizing radiation and cosmic radiation to better protect humans during future space tourism and transportation missions by commercial space companies.

Tasked with the challenge of determining which among these and other projects deserves top awards are judges from some of the leading companies in the world, including Northrop Grumman, Siemens, Boeing, SpaceX, Raytheon and Harris Corporation.

Gerry Deren is executive director, academic enablement at Siemens Digital Industries Software in Phoenix. He will be a showcase judge for the fourth time.

He was inspired to serve as a judge by “the opportunity to see what the current and future generations of students represent and are motivated by and how they are getting prepared for the challenges and needs of the future. I also enjoy the opportunities to interact with them and help them prepare for what companies are looking for,” he said.

In 2009, a $1 million endowment gift from Northrop Grumman Corporation provided ongoing support for the students’ work. Sponsorships from other local and national companies also assist. These gifts reflect a commitment to boosting interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs and the value of learning beyond the classroom.

Showcase organizers note that project-based learning through student design gives students experience that not only helps them gain a better understanding of their field but also helps them acquire highly sought-after workplace skills like collaboration, communication and problem solving. Participating students must conceive, research and/or design and implement their projects.

Natalie Gadelrab, an ocean engineering major with a minor in sustainability, has a showcase project centered on the development of a sustainable freshwater program for Carnival Cruise Line ships.

“I think it’s really fun to be able to apply what I’ve learned in my classes so far and then be able to make such great connections with companies,” she said. “I’m working with Carnival Cruise Line, and to be able to work with a big company and figure out what they need…ultimately just applying what I’ve learned. It’s a lot more fun to do projects than it is to just answer questions.”

At the conclusion of the showcase, Northrop Grumman officials will present Best in Show prizes, and Florida Tech President Dwayne McCay will present President’s Cup awards to top projects.

There will also be category winners.

And this year, with an eye toward highlighting and strengthening three increasingly important facets of business and technology, the showcase will feature new award categories for most entrepreneurial, most innovative, and best/most social impact.

For more information on this and past showcases, visit www.fit.edu/student-design/.

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EDITORS/PRODUCERS: Media are invited to cover the showcase and are asked to contact Director of Media Communications Adam Lowenstein at adam@fit.edu or 321-674-8964 to confirm attendance.

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