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Undergraduate research symposium spotlights engineering excellence

Lehigh teams took first and third place, with a Lafayette team finishing second, in the engineering college's annual David and Lorraine Freed Undergraduate Research Symposium.

Two central tenets of the Lehigh student experience are group collaboration and research. The ability to work in concert with others to achieve a common goal enhances an individual’s ability to succeed professionally. Research helps develop fundamental critical thinking skills.

Every year, the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science (RCEAS) gives students the opportunity to combine these two educational pillars at the David and Lorraine Freed Undergraduate Research Symposium. The event is endowed by Andrew D. Freed ’83, a member of the RCEAS advisory board, in honor of his parents.

Earlier this month, in the STEPS building lobby, 19 research projects were presented by undergraduates in a contest that demonstrates the extent to which research opportunities are available at Lehigh. Students competed for first, second and third place travel stipends to attend professional conferences.

For the second straight year, “The Rivalry” was extended beyond the football field, as students from Lafayette College participated as well.

“This is a really great opportunity for us to highlight this form of learning,” S. David Wu, Iacocca Professor and dean of the engineering college, told the participating students. “I’m very glad to see the quality and the depth of the work that has been done here, and you should be applauded for what you have done.”

The project topics ranged widely, from a multiporous scaffold developed for tissue and bone regeneration by Paulina Krzyszcyk ‘12 to the winning entry, a cancer drug delivery system developed by Deniz Cetin ‘12 and Andrew Pike ‘12.

All the students were advised by faculty members, who helped students with troubleshooting and concept development.

“I really enjoyed working with our professors, because they were really helpful to us throughout the project,” said Cetin, a Rossin Junior Fellow who hails from Kusadasi, Turkey.

The faculty mentorship, said Cetin, figured greatly in the success of their research and helped them articulate their findings effectively.

“This experience [is about] how to communicate your findings and making your project exciting to your colleges and your peers,” said Himanshu Jain, professor of materials science and engineering. “I think the students are finding that this is happening at today’s symposium.”

Pike, who aspires to work in the pharmaceutical industry after graduation, said: “I think the best part has been learning so much along the way. Something like this is a good application of research that can also be applied to, hopefully, what I plan to do in industry someday.”

Story by Karl Brisseaux '11

Posted on Thursday, April 19, 2012

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